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**Clears throat**

Posted on: Thursday, 5 June 2014


This is my face right now. 

It's a face that says, 'Hello, beautiful world! Hello, sunshine!'

It's a face that also says, 'Bedders bought Hobnobs! I haven't had a Hobnob in years! Hobnobs in Belgium!'

And it's a face that says, 'Oh, IB and A level; I have felt your keen whip for nine months, and now I revel in the blessed relief of study leave.'

School is nearly out for summer. We have three weeks left, one of which is a trip for all students to an age-appropriate destination and activity. Year 9 go sailing in France (staff sleep in tents - SHORT STRAW), Year 8 go to some kerrrazy-action-adventure-monkeybars-wonderland in Kent (staff have to swing about on highwires/monkeybars - SHORT STRAW) and Year 7 head to Albertville in the French Alps. 

I mention this purely for the gratuitous purpose of telling you about MY trip to Albertville when I was in Year 8. What's that, Laura - you went on a trip to Albertville when you were in Year 8? Why yes, I did! And I don't know what the staff did on it, really - swilled wine and sunbathed, I reckon, while we visited every slightly shabby swimming pool within a 60 kilometre radius. And poor old Gary Scott was allergic to chlorine, so every time we visited a different slightly-shabby pool, Mr Mulholland would saunter in, ask the spotty teenager behind the desk a few chlorine-related questions in his Frenchy-via-Northern-Ireland accent, and then reemerge with a shrug to say, 'Sorry, Gary. Chlorine.' And in we'd trudge, the wretched swimming cap would go over the previous day's thick red forehead welt, and we'd be entertained for the subsequent three hours by Peter Cantwell diving down to touch the bottom of the pool and then breaking back through the water's surface with arm outstretched shouting 'Two times! Two times!' in the manner of Wyclef Jean (Killing me Softly was the song of that particular summer).

God knows what poor Gary Scott was doing. 

Sooooo anyways. What's the shizzle? Well, my mum and dad and my sister and my nephew (now two! not a baby! how did such a thing happen?) came to Belgium, so that was all rather busy but super-fun. Retirement has turned my charity-and-pawn-shop-obsessed mother into even more of a magpie and we spent a productive morning in Troc, which is basically an second-hand furniture emporium catering for all tastes, with everything from beautiful G-plan teak sideboards to fugly Footballers' Wives-style diamante-encrusted pleather sofas. We bought the green chairs above (TWO FOR FORTY FIVE EUROS! Sorry, I hate it when people do that - but seriously! TWO FOR FORTY FIVE EUROS!) and brought them home on a trolley, navigating roundabouts and dog sh*t - which was a larf. So we had a Sunday Swaparound - hence the photos. 

We spent a morning in Brussels Toy Museum for Theo's sake. The guidebook describes the owner as a "lovely man" who "can't say no" to the hundreds of donations he receives each year, and so result is a "slightly ramshackle but rather quaint" mixture of traditional displays in glass cases and "interactive areas". Reality = the girl on the door announces on entry, 'Everything you can touch, you can catch' (sic). This means TOYS EVERYWHERE. THEO EVERYWHERE. NO HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS. THEO, DON'T PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH DARLING, IT'S DIRTY - IT'S BEEN ON THE FLOOR AND ACTUALLY IT'S A CHOKING HAZARD...OH, AND NOW YOU'RE CRYING, YUP, COME HERE, WE'LL GIVE YOU A CUDDLE...  Repeat to fade.  

Also, it was mint.

Oh, and I'm having a baby. Yah.

Admittedly, this is bigger news than buying some green chairs (however lush they might be) or visiting a mental Toy Museum, but I've never been particularly skilful at this 'got something to tell you' business. So. Yes. So far my thoughts are alternating between 'Arrrrrrrgh!' and 'Ooo, these baby bloomers are delightful - PIN!' 

Please tell me it'll all be OK - that the responsibility of growing and caring for and raising a tiny human being with a HOLE IN ITS SKULL is not really that big a deal and definitely not something I should be having hormone-soaked nightmares about. Seriously, I could do without the nightly horrorscapes re: being an alcoholic country and western singer and losing the plot at a high-profile festival or the one about my teenage nemesis ringing me up about the fact I've missed my piano lessons for three years and Mrs Walker is really annoyed with me. I need reassurance. At the moment, I'm taking the fact the hospital smelt of croissants on my last visit as a good omen, but I could do with something a bit more rational, you know. 

Go on, tell me - it'll be fine, yeah?


picture above - yes, I have a pinterest board entitled 'Woof'. What of it?


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