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Not Cool

February 21st, 2019

Herself is doing volcanoes in geography again. Is there no end to them?

The geography teacher asked for a volcano in Africa. “I’ll give you a clue,” said he, “it features in a famous song.” He scanned the classroom.

Which misfortunate child was, due to her parents’ irredeemably dreadful music taste, able to say, “Sir, I think it’s Kilimanjaro and your reference is to “Africa” by Toto.”

New Technology

February 19th, 2019

Herself has rescued her father’s tape deck from his parents’ house. She is delighted with the way it doesn’t know what she’s doing or take a note of what music she’s listening to. She’s pre-ordered Hozier’s new album on tape to take further advantage of this.

She’s started to whisper when there are phones in the room as she points out that they are always listening to us. I know this is true as Siri perks up and talks occasionally, and disconcertingly, when I am at meetings. She is less inclined to do this when I intentionally say, “Hey Siri.”

Lads, I’m beginning to wonder whether we should all go back to the tape deck.

Miscellaneous Michael Related News

February 15th, 2019

Herself and Daniel observed recently that Michael has all the advantages of being the youngest and none of the disadvantages. I realise that this is entirely true. He exercises the prerogative of the youngest child to cunningly manipulate his parents while suffering none of the disadvantages of having to go to bed early or be excluded from things his older siblings enjoy. Truly, he is a brilliant child.

We had his last visit to the public health dentist recently. Technically he should have finished at the end of primary school, two years ago but he is young to be in secondary school and the dentist is kind. All is well, this really is the end of it though. He is still losing teeth. I nearly choked on one recently. It was a molar lying on the coffee table near a half empty packet of popcorn and it looked like a popcorn piece. The life of a parent is not an easy one.

Michael is still playing hockey. There are very few boys and he is mostly with large gangs of 12 and 13 year old girls which doesn’t seem to bother him. Mr. Waffle was with him recently when they were doing some drill he couldn’t get the hang of; he did eventually and he declaimed to the assembled girls: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings/Look on my works ye mighty and despair.” I wondered how the girls took it but Mr. Waffle said that they seemed to be indifferent.


February 13th, 2019

As part of their Transition Year programme, herself and her classmates were taken to Mondello Park.

They all got to drive around the race track. She absolutely loved it and has spent the time since learning all the answers to the driver theory test in English and Irish. It’s six months before she can sit even the theory test so she may have peaked too early. She tells me that it is useless to rely on my driving habits as I am completely wrong about everything. For example if there is a narrow country road and you have to turn around and there is a gate nearby do you turn on the road or using the gate? “Using the gate, of course,” I said confidently. Apparently not. Pesky rules of the road. “I can tell you that one is more observed in the breach” I said but apparently that cuts no mustard with the AI administering the test.

The only sour note was a video they were shown of a cyclist diffusing a bomb. Over a headset, the cyclist was told to cut the red wire and, of course, cut the green one instead. Boom. I think the point was to emphasise that cyclists are vulnerable road users who, like other road users, may not always obey the rules of the road and you need to be vigilant but I don’t think that’s the best way to make the point and neither did the herself or the other girl in her year who cycles to school. So now I’ve become the crank cyclist parent who writes to Mondello Park. In fairness, I did tell them that overall she loved it, so maybe they might heed my plea to dump the video.

Updated to add – They replied with gratifying speed indicating that they noted my concerns and would make clear that it was aimed at all road users. Sadly, no indication that they would remove the video though.

Embracing Middle Age

February 12th, 2019

I bought a pair of new walking shoes in Matthews in Cork. I tried various pairs but none seemed right. The young man in the shop (a relative of the owners currently in his final year in German and business yes, I was there a while) brought me out a beige pair which he suggested I try. “But they’re so ugly,” I protested. “Those are your words,” he said, “I would say they are less aesthetically attractive than some of the other boots.” I tried them on. They were so comfortable. My young shop assistant looked at them critically, “You know,” he said, “they’re not quite so ugly on.” Reader, I bought them.

This Pronunciation Varies*

February 11th, 2019

My sister was in Chicago the week it was very cold and snowy. Miraculously, she got in and she got out. Her flight out of Chicago was much delayed but she got in to Dublin about midday. She then picked me up and drove us both to Cork.

I offered to drive, I really did but she has a new car and, secretly, I think she doubts my ability to keep it scratch free. It was lovely to have her to myself for the day even if she was exhausted. We stopped en route for lunch in Kildare Village (my struggles with which I have previously documented). I spent a fiver on lipbalm from Penhaligon which was profligate and €7.50 on a vase from Villeroy and Boch which was definitely a bargain.

As we approached Cork, I asked her “Will you go straight to bed when you get home?” “Oh no,” said she, “I have to spend a couple of hours answering emails.” I was suitably horrified by the work ethic expected from her American overlords. “But then,” I said, “then, you’ll go to bed.” “No,” she said, “I’m going to a record launch in Cawlan’s”. “Where?” “Cawlan’s.” “Never heard of it, spell it.” “C-O-U-G-H-L-A-N-S” “Oh,” I said, “Cocklan’s”. “No, Cawlan’s, you’ve just been out of Cork too long, you don’t know how to pronounce it any more,” said she.

I let it go, she was driving after having been awake for 36 hours and flown out of a snow bound mid-West. But I knew I was right.

Later that evening, my brother asked me would I run him to the pub in the car. “Sure,” said I, “where are you going?” “Cawlan’s.” I am a broken woman.

*You know from Hilaire Belloc ” But this pronunciation varies/ Some people call it Buenos Aires.”

Geographical Inaccuracy

February 10th, 2019

I was having a peaceful cup of tea in a cafe yesterday while waiting for Michael to emerge from drama. Sitting beside me was an Irish woman in her early to mid 20s with two tourists. The Irish woman was offering them tips about what to do in Ireland in general and Dublin in particular. I thought that she gave broadly good advice; though quite loud (let those of us who were not loud in our twenties cast the first stone etc.).

They talked about their own lives and the Irish woman explained that she had studied German in college and lived in Germany for a bit. She’d also spent a year working in Cork and loved it. So, you know, a well informed and discerning guide.

Then the tourists asked her about Irish airports. “Well,” she said, “there’s Dublin and Cork. And Galway I think. Oh yes, and Shannon.” “Where is Shannon?” asked the tourists. “It’s in the middle,” she said. “Hmm,” I thought, “it’s kind of in the middle of the west coast but I suppose that’s enough for tourists.” “What county is it in?” asked the tourists. “Good question,” said the Irish guide, “I’m not sure, maybe Roscommon*, I think?”

Goodness gracious me.

*For non-Irish readers, it’s really not.

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