Thursday, 19 April 2012

Good, bad, other

I am fine. All is fine. Well, this creature is not fine. Thank you, Tetanus Manor.
Cor, it's apparently been so long that Blogger has entirely changed format. What? Where am I? Who are The Beatles?

Some good things recently: 

1. Fingers has started speaking ENGLISH. This is good not only because someone in my family now speaks the same language as me, but also because his English is so wonderfully careful and precise, very like the child himself. He. Enunciates. Every. Syllable. 'I. Am. Putting. My. Teasle. In. My. Bed. Room.*' He does not want to get it wrong under ANY circumstances. It melts my cold, rodent heart. 

2. I know no one can bear another year of me boring on about birds, which I totally accept, but the peregrine falcon on top of the Brussels cathedral delights me greatly. I like the fact it is just down the road from me, getting on with catching and ripping apart pigeons, whilst also being really quite tender with its scrawny, demanding, pigeon gulping chicks. It is definitely more nurturing that Sylvia Plath the original slechtvalk. It has a more benign air, not like it would rather be downing alcopops and getting off its bird tits in a nite spot well-known to the local constabulary (yes, Sylvia, I am looking at you). 

3. Whilst on extended purdah in the Cotswolds I demanded a trip to the JCB Rich People Theme Park, also known as Daylesford. Prior to that, I had been asked to opine on not one but TWO decomposing animals, as if I were some kind of small mammal Silent Witness type, so I thought an extremely overpriced cup of coffee was in order.

The Country

It was as ridiculous as ever, car park entirely full of shiny black Range Rovers, honey blonde women not eating rare breed goat curd, single sticks of rhubarb for £4.50**. However! I went into the garden part where they were selling hemp sacking for 25 quid** and it smelled bloody lovely. The nice lady who was ironing piles of £50 notes** told me that it was their special JCB Geranium candle, so I bought one and now my whole house smells DELICIOUSLY of richness. All for only ten quid. Also surprisingly strong and lovely: Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir mini candle, which I got for free and would never have chosen, but which is now perfuming my whole top floor and giving the illusion that it is clean and civilised (it is neither). 

4. My skin of death has finally improved. Was it the organic-schmanic cleanser made from Brittany seaweed? The conjugated linoleic acid? The half-hearted attempt to eat a few greenish things? The toad I sacrificed whilst dancing naked at the full moon? Who knows. It is probably just because I have - almost - stopped my nervous tic of picking at the skin on my face until it bleeds. I have been largely successful in shifting self-mutilation back to my left foot where it belongs and can thrive, because given that it is hailing constantly, I am not going to be wearing sandals anytime soon. Neurosis win! 

5. These and these shoes. Though I cannot afford them and am not buying them. No. Not buying. No money, must not buy. And no, I do not care that Jess Cartner Morley says that ballet pumps are over. My KNEES are over. My youth is over. I bought a pair of (flat, of course) shoes from Geox recently, which is but a hobble away from that Salamander place where Belgian grans buy their orthopaedic footwear before repairing to the Falstaff to drink half and half and feed biscuits to the mangy dogs in their handbags. I surrender any pretention to being anything other than over myself. 

6.  M has written some lovely posts about our trip to Paris so I don't have to. Also, she gave me a rather brilliant bright pink sheer Dior lipstick and I am finding it enormously cheering. 

7. We have already booked a summer holiday, which fills me with satisfying smuggery. We are going to the Ile de Ré though, where I have always wanted to go and which looks beautiful, but is also well known for being PARIS ON SEA. I already have swimsuit paranoia. And clothes paranoia. And 'my children look like tramps' paranoia. You are supposed to wear a carefree Breton top and APC shorts and be tanned and violently thin and cycle everywhere nonchalantly with one hand. The last time I went on a bike, I fell into a ditch when my friend Violet tried to point out some ponies to me. I was about 15. 

Some bad things: 

1. It is the school fête next weekend and I am simply not prepared for the aesthetic and aural assault of this year's dance routines. Will there be much gratuitous infant nudity this year? Will there be endless shambolic grapevining from one end of the makeshift stage to the other and a long speech from the headmaster about discipline and rigour tenuously connected to world events? Yes, yes, and yes. Will there be hard liquor? One can only hope so. 

2. Administrative chaos deepens day by day. I am overdue a trip to the commune, mislaid my bank card in a pile of unpaid bills and had to cancel it, and my desk is ankle deep in important documents I have set my mind to losing. I have lists that say things like '€89?' 'Buy jelly snake' 'Les Filles 130' 'Science'. 'p33 400 words' in every pocket and recess. The twice a week babysitter is abandoning me next week, so I can't see this getting any better any time soon. 

3. I have to go on an aeroplane on Monday (hotel review) and I am already terrified, because I do not want to die in a metal box with a load of strangers. My fear levels about everything are set at 'oh dear, I am about to be eaten by a sabre tooth tigre' presently. Today, for instance, I have disproportionately feared: meeting with Lashes' teacher, driving to Rhode Saint Genèse (no, me neither), sending an email to the wrong person, that Lashes had been abducted on the ten yard walk to the corner shop, the arrival of my 2010 tax bill, failure and root canal surgery (not even on the cards, this is pure neurosis). I liked it better when I was just oblivious and stupid.

Also, the getting on an aeroplane will be followed by 1. having to talk to strangers; and 2. possibly wearing a swimming costume. Why did I agree to this? It seemed like an excellent idea at the time, this trip, but I must have forgotten that the person coming on said trip was ME, the person who cannot be trusted to know how to speak to other humans without inappropriately mentioning capybaras, or having to wander off and pretend to study a wall due to crippling shyness, and who is prone to hiding to avoid social interaction, even when everyone knows she is hiding. Yes, I am fretting about a free trip to the South of France, please just kill me right now, roll my body into one of Satan's holes, and take my place.  

4. In the next fortnight my eldest son will turn ten and we will have to buy him a rat. Given that this has been negotiated down from the kind of reptile that eats a rat a week, I am fairly sanguine about this, but still, MORE pets? He asked me tonight to sew a "rat pocket" onto all his jumpers. Erm, let me think about that darling... NO. Ok, maybe just one jumper. Your special rat jumper. Does this sound like a good idea? How likely is it that he will try and take it to school one day? I would rather not think about it. 

I have to go to bed now, because I have to get up early to finish de-lousing the children who have been put to bed coated in a thick layer of what appears to be yoghurt. They were quite entertained and giggly about being coated in dairy based insecticide, which shows at least how thoroughly I have inculcated the lowest imaginable expectations of what can constitute fun in them. On this high, self-congratulatory note I will leave you. 

*He made us carry a giant offensive weapon style teasle gifted by my father home from Oxfordshire. I was immensely popular on the underground, I can tell you. 

**May contain traces of exaggeration.  


Patience_Crabstick said...

I MUST have one of those cruel tea cozies in your sidebar. Lovely shoes, too. The ballet flat is over? I JUST found my perfect pair of black ballet flats. This can't be.

Em said...

Lovely having you back again. But damn you for showing me the Reiss flats! I want both pairs. Feel pretty sure though that when the site says 'welcome rest of world' and the list of international shipping, taxes etc are added up the final cost will not be insubstantial. Maybe I'll just get one pair which will be a huge saving!

vivien y said...

Giggling at the thought of giant teasle and small boy on the underground. Very good!

Dara said...

Rats make very good pets...very smart little buggers. I am certain your son will attempt to take it to school, especially if you provide a "rat pocket" in one of his jumpers!!

Try to have a nice time on your trip. Bring a book to "hide" in while on the plane and people love to talk about nesting birds and small mammals!! They do, really!! Oh, pack a large scarf in which to wrap your yourself in sarong style...hides any bathing suit woes and looks kick-arse!

Elsa Fay du Cinéma said...

It won't surprise you to hear that we used to have six pet rats. They were very cool although are are so susceptible to wheezy rat disease. Most of ours spent their entire lives having antibiotics administered by tiny oral syringe every day.

Waffle said...

Elsa - I am not remotely surprised and OH GOD. Be on hand for rat advice, please.

Lindsey said...

This may cheer you - on the Ile de Re there are special donkeys that wear pyjamas...

Lindsey said...

Look, here are donkey photos:

Johnners said...

And what's wrong with mentioning capybaras? Did I miss that memo, as well as the one about ballet flats? Tch. Good luck with the rat!

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes said...

1. Yes your son will take the rat to school with him. No fear, this will make him cool with his classmates but will unfortunatly result in a barrage from El Principal. Plus side : if he takes the rat to school it will most likely be confiscated and die from stress.
2. The Ille de Ré is lovely and since wealthy Parisians all look like hobo's on vacation you and the children will fit right in.
3. Where can I purchase those 'makes the house smell clean' - candles?

indigo16 said...

1. My daughter specks perfect Turkish with the same care, it melts my heart too, despite the fact she is probably saying very rude things about me!
2. I raise you two avocets and one red shank!
3. The clothes too are divine and made for those ladies who push celery sticks around their plate, for which my purse is eternally grateful.
5. That Jess.C.M knows nothing about fashion or the cost to our weary bodies, stick to Lisa Armstrong.
7. Could I BE more jealous I have longed to visit, despite the Stepford overtones of constantly being trapped in a Boden catalogue shoot.

Sedaris said...

Yay for rats! I have to echo the rat love. Mine used to ride around on my shoulders and hide in my long hair. I'm sure I traumatized some poor stranger with the sight of a long, scaly rat tail flicking unexpectedly out from my hair. They are really smart, and love hanging out with their people, unlike most rodents. I know you don't want to contemplate even more pets, but getting a few is really better than just one, because they keep each other from being lonely and it's the same amount if work.

Also, I can definitely sympathize with you on the not-wanting-to-do-anything; I also find it much safer and cozier to just stay at home and not go anywhere. When you are talking to strangers though, and start to feel shy, just remember that you are much better than them because you are hilarious. Also, remember that people come to your website all the time to soak up your wisdom and grace, and so the people you are talking to should feel exceedingly humbled and grateful to be getting the wisdom straight from the fount itself. Tell the person you are talking to all this explicitly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting again, it's always a delight to read your writing.
I have to say that something I suspect you may have written elsewhere a litte while ago was absolutely excellent. I read it about ten times, over and over again. You absolutely nailed what you said. Few people have the gift of translating feelings so perfectly into words.
Really looking forward to your book. Yours is a rare, rare talent.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Chere Waffle, just a note to echo what has already been said about ratties...

They love company, and it's almost cruel not to have more than one - We have three - We began by care-taking them for our son's ex-girlfriend - Don't ask. Yes, we are that gullible!

But they have stolen our hearts...

I'd also be a little concerned that le Weepette might want to eat the furry runners, however! So, do take care to avoid that debacle, if you can.

Enjoy the little hotel freebie - South of France? Nice! ;)