I don’t know how these Parisian women do it! There was an interview with one of them about the fact that her mansion on an island in the Seine is running under water and that it was quite difficult to get to her house. And guess what? She looked absolutely charming in her waders with a colorful Hermes scarf and matching spectacles. Even her hair looked nice and tidy amidst all the drizzle and humidity.
I would have looked like a drowning rat or like I was ready to come and clean the sewers. I never had this knack to look well manicured and dressed under all circumstances.
When I was still able to walk the Nijmegen Four Days Marches it amazed me to see a lot of the female walkers come in on the last day looking spic and span in matching outfits and hair as if they just came from the hairdressers. I looked more like I swam those 160 kilometers.
My husband told me not to be so disrespectful but I just could not help myself when I heard that the founder of the famous do-it-yourself chain IKEA has expired at his home at the age of 91. The first thing I saw in my head how the family got this flat pack delivered to build the casket. Let’s hope the instructions were more informative than those for the fold out beds.
I just love going to IKEA just to see the faces of a lot of the husbands when they arrive at the check out with a trolley laden with a pile of packs and see them thinking:’There goes my fragging Saturday!’ With my halo absolutely glowing I can honestly say I have never put my hubby through that ordeal as I am so good at putting those things together I could practically be a daughter of the late Ingvar.
We have a strict task division in our household. Men garden, rubbish and dog grooming. women DIY, housework and naturally the finances. I can positively hear you think. Housework for the women?? But as much as anybody from my generation I did the bra burning an insisting the men should share the cleaning and laundry etc., but to be honest I have found they are rather crap at it. The only man I ever found who could clean as well as a woman was my little mister Clean&Tidy, a cleaner I had when my children were small and I traveled for work. He actually hovered the curtains and always wiped all the skirting boards! I knew he was going to be a good one because when he came for the interview he stopped on the doormat, took his shoes off and put on a pair of slippers. I wanted to propose to him on the spot.
I am happy to do it in exchange for always living surrounded by a gorgeous garden which I only have to lie in and look at without ever getting my fingernails dirty. And being the Financial Director has it advantages as well. Cooking the books to hide that purchase of yet another pair of shoes he is sure that I don’t need. Or that dress that would definitely make me look thinner. We all know the trick ladies: When you are rushing to get to the theater or catch a train you appear in that lovely new dress. When asked by your husband “Is that a new dress dear?”, you look at him like he has lost his mind and say loftily”Oh no, I have had this little old thing for ages”. Knowing perfectly well he very rarely notices any changes in your apparel and is not quite sure if he has seen it before and forgot to compliment you on it. No new feminists I still think I have drawn the long straw.
This weekend we took our dog Bonita to a great nature reserve, the Drunense duinen, which consisted mainly of dunes and some woods. The dunes are not anywhere near the sea. It was great to be able to let our dog run around off the leash as they have made long dog-walking trails all signposted beautifully . In Belgium it is not allowed to give your dog such freedom anywhere, as far as I know. We met absolutely tons of happy people big and small with their dogs. I especially like to see small children having such fun with their hairy friend. Personally I think all children should grow up with some kind of pet to learn how to treat them. As long as their parents know how to do this too. We all have heard the horror stories of what some people do when they have had enough of being a dog owner with all the responsibilities and costs.
The RSPCA in the UK comes and checks your house when you want to adopt a dog. Which is a good thing as long as the inspector does not get power mad and tells you that you cannot adopt a dog of theirs, it would have been my third dog, because our huge garden was not completely dog safe! I could not believe it Victor Meldrew would say. So we went and got two dogs from a farmer whose Springer spaniel had 7 pups from an unknown father. And Jack and Lizzie went on to be the most loved and lovely pets for over 14 years and never were too much bothered by our unsafe garden. She probably meant well.