I have registered to vote in the Belgian communal elections on October 8. How proud I am of this fact. How I have lorded it over other expats who have not registered to vote on the feeble grounds that voting is compulsory, once you have registered, and the fine for not doing so is hefty. How I have spoken eloquently of doing my democratic duty. How I should have known I was riding for a fall.
You may have noticed that it has been a bit quiet here lately. Partly this has been because of our ongoing dispute with Mr. Gates, partly, it is because I have been travelling for most of the past week but largely it has been because my father has been having open heart surgery and I was too scared to blog about it in case I, somehow, jinxed matters. But, almost miraculously, he seems to be recovering well from a second bout between his ribs and a hacksaw wherein his ribs came off worst. Obviously, the bout with the hacksaw was followed by a number of people poking around his beating heart to ensure that it would stay doing just that. And since the last bypass has lasted 20 years, I am cautiously optimistic that all will be well. Today the patient was sitting up in bed asking for the newspaper. But we all got something of a shock. My sister flew home from India last weekend. After much agonising, I decided that I might be more useful when he came out of hospital and, upon my husband’s nobly volunteering to mind the children, rushed to book a trip to Cork for the weekend of October 8.
Ah, October 8, just how hefty do you think that those fines are?