Thursday, 15 March 2012

Various Things Possibly Worthy of Note This Week



1. I hate these shoes with the fiery heat of a thousand suns. Well, I like them in the abstract. I like to look at them: that red is a particularly lovely shade, brighter than bordeaux, subtler than pillarbox. I like them on my feet, even, as long as I am sitting still at a desk or on a sofa; they aren't particularly uncomfortable and the heels aren't the kind that make you think fondly of foot-binding. However out in the world they are more useless than a blind, defenceless, three legged kitten for the purposes of actual walking. The heels are precisely the dimension calculated to catch in every single paving stone, grate, slight patch of uneven ground in the whole of Brussels (and god knows, Brussels is nothing BUT uneven surfaces at the moment). I have measured them, in order to avoid making the same mistake in future: the deadly dimension is 9mm. I wore them this afternoon and my shoe was pulled right off my foot something like twenty five times in two hours. Every time I would rant and swear like a lunatic which definitely added to the overall impression of elegance and togetherness. The last straw was when I tried to run for a tram and both shoes just gratuitously FLEW OFF. This cannot continue.

2. I have acquired some business cards, finally. I think I had some kind of psychological barrier, like, what on earth would I put on them? 'Fantasist. Dilettante. Poor Credit Risk'. Actually, I quite like that. The other option, suggested by Peter, was "salty tears of mortified shame are the best condiment" but that was too dear.

Basically, I am not gainfully employed by anyone in any capacity to any significant degree, so having cards seemed like an act of god-tempting hubris. Eventually this superstitious aversion to putting a name to what I do was outweighed by the fact I looked like a hopelessly unprofessional basket case whenever anyone asked me for one. They are not things of beauty: they are about as spartan as a business card can be, which is my employment gods-appeasing sacrifice. Please don't take away the remaining shreds of my employment, deities. I quite like my kidneys.

3. The birds are back! Welcome back, my old friend the slechtvalk, sitting balefully in your cosy nest of bare stones, somewhere miles above Holland, wondering what to dismember for dinner tonight. I have spent significant parts of today staring at your empty box of pebbles. No sign of my favourite owl as yet, but the storks, "the Paul and Linda of the bird world" as the magnificent Miss Underscore described them, are back, tidying compulsively and thrillingly this year there is a new kingfisher in its nesting box. This is the last time I mention birdcams because M has already threatened to rip my face off. (UPDATE: My favourite owl is back, hooray and it has a chick. Please don't hurt me, M).


4. Springtime has reached Uccle. The Uccle ice cream parlours - of which there are a surprising number - are packed with people ordering six scoops of speculoos and cuberdon and other things that do not exist outside of Belgium, with whipped cream and sprinkles. The Parc du Caca is redolent of teen hormones and skunk weed. Oscar has spent the day whining to get outside in order to eat a bit of old stale baguette someone left out for Satan. It haunts him, like the knowledge that there are still peanut butter chunky KitKats in the cupboard haunts me.

Satan is blackmailing me into providing a constant stream of wilted bagged lettuce by sitting on my daffodils and very slowly, very deliberately nibbling them whilst looking over at me. Occasionally there is a moment's truce when they both flop on the bare, Satan-scorched-then-shat-upon earth, like so.


Like Christmas day football in No Man's Land

Even so, it is very welcome, the fiery orb, though the weather forecast is suggesting that it will 'turn' on Sunday morning when I have 8 small boys coming to rampage through the house intent on pillage and destruction. Not even my pinata can help me.

Incidentally, I have realised that my pinata looks terribly like St George's dragon from the Mons Ducasse carnival thingy.

My pinata:




St George's dragon:


Are they by any chance related?

Perhaps I should get the small boys to carry it round the street in a lengthy, incomprehensible medieval mummers procession, then start pelting passers-by with oranges and stuffed cats. Never let it be said that our birthday parties are boring and repetitive (or you won't get your custom party bag composed of a pig's bladder and plague charm).

5. I am writing to you from Brussels' oddest, though very endearing hotel, Le Berger. There is a stuffed peacock in the lobby and my room has a bath in the entrance hall. The downstairs brasserie is rammed with architects, though I do not think this is a permanent decorative feature. The wallpaper follows you with its floral eyes,wherever you go.


Wallpaper

Oh. And there is a thicket of life sized gilt palm trees in the bar.



More pictures tomorrow, perhaps, when I also have daylight. Probably more sense too.

8 comments:

Peter said...

I think "The second most famous blogger in the room" is good, too.

Margaret said...

Can you strap them to your feet with clear packing tape? Just remember to put your hands out if you fall. Apparently that is not as instinctive as I had been led to believe.

Zoomie said...

I rather like your self introduction on this blog, particularly "Slattern." Why not use that on your cards? I want Peter to think up a slogan for my cards next.

Anonymous said...

Yay for falcons again! I watched last year's brood after you introduced them to us, for probably too many hours. There was a poignant final video clip of last year's young ones galloping up and down the narrow ledge outside the nest box before launching off into the sky for the last time.
We now have a pair of NZ falcons nesting in our local nature sanctuary too, which is thrilling. We don't have the continuous nestcam footage that the Netherlands offers, but some lovely photos here;
http://www.visitzealandia.com/Site/Zealandia_Home/Inside/Our_Wildlife/Birds/NZ_Falcon.aspx
Click on the video box on this page for slide show.
Heather (NZ)

frau antje said...

My business cards feature a small die-cut figure that you can bend so it appears to be standing. If you run your finger over the embossed lettering, which has been covered with flash paper, it bursts into flames and casts a little human-shaped shadow. No, I wasn't going for instilling confidence.

Merisi said...

Best tea break reading in a long time,
good for my soul and those around me,
leaving me all smiley.faced.
Merci beaucoup,
Merisi

K A R said...

It is a sad day when I don't get to read your blog. Your proposed business card strap line is genius.

Fat Controller said...

I have always liked Auberon Waugh's description of himself on his cards:

'Grand écrivain polémique anglais'.

I don't suppose anybody would mind or even notice if you pinched that.