We’re off to Ireland for our holidays today. Yippee. However, despite the fact that Ireland is a digital hub access to broadband is strictly limited and am not sure I will be writing entries on a dial up line – so there may be no new entries until January 6. I am sure that you are all holding your breath etc.
In other news, we have a car parking space. Oh rejoice, no more driving around for hours looking for a space. Last night Mr. Waffle arrived home tired and dishevelled having spent half an hour looking for parking and having walked 20 minutes from where the car was eventually parked. On the minus side, I may lose my fab car parking skills. I can now park in almost any space. This morning I parked in an entrance, stuck on my hazard warning lights and went off to chat to our insurance broker for 20 minutes. I am becoming a real Belgian (illegal parking is a national sport). On my return, alas, there was a large lorry parked beside my car and the driver was tooting his horn in considerable irritation. My winning smile and baby Waffle’s cheery wave seemed to infuriate rather than calm down so we sped off before he could physically attack us.
All this reminds me of a number of Belgian parking stories.
Story 1 – The glam potter was out shopping and returned to find her car boxed in. As she had only 1 hour to go home, pack and take her train to the UK she was tense. She cursed, she hooted her horn but no joy. She paced. She noticed a slip of paper on the ground saying that the owner of the offending vehicle was in the restaurant opposite. She stormed in and identified the owner who was sitting calmly having lunch with friends. Glam potter felt that she would not be able to express her irritation properly in French so she said to the woman “Do you speak English?” Woman confirmed that she did and GP roared at her “You stupid cow”. Driver got to her feet to move car and turned out to be 8 months pregnant. Poor GP, most embarrassing.
Story 2 – When I was about 7 months pregnant I met a friend for lunch, let us call her the french horn player. When she arrived at the restaurant I asked her whether she had found parking difficult. “No” she said “I parked on the roundabout”. Yes, indeed the roundabout at Place Stephanie is often used by reckless Belgians as a parking spot. We emerged from lunch only to find that the car had been towed. Extraordinary. I went with FHP to the police station and the police were most sympathetic. I have to say that my experience of the Belgian police had not led me to expect this.
FHP – My car was towed and it wasn’t in anyone’s way.
Policeman – That’s terrible, where was it.
FHP – On the roundabout at Place Stephanie
Policeman – Oh I know where you mean, of course, you weren’t in anyone’s way, what a pain for you, but I suppose it is technically illegal.
Waffle (sotto voce) – To park on a roundabout, yes, I would have thought so.
FHP – I wonder is there any way I can get away with not paying the fine.
Policeman – Hmm (looks at me appraisingly), I see your friend is pregnant, if you hadn’t parked there, she would have had to walk a long way…
Me – But I got there under my own steam, I took the tram…
Policeman (ignoring this unworthy intervention) – Yes, she would have had to walk a long way, get a cert from your friend’s gynaecologist and I think we can get you off.
Anyway enough Belgian parking stories. Hope you have a very happy Christmas.