Did you know we went to East Cork to stay in our friends’ house? We have excellent friends; a lifetime of careful choosing.
So, in a very 1950s way, Mr. Waffle worked in Dublin and came down at the weekends and I stayed in Cork with the children. The weather was quite outstanding. This did not overcome Michael’s permanent objection to going to the beach but we forced him there; an exercise that requires more enthusiasm on the part of a parent than you might imagine.
The children spread their wings in a mild way. I went for a swim and left them in the house. The three of them went to the nearby playground together, played and came back. They quite enjoyed being out without their loving parents and I am quite pleased with how responsible herself is becoming. Regrettably, she is getting a bit sophisticated for playgrounds.
We made our annual pilgrimage to Leahy’s fun farm which, as usual, delivered the goods. My cousin, who is a farmer’s son and father of three small children, is underwhelmed by Leahy’s but then he has to go and milk cows whenever his brother goes off golfing, so he and his family are more jaded when it comes to farm animals.
The Princess made friends with a little French girl and the pair of them ran around together. As ever, her parents were utterly unimpressed by an Irish child who spoke good French. There is a reason why sang froid is a French expression. In an effort to keep her French up over the summer, I have offered to pay her â‚¬8.25 [a figure subject to intense negotiation] if she reads one of the Harry Potter books in French. She got to page 87 when the e-reader died. What are we to make of this? Insights thus far: “you-know-who” in French is “tu-sais-qui” when speaking to children and “vous-savez-qui” for adults. Watch this space for more exciting updates. We’ve just purchased a new e-reader. Sigh.
My brother and mother came to visit us for the day. My mother has not been well and it was lovely to get her out of the city. The loveliness was somewhat compromised by my father calling to say that my aunt and two of my cousins had come to visit my mother. He had been peacefully reading the Telegraph when they arrived and although he was happy to welcome them, he was even happier when I said that they should come to us. Meanwhile, my brother had taken the children and the house key to the beach and turned off his mobile phone. So my mother and I sat in the rather toasty car contemplating breaking in. I mulled on the state of disorder which would greet my cousins and aunt. Eventually the sandy ones returned with a very melted packet of chocolate fingers. It all passed off peacefully but I retired to bed with a migraine at 9. Visitors are tiring.
We have been to East Cork many times but never to Cloyne so I forced the children to visit. It is full of interesting things. Despite this photo, they did not like it and they did not find it interesting:
But look, it has a round tower:
An effigy of Bishop Berkeley who spent nearly 20 years here (though he died elsewhere):
But no, they remained resolutely unimpressed. Can you take more of this tomorrow?