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Palm Sunday

March 29th, 2015

Today is Palm Sunday. A fact I had forgotten until I entered the church this morning and Michael began loudly complaining when he saw the size of the missalette. “It’s three times longer than normal,” he hissed. “That means mass will last three hours.”

While it didn’t last three hours, it certainly was grand and long. The priest read the first gospel (which I think is not compulsory), he read the longer version of the long gospel (you know the one, it’s the miniature passion play) and then, crowning indignity, he gave a sermon which is normally unheard of on Passion Sunday. The elderly lady in the pew in front fainted. A group of older mentally handicapped people who were behind us made noise throughout the mass much of it mournful. One could hardly blame them. At communion, one of them ran up to the altar scattering pensioners in her wake; it was a difficult Sunday for the pensioners.

As our neighbour’s teenage daughter came down from communion, Mr. Waffle asked whether I thought her top was entirely appropriate for mass. She was wearing a pink hoodie and it was only when she passed me that I saw that the legend on the back was: “Hockey is my religion.”

It was that kind of Sunday. How was your own weekend?

All Mod Cons

March 27th, 2015

Yesterday the eircom man came and restored our broadband and television. I cannot tell you how delighted we all are after our long fallow period. Things we have done in the evening in the absence of internet and television: played cards, played table soccer, read books and learnt off poetry by heart from books. I think the consensus is that well and good as those things may be, a full life cannot be lived without internet and television. There it is. Philistinism will out. Personally, I was bereft without the television. If you had asked me, I would have said that I hardly watched any television. I was wrong. To celebrate the return of the television, I stayed up watching the Miliband v. Cameron debate; clearly, very worthwhile.

On the plus side, everyone now knows Up the Airy Mountain. And much of Lepanto which is no joke, I can tell you. Parts of it are a bit obscure to the modern reader and I said to herself, “We need a glossary.” And she replied, “The internet is our glossary.” Welcome back, glossary, we missed you.

The Glory that was Greece, the Grandeur that was Rome

March 23rd, 2015

The other day, I was wondering aloud how the Romans did all the maths they needed for their engineering achievements in those very cumbersome Roman numerals. Mr. Waffle tells me that they did the difficult bits in Greek numbers and then translated them back into Roman numerals at the end.

Did you know that already? I am rather surprised about the numbers of my friends who did Greek in school, it turns out it’s useful for odd conversations in your 40s. A friend’s wife said something quite innocent about some word possibly coming from the Greek for horse and she was instantly corrected by her husband and mine who said, “No, hippos is a horse*.” Reporting, this rather disapprovingly, to some other friends, it turned out that they had studied Greek also and one of them said wistfully, “Greek was my favourite subject.” She is not the kind of person I would have thought of as a lover of ancient Greek but it just goes to show how little we know of our friends. I suppose at this stage you could count on the fingers of one hand the numbers of children anywhere studying ancient Greek except maybe in Greece.

Bonus prize for you, if you know how the Greeks did their numbers. I can stop any time.

*This is very unlike both of them and I can only attribute it to the lasting power of Greek teaching in the Irish school system.


March 22nd, 2015

The Princess made tea and marble cake for me recently because she has a saintly side.

After our first round of tea, the pot was empty. “Will I make more?” she asked. “Yes, please do,” I said. “I’ll just go and put on the kettle, will I use a fresh teabag?” she asked. “Of course!” I replied. “Oho,” said she, “we all partied.”

Reliable Research from the Back Seat of the Car

March 21st, 2015

Michael: Everyone hates homework.
Herself: What’s the sample size and what’s your source?
Michael: [Pause] Everyone.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day (belated)

March 20th, 2015

On St. Patrick’s Day, I decided that we would all go for a walk. This was greeted with varying levels of enthusiasm (ranging from very little to none at all) but I was adamant. We set off with our picnic at 11.30. By 12.30 we were still not out of Dublin having to skirt the parade route. After that we drove down to Wicklow relatively easily until we came to Glendalough, but it was still 1.30 by the time we arrived.

I thought that we would have the place to ourselves. It turns out not. Every Mammy in Ireland appeared to have had the same idea as me and the place was teeming with families out for grudging walks. Both car parks were full and we had to park on the road and walk for half an hour before we got to our starting point which wasn’t great. It was about this point that Michael and I discovered that we had had a fundamental misunderstanding about the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. I thought he didn’t want to go. He thought we would be going later. We would not be going later. Cue unhappiness.

In my vision, we were going to have the picnic half way through the walk but it was abundantly clear at this point that we would have to have it before the walk started. Never mind, the picnic was eaten, the incentivising lollipops were distributed and the children took an opportunity to try to get their feet wet before the walk started.


We went up to the Spink. It offers a lovely view of the upper lake but it is a bit of a slog up. The children did not enjoy it. There were bitter complaints on the way up. We passed a young child of about 5 coming down when I knew we were very near the top and to encourage the boys, I asked her, “Are we near the top?” and, perfidious child, she replied, “No, it’s ages away, although the views are lovely.” Daniel muttered mutinously, “The only view I like is the one of my x-box.” We did finally get to the top and there were nice views.

I knew that I would be pushing my luck to actually do any walking along the top so, to the children’s huge delight I said we could go back and they went careering back down, leaving Mr. Waffle and me to plod in their wake. As they were sitting waiting for us at the bottom, they ran into some of their classmates who were also on a forced St. Patrick’s Day march.

The next day, I met the classmates on the walk into school and asked how they had enjoyed their trip to Glendalough. “Worst day ever!” announced the younger bitterly.

It is good to know that I am not alone.

Mr Waffle’s Birthday

March 19th, 2015

Today is Mr. Waffle’s birthday.  We made him a cake.

Me (at breakfast) : You will never guess where we have hidden the cake.

Him: Let me think.  In the oven?

Me: Nope, you will never, never guess in a million years.

Him: Hmm, maybe in the tumble dryer?

Me: Yes.

How could he guess?  I have never hidden a cake in the tumble dryer before.  What, do you think I am weird or something?

So, Mr Waffle, another year older and also psychic.

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