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Holiday Continued

September 29th, 2014

Let me take you back to August. So we got off the ferry, back in Ireland and we were going directly to Kerry without passing through Dublin for fear of mutiny by the troops if we got home and then turned around the next day and drove straight to Kerry.

We had an unscheduled stop in Dungarvan when we got a flat tyre. As it could have happened while racing for the ferry in France in torrential rain the previous day, we felt that a flat tyre in Dungarvan had much to recommend it. After lunch we pushed on to Cork where we stayed overnight with my loving family.

For complex reasons we had a spare Cork parking disk which we didn’t need and as Mr. Waffle was going into the house he saw these French people with a Finistère registered car trying to work out the parking regime in Cork. Feeling warmly towards the people of Finistère he went up to them and in impeccable French offered them the parking disk. Were they surprised by a) his French or b) his kindness to strangers? Did they engage in general conversation which allowed him to remark we had just returned from our holiday in Finistère? Didn’t I tell you they were French? I do love the sang froid of the French.

17 August

Our first full day in Kerry was a Sunday so began with a trip to mass which the troops greeted with their customary enthusiasm. We were staying in Dingle in ludicrously enormous holiday houses outside the town. The cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles were staying across the road from us and there was a swing and a green area between the houses which the children played in happily.

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We went to the beach in the afternoon but didn’t swim as the place was alive with jellyfish. Global warming apparently. The children were delighted to play in the sand with their cousins so all was well.

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That night the parents of the children went out together. My sister-in-law and her husband from exotic London took all the children to the fair. Madness, but we were very grateful, as were the children.

18 August

We had a mild climb up Clogher Head and looked at the beautiful view. For his own obscure reasons, an Italian man was sitting at the top playing a flute so that was nice, if a little odd.


We had a lovely lunch in Ballydavid; a further swim with a jellyfish and a visit to Dingle’s excellent library. For the price of €2, you can get a temporary membership and borrow from your holiday address. Is that not wonderful?

19 August

My sister-in-law took her husband to the airport. This was not entirely without difficulty as, despite being over 30 and having lived in London for 13 years and looked after herself perfectly well, she is a youngest child and is therefore assumed by her parents to be incapable of the mildest adventure. I was startled when my mother-in-law asked me whether I thought my sister-in-law would be alright on the shortish drive to the regional airport. I felt she would. Apparently an offer by her mother to sit in the back seat to ensure that she was safe had been vigorously rebuffed by my sister-in-law. Youngest children also have their crosses to bear.

The Princess, her young cousins and her uncle and aunt climbed Mount Brandon. The boys, Mr Waffle and I baled out somewhat less than half way up. There were still great views.


Including, impressively, of my brother-in-law running up the mountain ahead of us.


Back at ground level we forced the boys to speak Irish in a local shop. It passed off peacefully.

20 August

We had a lovely dinner out leaving the children to the tender mercies of a teenage babysitter. She seemed fine on our return despite minding five young children. This was the last night for both sisters-in-law before they went off to London, so nearly at the end, alas.

21 August

The girls went for a trip to the acquarium with their London aunt before she left for the bright lights. A certain gloom overtook the party on the departure of the aunts. We all went on a very damp cliff walk.


There is nothing like Kerry in the rain. The children were cheered by a further trip to the funfair with a view later.

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22 August

This was our last full day in Kerry and the weather was amazing. We spent all day at the beach in Ballydavid and had a beautiful lunch in the nearby pub. It was a lovely, lovely day and, handily enough, obliterated the rain soaked memory of the day before.

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23 August

The end of the holidays; a long drive and finally we were home.

Last picture of Kerry from the road home:


So, excellent, I have finished my account of the summer holidays before the beginning of October, do you enjoy the immediacy of this blog?

They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait

September 28th, 2014

So we ran mass today. The woman from the parish council who normally does it was off in Siena on holidays. We had the intro (me), the prayers of the faithful (all the children) and the second reading (Herself).

She read beautifully. As she was reading, “There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself..”, I was whispering to her father, “She’s so good at this, she really is superb at reading aloud much better than anyone else.” So very much taking the message of the reading to heart, then.

They all did fine for their prayers of the faithful but after delivering his, Michael went to the back of the altar where he appeared to believe he was invisible and began rotating in circles.

But what, you ask of my couple of lines of introduction, well, I went into the sacristy and told the parish priest that I would be doing the introduction. “Fine, fine,” said he. When mass actually started, I was surprised to see that someone else entirely was saying mass but I assumed that the parish priest had passed on the message. I went up to the altar and stood at the lectern opposite the priest. The elderly priest opened mass with a welcome. Then he pressed on completely ignoring me. I stood there opening my mouth like a landed fish and failing to get a word in edgeways. Eventually I slunk off the altar without saying anything still completely unnoticed by the priest who was well into his stride at this point. Why do these things always happen to me? Predictably, the children thought it was hilarious

A Momentus Day

September 27th, 2014

My parents are celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary.

Daniel and Michael are 9.

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Also, the internet tells me, George Clooney got married and Google is 16. It’s just non-stop this whole 27 September thing.

It’s also the feast day of the Brussels region. I can stop any time.

Suffering for Art

September 21st, 2014

I went to see a revival of “Borstal Boy” by Brendan Behan in the Gaiety earlier this week. It is very long and contains more song and dance numbers than you might expect but it has its moments.

On Friday night it was culture night so, we had book doctor prescriptions from CBI in the Writers’ Museum [your children tell adults who are experts in children's books what they are reading and they recommend what they might like]; we went to the Mendicity Institution which was really interesting and where we got soup made to the original 1818 recipe (very glutinous); and we had a stroll around Merrion Square which was mildly interesting. There was a very long queue to get into number 29 Fitzwilliam Square – a Georgian House Museum so we skipped that and I promised to take Herself another day. We went yesterday and had the place largely to ourselves – entrance fee €6 for both of us – so I feel that was money well spent.

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Last night, Mr. Waffle and I went to see “The Belle Bottoms” in the Fringe Theatre Festival – an hour of funny songs inspired by the 70s. It was written by Eoin Colfer who writes really terrific books for children. I had hopes. They were dashed. Mr. Colfer was in the audience. I nearly went up to him and cried, “How could you do this to us? Do you know that we paid for a babysitter to be here?” I didn’t. I did manage to lose my keys on the cycle home though. Alas.


September 18th, 2014

Herself: If Scotland votes yes to independence can I get a Scottish passport?
Me: No, why would you be entitled to a Scottish passport; you weren’t born there, you haven’t ever even visited Scotland and you have no Scottish relatives.
Her: I thought maybe because we were all rebels against England together.

Yes, We’re Still in France

September 16th, 2014

9 August

We went to another lighthouse. Lighthouses are quite the tourist attraction in Brittany. This was followed by a mild walk along the coast to admire the view. Children can be somewhat indifferent to the glories of nature, can’t they?


10 August

We found a church that offered a shorter mass. The Princess and I then cycled into the brocante where we spent a happy, happy hour and €5.

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Then we drove off to Ile Tudy which is actually a peninsula. You can either drive or take a ten minute ferry ride from Loctudy. We took the ferry. Then we took it back again. The excitement.


And there was more – we went to the most amazing beach nearby. A long, long beach with huge rolling waves. The children and I had a fantastic time. Mr. Waffle was too busy being lifeguard to relax fully. We then had dinner in Pont L’Abbé in a restaurant which offered both pizza and moules frites but neither entirely successfully.

11 August

We went and investigated the port museum. This is a massive museum dedicated to the history of the town and a more general focus on marine matters complete with a number of restored boats floating on the quayside which you can visit.

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It is inconceivable that a town of 16,000 people in Ireland would have an equivalent museum. It really brings home the French commitment and public investment in culture and the arts. The museum featured sardines heavily.


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After the excitement of the port museum we took ourselves up to the neighbouring town of Locronan which is as beautiful as it is filled with tourists. It was very rich up to the late middle ages/early renaissance – making a fortune in hemp, no, really – and then suffered a rapid decline which meant that no one subsequently did any building work. It’s really lovely.


It’s actually prettier than that but you have to balance getting pictures of heaving throngs and quaint streets.

It has great, though slightly mysterious saints in the church.

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We also saw a man walking a racoon on a lead. Not a great photo but you understand my difficulty.


I was persuaded not to spend €150 on an art nouveau overmantle clock (not working, obviously) by my daughter’s uproarious laughter when she saw it. Probably for the best.

12 August

We went back to the great beach near Loctudy. It was great.

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We also took in Concarneau which as fortified towns go – that’s a ville close to you – is very appealing. You can walk around the fortifications and look out to sea or peer through the lanes to the very crowded main street. Have a sea view.


13 August

Our last full day in Brittany. We went to the beach at Kerlaz which was partly closed due to the “algues vertes” but was a nice spot for a stroll. Even the children thought so.

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14 August

We locked up and left the house. It poured on the drive to the ferry. We stopped for lunch in a restaurant on the way and got soaked. After the Princess had ordered her lunch, the waiter said to Mr. Waffle “Votre fille parle très bien français.” Her father turned to her and said, “Treasure this moment, this may well be the only time a French person ever compliments you on your French.”

And then, we were gone.


Tune in for the next installment when our heroes find themselves in Kerry.

Public Service Announcement

September 15th, 2014

I won free tickets to Woody Allen’s new film, “Magic in the Moonlight” from the Dublin Theatre festival. Mr. Waffle and I went this evening. It was unremittingly awful. Don’t go. Ironically, it might make a better play.

More holiday soon.

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