1. I am once more living in the house of pestilence. Daub a primitive cross on the door and stay far, far, clear. No sooner had Lashes come up to me joyfully in the "Extrême Bowling" in Libramont (a long, space camp related story which I am not yet ready to tell) brandishing something between thumb and forefinger which turns out to be a headlouse he has caught off his own head, but the dog started scratching ominously. I do not know what to delouse next, but it is one of those moments when alopecia feels like a distinct blessing. On top of that, Lashes also has a stomach bug, which has turned his face a pretty grey-green colour that looks very Farrow & Ball and causes him to mope around the house in the manner of a consumptive nineteenth century heroine whilst I clean up after him, and the rabbit has a cold. I do love how living with children and animals brings you back to the Dark Ages. I think, in the manner of Horrible Histories, I should probably just make the sign of the cross in toad's blood on their foreheads and say a quick prayer, modern medicine seems to have very little to offer me now that Nurofen Plus has been withdrawn from circulation. I am trying some poor substitute called "Nurodol", but I do not believe in it and neither does my exhausted, constantly grinding jaw.
2. It is very hard, it turns out, to write about infidelity whilst making your characters sympathetic. I dunno. Do they have to be sympathetic? Maybe I can make them all hateful. Oh lord, it is too late even to do that. That burning smell you may be able to detect is my brain surreptitiously setting light to itself to escape from this conundrum. I wish I had chosen to write a book about crime fighting cavies now. Maybe I can just crowbar some crime fighting cavies into the weakest bits of characterisation? Is cavies the plural of cavy? Or are they cavys? All the important questions, right here.
3. I have read some excellent things on the world wide webs recently, notably:
AL Kennedy, whose writing column for the Guardian is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, wrote this nice essay on insomnia and illness and writing for Granta.
A furious Maurice Sendak in the Guardian calling Salman Rushdie a "flaccid fuckhead". I have no particular opinion on Salman Rushdie, but I think this is a world class insult.
The lovely Miss Jones writing about Strictly Come Dancing. I do not really watch SCD, but I did see Russell Grant and her description is bang on and terribly funny.
4. My second hand Dutch is coming on a treat. I can now have a conversation with myself where I ask myself where I live, then say that I live in Mons, then ask where Mons is, then explain that it is in the province of Hainault. This is fabulously useful. I could not, however, say that I am Emma and I live in Brussels and I do not know what region that is in. I can, however, name a large number of sports in Dutch which is also very useful given my passion for all forms of exercise.
5. In order to compensate for my current blogging inadequacy, I have introduced a new sidebar novelty feature, where I tell you what I am wearing every day. It gives me the illusion of productivity and allows you to feel superior since nearly everything I wear is either broken or dirty or just really, really wrong. We'll all get bored of it pretty soon, but for now, it is a scrap of new daily content. If you have any other sidebar suggestions now that I have given up on my feeble attempts to "monetise", do throw them across. I used to do polls - they were quite fun. Maybe I could bring that back? Ooh, maybe a "would you rather.." poll in the manner of that John Burningham story? Hmm. For further thought.
6. What I would buy if I had some money right now:
- some nice flat boots to escape from the tyranny of the M&S patent flat. There are loads in stock at the dodgy discount shoe shop at the Place du Châtelain, including some excellent Prada Sport ones.
- Some of the beautiful black/nude trim flats I saw in Ferragamo.
- some Armani Luminous Silk foundation because my skin looks like, what? Porridge? Porridge with goji berries in, representing the myriad insect bites and burst veins.
- Two new boring black bottoms and two new boring shapeless tops, plus a new sack dress to stop myself being sad about being fat.
- The book recommended here by Irretrievably Broken, because her recommendations are invariably BANG ON, as she is a woman of exquisite taste.
- Lots of scent: Menthe Fraîche from Heeley, because my sample has run out and I miss it terribly, some Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady scented body cream because it is massively sensual and delicious, some Serge Lutens Bois de Sépia for more serious days.
- Some Elemis SuperSoak, to eliminate the need for Nurofen Plus.
- A syrup sponge. Ok, I can afford that, but I can't actually FIND it here, and if you think I'm going to start arsing around with suet, you are very much mistaken.
Oh, sorry, hang on, this list is infinite. Why not add yours in the comments.