Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Postcards from Belgium





  • The only thing I miss about being depressed is how much I could sleep.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Cucumber time

Peaceful and happy phone screen:


It's still the holidays, can you tell? In Belgian news, they call this 'cucumber time' - when nothing goes on and there isn't any news because people are too busy sitting in the sun.

I can tell you that the sun is actually promising to come out, which is good timing because one of my lovely sisters-in-law has come to visit for the week and we LOVE her. Last night we already sat in the sun, sipping mojitos, and I'm sure more of that will need to be done. I'm glad our week of autumn seems to have come to an end. I was wearing vests and tights again. Cardigans!

 Who needs news in cucumber time anyway. I can just sit and marvel at the tidiness of my phone screen. Aaaah.

(I just realised, typing that title, that if I was being my usual self I would find the term 'cucumber time' interestingly chosen. I genuinely think there is no phallic reference intended there. (Yup. Wikipedia confirms it's because there are lots of cucumbers being harvested right now.) It's probably just me. Again.)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Sausage stick

  • Marie went off to camp, and there, on the first day, she found a stick which smells like sausage. She kept the stick and brought it home to keep. She showed it to us, but then somehow her stick ended up in the washing machine, and then the drier. All washed and dried, the stick still smells of sausage, and she still sits around smelling her stick she brought from camp to keep. I think this is just about the funniest thing ever.
  • It's Mother's Day here, and everyone forgot about it, including me, which is a shame, because I might have got some breakfast in bed out of it. As it is, I didn't even get a Saturday newspaper, because Jack tried to go out to get me one, but Mother's Day is a national holiday around here (it's Mary's Ascension Day), so all the shops were closed. He won't go to the one supermarket which is open for me, because it is a whole street further than the other shop. Even on Mother's Day, a son's love will only take him so far. Babes would have made me lunch after forgetting about breakfast, but he is too busy installing his new toy, a satellite dish. I get it. I also want Channel Four and ITV back after seventeen years without.
  • I just wrote the title to this post. That is not going to generate any collateral traffic then.
  • Don't you just love bullet points? Once I get started with them, I don't ever want to stop.
  • I'm going to have to stop, though, because I need to do some laundry and some more writing before going to see the lovely An, may she have a famous novelist for a sister.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Now what?

I sent my two oldest babies off to camp for eleven days. Yes, ten nights in tents with teenagers in charge. They will be fine. I'm not worried at all. They are having the best time ever. Ever. I'm sure of it. Even the seven year old. Especially the seven year old. They are just fine. I'm telling you. Because they are.

I also sent my youngest baby off to a sleepover at his grandparents' house. They may be able to take him until Monday, depending on if their friends want to go out for dinner or not with them on Sunday. If they do, we still have no children until Sunday afternoon.

I genuinely am not sure what to do now. I was so lost I put a wash on. The weekend will be great, I hope. The last time we had a night without children was almost a year ago. Normally we go away for the weekend when we sell the children off to the lowest bidder, but this time, in a heart-stopping, death-defying, universe-mocking experiment, we are staying at home. We'll see how that pans out. I have a vague plan which involves some drink, some ice cream, and finally watching The Hangover trilogy which I got for Christmas. I will tell you I'm a little nervous. I feel like I have to magically be my old pre-children self for two days, and I don't remember what she was like. I should probably go shave my legs or something, but instead after my mother picked up Charlie, I put on that wash and collapsed in front of an old episode of 'Sister Wives' with a punnet of blueberries and a cup of tea. My hair is doing its frizzy thing, and I'm feeling quite sleepy. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Random thoughts on my return

  • It's winter over here. Tights, vests, cardigans. I wore a nightie AND pajamas last night. It's all rather painful after a week of Spain. The ghost image of my bikini mocks me when I shower. I've just put the kettle on, but Babes isn't taking the hint, so I will have to make my own cup of tea and will be right back for another bullet point.
  • Ha! And of course he wanted a cup of tea as well. Figures. Which attitude made me decide to make both of us an infusion of fresh ginger. That will teach me resenting him for accepting a cup of tea freely offered, and for resenting him for not taking the hint, and for hinting in the first place. Seriously - I need to get a little more selfless and just ever so slightly more helpful to that man. So when I didn't want to cook tonight, I made tsatsiki from scratch, and Tom Collins cocktails to start. That man works hard, you know. And when I thought loading the dishwasher might kill me, I did it anyway and hardly complained. I'm convinced it's good for my soul. Even if it's not, it's probably good for our marriage.
  • The Spanish holiday was amazing. We did nothing apart from swim, eat, drink, walk a bit for two weeks. Saw my parents. Then we got back home, repacked, and went off to England for my sister-in-law's wedding. It was beautiful. Everyone cried. Everyone. 
  • My brother and his wife had a third baby just as we were leaving for England, so I only got to see him three days later. Gorgeousness.
  • We travelled to the UK on the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry because of all the terrible trouble at Calais. It's lucky we did, as we would not have made it to the wedding otherwise. The way back ended up taking us eighteen hours straight, instead of about six, as a consequence. We got home at four in the morning on Monday. We're still recovering. The high point was when poor seasick Charlie vomited all over himself on the boat.
  • Today was Babes' first day back after the holidays. I felt guilty for being quite chirpy about it. I do love to be in charge. To be the big and only boss. I was relieved to find out he'd quite enjoyed going back into work as well.
  • I read an interview with a Flemish actress who said something that struck my soul. She distrusts people who are too free with compliments, because compliments are also a way of shining a light on yourself. To show how wonderful you are yourself, bestowing kindness on your fellow humans. I felt a little sick when I read that. I'm a complimenter. I'm meditating on how true her statement is for me, and how much I should tone it down. I'm completely in two minds about it.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Let me count the ways I love Conchita

How much better is the world for having Conchita Wurst in it? Immeasurably. There isn't a shitty day that cannot brightened in some way by her 'Rise Like a Phoenix'. Here's her Eurovision winning star performance to brighten your own day:


I adore her to bits, for being her own bearded, long-haired, beautiful self. For  being on the side of love, and acceptance, and difference, and don't even think of judging me because I'm not exactly like you or like the way you imagine I should be.

When I was getting ready for another half hour on the treadmill this morning, I knew today would be excellent because when I put my running playlist on shuffle, she came up first. As usual, she made me feel instantly powerful, strong, and determined. 'Once I'm transformed, Once I'm reborn, You know I will rise like a phoenix', in her vulnerable yet unshakable voice.

Even when the moment, inevitably, came when I thought - again - that 'Rise like a phoenix' sounds remarkably like 'Rise like a penis', I again didn't feel this detracts from the value of the song at all - it always gives me a bit of a giggle. Also, unlike a lot of people who know me, my ability to find the dirty and the sexual in any given situation has never bothered me. I choose to see it as my strength, my special talent, my secret superpower.

Today the world is still, again, and forever, better for having Conchita Wurst in it.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Fun and games in Puerto Banús

Babes and I walked from Marbella to Puerto Banús and back today. The apartment is up a hill, and altogether I think we walked about six hours - downhill, along the sea, tapas, ice cream, along the sea, uphill - sunshine all the way. It was lovely. My parents looked after the children, took them swimming, fed them, made them rest.

I have some photos I took over in the town of Puerto Banús, for your edification and entertainment. Please click on the photos if they don't look right. I'm having some more mobile trouble. 

Here's a local gallery:



And here's a healthful shop:


This is a store, with the important warning 'Exchange, no commission.'



And finally, my favourite:


Eat in ánd take out.

I have to nurse my sore feet now.