Wednesday, 12 December 2012



(i) Twenty grand tax bill five months ahead of when it should have come according to the previous year's schedule. I will be handmaking all Christmas presents henceforth and they shall be made from the dust and tiny Lego bricks that gather in Roomba's reservoir, and my tears, topped with the glue of shame and the ubiquitous glitter of despair. Honestly, how is it possible that Belgium is a tax haven for Gerard Depardieu and not for me, hmmm? I enjoyed a hilarious report on the Belgian news a few nights ago where Gerard - who has just bought a house in a rather grey and undistinguished Walloon town near the French border - was reported to have expressed great, unforced enthusiasm for the quality of life and great friendliness of Belgium. The culture! The conviviality! The report was accompanied by a photograph of Gerard smiling heartily in the dingy town hall towering over, and with his vast arms like whole hams spanning, seven slightly shifty looking municipal officials simultaneously, as well as excellent footage of four toothless old men in a dilapidated bar wordlessly drinking, and long static shots of Néchin town 'centre', with a sort of low, grey mass of rain moving in on the leylandii and bungalows. The whole thing was a little bit Dardenne brothers, and absolutely delicious.

But I digress.

(ii) Discovery eldest has nits. God, the tedium. Do children just stop getting nits at some point or is it that they become teenagers and you are no longer permitted anywhere near their heads? I remember I spent all my teenage years self-medicating for any and all possible ailments with drastic and slightly medieval remedies so that I would not have to talk to my parents about Stuff. I distinctly remember cutting a small wart off my leg with nail scissors and taking a great deal of garlic capsules for reasons that are now mysterious.


(i) A €70 painful, scary filling from a teenager who the dentist had very naughtily got in to replace him. I am still aching from all the metalwork she seemed to have carelessly left hanging around in various crannies of my sad donkey mouth.

(ii) A €90 trip to the dentist with children who were told in no uncertain terms their teeth were filthy. "NULS" bellowed the dentist with a sort of jovial fury. "VOUS ÊTES NULS". We skulked away, shameful, never to open our mouths again.

(iii) Spillage of a large glass of red wine intended for post-filling therapeutic purposes all over me, kitchen, floor, cupboards, and over my new - FINALLY THEY ARRIVED - Topshop boots.

(iv) Theft and consumption by the dog of my Picard scallop and Riesling pie intended for post-filling therapeutic purposes while I went upstairs to change out of wine-stained clothes. He's fast, the little fucker, you have to give him that.


(i) As a near inevitable consequence of (iv) above, rising to discovery of a sea of dog effluvia of both main offensive types in every corner of the ground floor at 7am this morning. I should perhaps be grateful the dog avoided the rug, but I was too busy being furious he had chosen the floor with the big gaps between the floorboards and also, couldn't he have considered alerting me to his gastric distress in some way, rather than just exploding silently, then going back to sleep on the sofa? Horror.

I cleaned up all the dog effluvia. I did not do so with a shred of stoicism. I did not offer up my suffering. I raged and moaned and used four whole rolls of kitchen towel and a large bottle of Monsieur Muscle Salle de Bain because it was all I could find. I shouted at the dog, because I know perfectly well that he has no idea that the pie and the gastric issues are related and this maddens me, the stubborn tininess of the whippet brain, and the dread knowledge that given the slightest sniff of opportunity he would do exactly the same again. Then, finally, I ran a large bath of bleach (well, cheap eucalyptus bath salts) and sat in it scrubbing all my skin off and wondering whether I dared to leave the house in case a gigantic anvil fell on my head, cartoon style.

Apart from that, and a broken glass, and the Roomba eating a whole DS cable in the manner of a hungry boa constrictor (note to the dog: I do not see Roomba loosening its robotic bowels all over my house when it swallows something untoward), and one mad tram man who kept shouting EMPTY SEAT EMPTY SEAT EMPTY SEAT, today has been largely without incident. But the tally for the week is: €20160 down, gained a pair of boots but also a splattering of wine stains, may have contracted e-coli from dog, back tooth wholly reshaped by a YTS infant. I've had better weeks. However I must confess, and I know this is twisted, I think part of me rather likes it when smallish things like this go wrong (though no one could call the dog bowels "small". Who would have thought the bony dog would have so much shit in him?). On some pre-rational level I believe that small misfortunes innoculate you against huge ones, so I now consider myself vaccinated for the next 6 weeks or so against all larger disasters: death, fire, flood, tempest, locusts, etc. Oh hang on, I think it only works if I don't tempt fate by expressing that sense of relief out loud, so now it was all in vain! I have broken my bad luck vaccination! Sigh. It is SO HARD having the mindset and world view of a medieval peasant sometimes, you have no idea.

So what now, I ask myself? Is there some kind of sacrifice I should make to placate the plainly angry gods? I am willing to offer them, for instance, 2 capfuls of Elemis Supersoak or one Peanut Butter KitKat. To whom does one address the sacrifice? Help a medieval peasant out here.


Anonymous said...

I cannot stop laughing. You're brilliant. That ought to be some consolation, hmmm?

Laurel said...

I must apologetically say that your tax bill has ground my so far worst tax bill into the dust with its fearsome boot heel. In the U.S., at least, you would have to be making pretty good dosh to merit a tax bill of that proportion. I hope one can say at least somewhat the same of Belgium. And, since, from thousands of miles away and despite being fairly well fed, your scallop and Riesling pie has made me sigh and my mouth water (I have never HEARD of such a thing), I am tempted to sing it an elegy. Its ignominious end and the cleanup it required seems truly beyond the pale.

I am sorry you have had such a shit week. Honestly, it sounds so shitty that I think you should be inoculated against future mishaps regardless of what you just wrote in your post. You should be able to break twenty mirrors and, not only would you not have bad luck, they would shamefacedly clean themselves up.

Hope your holiday season improves drastically!

Katrijn said...

A proper medieval peasant would indeed not bother with either God or Jesus, but offer his suffering up to an appropriate saint (

Possibilities for appeasement include a pilgrimage for the whippet to Valkenburg aan de Geul where Saint Gerlac (patron saint of domestic animals) resides and lighting candles for yourself in honour of Saint Genevieve (patron saint of disasters), Saint Jude (of the hopeless cases) or Saint Martin of Tours (patron saint of horses).

But I will light a candle to Saint Philip of Neri, patron saint of joy, to thank him for bringing your blog into my life and making me laugh so, so much. You are brilliant!

Miss Judge said...

I am CRYING here. The medieval peasant like finished me off. What funny, witty writing! Love it.

J. said...

Roomba may not empty its electronic bowels when it sucks down cables, but it is capable of smearing pet crap all over your rug. At least the dog didn't do that.

Waffle said...

Now I really, really want to take the dog to Valkenburg aan de Geul. Partly because it sounds like "dans ta gueule" which is kind of how the problem started.

Laurel - Belgian tax is really, really high, so, sadly, no, it was not really proof of a healthy year. But this year I've earned so little it will be much lower! SO THAT'S OK. The pie is great though.

I have only broken one much loved bowl this morning. I'm definitely on the up.

carolinefo said...

Surely it must be time to bring in the Holy Tortoise, Waffle?

I have lost track a bit - I seem to remember he returned from his lengthy pilgrimage, and is once again resident in Uccle. I trust he continues to thrive..

Waffle said...

Oh god, Fo, I think so. I'm trying to remember which one he is. There's currently one lost in the garden but I'm pretty sure it's not his Holiness. Also: GOOD THINKING. A prayer on his holy shell. It shall be done. Shall I say one for you too?

The Jules said...

Don't worry about the future. According to the Mayans we soon won't have any more bad luck ever.

Silver linings and all that.

carolinefo said...

Oh, yes please.

And maybe you could sacrifice the Weepette, too. I need heavy duty juju in my current situation.

Just kidding - I have long loved the Weepette, and long may he continue to torment you.

ps What is this fiendish new word verification ordeal, which I keep FAILING? I loved the old one - it generated such delightful new words.

Anonymous said...

Considered self-mortification? Should work.

I am personally all for a low tax society, and I can understand the arguments of those who want a high tax society, but Belgium has clearly gotten it all wrong by creating a high tax society for the low-income segment of the population and a low tax society for the high income/stinking rich segment of the society.


The Reluctant Launderer said...

You really are hilarious. Does misery-caused-by-exploding-dog-arse love company? In which case I ask you: What's worse than a toddler with bronchialitis? A BABY with bronchialitis, of course... (I must confess tho, I don't know what's worse - sitting in St Thomas's A&E with a blue baby, or cleaning up a mountain of dog crap. Both equally disheartening I should think) I blame all the Gods, and no longer bother trying to placate them, because they clearly have it in for me. So can't offer any advice there, sorry.

Nimble said...

Whatever you do, do not express gladness about not being sick so far this fall. I am on day 11 of my cold. I'm past the worst and just hacking up yuck from my lungs in the mornings now.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to hurry up and get my period started now rather than on the first day of our Christmas air travel.

I wish I knew a good tax fiddler Belgique to refer you to.

Antje M. Rauwerda said...

"effluvia" shall be my word of the week. At our house tis also the season of slipping in unexpected puddles of animal vomit: foul cold goop, or, worse by far, WARM goop.

Scunder said...

My dear Waffle you have already atoned by confessing all. Propiation has surely been made( well you could sacrifice a turkey or similar like the rest of us) having had many
tribulations (unpleasant life experiences)
I am advised by my Rabbi that after confession comes restitution. ( surely that's what giving Lego based christmas tat is all about)
So that's good- looks like you're covered.

Ps did you watch master chef final tonight-
What about that giant chocolate caramel tube?
Délicieux non?

Patience_Crabstick said...

For your sake, I hope the next many weeks are trial free, but this post made me laugh and laugh. And I thought I had it bad because my husband and some guy named "Diego" spent the afternoon driving around in my car with the windows up, while they smoked 5,000 cigarettes.

Victoria said...

Oh god €20.000 tax bill, the total bastards sending it to you just before Christmas, January would have been slightly kinder!!

As for little mishaps in abundance cancelling out any serious bad luck, i'm a true believer, have had my fair share and like you it involved sick, knocking over full glass of wine, banging head on fridge door picking up a whole punnet of blueberries, lateness, many mornings of lateness, absent mindedness and getting effy with my 3 boys due to lateness and their inability to put uniform/shoes on!
I find when i start to shout and generally lose it with my loved ones, things get worse, I am a calamity, a walking disaster with the dexterity of a toddler, during times like this its best to avoid the general public, stay in the warm, cosy house and recreate student days of laziness and day time tele. Don't forget to self medicate and stock up freezer with ridiculous ready meals: roast pekin duck n hoisin sauce with pancakes awaits moi tonight, just for the hell of it!!
Obviously once money starts appearing in my account as of next week I will venture out and blow it all on me, mainly .then all will be ok for a while!

Laurel said...

Hmm. Well, you do have those hefty taxes supporting nationalized health care and excellent opera houses, whereas our infrastructure is crumbling, we have to cut our own Bandaids out of masking tape, and we keep on getting dumber. But personally that wouldn't make me feel better when confronted with a giganto tax bill. However, let us move forward into the festive season and forget taxes. Prayers to the appropriate saints, check. Holy Tortoise, check. Perhaps a replacement pie kept in a dog-inaccessible place. Revisit Owl in a Box and skateboarding owl? Take a shortcut and acquire own owl? No, scratch that. You don't want to see what happens if an owl eats a scallop and riesling pie.

Melfina said...

I could hook you up with the Physics Gods, but you'd need a particle accelerator and a goat. Might be simpler to go with the tortoise.

Margaret said...

Maybe if you post something on Facegoop, the gods will be mollified. I'm just saying.

Amy said...

Waffle, I'm reminded of the time that my dog Murdoch found and ate a fat and seed filled coconut shell meant for the birds. The entire thing. Including the coconut shell. He pooed all over my flat and it was unutterably. Sloppy, partially digested fat and seeds. Bad times. But, it was about six years ago and I can assure you that I can laugh about it now. This too shall pass.

Pat (in Belgium) said...

I just read your "caring owl" link and am simply....amazed!
May I recommend it as a "tonic" for a shit moment, day, week?

It is truly I N C R E D I B L E !!!

Xtreme English said...

You are indeed witty, but I'm also thinking you must be some kinda heiress to have to pay taxes like that.....a $20K tax bill? Not even the Rockefellers get that kind of bite over here. Especially not them. I had a dog that was impounded for excaping his tether, and when I went to bail him out, he exploded in shit all over the back of my car. Let others laugh. Funny when it happens to someone else.... My sympathy.

Xtreme English said...

p.s. Great suggestion for Xmas gift!!

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Xtreme English said...

Hope you are surviving the hols and that 2013 will be a fabulous year for you!

Jaxie985 said...

Hopefully there's been a mistake, a few orders of magnitude hopefully,that's a HUGE tax bill.

I feel for you otherwise... buck up, girl, it will get better.

WrathofDawn said...

As much as I regret to hear your adventures with dog effluvia, it comforts me greatly to know that I am not the only one dealing with massed quantities of the stuff. The 16-year old Beagle's senility extends now to barking like a mad thing to be let ouside, presumably to deposit said effluvia where God intended, staying outside for an hour, then coming back inside to pee on the carpet... or worse. *sigh*

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