Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I always complain about Wednesdays, partly because I complain like I breathe, but partly because they are genuinely often a bit shit, what with the idiotic insistence of the Belgian education system on releasing children into the wild at lunchtime, whereupon you are supposed to drive them around to Improving Activities, or die of guilt and condemn your children to a life of echec scolaire and delinquency and NO possibility of ever wearing tweed, or a sweater casually tied around their necks, or driving an Audi or having a chocolate brown labrador or working for the European institutions, ever.

Today wasn't awful, but it was terribly, terribly damp and unproductive. Viz:

Wake with head like a pumpkin that a careless horse has stamped on (continued, mutating summer cold). Bad tempered early-morning rush to cash machine with dog to feed last minute demands from insatiable gulag maw. €28 'end of year outing', €4 'bricolages'. Dog insists on stopping to lick, pervily, insistently, mortifyingly, at every patch of canine urine between house and cash machine. On return, household stand off about whose turn it is to fetch milk. Conclusion: not mine.


1000 words on Paris/cake as last ditch attempt to emerge from past week (ha, week? Month! YEAR) of deep career despair. Confidence currently teetering around 'maybe I could still get a job in a really crap law firm that hasn't discovered the internet yet?', and answering my own question in the negative. Many words added simply to pad self-imposed word count. Deletion tomorrow almost certain.


Tram. TICKET CHECK. Second in a month, which is unheard of. I went through all of 2010 and 2011 without a single check. What gives, Brussels, what is with this unprecedented erosion of the Belgian public transport 'honour' (ahem) system?


Tram into town to a presentation I am in two minds about going to. The anti-social mind is proved right this time (unusually. If it were proved right often, I would never go anywhere). Hailed suspiciously in doorway and quizzed on credentials as if likely to try and steal everything and stuff in handbag. Stand around like spare part for ten minutes, leave.

Rain. Like this hoarding, on way to buy a sandwich.

Buy a sandwich. See Greenwich has reopened! Whoop! Hide from rain in Greenwich for ten minutes. Bliss. Take inexplicably wonky photographs of same.


Tram. The busker with the half-trumpet, half-violin is on board. This is rarely a good omen. Back home. Have lunch of stale lemon drizzle cake. Change shoes. Pick up Fingers and take him to parental-guilt-appeasing art class (re-tram). Attempt to leave art class, however:


Wait for slight easing of tempest. Get soaked, nevertheless, since brain now calibrates non-tempest levels of rain at 'dry'.

Go to Commune to resolve administrative snarl-up. Take a ticket. Queue up for 20 minutes. Get told I have the wrong type of ticket. Take another ticket. Queue up for another 20 minutes. Get told I do not have the necessary access code to do what I am supposed to. Pay €5 to obtain new access codes (available in 'not under 12 days'). Leave Commune thwarted, if entirely unsurprised.

RE-TEMPEST. Get wet again. Regret changing into cream shoes. Remember that weather last Wednesday was identical.

Go home. Inject Lemsip into eyeballs.

Test Lashes on endless epic poem about a flea and a piano until we are both bleeding from the ears (basic story: flea sits on piano, stings pianist, thus inventing jazz, but stretched over 40 odd lines). This is the longest Gulag Epic Poem yet, I confidently predict that by the time he leaves, we will be forced to memorise the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, or obscure franco-belge equivalent.

(Note excellent mark)

Learn how to say 'My younger brother Hugo is still at university, studying' in Dutch. Which is useful. Collect Fingers. Test Fingers on the life cycle of the butterfly.

Wrangle wrats, sorry, rats. God, the rats. Rat training is a slow business. We are sticking to a strict programme of gradual socialisation, which involves sitting in the bathroom holding out treats as the rats wander around trying to stay as far away from us as possible. There is some progress with The Fat White One, but precious little with The Sly Grey One Who Hates Us (they still don't have names). The SGOWHU escaped yesterday and made a nest in a drawer, where he shredded his way efficiently through several Nerf darts and crapped pretty much everywhere. It took me twenty minutes to catch the little bastard and I was nearly in tears by the end of it. I can't say I'm warming to him. Yet.


Make dinner. Listen to poem again. Deal with unfortunate kicking in nose incident. Read story. Listen to poem for final time. Speculate how much useful brain space for 'knowing where codes for the Commune are' is now taken up with gulag poetry. Fail to reach clear conclusion due to flea/butterfly/Hugo/piano confusion in Lemsip addled brain. Deal with unfortunate kicking over of board game incident. Send everyone to bed.

I will be tiptoeing round the rest of Wednesday in a conciliatory fashion, maybe offering it a rat sacrifice or two.

How was yours?


Liz Fraser said...

I love this post too much to say how much I love it, because I love it so much. This is a LOT of loving of this post.
In short, I love it.
It is excellent. Unlike the ticket-checking system in BXL, which is de la grande merde.
Thank you. You made my day, as illustrated by this little smiley face thingy :-)

mountainear said...


Is there a prize for spotting SGOWHU?

Bryony said...

love your analysis of anything less than tempest as "dry". have come to same conclusion. Today, when not actually raining, it was quite hot, thus adding "sweat" to the mix...

irretrievably broken said...

Trundling along in similar fashion, but with SIX HOURS MORE TO GO THAN YOUR WEDNESDAY.

westendmum said...

New friend.
Trains, cars, bouncing, strawberries.
Forgotten new friend's comforter.
Request for daddy.
Call from daddy too late.
No heat.
No hot water.
Red wine,
Inspector Montalbano.


Susan said...

Wet here too. And depressing and my daughter refuses to believe me when I tell her we need to start work on the ark soon. I am relieved to read that the weepette licks other dogs' pee - I thought mine was just weird (well, he is weird actually). Red wine offered some relief.

Ooh, westendmum - thank you for the reminder, I must check the i-player for Inspector Montalbano; he always cheers me up.

daisydot said...

What can I add? I am Scottish living in the U S of A and tonight's geography prep was Europe. Ye Gods, what is with you moron children (twins)? Why don't you understand; Paris/France, Berlin/ Germany etc, etc, it's in your genes, you dimwits!!?
White wine (French, not feckin' Californian) has taken the edge off the pain but I feel a rant is imminent.

Amelia said...

Have you seen this exhibition! Its in belgium... i want to see it but can't justify a trip...for benches. No matter how cool they are.

My wednesday was unproductive, self indugent and long i.e. no work despite many deadlines, mohican hair cut, Avengers, chocolate porridge at 6pm and then work in a pub with added bell ringing dicussion.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes said...

Our wednesdays are eerily similar. Especially the rain part, but mine had a touch more of 'staring at a computer screen and trying to look intelligent'.

Mouselegs said...

I'm a terrible blog lurker (or, unappreciative ass if I put it less kindly) but I find your writing hilarious and very close to home (I am transplanted from London to Noord Holland with three young sons and lots of cultural queries about why The Dutch do what they do (and it is usually very wet here, too)). Thanks for the laughs. I certainly need them (particularly on Wednesday (and Friday also for us)) afternoons when they are all home, things are very wet and I need to escape the bickering over who farted last (and loudest).