Meanwhile, in Brussels

At the office, working

What’s that noise? Won’t it ever stop?  I was getting ever more irritated – Friday afternoon, still many loose ends to tie up, many more mails to send before I could call it a day. And then that darned noise! 

The noise outside continued – the roar of helicopters flying over, the screeching of police sirens further off, the honking of horns signalling a mega traffic jam in the making.   

Furiously I hit the keyboard – tapping out futile messages of projects progressing, workgroups working and figures being figured out.

Meanwhile, a few kilometres to the south , a possibly historical treaty was being negotiated – with an immediate impact on the fate of hundreds of thousands of people, and with intractable future consequences.

I paused, thinking deeply – perhaps I should first do a call with X to avoid springing the workgroup’s conclusions on him during the meeting with Y and Z?  And how to avoid that A would come meddling again and re-write the whole proposal? I sighed – attention shattered once again by the noise outside.

Meanwhile, a few kilometres to the north , an impressive special police force had gathered to assault the hiding place of the “most wanted terrorist of Europe”. 

At home, reading

"Poor man!", I chuckled, reading about an industrious duke at the Byzantine court, just before its fall.

Poor man, being laughed at by generations of historians for going about his business...  

In 1453 a Loukas Notaras wrote a convoluted obsequious letter to try and get hold of two high offices for his sons.  Written in the best Byzantine style, the letter was perfectly adapted to the complex bureaucracy of his time. 

Meanwhile, “the city was being encircled, […] and the new giant cannon [brought up] which was to bring down the walls”.  

At the Musée des Beaux Arts, looking

“The ploughman may have heard the splash” (2), [….] but ploughed calmly on (3).

Restrained notes

  1. Judith Herrin “Byzantium, the surprising life of a medieval empire”, p 184
  2. WH Auden, "Musée des Beaux Arts"
  3. Flemish proverb

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