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Hockey v Hurling

November 20th, 2017

Michael is now doing hockey every Sunday morning and he is enjoying it; they want him to do Friday night training as well and my heart slightly sinks at the prospect of adding more items to our after-school activity list. Also, the hockey club are keen that Daniel come along also having seen him in action once but he is unenthused.

As he and I were walking up to mass yesterday morning, I asked him again whether he would consider hockey. He looked at me seriously and said, “But Mum, I play hurling and hurling is the anti thesis of hockey.” There was a pause while I digested this and then I said, “You know it’s pronounced an-tit-hesis.” Poor Daniel, honestly the English language is a series of traps, even for the wary.

Saturday Night at the Movies

November 19th, 2017

Mr. Waffle, the boys and I went to see Paddington last night. In the cinema, we met a) Daniel and Michael’s friend and his family who had just seen Paddington – they recommended it b) a friend of the Princess’s (she remained unmoved when I told her that her friend was there and thought that Paddington – which the Princess had refused to see with us – was a worthy film) c) a boy from Daniel and Michael’s year in school and two second years from their school and d) a neighbour from the bottom of the road and her two sons. I used to think that Dublin was an anonymous big city; I think I was misled.

Anyhow we all quite enjoyed Paddington in a mild way. The Princess joined us afterwards in Milano’s (funded by my brother’s Tesco vouchers, thanks Dan) and we explained the plot to her though we had some difficulties (what did happen to the treasure? and the book?) she surveyed us in mild contempt and said that if we were having plot problems with Paddington then she despaired of us all. No change there then.

In unrelated news, Daniel won the hamper raffle at school. It was in aid of the student council where herself is a leading light. There’s a hilarious picture on the school’s twitter feed of her handing the hamper over to her brother with a forced smile while he is receiving it with unalloyed delight.

Wedding Bells

November 18th, 2017

Yesterday we drove down to East Cork where two of my oldest friends got married. We stayed in the Castlemartyr resort and, as always when there is a hotel with a character-filled older bit and an underwhelming modern extension, we ended up in the extension. It was nice all the same though and boasted the largest bed I have ever slept in. We left the children largely to their own devices for about 10 of the 30 or so hours we were gone but we did have a childminder stay overnight. I can confirm they are all still alive.

So, the happy couple are 60ish and have been together for 31 years and I have known them for 27. Most older people who get married have smaller weddings but they had a massive one (as they are a gay couple, they have been waiting for a while); there were about 250 people and aside from M and R’s nephews and nieces we were all pretty middle aged which I rather liked. It was funny to see the nephews and nieces, some of whom I haven’t seen since they were children, all turned into young adults.

I first met M when he was the youngest partner in the law firm where I did my apprenticeship. He was interested in the arts and far more entertaining than any of the other partners (a low enough bar, I concede). When we both left that law firm we stayed in contact. He’s been buying me lunch for more than a quarter of a century now. He and R make a great couple and they’re one of the few couples where I am equally friendly with both partners. Over the years, they have been wonderful to me and, as I acquired husband and children, to them also. M sang at my wedding, they have bought me food and given me food (M is a great jam maker), put me up innumerable times (we still stay in their house in East Cork), given me lifts (I travelled to Cork with M every Christmas for years, they’ve brought herself up and down to Cork) advice and kindness. They are the only people who ever visit us unannounced and I love to see them, every time. I must say as I looked at the enormous crowd of delighted friends and family at their wedding, I thought that they have truly reaped what they have sown.

Born Performer

November 17th, 2017

Very attentive readers may recall that Michael won a golden banana for a stage performance some years ago. He was really good and he has been going to drama classes, which he loves, for years. He is an absolute natural on stage. He combines his father’s lack of nerves with his mother’s desire to entertain and a carrying voice all of his own; it is a winning combination.

They had an Irish language band into the school last week and after a couple of numbers they asked whether anyone in the audience would like to get up and sing. Michael hopped up. His siblings said they weren’t entirely mortified but these things can be hard to gauge. He was up on the school’s twitter account singing away and looking like he was having a great time. One of the other mothers texted me to say that her son had come home and said that Michael was terrific which was very kind of her. And then at the Princess’s parent-teacher meetings earlier this week, teacher after teacher asked me whether I had heard about Michael’s performance and wasn’t he brave and brilliant, the youngest and almost the smallest child in the school? I was very proud. Michael took it in his stride though, he’s preparing for when he is a global celebrity, I suppose.

Child of Our Time

November 16th, 2017

Me (perusing entire supplement to the Irish Times on the joy of skiing) : Michael would you like to go skiing again?
Him (who last went skiing when he was 3 and retains no very firm memories): Yes, I think I would.
Me: Maybe we’ll go then, not next year but perhaps the year after.
Him: Remember the bust is coming.

Who has spent a lifetime absorbing the lessons of the 2008 crash and its aftermath, then?

Reflection on Brexit

November 15th, 2017

Mr. Waffle was chatting to an English colleague about Brexit. “I can’t understand,” said Mr. Waffle, “why the political parties aren’t going after the 48% remain vote, it seems odd not to capitalise on it.” There was a long pause and then the English man said, “As treasurer of my local branch of the Lib Dems in North London, I share your bafflement.” Poor old Lib Dems.

As Gaeilge

November 14th, 2017

Me: It’s nice to see you wearing your Fáinne
Her: Mmm.
Me: Have I scuppered it? Are you never going to wear it again?
Her: I’m just unsure about the cultural elitism surrounding a language that can’t really afford it.

In related news, we had parent/teacher meetings for herself earlier this evening – all well. At least, I think so, most of the talking was done in the first national language – although I draw the line at the teacher from Donegal who I find completely unintelligible – so my comprehension was at about 80% but the signs seemed positive. I missed the presentation on the new Junior Cycle because I was still queuing to see her year head but she tells me that she was called upon to list her extra-curricular activities to give the parents an idea of what children could include in the new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement. Good call because there cannot be a child in Ireland with more extra-curricular activities. She was there this evening because she was doing registration of parents and selling raffle tickets in aid of the student council. Of course she was.

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