We left my parents’ house in Cork yesterday morning at 10.50. We took the 11.30 train to Dublin where we arrived at 14.30. At Portlaoise, the train was nearly full and the Princess had to give up the two seats she was sprawling across to a mother and two children. Great and vocal was her indignation. We were deeply mortified as we tried to explain to her in furious whispers that the seats were not, in fact, hers. “And would it be nice to leave these three people standing when you can sit there beside Daddy?” To summarise, her view is that it would. We taxied across the city to the airport arriving at about 15.15. During the journey the Princess decided to strip to her vest and tights but, otherwise, it was uneventful.
We then checked in and went through security and were safely in the cafeteria by 16.30. At 17.30 we were preparing to board. The flight was full of important Irish Europeans including the current and former secretaries general of the European Commission. I like to think that our screaming children added their little mite to the happiness of these important souls. Connecting with the citizen and all that. An acquaintance of Mr. Waffle’s who is a pleasant man and was also travelling said to me that minding the children must be like “herding mice at a crossroads”. “Who” enquired the Princess “is a mouse?”. “You are” I said. “And your brothers” added the jovial acquaintance. “We are not” she huffed indignantly and, putting an arm around each brother, said “don’t mind him, my little brothers”. When we actually got on the plane she saw this poor man coming down the aisle and she said quite audibly “Look, that’s the nasty man we met at the airport”. Embarrassed smiles all round. Mr. Waffle had the dubious pleasure of sitting with Daniel on his lap and the Princess beside him while I was across the aisle with Michael. It was a long journey. Daniel got the bottle of water with the squirty lid and amply dampened all within squirting range. The Princess helpfully offered to mop up the damage with her dress (can I say how much I regret putting her in a dress that buttons up the front). Once sitting happily in her vest and tights she proceeding to colour in all visible flesh with red marker. Meanwhile Michael was endearing himself to the two patient civil servants sitting beside me by tossing his bottle in the air for them to catch and ensuring that their suits would smell of sour milk at their meetings today. We arrived promptly at 20.30 and spent the next 20 minutes trying to clothe the Princess and cajole her off the plane while her brothers roared in indignation. We emerged, picked up our ample baggage and taxied home for 21.30. Sighs of relief all round.