Hello! I am having a week, where I don't seem to manage to do anything, including updating my blog. What are those things that play dead, to the point practically of giving off an odour of putrefaction? Possums? I am one of those. Come, paddle in the tepid shallows of my self-loathing, where even the piranhas have got bored and swum off. I can't be bothered to fetch my charger, though, so at least you only have 39% of this nonsense to endure.
Chinese revision update
The date for "EXAMEN INTERNATIONAL DE CHINOIS" approaches (22nd, source your 2B pencil and your naked terror) and revision .. well. I'm not going to say it intensifies, because it doesn't. It continues, somewhere between bewilderment (me) and mild exasperation (F). The Chinese phrases are quite different to my more usual diet of Dutch phrases (over in the unpleasantly illustrated pages of Tweetalig? Grag! Angelique and Lies have been having the most appalling party for what feels like the last 6 months. Only about three people have come and Hans has bought Angelique a knuffelbeer. The whole business is unspeakably sordid).
Why does the fish you are drawing have legs?
It is not a fish, it is a small bird.
Do pandas have ears?
No answer is provided to this one.
Sorry, how is your eye now?
Intrigued by context here.
What is your Mandarin teacher like?
Multiple choice answers:
(a) going to sleep
(b) over there
(c) very pretty
Other preoccupations of the Chinese revision sheets: drawing pandas, eating, to whom dogs belong. I like its priorities.
The hens (now named Chili and Tabasco by the returned F, who is reassuringly enchanted with them) are well. They spend their days trampling my seven pathetic flowers to pulp with great application, chasing other birds out of the garden, shitting and stalking around looking for stuff to destroy, tiny yellow eyes darting everywhere, like those velociraptors in the kitchen in Jurassic Park. They are pretty good value and make me laugh a lot with their tiny stupid eyes and weird head movements. And! Just as I was writing this, one of them laid an egg. An actual egg! Excitement is unbridled. This is F before he remembered he doesn't actually like eggs.
It is so, so lovely to have the children back that I cannot even begrudge the mess and the chaos and the Top Gear and the vast expense of their extra-curricular activities dribbling out of my wallet in €30 increments. I seem to have spent most of this week as a sort of child concierge, but frankly I am SO useless at the moment, it is all I am fit for. Also, they bought me an angry marmot keyring.
"They know you so well, your children" said M and she is right. There is nothing more likely to make my heart explode than my children buying me a present.
I wanted to make it eat a cracker in hommage to this famous clip, but i did not have any crackers, so here he is eating shortbread:
This Picard broad bean and spinach soup is a total lunchtime winner in my gastro-desert of crap lunches, even though it sounds like something utterly ill-conceived I'd come up with in a moment of crisper emptying desperation. Actually, the arrival of fancy frozen food chain Picard in Belgium has been one of my greatest small joys of the last year. When we lived in Paris, Picard was often the only place I dared to go into, because in other shops you had to talk to people and it would invariably end badly or you could go to Monoprix but it was a stygian basement of terror and the till harridans would invariably find something I had done WRONG (attempting to pay with a note larger than €20, unbalancing the conveyor belt, asking a question..). Picard was - still is - quiet and spacious and peaceful and in the clean and shiny freezers there were things of unimaginable sophistication: pre-chopped shallots and sorrel and fancy TV dinners with artichokes and salsify and god knows what. Now I go in there for bags of berries and bagels and mini eclairs (best consumed still half frozen, straight from the packet, in the unflattering yellow light of the open fridge door) and to be lulled and consoled by the attractively presented frozen dinners. It still looks and smells and feels the same as it did ten years ago and amidst the freezers and the softly piped muzak I can believe that EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT and there is something delicious in puff pastry for tea.
My three tier lemon sponge, however, has not proved a winner in the sense that I made it and it took me ages, what with the homemade lemon curd, and no bastard is eating it, except me (they have gone off lemon sponge, fickle weasels that they are).
30% face ache
20% sun euphoria
10% greasy frites
10% Line of Duty anticipation
10% Glad I am not at Angelique and Lies's party.