Another week draws to a close in Uccle, one which has seen the dog get fleas, my friend Beatrice temporarily evicted from her flat to make room for a team of Hungarian porcelain packers, a trained assassin reduced to repairing my dishwasher for small change, and me develop a debilitating addiction to expensive hot chocolate whilst simultaneously congratulating myself for doing thriftily ingenious things with budget sacks of lentils (a situation in which I can detect no internal contradictions whatsoever). Dark times, my friends. Unfortunately for all of us, I have promised M a birthday blog post, even though my mind is filled with nothing more edifying than dust mites, self-loathing and whatever panic becomes when it flounces around crying wolf for so long you get bored of it. "Write me something about ponies. And crack" she said, reasonably, with just an edge of menace. I'll admit I'm a tiny bit scared. When she sees from this that I let the assassin back in the house, she'll probably just come straight across and save him a job.
In happier news, the boys are back, strewing biscuit crumbs and Lego bricks through the house, and drawing glasses on our puppy in magic marker and I am delighted to see them. They told me they had seen puffer fish the size of houses, sharks and dolphins and turtles and a fakir "with four people walking on his face". More impressive than any of this, there was a man who made ice cream cones from scratch out of "special waffle pancakes". Amazing. Fingers fell down some marble stairs, the CFO added, ashen at the memory of it. "Un grand moment de solitude", he said. I know how that feels. He had the greyish pallor and pinched expression of someone who has spent 48 hours in transit with of two lively small boys whilst suffering from a catastrophic digestive complaint. He broke off and frowned at me suddenly, in the middle of telling me about it.
"What's that on your face?"
I knew without looking. "Flour. I went to a Halloween party, there were games".
I was pretty good at the games, actually, competitiveness winning out over vanity. My costume - Elio di Rupo* - was not an unqualified success (I was mistaken for an '80s cocktail waitress, which one can only hope says more about my poor fancy dress execution than the probable future Belgian prime minister's dress sense)and I had to abandon my false eyelashes in a box of Ibuprofen midway through the evening, but I still won a consolation prize pen. It was a great party. The (decontaminated) dog is still desultorily chewing one of B's breasts, a half-deflated pink balloon that I took home with me in my handbag in one of those acts that feels perfectly logical at the time whilst in fact being nothing of the kind. I am reminded of the time at another, long ago halloween party when I left a baked potato on Violet's pillow for reasons lost in the mists of retsina. That night was also responsible for my lifelong phobia of cooked pumpkin and particularly pumpkin pie which is the work of satan. Pumpkin and cinnamon? Together? Could you make that any more revolting? Oh, squirty cream on top! Perfect. North Americans, can I pre-empt any ripple of protest at this by saying I am quite sure that it is delicious when done properly, but I live in Belgium. Belgium, the country that venerates the endive.
Once the CFO had left, to sleep for 18 hours straight if there is any justice, I ruined an idyllic week of improbably large fish and ice cream for Lashes by giving in to his demand that I cut his fringe. Why in the name of all that is holy did I do that? If there's anyone who knows fuck all about cutting hair, that person is me. But he was very persuasive, and insistent that people would laugh at him with a too long fringe. Hmm. I'm not sure getting your mother to hack hopelessly around at your hair with a pair of blunt children's scissors and the poorest spatial awareness in south Brussels is the best way not to get laughed at.
Ugh, sorry M. I will do better tomorrow and find you crack ponies. In the meantime here's a really terrible poi video just how we like them. Dude has a beret and he's "against the term fountains". Poi controversy!
* I found out yesterday that Dirupo means "precipice" in Italian. On this basis, if none other, he really has to be Belgian PM, surely?