I'm a bit hopeless this week. Actually, scratch that, I'm completely hopeless. I calculated that I've earned the grand total of €50 and I've spent more than that on butter alone, I reckon. Lashes' birthday involved a vein of deep and unexpected melancholy (ten years! It's been such a turbulent decade, and last night it made me very sad to think about my mum not being around for nine of those years to see how that furiously determined baby she adored turned out), industrial quantities of buttercream and some slightly fraught rat training. He has acquired two, a grey one and a piebald one. So far they are called 'Shit, grab him, he's getting behind the radiator' and 'Where's the other one gone?' They are not exactly pro-human yet. They are very good at shitting and escape, but thankfully quite puny at biting.
I also have a revolting summer cold that has reduced my brain to a sort of angry, self-pitying porridge and then Satan died today, which, if not unexpected (he was ancient), was rather sad. Brilliant, mean, enormous, fearless Satan. I miss him already. I keep glancing out in the back garden and expecting to see his vast dark shadow loom against the back door, blocking out the light and bashing on the glass with his giant greying paws and threatening all perennials within a five mile radius. I was glad to note this afternoon that he completely finished off the hostas and the Solomon's seal before dying. You go, old lad.
(I did laugh, however, when B asked me whether I had considered facial moulding of the departed, and opined that taxidermy, although superficially tempting, might have been a difficult task in view of Satan's vast bulk)
So, for comfort and solace and to take my mind off everything, we went to Brasseries Georges for lunch. Brasseries Georges is one of my Brussels happy places. There was a terrible rumour that its lease had expired and it might shut, but thankfully it seems to have come to nothing. It's the kind of place you can't imagine ever closing down, or changing. I hope to still be going there when I'm a hundred.
Which is about the average age of customers, coincidentally.
At Christmas and New Year, they set up a sort of satellite tent for selling industrial quantities of plateaux de fruits de mer outside. I have never bought one, mainly because I tend to spend Christmas in a state of borderline mental collapse, or with vegetarians. One day.
Lots of solo diners at Brasseries Georges, some with dogs. Lots of tweed. Lots of sweaters worn around shoulders. Lots of small pill boxes on the table, and carefully set, fluffy white hair. Lots of sedately delivered gossip.
I love how all the pictures come out sort of sepia. Brasseries Georges is sepia. It bathes you in a soft, golden, forgiving light that smells of riesling and excellent frites and possibly some light adultery and definitely some heavy tax evasion. It smells of Belgium, basically.
I had ultra rare araignée (the cut of meat rather than an actual spider) and chips and a glass of wine. And when we got back I was ready to remember how it's all ok, really, and how nice our enormous child is.
Happy birthday, enormous boy.
(First born with 'CATCH THAT FUCKING THING! and 'OH JESUS DID IT JUST SHIT ON ME???')