Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Things that would make this whole situation much better

Today is less buoyant. Jesus, already? I thought I had a few days of cheerful inactivity before I slipped into a decline, but that was before my cognitive faculties started to fail me entirely. In the past 24 hours I have lost the ability to tie a knot in a balloon (I just stared at it, baffled, knowing I should be able to do it, as the small children barracked me) and had a half hour blind spot over the correct direction of the accent on à - and yes, I looked at it on the keyboard again and again, but somehow it just wouldn't translate into the written version. At this rate I'll have forgotten how to dress myself by the weekend and can revert to lying in a stupor, drooling.

It's Wednesday, which isn't helping, I suppose, as gulag closes up at 1 so that everyone can go and indulge in Soviet calisthenics or extra Dutch lessons, and my children can lie around the house looking untidy and helping themselves to biscuits. I have also fallen flat on my arse once already (literal, not figurative) this morning. Fallen leaves, why must you be so .. leafy? This reminds me that whilst in London last week I actually slipped on an actual banana skin, which is the kind of achievement I never imagined I could hope for in my 36th year.

No matter. I am compiling a further list (I am all about the lists. The one I can see from here says: "Invoice, LIGHTBULBS, crème fraîche"). It is a list of things that would assist my current plight (not, in fact, plight at all. Tiny bourgeois tragedy, perhaps).

1. A mantilla. I could answer the door to Seventh Day Adventists and Belgacom, collect the infants from school and queue interminably for saucisson de jambon (a sinister luncheon meat type substance in a jaunty red plastic skin, much beloved of small boys) in the butchers with half of the pensioners in Uccle wearing it. Also, it would hide my doughy face, and I could hiss and mutter behind it happily. No-one would give you shit with a mantilla. (see previous desire for eagle. I still want one, but I worry about the upkeep).

2. A small goat in the garden to keep the grass down and eat the leftovers the dog is too pathetic to bother with. I have more than enough space for a goat. I could probably have two, actually. Then one could get on with methodically destroying everything while I held onto the other one round its goaty neck, sniffing its goaty smell and weeping, as it chewed my mantilla, impassively. I have given a lot of thought to this.

3. Soothing baroque music that gives the illusion of being totally On Top Of Things. Other things the possession of which gives the illusion of being on top of things: candles, rugs, lamps, hoover skillz, non-petrified fruit, plentiful and varied stationery and being able to see more than 20% of the surface of the kitchen table. I have the stationery. Want sellotape? I'm your girl. Want tetanus/toxoplasmosis/impetigo? I am possibly also your girl.

4. A miraculous plumber. I am tired of living in a house that smells of drains. I have tried all your many and varied suggestions. I am beginning to think that the very fabric of the sodding house smells of drains.

4. A moderate private income. Self-explanatory. Enough to go and volunteer for panda petting, at least. Even the prospect of carrying "lots of bamboo" doesn't bother me. I used to muck out stables with actual pleasure, just to get to stand near a horse. I'd do a lot more for a panda. Though frankly, it shouldn't even be necessary. If you ask me, it's about time Animals Express, the pet shop that ethics forgot, started stocking pandas, they are missing a trick (though note who they do have in stock currently. Tempted? It's my birthday soon. Just saying).


Anonymous said...

What you need is cocktails. I can help with this.


Rachael @Mogantosh said...

You make me happy. Always, when I catch up on your blog, and today, for the phrase 'tiny bourgeois tragedy.' I may take it as the title for my memoirs (vol 2, at least. vol 1 I must name after what an editor once called a story: Funny In Parts But Disjointed Overall.) Thanks for the laugh.

Ellie said...

I can see my entire table. That makes me an unqualified success, right?
More convincingly.

Sewmouse said...

Is not a mantilla just a large honking square of black lacy fabric stuff? Couldn't you just use a lace tablecloth and ritz-dye it black and if anyone asked why you had a tablecloth on your head you could give them the stink-eye and haughtily reply "It is a mantilla, you cretin!"

Nellig said...

May I just say how much I enjoyed the phrase "as it chewed my mantilla, impassively"? Thanks.

BTW as a small catholic schoolgirl in the early 1960s I was required to wear a mantilla in church. They do have a certain mystique.

Anonymous said...

I think you should attempt to birdnap the rather splendid Grand-Duke (as he is already named in my head) in a midnight SAS-style manoeuvre, for which the mantilla could come in handy.

He'd be much happier stood on a treestump in your garden, terrorising children and dogs, I'm sure.

I'm almost inclined to jump on a Eurostar and do it myself. Shhh, please.

katyboo1 said...

We have pygmy goats for sale just down the road. I don't know if I can courier one to you in time for your birthday, but I could look into it.

How about an eagle atop your mantilla?

Betty M said...

Goats, definitely goats. A mantilla is too Lady Gaga.

Z said...

I've got the moderate private income, and it's brilliant. I recommend.

Kath said...

My French teacher, who was actually properly really French, could never remember whether or not to put an accent on oú/ou. It comes to everyone, do not fear!

Word checker thing: Angally. The nationality of most French teachers in England. They are English (Anglais) pretending to be gallic.

ganching said...

I had a mantilla when I was a child. I wore it to Mass. I looked like a very, very young widow, who had tragically lost her husband in a hail of mafia bullets and had accidentally ended up in a country parish in Northern Ireland.

Margaret said...

I'm jealous of all the mantilla wearers. I just missed it with Vatican II. I totally would have loved to wear a mantilla; I was always big on the head gear.

Anonymous said...

Don't get a goat, get a pony.
At the annual Autumn Fair a section of downtown Leuven is filled with animals, mostly livestock (although someone always brings a llama or a zebra to show off), and they sell these miniature (knee high) ponies -- too small for even the smallest of children to ride. Ponies (& their excrement) smell way better than any goat...not that I spend MY time smelling excrement....
"Mantilla" always makes me think of olives...

PS I really really really like Fran's cocktails suggestion.

Pat (in Belgium and a year older today)

frau antje said...

You should get an owl and a goat. Sometimes you can have goats delivered, they clear the brush and expand your views, holding down jobs all of them. They might be broken or pregnant, and goats do bully each other (aren't animals fascinating?). Someone in the NY Times recently described them as like cats, in that they think everything they do is absolutely perfect. Sounds like a perfect companion or standoff for an owl. Surely you could come up with a solid picture book about it all after filling your yard in this manner, illustrated with carved vegetables (repulsive neighbors only adding to the fun and profit). Perhaps a play written by one of your gay sons, The Grass Menagerie. Belgian Animal Farm? Make Way for Ucclings?

Anna said...

You are not alone, I have also landed on my arse this week. In the Post Office. At lunchtime. By some miracle there was no queue of people to stare at me, only a group of teenagers to tut at my decrepitude. Thankfully no one rushed to offer assistance and comiserate which is, surely, the most excrutiating part of falling down in public?

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