Well, we’re all sick now. Mr. Waffle is snuffling with the rest of us. It’s pathetic. Let us relive the Christmas idyll for a comforting warming glow.
17 December saw us heading for home. Our departure from Brussels coincided with heavy rain and the conclusion of what we locals call the “Eurotop”. This involves 25 heads of state having their own escort to the airport with outriders and a large part of town being sealed off from the common populace with portable barbed wire (a Belgian speciality). These people are always wittering on about “bringing Europe closer to the citizen” but I have to tell you, they certainly don’t mean any citizens who might be near them. So with the rain and the Eurotop, the traffic was murder and we only got to the airport just in time and the taxi ride cost 70 euros which is about twice the normal amount. A certain amount of unhappiness was felt.
However, once safely back in Ireland all was very rosy. The Princess was delighted to be reunited with her royal grandparents and practised her new enlarged vocabulary on them (“Present for Princess?”). Our Christmas bash with Gaza M and Bosnia R in their house passed off splendidly. We caught up with loads of people including a couple we used to know in Brussels. He is Irish and she is French and they have a small baby. For the first time, she is spending Christmas away from Brittany. His family have decided to make the experience unforgettable for her by, in the case of his brother, decamping to New Zealand, in the case of his sister, remaining in distant Sligo and in the case of his mother, leaving for California but not before giving them a large goose for Christmas dinner. Ms. Bretagne regarded the goose with great dubiety and pointed out that as there were only going to be four people for Christmas dinner, one of whom was not yet on solids, it was perhaps a little large. Let us hope that all passed off well, but I feel that even as I write, goose still forms a large part of the family diet.
We met a good friend of Mr. Waffle’s who is just about to start work as Professor of Very Hard Law in an English University. She announced that she had just developed a terrible addiction, she had read her first Georgette Heyer and was hooked. The fabulousness of that. She and I spent a comfortable 45 minutes talking about the queen of the regency romance (and I am NOT talking Barbara Cartland here, so stop smirking) while Mr. Waffle looked on in dazed awe.
And Mr. Waffle’s father and particularly his mother babysat like troopers despite the later’s broken wrist. She took the Princess round to the neighbours. Her highness treated retired judges and famous authors’ parents (such are the kind of neighbours you get in south County Dublin) with the same loving attention as she did her grandparents, rushing into their houses and saying “Present for Princess? OPEN!” So successful was the babysitting that Mr. Waffle’s father got carried away and offered to babysit overnight. I thanked him but said no because she still wakes up during the night. He said not to worry about that because although he is a very sound sleeper himself, Mr. Waffle’s mother would certainly be able to get up. Hmm.
Then on to Cork where the Princess was greeted by another set of devoted slaves and the Princess’s parents by a digital camera. Yay. More babysitting. More gallivanting. Down to the sea to inspect the heart surgeon’s new house. Lucky old heart surgeon. But she is sick as a dog, poor thing. Being pregnant doesn’t entirely agree with her. Nevertheless, lovely view below:
Delighted to see my Chicago sister for the first time in a year. She looked very glam. Told her so. What, I asked, is the secret of your glamness? Wow, that girl’s routine is a killer. She asked me when I had last set my eyebrows. Eh? Apparently it only takes 5 minutes but doesn’t she realise that this time could be spent sleeping? I feel combining glamour and motherhood could be a challenge. Anyway she snuck her way into the Princess’s affections by holding her upside down whenever she saw her and the Princess is now obsessed with her Cork aunty. When we left Cork, I explained that her aunty was going back to America on an aeroplane. The next day when we flew back to Brussels, she paced the corridor of the plane looking for her aunty and doubtless spreading disease.
Look, I know this is dull, but having a good time makes for dull material. Let me tell you about 3 o’clock this morning when Mr. Waffle was trying to sing the Princess back to sleep with a number called “savez-vous planter les choux?”. The trick is that you must try to plant the cabbage with a different part of the body at every verse (that’s the French for you, don’t blame me). It took her a long time to get to sleep. This morning I said to my loving husband “what a dreadful night”. “Humph” he said “at least you weren’t planting cabbages with your ears at 3.30 this morning”. I suppose we must take comfort where we can.
on 07 January 2005 at 12:11
And you Americans rule the world? My God what would you be able to do if you had portable barbed wire as well? GASP.
on 07 January 2005 at 12:49
*mind boggles* Good stuff there W.
on 07 January 2005 at 21:43
Bobble, you are kind.