I love the wonderful cat pictures pouring out of the Brussels lockdown. Having been told not to mention raids on social media, so as not to alert the terrorists to police movements, some cities would have put down their phones, stayed in and watched telly. Not the doughty Bruxellois. They’ve tweeted ever more extravagant images of, erm, cats. Yes, cats.

Cats being surreal, like this gorgeous Chagritte, after the Belgian master Magritte:


Or cats armed to the paws and ready to defend their city:


And, of course, cats failing to follow instructions (everyone has been told to stay away from their windows):


The Belgian police responded to the outpouring of feline misinformation with a grateful picture of a police bowl full of cat biscuits. The terrorists, meanwhile, are no doubt wondering what on earth they’ve got themselves into.

The outside world is taking bets on how long Brussels can go on in lockdown mode. I say forever. Yes, it’s a busy capital city. Yes, such a state of stasis would be impossible to impose on many populations. But Belgium managed eighteen months without a government not so long ago, and in many ways Brussels is in permanent lockdown anyway. It exists uneasily clamped between the Flemish-speaking and French-speaking parts of the country, while the country itself is squished by borders with France, Holland and Germany. We even watched a great Belgian TV series recently called Cordon, in which half of Antwerp was locked down to contain a horrible contagious illness.

If lockdown is a state of mind, then the people of Brussels have had years of brilliant training to adapt, shrug off and transcend a situation which would drive many mad. Vive the brave Bruxellois! And vive their clever cats.

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