Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Becca Boo Beckity

I've moved!

Come, take a look around. Update your bookmarks, feed readers, links...

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009


A woman and her son walk towards me. The mother comes first, stooped, watching her step on the slippery path. She places each foot on the icy snow, one after the other, steady, careful.
As I get closer I hear the son chattering away. Around eight years old, a constant stream of exclamations and observations. The mother is tired and answers with short, monotonous sounds. She is neither excited nor interested. She looks up briefly, at the path ahead, and I catch her sad gaze for a short moment. She lowers her head again and I pass, noticing her young face, despite its lines and her hunched shoulders.
The son is behind and as I approach, is patting something in his hand, speaking all the while, telling his mother about his day. His arm lifts just as I pass, and propels the snowball in its arc through the air.
I don't turn to see but hear the snowball thwack into the mother's coat.
She doesn't say a word.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009


I'm not the superstitious type... ok I avoid walking under ladders but that's just sensible. In Brussels, we have a lot of ladders and laddery-type things that tend to pop up leaning on houses of people whose roof needs fixing, or who are moving out via an upstairs window (that's how it works here - with tall narrow houses and winding staircases it's the easiest way, believe me). These sometimes have big boxes, heavy tiles and/or slippery fingered exhausted men up them, so crossing the road is the only way of making sure you stay out of the danger zone.

Anyway, apart from ladders I may notice the odd magpie and search for its pair (one for sorrow, two for joy...) but I blame my father entirely for that one, passing on his stupid superstitions, and make sure to laugh at myself when I catch myself doing it.

I was in Bucharest recently, in a traffic jam on my way to the airport, thinking about babies. It seemed like everyone I knew was pregnant or had just given birth. One friend had just had a son, a family member had had a son and another was expecting, and three more friends were a month away from giving birth - one little boy, one little girl and one unknown.

We rounded a bend and crawled along the road, and there they were. Four magpies pecking away at something, in a huddle together. That's weird I thought I never see such big groups. I caught myself being grateful to them that they were a group and not just a single bird so following my tradition of laughing at myself I sent a text message to my pregnant friend who didn't already know the sex of her baby. You're having a boy by the way. The Romanian magpies told me.

He was born last night.

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Ta-Dah! November!

And just like that two months flash by.

Work has taken over with its trips and events: the kind of 'travelling' where you don't see a country, just the hotels and meeting rooms it has to offer. Weekends offer more of the substantial travelling with friends and family spread across Europe, but they go so fast they almost don't exist. I snap away, trying to capture the experience in a package of data that will then sit in my laptop, slowing it down with bulky memories.

We snatch the odd newlywed moment; he turns his wedding ring round and round as we talk; I sneak into the spare room and twirl in my veil while he watches on, giggling at his giddy wife.

This weekend we kicked our way though fallen autumn leaves, the park's fiery trees beaming brighter than the weak sun filtering through the clouds. We returned from the market laden with mangoes, kiwis and figs; cooked hearty Polish bean soup and made plans for the future. Our future to shape as we please. Our future to discover together.

That's the kind of travelling I like - the exploration of possibilities; discovering more than just another three star bedroom with BBC World and dodgy wifi.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Come back August; all is forgiven

The switch from August to September was brutal in Brussels.

One day I was sauntering along, bare legs and yearnings for icecream, a summer breeze relieving the sun's glare; the next day a gale was whipping round my hunched shoulders and I wrapped my arms around my chest, hugged my bag to me and tried to ignore the drizzle making its steady way down the back of my neck.

On Monday the 31st the roads were clear, children were playing in the park and it felt wrong turning the key in my office door. On Tuesday the 1st though, there were crowds at the school gates of crying children clinging to their parents, who tried to disentangle themselves, brush down their suits and walk away. Cars were beeping, screeching around corners to be first to the office, back to work. It felt sadly inevitable when I turned that key, shook my umbrella and knuckled down to a full day in the office.

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