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March 4th, 2019

I went down to Cork for the weekend. When I left Dublin on Friday lunch time, it was warm and sunny. Like a fool, I decided it was warm enough to go to Cork without my coat. Honestly, am I nine or forty nine? Normally, I get lifts all the time but for a variety of dull reasons, I had to get myself around without lifts this weekend. This is relevant.

When I got to Cork on Friday evening it was lashing. I cycled glumly to my parents’ house on a Cork bike. My parents’ house is so warm that I had more or less steam dried in about an hour which was just as well as I only had a solitary pair of trousers with me.

The next morning I woke up with a pain in my tooth. This was doubly annoying as I was at the dentist last week. It wasn’t super painful but more numb like when you get an injection. Over the course of the day it spread all around my top teeth in a slightly disturbing development.

On Saturday morning I cycled in to town. Obviously, I could have taken a coat out from my parents’ house but I decided that the weather would hold. I don’t know why I would have decided that and with a certain inevitability I got soaked again on the way back to my parents’ house. As my general mouth pain spread, I began to wonder whether I had given myself Bell’s palsy by recklessly cycling around in the rain without a coat. But it got better over the course of the day and was on both sides so, I decided probably not.

I visited my mother in the nursing home. She was awake and I knew that she recognised me because she looked at me and said, “Your hair is lovely.” This is literally all she said in the hour I was there. This is a long-standing fault line between us. She loves my hair long and I like it to be short; in fact, I think it really needs a cut. I’m glad she’s still in there somewhere in dementia land although the comment annoyed me as it invariably did when she was well, so some patterns seem to survive a great deal of change.

On Saturday night, my sister and I went to the cinema. We drove. Say what you like about the car, it’s good at keeping you dry.

I came back to Dublin early on Sunday morning. I cycled to the station in Cork and got soaked. I dried on the train. Then, I cycled home from the station and got soaked all over again. The rain in Dublin was considerably chillier than the rain in Cork. I arrived home freezing and damp to find that the builders had cut a power line and the heating. Unsatisfactory. Herself filled me a hot water bottle. On the plus side, my tooth pain completely disappeared. I suppose this is what this blog is going to be from now on as I move to my 50s: a litany of mysterious symptoms which come and go with no rhyme or reason.

On Sunday afternoon we went to inspect Dublin’s newest tourist attraction, the Vaults which was ok but more aimed at tourists than locals and probably for a younger crowd. We went off to a mild afternoon birthday celebration for Uncle A where Mr. Waffle dimmed the lights to blow out the candles causing unspeakable terror to my little niece, S. Is it bad that I found that mildly amusing? Herself babysat for them last night and as she went home, her aunt pressed a packet of Marietta biscuits into her hand, “Take these, please, we have to get rid of them, they’re like crack cocaine for S.”

When we got home we lit fires to try to keep us warm. It snowed outside. Overall, damp and chilly.

Michael is now taller than me as well. I suppose it’s only a question of time before Herself passes me out.

And how was your own weekend?

Choral Evening

March 3rd, 2019

Daniel was singing in a choral evening organised by the Dublin archdiocese last week. There were about 600 children from a range of different schools there the night we went all wearing their school uniforms. Mr. Waffle said that it felt like a kilt convention. Prize for most hideous uniform must go to the girls wearing lemon jumpers and matching kilts. I am indebted to herself for letting me know that they change colours every two years depending what year they are in and pointing me to the rainbow of colours up in the balcony. I bet they’re glad when they move on from lemon.

The evangelical modern uptempo songs preferred by the organisers do not appeal to me but Daniel quite enjoyed it as did his sister. She did not need to have recourse to her choice of reading for the evening (really, who, who, is this child?).


Michael, however, continued reading his collected Sherlock Holmes almost throughout.


He did pause in his reading to listen to his brother to read out a long passage on stage. I have to say Daniel read really, really well. There must have been a thousand people in the auditorium between performers and their loving relatives and he read fluently and clearly with emphasis in all the right places and didn’t seem even slightly nervous. He does not get that gift from me.

Afterwards the school nun said to me, “Wasn’t Daniel wonderful?” I said that he was and that I had already praised him. She said that he needed affirmation. “There is,” she added, “something self-serving about praise.” The children all love her but I tell you, people, she sees right through me. In the car on the way home, Mr. Waffle said, “I didn’t understand what Sr M meant about the difference between praise and affirmation.” Herself replied, “Mum praises, you affirm.” Of course, he is the child of hippies.


February 27th, 2019

The theme of this year’s National Gallery of Ireland calendar which I have hanging in my office appears to be “animals – alive and dead”. So you have Landseer King Charles Spaniels gazing adoringly at you one month and dead hares hanging by the hind legs drawn by some Dutch artist the next. I’m not sure that this is an entirely successful approach.

The Endless Indignities of Parenting

February 26th, 2019

Daniel and his father were driving back from a GAA match discussing tactics. After a while Daniel interjected, quite animatedly, and without any apparently humorous intent “You know, Mum should let you talk more, you’re actually quite interesting.”

Valentine’s Day

February 25th, 2019

On the morning of Valentine’s Day, my husband woke me up with the words, “Happy Valentine’s Day”. I replied, “Oh [expletive deleted]!” He said, “Don’t worry, our truce has held, I haven’t bought you anything.”

That’s true love, right there.

Minor Injuries

February 24th, 2019

I got a call from the school that Daniel was injured. He was shouldered in the face by a bigger boy during a game of basketball. He was a bit sore but his glasses were unbroken and he described himself as able to cycle home. Crisis averted. He was a bit miserable that evening but he recovered.

The next day, we got another call from the school, “Don’t worry but we think Michael needs stitches.” He got his injury in a very Michaelish way. He won a class debate on global warming. As he was announced as the winner, he bowed to the class and hit his head off the corner of a desk.

Normally, Mr. Waffle deals with all emergencies but he couldn’t go to the hospital on the day in question so I scooted out of work at 3.45 to deal with the catastrophe. Mr. Waffle had already collected him from school in the car (this was not an injury where we felt he could cycle home). When I got home, Michael was quite upset. “Were you glad when Daddy collected you?” I asked. “Yes, but I’m gladder to see you now,” he sobbed into my shoulder. Every time something like this happens, I wonder why I am out at work and not at home. If things had been normal, I would have stayed at work and his father would have taken him to the hospital and I feel he actually really wanted his mother. Having it all, again.

We spent a couple of hours in A&E and he didn’t need stitches in the end: they glued him back together. He’s almost recovered now and is, much to his regret, allowed back in the shower.

Transition Year Bulletin

February 23rd, 2019

There is a nun in her early 80s attached to the children’s school. They absolutely love her. I have to say, I find her a bit unnerving myself and when I meet her I feel she is judging me and finding me wanting. This may just be my early conditioning.

Herself tells me that the nun is doing meditation with her year. Apparently, they are told to sit quietly with their eyes closed and imagine Jesus coming towards them in the light. “How is that for you?” I asked. “Well, I always want to ask ‘Are we dead, sister?'” Not great then, I suppose.

They had a CPR class as well. They were supposed to wear their gym gear for resuscitating people but, as always the case, half the class had forgotten to wear the correct gear. The teacher sent them up to the home ec room to borrow the school basketball gear which is kept there after being washed every time by the home ec teacher (completely unclear to me why they can’t buy their own basketball gear but this is how it works – as I understand it, no one regrets this more than the home ec teacher who has the washing machine going in her classroom almost all the time). They charged up and changed. When the man from the first aid training man arrived, he took one look at the kids wearing basketball gear and sent them off to change before they caught their deaths of cold. Such is the exciting nature of Transition Year.

Herself is starting her work experience for a series of ten Mondays on the 25th and I am very curious as to how it will go for her. Hang on to your hats people.

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