This is something that the working world wants to know. I will tell you.
I bring about present inflation. You know the way there is always someone who has the perfect present, beautifully wrapped? I have become that person. I spend my days buying tasteful gifts and wrapping them in attractive paper (not very beautifully wrapped I must concede as I am no good at that). I buy presents for godchildren, birth presents, birthday presents, wedding presents, christening presents, you name the occasion, I am out there buying a gift. Scarcely a week goes by when I am not in a shop selecting something light (a lot of our presents need to be posted) but wonderful.
I buy sewing machines. A picture of the machine is below:
It may not be there forever as I think I only have a certain amount of space for pictures on 20six, so feast your eyes on it now, while it’s there. You will be relieved to hear that, in exchange for a well-spent tenner, the nice men who delivered it carted it up the stairs as well. I was round at the Glam Potter’s yesterday and she is very keen to inspect my purchase and will be over next week to admire. The Glam Potter is very arty and has sealed bids in auction houses all over Brussels. Her house is full of interesting things she has picked up in unusual places. I would like to go to an auction with her, but, you will recall, we don’t need any more furniture. I think Mr. Waffle may come over all Victorian and forbid me to fraternise with her futher if I start buying things at auction with her.
I cook, as discussed in an earlier posting. The other night I went into the kitchen saying “I’ll just check on dinner.. oh, doesn’t the sewing machine look nice in the hall?” Mr. Waffle asked “Are these words you ever, in your wildest dreams, thought that you would utter?” I must say, the answer to this is no.
Occasionally, I apply for jobs.
Often, I meet people for lunch. A friend said recently that when he hears the expression “ladies who lunch” he thinks of me. Hmm.
I wash clothes. This is a judgement on me. When I was growing up, my mother used to complain that I would throw things in the wash when I had only worn them for five minutes. I used to think, well what is the problem here, we have a washing machine… Now, everyday, I put on two washes and then bring them down to the basement to the drier and then put the clothes away. Now, ok, now, I’m sorry, that I was a stroppy teenager (I am reminded here of an Ogden Nash poem on adolesence, and if you click on this link, you too can read the poem). We are the grubbiest, or possibly, the cleanest, depending on how you look at it, family in Belgium. Every evening the laundry basket is empty. Every morning it is full to the brim. It is a cornucopia of dirty laundry, it never runs out. I’m thinking of buying a larger laundry basket.
Sometimes, I go to the art gallery.
I blog. I email. My emailing is not great though. My responses are usually deemed inadequate and far too short. I just can’t work up the enthusiasm for long emails. I tend to reply “yes” to two page missives and my correspondents get a little tetchy.
I mind the Princess.
I read, a bit.
I talk on the phone, although this has become more difficult since the Princess has discovered how to hang up the phone.
So now you know.
If you have not yet been the recipient of my largesse, hold your breath because, probably, even now, a tasteful, light gift is winging its way to you.
on 07 February 2004 at 10:47
Speaking of art, don’t forget to visit the “Khnopff” exhibition at the “Mus?e d’ Art Ancien”, rue Royale.
And speaking of art auctions, you can find all the details (dates, address)each week in Thursday’s “Le Soir” (suppl?m?nt “Immo”) (^_^)
on 07 February 2004 at 12:28
Do you know Ogden Nash? I love his poems. He seems to have been a very devoted father and I have copied below, for your delectation, one of his many poems about children.
Lines To Be Embroidered On A Bib
The Child Is Father Of The Man, But Not For Quite A While
So Thomas Edison
Never drank his medicine;
So Blackstone and Hoyle
Refused cod-liver oil;
So Sir Thomas Malory
Never heard of a calory;
So the Earl of Lennox
Murdered Rizzio without the aid of vitamins or calisthenox;
So Socrates and Plato
Ate dessert without finishing their potato;
So spinach was too spinachy
For Leonardo da Vinaci;
Well, it’s all immaterial,
So eat your nice cereal,
And if you want to name your ration,
First go get a reputation
If you liked this, there are lots more at http://www.poemhunter.com/ogden-nash/poet-6637/.
Also “Candy is Dandy the best of Ogden Nash” makes a tasteful gift and is easy to wrap. OK, enough proselytising for today.
Last night we booked a babysitter and with our pre-purchased tickets in paw (8.20 euros a pop, so not cheap) we skipped out to the cinema to see “Lost in Translation”. We were very excited at the prospect of going to the cinema, remember, we’re parents now… It was all very thrilling, so the fact that there was torrential rain and we were soaked to the skin by the time we arrived at the cinema was no problem. We were there in good time to catch all the trailers and then the film started, fantastic.Â Except, it was the wrong film. In the thundering rain, we had gone to the wrong cinema (look it’s easier to do than you think, the set up is kind of odd) and in screen one in this cinema they were showing “Mona Lisa Smile”. It was too late to change, so we sat there looking glum. To be fair to “Mona Lisa Smile”, if it wasn’t the only film we were going to see for 3 months, we might have liked it better. But it was pretty dreadful. The actresses were good but they were wrestling with a cliche-ridden travesty of a script. And we kept imagining what “Lost in Translation” might have been like. The fact that the male lead (there for decoration) was in college with Mr. Waffle added mild interest in a “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales” kind of way. But it was not enough to sustain our interest for the duration as we steamed dry, although we did laugh at his accent in a cruel way. We’re clearly just jealous, after all, he did get to kiss Julia Roberts.
At the end, they showed a selection of 1950s advertisements which were entertaining, in fact, something of a highlight. I particularly liked the one captioned “She’ll be happy with a Hoover on Christmas morning”. I find it hard to believe that this was true even in the 1950s.
on 10 February 2004 at 18:24
Should I take this moment to remind you how brilliant Lost In Translation is?Maybe not.
And despite your assurances I still find it strange you went into the wrong screen. And even stranger you didn’t get up and move to the right screen. Though I can imagine those 1950’s ads would have been fun – though I’m not sure what you mean about the Hoover….surely it IS the perfect gift?
on 11 February 2004 at 12:31
Comment Modified) Hello Holts, nice to see another (gorgeous, of course, Irish baby). Thank you for sweeties, very generous and partly they make up for the pain…
As for you Locotes, let me explain that the two screens are in different buildings and were separated by torrential rain (for any Bruxellois out there, UGC, Pte de Namur). Ok, the fact that they are in different bldings makes it sound like a hard mistake to make but it’s not – you’ll just have to take a leap of faith here. 0
on 11 February 2004 at 16:15
So you were in the wrong building entirely…….right…….you know, I’m not sure that’s making you look any better. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt being in a foreign country and all (though how long are you there at this stage?).Damn, Bill Murray was good….
Oops sorry, did I say that out loud? 0
on 12 February 2004 at 08:31
Locotes – Hmm. You be very careful young man or I’ll start dispensing more relationship advice (uses greatest threat..). 0
on 12 February 2004 at 12:03
If you have a baby, you will be familiar with the curse of conjunctivitis. If not, you are wandering through life in blissful ignorance. Lucky old you. At the end of last year, the Princess had an accumulation of green stuff in one eye. A kind of trail of snot from the eye as the Glam Potter so eloquently put it. This accompanied by pinkness and unhappy babiness is conjunctivitis. It is supposed to be very contagious. So, the first time she had it I washed all her clothes/bed clothes, wiped all her toys with disinfectant and rinsed all her soft toys. A bit of a herculean task, I can tell you. The second time she got it, I was less thorough (I mean, she had got it again, so, clearly, my previous efforts were in vain) but still reasonably thorough. She got it again at the weekend. I said to Mr. Waffle “Well, it’s obviously not that contagious, neither of us have ever got it”. Hubris, fate, kismet, all these things were lurking round the corner. I have it. Both eyes. I can wipe out the trail of snot (something the Princess is less good at) but I still look like a battered spouse who’s been crying her eyes out. I am actively contemplating wearing dark glasses. On the plus side, the Princess is better now. I am a bit worried about the cleaning up operation, I don’t suppose that it will be as thorough as it was in the past. Now that the Princess is more mobile, her little hands get everywhere. However, I suppose our hygiene standards are not what they once were in any event (as we observed only the other day while we sat watching her eating a beer mat).
And in other weird injuries, my right hand seems to have seized up a bit.Â I mentioned it to the Glam Potter who said that she and her sister-in-law suffer from this also and her sister-in-law’s GP says a lot of mothers suffer from it and it’s hormonal. Superb. I hope it clears up before we go off on our skiing trip. I can see myself on piste, exhausted after a trying night with the Princess, trying to “plant my baton” (this is how French ski instructors speak) with my sore hand. Great.
On a positive note, Mr. Waffle’s parents are coming for a long weekend. We’re looking forward to having them and not just for the babysitting…however, we will take advantage of their babysitting abilities so I expect the weekend to be a whirl, nay, a vortex, of dissipation.
on 10 February 2004 at 18:20
Oh, I wish that I’d seen your blog before today! Just been to Brussels for the weekend and was looking for recommendations of stuff to do. I plan to go back in May, so will be asking for advice then! Currently suffering from a surfeit of mussels – damn nice though.
on 11 February 2004 at 12:22
Thanks Minkleberry. You will be pleased to hear that she is better and I am definitely on the mend. You appreciate the misery of conjunctivitis, you will make an EXCELLENT mother!
Hi,oipd, will be happy to provide as much advice as I am able for your May trip. Weather is much nicer in May, so if you liked Feb, you will love May… 0
The parents-in-law have just arrived and have headed out to “flÃ¢ner around the quartier” as they put it themselves.Â It is nice to have doting grandparents on the premises. They admired her beauty, general brilliance and conversational ability. They even admired her hair.
The Princess sleeps. The poor little thing is, alas,sick. Last night she had a temperature of around 40 degrees and her little body was like a hot water bottle, even her toes were radiating heat. However, stoic as ever, she was quite cheerful and lay on her back toasting and singing to herself.Â Mr. Waffle said “at least she seems happy”. I said “well maybe she’s delirious”. “Good grief” he said “a problem for every solution”.Â This is true, I fear.Â She is much better today but I hope that she will be well enough for us to skip out and abandon her tomorrow night…poor baby.
on 13 February 2004 at 18:47
She’ll be fine! Remember last time she was sick and I was there, I too kept saying ‘at least she’s cheerful’ …!
on 15 February 2004 at 11:50
Ok, Mink and Nic, you were right she is fine, but see next post re chicken pox disaster..
Last night we went out for dinner for Valentine’s day.Â Mr. Waffle’s parents had kindly agreed to babysit, the Princess was almost entirely recovered from her bug and things were looking promising.
Then I got a phone call.Â A friend had been in Brussels during the week and had spent an afternoon with us.Â When he was here, he mentioned that both of his children were down with chickenpox.Â It never occurred to me that he might be infectious.Â I assumed he had had it.Â I would never in my wildest dreams go to visit a small child where there was the slightest risk that I might give them something. Â I assumed that, as a parent, he would apply the same standard.Â Apparently not.Â I am incandescent with rage.Â What a stupid, thoughtless thing to do.Â Mr. Waffle has indicated that this man is never coming near us again without a medical certificate.Â On the plus side, it appears that chicken pox in children is usually not very serious, on the negative side our internet research reveals that it is most infectious in the day or two before the spots come up, i.e. exactly when this wretched man was visiting and sharing biscuits with our Princess, so, odds on, the poor thing will get it.Â Furthermore, the incubation period is 10 to 20 days, so she will probably get it when we were supposed to be going on our skiing holiday, so no skiing for us.
Armed with this alarming information we went out to dinner.Â We could only get a booking for 9.30, so we were both kind of hungry.Â I had come down with the Princess’s cold so I had a sore throat, headache etc., slightly improved by paracetemol consumption.Â The restaurant was (understandably) heaving.Â We had to wait to be escorted to our table in a distant and less glam part of the restaurant, nobody took our coats which sat on the radiator alongside us for the duration (except when the slid down on top of us).Â Our wine failed to materialise until we had nearly finished our main course.Â When we asked where it had gone our waitress gave us two glasses of white.Â We had ordered red.Â We had been given someone else’s bottle.Â Â The red, when it finally arrived, was almost undrinkable. We had ordered water but never got glasses for it despite repeated efforts to grab a waitress.Â Starters were expensive and mediocre, main course was, in fact, fine.Â However, when we were offered the dessert menu, for the first time ever, I said, no just the bill, thanks.Â To get to the bathroom, I had to wait for two members of staff to finish a blazing row (apparently some people had left without paying the bill – could you blame them?).Â Naturally, our conversation over dinner related almost exclusively to chicken pox (which, I concede was not the fault of the restaurant) which is not romantic, I think you will agree.Â We had a miserable time. I’d rather have gone to Mona Lisa Smile again.
Things are much better today, you will be glad to hear. Princess is completely well again (except for the threat of chicken pox, of course) and weather is lovely. I am on the mend and the Princess has gone out for a walk with her father and grandparents leaving me the run of the house, the Sunday papers and a couple of croissants.Â It could be a lot worse.