- The dog is surprisingly happy to see me and won't take its bony legs off my keyboard.
He is even letting me pull at his silky ears and kiss the lovely smooth bits in the hollow of his slightly dusty doggy throat. Do I sound like a bizarre dog perv? Ah, well.
- If the dog is mildly positive, Fingers is ecstatic. He hasn't let go of me all day. I particularly liked the bit where he asked me, graciously, whether I had had fun in my two nights away, somehow managing to imply in a very adult fashion that his own distress would be worthwhile if I had. He is a very funny child. I love having his bony arms wrapped around me and they have been pretty much constantly. Also he demonstrated earlier that he can do a no arms somersault. I am overawed. Again, again! In return I had to commit to watching several hours of Snowball the dancing cockatoo, but I didn't even mind (though, Snowball, your musical taste is HORRIFIC. There are other things with a strong beat. Branch out! Join the 21st century, cockatoo).
- My giant marshmallow bed stuffed with live puppies. Or something. It was dear enough to be stuffed with live puppies (live diamond studded puppies at that. Or maybe giant sturgeon. Yes. Giant diamond studded sturgeon), but it's worth it. There is nowhere I would more like to curl in a foetal ball with my dressing gown over my head to sleep deeply and dreamlessly for 9 hours. Mm, there's a Pavlovian drool reflex going on at the corners of my mouth right now at the thought of putting my head into its puppy-filled depths and drifting off. Slurp, drool.
- Mamma Roma pizza al taglio near Place du Châtelain for its hangover healing properties and excellent take away facilities (they give you a bin bag to carry your pizza in! Welcome to Belgium!). Any and all kinds. There was even one with broccoli today and it was good. Who would have thought such a thing possible? How wrong does broccoli pizza sound? SO wrong. And yet.
- Miniature green tea macaroons from Fabrice Collignon, Belgium's answer to Pierre Hermé. And apricot/lavender, fig and cassis/violet in a box in the kitchen still to try. Unless the moths have got them. No, moths you are emphatically NOT on this list.
- The huge bath. Ok, the water is a mysterious brown colour and never gets very hot, and the previous occupants chose the most nonsensical Philippe Starck taps that simply do not work. But just the thought of lying in the lukewarm liquid peat bog in our bathroom with the view to the back of the house of trees and rootftops and just possibly the neighbours' escaped parrot, Paula, relaxes me instantly.
- Piles of as yet unread books falling off my bedside table and singing to me.
What, if anything, reliably cheers you about your home?