I cannot be doing with any more work today, it is hot and bothersome and I have been wrestling for too long in the steaming entrails of a uncooperative corporate CMS. I imagine the circles of modern hell will be populated with giant Excel spreadsheets and glitchy, uncooperative CMS and vast screens projecting scrolling social media feeds of your enemies being ultra-successful and going to enviable parties and being thin. I suppose there will still be the traditional demons with pointy sticks disembowelling you too, because that kind of thing has perennial appeal. Maybe we should check with Francis. I understand he is doling out indulgences on Twitter now, which is a shame as he may undercut the online simony business Mrs Trefusis and I have been planning for the past five years. It is like the nap pods and Philanderers dot com all over again, we have the ideas but fall down on the execution.
So. Here I am. High summer in Belgium, and the country is grinding lethargically to the traditional mid-summer halt, barring the possibility of some high kitsch abdication/national holiday high jinks this Sunday. Everything is slow and lazy, including me, and I have no partners in crime with whom I can go and sit on terraces and drink shoddy mojitos. This is a crying shame, but the consolation for you, is that here I am, updating my weblog with tales of pretty much nothing whatsoever (aren't you lucky).
My news, in vast, exaggerated, inverted commas:
- I currently have a huge swollen purple ankle courtesy of falling over whilst running for a tram. Never run for a tram, kids, because the tram has nothing to lose and you do (dignity, mobility, the potential for wearing skirts).
- This was considerably more painful than falling off a horse which I have also done recently, faceplanting dramatically in a sandy riding school. Actually, it was less of a fall, more of the horse (my great friend and soulmate Noblesse) falling over, which as noted above, can happen to anyone, especially if they are needlessly running. Nevertheless, I could not really do up or undo my bra for several days, so I just slept in it because I am inventive like that, and felt grateful it wasn't much worse.
- I have been to London for a couple of days, where I mainly rolled in a vast, luxurious pile of weekend newspapers JUST BECAUSE I COULD. No dog. No children. At one particularly amazing point in the weekend, M and I found ourselves fortuitously in a cocktail bar at an unexpected happy hour and ended up sitting outside in the blazing sun with FOUR cocktails in front of us (we really had to idea it was Happy Hour, or we would have ordered more strategically).
(If you would like to know what nail varnish M is wearing, I cannot tell you because she is wearing about 7 different ones after a demented trawl around Liverpool St Boots, where I managed to upset a whole display of deodorants and bought nothing)
I also went to the Grain Store because it is très chic and immensely convenient for St Pancras. It was very delicious though the portions were terribly small if you come from Belgium (which increasingly, I am forced to admit I do). I had divine grilled asparagus with some species of tasty green sauce and tiny slivers of melba toast and prawn and courgette falafels (no, I am not sure how this is a 'thing') and raita, and a cocktail with elderflower and vodka and champagne which I learn from the dreaded Instagram today is Kate Moss's favourite. I did not take any pictures of my food even though it was very pretty, because I am trying not to be that person. I was actually sent to a bar to take an Instagram picture of a cocktail for a paid job last week, so I have a great deal of penance to put in, social media twattery-wise.
Interestingly - this is a grave misuse of that word - this was the first time I returned from London without a giant bag of Marks & Spencer food. Either I have finally accepted my Belgian lot and no longer crave Colin the Caterpillar cakes and Cherry Bakewell Trifles, or, and this is more likely, I had eaten so much the prospect of sourcing even more food was unbearable. I returned home rather fat with nothing more alluring in my possession than 2 M&S minimiser bras, which I fear have their work cut out after all that eating.
Also in London I met the Relentless Laundress, who as you would expect from her blog, was extremely funny and delightful. She bought me THIS:
I have stashed it in the fridge. Actually stashed them, there are two of them. Perhaps we could do a sort of live unboxing post here sometime next week? Is there anyone out there who has tried this thing? IS IT SAFE?
- There is New Facegoop on facial moustache waxing. Why not join the party (and by party, I mean, disgusted Guardian commenters telling us we are immature twats bringing shame on a once great institution)?
- Reading news: I downloaded the JK Rowling thriller the day before it was revealed she wrote it, and now I feel a bit thwarted and that the knowledge is colouring my reading of it. Damn. I am not wholly sure about the detective himself, but the detective's sidekick is very well-done. I like her and want more of her and will probably finish it tonight. My stepmother has lent me Rod Stewart's autobiography (joy, I hear it is a corker) and the 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared (yes? No? She and my dad both adored) and I have also read and loved - though it made me very anxious and occasionally sad - Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma.
- Holiday news: this time next week we will be on the boat to Hull, Yaris stuffed with cagoules and sensible shoes, weepette sedated in the hold, which is surely a promising start to any holiday. Two weeks. Remote Yorkshire moor. No phone reception or wifi. Distant, half-remembered places that I have a vague sense I thought were brilliant thirty years ago but will probably prove unable to locate. I have written something about this for the Guardian, but it is appearing when we are actually there (27th, I think) so I will be unable to draw your attention to it at the time due to said absence of phone/Internet. My dad was very sporting about his appearance in the piece, and noted I had forgotten in my listing of rural miseries to mention "the bleak chill of Leyburn market and the rats in your bedroom ceiling". Indeed.
Your turn. Good reads? Strange foods? Foolish accidents? Vision of contemporary hell? Yorkshire isolation survival kit suggestions?