I was just in the kitchen thinking "what did I come in here for?" when it suddenly occured to me that I am now, and have been for a while, a Bruxelloise (or is it Bruxelloisee, there might be an accent on one of those "e"s). If you're reading this from Blighty I can tell you you're probably pronouncing it wrong, if you're in Oz or Untied State of Anxiety then I'm sure you are pronounching it wrong. ("ching" was a typo but I kept it. That's how God was invented, the higher being's child really wanted a Dog)
So, what is a Brusseliose when he's at home? Well, I've cleared the snow from in front of our house but left enough to make an ice rink overnight. Most of my tv channels (41 out of 44) are in languages I don't understand, most of my mail is in languages I don't understand. The end of my street has been a roadworks site for 18 months even though I moved house two months ago. I give over more than half of my salary in taxes to support four administrations in three languages and they don't even grit the street when it snows. Now they tell us they're not collecting our glass for recycling any more, we have to take it to the bottle bank, where's our tax reduction for that?
I like wine and cheese, I own a bicycle and I wander about in a daze most of the time so that makes me half French, half Dutch and half Belgian if broad stereotypes are anything to go by. If you didn't know, half of Belgium speaks French and the other half Dutch. There is a small German speaking corner but we don't talk about them.
British people love living in Bruxelles, we can just sit and complain all day long safe in the knowledge that nothing will ever get done. It's true, while the Spanish brought enforced Catholicism, torture, slavery and general nastiness to their conquered nations, the British brought Centralised Administration. But then a properly organised bureaucracy is like a religion in two vital ways - they take all your money and give you diddly back.
Not that the British brought Central Administration to Brussels, they did that by themselves. Or did they? You know this European Union lark? I think it's a huge master-plan of reverse psychology, how else could they make English the de facto language of Europe? I hope that one day before I die I'll be able to buy a Pork Pie in my local supermarket at 2am, or a Scotch Egg at 3am
It's a dream, in as much as a hope can be dream and a twinkle in a glistening dewey eye turns out to be a lump of aspic from lunch.
Next week; the North American Free Trade Area and Hot Dogs. Or, "Bush and Weiners".
The Following week: mumbling apology and shuffling feet
All that talk of food has made me even more hungry, oh yes, that what I went to the kitchen for.