I have little to relate but that has rarely stopped me, has it?
1. L continues to read his Charles Dickens biography.
Chapter 10 is entitled "In which we ask ourselves what kind of dad he is", which is topical. I must have read, rather wearily, six or seven think pieces on whether fatherhood is being devalued or misrepresented this weekend. Consider Dickens, opinion writers!
When Charles's fifth child was born he declared "I refuse (on principle) to look at the object in question".
There has also been some upleasantness involving liaisons with actresses, inevitably. Since the recent Horrible Histories song (amazing, do watch it), Charles Dickens and Morrissey are inextricably linked in my brain, so I am finding this difficult to comprehend.
2. F is still living in a medium sized cardboard box, in which I am instructed to shut him every night before he goes to bed (he does go to bed in an actual bed afterwards, but the box is a necessary intermediate stage). He is also pursuing a solo project I am not wholly clear on involving covering eggs in papier mâché and an unholy mess.
3. Oscar appears to be moonlighting for the Guardian. We spent some time trying to adjust him into that pose and take a picture, but failed. He looked less dynamic and speedy, more puzzled and faintly ashamed, ie. much as usual.
4. It's exam season in Belgium as in much of the rest of the world. Mercifully the children seem wholly indifferent to the whole business, which I prefer to neurotic. Without any conscious desire for their or my betterment, I seem nevertheless to be absorbing an unfortunate amount of primary school knowledge for which I have no earthly need. The precious few brain cells I have left are now taken up with the following:
- the names and capitals of the Belgian provinces of which I consider there are a quite excessive number.
- the dates of the kings of Belgium and their distinguishing features (Sideburns. Bearded bastard. Tiny 'tache fought in WW1. Very dodgy WW2. Everyone's favourite, gave out free driving licences. Current chap.)
(conceivably useful if there were a Belgian citizenship test and I wanted to take it, neither of these things is true)
- the name and course of various Belgian rivers, no that's a lie, they are far too difficult. I just know their names. Vaguely.
- How to describe a house that is not mine in Dutch. Een verdieping, een benederverdieping, een zolder en een kelder. Or alternatively debate the relative merits and expense of different types of meat "mar rundsvlees, kalvsvlees en lamsvlees zijn wel duur. Dan nemen we varkensvlees!". I do not vouch remotely for the spellings. We have only done the oral exam so far. I can, however, spell "zenuwachtig", which I believe, appropriately enough, may mean 'anxious'.
- a lot of ludicrous details about the sex lives and other private doings of bees that is none of my business. Let bees be bees, Belgium.
- The water cycle in mind-numbing repetitive detail x 2. God. How many times do you have to learn the following in a school career?
(i) The Water Cycle
(ii) The Dinosaurs
(iii) The Egyptians
Is there some kind of universal law that these subjects must be taught twice yearly between the ages of 4 and 16? It would appear so. We are raising a generation who will be absolutely fucking brilliant on an extinct race of giant angry lizards and some long-defunct people who liked cats a lot and walked sideways. The water cycle, I concede, may be of some use, but barring some catastrophic time travel accident in the near future, the others are perhaps less pressing.
I cannot wait for the next week to be over so I can jettison this rubbish. I find myself gently muttering Dutch dialogue to myself ("kijk, dit is een tekening von onze huis") as I walk around the house picking up people's pants. Presumably this stuff is replacing useful stuff like knowing how on earth to proceed with my fucked up career. I am at a loss with this subject currently. I have concluded that I am massively temperamentally unsuited to freelancing (shy, solitary, atrocious at networking, not overburdened with brilliant ideas or confidence, fear of telephone, financially incompetent). But then, I do not know how to get a job any longer. I realise I am basically waiting for a giant mythical eagle to come and carry me away to a magical land of plenty. It is taking a while.
5. Speaking of matters vaguely ornithological, meet my new friend who I encountered in Waterloo this weekend (a frustrating attempt to see some jolly Napoleonic reenactment which ended with us examining this fine specimen in McDonalds car park and me refusing to buy an €8 thumbnail sized jar of Waterloo battlefield soil, the perfect gift for the utter bastard in your life). I was unable to buy him, sadly, but I suspect he might be back. He's something of a minority taste.
On a similar subject this made me laugh and laugh today. The vaporised bunny! That ... bird! Brilliant.
Other tempting items in the Ukkel area, this noble whippet aviator cushion:
And the prospect of a visit from MJTonyJackson, Ukkel's foremost Michael Jackson imitator. Do admit. Shall we perhaps club together and hire him?
That is all, really. Tell me your news, for I am bored and lonely and waiting for a giant legendary bird that I am beginning to suspect may never arrive.