Tuesday, 28 June 2011


I started writing this on Sunday and got distracted by a speck of dust. Or by watching stupid stupid twattery nonsense Engrenages then hating myself for doing so. Or by Lashes trying to read me "the funny bits" from his book (all of it). Or possibly by a vicious fight about a Beyblade leading us to land up once more in the headmaster's office. Fuck knows, but suddenly it's Tuesday.

Well. It's Sunday evening and what have we achieved this weekend? I am, as you know, relentlessly performance focussed. I am all about the quick wins, the low hanging fruits, the ceaseless pursuit of weekend excellence, every waking minute crammed with saving kittens from trees, tousle-haired children in Bonpoint outfits playing Bach partitas for fun and a house full of people with good teeth laughing over an artlessly perfect brunch. Maybe squeezing in a business-critical conference call here and there, without upsetting my work life balance, of course.

Here are my achievements:

1. Put some petrol in a car

2. Kept children alive for another 48 hours (albeit with some fairly Jacobean tragedy style threats, they have been, hmm. Lively. Vic and I decided yesterday that salt mines were due a rebranding as a costly, but excellent, form of holiday child care, run by us. Vic came up with the name "Summer Sodium Adventure!" I think it's a winner).

3. Wore jeans instead of the physiotherapist trousers one day, but they hurt my waist. Even though I still have no sensation in my stomach, some 4 years after surgery on it. Is this normal? Who knows. Apart from the odd hot water bottle burn, it hasn't proved life-altering. I think I am wandering off topic here.

A successful weekend, then. Oh, hang on. I have just remembered I went to the only remaining manned petrol station in Brussels, so SOMEONE ELSE put petrol in the car. We might have to cross that off the list.

I could tell you about all the ridiculous things that have made me cry this weekend (Jessie J at Glastonbury, an advert - one of those excellent local cinema ones that are comprised of some mid-80s still photography over a shonky voiceover - for the Copenhagen Tavern, a pile of privet), but having spent an unedifying hour trawling through my archives looking for something yesterday, I was struck by the unleavened gloom of most of the last year. Holy crap, it was depressing reading. Maybe it's especially gloomy if you were also living through it? I can only hope so, because otherwise you must all be masochists or really fond of whippets. So .. well. Thanks for hanging around, masochists and weepettephiles, but I think the time has come for a phase of total - fabricated if necessary - levity. I will not dwell on any more inappropriate crying, or skirt uneasily around the complicated and intermittently painful business of, you know, life. Screw the crying, I am playing this weblog for cheap laughs for the foreseeable future.

There was, for instance, another close encounter with The Most Belgian Shopping Ever, recently:

This one beats the last one by 5 cans. Why the five individual cans? What precise calculation leads the mystery shopper to this point? And what is in the small, membrane covered sausage shaped meat derivatives that are his only other purchase? No-one knows.

There was also a cheering discussion of the slug-pocalypse with M.

E: I am too tired for this shit.

M: Humanity should be wiped out. Just, have done with us. We are pointless.

E: Leave the earth to the slugs.

M: Yes. Slugs. Our giant slug overlords.

E: Sllurrrp. Sllllurp. All over the major monuments of world civilisation. A giant one on the Eiffel Tower waving its antennae menacingly. The Slugosseum. The Slugtomium.

M: One on Big Ben. One living IN Notre Dame. It would drink water straight out of the Seine and wear the cathedral as its shell.

E: La Limace de Notre Dame.

M: The survivors would have to make it giant lettuce offerings.

E: Would we survive?

M: Hmm. We are quite sluglike, I think we have a good chance.

I do miss M, I wish we were in the same timezone. Our shared brain is suffering acutely from one lobe not being able to whine constantly at the other. I hope you read her blog, it is excellent.

Also on an invertebrate theme (slug, not M) my dearest friend B who is deserting me, the bastard, sent me this funny-slash-entirely-horrifying-slash-nauseating Youtube gift this morning under the tagline SNAIL DEATHMATCH!

"Snailworm is awesome and terrifying", he added, in the manner of someone giving it an Amazon review "The BEST way to start the day". He also gave me the gift of the phrase "sweet fucking Christ on a tiny crutch". He has a very elegant turn of phrase.

Finally, things I am looking forward to:

- Festival stupidity next Sunday

- Two trips to London and one to Paris this month, lock up your patisserie.

- Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir which sounds like a corker. If it's possible to read something through your fingers whilst wincing in discomfort, I imagine that is what I will be doing.

- Reading my new Fred Vargas, L'Armée Furieuse. Possibly once the children have been despatched to Camp Sudoku (their grandparents) for THREE WEEKS on Thursday. I will miss them, but at least I will do my VAT return and maybe find out how to repair chipped bath enamel. And read my book. I love Fred Vargas, she is my idol and my queen. I sort of want to be her. She studies plague and writes intricate, clever, funny, strange detective stories. I study face creams and competition law and write whiny, solipsistic blog posts. Very similar.

Now I must prepare for gulag prize-giving by scouring the house for horse tranquilisers. It's going to be a long afternoon.


Adrian said...

I just recently found out that the dutch word for slug "naaktslak" literally means "naked snail". Isn't that neat?

karen said...

Oh my! I will never make fun of my children for being afraid of snails again! I can't remember what else you wrote about - sorry. Bloody hell - killer snails!

Dara said...

My 3 1/2 year old son is facinated with all things snail & sluglike. I let him watch the clip and he loved it! It scared the bezeezus out of me.

Off to watch it again!

Nimble said...

Oh Fred Vargas is so cool! Even in translation (I am not fluent (or cool) enough for the original).

Maybe your blog needs homework. Report back on Belgian artisanal cheeses.

WrathofDawn said...

Because "Sllurrrp. Sllllurp." made me laugh. THAT'S why I read your blog.

I are not watch the snailworm blog, tiny holy crutch notwithstanding. Ugh. And also, ick.

WrathofDawn said...

dare. dare not. sheesh.

Waffle said...

WoD. I cannot remotely recommend you watch it unless you are filled with bloodlust. Which I am today.

Adrian - Naatslak. It sounds rude.

Dara - I was sort of dreading the snail slowly chewing bits off the worm. The spaghetti style aspiration was far more enjoyable.

Nimble - Yes! I was thinking I might also go to a shit museum, like the tram museum. It definitely needs homework. Continue suggesting.

Sarah said...

I worry that you're not a real person, just a brilliant illusion of the internet, provided for my amusement. Real or not, thank you.

P.S. The word verification word for this comment is "knesteg," which we all know is what you're supposed to save so you can retire in style.

Johnners said...

I am not clever enough to give all the reasons why I read this blog, the main one is you're always very touchingly funny, despite everything that goes on. Just sayin.

WV = flosy

Dara said...

Ditto what WoD, Sarah & Johnners said about reading your blog.

I think you are wonderful.

Thank you for writing.

Pat (in Belgium) said...

Snails are simply slugs with pretty shells; they all decimate the garden.
Slug "slime" is almost impossible to remove once it gets on your hands (as a result of manually removing slugs & shipping them to the city's central compost "factory", about the only way to get rid of them that doesn't involve salt or worse in the garden).
Big bite in the butt: some former model or second rate TV soap actress SELLING skin "cream" made from, yes, slug slime. For a LOT of money. (Hit that infomercial while channel surfing.) (Aversion to slime trumped any avarice. Truth be told: I'm too lazy & it's too damn hot.)
Onward & upward, Waffle!

Ann said...

That snail video was fucking terrifying, phallic and slimy. And made me laugh like a 5 year old.

Some excerpts from Rachel Cusk's memoir in this Guardian Review piece from Saturday (last third) http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/24/feminism-21st-century-zoe-williams?INTCMP=SRCH I do love her writing but fucking hell that quote about the novelist needing a chip of ice in the heart most assuredly appropriate here.

Dearest Waffle, you are a fucking legend. Killer snails, drudgery and making me guffaw after long dull day at the desk job and getting 2 sleep refusing mini people to sleep and evil Co-operative old lady refusing to sell me wine with no ID (I am 30! 30! Look at the wrinkles). You are bloody brilliant. Have a gin on me.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes - I had a feeling that was one of ours! I know about the carnivorous snails of NZ, but had't seen how they pounce upon the hapless worm!
This one is in a conservation facility somewhere because despite it's fearsome manner, it's a rare and threatened species with habitat under threat from coalmining or such.
We have such interesting wildlife - did you know that the scary giant insects in Peter Jackson's "King Kong" are just the Wellington weta we have in our garden blown up in size a bit? They are actually only the length of your hand (including antennae), not human sized!

So glad you're back!
Heather in NZ

frau antje said...

Oh my god, I'm a masochist. That explains a lot.

Peter said...

Two summers ago it rained for all of June and most of July and we had slugs the size of schnausers pillaging our garden for all the greens which would otherwise have been exuberantly healthy, unlike the tomatoes and peppers and squash which went all Jonestown on us round about Bastille day. I should just have repurposed the garden as a slug ranch and busied myself working on a PR campaign to convince people that they're a gourmet delicacy. "Land shrimp" has a nice ring to it.

Patience_Crabstick said...

"Weekend excellence"--I love that! One reason I don't mind working weekends is because I am spared exposure to hordes of wholesome families aggressively "weekending" all over town. You know, riding their matching bicycles to the farmer's market to buy organic fruits, and then participating in organized children's sporting events, followed by strolling downtown just to be seen and to give disapproving glares to anyone not wearing Toms shoes, or not equipped with a baby stroller that didn't cost more than a Mercedes. Sunday is spent "relaxing" which means climbing mountains in 90 degree heat and 10,000 people trying to cram into a popular brunch restaurant that is smaller than my living room.