Saturday, July 23
The children and I went to Blackrock Observatory in the morning where they have been many times before but they still really like it. For the first time I got there without getting lost.
At lunch time we met my husband and sister [who had spent the week moving from Leiden to Cork via Dublin – it’s complicated] at my parents’ house. Hurrah for the cavalry. I had a rather relaxed afternoon and Mr. Waffle drove back to Garryvoe [Penalty points!! Don’t worry, Daddy’s driving!]. We stopped in Castlemartyr for chips for the children’s dinner. I am not proud.
Mr. Waffle and I went to Ballymaloe for dinner. The setting is lovely but the food is really only alright despite the excellent reputation. Every time I go there, I swear I won’t come back but yet, there we were. There, I’ve said it, I’ll probably be barred from Cork forever.
When we got home, the babysitter recoiled in horror when we suggested that we would pay her €10 an hour. “For babysitting,” she screeched, “I couldn’t take that.” This was distinctly endearing. She lived five minutes away and I drove her home. On my way back to the house I got lost and spent 45 minutes exploring the lanes of East Cork. My concern that my husband might be worried about me was unfounded as he was sound asleep on my return – insert mild sigh of reproach here.
Sunday, July 23
I went to mass, cravenly leaving the children with Mr. Waffle. As I went out the door, I heard herself taking Michael’s reading into her own hands – “Listen, Michael, when two vowels go out walking, the first one does the talking.” Daniel, doesn’t need her help.
We found ourselves in the diocese of Cloyne in the eye of the child abuse storm and much of the parish newsletter, when I got to mass was given over to these very distressing matters and I was glad that my two readers hadn’t got the opportunity to give it a look over.
In the afternoon, we dropped Mr. Waffle to the train to continue his labours in the big smoke. The children and I went to the butter museum which is appealing in a low key kind of way.
Monday, July 25
We went to visit our Limerick cousins. My aunt has a small shop from which she doles out sweets to the delight of the children. One of my cousins is an undertaker. When my mother asked how was business, he said “Very bad, same everywhere, no one’s dying anymore.” You heard it here first. Then on to my cousins who have a farm. This is usually a huge success but on this occasion it was marred by the following: one child who sulked and would not get out of the car for much of the visit; a fall in a bed of nettles and one child who fought with all of the young cousins present. A low point was a work call while dealing with several children trying to loudly explain their grievances to me. We will draw a veil.
An anecdote for my trouble: one of my cousins, who was also visiting, works in the research institute in Cork where the Queen visited. “Did you meet the Queen?” I asked him. “Well, I could have,” he said, “but she wasn’t coming until 2.30 and we finish at 1 on Fridays…” His family have form on this. His older brother was supposed to serve mass when the Pope came to Limerick in 1979. “What,” he enquired of the school authorities, “would happen if he didn’t serve mass?” Then he would have the day off like everyone else. He took the day off.
Tuesday, July 26
Recovering from the trauma of the previous day, we spent much of our time peacefully and happily around the house – the children created a club in the shed. It was pleasant. Daniel told me about the wages of sin. He said that no one can forgive my sins but Jesus and that the Bible alone will bring me to salvation. Slightly conscience stricken, I told him that Catholics and Protestants believed different things in some ways – I covered confession, the role of the Church and transubstantiation in outline. The Princess intervened, “You know, Mum, I think Daniel is probably more of a Protestant than a Catholic.”
Wednesday, July 27
We all cleaned the house. The children, in the absence of the mysterious cleaner were a big help with the hoovering. Then we locked up and went to Cork where the children’s kind grandparents gave them a tenner each to spend in France. Joy was unconfined. We went to Shandon; we played the bells; we climbed up to the tower; we looked at the matchstick model of the tower and the old books in the church including a Bible in Irish [those Protestants and their Bible reading again – Shandon is a Protestant church].
And then, we drove home [penalty points, penalty points!] to Dublin.
And, tomorrow, we’re going to France for a fortnight [full description on our return, bien sûr]. I can tell you, my return to work at the end of the month will be painful.