Thursday, 14 April 2011


I am back, and not just because M has repeatedly threatened to kick me. Not blogging made me morose, so here I am. After all, it's not like I have much to do with my free time other than eat Daim eggs, cry, watch Mad Men, pick at my exceptionally dry lips, spill stuff down my trousers, click dully on Cute Roulette, sweep the floor and snarl at the dog, so why not share a little of this infectious good mood with you all? Little has changed, I am still uninspired and writing like I am wading through treacle, but I will try to at least guarantee there will be no mention of ornithological events today. This is my promise to you (stick with me, it gets slightly better further down the page, I promise. Yes, I suppose that is also my promise to you, aren't you lucky)!

Firstly I went away for the weekend. Whilst I was away, I made the great mistake of getting on a bicycle. Some people are just not made for bicycles. I fell off into a hedge within twelve seconds of getting on, which may be a new personal best, at least since puberty. It takes a certain quality of dyspraxia to fail your cycling proficiency test (a test so easy it only seems to involve going in a straight line and reading a letter), and I am proud to say I possess it. Apart from that, the sun shone, and when I was not engaged in a little light swan-baiting*, I sat and looked at this rather pleasant view, whilst wondering what to eat next:

It was 28°. I got heat rash. It was lovely (not the heat rash, and not the bicycling injury, but all the rest).

I was also transfixed by the choice of red and white Bordeaux on the breakfast buffet. All hotels should offer wine for breakfast. Hell, I should offer wine for breakfast. I feel sure it would help.

In other news:


B made me laugh (he makes me laugh repeatedly) with this, this morning:

"I saw a terribly depressing, bleak japanese opera last night. Sample dialogue:

HE: " fan........"

SHE: "fan?"

HE: ""

ME: (leaping from box seat and strangling singers, shrieking) "NEITHER OF YOU IS HOLDING A GODDAMN FAN AND THERE'S NO MELODY."

Fin. "


This, from M and I, speculating at the possibility of a change of identity. Only on rereading our conversation, do I see that, actually, SHE came up with the idea, then made out that it was my fault. She is devious.

E: So, I have been thinking about running away to become a goatherd. Changing my identity, faking my own death, that kind of thing.

M: Oh man, I love that fantasy. Disappearing into the ether. You could make fromage de chèvre? No! Better! You could BE a goat.

E: Mêêêêêêêêê. So, you're in?

M: Eh?

E: We run away and become goats? 'Cos, you know, this human thing is overrated.

M: Yeah, sure. We can live off, errrr... the clothes people dry in their gardens?

E: Dude, we can live off ANYTHING. WE ARE GOATS. We start by eating our passports and take it from there.

M: YES! GOATS. Avec une barbichette!




(Ed's note: this is a stupid French song/game. You hold onto each other's chins and sing this. Then try and make the other person laugh, whilst still holding their chin. If they laugh, you can hit them (the 'tapette', see later). And you wonder why French comedy is rubbish?)



M: Wait. Hang on. I'm getting déjà vu. We've discussed this before, haven't we?

E: AURA UNE TAPETTEUUUUUH. I don't know. It's entirely possible.

M: *stern look*

*stern unflinching look*

E: What? It's my fault we've talked about becoming goats before? How do you work that out?

M: You so deserve a tapette.

The dog's bollocks

I do not know whether it is his age, or the weather, or just the universe fucking with me, but Weepette has just discovered sex. Yesterday morning he spent an embarrassing half an hour trying, ineptly, to fuck another dog called Oscar (a golden retriever so stupid, it seemed to be having trouble remembering how to breathe. They were a good match, actually), which was confusing on many levels. It has had a go at both children's legs recently, in a fit of confusion, and Lashes's large plush dog has had to be removed to his bedroom for safekeeping after repeated sexual assaults. This cannot continue, it is embarrassing. I do not want to see these kinds of public display from an animal I am nominally in charge of. The last time I discussed castration with the vet, he seemed keen for Oscar to keep his testicles, the dirty hippy. I will be returning to discuss it again as a matter of urgency, because this town is not big enough for two "Speedy Sexeur"s, as my children call the priapic and eternally optimistic Jack Russell in the parc du caca.


For an assignment which has taken my sanity and stamped it into a million tiny pieces, I have found myself occasionally dipping into European folklore this week. It is a dark, dark business, in which our pathetic British Morris Dancing, cheese rolling, antics pale into insignificance. I have, I know, frequently mentioned the Ypres cat throwing festival on these pages (it's on next year! Who's in? Field trip! Look, you can pretend to drown someone in a cauldron and everything!), but I have had reason to explore these other delights:

The "Doudou de Mons": Men between 19 and 45 who have lived in Mons for at least 15 years and have 4 sponsors are allowed to dress up as various things, including enormous bottomed horses called Chin-Chins. They carry a large papier-mâché crocodile (they say it is a dragon but they are patently lying) around and the crowd tries to grab its tail in the manner of small children on a French fairground ride, trying to grab the pompom. It has Unesco world heritage status, which should make us tremble for the fate of our culture and for our children, surely.

Festalavn Danish carnival, largely concerned with flogging. Wikipedia:

"A similar custom is mentioned in the book "Frauenzimmerlexicon", published in 1715 in Leipzig (Germany), which describes how bachelors and virgins "bid each other goodmorning" by flogging each other and spreading ashes on each other. This custom is also known in Denmark.
Earlier, it was mainly the young women and the infertile who were flogged. It was also common that a young man would carry his "fastelavnsris" and (of course gently) strike at young women he met on the street. Later it became the children's special right to flog their parents on this day. In any case, the reward given for the flogging would be a fastelavnsbolle".

I like "of course, gently". Of course.

A Fastelavnsbolle is a special flogging cake (this is a lie, it is just a lent cake, but that is not amusing enough). Lovely.

The Gilles de Binche. I think I have mentioned this before too (I have no original thoughts left), but I have found this hideous video to go with (I like the first comment that the music is "horrible, almost offensive". Yes, indeed):

(Do not, whatever you do, watch the whole film, it will make you ill)

Note they are all carrying ominous bunches of twigs. What is it with Northern Europe and carnival flogging? Is this really our idea of an unbridled good time, Northern Europe? Spanking each other with sticks with silly names? I despair. I want to go to Spain where they are all busy burying sardines. But then, in Spain, I bet they don't have Pacman pizzas drinking cheap beer.

Yeah. Suck on THAT, Spain.

(*Swans are not actual birds, so I am not breaking my promise. They are enormous, mythical creatures, part pitbull, part Komodo dragon, part giant sea-serpent. The feathers are just a disguise. No need to call the chicken police).


soleils said...

Well... it was worth the wait, Waffle. I watched about 30 seconds of the Gilles monstrosity and feel very ill already. So thoroughly sinister. I actually really dislike most folkloric festivals, I now realise, apart from some Spanish ones, mainly those involving ripe tomatoes or gargantuan paëllas. Yeah, so basically I like to eat.
There's a really stupid celebration (OK, it's not folklore exactly, but hey... I need to vent)coming up in Old Blighty involving two (I am sure perfectly nice, but that's beside the point) young people getting married. Inexplicably, millions of powerless "subjects" and (even more inexplicably) I are paying for this special occasion. WTF? A lot of otherwise fairly sane people are actually very excited . But not Seinfeld, apparently. I love him.
Oscar's sexual awakening made me laugh and convinced me even more I will never give in to my boys' plea to get a dog.
Your plan to elope with M and live it up as goats is most appealing - I feel like Monsieur Seguin's very own chèvre at the moment, gazing longingly at the mountains and freedom in the distance whilst tied to a farmyward post...
Thank you for this wonderful post which brightened up my day. (thanks to your friend B too, the opera dialogue is a classic)

The Widow of Woluwe St Pierre said...

We have so much in common. Belgium. Acomb. Capybyras. Gloom. Only difference is I don't have the gift of turning my gloom into wonderfully amusing anecdotes to gladden the hearts of all who read them.
Glad you're back

Mya said...

Hooray, you have returned!If you do chop Oscar's nuts off, don't throw them away - you never know when they might come in useful.
Don't the Spanish do a weird poo eating folkloric thing? At Christmas time, Uncle Caca...or Papa Caca...or am I imagining it?

cruella said...

Well, yes. Finnish sauna includes flogging (gently, of course) with freshly cut birch saplings. V. good for the circulation.

Flora Fauna Dinner said...

I love the chicken police! I wonder if our hens could offer a similar service when my boys are fighting?

Johnners said...

Well that was wonderful and cheered me up no end - thank you!

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

I hate those Gille de Binche - really creepy.
Here in deepest Dorset we do folkloique quite well - in the village there is a duck race in the stream that runs through the village on Easter Day - I suppose real ducks are not allowed to partake. But the finishing line is at the pub so this might be a good thing.
Throughout the summer many villages have worm charming competitions ...
And soon there is the famous Dorset Knob throwing competition - if you are really interested you can google it. If you do, you have time to waste.
Eat loads of Easter Eggs.

Nordic Nibbler said...

Hey, it’s not just the Danes that are into a bit of beating! The Norwegians are in on the act too. Birch twigs are generally the preferred weapon of choice. It was also part of the Fastelavn tradition to eat nine meals in each corner of the house. Of course, as you point out, nowadays the tradition mainly involves consuming lots of these.

Good to have you back.

Emma said...

You may find that asking for a bolle is quite unsafe outside of a Danish baker's... it can also mean something that Oscar is currently interested in!!

Provincial Lady said...

I can go one better than breakfast Bordeaux - when I go up to Glasgow the hotel I stay in invariably has a bottle of vodka nestled into the ice of the fresh stuff buffet (no idea what fresh stuff as I always gloss over it and head straight for the full cooked black pudding Scottish breakfast) along with a jug of Bloody Mary mixer. Also, never have I been more glad our greyhound was fixed when we got him...

Lisa-Marie said...

People in Europe have weird dances. weird, satanic dances. We were in France (in a rural village) for Saint Sebastian. It was all very strange. and they have a flashing light dolphin instead of a santa.

Of course, I say that like I don't come from the place that invented Higland dancing.

I think if he is trying to hump everything, and you can't use him to breed (quite profitable, you know) then the snip it must be! It's just not civilised, humping things. Though i suppose it's not very civilised neutering an animal either...

Anonymous said...

The dogs bollocks must be removed asap, cannot believe your bastard hippy vet hasn't whipped them off before now. Piddling at home, humping all and sundry and jail breaking are only some of the antisocial issues caused by keeping them.

We brought Ralph's nuts home and stuck them on the fridge with the poetry magnets. No wonder I'm not married anymore..

Margaret said...

Sweet fancy Moses, that "carnivale" is hideous--it's like Rio's Carnivale if all the samba school musicians had had simultaneous strokes. Christ. I think 4 minutes of watching that should equal 40 days of Lent. Mother of God.

I had other comments about the rest of your marvelous post, but they have all gone straight out of my head after watching that travesty of "celebration." Oh, wait--my cat sometimes likes to hump new, expensive leather shoes. It's deeply disturbing to watch. And she's fixed. Though even if she weren't, I don't think cats like to or are physically capable of fucking cows, so I'm not sure why the leather-shoe sexin'.

Anonymous said...

Haha Belgium is the greatest - where else do you get a free knife with a copious amount of alcohol! Great post.

callapipper said...

Lovely to have you blogging again.
Yes, as Mya says. El Caganer is the Spanish Christmas shitting man. He can be found gracing their nativity scenes, squatting, pants down, laying a turd in the background, He wears a dinky little hat. We have a particularly graphic one that we trot out each year - well, to be honest he stays out all year round but we make him more conspicuous at Christmas time. They also have the Christmas log, who smokes a pipe.

Alison Cross said...

What - no owlcam? I was once bitten by a swan. They are aggressive fuckers, so I'm with you on that pitbull/Komodo dragon thing.

Lovely to have you back in the blogosphere!

And you and M should SO do the goat thing :-D

Ali x

Jessica said...

You make me laugh out loud, but you do seem to be going stir-crazy... maybe try lying face-up in the back-yard for starters?

Waffle said...

I dunno Jessica, I think I might just be going crazy. NEVERMIND. Belgium is definitely the right place to do it.

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