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, 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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