Back to Dublin which was shockingly expensive. I brought Mr. Waffle with me and he was shocked too. For about a year I lived alone in a beautifully decorated three bedroom house in Ranelagh which belonged to an architect friend of a friend who was looking for a reliable tenant. As well as being beautifully decorated, it had a fantastic collection of art and architecture books. Unfortunately, her son who had been safely living in China for many years wanted to come home and, understandably, I suppose, his mother felt that he had more of a right to the house than I had.
However, fortune smiled upon me and two old friends who lived next door decamped to Bosnia and I was able to move into their house. Despite regular arguments about the rent (them – don’t bother; us – no, we must; them – well not much then – they were our favourite landlords ever) I was very happy there. I got married while I was living there and it was our first married home so it has all kinds of positive associations.
When I go to visit my friends now, I always feel very at home in their house which I am sure they welcome particularly late at night when I’m showing no sign of leaving. In fact, a number of people I know still think it is actually my house and when we came back to Ireland said “you still have your house in Ranelagh”. If only.
For work reasons, after a couple of years, Mr. Waffle and I decided to move back to Brussels. With what I can only describe as spectacularly poor timing, my friends came back two months before we were due to move to Brussels. Furthermore, they wanted to live in their house.
We found a short let in a new apartment block. The flat belonged to a colleague who had yet to live there. It was small for two and in a somewhat soulless part of Dublin. It was sub-tropical inside. We got a printed note from the builders saying that the condensation was, essentially, due to people breathing in the flats and we had only ourselves to blame. I was six months pregnant, sick and miserable.
Boy were we glad to shake the dust of that place from our feet and move back to Brussels (though at this stage it was getting strangely repetitive).