Thursday, 30 December 2010

30 December: More of the same, but clothed

I have my seeester staying. You can tell she has been living in Scandinavia, she is wearing quite a stylish grey jumper with interesting sleeves as opposed to something that looks like it was knitted from discarded hair weaves as part of a criminal rehabilitation project. She has also brought me a beautiful tealight holder featuring giant woodland creatures and she keeps saying how warm it is.

"It's SO WARM"

"It's -2°, there's a foot of snow out there".

"But it's SO WARM!"

"Go and put a coat on please".

"I don't need one! It's like spring out there!"

"Now I will hit you".

We have been amusing ourselves by comparing Christmas messages from her father, Prog Rock.

"He texted me to ask if I'd seen Santa, like I was five or something. And since when does he say 'Santa'? I don't know what's wrong with him".

"Well, at least that's sort of seasonally appropriate. Mine said 'Mulberry Hall Kitchen Warehouse having 30% off sale, anything you need?' Nothing else".

It's a good thing she came, I was sinking into sort of Apocalypse Now Brando torpor, lurking in the shadows in a kaftan to hide the ravages of a kilo of pannetone in 4 days. I had not left the house for days, pleading "a bad knee" and had not worn make up, or anything with a waist, for over a week. All I have done is have baths and stare blankly at my attempted editing. Things were getting .. feral. Today I have played nice and put on clothes and foundation and stuff and been all the way into town to buy books ( thisand thisand this) and last night we went out and drank prosecco and I tried to remember to shut my mouth and not stare, bewildered, at the bright lights and other humans. She is officially a good influence. Sadly she is leaving this evening to be replaced by my children who are decidedly not a good influence, and who would rather never get dressed but lie in the dark in grubby pyjamas, bathed in the warm glow of Mario Kart, helping themselves to sugary drinks and ignoring their mother.

So, a last Christmas inactivity update before the children come back and I have to go to the zoo repeatedly and break up fights and purchase 'Oasis' and Happy Meals and remove small pieces of Lego from the dog's gullet. Soon I will not have the energy to do anything but open the Hendricks and pour it down my throat, so enjoy it.

When I first tried Laurent Gerbaud chocolate, I was seriously underwhelmed, but either my palate has evolved (unlikely, I still mainly eat toast and Cadbury's Caramels), or he's developed new skillz, because these salted pistachio milk chocolate discs I've just bought are really good. They're dirty good, like a salty chocolate covered pretzel, and I can't stop eating them. Perhaps even more importantly, the shop is absolutely stuffed with samples, easy access, generous samples. Incidentally, follow the link (no, it is not one where I get paid €0.0002 - and thank you to all of you who have clicked those, you are very kind) and check out the dude's crazy, shaggy haired chocolatier look. I approve.

2. New Year

I have no - quite literally no - plans for New Year, but before you pity me, let me say it is a deliberate strategy that M and I have come up with. Last New Year we had a brilliant, hilarious, amazing time. We were in Paris and we ate (haggis) and drank (everything) and danced (Single Ladies) and laughed (cackled) like you're supposed to at New Year. I lost my blue fake eyelashes halfway down my face well before by midnight and M split her amazing vintage prom dress and a box of meringues caught fire and there was a strange scene involving two unexpected Japanese guests, and I snored so loudly M had to leave at 5 am, but we didn't care, because it was brilliant. From here, a year later, it seems both very vivid and outlandishly distant, and all I seem to have to show for it, physically, is this photo of M with a bag of chicory:

The rest of the year, frankly, was shite. I could - I might even on these pages tomorrow - conjure up some good bits, there were some very good bits, but the basic tenor of the year - relationship-pocalypse, job-pocalypse, other varied and tedious shit storms - can be summarised succinctly as 'shite'.

We are both keen to avoid this happening again, so we're deliberately returning to the disappointing, anticlimactic, frustrating New Years we're used to. I for one spent about three consecutive New Year's Eves going to bed at 10 with ear plugs; I might well do that again. I'm not confident about my abilities in many domains, but 'managing to have a rubbish evening entirely of my own making' is one I totally excel at. It better work. We're not sure what to do if it doesn't and we're not going to think about that just yet. When the thought crosses my mind, I eat more salted pistachio chocolates.

3. Resolutions

Really? Are we going to do this? Are you? I'm almost tempted by a couple, for the first time in a bloody age. I could get behind the following:

- Have more dinner parties. Like, one, would be a start. I am thirty six years old. I can totally do this. I have a repertoire of at least, oooh five things I can cook which are not baked goods. I own lots of glasses and a modest amount of €3 Cava. I am paralysingly awkward in company. What more could possibly be required? Form an orderly queue for the invite of the decade.

- Form a government. No other bastard can be arsed, so I might as well. Who's with me? I have a "carte de séjour" with a holographic miniature version of my face on it, I pay taxes (I think), I know two lines of La Brabançonne. I must totally be entitled to form a government.

- Find a new animal for the year. Not to own, you understand, just to think about frequently. The capybara is terribly 2009, owls - and I hesitate to say such a thing, because those talons are razor sharp, but someone has to say the unsayable - are a bit 2010, and since my elder son's shocking revelation that he not only eats, but particularly enjoys tender pony flesh, I think horses are out. Your suggestions for the animal of 2011 will be considered in the comments box. Links particularly appreciated, and the winner wins .. uh. A whippet? Or some Laurent Gerbaud chocolates. As you wish.


Antonia said...

I nominate the majestic Highland Cow, or Heeland Coo, as they say where it comes from. Here is one having its windscreen wiped.

Waffle said...

Mmmm. This is an excellent first entrant. Why does it need squeegeeing? Is squeegeeing a verb? My curiosity is fully piqued.

M. said...

I read your post and thought "Why is there a picture of my little sister on your blog?" Turns out we look exactly the same when we are laughing hysterically. This fact worries me.

Highland coo is an excellent choice. I second it.

JJ said...

Polar bears? Cute but a bit sad. Or
rubber ducks
! Do they have to be real animals? Maybe unicorns! There are polar bears in this link, too.

Or dogs - you have seen this post about dogs but I am linking because someone somewhere might not have.

Z said...

I haven't been out of the premises since last Saturday morning (and that was church, so I maintain it doesn't count as I was there as the organist, although I happened to play the clarinet) and don't intend to until Sunday and only to church then, same reason. I'd play Mario Kart if I had children about. As it is, I

Oh, I do sod all, now I think of it, right here. It's pretty damn good, I'm thinking of retiring. It's not as if I get paid. I could just stop the world and get off.

Animal. Do they have mangy feral foxes in Brussells? Otherwise, how about a bittern. Boom boom, you see, which links the two.

Lisa-Marie said...

I also think a Highland Coo is a good one.

Might I suggest the Pygme Hedgehog?

Waffle said...

Stop agreeing with each other. Suggest more animals. I Like unicorn tetherball, but it won't keep me going all year.

diabolo said...

I think the aye aye is a perfect choice to relieve Dr Capybara of his duties every once and a while. It has a special pointing finger, and looks tremendously sinister.

Waffle said...

Ooooooh, see, the aye aye. Now THAT is a strong choice. I can even forgive your failure to PROVIDE ME WITH A PICTURE.

diabolo said...

I couldn't 'do' a link. Apologies. I am too busy trying to find out how to watch Downton Abbey online to see what all the fuss is about. This rather than feebly shuffling to a supermarket so my dinner isn't a Minestrone cup-a-soup.

Anonymous said...

This one!
Whatever it is. I must have it, and so must you.

Waffle said...

You are spared, Diabolo. I have looked at 250 aye ayes in the last ten minutes, and Cup a Soup is not a meal (pannetone, however, is a meal).

Waffle said...

The thing with the eyes? It's the corporeal embodiment of 2010. That creature has Seen Things. Terrible Things.

Sarah said...

I nominate the moose, for three reasons:

1. Great gusto. Like me, it can eat up to 32 kg of food and requires nearly 10,000 calories daily to maintain its body weight.

2. Pluck. In terms of raw numbers, moose attack more people than bears and wolves combined.

3. Victim. Sweden considered using the moose in postal distribution, and suggested developing a moose-mounted cavalry. And here I quote the great Wikipedia: “Such proposals remained unimplemented, mainly because the extensive hunting for moose nearly drove it to extinction.”

Two photos: (Tag, which made me laugh because I’m alone in the office and have regressed to age 15: “Bull moose browses beaver pond near Grand Tetons.”)

Anonymous said...

how 'bout a Tasmanian Devil or a wombat? the wombat may be too similar to Dr. Capybara, however.

the wombats appear to be cudlier -

IsabelleAnne said...

Marmot, anyone?

The Return of the Native ... sort of. said...

... and to think I emailed you a link of capybaras swimming in lemon scented hot water ... and now you say it is too 2009.
If we are staying with coos what about a belted Galloway or the local coos here in Dorset, the Longhorn - very fine beasts and taste wonderful!
Otters? Cute. What about those woolly Hungarian pigs (think they are Hungarian) - I would love one of those.
Merde for 2011.

Fugitive Pieces said...

If we're going Australian - a bilby. Or a quokka. Google Image either of them...actually, we have an entire continent full of ridiculous animals. The emu has a lot of comic potential, and so does the cassowary. That last one's blue and angry:
There's also a bird called a masked booby, but I can't advise as to that one's mood disorders. Also, there's Shane Warne. Sorry about him.

The Return of the Native ... sort of. said...

diabolo said...

I have had some panettone. It was stale, so I toasted it, I came within a whisper to spreading some Jersey butter on it. It is the last day of this godforsaken year and I am pretending that I am virtuous.

Have some youtube aye aye. I like the jaunty musical accompaniment, and there is wonderful demonstration of the finger-jab.

Grit said...

i am about 10 years behind in the creature fashion biz, but i don't mind. i'm afraid i am still won over by mr panda of the cheese commercials. menacing panda it has to be.

Fat Controller said...

Only -2, and only a foot of snow? That's positively tropical!!!!

Fat Controller said...

I think the walrus is a terribly neglected creature. Our Daughter wanted a little plastic model of a walrus to give to her current bf and couldn't find one anywhere. Even the gift shop at the zoo which has comprehensive supplies of every animal imagineable; wild, domesticated, prehistoric and mythical and even had a selection of different meerkats to compare (joke), could not come up with a walrus. Which I think is sad.

Laurel said...

Fat Controller, I have a walrus (a smallish plastic one, that is). It came in a tube of sea creatures from Amazon (smallish plastic ones, that is). If you like I can try to dig up the link later... not sure how desperate you are!

The Capybara seems so different from the owl. One is cruel and vindictive; the other is, while sharp-clawed, essentially loveable. Sorry, Dr. Capybara. Anyway, I think you are looking more for an owl sort of creature than a capybara sort, which really limits us, because owls are so damn cute. Even if they're totally 2010.

Anonymous said...

I have to suggest the squirrel. Red ones for preference, but I like all of them.

Some people say they are like rats, yaddah yaddah, but when in the UK I never tire of their busy ways, running up trees, eating, etc. Something for us all to learn from surely? And who could ignore the wonderfulness of the tail?


Anonymous said...

I want to win the Weepette, damn it!

I submit to you:

1. Them:
They look alert. They live in Japan (efficient). They eat healthy stuff (seeds, fruit). Embodiment of everything 2011 should be really (uhm, or something)

2. Or, the opposite, the Sloth
Lazy and unmotivated, i.e. everything my 2011 will turn out to be...


Jessica said...

Animals: I vote 2011 be the year of the Axolotl. They're certainly interesting to look at, and if 2011 tries to dish out more of the 2010 apocalyptic sort of business, well, they're tough buggers - they can regenerate almost any body part. Evidently they are sold in Japan under the name "Wooper Rooper" as well, which is just silly and slightly awesome.

Failing this, I vote Alba the fluorescent bunny. Genetically part bunny, part jellyfish.

Government: I give up. It seems to me after watching long enough that most of the real bill-changing and so on is actually done when we don't have a government but are trying to. It makes me think that the Belgian idea of government is actually a group of people who are there to administer the status-quo. So if no government means bills are discussed and policies changed, yay for our secret-stealthy ways of governing. Sort of.

Resolutions: oh god. This is something I normally avoid like the plague, but the Belgian mentality has seeped in a bit and I'm going to have to kick my own ass in a few areas, so there will be. Sigh.

Paula said...

Search no more, this is what you need: a mangalitsa!

E.A. Poe could have given its name to one of his horror tales, it's a true european representant and it's a quite versatile animal...

Product Pixie said...

I have two suggestions for Animal of 2011.

1. The Bamboo Bat. Approximately the size of a bumble bee, and lives in a stem of bamboo.

2. The dik-dik. Because LOOK:

Have a very happy new year xxx

bbonthebrink said...

There's rather a fine line in Hairy pigs (excuse the incredibly long link!)

bbonthebrink said...

I'm also a fan of amazing coloured frogs,I mean look at them! How can they possibly be?(another vastly over long link, excuse-moi) BB

Robert Hudson said...

Not tuna. I never said tuna. Colossal Squid? As I've said many times, probably to your face, I wish I'd been in the meeting when they named that one.

Oh, wait, of course: the taimen, a five foot long salmon that hangs around in the mighty river systems of central Eurasia (the Lena is 12 miles wide 1000 miles from the sea) and leaps from the water to catch squirrels.

(I love the Moose facts. I love them.)

Naomi said...

It's been a great year, it's been an awful year, you're happy for once, you're so miserable, you've mastered it, you'll never master it. My, what a carousel you make your life sound!

sabina said...

Somebody beat me to the sloth...Tapir perhaps?

livesbythewoods said...

Giant rabbits.


Also, 2011 is the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, so yeah, it like totally works on a cosmic level and that.

Plus, if it pisses you off, hey presto, supper. For a week.

Margaret said...

A capuchin monkey? You can't go wrong with a monkey in my opinion.

London City Mum said...

Zu Zu pet.

Do not require feeding, cleaning, walking or anything vaguely familiar with typical pet-keeping.

Just need stash of AAA batteries to keep them active.


WrathofDawn said...

May I nominate the Tibetan Fox?

Does not this jolly little fellow look like the type who would attend dinner parties only to distain haughtily to consume anything on offer whilst praising the on trend nibbles at Magda's party just last week? A must at any evening repast, I contend.

As a Canadian, I must caution you against the moose, Great Tetons notwithstanding. Great lumps of things that run into cars at high speeds just for sport, they are. Also, too large to be kept in the garden shed and almost impossible to get down over the basement steps.

The antlers are handy for hanging the washing on on rainy days, though, if you've got a bull moose, so there is that.

Fat Controller said...

What you need is a fainting goat. I'm surprised nobody has suggested it yet.

Don't you just want to go and wave umbrellas at it?

Laylabean said...

I nominate the pygmy goat with the added bonus that my dad has recently acquired one so I can provide all manner of custom pygmy goat pictures upon request.

Here's a preview, if you'll pardon the shameless blog linkage...

Anonymous said...

Fainting goat is a good idea. Or there's the bongo, which wins on baby animal cuteness AND best name going....

Anonymous said...

I nominate the Asian Palm Civet, also known as "Toddy Cat". This mammal from southeast Asia SHITS the most expensive coffee in the world (upwards of $30 a cuppa, according to the link: ).
(Hope I've posted that right. I can FIND stuff on the internet; not so great about figuring out how to "relay" it. Sorry.)

wv: cessad (Is that shutupalready in French?)
Pat (in Belgium)
PS Maybe the Toddy Cat could run Belgium. Two birds with one stone...& all that.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I can't believe you aren't going with the Aye-aye. LOOOOSER. How can any animal beat that? With it's pointy finger and everything.

Waffle said...

Who SAID I'm not going with the Aye Aye? Don't you loser me. Anyway. My plan is to force the children to look at all the animals suggested and choose one. It wil be revenge for all the 'Mario et Luigi frères du temps' I have had to admire recently.

claire said...

i'm late to the animal party, nuts! but, if the competition is still open, i have two words for you: panda cow. you're welcome!

LizardBreath said...

Have you considered pudu? Knee-high South American deer? On the one hand, sickeningly cute, but on the other hand, conveniently portable.

Mara Gaulzetti said...

As someone who started yawning at 8pm on new year's eve, I have also contemplated a new animal obsession. I am an awkward bird watcher (who mostly misidentifies birds/cannot 'find' any at all.).
Having met the hideous creatures in a lab, I have become interested in the oh-so-ugly naked mole rat. It's nickname is sand puppy. Disgustingly adorable, no? Enjoy.

And a video? Yes.

Also, the queen is far fatter and uglier than the rest of them.
I apologize for not making my links neat and tidy. I honestly have no idea how, and am far too lazy to learn new skills involving the interwebs.

Happy New Year!