My friend from school came to stay with her American husband and four American children. Even though our new house is much bigger, it was still something of a squash and a squeeze. But it was lovely to see them – we last saw them on December 29, 2010 when their youngest was a very sick baby. They are all well now and particularly polite in the manner of nice middle class American children: eye contact when talking to adults! Still a skill which some of my children have not mastered. The children all got on pretty well. My friend’s two youngest boys were particularly excited by the presence of my boys’ extensive arsenal of weapons from water pistol to plastic sub-machine gun and stocked them on the landing with great enthusiasm. When the three-year-old came up to me laughing and shot me, I played dead but his parents were appalled. They have no toy guns in their house. Culturally, there seems to be a difference in toy gun control between here and the US.
So, picture the scene, they arrived off the plane on Sunday morning, hired a car and turned up at our house having been travelled from their home in Vermont at 2pm US time on Saturday. Were the children cranky? They were not. Were they tired? No. Were they even particularly grubby? Not really. Instead of collapsing into their beds, they spent the afternoon with us at the church garden party. This event was, by the standards of these things, a huge success. Crucially, the sun shone. Members of the Indian Christian community [larger than you might think] performed a dance to Shiva the Destroyer in front of the priests’ dining room and all the cakes were sold. Herself was deputed to sell raffle tickets and to her great joy, our visitors bought €20 worth.
All was well with the world. And the children all slept all night. The Americans went to Cork on Tuesday and on to a wedding in Kerry on Friday before flying out of Shannon on Saturday. The horror. But they are brave souls.