They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. Similarly the filthiest days are just before you get a washing machine. Yes, I'm going to be a proud washing machine owner. And because I really don't want to do one last big ceremonial trip to the Wassalon I am recycling. And doing a little handwashing. I just pick up the thing that I wore longest ago and see if it has food on it. It's no good sniffing them because my sense of smell is still absent. I should point out that I shower every day and pour on some lemony cologne. I would hate to be smelling like a three day old pizza and not know. The washing machine is due next week, provided that the Gentse Feesten don't get in the way.
Oh yes. Gentse Feesten. For 10 days the entire city goes barmy. I will disappear to Paris for part of it, picking my way over discarded bodies and empty tins of Jupiler to find the slightly displaced tram. I have no idea what to expect but, suffice to say, I am close enough to feel the sweat-spray from the nearest stage. I think it will be like the storming of the Bastille, but without the storming or, indeed, the Bastille.
In home news, something a bit odd happened the last couple of nights. On Monday night some police turned up. They said somebody in a neighbouring building had heard screaming and they were checking to see if people were ok. I assured them I lived alone, was watching a film, and had not been screaming. On Tuesday night some police turned up. Again with the screaming. This time they asked to come in. Now, while I am always happy to entertain young golden skinned men who have guns, it was beginning to feel a bit odd.
They asked if I lived alone and did I have a boyfriend. Seems a bit of an extreme way to meet women if you ask me. THESE ARE MEN'S SHOES, shouted one, the scent of a perp in his golden nostrils. THEY ARE MY SHOES. I HAVE BIG FEET. Bloody hell. I told them there was no-one here but they insisted on looking around. At this point I got on my quite high horse and told them it was not nice not to be believed. They said that it wasn't unusual for women to say they were ok, but for the abuser to be hiding somewhere. And off they went again, probably not quite satisfied because of my dodgy footwear.
So now I'm expecting them to turn up. Thing is, I've lived here nearly eight months and I've heard a lot of things: trams, stag parties, rubbish music at 2am from upstairs, the kids above the Chinese restaurant behind me having a sibling barney, rapid chopping (from one of at least two restaurants) and the general noise of central city life. But I have heard no-one screaming. Granted, the last two nights I've been watching films with my headphones on. So tonight I am headphone-less, cocking my ears to hear, above a terrier yapping and my dishwasher, and the trams number 1, 4 and 24, and various al fresco diners, a scream. So far, nothing.