Sunday, 27 May 2018


When Mr van de Ven and I are not working hard or enjoying ourselves we like to relax at home. This being a madhouse involves having BBC World on in the background and Mr van de Ven watching various programmes on his laptop in Dutch, Belgian, Spanish, German, French, Arabic. I think you get the picture.... Anyway, while this is going on you will find me languishing in the bedroom reading Daphne du Maurier. From time to time I will get up and check my beloved is still breathing or if I am really bored I will dress up as someone else and hope he notices. It's at this point you probably think 'how sad that they can't watch the TV together', but you see, it is impossible. We have tried but this weird telepathic thing kicks in. For example, the other day I was trying to watch Dutch TV with him, and in my head I was thinking, 'God the Dutch are a good looking bunch' and at the same time my dearest turns to me and says, knowingly, ' we're a handsome lot aren't we?'. Yours truly, the Mental Continental....

Saturday, 19 May 2018


I visited some offices again today. More bureaucracy. More Kafka moments awaiting in the wings. I was wandering around and noticed everyone looking really busy although what they were doing was anyone's guess but they all appeared efficient. People buzzing around carrying files and paperwork, others sitting at work stations. I kept finding myself in that space between fire doors that lead into another corridor when suddenly I realised I was lost. All the doors and rooms and now the people looked the same. I didn't want to get trapped in it forever and feeling a bit on edge I decided to go upstairs so I could at least get a better view of things. As I got closer to the top I realised I was on a ship. A war ship. It felt thrilling as I left the monotony below and everything turned into something exciting and invigorating as I clambered up. I could hear the waves crashing against the bow.The ship was sailing at speed into a storm and was avoiding smaller, stationary ships, some of them in flames. I got the feeling the ship I was on was the one that knew where it was going and what its mission was, the smaller ones already defeated. I could smell fire and petrol and taste the brine from the sea. The spray hit my face and I felt fearless and ready for anything. I walked to the prow of the ship and became its figurehead. I was invincible and ready. Wars would be won and ships would be named after me.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018


Continental Europe calling. Well, with all the social agitation I realise nobody has written much about Jean Claude lately. To be honest the last time I saw him was a while back when we were hiding in a cupboard trying not to laugh while Michel B tried to keep some UKIP chappies, Digby and Woolfie, from the door. That was the time when they were trying to woo Michel with some typical British products, you know, a tinned Fray Bentos pie, a dog eared copy of Boris's Winston Churchill, some out of date Mr Kipling's fondant fancies and a pickled egg. Products which were worth it just for the look on Michel's face, especially when he opened a jar of Marmite and looked like someone who has just opened a tin of Surstromming the tinned Swedish fish that you can smell from here and one of the lesser known advantages of the freedom of movement within the EU. 


Spain calling. Everyone's favourite escapee here. I've just written to the Disgraced Dr Liam Fox asking him how his morning has been. Mine was spent trying to find the right department dealing with my nationality change. The first place said the equivalent of no, that they had moved office and I could find the new one in the Plaza Cervantes. There a very nice policeman addressed me as 'miss' and feeling a bit Dick Emeryish I was tempted to reply 'Madam', but that didn't feel right so continued with my peregrinations. I found myself in an office where the woman told me that I needed to go to the room next door. In the room next door another woman told me the same, to go to the room next door. I looked her in the eye and asked her how long she and her colleague intended to keep this up and she sighed, stopped filing her nails and stubbed out the cigarette hanging from her mouth and escorted me to the room next door. In the room next door the original pen pusher told me no, that I had to go to the police station. I continued like a perambulating corn dolly and found myself at the back of the police station standing under a sign emblazoned FOREIGNERS ( that's me!). I asked the bureaucrat if I needed to take a number and she sneered and said 'what for' and I told her 'to speak with your worship'. She blushed and after some time she called the good cop over who couldn't have been nicer when she told me I will have to get back to the embassy and get a certificate of concordance to show that I am who I say I am and not someone else, you know, not some impostor . Onward and upward! Chin chin fucking Brexiteers! It's great fun if you don't weaken!