Simultaneously reading David Sedaris Diaries and Diary of a Provincial Lady which has made for some confusing sleepy late night moments when I forget which one I’m reading, quaaludes or black taffeta? I am thinking I could do some short diary style entries here to kickstart the lapsed blog habit. We shall see. I seem to spend hours every day just staring dully at the tortoises as they try to ram raid their way into the house to eat the dog's food and sexually assault each other. It's my plan canicule, or possibly my Plan Vigi-Dugong as I told M yesterday, ie. Vigipirate but with more aimless wallowing and minimal leaving the house. I don't strictly speaking know how dugongs feel about Haagen-Dazs mini salted caramel ice creams on sticks, but I'm sure if they were introduced they would be in favour.
Today is the first day that is officially too hot for my uniform/fetish, the Gap Girlfriend Twill Stripe Chino and I am furious about it. I haven’t worn a skirt for, ooh, 18 months minimum and it’s not going well (aside: I tried to discuss the fact that I have in my middle years developed a major downer on feminine clothes in my Dutch oral on Monday, but it rapidly span out of control). My legs don’t go with anything, they are Shetland pony sturdy and now that I am confronted with them up close and not clothed in fabric I realise they are not just blue and dusty, which I knew, but also veiny. Ugh. I'm very body positive as long as I don't have to examine the actual reality of my body but in this heat it is unavoidable. Also: wig sweat.
Exam season (80% lounging around the house, 19% reluctant revision, 1% actual exams) has dragged itself to a long-overdue close. I learned a number of things about Belgian geography, Latin and advertising methods, all of which I am now seeking to forget. The boys are now home, basically, FOREVER. I write locked, sweltering in my attic while they kills strangers online. It is a horrifyingly noisy business. They sound like a gang of male elephant seals fighting on a beach, all deep, throaty bellows and I can tell you that I have achieved absolutely nothing for the past few weeks except tidying two cupboards and preventing an ant invasion of the kitchen.
New household rules must be established to deal with this terrifyingly long stretch of adolescent freedom, eg. you must get dressed at least twice a week, no killing strangers online before ten, don’t stare at your mother with undisguised hostility and scorn when she suggests you could read a book or that it's ok to be bored because boredom allows true creativity to emerge.
Whenever anyone is really awful I suggest enrolling them on a survival course I keep getting emails about, where you have to make your own bivouac and hunt rats and learn about hypothermia THE HARD WAY. I think it sounds like good apocalypse training which is clearly necesssary in 2017 and if results are poor, I will be sending them both off for a bracing week of rat trapping in the Ardennes.
Minor altercation with elderly neighbour recently who called me out for the heinous crime of not saying “bonjour” to her as I walked past. Immediate reaction, and one I pursued, was to gaslight her, claiming that I had in fact said hello and she hadn’t heard me (I hadn't, she scares me), but on mature reflection a better and more long-term solution would have been to explain to her that I am English and that in my country the polite thing to do in an urban environment is to pretend the other person doesn’t even EXIST. And that saying hello, for me, is basically an act of aggression.
Have turned, over the past few months, into a person who likes cheese, which is a troubling development after years of cheese refusenickery and neshness. Still only goat or melted, but the goat habit is getting out of hand. Had to have a v confusing discussion with man in cheese shop while trying to select a new goat, due to the paucity of my cheese vocab.
E: I want something that isn’t too crémeux
Cheese guy: Oh, so something coulant?
E: UGH NO, DEFINITELY NOT COULANT. I think coulant means what I thought crémeux meant.
CG: Sec? Pas trop sec?
E: I do not know what those words mean applied to cheese. Is frais a thing I might want? Do I like frais?
CG (indicating cheese): This is very frais.
E: Oh. I tried that. I didn’t like it, it didn’t taste of anything. Maybe I need it a bit more affiné. I like that one (pointing) and that one (also pointing).
CG (losing patience, but very politely): You should take this one then.
E: Is it crémeux?
CG: Ye… no?
I bought his cheese. It was a quadrillion Euros and I don’t like it much, but am working my way through it bravely.
Belgian news over past few months
- Prime Minister deafened by race starting pistol
- Medical students encouraged to show cleavage at graduation
- New political crisis precipitated by the guy who looks like Laura Palmer’s dad from Twin Peaks who leads the orange party deciding he won’t work with the socialists any more, because the socialists are in the throes of yet another corruption scandal.
- Profusion of holes throughout Brussels making public transport a magical mystery tour orchestrated by friendly but basically clueless blokes in fluorescent tabards.
WE WENT DONKEY TREKKING
God, it was amazing. Look how much the children are enjoying themselves.
Given that this was a trip that combined RELICS (we trekked to Conques, which has the skull of Sainte Foi in a bejewelled case, stolen by some monks in the 9th century in a heist that was ten years in preparation) and EQUINES I was in ecstasy the whole time (well, ok, not when I found out we were sharing a dormitory with ten pilgrims on the hottest Ascension Day since 1900). I am now plotting a donkey fund to add to my goat fund (current balance - €5 and some dust). If you want to go donkey trekking (IT IS AMAZING), go here. The baby donkeys that refused to be born when we were there will be born now and if there is anything nicer than a baby donkey, I cannot imagine what it is (a baby donkey with a coffee religieuse in one of its paniers?). I wrote about it for the Observer mag, I will post a link when it comes out.
More soon, this outlet may be my only lifeline to sanity, muttering in the basement is no longer doing it for me.
What have you been up to? I know what the witch doctor spammers have been up to, but how about the rest of you?