"You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart. You’re heading for a breakdown, better pull yourself apart. " - John Cooper Clarke

Time for hibernation.

With the job-front looking bleak and the cold weather coming in for real this time – I mean, it’s going to rain tomorrow, and I’ve still not cut the grass, I’m tempted to stay in bed all day. It is so difficult to get up in the mornings when I can see that it is grey outside and that obviously means that it’s cold too, that I’m very tempted to hibernate. For real, this time.

It’s been over a year since I have been out of work and I hate not having a routine. Before, it was get up, shower, get dressed, get the tram, work, come home – and I miss that terribly. Nowadays, it’s more of a routine of wake up, decide whether or not I want to get up, read, drink tea, watch TV, drink tea, eat a bit and then go to bed. I used to have a reason for getting up, going out and ending my day in front of the TV – but now I don’t. I feel lethargic and a total failure when day after day I cannot find a job.

The job centre in the middle-of-bloody-nowhere is going to call me in very soon to offer me jobs – which will all be Flemish-speaking – and perhaps offer some training in IT and possibly to better my ever-dying French. Well, maybe. But usually that’s done once you have secured a job, which at this rate is a bit of long shot.

I no longer go out, which is for the better as my budget is tighter than ever, and feel terribly despondent. I try to avoid my father on Skype as his first words are always “have you got a job?” and am grateful for the books that I have, although I seem to be reading them rather too quickly, and coming from a slow reader says something.

Coralie is looking to move out early next year which will leave me alone for four months while Tatiana is in Madrid doing her stage and Todd spends every other weekend here. I really should be clearing out the house and down-sizing whilst looking for a ground-floor apartment – if possible – around here as I have to move sometime next year. Todd is as upset about this as I am as it is the only home that he has known. This house is the only place that I have ever called home seeing as I have been living here for over seventeen years.

So that’s what I should be doing.

Clearing out.



  1. Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see you’re back
    Sad to hear you’re glum

    Chin up Zed :-)

  2. Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    You will get through to the other side.I’m sorry that you’ve got to think about moving on top of everything else.

  3. Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Not being able to find a job does not make you a failure, it just makes you non-working in an office.

    Please don’t hibernate for too long. Go for walks, rain or no rain. Call your friends, drink tea, make plans, write stuff and hawk it to a magazine.

  4. anonymous
    Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Would teaching English be an option? Even if you worked just a few hours a day, it would give you some of the structure you’re missing and get you out of the house…at least for a while…
    Hope your luck changes soon and you find a job.

  5. Anonymous, too
    Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    Mme. Z, sorry to hear things seem so grim. You might want to ask your doctor about new (or new dosages of) antidepressants.

    If there are volunteering opportunities or free classes (for almost anything) near you, try some to get back into a routine. They may even result in some job leads.

    Also, start making a wish list of what you want in your new abode. For example: a dishwasher in the kitchen, a prettier boudoir with shelves for the tiaras, a bedroom for Todd that can be cleaned by simply hosing it out, even (dare I say it?) a shed or dungeon for storing the Twat.

    And remember, your loyal readers appreciate you. Your daughters and Hermie love you. Todd and the Twat. . .are Todd and the Twat, Lord help them! ;-)

  6. Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t comment often but I do read. I agree completely with the idea of seeing a new place as a fresh start on something. It’s done wonders for me when I was in times like you are now. People on the interwebs are pulling for you.

  7. Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Hi Jessica. I don’t want to move – it will feel like going back to my nomadic lifestyle, trying to find a home. And I can’t buy, only rent, and you know how expensive that is here.

    Anon, too – I tried volunteering but because I’m looking for a job they won’t have me! Sometimes you just can’t win. And yes, I have thought about going back to my doctor :(

    anon, I couldn’t teach English to save the world – I get all the tenses mixed up. As for my grammar…

    GG, yes, I may start going out for walks again.

    Anji and toadrunner, many thanks.

  8. Eclipse
    Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Long time reader but I rarely comment. So sad to hear you are thinking of moving and still without a job. Just a thought, teaching english doesn’t have to include grammar, how about offering conversational english? That’s what I’m thinking of doing over here in Finland. I have a job, but its badly paid and I figured English is the only other skill I have that I can use. It’s just a thought anyway x

  9. Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    If I can teach English, you can. All you need is an ‘Oxford Practice Grammar’ and you can learn as you go. Conversation is also something that people will pay for.

    Translating stuff into English, though I hate doing it myself. I can’t do the other way, my French isn’t good enough.

  10. Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m being forced out of the house. The Ex was crafty and, knowing that I didn’t know the law 17 years ago, got me to sign the papers for the house the day day before we got married.

    This meant that I only had one third of the house – rather than half of it had we been married. This has gutted me and I really do not think it’s fair, considering the amount that I have poured into this house since 1999.

    I shall look into teaching English – even English conversation – it’s a start:)

  11. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    My cousin and her family lost their family home to her ex, everything seemed legal, but when you check out the little details, you KNOW she lost it.

    If you need help teaching English, I can help you, that’s what I’ve had to do to earn my own, here. It’s not difficult once you get the hang of it, just follow a routine and you’re on your way.

    I still think you’d make a really cool writer for mags, I don’t know why, just a feeling.

  12. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I am with guyana on the writing, you should try.

    Have I missed something here, where’s the twat?

  13. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink


    you need to go back to last Nov…

    >Moving on.
    >It may take a while but the clues have been there since the summer. I’m not going to give up just yet, but give me time.


    Share/BookmarkBy Zoe | Posted in 1 | Comments (24)
    Monday, November 16, 2009 – 8:44 pm
    >It’s over.
    >And that’s that.

  14. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Like Helen, I hadn’t twigged either.
    Oh Zoe, no wonder you’re feeling down. There’s lots of support from your blogging friends but if you feel like a chat email me with your phone number please.

  15. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    And you always have a handy, bendy (and virtually indestructible) Kenny to call upon. With a few days notice, I could be over there in a flash. And I will be descending on you again as soon as I can organize logistics.

  16. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the Twat and I have gone our separate ways which was very upsetting. We are, however, good friends and get on really well. I have moved on and have met someone else, but will always love the Twat.

  17. Gilles
    Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    wheres the Twat in all this?

  18. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    He’s moved near here, although I don’t know where.

  19. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Do try to keep up people.

    How many Kylie posts have you seen in the last 2 years?

    Zed, sorry if I blew your cover.

    Should you rebrand and MBWAT?

  20. Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink


    Lots of scope Z

  21. Lou
    Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Um, long time reader of your blog. Sorry you’re having a rough time of it, but one thing occurs to me: why don’t you learn Flemish?

    Apols if the reasons for your not doing so have already been explained, but it seems a no brainer to me. Books out of the library…evening classes…asking friends / neighbours to help you out…

  22. Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Martin, the Twat is always going to be a twat, no matter how hard he tries. And he’ll always be my Twat too. You didn’t really blow my cover – it was pretty obvious.

    Lou, I need to concentrate on my ever-dying French before starting Flemish again.

  23. Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    ‘Coralie is looking to move out early next year which will leave me alone for four months while Tatiana is in Madrid doing her stage and Todd spends every other weekend here.’

    I know my mind has been on other things but where is Q?
    Like me routine for you is a life line so try to establish some sort of programme including a daily breath of fresh air. You know it makes sense. I really do sympathise and hope for better things for you.

  24. Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    They’ve broken up Pat :-(

  25. Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Really sorry to hear that you’re going though a shitty time. But it will get better, it honestly will.
    Take care of yourself Z.

  26. Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh I’m so sorry.

  27. Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s not quite as good as a job, but your friendship has been a help to me, and your advice and good humor during my own troubles has propped up my spirits on occasions when I needed it most. You have this ability to make people feel good about themselves Zoe, whether it’s in your writings, or in your conversations.

    Hang on to yourself, and those who care about you. They will get you through all this, and you can count me among them.

  28. Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    oops sorry, I never thought I was clever and now I know I am slow on the up take too!

  29. Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about it Zoe! Usually what works for me when I am feeling down is a change, like a holiday or meeting new people. But I know how difficult this may be with a tight budget… I hope that you’ll get through this soon. You are a good writer and I am sure that it will help you a lot!

  30. Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Seventeen years! So sorry about it all, no suggestions.

  31. J
    Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    HI Z,

    Very sorry to hear about the house and Twat after all these years. Hang in there.


  32. Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    And is the new boyfriend sufficiently twattish that you can honourably keep the blog title? “My Ex is a Twat” doesn’t have the same connotations at all.

  33. Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Zoe: I tried to email you re chemo but the addresses didn’t work.

  34. Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I’ve been there. I was out of work for seven months after being made redundant. I then had a really shitty job with even shittier pay that I quit to take a 3 month contract with the pharma industry. I now have work until the end of the year – but fear that at the conclusion, there will be nothing else.

  35. Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I hope things start to look up soon

  36. Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Oh god, another rejection today. This is doing wonders for my moral.

  37. Pete
    Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I rarely comment, but been reading for yonks. I had my suspicions that the Twat had gone, but glad it is reasonably friendly between you. Been there, done that, so know how you feel. deep sympathies, but you don’t want that of course Keep your chin up (not too high, or you’ll trip over)

  38. Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Well this is a pickle. I was going to ask what has happened to the twat, but see you have gone your separate ways.
    Has Belgium gone that bad that you can’t find a job? Or is it the lingo problem?
    Are you able to study and get paid while you do?
    Tell me what you would do if you had to. Bottom line, no bullshit. Would you clean toilets, mow lawns, sell insurance or houses. Put matches in boxes in a sheltered workshop. Dress up or dress down and get out there and demand a job. School tuck shop, shopping mall attendant. [No sorry I draw the line at working in shopping malls, please forgive that one]
    I hope by now this is all irrelevant as you are gainfully employed. XX

  39. Kenny
    Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    If you need a break, you’re quite welcome to come over to Wigwam. I have what looks like Maplins but is actually a spare room.

  40. MeToo!
    Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi, just stumbled on your blog and spent an hour or two catching up on your past year. Sorry about your circumstances, but stangely comforted too. I’m in a similar position – made redundant over a year ago and haven’t been able to find another job. Getting really scary now – can’t even get on the dole, due to a strange Belgian technicality. Got two kids, early 20′s, still in and out of home.

    If you ever feel like a coffee and chat about how to get through to the other side (i.e. jobwise, etc!), do let me know. Any excuse to get out of the house…

  41. Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Grump, the fact that I don’t speak Flemish has never been a problem before, but I guess that this economic crisis has made jobs harder to get.

    I’d do just about anything but I am hindered by having a bad back, so that puts a stop to a lot of jobs – and my French is fast dwindling – although I can still swear pretty well as proved today when I saw someone reverse onto my front lawn. Bloody Belgian drivers.

  42. Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    The joy of unemployment in times of crisis. So European.I actually feel more sophisticated because of this.

  43. Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Go and see someone legal about the house, if you can. You may be able to plead that you didn’t speak the language well enough to understand what you were doing.

    Rob’s father did the same in the UK when someone tried to get him to sign away his rights to the thing for the cement mixer trucks which he invented. He won.

    (Yes, it’s because of him we see those huge twirly things delivering cement – pity Rob didn’t inherit the practical genes from him.)

  44. badmash
    Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

  45. Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    hmm, have had some experience in this area

    the decline in estrogen that pre menopausal and menopausal women experience is a nasty suprise for everyone, it’s absolutely crippling !

    HRT is a good answer except for increaing the risk of uterine and breast cancer, however the younger you start the lower the risk

    estriol has a lower risk but is not as effective, estridiol has a higher risk but is more effective

    if you ever try either, a drop of iodine tincture on the wrist once or twice a week will help lower the risk of uterine and breast cancer

    really the brain sorta 3/4′s shuts down, you need to look for ways to increase functionality and reading to pass the time or watching tv really hurts your developing new survival strategies

    you are different and need to be careful and innovative to make your way

    unemployment and free time is a gift if you use it properly!

  46. Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Andrew, thank you for your knid words but I have been told that I am not pre-menopausal….

    I am reading plenty of books but the will to live is waning, especially after yet another rejection yesterday from a company who thought that I was a “very strong candidate” – back in February.

  47. Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    if one wishes to have good health in older age you have to make your own judgements

    some women are more affected by the drop off in estrogen than others and earlier, possibly as early as thirty


    doctors are idiots

    also you are partly autistic, you must have observed this, you will always be an outsider

    self employement is pretty well the only way

    regardless, if you don’t have good specialist skills then once you are over 40 employment becomes almost impossible !

    advertisng would seem to fit who you are, you really are very talented but seem to be locked into jobs that don’t fit and are below your level

  48. Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    what i am saying is some women, any small amount of estrogen drop off really effects them and from 30 it starts to drop off

    estrogen is one of the marvels of nature, it actually enables the body to self renew

    you could be getting thyroid problems as well

    modern life is just a nightmare health wise

  49. Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    a simple way to test the thyroid is to get some betadine antiseptic cream (which has povidine iodine in) and put the tinest amount on the skin in the morning and see if that makes you more active later in the day

    i actually prefer the standard iodine tincture antiseptic and just put a drop on the wrist and rub it in and see how that goes

    just try it the once or twice to get a feel for it and any potential improvement

    too much iodine is a problem as well

  50. Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Andrew – Excuse me, but what medical training have you had? Diagnosing someone as autistic is pretty harsh, especially from someone who doesn’t list their background or credentials.

    “doctors are idiots” – Some are, yes, no argument there. But a blanket statement like that tells me you have an agenda. Do us all a favor and stop dispensing medical advice. It makes you seem more like a sideshow barker than anything else.

  51. Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    mr. nightime would you please read what i have written

    i have not diagnosed zoe as autistic but have said that she is partly autistic which may or may not be news to her but i suspect not !

    as for her family and ex’s!

    let me also say i am partly autistic, it’s not necessarily bad, any great talent like newton, leonardo da vinci, einstein, picasso, dali, sir henry neville, the list is endless, are pretty much autistic

    einstein was so autistic it wasn’t funny, couldn’t even dress himself

    doctors can see up to 20 or 30 people a day, you would have to be blind to think they have your best interests or are even capable of taking an informed view of them

    the proof of the pudding is in the eating and my heatlh is very good and i don’t have that from going to doctors or naturopaths but sorting out issues myself

    theres nothing more pathetic than people who take a passive, “doctor knows best” approach !

    there is a modern waste land of the medically dependent and injured, maybe you are there, but i am not !

    i let people make their own judgements but am the developer of the bioflm carbohydrate diet and compendium supplement program all of which is extremely well researched and is linked to by by name

    its volunteer, theres no agenda except i did get and am involved helping parents of children with autistic spectrum developmental disorders on the web

    this area is not medical but premedical with the aim of avoiding ending up in the modern living crucifixion of medication, surgery and chemotherapy!

    i did feel for zoe a bit because i can see where she’s going, but attitudinally i think she’s a bit like you, i have learnt not to take any grief, there’s such a wasteland of middle aged women with wrecked health now who have very little interest in improving their situation

    having said all this i should make clear that in my experience and observation the natural health scene is also a disaster area.

    actualy mr. nightime (sleep issues?) now i think about it, you are not disputing that zoe (and no doubt the majority of readers on this board) are autistically traited, but that it is a harsh judgement!

    well how every much we may pretend, there’s little to compare to the aging process for harshness

  52. Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    corrected link, this is my web index page, the compendium link is towards the bottom !

    click on my name, all zero of you ;o)

    i’m not actually that interested in missionizing, too busy !

  53. Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Andrew, please go away as you are becoming insulting now. Anyone can see that I am depressed, not partly autistic. You never really did answer Mr.Nighttime’s question so my guess is that you live in a house full of ‘healing crystals’ and chant strange ‘songs’ to heal the already dead.

    Honestly, we are laughing at you now, so whatever good you intended doesn’t work for me, thank you. And referring to my past relationships is way below the belt – I believe in the future.