When I reluctantly resumed interaction with my loved ones, we had a minor set-to about L's lost tram card, failed to find our museum entrance cards, had an underwhelming lunch, then went on a tourist trip to the Maison du Roi museum, where they keep the Manneken Pis's wardrobe (as well as a selection of rather overwrought ceramics). The Manneken has some truly dubious outfits, both in terms of unsavoury cultural appropriation and pure aesthetics. Most of the African outfits, I hope, will remain in a drawer never to be seen again.
This ghastly Gilles de Binche outfit (sinister Belgian carnival involving suits stuffed with straw and the hurling of oranges, reminiscent of Bingo Little's disastrous production of "What Ho, Twing", the citizens of Binche being the toughest of Tough Eggs) was among the creepiest for me, though competition is tough. We each chose our "favourite" and the ones where the Manneken had a false arm (see above grotesquely outsized fake hand) so he didn't look like he was peeing were particularly popular.
We also learned that the Manneken has his own full time salaried dresser (a sombre gentleman in his sixties in a green blouse), like a tiny Liberace. Most of all, we were transfixed by some very dated films about the Manneken, one of which featured a committee meeting of the Manneken Outfit Committee (I'm sure it has a far more overblown name), where ten grown men sat around a table debating the relative merits of three tiny outfits representing Aalst (small Belgian town): "this one is beautiful, but there's just an onion! How does an onion represent Aalst?" How indeed. Our other favourite bit was the extended sequence featuring a pigeon drinking from the Manneken's tiny member. L made us sit and watch the whole 1980s vox pop film again just to catch another glimpse of the pigeon.
I also liked this rather camp and not remotely martial pair of chaps in armour:
And the wide selection of weary masonry lions, this guy especially, carved by someone who had never seen a cat, let alone a lion:
The children have a sodding 'pont' tomorrow (= gratuitous day off) before the Armistice public holiday, so we must entertain ourselves for another two days. I cannot imagine how we can top the Manneken's outfits, but I am open to your suggestions. I believe there is a museum of 18th century anatomical wax models somewhere in Brussels..