1. Fatigué de Vivre
Flicking through Le Soir, the Belgian paper, on the lookout for some hidden nugget of Belgiania that I can fashion into a hilarious/fascinating pitch or spurious Belgian life philosophy to repackage for coffee table consumption à la hygge/ikigai, I note the following:
- 5 hideous grisly and depressing murders (yes all murder is bad but these ones were particularly dreadful)
- several sinkholes
- Ghastly racist ministers Theo Francken and Jan Jambon being themselves
- "7 out of 10 Belgians in favour of euthanasia for people who are 'tired of life'"
I am not sure Belgium is ready for its hygge moment.
2. The Naming of the Pekins
The chicks have now survived 6 weeks and doubled in size and sass, so I think I can finally give them names. The one on my shoulder on the last post is slightly shyer, lighter and paler. Her friend is fearless and fat and darker and has taken to chasing away the pigeons and crows that have the effrontery to try and eat her food. Here they both are up to no good:
3. Hou je klaar en bakken maar
Dutch class starts again next week and I have been preparing by watching THE FLANDERS BAKE OFF. Characteristics of the Flanders Bake Off:
- Host is a single fat jolly bloke who tells a lot of jokes. I like him.
- Judges: one rather po-faced pâtissier who is very strict and Regula Ysewyn who is a vision of vintage splendour, but also rather strict.
- Contestants: the usual mix. Quite blokey. Their older lady has lasted longer than the British one. There is a nice Columbian man who sometimes wears a hat. There is also one young woman whose every second phrase is in English and I find it disproportionately annoying.
- Key phrases:
"spannend" = tense, used by all candidates all the time, esp during the spektakelstuk.
"ik ben benieuwd" = I am curious, used by judges when contestants suggest some outlandish flavour or technique, basically the equivalent of that stare Paul Hollywood does.
"natte onderkant" = soggy bottom
I am wondering how to work these into Dutch class.
4. Home Baking to Prove to Myself I Am Not A Deadbeat: A Journal of Failure, Fatness and Diminishing Returns
Make a 29 minute chocolate cake (Twitter rec).
Looks pretty good. Tastes great. Children come home.
E: Look! I made a chocolate cake.
F (humouring voice): That's nice!
Eats a small slice then quietly goes and gets some biscuits out of the cupboard.
L: I'm not hungry
Eats crisps for rest of day.
I eat the rest of the cake.
Make Mary Berry's fast jam buns.
"I asked a 12-year-old girl to try this recipe for me," says MB, who doesn't give a shit about my attempts to make myself feel less of a deadbeat. "She had no problems and thoroughly enjoyed herself." Mine come out slightly too salty and quite unattractive and are nothing like the jam buns of my childhood.
Children come home.
E: There's these ... jam things?
F: Just goes silently straight to the biscuit cupboard
Eats one. Never mentions again. Spouse eats one. Never mentions again. I eat 4 more - they are edible when warmed - then give the rest to the birds.
Make chocolate chip Chelsea buns (because my family are awful and hate spice and dried fruit).
Children come home.
E: I made some of those chocolate bun things?
F: Oh, right.
Eats one, eats peanuts for remainder of day
L: I'm not hungry
L: Are there any biscuits?
E: There are these chocolate chip buns I made!
L: Not those
I freeze the buns, sadly.
Day 4 (today)
I made cinnamon buns which no one likes but me. Fuck everything.
No, there is no pearl sugar or glaze or icing on the top because I PREFER THEM WITHOUT and they are MY BUNS.
I set myself a target of no despair before midday and have failed at it today BUT I have updated the reading page for July. July was long ago so the descriptions are ... brief?