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


“Oh, look at that!”
“Zoe, are you talking to me?”
“No, no – just the bathroom scales.”
“Oh, and what did they reply – WEIGHT?”




Todd, oh Todd.

I was away briefly last week and came back to a house that had been lived in by, well, two blokes, the Twat and Todd. I emptied the overflowing letter box and found a bill and a letter addressed to me from the police. This intrigued me as I can’t remember having a brush with the Law for quite some time – if ever. But the letter wasn’t about me, but Todd.

I called him downstairs and asked him why I had to go to the police station.

“Sit down, Mama,” said Todd, as he sat down himself looking rather shifty.
“It’s OK, Todd, I’ll stand.”
“Well, I bought this scooter from a friend called Bryan. He was selling it for €70 but I only had €35 so he let me buy it.”
“A scooter? Your dad will go ape-shit.”
“No, Mama, it doesn’t go fast enough so Bryan told me that I didn’t need a license – ”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Anyway, I was riding it and Thomas was on the back – I was wearing a helmet, he wasn’t and was rather drunk and the police stopped me.”
“Well, I was putting the light on and they took me in and told me that the scooter had been stolen.”
“Stolen? You bought a stolen scooter? Have you any idea what your dad is going to say?”
“Ummmm, I’ll have to pay a fine – ”
“Where is this bloody scooter?”
“At the police station.”
“Fine, best place for it. I won’t tell your dad – that’s up to you. You drink, go clubbing and so I consider you adult-enough to face the consequences. Welcome to the Real World, Todd.”

Todd looked at me warily as if he wanted to ask “is that it?” but to be quite honest, he’s 16 and 16 year-old boys do things like that and he’ll just have to learn the hard way. He’s terrified of having to pay a fine though – he’s rather fond of his pocket money.

And so that’s where I was yesterday, sitting in the new police station trying to keep my eyes off the policeman’s handcuffs which would make a beautiful addition to my bedroom and talking about Todd’s idiotic behaviour. The worst part is the fact that Todd had bought a stolen scooter, and this will go down on his ‘criminal register’. The stupid part of it all is that Todd has to go to court to find out what his fine will be, and that won’t be for a long time if it’s anything like my own experience.

Fortunately, the policeman and I agreed that Community Service is the best punishment as, he said, in most cases, the parents pay the fine. Although I would never pay the fine for Todd, I really believe that Community Service would teach him a better lesson than a quickly paid-off fine.

But thanks to a certain volcano, Todd didn’t have to tell his father who was stuck in Costa Rica, and is now at school for the week, and this weekend Todd comes back home to me. The boy owes me Big Time – I thought I was fairly relaxed about it all.

Too bad the lawn really needs mowing, Todd.


Spring is definitely in the air.

The hedges are looking slightly greener, there are wild flowers growing under my hedge adding a hint of colour to the garden and the lovely early sound of lawns being mowed can be heard. I even sat outside the other day.

So why is the weather so miserable now? The heating is normally turned off by this time of the year, but the house would be far too cold were I to turn it off completely. I put Herman in his outdoor pen yesterday and he didn’t move all day. When I brought him in and put him under his lamp he still didn’t move, apart from the odd twitch verifying that he was, in fact, still alive. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it snowed again, but then, that would be a tad extreme.

My spider bite was healing well until I accidentally knocked the scab off after my shower this morning. I am back to looking like some hag with the bubonic plague which, I’ll have you know, is the New Black.

Tatiana kindly took me shopping on Tuesday as she has her dad’s car while he is in Costa Rica, but I really feel that she should be helping me a bit more. How can she expect her mother to go out shopping in this drizzle? My hair will end up as one, massive frizz.

And that reminds me, does anybody have a decent, functioning lawnmower that I can buy second-hand? Just let me know and I’ll give you a time to deliver it. I can pay in euros, shillings or newts.

I can see daisies, you see.



Yesterday I had a cat-nap seeing as there was sweet FA to do and woke up with a huge bite on my upper lip. I am now looking for the tarantula that bit me so that I can bite it back.

This morning I asked the Twat how bad it looked due to all the virtual interviews I have lined up this coming week. He took a look.

“Well, you could always wear a burqa.”
“No, I am serious. I can’t go to a fucking interview with that on my lip.”
“It’s not that that I would worry about – it’s the rest of your face.”




Catching up with times.

I should stop complaining about Easter eggs being everywhere as the Twat has just right pointed out to me that Sunday just happens to be Easter. Where did the time go? I blame my calendar really as it’s confusing with today being the last day of March and therefore there are blank squares until I turn the page over and voilà! it’s suddenly Easter. Easter and still no job. Panic mode is setting in.

Todd came home last night with a friend as they both have to visit the Scout Camp where they will be cooking over Easter. Todd was also very proud to show off his new piercing in his ear. I’m not sure what you call that particular part of the ear, but he now has a stud on the bit of cartilage that covers the entrance to your ear. It looks daft, is covered by his hair and the Twat referred to Todd as looking as if he’s banged a nail into his head. He’s not far off. I simply told the boy not to show his father which should be fairly easy as he and PHT are off to Costa Rica for two weeks tomorrow.

If I still don’t have a job by 11 April I shall be going to stay with a friend in Switzerland for 3 days which should make a nice break. Coralie is soaking up the sun in Tenerife where it is already 30°C. She has now switched from the reception to organising the animation that the Brits so enjoy. Yesterday it was Bingo which she did in both Spanish and English. Tatiana is off to Paris today to organise a school outing and to check on the Youth Hostel etc. She’s a bit pissed off as half of her class are Muslims and the girls aren’t allowed to go without their fathers, or something, so Tatiana and the others have to do all their work for them. It makes you wonder why they are studying tourism in the first place – unless they can work at a reception in a hotel, but you don’t need a degree to do that. Oh well, I’m all for further education.

And that’s it, really. It would be better to scroll on by.


Sod’s Law.

My life nearly ended last night when I realised that I couldn’t connect to the internet. Far little is worse than this sort of nightmare, but even the Twat couldn’t get it working again. What on earth does one do in such situations? Read? Watch TV? Feeling very put out, I did the latter and watched Eastenders. Ten minutes towards the end the Twat said that he didn’t know why I was so miserable – apart from the fact that I was watching Eastenders – as he’d fixed the internet what I’d broke.

He didn’t tell me he’d fixed it straight away as he appeared to enjoy watching me wallow in my own sorrow, knowing that my mate Dave was simply dying to talk to me. When I told the Twat that he was in stitches. “He wants to talk to you? I can’t get you to shut up.” Lovely. What was even lovelier was the fact that I now had a technician coming around at 8 in the morning and couldn’t cancel it.

I was up at dawn this morning so as to be ready for the technician. 8am arrived. So did 8.15am. So did 8.30am by which time I’d had enough and decided to risk jumping in the shower. Just as I was rinsing out the shampoo I heard my mobile ring so jumped out, detected where my phone was as I wasn’t, for many reasons, wearing my glasses, and after much fumbling with wet, slippery hands, answered the call – too late. Bugger. I finished my shower and just as I wrapped my towel around me, the doorbell went.

My hair was wrapped in a smaller towel and I’d just applied two blobs of moisturiser on my cheeks so had no other option other than to go downstairs barely dressed and looking like a clown. The technician barely flinched when I open the door.

He barely flinched – I was almost naked and he barely flinched.

I think I will have to make a complaint about that as he could have at least remarked on my incredible legs or massive bosom. But no.

He fiddled around with his notepad and concluded that my modem crashed for a while last night, something that even I could have told him. Miffed that he didn’t remark on my extraordinarily superb body I was glad to see the back of him.

I then realised that I still had 2 blobs of moisturiser on my cheeks.


Home again.

I’ve been away in Holland for the past week and had a wonderful time in between job-hunting. The scariest thing that I did was to go cycling – I’ve never cycled in Holland before and it is scary. Using someone else’s bike with brakes that hardly work is also very scary but at least I didn’t do my usual trick of falling off. All in all it was a wonderful week with good, home cooking, fantastic company and a lot of laughter.

I’m back now to the on-going hunt for a job and now that the weather has finally started to warm up, to let Hermie out to play in the garden when the sun shines.

It’s good to be home.


Todd’s arse.

This is what happens when I leave my son in the Twat's charge for a weekend. They go out to Churchill's bar in Brussels and my son bares all to have the female guitarist playing on Todd's former English teacher's band sign his arse.

Now who’s the bad parent?


I must be emo.

Todd got this song into my head ages ago.  The lyrics are fantastic.



I feel like I’m at a crossroads in my life and am not sure whether to go straight on, turn left or risk going right.  This has been coming on for almost a year now so I think I shall carry on straight for a bit until I meet another crossroads – or get run over.

Reverse is out of the question.


It doesn’t help, you Third World Country.

Belgium seems to think that it will help this commune by cutting down on our gas and electricity bills.  Naturally, in order to do this, works have to be undertaken.  In order to undertake these works, our gas and electricity supplies have to be cut off.

It’s all very well telling us about this in advance; in fact, how very civilised of the commune.  But when you suddenly realise that there will be no gas or electricity from 7.30am – 4.00pm,  first thing in the morning by which time, if you are unemployed, it is too late as you suddenly realise that oh shit, that piece of paper on the kitchen table did warn me about this and I am now going to have to wait until this power-cut is over for my first cup of tea today and fuck the shower – I’m not exactly going anywhere.

There again, if, like the Twat, you are employed, I forgot to tell him as he usually has several cups of coffee and a shower well before that time.  Except this morning.  My bad there.  So seeing as the house was freezing again I decided to read a book in bed until the leccy came back on again, which it did, earlier than expected.  (I should thank the workers for that but I think it may be because the ground is frozen, therefore I expect several more power-cuts in the very near future.)

And talking about ‘cuts’ in bills, I was overjoyed to receive a letter entirely in Flemish which, when re-typed into Google Translation meant nothing more than a reduction in my house tax bill for the princely sum of €140.  Still, it’s better than a poke in the eye, I suppose.

And just as I was coming up here I realised that my water softener was making a very strange gurgling noise and that there was a red light on.  Knowing that my neighbours have the same water softener I braved the cold and pressed their stupid doorbell that plays ‘Green sleeves’ which sounds incredibly out of tune and moronic on the best of days – yet they never answer their door.  I have no idea why as I get on very well with them – but they are so anti-social.  So for all I know, my water softener is still making a strange noise down in the garage.

Just for that I feel like letting the Twat have his shisha pipe back to smoke at the end of the garden – but it wasn’t just them that he annoyed with that damn pipe – it was the entire road.

I’m always the last to know.



A friend visited us yesterday and turned to me at one point asking:

“So you’ve been pretty abstemious then?”

“Errrrr, What? What does abstemious mean?”

The Twat: “No, you wouldn’t know what that meant, would you?”



It was good to get away.

Thanks to the Twat I was allowed to “go fishing” last weekend with a superb friend of mine of at least 8 years.  We talked a lot, ate a lot and drank a lot, as you do.  Getting away was a great relief from everything and I hope that I can do it again some time very soon.

The Twat, on the other hand, was responsible for my son having his arse signed by the female guitarist of The dIPLOMATS – the singer of which used to be Todd’s English teacher.  I don’t doubt that his former teacher missed that.


Perhaps I should go fishing more often.



The house started cooling down slowly on Saturday although we were lucky to get some sunshine to warm up the living-room.   On Sunday morning the thermostat told me that the house had gone down to 15°C and I spent most of the day trying to find ways of crawling into Hermie’s cage and basking under his heat lamp with him.  I left his lamp on overnight and yesterday, the room temperature had dropped to 14°C.  It was positively freezing and Hermie didn’t emerge from his welly all day, but that may be due to the fact that I’d left his lamp on overnight for two nights in a row and so the poor mite wasn’t sure what was happening.

Tortoises need routine, you see.

One of the chauffagistes called me back yesterday to say that he could make it today and my pleas of desperation begging the man to come as early as possible paid off as another client had cancelled and he could come around then.  Yes, that very minute.

When he came around I explained that it was an old heater and that I wasn’t sure how much he could help me, but he seemed happy enough to look at my ‘antique’ (his word, not mine), fixed it, stayed to make sure that it worked properly and only charged €20 – the happiest €20 that I have ever parted with.

Slowly, the house started heating up and all I have to test now is the hot water.  I have asked for a quote for a new boiler and heating system – having the two separately seems to be the obvious solution for a house this size – it’s just the cost of buying them.

So I have heating, glorious, wonderful heating – and hot water.

You don’t realise how much you need these luxuries until they’ve gone.


Oh great.

Whenever the children were sick and needed to see a doctor they always adhered to Murphy’s Law and fell ill over a weekend.  Whenever something goes wrong in this house, Murphy’s Law also applies.

My heater broke this morning.

This means no hot water and no heating until I can get a chauffagiste in to look at my 16 year old boiler-thing.  He will, naturally, tell me that I need a new boiler.  I have been trying to put off buying a new one until I was earning enough money to pay for one but it appears that job or no job – I am going to have to fork out for a new boiler.  The old one is in a state – the front looks as if it’s been burnt from the inside and there’s a round patch where the front has got so hot that the white covering has actually burnt off.

I have tried calling a couple of chauffagistes but ended up leaving messages on their answering machines.  The first that can help is the one who gets the job.

That is, if he works with my make of boiler.

Belgium really doesn’t make life easy and only certain chauffagistes will work with certain boilers.  Surely, if you learn to work in the heating trade, you are taught how to deal with different boilers.  How different can they be?

In the meantime, it’s wrap up warm and a visit to Tony’s for a shower.