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23 May, 2006 at 8:24 pm by belgianwaffle

Tomorrow morning we leave for a week’s holiday in Sicily.  I am looking forward to this trip with a mixture of fear and anguish tinged with a slight hint of enthusiasm.  Before we go, we have to pack. In other words, now, tonight, we should be packing.

We will need:

A buggy, two parasols and buggy board;
Two car seats;
Two travel cots;
Two strap on to table high chairs (having established on a previous visit that the island of Sicily is entirely unequipped with same – the Italians love their children and hold them in their laps, we are heartless);
Two separate baby monitor thingies (one for the boys’ room, one for the Princess’s room);
Bottles and bottle sterilising kit;
A small plastic sheet for fear the the Princess may have an accident in the hotel bed;
Enough milk, babyfood and nappies to keep us going until we can hit the shops;
Two guidebooks and three maps (speak to my husband please); and
Sun cream, mosquito spray, hats, swimming togs, clothes for the boys, clothes for the Princess, clothes for us, good clothes for all five of us (we are travelling to attend the christening of the royal cousin who, being a quarter Sicilian is claiming his birthright by being christened somewhere warm and sunny).

I fear that the plane may just not have room for us and our stuff.  And I am actively, genuinely concerned that the car we have hired will not be big enough for us and all our gear.  And to add insult to injury, there are local elections coming up in Brussels.  What is the relevance of this you ask?  I will tell you, it means that all the pavements are being redone to encourage us to vote for the incumbents.  We are therefore unable to use our garage and will have to trek miles to our car with our mammoth supplies and all our children at an ungodly hour of the morning.  And the forecast tomorrow is for hail. 

And now for the enthusiasm:

The royal grandparents will be there;
The publishing exec (or babysitter number 3 as we have taken to calling her) will be there;
We will all get to see the royal cousin for the first time and see his parents doing the parenting thing (depending on their availability – they do, after all have a three month old baby of their own – they have been pencilled in as babysitters 4 and 5);
The royal cousin has a Sicilian grandfather (or babysitter 6 again, subject to availability, see previous) who has said we can use his washing machine;
The hotel is fabulous with an outdoor pool and lovely food and run by charming people with a daughter who entertained the Princess for hours last time we were there (provisionally known as babysitter number 7);
The Princess may finally be able to wear her Summer dresses outside the house because, please God, it will be sunny – mind you, this brings to mind a serious concern which is that I have no clothes and, more especially, no clothes for sunny weather (entirely unnecessary in Belgium to date this year) and no time to buy them either and I will be holidaying with my sisters-in-law (babysitters nos 3 and 4, try to keep up) who are, quite possibly, the best dressed women in Ireland and though, I don’t aspire to keep up with them, I would like to be able to appear in public with them without having Italians pointing at me and laughing;
The Italians entirely live up to their reputation as the most child friendly people on the planet (I remember being surprised when the airport security man with the gun at
Palermo airport dandled the Princess and gooed enthusiastically at her) so who knows what other random and additional babysitters we may be able to identify;
Sicily is beautiful and we will be staying near the seaside town of Cefalu which is gorgeous and also, very importantly, has a beach.

Update on our return next week, please hold your breath.


22 May, 2006 at 9:36 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess came hurtling down the corridor at me when I got in from work the other day. “Mummy, mummy look!” She was anxious to show me a picture of Mr. Waffle and me on our wedding day. “Look, Mummy”, she said “you’re wearing a wedding dress”. “Yes, darling, that’s the day Daddy and I got married”. She digested this for a moment and then said “But why isn’t Daddy wearing a wedding dress?” Why indeed? Later, we made rice krispie buns and watched my wedding video. Nobody else will watch it with me and I don’t see why she shouldn’t suffer. The poor child gets to watch so little TV that it was a big treat for her (recent pathetic comment “can I watch TV again when it’s my birthday?”). The vid was made by a friend of my mother’s with a camcorder. We didn’t ask for it, but I must say we were rather charmed with it when we got it. However, it is somewhat prejudiced – it mostly features the cameraman’s friend, my mother.  In fact, half of my speech is missing to allow for extra footage of her hat.  Still, the Princess didn’t mind that, but she was very distressed that I wouldn’t talk to her. “But I AM talking to you, honey”. “No, Mummy, I want you on the telly to talk to me.” Can’t help you there, my sweet.

Le “fancy fair” and le “rugby”

21 May, 2006 at 10:23 pm by belgianwaffle

On Saturday, the Princess’s school held its annual “fancy fair”.  I understand that this is an event that takes place in all Belgian schools towards the end of the school year.  There’s a concert, games in the yard, a bouncy castle, food and organised fun.  I was at pains to explain to anyone who would listen that although the words “fancy” and “fair” do exist in English, the combination conveys nothing to the native speaker but, alas, I was ignored except for by the Princess who said to me crossly “it’s le fonzy fayereh Mummy, you’re pronouncing it all wrong”. 

All of last month, we have been importuned by the school to assemble stalls, bring food, disassemble stalls and bring more food.  The Princess made a costume for a medieval maiden and had dress rehearsals in the concert hall.  Yesterday was the day of the “fonzy fayereh” and we were awoken by the sound of a thunderstorm breaking over the house.  It poured all day.  The bouncy castle was more of a bouncy swimming pool.  Although the food was excellent (thereby pleasantly confirming my prejudices about the Belgians), food eaten while huddled in the bike shed of the school yard and staring at the pouring rain is just that bit less appetising than food partaken of in bright sunshine.  Also, the boys’ buggy has broken.  In particular, the rain cover can no longer be attached.  The new buggy has been ordered but will not be available for at least two weeks (welcome to the consumer Mecca that is Belgium) so, to get tickets to purchase the food, I had to run across the yard in a gale pushing the buggy and holding the rain cover between my teeth.

Also the concert was not the success that I had hoped it might be. I went with the Princess to her dressing room to find a number of harassed staff trying to dress a number of wailing children.  When I left her, as instructed by the harassed staff, she joined in lustily with the wailing majority.  For her turn on stage, she was, for reasons unknown, right at the back and, therefore scarcely visible.  I blame jealousy among the other students.

The day ended with a communal dinner which was scheduled for 6 but started at 7.30 by which time a lot of the younger participants were hyper or tetchy or, particularly appealingly, both.  We managed to rock our saintly sons to sleep in their (somewhat damp) buggy but unfortunately, they were awoken almost immediately by the loud music that must obligatorily accompany organised fun of any kind (yes, I am old and bitter, is that a problem?).   On the plus side the music was that of my youth.  Princess watched in horror as her parents sang along to Simple Minds (Don’t, don’t, DON’T, don’t you forget about me.. and so on).  A taster for her of what her teenage years will be like.

What with the excitement of the fonzy fayereh, Mr. Waffle missed the rugby.   He had, however, recorded it from the French telly for later viewing.  We had heard the result (Munster beat Biarritz, hurrah) so I asked him whether he wanted to watch it, now that he knew the results.  “Yes” he said “it’s much better than waiting for an hour and a half for Munster to lose”.  From my point of view, the highlight of the match was seeing an interview with Ronan O’Gara where, fresh from the fray, he speaks in French to the interviewer.  His French is strongly accented, with a Cork accent, that is, but, frankly, let those of us without sin cast the first stone etc..  Mr. Waffle and I were very impressed with his vocabulary (we love to patronise) and I pointed out to Mr. Waffle that, since he had attended the same school as my brother, his French teacher was almost certainly my brother’s best friend’s mother (try to keep up here, I am giving you an excellent insight into what it is like being from Cork) and that she would be proud.  Or at least, presumably, she would have been until the interviewer asked Ronan how the Munster men were feeling and he replied “Nous sommes très, très jolis.”

Boys, boys, boys

19 May, 2006 at 1:56 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel and Michael will be eight months next week and I feel that the time since they were born has flown. I was looking at Daniel this morning and I was just amazed how big he’s got (though he was always big). There he was sitting up, beaming at me saying ba, ba, ba. Michael can’t sit up or say ba, ba, ba but, hey, he has the teeth (ok, half a tooth and a bump on his gum). I feel that I never see the poor mites. Now that I’m back at work, they spend all their time with the childminder or at the creche. On my half days on Wednesday and Friday, I bond with the Princess and they languish in the creche. This works really well for me and her, but I’m not so sure that it’s good for them. When they are a bit bigger, I think I might take them out of the creche for the afternoon occasionally but for the moment, her highness and I really like the current arrangement. Yes, I am heartless, sue me. It seems to me that they used to be more cheerful but maybe, they’re still cheerful most of the time but I just see them most at their worst time of day (in the evening). Or maybe the conjunctivitis and racking coughs they have had continually since I started back at work are upsetting them. I remember when the Princess got conjunctivitis first, I spent hours on the internet looking it up, I rubbed cream on her eyeball (I can’t tell you how much she enjoyed that), I took her to the doctor and I worried. With the boys, I just think, ‘oh, conjunctivitis, it will pass’. Though of course it hasn’t. Hmm. All my children have rotten coughs. It seems to me that the Princess has had a cough since the day she was born (as her Nana says “that child has a terrible chest”), but since starting at the creche, the boys have joined in. Late at night, our flat echoes to the sounds of concerted coughing; it’s positively Dickensian.

The boys are now very conscious of each other. Daniel is much stronger, so whenever Michael starts looking at something, Daniel whips it off him. Michael just stares at the ceiling in saintly resignation. They both love sticking their fingers in each others’ faces. They are not so keen on getting fingers in the eye though (who would be?), so this creates its own problems. The other morning, I had Daniel sitting in the middle of the bed and Michael lying some distance away. I turned my back for ONE SECOND and there was a howl of indignation. Daniel had launched himself across the bed and managed to headbutt Michael. Impressive. They can actually both move about quite a lot now and if you leave them one place, you come back to find that they have worked their way round to the socket in your absence and are trying to work out how to eat it.

They eat everything, except, in the case of Daniel, food. It’s strange because Daniel is so much larger than Michael, you would think that he would be a bigger eater, but he does not like solid food and spits it out in indignation when it is offered; I have no idea how he keeps up his impressive bulk. Michael on the other hand bobs back and forward like an anxious woodpecker when being fed and howls if you are too slow with the next mouthful.

They both adore the Princess. Even though she manhandles them with considerable roughness, they can’t get enough of her. When she is in the room, they will only look at her which makes feeding them difficult, if the Princess refuses to stay in their line of sight. She dances with them (this involves parental support for the lucky boy). She grabs their chubby little arms and waves them around to chuckles of glee on their part. When she plays peekaboo with Daniel in the bath he nearly expires from delight.



18 May, 2006 at 9:13 pm by belgianwaffle

I was inspired by GP mama’s reading list to share mine with you. Yes, I knew you’d be fascinated.

“Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years” by Jared Diamond. I have been reading this since before 2002. I know this because the price on the back is in Irish pounds so it must have been acquired pre-euro. I would keep getting bogged down on the role of fertile grasslands in the development of humanity and abandoning and restarting but a couple of months ago, I made a prolonged effort and got past the fertile grasslands and nearly finished it. In fact, I got to the second last page. Then, I put it down somewhere and my fabulous and efficient cleaner whisked it up and put it away. If she has a fault, it is her tendancy to rearrange by size books that I have neatly classified in alphabetical order (stop laughing at me). So, I know it’s there somewhere, I just can’t find it.

“Mary George of Allnorthover” by Lavinia Greenlaw. I was obliged to read this for book group and didn’t enjoy it one little bit though am forced to concede that it is very well written; the author holds down a day job as a poet.

“Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke. I am finding this surprisingly enjoyable. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it but I’m about half way through now and showing no signs of stopping. It’s written in pastiche Victorian style and that is mildly trying. The author uses the word “presently” to mean now and this is not a mistake a Victorian would have made. I find it jarring and it keeps appearing “A spell to see what my enemy is doing presently”. Do you really mean in a bit? I don’t think so. Hey, this is my blog, I can be as pedantic as I like.

“The Great Ideas” by Suzanne Cleminshaw. Not fantastic. Nicely written but moves along rather sluggishly and, really, gifted 13 year olds are tiring. It’s set in the 1970s but somehow it feels like the 1950s and I don’t know why the author didn’t go the whole hog and set it in the 1950s altogether. One of the characters is a French femme fatale and I find her entirely unconvincing. I suppose living next door to France, I am not as seduced by the glamour of simply being French as the 13 year old narrator from Cleveland Ohio. Also, the French lady is Catholic and the author seems to feel that this is thrilling in and of itself and she nearly swoons at the sight of rosary beads. Frankly, it’s hard for me to get excited about rosary beads.

“We need to talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. I’m in a book group. We had to read it. It’s not bad.

“Anybody out there?” by Marian Keyes. As you will know, I have a special devotion to Ms. Keyes as she lived second next door to my husband growing up and she did her first interview in a suit lent to her by mother-in-law. Do you think I’m joking? Oh no, I’m not. Also, I enjoy her books and this new one is fine but so far, it’s just a bit samey and I’m not as keen as I was on some of her other offerings.

How do I do this? How do I find the time to read you ask? Let me tell you. Every night I feed the boys for half an hour before they go to bed and during that time, with two babies attached, I read and turn the pages with my nose. I bet you’re glad you asked now. Do you think that image will stay with you?

Death in America

17 May, 2006 at 2:35 pm by belgianwaffle

I read lots of blogs. I should get out more. I should be sleeping.

One of the blogs I used to read was Cancerbaby. She died last week and I cried and cried. Amanda posted this last week looking for money to help Chester who is dying and can’t afford palliative care and who is still being assessed for eligibility for benefits, in America. What kind of a country let’s people die without pain relief? The same country that produces people like Amanda and Cancerbaby, I suppose, eloquent, passionate and angry.

My friend the heart surgeon has worked in American hospitals for many years and she said to me that because the primary care system there is so inadequate, when (poor) people get to hospital they are usually a lot sicker than they would be in Ireland. Mind you, she also said that once they get into hospital the care and equipment tends to be much better than it is in Ireland. For all the faults of the Irish medical system (where people get to die on trolleys in nurses tea stations, so dying with dignity is out), I don’t think that what’s happening to Chester would ever happen in Ireland.

I was talking to my husband about this and he said “yes, apparently, has the highest rate of infant mortality in the developed world”. All this can’t be right in one of the richest countries in the world, it just can’t.

Cross-cultural Confusion Continued

16 May, 2006 at 9:15 pm by belgianwaffle

Example 1

Her: You be Daddy.

Me: And who are you?

Her: Me.

Me: OK.

Her: No, talk in French.

Me: D’accord.

Her: Papa est-ce que je peux avoir des crisps?

Me: I think Daddy says ‘chips’ honey.

Her: Papa est-ce que je peux avoir des moutons?

Example 2

Her father shows her a page from a book featuring food, animals and various flora and asks her to point out things you can eat.  Spaghetti is the answer he is hoping for.  She immediately points to a snail.

It’s not for ever, which is just as well, really.

15 May, 2006 at 8:25 pm by belgianwaffle

Last night

10.00 pm Bed

11.55 pm Plaintive roar from boys’ bedroom. Rise to quell the boys

2.30 am Return to my own bed.

4.00 am Further plaintive roar from boys’ bedroom. Drag myself into their room and begthem on bended knee to go back to sleep.

5.40 am Hand boys over to my husband and collapse into bed.

6.30 am Princess rises, husband abandons faint hope that he had hitherto entertained of getting back to bed.

7.40 am I rise to greet the day.

And that was a pretty good night. We can remember a lot of what happened. Usually it’s just a blur of rising and collapsing.

For the day that’s in it

14 May, 2006 at 3:21 pm by belgianwaffle

I answered the Mommy Bloggers questionnaire. My answers are under Anne and for reasons I can’t understand they do not appear to have featured my responses first. I blame the Sarcastic Journalist who replied also and, rats, she is funny.


13 May, 2006 at 5:36 pm by belgianwaffle

Her (provocatively sticking her hands in her gravy): What would Mother Borgia say?*

Me (exasperated):  Well she’s not likely to say much, honey, given that she’s been dead for a number of years.

Him: Are you going to explain about death to her?

Me: I think she already understands a bit.

Him: Really?

Me: It’s just that she doesn’t regard it as very final; Snow White, Jesus and Molly Malone are the only people she’s come across who’ve died.

*For reasons far too dull to go into, this nun who taught my mother at school, sets the standard for proper eating habits in our family.  Usually, in this context she would say “use your cutlery”.  Yes, of course, there was a saint Borgia, those poisoners were very well connected.

“Words are the Daughters of Earth…Things are the Sons of Heaven”

12 May, 2006 at 2:04 pm by belgianwaffle


Me: Stop pulling that elastic or it will snap and hurt you.

Her: Like a puppy that hasn’t been trained?

Me: Same word, different context.



Her: Daddy bought a ball?

Me: Yes, in the supermarket.

Her: A ball??

Me: Yes.

Her: Where, where is the ball?

Me: It’s in the hall.

Her: A ball for dancing?  A swirl of colour and a swell of music?

Me: Oh no, sorry sweetheart, a ball for bouncing and throwing.

Her: Ah, same word, different context.

And re the title, yes, we’re having a Samuel Johnson week, is there a problem with that?

Random Numbers

11 May, 2006 at 10:28 pm by belgianwaffle

“I recollect nothing that passed this day, except Johnson’s quickness, who, when Dr. Beattie observed, as something remarkable which had happened to him, that he had chanced to see both No. 1, and No. 1000, of the hackney-coaches, the first and the last; ‘Why, Sir, (said Johnson,) there is an equal chance for one’s seeing those two numbers as any other two.’”  From Boswell’s Life of Johnson

Not a particularly relevant quote but I’ve been waiting to use it for a long time.  Humour me. Yesterday I had the 50,000th visitor to my blog since, just over two years ago,  Locotes very decently explained to me how to install the site meter thingy.  If memory serves me, he entitled his mail “Advice for a raving egomaniac”.

No smirking please, 50,000 may not be a lot of visitors for some of you lot but I am delighted with myself.  It confirms my growing suspicion that not absolutely everyone reading my blog has been forced to do so by me.  I have a wide circle of acquaintance and many relations but I think 50,000, even allowing for repeat visits (and, obviously, my constant checking for comments), covers more than those.  Of course, there are all the people who are looking for waffles who end up here.  Sorry about that people.  I imagine that the person from Tokyo looking for baby Dior probably didn’t stay long either.  A lot of people looking for information on “suicidal bunnies” seem to be directed here. If you’re here for suicidal bunnies, I appreciate your difficulty, I couldn’t find anything on Amazon either. I suggest you may wish to email Hodder and complain.  Or you could stay here.  It’s delightful, 50,000 visitors can’t be wrong.

While we’re looking at user stats, can I say what a kick I get out of the world map that the site meter people give you and I see little dots all over the globe reading my blog (or looking for waffle recipes, as appropriate)?  I love the fact that someone from Anchorage used to regularly read this blog.  Please come back lurker from Anchorage, and don’t be unnerved that I know you are there, this is all my visit counter tells me; I cannot track you down and send you scary things in the post

So thank you gentle readers, for reading, it is great to know you are out there. And thank you kind commenters for commenting, it is lovely to get comments.  Any of the rest of you like to delurk?  I’d like that and, as you know, I presume, it’s all about me, me, me the raving egomaniac.

Linguistic Diversity

10 May, 2006 at 2:56 pm by belgianwaffle

Me:  I saw you playing with Fernanda; was it a bit hard since she only speaks Spanish?

Her:  I speak Spanish.

Me: I see.

Her:  But we spoke Polish.  Fernanda and me speak Polish.

Me: Really?

Her: Yes, I speak a lot of languages.  I speak French and English and Irish and Spanish and Polish and German and Greek and Dutch and Flemish and Italian and Tagalog and Flatten.

Me: Flatten?

Her: Yes, Flatten.

Me: Latin?

Her: Yes, Flatten.



Princess is frantically waving her hands in the air.

Me: What’s wrong sweetheart?

Her: There’s a fly and I’m afraid it’s going to pique the bejaysus out of me.

That’s English and French and Irish all in the same sentence.


Later Still.

Princess holds out to me a freebie book of Dutch fairytales we have been given in the chemist with our prescription (the chemist guessed our linguistic group and missed): Read it to me while I do a poo. [I love this job].

Me: But I hardly speak any Dutch, sweetheart.

Her: Read it to me in English.

Me: But it’s in Dutch.

Her: But Daddy read it in French.

Me: But Daddy is able to translate fairy tales from Dutch to French on the hoof but I am not because I don’t really speak any Dutch.


Her: I speak Dutch.

Me: OK, but you can’t read.

Her: You read it to me in Dutch.

Me: Er was eens een weduwe die twee docters had…

Her: Keep going.

Me: Are you enjoying this?

Her: Yes, I speak Dutch.

She gets her stubborn streak from her father.

Unhappy Cultural Differences arose

9 May, 2006 at 10:21 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle met a smorgasbord of international colleagues for coffee the other day.

Male Spanish colleague: So I have this Finnish woman working for me and she said to me “My co-worker Giovanni is sexually harassing me”. I asked what he was doing and she replied “Every morning he says ‘ciao bella’ to me; and he also says my legs look nice when I’m wearing a skirt”.

Female Italian colleague: But that’s appalling, he was just being a normal Italian man.

Mr. Waffle: So what did you do?

Male Spanish colleague: Well, I talked to Giovanni and told him to stop complimenting her on her legs and then I asked her to stop wearing such short skirts.

Female English colleague: That’s right, blame the victim.

Male French colleague: But that’s appalling.

Female English colleague smiles warmly at him.

Male French colleague: Seeing women in short skirts is one of the great joys of Summer.

Mr. Waffle had a break from all that today though and he brought the Princess in to show her round my office and we lunched together and then he took her off and then when I came home, I played with the kiddies while he put the finishing touches to dinner.  I have tasted 1950s fatherhood and I like it.

Progress report

8 May, 2006 at 1:12 pm by belgianwaffle

Since our trip to the Hague, Mr. Dutch Mama (who is a tall Dutch man) has become the benchmark for big things in our house, which explains this conversation.

Her: I did a big, big, big wee.
Me: OK.
Her (frowning): Probably not as big as Mr. Dutch Mama’s wee though.

Just to let you know, that I got to partake of this moment this morning because I was heaving over the toilet while she was weeing in her potty.  And while I’m being revolting, yesterday, the Princess told me that bugs look like water biscuits and I had to tell her that no, these were just water biscuits that had spent the briefest moment in her stomach and come back up into the bucket.   Anyhow, you will be delighted to hear that she has a) entirely recovered and b) gone for her nap which gives me the opportunity to lie moaning on my bed with a bucket clutched in my limp grasp.  Once I’ve finished blogging, of course.

I bet you wish you were me.

7 May, 2006 at 9:38 pm by belgianwaffle

Last night at about 3 in the morning I was sitting up in bed with both boys.  Michael smiled up at me (he’s a cheerful little boy), vomitted all over me and fell back asleep.  I put him down and turned my attention to Daniel who was grumpy and very warm.  He reacted enthusiastically to this attention and vomitted all over me also.  So, we got up, changed the boys, stripped the bed, rinsed the duvet and pillows and dabbed ineffectually at the mattress, remade the bed, fed Daniel some Calpol and persuaded them to go back to sleep.  Poor Daniel passed a very miserable night and, in consequence, so did we.

This morning, the Princess inspected her sick little brother and announced “I’m sick too”.  “Hmm” I thought.  She took a bucket to bed for her nap in the afternoon “in case I get sick”.  And she did.  To prove me wrong she spent the remainder of the afternoon throwing up into a bucket while watching and rewatching Cinderella on the television.  They have all gone to bed now and the house is festooned with drying bed linen and duvets and it smells of vomit and disinfectant.  It’s delightful here.

Could it get better?  Oh yes, did I mention that Michael is getting his first tooth?

The ecowarrior and the ecoterrorist go shopping

6 May, 2006 at 3:37 pm by belgianwaffle

Him: Where’s the Tesco “bag for life”?

Me: I threw it out.

Him (Gasps):  But it was a “bag for life”.

Me: But it had a hole.

Him: But they’ll replace it free of charge.

Me: Yes, in Tesco in Dublin.

I leave you to work out who imported this bag into Belgium.


4 May, 2006 at 10:06 pm by belgianwaffle

Her: What noise does a butterfly make?

Me: A butterfly doesn’t make any noise, sweetheart.

Her: A butterfly is like a giraffe.

And in a completely unrelated matter, I always suspected that when BroLo began blogging, the best bit would be his description of communal life. I think that this post proves that I was right. You may like to wish the good Brother a happy birthday as I note from my birthday calendar that he will be a year older as of Friday week and, let’s face it, your card isn’t going to reach him in time.


3 May, 2006 at 2:14 pm by belgianwaffle

The weather is beautiful here today and I have just started working slightly reduced hours meaning that I have a half day on Wednesday.  The Princess and I have just lunched and she is now napping while I idle.  It all feels very illicit.  I have been using the time to catch up on old emails. Maybe this is a little mean, but let me quote to you an email text in full:

Sorry, but I’m a French spoken guy. I would like to know how jou translate “Choisir c’est renoncer” in English. Hint: in Dutch it’s: Kiezen is verliezen. By the way, do you know an English spoken guy who would be happy to correct my English … and I would correct his French. The problem is that because of my job when I post a request I need an answer rather quickly (a couple of hours ).  Thanks and Congratulations about your baby.”

OK, Fabian, since you ask, I too searched the internet to find “choisir c’cest renoncer” in English.  It was not there or at least I couldn’t find it and since you are mailing me and the title of my blog post was your best bet, I presume you experienced similar difficulties.  If it’s any comfort to you, I looked up the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations in hard copy and couldn’t find it there either.  Yes, this is a quality blog.  Thanks for the tip on the Dutch translation though, if I’d known that at the time, it would have made all the difference.

Tempting though your offer to an “english spoken guy” is, I’m afraid that I can’t, just now, identify someone who would be willing to provide a free English language revision check in a couple of hours, even in exchange for your kind offer to do likewise to a French text.

Thanks for congratulations on my baby, it makes your message so personal.  Actually, I have twins and a three year old: which particular baby did you wish to congratulate me on?  No, I am not bitter.  No, really.  The sun is shining and I only have two loads of washing to do.

Sic transit..

2 May, 2006 at 8:55 pm by belgianwaffle

We’re still working our way through series 2 of the Sopranos.  Uncle Junior’s doctor shows up.

Me:  God, that doctor looks really familiar, was he in something else?

Him: Yeah, he looks familiar to me too, I can’t think where I know him from.

Me: The hair…

Him: And that patrician thing. Hang on, what’s his name?  George Bush’s opponent?

Me:  Oh yes, the swift boat veterans for truth guy.

Him:  Wait, wait.

Me:  I know it, I know it.

In unison: John Kerry.

New man

1 May, 2006 at 9:00 pm by belgianwaffle

Part I

Me: Did you have to change Daniel while the Princess and I were on the boat yesterday?

Him: Yes.

Me: What did you do?

Him: I took him to the gents in that cafe we were in.

Me: There was a changing thingamajiggy in the gents?

Him: No, I sat on the toilet and changed him on my knee.

Me: What did you do with Michael?

Him: I left him in the cafe in the care of strangers.

Part II

Me: Those boys have a lot of khaki trousers.

Him: Yes, it’s hereditary.

How we brought the bad weather from Ghent to Brussels

1 May, 2006 at 12:08 am by belgianwaffle

We went to Ghent this morning. It was a bright sunny morning at 8.00 and it is the last day of April, we dressed accordingly. Need I tell you that it bucketed down? Or that the Princess and I took a ride in an uncovered boat while Mr. Waffle strode the damp cobblestones with two chilled little boys? It was 7 degrees in Ghent this morning. Tomorrow is the first day of May. Global warming indeed.
In fact, it wasn’t as bad as that makes it sound. The Princess loved the boat trip. We heard about the 55 illegitimate children that Charles V left in Ghent. We saw a lot of ducks (always thrilling). The only difficulty was the woman in the front of the boat with the microphone “When will she stop TALKING, Mummy?” Mr. Waffle, as befits a man who took 3 small children to the doctor for injections while his wife was off on a “work trip”, was unfazed by the difficulty of trying to entertain seven month old twin boys in an unexpectedly cold and damp environment.

After the boat trip, we ran to the car in the pouring rain pushing our buggy cavalcade at speed over the cobblestones. Possibly in consequence, the double buggy appears to have expired. I’m trying to work in the phrase “I gallop’d, Mr. Waffle gallop’d, we gallop’d all three” into the text here, but it’s more difficult than you might imagine.

Oh and yes, it was fine in Brussels in the morning but the rain followed us back from Ghent and we spent the afternoon gazing dolefully out the rain battered windows.

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