The Belgians, they drive with such dash and Ã©lan. Road signs and markings are advisory not compulsory, if you’Â’re Belgian. The Princess has a little ditty that she learnt in school which shows the mindset of the Belgian driver:
Dans ma petite auto, je roule, je roule
Dans ma petite auto, je roule Ã toute vitesse.
Quand le signale est rouge, il faut que je mÂ’arrÃªte (bis)
Quand le signale est vert, je fonce, je fonce.
A rough translation: I zoom around in my little car, alas when the traffic lights are red, I have to stop, however, once they are green, I speed off at a dangerous rate.
A little of this has rubbed off on me over the years. My driving style has been described as Â“excitingÂ” by Mr. Waffle. My parking is pretty good too, I can shoehorn our ridiculously long car into surprisingly small places. If you need to decant three little people, you like to be close to your destination, trust me. I can tell you, I never thought that I would be able to do this kind of thing when I spent many hours preparing for my driving test by repeatedly trying and abysmally failing to parallel park in the car park of my motherÂ’s golf club while she went and played a round of golf.
I try to keep the worst of my offences from Mr. Waffle, but the Princess has turned out to be a fifth columnist in this regard.
She and Mr. Waffle went out together in the car recently and as they toured around looking for a parking slot, herself kept up a monologue in the back Â“Lord, will we ever find a space, look that man has got the last space in Brussels. After a bit, she said to her father “Â“Daddy, if you can’Â’t find anything, we can always park in front of a garage, itÂ’s a little bit illegal, but itÂ’s alrightÂ”.” I hastened to explain to my outraged husband that I would only do this for a short time, like when going in to collect her from school and if I double park, I put on my hazards, which makes it legal. Practically. Yes indeed, if thereÂ’’s a large station wagon impeding your exit, itÂ’s probably me. Or, of course, it could be a Belgian.
I wrote this the other day and as some kind of hideous judgement by the gods of parking, all day today a car
has been parked outside my garage preventing me using my gas guzzling behemoth. Alas.