After leaving university, Emma Beddington practised as a lawyer. Today she is a freelance writer, who has contributed to ELLE, Red, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and O Magazine. She is also the author of the acclaimed blog Belgian Waffle. She lives in Brussels with her husband and two sons.
Dog breakdown, angry pants, suburban ennui https://t.co/7Ny9aoqjZx
by @BelgianWaffling - 2 hours ago
RT @chapudlowski: Marcel Proust, à la recherche de l'argent perdu https://t.co/70f9ZO4YuW par @jmpottier
by @BelgianWaffling - 4 hours ago
@PhilBowker @PeppermintPig Oh VERY good. Yes.
by @BelgianWaffling - 3 days ago
@PeppermintPig Very troubling. I wonder.
@livesbythewoods He was actually trying to shove his whole head under the sofa to avoid being photographed #dogfool
The consolations of poultry - 3 hours ago
Did almost nothing at weekend and spent it torn between basic animal enjoyment of idleness and MAD WITH BOREDOM. Got into a strop yesterday about how bored I was but of course I really had no one to blame but myself, which was even more enraging.I sometimes forget that living here means I have to actually get organised if I don't want to die of boredom on Sundays, that or become a poet of the dusty, gentle, ice cream eating, dog walking repetitive madness of suburban Brussels (nope). This was never a problem in Spital Square (where just going out of the front door brought prostitutes, fighting, the upmarket, Gilbert & George) or Newman Street (the gaudy promise of the east end of Oxford Street, the hare krishnas, or the actual fecking British Museum if you were feeling classier). But, you know, there is the consolation of chickens here I suppose.RetailWent to Midi market on Sunday morning and became fixated on a pair of boxer shorts that were black with FUCK OFF written on them in huge orange fluo letters. Such angry pants! I couldn't help but feel they were speaking to me. What are you saying exactly when you wear them? I mean, yes, you're saying FUCK OFF but what else? Are you enjoying secretly knowing your genitals are telling your boss/fellow commuters/family to fuck off? (Yes) (Obviously). I want some.On Sunday afternoon after an abortive attempt to go to the cinema (thwarted by a series of diversions cunningly installed by the STIB in many unexpected places), we went around the local brocante, though this is a far too classy word for people just dumping shit out of their houses onto a tarpaulin and asking a punchy €5 for it. We played our usual "find the worst item" game, but since I spotted a hank of what appeared to be human hair (blonde, very dry) in the first two minutes, it became somewhat pointless. There is a new sinkhole in the brocante hosting street and a madwoman tried to engage us in conversation about it, the gist of which was that it wouldn't have happened in Ancient Rome.TelevisionIs anyone else watching that Life Swap thing on BBC2? I am very much enjoying it. It is not at all like Wife Swap because all the people on it so far have been thoughtful, open and interesting and not attention hungry maniacs who want to fight about everything in sweaty incoherence. I don't have anything clever to say about it, I am just enjoying (esp the guy from Guyana who said that a British sandwich was "like an old dead fish").DogWoken at 5:30 by dog coming into bedroom, which is his new neurosis: he comes in early in the morning and either stands next to the bed staring at me whilst licking his lips or clicks round and round in scrabbly pawed anxiety until one of us cracks and gets up to shout at him. There is a third option which is shut bedroom door, but then he leans against it, scrabbles, and cries. Husband thinks it is because he has developed a fear of the bin lorry, but it's not as if he only does it on bin days. He does it EVERY day, possibly because the bin lorry might be coming. I might need to do some kind of bin lorry flooding therapy with him to get past this eg. spend the day at the local dump which could well be considerably more productive than a normal day for me, on current performance.Actually, he has been strange all day, sitting under or next to my chair, staring at me and trembling, which is very distracting when you are trying to scratch your infected mosquito bites and read the entire internet. I just went to empty the washing machine and he followed me, then hid behind a sheet and stared out at me, just two mournful eyes and nose visible. Now he's back, standing and/or staring.
(Give me) Swelter - 4 days ago
My dog is a sexist ingrate part twoOver recent weeks I have had increasing difficulty persuading the dog to leave the house in the morning for a walk (a lovely, long, off the lead walk in a park). I have a selection of short videos depicting this, but am too lazy to attempt to upload them. Basically he sits in the corner, fixes me with an eye of hate and refuses to get up. You may attach a lead to him and gently tug at it, he does not give a shit, though may coldly look away from you to emphasise how Not Ok this walk thing is. In the evening, by contrast, when my husband and I take him out, he positively bounds to the door, thrilled to be offered the chance to trail boringly around the block and probably spend 5 minutes tied up outside Picard.My husband believes this is because the dog does not like MY walks (long, entertaining, dog-focused), but is totally fine with his (short, boring, human-focused). I was not convinced but he demonstrated that this is indeed the case with a galling degree of success this morning by managing to get the dog up and by the door in less than a minute. I wouldn’t say the dog looked thrilled, exactly, but he obeyed without question. How sharper than a serpent’s tooth, etc. He didn’t get what he wanted anyway because I still took him on a long, entertaining walk to the park (nb as soon as we're out, he's fine and expresses no further protest).Hang on, I'm actually trying to upload the video, let's see if this works. It does! Two parts!
Vigi-Dugong - 5 days ago
Reading (god, I should update that too, sigh, soon)Simultaneously reading David Sedaris Diaries and Diary of a Provincial Lady which has made for some confusing sleepy late night moments when I forget which one I’m reading, quaaludes or black taffeta? I am thinking I could do some short diary style entries here to kickstart the lapsed blog habit. We shall see. I seem to spend hours every day just staring dully at the tortoises as they try to ram raid their way into the house to eat the dog's food and sexually assault each other. It's my plan canicule, or possibly my Plan Vigi-Dugong as I told M yesterday, ie. Vigipirate but with more aimless wallowing and minimal leaving the house. I don't strictly speaking know how dugongs feel about Haagen-Dazs mini salted caramel ice creams on sticks, but I'm sure if they were introduced they would be in favour.SummerToday is the first day that is officially too hot for my uniform/fetish, the Gap Girlfriend Twill Stripe Chino and I am furious about it. I haven’t worn a skirt for, ooh, 18 months minimum and it’s not going well (aside: I tried to discuss the fact that I have in my middle years developed a major downer on feminine clothes in my Dutch oral on Monday, but it rapidly span out of control). My legs don’t go with anything, they are Shetland pony sturdy and now that I am confronted with them up close and not clothed in fabric I realise they are not just blue and dusty, which I knew, but also veiny. Ugh. I'm very body positive as long as I don't have to examine the actual reality of my body but in this heat it is unavoidable. Also: wig sweat.Family LifeExam season (80% lounging around the house, 19% reluctant revision, 1% actual exams) has dragged itself to a long-overdue close. I learned a number of things about Belgian geography, Latin and advertising methods, all of which I am now seeking to forget. The boys are now home, basically, FOREVER. I write locked, sweltering in my attic while they kills strangers online. It is a horrifyingly noisy business. They sound like a gang of male elephant seals fighting on a beach, all deep, throaty bellows and I can tell you that I have achieved absolutely nothing for the past few weeks except tidying two cupboards and preventing an ant invasion of the kitchen.New household rules must be established to deal with this terrifyingly long stretch of adolescent freedom, eg. you must get dressed at least twice a week, no killing strangers online before ten, don’t stare at your mother with undisguised hostility and scorn when she suggests you could read a book or that it's ok to be bored because boredom allows true creativity to emerge.Whenever anyone is really awful I suggest enrolling them on a survival course I keep getting emails about, where you have to make your own bivouac and hunt rats and learn about hypothermia THE HARD WAY. I think it sounds like good apocalypse training which is clearly necesssary in 2017 and if results are poor, I will be sending them both off for a bracing week of rat trapping in the Ardennes.MannersMinor altercation with elderly neighbour recently who called me out for the heinous crime of not saying “bonjour” to her as I walked past. Immediate reaction, and one I pursued, was to gaslight her, claiming that I had in fact said hello and she hadn’t heard me (I hadn't, she scares me), but on mature reflection a better and more long-term solution would have been to explain to her that I am English and that in my country the polite thing to do in an urban environment is to pretend the other person doesn’t even EXIST. And that saying hello, for me, is basically an act of aggression.CheeseHave turned, over the past few months, into a person who likes cheese, which is a troubling development after years of cheese refusenickery and neshness. Still only goat or melted, but the goat habit is getting out of hand. Had to have a v confusing discussion with man in cheese shop while trying to select a new goat, due to the paucity of my cheese vocab.E: I want something that isn’t too crémeuxCheese guy: Oh, so something coulant?E: UGH NO, DEFINITELY NOT COULANT. I think coulant means what I thought crémeux meant. CG: Sec? Pas trop sec?E: I do not know what those words mean applied to cheese. Is frais a thing I might want? Do I like frais?CG (indicating cheese): This is very frais.E: Oh. I tried that. I didn’t like it, it didn’t taste of anything. Maybe I need it a bit more affiné. I like that one (pointing) and that one (also pointing).CG (losing patience, but very politely): You should take this one then.E: Is it crémeux?CG: Ye… no?I bought his cheese. It was a quadrillion Euros and I don’t like it much, but am working my way through it bravely.Belgian news over past few months- Prime Minister deafened by race starting pistol- Medical students encouraged to show cleavage at graduation- New political crisis precipitated by the guy who looks like Laura Palmer’s dad from Twin Peaks who leads the orange party deciding he won’t work with the socialists any more, because the socialists are in the throes of yet another corruption scandal.- Profusion of holes throughout Brussels making public transport a magical mystery tour orchestrated by friendly but basically clueless blokes in fluorescent tabards.WE WENT DONKEY TREKKING
Leave the Important Items With Me - one month ago
I really missed my mum on Sunday, not so much because it was Mother’s Day, but because it was Mother’s Day and it was SHIT due to a perfect storm of teenageness + me being hungover and over-sensitive and my various lingering feelings about the patriarchy, etc etc.My mum often used to have terrible birthdays/Mother’s Days when I was young, because Prog Rock, although a saint in almost all ways, doesn’t really have much truck with end stage capitalism, and because I was a sulky teenage git and my sister was too young to do anything, and it would often end with my mother in a whirling, weeping fury as we ate a rubbish pub lunch somewhere, in silence. When I found myself sitting crying angrily on a pile of laundry on the basement floor on Sunday, I couldn’t help but think of all her disappointing festivities and how nice it would have been to call her up and tell her about it and laugh about it and insult family members and I could also apologise for our former shitness. So then I cried some more.ANYWAY. We did - some subset of us which may or may not have included the router - have an excellent pizza and I insisted on having a spritz despite being hungover and a pudding despite … actually despite nothing, I’m allowed a fucking pudding.
An argument of apples - one month ago
A smorgasbord of irrelevance below.
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