The getting of the mattress deserves its own blog post. I'm sure it's all very symbolic, but I'm buggered if I know how.
My mission, should I choose to accept it, and what choice had I if I wanted something to sleep on tomorrow, was to get to IKEA at Zaventem. Not my choice, but Man with Van was doing another job out that way. So I found myself back at Botanique, where once I lived, where icy mist had descended over a tall hotel; the word SHERATON hovering red in the low sky. Bus didn't come, and didn't come. My hands were burning numb. I asked a similarly numbered bus if it was going to Zaventem IKEA. No, and the driver said I was waiting for the wrong bus. Like bollocks.
It is the law that all IKEAs have to be in places you would never otherwise set foot. Zaventem, so far out on the Chausée de Louvain that it's practically another country, is sort of an extended Croydon. IKEA has its own little announcement. But when you get off the bus, you have to hack access via the car park of another store, and then break through a hedge and walk around the back of the building on roads with no pavement. At least that's what I did.
Man with Van was waiting for me. It was almost like a date. So what if I'm paying him and he's only interested in my boxes? He led me confidently to the bedding department (shut up at the back) where I bought a mattress in English and French. Do they always ask you to lay down to test them? I felt a right prawn laying there in my blue rainhat.
I was just anticipating the hellish bus and tram home when Man with Van said he would take me. And then we did chatting in French. And he came in to see my boxes. All very professional, I assure you.
So now I have a mattress that is about, ooh, five times better than the one I've been slumped on these months. And tomorrow at nine I go.