Wednesday, 30 November 2011


See, in my head, I had already told you I needed to have a short sabbatical because I was in a froth with work. And because I had told you in my head, I forgot to actually tell you, on my weblog. I do this kind of thing all the time: my head is a vivid mass of conversations that I am planning to have, or think I have already had. It causes me all sorts of problems in my personal life, as you can well imagine.

So: let me attempt to rectify this, here if nowhere else. I am very busy with stuff that mysteriously does not appear to be making the slightest impact on my bank account. This may or may not be responsible for the downgrading of Belgium's sovereign debt status (though do note, that we are now a mere speculoos's breadth away from having an actual, living breathing government! It only took the total collapse of the Eurozone, well played Belgium). So. I am taking a short leave of absence from the internet (well, this part. Not the part with youtube videos of porcupines eating sweetcorn), until after Christmas. I sort of have in mind to come back with a slightly rejuvenated format, but I expect technology will get the better of me, and it'll just be more of the same ill-tempered whining, animals and occasional outbursts of boring clothes lust. I do miss it, though, so I will definitely be back. It's lonely up there the attic with only the harsh call of the local seagulls, and the odd porcupine video, for company.

In the meantime, I have uploaded some new stuff to my Scribd page, including recent Red and Metropolitan features, and a couple of pieces I have read (yes, 'read'. Or possibly 'muttered'. Definitely not 'performed') at Tall Tales (last week's A Child's Christmas in Belgium and the older Kiss and Ride and Keywords). There should be other, odd bits and pieces over the next month or so and then hopefully I will be back, returned to my usual state of semi-unemployment and desperate for the sweet balm of the internet. I mean, we're all going to be bartering freeze dried rats and rudimentary weapons made from toenail clippings soon, so there's not much point in me trying to earn any money, is there?

On that cheery note, here's what you can all buy me for Christmas.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Handbag decontamination

I have done my annual handbag clear out. It wasn't anything like as disgusting as it usually is, just medium shameful. If it wasn't for the squashed cake, it would have been fine. Visual evidence:


Cinema tickets (Le Monstre de Paris, whimsical animation with Vanessa Paradis and a giant mutant flea, quite tolerable)

Pile of old tissues

Purse with only English money and cards in

About 11 centimes

Orthodonist/usurer's appointment card

British Gas pen despite not being a British Gas customer since 2005

Bratano stickers to be lost and never redeemed

Squashed chocolate "cup cake" (misnomer) - 4 for €1,30 which was an unmissable bargain even though they were a bit dry

School menu for November (highlights: seitan balls and the horrific DRIED FRUIT DAY, November 24th)

Tangerine, approximately three weeks old

Pointless empty plastic ball

Fifty euro gift card from Diane Von Furstenberg, for whom hope plainly springs eternal, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that I never buy her wares since cleverly taking up this new career that pays me approximately -€123 a month after tax and professional charges.

Several leaflets for stables

Lanolips lip ointment in Rhubarb, like a figleaf of normality

Found these in a side pocket: Lego mummy and tuft of some kind of animal fur. Oh, and I've just found some Nurofen 400 in the useless purse of English money, so that's a bonus.

On top of this catalogue of crapness, I went to a meeting today, having carefully got dressed in nearly clean clothes and worn foundation and everything, only to get home and realise my "hair" was full of toothpaste. Properly, an alarmingly large quantity. I can't even work back to any kind of understanding how on earth it happened, I'm just fixated on spending the morning talking to the exquisitely dressed manager of an exquisite modernist hotel, with a head full of Sensodyne. I am 37 in three weeks time, I earn less money than when I graduated and my future employers paid me to go and listen to tort lectures 3 times a week AND I have toothpaste in my hair. Which is not even my hair. What is the moral here, hmm? No, don't even tell me.

"Uccle Verité" shots of the week:

1. Hallowin

We tried to go trick or treating, with limited success (Belgian tv halloween coverage was limited to "how many chrystanthemums have florists sold this year for placing at cemeteries"). The boys wore fitted cot sheets, like so, in yet another triumph of parental can'tbearsedery:

In my defence, I should say that neither of them wanted to dress up at all, but I said that if they wanted to extort confectionery door to door, they had to make some degree of effort, and this was our compromise. In my FURTHER defence, I should say we hosted a Hallow-win party last weekend at which I did all sorts of try-hard stuff, like apple bobbing and pacman ghost shaped biscuits and crap carving of squashes and wrapping small children in budget loo roll. Anyway. I think we can conclude that another year has passed without Belgium quite getting the hang of Hallow-win. There were many non-carved pumpkins simply placed in front of shop doors again, like so (these still make me laugh).

I'm trying to find a narrative that fits, but I just can't. "That looks like one of your shoes, Maman!" said Fingers. I sent him up the chimney shortly afterwards.

3. Autumnal supermarket display

I love my eldest child's expression of hooded distress and bewilderment here faced with Angry Stuffed Fox. He hasn't spent enough time at his grandfather's Yorkshire hangout, which is full of crap stuffed creatures of many varieties.

What's the nastiest thing currently in your handbag? Alternatively make me feel better and tell me about a time when you unwittingly looked a complete arse.