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Properly Regarded as an Economy

August 7th, 2016

I asked the Princess to make me mint biscuits and she kindly consented. “We need peppermint essence,” she said. It was not available in our local shops. “We could make it,” I said. We looked it up on the internet. All we needed was mint (of which we had a superabundance) and vodka (of which we had none).

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We rang Mr. Waffle who was at the library with the boys and asked him to get some vodka for us. He came back with a €20 bottle. In a moment of rashness, we used it all. We now have a litre of peppermint essence in preparation.

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All I can say is, I’m looking forward to these biscuits. It you know me and you need peppermint essence, contact me, I can do you a great deal.

At A Time When It Was Neither Profitable Nor Popular

August 6th, 2016

I’ve been blogging for a long time. However, the only people I have ever met through blogging have been a couple of people who blogged on the platform I started on. It was called 20six and it has long since disappeared off the internet forever [actually, is that even possible?] but it was my first blogging community and it still has a place in my heart.

So, it was lovely when Heather, one of those 20sixers, contacted me to say that she and her husband would be in Ireland and could we meet again. I followed her blog for years. Sadly she has stopped blogging which is such a pity as she was a talented writer; moving, interesting and hilarious by turns. I say this here because when I met her, it was so exciting to talk about her life and what other bloggers were doing that I forgot entirely to say please go back to writing. Twitter is all very well in its way but it’s just not the same. I’ll say it when I see her next; she and her husband enjoyed the best weather of the summer in Ireland so I feel that we might be able to persuade them to come back.

To the Lighthouse

August 5th, 2016

A couple of years ago, we took the children on a walk out to Poolbeg lighthouse. It was a bit far and they were tired and cranky. They’ve remembered it as a low point ever since. As the pigeon house towers which are a bit of a Dublin landmark and can be seen from all over the city dominate the walk, they were regularly reminded of it and each time they saw the towers, they said, never again.

One Sunday lunch time, we found ourselves wondering what to do on a sunny afternoon. Various suggestions were put forward – Botanic Gardens, play on the x-box – but none was finding favour with the group. I found my eye drawn to Daniel’s t-shirt, a present from his grandfather featuring a notable Dublin landmark. “NO!” he said, clutching his chest. Like a Mexican wave of fear, the children around the table started shouting “NO” while their father looked on bewildered and their mother became hysterical with laughter.

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Mr. Waffle and I overcame all resistance and took them off to the Lighthouse. They were amazed how short the walk seemed; they were a lot smaller last time. It was even, they conceded, not the worst outing ever.

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Mass Takeover

August 4th, 2016

All of the regular readers at mass have been taken out by the summer holidays and we have total control of the second reading and the prayers of the faithful. We became so confident that we even had the cousins (who were staying) do some of the prayers of the faithful with our lot. Our hegemony is coming to an end as we go off on our own summer holidays and I was talking to the sacristan about logistics and handing over the baton. As we were chatting, I asked her whether she would be going away herself. “I’ll probably get a couple of days surfing alright,” said she. The surfing sacristan; we are amazingly with it in our parish.

Cork

August 3rd, 2016

I took a week off work in July and brought the children to Cork. This was largely successful although Herself came down with a cold which dogged her for the next fortnight. Happily she does not seem to have passed it on to any of her elderly relatives.

We did the usual things. We went to Charles Fort. It lashed rain on us. The walk out was very damp.

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But happily, on arrival at the fort, the sun came out.

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We had lunch in the Bulman.

We dropped round to see an old friend of mine and her family. She emigrated to America years ago. She and her husband bought a house in Kinsale and now visit regularly with their four American children. We don’t meet very often due to geography but it is delightful to see the children of friends growing up in leaps and bounds. We had dinner with them; found out about each others lives; reintroduced the children to each other and admired the beautiful view from their house.

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We went to Shandon.

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And rang the bells.

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And visited the church (under some mild protest).

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My sister and brother were very kind to them and doled out treats which they very much enjoyed. This, in part made up for the pain of having to visit the Crawford Gallery.

Herself was rather taken with this figure in Daniel Maclise’s “Francois 1 and Diane de Poitiers”. She feels it would make an excellent internet meme. Who am I to quibble with a digital native?

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Probably a highlight for Herself was another raid on my parents’ attic. They are, of course, only too delighted to let her take stuff from there. As she had done an impressively massive root and branch clean out and re-organisation of her bedroom in Dublin, I could only concede that she now had room to accommodate a number of miscellaneous items which had taken her fancy. I rescued some things myself including a number of china jugs which had been wrapped in newspaper and, for reasons which are now lost in the mists of time, stored securely in an old wicker wastepaper basket.

On our return to Dublin, I ticked off the remaining item from our standard summer schedule and brought them to St Michan’s to see the crusader. You are no longer allowed to shake the mummified hand which, I suppose, is really for the best all things considered. The literature makes it seem like this was a 19th century thing but I know for a fact that it was standard practice in recent years, including last year. I said to the boys, “How exciting, you will be able to tell your grandchildren that you shook the mummy’s hand when you were 9 and when you came back the following year, you realised that that was the last opportunity ever!” They were not excited.

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Finally, I might mention that I was rather taken with this junction box in Cork; alas, not an aspiration likely to be realised.

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Irresistible Force Meets Immovable Object

August 2nd, 2016

Herself likes to argue and debate. So does my brother. She is a feminist. Despite the best efforts of three generations (his mother, his aunt, his sisters, his niece) my brother remains resistant to the idea that discrimination against women exists in any form in Ireland. He and I have been arguing about this for around 30 years and I have largely given up. Herself is made of sterner stuff. Also she and my brother really seem to enjoy the vigourous cut and thrust of debate whereas I just get cross.

In my new back seat role, I enjoyed this dispatch from the front line.

From: Herself
To: Me
Subject: If The Media Wrote About Theresa May’s Husband The Way They Write About Samantha Cameron

Am having an argument with Uncle Dan about whether institutionalised sexism exists.

Happy Anniversary

August 1st, 2016

Mr. Waffle and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday, July 28. As we got married before having children and when Mr. Waffle was in a different line of work, that was, then, a relatively quiet time of year. Now the children are on holidays; it is one of Mr. Waffle’s busiest times of the year and we go on our family holiday immediately after.

This year has been particularly difficult as for the last number of years, I have been able to take unpaid leave over the summer but it wasn’t possible this year. We kept our childminder on for the afternoons and signed the children up to a couple of courses and Mr. Waffle took up the slack. It was all a bit stressful. Unfortunately, herself was ill for almost all her course and the week before the boys were due to go on their course I got this plaintive email from my husband.

To: Me
From: Mr. Waffle
Subject: Re: All well at home?

To my horror got a call from the sports camp I thought the boys were doing a course next week but apparently it’s this week. Will have to see if they’re willing to go for the last three days and if [childminder] can do afternoons. Also means we have no course for anybody next week…

In other words, it’s a busy time and we almost, but not quite, forget our anniversary every year. We tend to remember a day or two before when it is too late to do anything but scramble for a not entirely adequate present. For example, the internet tells me that crystal is the appropriate offering for a 15th wedding anniversary; I got Mr. Waffle a book and he got me flowers [very welcome flowers, I hasten to add].

Happily, this year, our firstborn surprised us and when we came home from work, the table looked like this:

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She made us risotto for dinner with help from Daniel and Victoria sponge for desert and it was amazing.

Also, I still love my husband, which is great. He sends me funny emails. Samples below:

From: Mr. Waffle
To: Me
Subject: Signs and portents

My laptop is being weird and currently refuses to open any files or programs.

Also five slugs in utility room / by back door.

I think I’ll call it a day.

From: Mr. Waffle
To: Me
Subject: What is the best Irish term for Brexit?

Sasamach? Bréalú?

I understand someone else came up with these terms but I am always glad to be consulted on matters of national importance.

A couple of weeks ago, the cat brought another pigeon into the house. This time it was not dead. Mr. Waffle grabbed the pigeon from the cat; trapped the cat in the utility room and chased the pigeon around the kitchen (I asked Herself about it – “It was terrible, the pigeon fell in my soup”. Terrible on so many levels). Eventually he was able to usher the pigeon out of the kitchen into the hall while the cat continued to scream blue murder in the utility room. Mr. Waffle said that the pigeon was somewhat dazed but it picked itself up and waddled along the hall and out the front door, somewhat to the bemusement of passers by.

On Saturday evening he rescued the cat from up a tree where she was chased by three small yappy dogs who have moved in across the road. We are not loving them. Mr. Waffle, however, is fantastic.

The other evening I was trying to print off the childminder’s payslip and the printer wouldn’t work. Michael sidled up to me; “Sorry,” he said, “but I think I broke the printer.” “How do you think you broke the printer?” I asked. “I dropped 10 cents down the paper feeder,” he said. I shook it and I turned it up and down but to no avail. “I’m not cross,” I said, “but how did you drop 10 cents into the printer?” Apparently he had been practising coin flips and it had just escaped away from him. After the last unfortunate demise of a printer, my clever husband had taken out a guarantee. €12 well spent. We now have another new printer. I think love is in the details.

Think of us having another delightful anniversary dinner in France. After all, 15 years is definitely worth celebrating.


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