On Saturday morning the boys and I went to the supermarket leaving the Princess and her father to be sick together. On our return, the Princess had, miraculously, completely recovered and her father was sick as a dog.
The children and I took ourselves off to the Brocante, you know, the Belgian experience where they close off the streets, add some chip vans and neighbours sell unwanted clutter to each other. It is surprisingly appealing. The afternoon took us off to a birthday party where the anglophone world was represented by a New Yorker, an English speaking Quebecer, an English woman and, my favourite, her half Irish (Kerry), half Spanish husband. Their little girl looked entirely Irish/English, definitely a pale Northern European and their little boy was entirely Spanish. By the end of the party, Mr. Waffle had stopped vomiting and was in a position to come and collect us. Good news as our paediatrician would say.
By Sunday, my loving husband was largely recovered. We took ourselves off to enjoy car free day. My colleagues were saying today – where did all the children come from at the weekend and I felt like replying, they were all mine. There were no cars anywhere in Brussels, all 19 communes. I insisted on taking the children out so that they could scoot and pedal up and down the road. This turned out to be a bit of a disaster as the boys soon lost interest in pedaling and began to try to throw themselves under the odd passing taxi. Undaunted, we took the tram into Place Royal where there were bouncy castles and farm animals and all manner of excitements. Sometimes I think my standards for high entertainment have really plummeted over the years. It was good, though. I was also allowed my obligatory moment’s smugness when I read in the paper that in Dublin they closed exactly two streets to cars. A token gesture, surely even they must feel. All over Brussels in odd corners there were neighbours who had hauled out tables and chairs to have lunch together in the middle of the street. It was lovely. Over on Bxlblog, they’re saying they should do it once a month, wouldn’t that be fabulous?
And then, in the afternoon we went to the “Fair of Gascon produce” in the Sablon. They went the whole hog and decorated the Sablon to look like a French village square. They also supplied a small free merry-go-round. This was, frankly, disastrous as the two men drinking wine and pressing the buttons were indifferent to order and the rule of the jungle prevailed in getting your children onto their preferred or any ride. We retired early with only minor injuries and took home some foie gras and cassoulet to nurse us back to health.