As Mr. Waffle’s family are keen orienteers, we have taken the children out a couple of times, almost invariably to groans of protest. Yesterday, for the first time, we went without the cousins or other supportive Waffle family members. As Mr. Waffle signed up, I could hear the nice people saying, “Now, it’s very important to hand in your card, even if you don’t finish” and other basic bits of advice. Mr. Waffle nodded politely but as this showed signs of running on, I said, “Tell them your secret, tell them you’re G’s brother.” The effect on the organisers was almost comical. They instantly began to apologise for providing such basic information to one nearly related to G and asked anxiously where he and his esteemed father were. My brother-in-law is very popular in certain circles. Perhaps inspired by this close interest in our progress, for the very first time we put in results which did not feature in the ignominious DNF category. We also got burnt to a cinder because I did not believe we could get sunburnt in Ireland in September.
While supervising the children in the nearby playground, I was approached by a trendy young man with a beard who turned out to be a former colleague from Brussels who has just moved to Ireland to do his PhD. Just as I had been complaining to Mr. Waffle that we only knew Irish people here is my Latvian ex-colleague and his partner to add cosmopolitan student glamour to our lives.
This playground was also the site of the usual embarrassing moment that is part of any day spent with small children. I was queuing with Daniel for a particularly popular attraction when he turned to me and said in aggrieved and carrying tones, “That girl said I was a little boy.” “You’re not a little boy, you’re a BIG boy,” I said and then my evil genius prompted me to add, “Who said such a thing to you?” He pointed to a very large teenager and said clearly (he articulates wonderfully) and loudly, “That fat girl over there.” Covered in mortification, I whispered to him, “Darling, don’t say loudly that she’s fat, it’s rude.” To which he replied with disastrous clarity “But why can’t I say she’s fat, she IS.”