Ok, back. Enough of this 'shops' and 'views' and 'sites of architectural interest' stuff. Let us get back to essentials: gentle, but sustained, grumbling. It is 8°C in Brussels, with a persistent, heavy drizzle and a bonus high wind. I have come back from the airport in the company of a taxi driver who did not know where 1. The Cinquantenaire 2. Montgomery roundabout; or 3. Avenue Brugmann were (non-Belges, these are incredibly well known bits of Brussels, like, say, not knowing where Marble Arch, or Holborn, are). I did at one point wonder whether I should text his registration number to a friend in case I died in horrible circumstances, but since he looked absolutely nothing like the photo on the taxi registration document pinned to the back of the damp, mildewed seat (he had a bonus monobrow and a look of total, if quite cheerful, lunacy), there didn't seem much point. Anyway, there is an extra intensity to still being alive this evening, for which I thank both him and the strong cross-winds on descent into Brussels in the metal death tube. Even though all I plan to do with my extra vivid sense of being alive is go to bed with a cup of tea and read some kind of gloomy detective novel.
Actually, the reason I really need that intensity is because the children have been rehearsing their dances for the imminent gulag fête this evening. Dear lord. I don't know why they don't vary the medium a little. Why always dance? It's not like any of the several hundred children I have seen flump leadenly across the stage, one glassy, roaming eye looking for their parents, seem to enjoy it: they have that frozen expression of intense, stiff concentration that speaks of much backstage shouting. Couldn't they, I dunno, sing us a song? Do a (very short) play? I have seen enough 'rolly-rolly arm - then - clap' and 'walk around your partner with your hand on their shoulder then back the other way' 'moves' accompanying '70s and '80s disco standards in my six years in the audience to last me several lifetimes. This year we have Mika's Lollipop, and an obscure French version - impossible to locate on the internet, which gives me increased respect for the internet, actually - of the Hair standard, Let the Sunshine. I am, frankly, over it before it has even started. There are not enough complex paper tokens allowing me to buy small quantities of warm alcohol in plastic beakers at vastly inflated prices IN THE WORLD to make this enjoyable. Unless the headmaster dresses up. I like that. My passion for him has mainly dimmed, but on special occasions like this I take it out and polish it up again.
Anyway, I have sent them away. Lashes has been tasked with tidying his bedroom to accommodate The Imminent Rat (Rats, even. I have read widely on the sociable nature of the rat, and apparently we must get two fat, lazy, cuddly males with enormous testicles). Thus far he has: put a barbed wire temporary tattoo on one nipple and taken all the books out of the cupboard and placed them in a heap on the floor. I query the effectiveness of this approach. I went past half an hour ago: he is sitting contemplatively in the midst of all this chaos of his own making in a nest of dirty socks and bande dessinées, reading a dog-eared manga for the 900th time. Fingers sidled downstairs to tell on him a few minutes ago.
"As-tu vu sa chambre?"
(He has stopped speaking English in the two days I was away, dammit).
"Not recently, but I imagine it is still a scene of indescribable devastation?"
I had better go and do some light bellowing. But I have accustomed you to high quality visuals over the last few days and I do not wish to disappoint you, so here are my children tonight:
I don't know why this one is so yellow. Maybe the house has jaundice. I wouldn't put it past it.
You will note that the large three eyed plush blue cube Fingers ordered from Lucy Moose for Christmas with precise measurements, a technical scale drawing and minutely detailed descriptive notes has been accessorised with a moustache. That is how Fingers rolls, presently, with prosthetic facial hair in all circumstances.
Imagine several large testicled rats festering in there. It doesn't bear thinking about. He is amused, however.
Then, randomly, to continue the 'shit travel blog' theme of previous days and because it cheers me beyond anything, here are a couple of picture from my very favourite Dodo Manège (merry-go-round of extinct and endangered creatures) in Paris. M and I went to try and see it, but it was shut, so we sneaked our cameras under the tarpaulin to try and take pictures of what was lurking. It was quite magical actually:
Though the Dodo is not amused:
And my favourite, on the wooden hut where you buy your ticket: the dodo, still apparently furious, but with a MILKSHAKE.
What did your Wednesday hold? Are you as angry as a dodo with, or even without, a milkshake? Please share with the group.
(Remember! Vote for me and we might win a pony*! Yes, I am still on about that, but there are only 4 days left, courage. More detailed instructions on how to vote at the top of the sidebar).
*'Pony' = absolutely nothing.