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Alas Alack

April 22nd, 2018

There was an all-white cat who lived in one of the houses at the top of the road who had been coming to our house and putting the frightners on Hodge since he was really quite small. He had one green eye and one blue eye. We called him Griddlebone and he marched up and down the gardens of the road as though he owned them. He frequently wandered into our house in summer when the doors were open to Hodge’s furious and hissing disapproval. Only the other day, I arrived home to find Mr. Waffle indignantly announcing that he had just seen Griddlebone weeing against the kitchen window (from the outside, I hasten to add). Griddlebone was insouciant, he was nimble and devil may care and the other morning, I found his body on the busy main road nearby. A neighbour came out and took in the body before it got squashed. Apparently his owners called him Bowie; he’ll always be Griddlebone to us.

Bicycle Related Woes

April 21st, 2018

Michael’s back tyre went completely flat at school one day. Daniel said to him, “You take my bike and I will push yours home.” Because he can be quite saintly and Michael is a lot smaller and lighter than him. The walk home nearly killed the misfortunate child and he was in no way mollified by his parents saying, “If it happens again, leave the bike locked in school and we’ll collect it later in the car.” Michael was, at least, grateful.

In other bike commuting news, the children have an approved cycling route to school which involves crossing a busy road near our house at the pedestrian junction. The other morning while following the parent-approved route (as she bitterly pointed out to me) Herself was the victim of bike on bike violence. This guy came up to the lights at speed, broke the lights, knocked her over and then cycled on until halted by outraged motorists who themselves picked her up and made him go back and apologise to her. She was ok – cuts and bruises only and a bit of a shock. She was back in the saddle reasonably rapidly and seems to have suffered no lasting ill effects. I suppose, all I can say is that I’m glad that guy was on a bicycle and not speeding in a car.

There’s no two ways about it, the pitiful cycling infrastructure in Dublin makes it hard for kids to cycle to school.

Absolutely the Look I Was Going For

April 20th, 2018

Daniel: Is that vaseline on your eyebrows?
Me: Tiny bit, yeah why?
Daniel: I’ve noticed it before but I always thought it was just that your eyelids were sweaty.


April 19th, 2018

Daniel’s geography teacher fills the children’s hearts with fear. Even the Princess has a grudging respect for him.

Daniel said to me the other day that they were doing longshore drift. “And,” said he, “there’s a thing called a groyne wall which protects against it. We talked about it all through class and nobody laughed.”

That is real power.

The Tooth Fairy

April 18th, 2018

Did you know that your children will continue to loose teeth well into their teens? Well, they will. While I have no recollection of the tooth fairy playing any role in my life growing up, the same is not true of my children who have enjoyed regular payments over the years. However, as time marches on and the tooth fairy gets older and tireder, payments have not been as reliable as they once were which led to this unfortunate scene at dinner the other night.

Michael: Ok, who’s the tooth fairy?
Me: Um, the magical, mystical tooth fairy, who knows? Why do you ask?
Michael: Because this is getting to beyond a joke, this tooth (he points to the hole near his front teeth on the lower right which I feel sure somehow has been pointed out before) has been under my pillow for about a fortnight.
Me: You the tooth fairy has many calls on his/her time.
Him: Will I just take the money from your purse?
Me: Somehow that takes away the magic.

Poor Banished Children of Eve

April 17th, 2018

Michael (on the way to Sunday mass): Why do I have to go to mass every Sunday when people in my class only go at Christmas and Easter.

Me: Well, families are different. Anyway, imagine if you were me growing up: I stayed with my Nana, Aunt and Uncle and cousins for a couple of weeks every summer and we had to say the Rosary every night. It was so stressful, I used to always lose count of the Hail Marys and Nana had to prod me to stop.

Michael: What’s the Rosary?

St Patrick’s Day Round Up

April 16th, 2018

Look, better late than never. We’ve been away for Patrick’s Day for the last number of years. This has been a source of considerable ire to Michael who hates going away in any event and also, was keen to see the Dublin parade.

So, this year, we stayed at home. We went to mass and had all the good Patrick’s Day numbers including “Dóchas Linn Naomh Pádraig” and “Hail Glorious St Patrick”. Herself got to encourage the congregation to join in and make up a little Irish spiel on the spot which she did quite competently. I was very proud. Michael and I then got the bus in to town to see the parade. His siblings had no interest whatsoever. It was bitterly cold. Michael and I found ourselves in the middle of a huddle of French people. “Where,” they asked, “are all the Irish people?” I could not say but I could confirm that they were not at the parade anyhow. I actually found it quite enjoyable but Michael was completely frozen and we didn’t stay until the end. The poor children in bands and floats were absolutely perished. One little boy was weeping from the cold in his lightweight band uniform and the other band members were trying to cheer him up/warm him up with no real success. Honestly, March just isn’t the month for this. On the plus side, one of the young French people standing near me was able to show me how to get autocorrect to work in French on my apple phone (it’s all in the keyboard function, I mean, who would have guessed that?). This may represent peak middle age for me: asking some random young person to fix my phone.

I took myself off to Cork that afternoon to see my aging father, he was moderately pleased to see me but quite, quite deaf. As I listened to the booming tones of the world service coming through the walls from his bedroom to mine at 2 in the morning, I was pardonably bitter, the more so because it was a programme which I had already heard and had not enjoyed particularly the first time. You will be pleased to hear that his hearing has been more or less restored in the interim and I look forward to a slightly less noisy trip to Cork this weekend coming.

I think next year we might go away for Patrick’s weekend again. Don’t tell Michael.

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