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Home Alone

September 19th, 2018

Mr. Waffle is away for work this week. Herself is gone, Mr. Waffle is away. “Who is next?” we ask ominously. I feel like old Aunt Ada Doom. The boys and I are coping though I wouldn’t say that our diet stands up to particularly close scrutiny. Particularly as the oven has died.

I didn’t get home until 7ish this evening leaving the boys to their own devices [or possibly just their devices, let us not inquire too closely]. Sadly, the frame of Daniel’s glasses had broken at assembly that morning and the combined efforts of the school staff throughout the day had not fixed them. He doesn’t see much without them and neither of the boys called me to tell me. I could probably have got home a bit earlier had I known. Anyhow, I saved the day by fixing them pro tem with superglue but it does not seem likely to be a permanent solution.

Mr. Waffle went off to Finland with a copy of the Hollybough. I feel I wrote before about my ambition to be in the Hollybough Christmas photo selection. There are loads of them. All you have to do is have a Cork connection, go somewhere mildly exotic and photograph yourself with the Hollybough. I put it in the bottom of our suitcase to go to Paris last year but Mr. Waffle, under the sadly mistaken impression that there was no need to bring it to Paris, unpacked it. I found it under the bed again when we got back from Denmark this year. Mr. Waffle confessed that he thought of it as we were speeding along the motorway out of Copenhagen airport but felt that no good could come of sharing that thought. Anyhow the upshot of this is that he has taken it to Finland to get a photo with a view to restoring his credit. He’s not from Cork you might argue; fear not, even his tenuous connection would be more than sufficient, however, a good friend of ours in a lofty role in Helsinki is from Cork and, time permitting, he may meet her for a cup of tea. If he does, that’s a centre page spread, right there. I’ll keep you posted.

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Weight of Responsibility

September 19th, 2018

Daniel: I have to contact M on instagram.
Me: I didn’t know that you were friendly with M.
Him: Not particularly but she’s on the student council and I need to know something.
Me: Is there anyone nearer home who might be able to inform you.
Him: Herself is in France.
Me: Anyone else we know on the student council?
Him: Oh yeah, Michael.

In fairness, I wouldn’t say Michael is exactly flaunting his new powers.

Local Colour

September 18th, 2018

On my way home from work the other night, I saw a dead rat in the lane. Huge yoke, with it’s little paws frozen in the air from rigor mortis. The next morning when I cycled out, it was gone. What are we to make of this?

Weekend Round Up

September 17th, 2018

I went down to Cork on Friday to do a tour of nursing homes. My brother was away and it seemed the least I could do to help my saintly sister, though since she ended up having to chauffeur and feed me, it’s hard to argue that my visit was an entirely unmixed blessing. My mother was fine and the nursing home where she lives is near my parents’ house, so reasonably convenient. My father was about an hour away. He is recuperating from pneumonia and given that my brother is away, it seemed best if he spent a little time in respite care. The papers are delivered so it is not all bad but I wouldn’t say it is delightful, now. He’s a bit bored and keen to get home, however, this meant that he was gratifyingly pleased to see myself and my sister. I now chat away to him with a view to finding out about ancient history. “What was it like when the first colour films came out, Dad?” “Well, you know, very exciting at the time,” he said. Sometimes these chats are more successful than others. I did enjoy his description of when he was a junior doctor in the local hospital in the late 40s and the matron put her head round the door of the elderly patient he was tending to (one of the Colthursts of Blarney Castle) and asked him whether he had enjoyed his soup. Sir George replied, “Very grateful to the stomach, sister.” This is a phrase that my father believes should be brought back in to common currency and who am I to quibble.

I spent some time cycling round the city and was, yet again, struck by the excellence of the cycling infrastructure compared to Dublin and the relative lack of cyclists. My sister probably put her finger on the reason for the latter when she said, “The traffic in Cork probably isn’t bad enough yet to make people take to their bikes.”

I left Cork at first light on Sunday morning. Since I thought my train was at 8 and it was actually at 8.25, my rising was even earlier than it needed to be. Alas. On return to Dublin, I lunched with my loving family and scooted off straight to my book club which probably didn’t make me the most popular family member but I understand people say that there is a merit in scarcity value.

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How was your own weekend?

Update on Herself

September 16th, 2018

The first week in France seems to have passed off peacefully. The science teacher spent 20 minutes telling the class about the IRA and also asked her whether she knew why U2 were so called, she did not. It reminds me of her saying how they had had a discussion in class on defining a terrorist and many of her classmates had started with, “a foreigner” as a defining characteristic. I’m not sure that this would be the first thing that any Irish person of my age would say, on the contrary.

The English teacher (she sits in English class) is a big anglophile and herself is finding this….surprising. It is a different perspective on English culture from that which she gets in her Irish medium school at home. The English teacher is also filled with confidence and has already corrected herself on how to pronounce Greenwich: “There is a w, it has a w sound,” she told my firstborn. You have to admire the confidence of someone correcting a native speaker.

Her state exam (Junior Cert) results arrived mid-week and, in fairness to her, they were good. She celebrated by going on a bat walk with her host family – not, perhaps as big a deal in France as they are in Ireland.

From next week she is going to cycle in to school and, very exciting, there are segregated cycle lanes the whole way. Also, she says that the town is delightful in the way of a town that has been rich for a very long time. I would like to visit but I fear that it might be frowned upon.

Summer Slide

September 12th, 2018

The children’s return to school has been marked by the usual confusion and uniform and kit hunting. Mr. Waffle looked after school books and, as ever, the picture of organisation, he ordered them and put them away at the start of the summer. Have we been able to find where they were put? No, alas, we have not. A certain amount of re-purchasing was sadly required.

In related news, returning to online shopping after a summer hiatus, I managed to over order eggs. Part of my difficulty is the neighbours gave us 6 eggs from their hens but it would be fair to say that Mr. Waffle regards me as largely responsible for the 29 eggs in the fridge.

Re-entry is difficult.

Papal Visit – Belated Edition

September 10th, 2018

The Pope came to Ireland. I didn’t go last time a Pope came to Ireland in 1979 and I hadn’t intended to go this time but my sister got tickets to the mass in the Phoenix Park and couldn’t find anyone to go with her. Given that I live in Dublin and she was staying with me, it seemed churlish to refuse to tramp to the world’s longest mass. It was fine, actually (though the weather was not); it was nice to go for a long walk with my sister and we had tea to tide us through the mass. The Pope gave his sermon through Italian which was subtitled and I was able to deploy my college Italian to translate as we were too far to see the subtitles on the big screen. Given the age profile of the crowd, I doubt we were the only ones who couldn’t see. It was fine but I was not particularly excited. I’m not a great one for live concerts either so maybe I am just not designed to stand in fields for performances of any kind.

By far the most exciting part of the Pope’s weekend in Dublin for me came on Saturday afternoon and had nothing to do with the Papal visit. I had been in town with the Princess on Saturday morning to replenish her wardrobe in advance of her trip to France and retired exhausted before she had been to all of the shops she wanted to cover. I gave her some cash and told her to make her own way home when she was finished. Waiting for the tram to take her home, she saw a stabbing. As she reassured me, it was just the blood she saw really. Anyway, it effectively stopped the trams and she had to go and find a bus to take her home. As I sat in horror listening she reassured me further, “The stabbing was the worst thing that happened to me on the way home.” In fairness, there is something to be said for keeping her safe in small town France for a couple of months.


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