Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Limited capacity


I escaped from my own kitchen table for a brief, thrilling foray to London, which was filled with people I like and foods to eat and some kind of BASTARD tree making my whole face dissolve into a late period Picasso of tears, eyeliner and snot.

I ate a piece of CAKE made by Frances from the Bake Off, which is my new claim to fame (delicious, contained walnuts). Then, emboldened by wine, showed her a picture of my brownie owls, Jesus, that poor woman, I bet people are always thrusting cake pictures at her, if not actual cakes. She was beyond charming and I now love her even more than I did when she was on Bake Off (when I was fully rooting for her and her mad matchbox breadsticks).

I also managed to take a picture of the back of Nick Hornby's head.

Nina Stibbe signed my copy of her wonderful wonderful book (you will die of laughing, I did). She is my actual heroine. I loved this piece about her experience with the TV adaptation of Love, Nina. The bit in this Guardian piece about 'blueberries and line-caught coley' also really made me snort.

In exchange I brought her a small Manneken Pis and some speculoos, proudly, in a dog eared paper bag, like your cat depositing a pile of vole entrails at your feet. Oh dear.

I ate a black forest gateau this morning in the Wolseley whilst enjoying the catharsis of shared copywoe with my friend Grace and lo, it was wonderful.


Afterwards she emailed me she had spotted "JimNighy" and we had a fun few minutes trying to decide which mash-up of Jim Naughtie and Bill Nighy we would like best.

Mrs Trefusis and I had dinner in Fischers (I'm sure I remember a really dull vegetarian café of some variety on that site previously, this is much better, with beautiful dark wood and gilt and fine pictures and a boar's head) which was delightful - so much so that I even recommended it to my severe and bearded father, whose criteria for an acceptable restaurant narrow yearly - and plotted for our UPCOMING EVENT (come, please come, renewed begging. It will include Simone de Beauvoir and PG Wodehouse and chocolate).

My father told me an excellent story involving a disgraced politician, some ferrets and a branded hoodie. I am making that sound juicer than it actually is, but it was still funny. My stepmother had won a corncrake release in an auction on the same occasion, which sounds both wonderful and entirely insane.

There have been some truly excellent entries for the competition, which is ongoing and which you may still enter. Priesthood, poshness, Pilates Woman and many more.

It is only a month until my, sorry, I mean my son's owl experience evening. Not that I am counting off the days, sweatily on my calendar whilst fantasising about which owl I might get to nuzzle, nope*.

*Legal notice: owl experience insurance does not cover injuries incurred during unauthorised nuzzling. All nuzzling is outlawed.


I have a mountain of (unglamorous) work and very little brain capacity (back in my legal days we used to have to submit a report about how busy we were to the Powers in weird, firm-specific language. The categories were something like "some capacity" (= I fear imminent sacking), "limited capacity" (= please do not give me any work), "no capacity" (= I am having a breakdown and have worn the same shirt for a week) and "frantic" (= MY HEAD IS ON FIRE), I think. By law standards/working practices I am basically at "more capacity than you could believe/likely to be sacked imminently for poor work ethic", but for the purposes of my flaccid, atrophied pea brain, I am definitely at "no capacity, apart from for staring into space and thinking about owls").

I am back in Uccle and will speak to no one but my own family and livestock for weeks. A woman has just shouted at me about dog shit (which I was in the process of picking up, I think she was just mad) and the children are utterly indifferent to my return except for the purpose of extracting money and British crisps from me. I have told them several times about my Frances from Bake Off - cake encounter and they aren't even pretending to care.

Dishwasher is making a noise like a wounded walrus.

M has been incommunicado in Lithuania for a week and I am losing my mind without her.

Boiler is definitely on the brink of death. Its preferred going gentle into the good night routine is to turn itself off discreetly overnight, so that when you get in the shower in the morning it is freezing, then when you go to turn it back on, it sort of WHOOMP semi-explodes in your face. No good can come of this.

I tried to get everyone to watch The Yorkshire Vet again but it was THE WORST EVER for grossness: no castrations but the most repulsive alpaca abscess and a cow afterbirth, erm, incident so grim even I had to turn away and I am cast iron in such matters. They will never trust me again.


30% antihistamine

30% whipped cream and kirsch laden cherries

30% Once more on the search for Audible recommendations. I actually went to see Audible yesterday to record some free "bonus content" to promote the audio version of my book. They were terrifyingly professional, whereas I was a sweaty inarticulate mess (also, no one told me there was a video element, thank fuck I wore some eyeliner). When there is a link to me trying and failing to answer the question "why is storytelling so important to us" using a series of batsqueaks and irrelevant anecdotes, I will post it here, of course, for your delectation. But what should I listen to now? I want something huge, a collection of letters or a vast novel or history book.

10% Genuinely concerned I may have contracted heavy legs (wore my fancy new shoes for a whole hour last night, it's their fault).



Alanna said...

Have you read Infinite Jest? It's my very favorite huge novel.

Lesley Meadows said...

I believe heavy legs have been eradicated in the Kingdom of the Belgians. However, you could always squirt some seawater up your nose, just to be on the safe side.

Sophie said...

What about either of the Dorothy Dunnett series, the Lymond Chronicles (Scotland/Borders) or Niccolo (Europe, world) both of which are epic, wonderful, historical and gripping?

Claire said...

Watching the first episode of Love, Nina has definitely bumped my girlcrush on HBC up several notches. Divine woman. Looking forward to reading Nina's latest.

I definitely have heavy legs. They match the rest of me.

frau antje said...

When Patty Duke died the other day, I noticed that Bertie Wooster AND Cathy Lane were residents of Berkeley Square.


We have a copy of De Jeeves-omnibus (De onnavolgbare Jeeves, etc.) (I did not buy it).

Patience_Crabstick said...

One of my great regrets at the moment is that there is only one season of GBBO available to watch in the US. I even tried to pay to watch an episode from Amazon UK and found that you must have a credit card that was issued in the UK in order to do so. Boo.

Me - 100% suspicious that an animal has died in the crawl space under our sitting room.

Unknown said...

Haha yes those fecking London trees. I was over this time last year for work. I woke up on the first morning with my eyelids jammed together with yellow goo. I bought ALL the antihistamines at the chemist on the corner, rubbed eyeshadow and mascara into the goo (it formed a sort of paste - an unusual smokey eye I liked to think)and thought I looked ok. Walked into the meeting room and a colleague looked at me and said 'my god, you look like someone has thrown acid in your eyes'.

Crazy Mom! said...

I am quite jealous about you meeting Frances. She's lovely - great fun to watch on the Bake-off.

Thank you for quoting one of my favorite poets, even if it is because of the damn boiler.

Have been binge watching Grace and Frankie of Netflix - not sure if you can get it, but it's great fun. Watching Lily Tomlin make Jane Fonda talk about sex is hilarious.

Have been wearing my hedgehog pin with great glee....

TheStarter said...

Ooooh - I love Fischers. They do a marvellous coffee (Kaffee Kirsch) that is halfway between a boozy pudding and coffee. Actually, I could do with one right about now.

Marvellous blog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Having an exceedingly tedious day in which I have been tetchy and shouty about a long list of things, including the fact that everyone in my family takes everything I do for granted. Housework, laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, shlepping to extracurriculars: you name it, I do it. When they occasionally empty a dishwasher or sort their own socks I'm supposed to notice and commend them on their efforts. Now after an already long day at the coalface, I'm facing into a long technical translation about the fascinating topic of all-terrain vehicles. It's an urgent deadline (tonight) and I'm not exactly motivated, to put it mildly. My feet are also sore from trying to break in some newish shoes that should be very comfy but somehow aren't. All in all, I'm in a positively rotten mood. And yet, even at times like this, when I'm possessed by rage and ranting about everything, your blog makes me laugh. Thank you, dear Waffle!

kath said...

Australian Bakeoff is on Youtube. You could get Game of Thrones on the audible. I read it on my phone and it broke me for all other reading for a while as it took so bloody long. I was a bit sad their Zola content is only the well known ones (ie the ones I've already read).

Waffle said...

Kath - Aussie bake off has Dan Lepard, doesn't it? Dan Lepard and his bloody esoteric flours. He does do a good buttermilk (substitute yoghurt, who the hell dicks around with buttermilk) scone though.

kath said...

Yes it does have DL but he hasn't appeared yet. He's a guest not a judge, they're Maggie Beer and Matt Moran from Oz Masterchef. I once asked him on Twitter what flour he recommended and he said anything you buy from local shop, so probably could do that with all the buckwheat and fancy flours. I am on last chapter of your lovely book on Audible and don't want it to end.

Place to Stand said...

This is a very engaging and amusing post and I think I like the bit about your Pa and the hoodie best.

I have had a week of near cardiac arrests - not me thankfully - lobotomised drones, getting to grips with Facebook, finding a marvellous Church in the City with a Henry Moore altar and the original bakelite phone that was the inception of the Samaritans.

Then some engaging suppers, lots of talk re sociopaths, bit of Prosecco, Facebook posts about peas, a touch of feeling worthy as I have been glugging lemon in hot water and then there is the trip to the South of France..

*Mentions with Gallic don't really give a toss nonchalance*

All good and well done you.

Julie said...

Audible has the guy from downton abbey reading Frankenstein. I recommend. Your book is wonderful and I finished it last week but only now am commenting. I also read a Notable Woman on your recommendation and am very happy about all those things.

I am not happy about the weather here at all, I am wearing my lightest DOWN jacket which is not good enough. The dog has taken to sitting on my bed in the evening and watching the sun go down barking in shock, as sun, what is that, scary yellow ball in sky not recognized.

Lola said...

I can recommend Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell as my favourite long listen on audible. I hope you have a subscription because otherwise it's a bit pricey.

westendmum said...

It's the London Plane trees, their seed balls disintegrate into asbestos like threads and disperse on the wind, it used to give me a terrible cough.

Anonymous said...

Waffle, I think you might like this long read from The New Yorker by Jonathan Franzen (there are birds, penguins even!)

Anonymous said...

Dear Waffle, nothing at all to do with your post, but I thought you might be interested in this important capybara news from Japan http://www.japantoday.com/category/picture-of-the-day/view/calbees-pr-team

Jonathan said...

Just discovered your blog and clicking the various buttons to follow you as fast as I can. LOVE the way you write. Isn't it funny how tree branches never appear until we are distracted for the briefest of moments doing something else ?

Waffle said...

Anon - OH MY GOD. Have you ever worked for a company with promotional capybaras??? Me neither. We are doing everything wrong.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I have never worked with capybaras, but I live in hope! there is another Japanese company that allows people to bring their cats to work...

Betty M said...

Bugger lousy rural internet connectivity. Your event is sold out. Rats. Hope it goes swimmingly and you report fully to those of us not quick enough off the draw.

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