1. Happy easter! Look, here is a gigantic egg with a hand-painted Atomium on it (I wish cows did graze in the shade of the giant burnished balls. I love this vision entirely). I quite wanted to roll it home with me. I have not had very much chocolate today. I managed to eat enough Daim eggs by mid March that the whole idea of chocolate faintly revolts me, not that this stopped me shoving odd leftovers mechanically down my gullet until my head is actually tired of the sound of chewing (that genuinely happened this morning). I need to have my jaw wired, or find myself a tapeworm. Or both. Or perhaps I should learn how to hand sew my own sack dresses (ok, this one is even more unlikely than a tapeworm)? I look bad. Very very very bad.
2. In more cheerful news, my coffee machine has risen again! It only deigned to do so after I brought it to the Nespresso shop, where it was regarded with intense disdain and my "régime de detartrage" (limescale removal regime) subjected to intense and sceptical scrutiny. I lied like un arracheur de dents. "Oh yes, four monthly. That's exactly what I do".
"Bon" said the flight attendant lady with distaste and resignation. "Since you have brought it in - in contravention of our advised procedure - I will test it for you".
Taking protective gloves and several miles of kitchen roll, to protect her from the contagion of my poorly maintained machine, she plugged it in, using only her fingertips, and with an exaggerated expression of revulsion, and tested it. It worked, of course. Bastard. Nespresso 10,000: Emma nil. I reckon it's actually preprogrammed to do that, just to reinforce the fact that you know nothing and George Clooney owns you.
(You are delighted that I keep you up to date with the health of my domestic appliance, yes? This is what you come here for)
3. I went to the Ikea on Good Friday, which I am sure is what the Lord had in mind, so now I have a desk! Well. Let's be clear. I have two large cardboard boxes in the hall that may or may not contain the necessary to construct a desk, and then only if one of the boxes contains a tiny handyman you can reconstitute with half a pint of cold water and a handful of kanelbullar. I do, however, have a garden table and two mismatched Bargain Corner garden chairs, so I can confidently predict that this unseasonally gorgeous weather will end within days and the rest of the summer will be spent going gently mouldy with the heating on. Ikea was quite painless, until:
(a) I had the usual attack of Ikea dysphoria ("This one or this one? What does it matter, they are ALL THE SAME and we are all destined to end up as compressed hardboard dust in a Anømie
occasional table!") round about the picture frames and plastic plants, and had to fight the impulse to put everything back and curl up under a pile of winter weight duvets crying gently; and
(b) I was once again, as always, subjected to the self-scanning spot check, and found to my shame to have failed to scan a €0,79 flannel. It was quite shaming, even though I had spent several hundred € on a range of essential tat and the security guard was pink with embarassment too.
Anyway. I am enjoying my table for the few scant hours the weather holds and at some point in the next five years, perhaps I will build a desk. Who knows? I like the idea of the desk. "Everything" I tell myself "Will be so much more manageable with a desk!". It seems a shame to shatter this optimistic vision against the harsh reality that it will be the same hopeless bag of distraction, procrastination, despair and bird wedcam addiction that will be sitting at it. For as long as it sits in a box in the hall, the hope remains.
4. Easter Sunday has gone off relatively painlessly considering.
Considering what, you ask, in your ones, and possibly twos?
Considering the following:
- I only got to bed at three, following an evening of Czech cinema and accompanying Eastern bloc refreshments. The film didn't last until three, but afterwards we needed more restorative vodka to cope with the absence of hope it engendered, and then I had first to organise the elaborate egg treasure hunt Lashes had stipulated most explicitly by telephone earlier in the week, and second, to spend half an hour catching up with the easter hatchings chez Ted and Sylvia Slechtvalk and Paul and Linda Ooeivaar (Miss Underscore's names). The former actually made me cry a bit. What? It was 3am and I had watched an unremittingly grim tthough actually quite good) film about a Czech secret policeman and had to place and remember a complex series of egg clues over 4 floors through a haze of hard liquor and stupidity. It was very heartening to watch the wobbly peregrine chicks dismember their first small mammal (M is rolling her eyes at this point. Birdcam has caused a rip in the fabric of our brain twinnage).
- I got the popping candy eggs because I thought they both liked them. Turns out Fingers no longer likes them, and with each egg he found, his face fell further. "WHY did the cloches bring me eggs I don't like???" he muttered, mournfully. Parenting fail number 8000000 in an occasional series. I am very glad they are back, anyway. I have missed them viscerally this week, for some reason. They are more glad that I acceded to them buying Rio Angry Birds, but everyone is happy, anyway. Tomorrow we are going on a Family Trip Out to the Scary Bat Caves and I am almost certainly the person who is most excited about it by a considerable margin. Will the capybaras have once again made a bid for freedom and be wandering around the picnic area in furious scorn? Will we take a free range snake home (there is a mocked up ranch part where you can go in and poke snakes who are not even in cages, entirely unsupervised)? Quite possibly.
- Oscar was far faster at finding eggs in the garden than either child, predictably. He has not learnt any type of lesson from the previous popping candy egg unfortunateness, and is still nosing round for forgotten ones.
- I skinned two toes falling upstairs and ran out of swear words into which to channel the pain. Sorry, Jesus.
5. Why is it that after 5 years in Belgium and eighteen years of legal alcohol purchase, I still feel filled with shame when I buy booze in a supermarket? What the hell is that all about? Is it a Quaker thing? It feels more like an 'I am only faking this adulthood business and could be caught out at any time' thing, but it's definitely got non-conformist undertones too. There's some kind of incredibly judgmental Scottish presbyterian living in my brain, and he/she has an opinion on EVERY kind of booze I might buy. The Presbyterian in my head only cares about what I am buying. Everyone else can buy any variety of booze they like with impunity.
This is my hierarchy of my supermarket booze shame, from least to most (please tell me if you experience this, and where yours differs from mine. Understand that I will, and do, buy all of these. It is just the degree of mortification that varies):
- Wine (acceptable face of alcohol exemption, also used in cooking)
- Premium spirits (might be a gift?)
- Budget gin, rum (might be a party, but might also be low rent solo boozing)
- - Fizzy wine, but not champagne (possibly a gift, but whiff of the hen party/Per Una/relentlessly organised fun )
- Champagne (ostentatious, showing off)
- Budget vodka (far more likely to denote low rent solo boozing than a party)
- Wine box (dypso with pretentions)
- Pre-mixed cocktails (so naff, but so convenient)
- And this mystifies me, especially living in a place where it is not really considered alcohol at all, but as a vital staple, BEER. I am inexplicably mortified when I have to buy beer, and I cannot get to the bottom of why. What unjustifiable prejudices about beer is my brain unconsciously holding? I do not know, and I fear I cannot be truly happy in Belgium until I work it out.
Great drama, you see, here, on this bank holiday weekend. I hope yours has been peaceful and full of polyphenols.