1. Dog blessing
WE GOT THE DOG BLESSED. I have been dying to go to this annual Brussels event for years and finally managed. We were unable to locate any tortoises (hibernating somewhere) and the chickens did not seem good contenders for a tram trip, so the dog was volunteered, much to his enduring disgust. Despite a sad lack of variety in fauna, the event was everything I had hoped for. The actual blessing involved the man in the sandals wielding this lavatory brush style implement full of holy water at you after another man with a microphone announced your pet's name and age over the tannoy to the assembled weirdoes (I include myself in that). One woman brought a fish in a plastic bowl in a shopping bag to be blessed. Another lady had a plush toy blessed. Every old person in the Marolles was there with a grotty, aggressive small dog. The man next to me, smartly dressed in a suit, with highly polished brogues, had several kittens in a hold-all.
These guys with their kittens and furry hats were also amazing, like something from central casting.
There was also a woman carrying the largest cat I have ever seen, which was immobile and oddly rigid. We spent a good ten minutes trying establish whether it was alive or dead and failed.
2. Avian health
Tabasco, the worryingly lethargic hen recovered from her lethargy after a €70 trip to the vet, so that was good. I got a separate bill (another €30, I could have bought four more chickens) from the laboratory full of weird capitalisations. “Votre POULE” it said, several times, “POULE de 18 mois, Tabasco”. “Analyses sur votre POULE”, as if the laboratory could not quite believe it themselves. I do not actually know what was wrong with the chicken because I never called the vet to find out. She seems fine now, laying, hiding by the back door to run in and eat the dog’s food whenever anyone’s attention lapses and shitting all over the terrace. I regret nothing.
3. Summer of crazy
I had a bit of a weird summer, brain-wise and have taken a while to get back to breathing/sleeping/functioning. I feel much better now thanks to the combined effect of: constant hot and cold running podcasts (Great Lives, The Moth, Criminal, Strangers, Love and Radio, Mystery Show, Undisclosed, In Our Time - finally, there is a point to Melvyn Bragg, who I have always loathed - also, I like The Read even though I only know who approx 3% of the people discussed are), very long walks with the dog, obsessive laundry and alprazolam but it seems to have poleaxed my writing mojo, ambition and get up and go (yes, it is debatable whether I ever had any of these things). My writing has all the deft lightness and wit of an elderly dugong swimming through treacle and I just want to sit quietly somewhere rural with a few goats and hens, basically. Since this is not actually a feasible plan for at least, what, six years, I need to work out what the fuck I am doing with my life. Any suggestions? No, I didn’t think so.
It wasn't all eyeball gnawing anxiety over the summer, however. We also climbed the Three Peaks in honour of my father's imminent 70th birthday. Here we are on the way back down from Ingleborough, which was our last peak, looking querulous and ready for gin. Observe the cold fury of a Ouipette forced up a succession of Yorkshire's finest vertical bogs.
4. Aesthetic degradation
I have two weird bumps on my face that I can only conclude are just more of the general indignities of ageing (I tried to pick one of them off unsuccessfully earlier in the year and it just came back). Aesthetically things are pretty bad at the moment: my wig is full of bald patches and I have accidentally given up on make up (again). Due to the prolonged period of crazy in the latter half of the summer, I am much less fat than I was previously, but this means the once-excellent & Other Stories boyfriend jeans now hang around my flat arse in sad folds and I look grey, drawn and half-demented.
On the one hand, I would like to up my game aesthetically, but on the other, I currently give zero fucks and this is winning out. It feels as if I am at a crossroads: in one direction lie ill-fitting trousers secured with safety pins, pockets filled with straw and chicken feed, dirty fingerclaws, pink-rimmed eyes and street-based muttering; in the other, some simulacrum of middle-aged respectability. Which way will it go? I am seeing my hairdresser to cut a new wig in a fortnight, hopefully this will be the necessary fillip back into basic presentability I need. I did buy a wildly expensive blusher and “magic” eye crayon from Charlotte Tilbury last month buoyed by the glamorous and supportive presence of Mrs Trefusis, but so far all I have done is stare at them in puzzlement.
5. Nederlandse les
I have started intensive Dutch classes in a concerted attempt to leave the house more often and talk to other humans. Wow, but we are all so shit at Dutch in our Dutch class. It is not a pretty sight, or sound. More about this in an upcoming post, I feel.
6. Where do we go from here?
I am thinking about how I could do this blog differently. I don’t want to stop, but I am a bit bored of talking about my boring-ass life and no one else in my boring-ass life wants to be comic blog fodder, which is inconsiderate of them. I thought maybe I could write a post every time I finish a book and incorporate a book review into it rather than putting them onto my reading page? What do you think? Is personal blogging dead?
I have to go to Dutch class now. I will attempt to return soonish. What have you been up to in the past three months? Facial buboes, brain spiders, pet incidents? Do tell.