Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Now with 100% the same old toss

You will note that nothing has remotely changed here: not the layout, not the content. It's almost as if - can it be? - I have done ABSOLUTELY FUCK ALL in the three months I have been absent. Well. I have and I haven't. I have done nothing productive or quality enhancing, this is correct, but I have done lots of agonising, it has been tremendously fun*. (*guess what, it hasn't).

First I was genuinely quite busy, then I was blocked and uninspired, and during the whole time I was thinking circular thoughts about whether there was any point in the blog, whether personal blogging was in fact, dead, whether I hadn't said everything I could interestingly say and that kind of thing. I also developed some kind of low-level internet phobia: the exposure! The permanence! The potential for people to tell you what a twat you are! How had I even survived this far?

The other side of the argument that trotted around my head was that in any event, all the hideously embarassing things I had put here over the last three years were still floating around the internet in perpetuity making me unemployable, so I might as well keep going, since god knows what else I could do. "There are pictures of the inside of your nostrils on the internet" M reminded me at one point, shortly before uploading a picture of a buttock encompassing hole in my tights to Facegoop (we have revived that too! Our cranky, furious, lipstick fondling corner of the internet is BACK). The other - and more persuasive - argument was that I missed you and your funny, dark, kind, erm, weirdness and I missed writing poorly punctuated, possibly litigious, self-indulgent posts about whatever the fuck I like.

(I do not expect you to give a flying fuck about this, it is merely by way of explanation of the prolonged absence and lack of shiny, dancing, blog makeover action).

Anyway. Here I am, back, with only my poor personal grooming, irascible parenting and still-stupid pets to offer you, same as usual. I have half a mind to also do some comparative reviewing of British and French TV, but it will probably come to naught.

Highlights of the last 3 months:


1. We went skiing. The children mocked my slowness, my trousers kept popping open since I am far fatter than the last time I skied, I was subjected to constant electric shocks (I still can't touch a door knob without pulling my sleeve over my hand for protection) and on the last day, we got snowed into a ski resort full of Dutch giants. The prospect of cannibalism preoccupied us greatly. We lurked around the breakfast buffet, casting anxious glances at our dairy-loving overlords.

"They're going to eat us, aren't they?"

"Wellll. It looks bad. But don't you think there's a good argument to be made that we're a bit .. scrawny? I mean, you'd have to eat three of us to make up one of them"

"They're way stronger than us though. They'll just overpower us and gnaw our limbs off".

"But we could eat for a week on one of their forearms!"

"Why did I ever agree to this?"

There were no normal television channels in our chalet, so I now know a great deal about several esoteric documentary topics including: social engineering in post-Katrina New Orleans, the death of Pierre Beregovoy and capucin monkeys. Go on, ask me a question. (Don't).


2. It was my 37th birthday. The children made me a CAKE, which was a thrilling first and Prog Rock bought me a challenging Estonian CD and I bought myself some new boots, and we went to Rabbit Island for the now traditional birthday chips and salted caramel sundae (not at the same time) and met Gertrude, the duck with learning difficulties who is in love with the Rabbit Island boatman.


Dear lord, but 37 is making me twitchy. I have a new, gnawing consciousness of how incredibly unimpressive my achievements are. 'What the fuck have you been doing for the last few years?' I ask myself, unhelpfully, late at night, like a tactless but well-meaning relative at a funeral. I don't know. Treading water? Floundering? On Friday night I saw some ex-colleagues and had to explain what I was doing at the moment: what came out of my mouth just sounded ... lame. "I've written some .. bits and pieces. No, nothing you would have noticed".

This has, at least, resulted in some interesting conversations about failure. M doesn't believe in failure, I discovered. "It is not failure you fear" she told me "It is the judgment of others".

"Well, yes, I suppose you are right. But why is that any better?"

"You try something. It does not work. So you try again. Or you try something else". She was a bit like Yoda. Yoda with giant spiders in her hair (have you seen M's new blog, Fat Ponies?)

I am working on this (and have started working on a new writing project, leaving my shitty novel to rot in a drawer until I can face it again), but it does not come naturally. Why be optimistic when you can enjoy a full three months of sterile self-flagellating? I have been working with this gentleman again recently and he had all manner of problems and knock-backs and disappointments before finally getting five star reviews in the broadsheets, so I have been trying to take inspiration from that. Having some core of self-belief seems to be important. I am trying to locate one.

Sorry, this is preoccupying me, but it is fantastically boring and I really need to shut up about my luxury problems. No one gives a shit, just send me down a Nigerian sawmill already. Next!


3. The alarming discovery that neither of my children could remember the word "thirteen". Their foreignness continues unchecked.

"I want you to be able to speak to me properly, dammit!" I flounce at them.

"Ca va maman, on va mettre Kid Detectives, ne t'inquiète pas" they reassure me, unreassuringly. Kid Detectives is on one of those cheap Freeview digital channels made out of Dairylea triangles and string. It is an Australian import where minor "crimes" are investigated by a crack team of child forensic technicians and deductions of guilt are made on the kind of shonky premise that even West Midlands Serious Crime Squad might baulk at.

"Sherina has soil on her shoe ... so SHE must be the one who dug up Mrs Smith's flowerbeds!"

The whole thing is unutterably sordid, but at least contains dialogue. Usually when the children appease me by watching English TV, I find they are watching a cartoon about a lizard that is entirely silent. Also, I quite like Lashes's comments (in French, you can't have everything), which are usually along the lines of "if this was a real crime that would be blood/brains/blood again".


4. Christmas in 140 characters: 2 vegetarians, 1 extra dog, 80000 cups of tea, a red plastic puzzle cube triumph, 2 sister credit card débâcles, gin, gin, rillettes, gin.


5. And now, here we are in January. My teeth are falling out and I smell of Old El Paso Fajita sauce. All my clothes have been eaten by the mothbastards, and I have put my unkempt nails through several relatively nice pairs of tights. It has not stopped raining for approximately three weeks, Satan the rabbit has dug up and eaten all my bulbs, and stands at the back window pawing furiously for more nourishment, the dog has descended to a new plane of psychological disturbance and developed an obsession with slippers, which he collects furtively from the basket in the hall and then hides under his scrawny body. The children treat me with a sort of amused condescension most of the time and have homework I no longer understand. I spent yesterday writing about inflated pig bladders. ALL IS WELL, my friends, and I will try and write here from time to time.

How are you?

44 comments:

soleils said...

Well, this is the most welcome return ever... I can confirm that the interwebs are not the same without you, and by "are not the same", I mean "are infinitely inferior".
Enough of the self-doubt. You are life-enhancing. No, I am not being grandiose, I mean it.

MsCaroline said...

I am torn with wanting to continue to be amused and hoping things will somehow pick up for you here in the New Year.
Unfortunately, leaning towards being amused, but Happy New Year anyway. Glad you're back!

The Reluctant Launderer said...

I am DELIGHTED you are back. And you are a literary star in our Guardian-reading house. So there.

Z said...

I've had to darn all my cashmere. Sodding bloody moths leave everything else alone. Otherwise, all well.

Eireann said...

pneumonia, job-loss, impending (surprise!) end of visa/right to remain, family turmoil. that's 2012 so far. but glad to see you are back. :)

Anonymous said...

Delurking to say Welcome Back!

Rachel said...

A year since job loss and still have derelict hotel to renovate, sister in danger of having her 2-yr old snatched and FGMd, got sobbingly drunk on gin shortly before coming down with severe tonsillitis – don't laugh, it hurts A LOT when you are a grown-up – quail have stopped laying (FM(middle class)L) and although the heating was on briefly over Christmas while everyone was here and is now OFF again, so I sit plaintively in the office looking like a NY bag lady, minus shopping trolley, while I netarse and pretend I'm doing something that'll actually earn money.

THANK FUCK YOU ARE BACK!!!!!

Accidental Londoner said...

Hurrah! You're back! My bored moments in the office will now be filled with ill-disguised spluttering and giggles once more.

Waffle said...

Rachel - So many images there, but can I say how much I love the verb "netarse". I am sorry about your tonsils. And the cold.

You are all so lovely. I am hunched in my attic feeling weepy.

Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

Hurrah for the Waffle! I can only offer my sincere apologies for exporting crap Australian children's detective programs. (Is it possible it was made just for export to European ski chalets? I've never heard of it.)

Please write your bloody novel because I want to read it and it will be a bestseller and THEN I can claim 50 cents in commission from my bastard Amazon shop. xxx

Flora Fauna Dinner said...

Oh god, the joy to see you here again!

fabhat said...

right we've got you back - now we just need that Antonia/whoopee blg back and we're sorted for displacement activity/work avoidance* blogs again...

*my work avoidance - not yours

Veronica Wald said...

How am I? Well, for one, very glad to see you blogging again. May you be cheered in the knowledge that you were MISSED!

K A R said...

So pleased you are back.

Anonymous said...

I am another lurker who has been forced to come out of the net shadows to say 'huzzah' you are back! But I am concerned that the idea of nameless, faceless readers watching your every move will tip you over the edge into silence again...so I will shut up now.

Oh, and I agree with fabhat, where has Whoopee gone?

MargotLeadbetter said...

I am delighted to have you back too, and have also noticed your Guardian family section takeover bid. It is 'real writing', so well done and be proud of yourself.

Anonymous said...

I was just composing a grownup message of support and understanding for your absence, time to let you go if that's what you want yada yada (instead of my instinctive stampy response of a desperate come-back-here-at-once-do-you-hear-you-have-to-you-have-to), when I saw your new post.

This - and the news that facegoop is resurrected - has genuinely made my day. I am SO bloody happy, I'm grinning inanely.

WT Softie

cruella said...

Great to have you back, gotta have some stick to measure myself against, anxiety level, sloppiness etc.

Back straight, eyes front!

g. said...

Oh god I missed you so much and am so glad you're back. I hate to be one of those needy blog readers (I am totally one of those needy blog readers) but reading you again made me so happy.

Pat (in Belgium) said...

Welcome back!

According to some Mayan carvers, 2012 is meant to be one helluva year.

Party on!

WV (appropriately) "caper"

momosyllabic said...

Hey, Eireann! I had pneumonia too.
Jesus H. next year I want a functioning immune system for Xtide.

Waffle: welcome back.
Can we play word games now? Can you set one up for us?

Anonymous said...

So EXTRA-ordinarily pleased you are back!

magpie said...

I am both happy and releived that you are back. Stalking you on twitter wasn't really doing it for me.
This is much better.
Bastard moths. I had to dry clean and/or freeze all my clothes AND destroy the carpet to get rid of them. The carpet bit may have been unnecessary - think they made me a bit manic.

FPS said...

Oh Waffle, I missed you, welcome back. I'm getting over a massive attack of the mentals, all it took was adopting two ex battery hens. They are bloody marvellous, I'm out in the air digging and hammering and building every day after work and at weekends and I spend the rest of the time baking with the fresh eggs. If only I'd done it last year. So good to have you back, really.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you are back ... I was waiting and hoping for your return. Whatever else you do, you write brilliantly and have an amazing and unique outlook on life - please keep on with it!

Annie said...

I am so pleased to see you. I have developed a horrible, horrible addiction to Jilly Cooper, for which I blame you. You, or someone linked from your site, which is clearly your fault. I would like a new author of cheerful fluff whose works are only marginally available on my continent now please. any suggestions?

Dara said...

I missed you. I enjoy reading your "poorly punctuated, possibly litigious, self-indulgent posts about whatever the fuck I like".
May 2012 be your year to shine!

Nimble said...

Oh my god Satan the rabbit is still in your back garden. Knowing that perks me right up. I am having to hurl myself out of the house in the mornings to go work lately. I am hoping it gets easier in the spring.

Em said...

So happy you're back! You've been missed xx

Johnners said...

Oh, I'm so glad you're back! That's it really - just very glad. J x

Anonymous said...

Yay for the return of belgian waffle! Made my day! :)
Anon.one

Mirare said...

Thank you for returning -- missed you, and am delighted that you might be providing owl commentary again soon.

karen said...

Very glad you're back :) And pleased to see that Australian television is having an impact in your household!

Betty M said...

Splendid to have you back on the blog my dear. You've been missed.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I'm so glad you're back.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I'm so glad to see you :-)

Lauren said...

Thank God you're back.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for coming back, really missed the blog and kept popping back to see if you would ever come back. please don't change it in a major way, just keep blogging!

Jane said...

It's so very good to hear your voice again. As to how I am, I'm suffering paralysis about finishing off some writing that is so late already that I spend every waking moment in a miasma of shame. And yet here I am netarse-ing (thanks Rachel) when I could be despatching it. Also the dog needs to see the vet so goodbye $100. And now I shall go over to the Guardian and find these pieces of yours people are talking about.

Nicky said...

Huge joy when I saw you were back. Huge. I am descending into a pit of stress-related panic attacks again. Your blog immediately takes me away from that. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, welcome back! It feels as if curtain has just been drawn and suddenly it's much lighter and everything feels better. Missed you SO much!

Anonymous said...

Yay for the reemergence of Waffle-blog! A lifesaver for me and so many others - and I sincerely hope for you too. Welcome back!
Heather (in NZ)

mountainear said...

Huge 'hurrah' at your return. Goodest news.

Anonymous said...

THANK GOD YOU'RE BACK!
The inter webs haven't been the same without you.
x