Eugénie went for a walk

Impératrice Eugénie et ses dames
Impératrice Eugénie et ses dames

I dreamt of “L’Impératrice Eugénie parmi ses dames d’honneur” by Winterhalter (1855), that I know because there’s a small reproduction in my parents’ dining room.

The Empress Eugénie was having a nice and quiet afternoon with her friends from the palace, sitting in the beautiful and shady garden in Compiègne.

I could hear their educated, sophisticated and subdued conversations. Two were laughing lightly, another was humming a song, one was lost in the contemplation of flowers, two were whispering secrets, two were undecided as to which conversation to follow, and the empress was rather bored. I was on my way to the kitchen and wasn’t paying attention to them.

On my way back to my room, something was missing.
The Empress Eugénie had left.
I guessed she had gone for a solitary walk.

Estimating distances

Here’s my folks’ estimations of how many kilometers I flew in 2006:

  • My dad opened at 20,000 km (12,400 mi)
  • My mum started at 3,000 km (1,800 mi) and seeing my face changed to 12,000 km (7,500 mi)
  • My brother volunteered 15,000 km (9,300 mi)

When my mum started at 3,000 km, I thought about the 4,800 km (3,000 mi) I spent in a car in NZ in 2004.

I flew almost 82000 km (51,000 mi).
I’m bad at estimating distances myself, mind you.

The prank

The title is pompous, it sounds like it’s the prank of the year. It’s the last prank of the year, rather.

My brother asked to borrow my car from Sunday to Tuesday to drive to visit friends someplace. I wasn’t so keen on the idea. My car insurance covers me only and besides, this car is getting old and it makes a strange noise when I decelerate. It’s OK to use it for local errands. After insisting heavily that he would have to be careful and make sure to not end up in trouble, I told him he could have it.

That’s when he said he was off to spend New Year’s eve with his girlfriend. Aha! I was the only one in the family privvy to that bit of information. Also, she happens to live maybe 100 km away from where he said he’d drive. Tsk… He’s so devious!

Yesterday my mum asked me why I was not interested in going with him and I said he hadn’t offered me to join him. She had asked him if I was going with him and he had said “Nah, she said she wouldn’t like it.” Devious, I tell you.

So today he came over for lunch and I told him “you know, we think it’s better if I go with you. We can take turns driving and if there’s an incident with the car I’ll be around. And oh well, I don’t know your friends, but it’s gonna be all right”.

The look on his face was priceless. It was in between looking trapped and cornered. He eventually said, quite casually “In fact, I’ll have a nice romantic New Year’s eve dinner”.

Pre-Christmas confusion

In order to add to the confusion, I’m writing this now. (nah, it’s not on purpose, really).

On the morning on 24 December I noticed a few questionable things:

  • Why are lobsters thawing?
  • Why is my brother coming over for dinner tonight?

Later in the day I got a phone call from a friend who was in the area, and we agreed to meet in Grasse for a stroll, maybe a coffee, and generally to catch up. We had some jolly good time and when it was time to split, he said he was almost in a hurry because he had dinner at his uncle’s at 9pm and that he’d better not be late for the Christmas dinner.

This is when it all became clear. Eureka-style, but far less glorious.