Some time ago, I agreed with my sister that I would drive down to Cork with her. I did that yesterday. Mr. Waffle had previously arranged to go and see Ireland play the All-Blacks today (particularly distressing defeat for Ireland, since you ask).
I needed to be back in Dublin by 12 today to facilitate Mr. Waffle’s departure to the match. “No problem,” I said. I didn’t realise when I blithely agreed to this that I was going to be ill this weekend. And then, it was only subsequently I realised that everyone in Munster was also going to the match. I managed to just about secure a ticket on the 8.00 train (change at Mallow) for €32.99 one way. When I got on the train was heaving with polite rugby supporters and the reserved seat signs weren’t working so there was much jostling for position. Polite jostling. I sat beside a polite New Zealander (a happy man tonight, I assume). There was no tea on the tea trolley and I had the dubious pleasure of forking out €2.50 for a cup of boiling water (for my lemsip).
I was collected from the station by Mr. Waffle and the children and we proceeded to mass. The Princess did her second reading with considerable aplomb once she realised that her moment had come (this was proceeded by a frantic scuttling up the aisle on my part and a hissing to her to go up – apparently her friend A had already said “Go on, it’s now, you idiot” so my intervention was as embarrassing as it was unnecessary). She had a great reading, it was a long one and it contains this line which is a good one: “for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers – all things were created through him and for him.” Daniel has joined the choir, so he was up at the front of the church with his sister and Michael was left sitting with his father and me.
As I have covered previously, Michael does not like going to mass. It lasts forever and it is precious time from the weekend. He walked to the church with dragging footsteps complaining of a sore leg. He counted the seconds at mass until he had got to 15 minutes and asked was it over yet. It was not. I do understand. Some of the longest hours of my life have been spent in mass as a small child (and it was only 40 minutes then). But he is not pleased. It was this Sunday that the parish priest chose to say in his sermon – “We don’t come to mass because we must. We don’t come to mass because we are forced to do so to be good Catholics.” Michael began to protest, all too audibly that that was exactly why he came to mass. He folded his arms and glowered at his father and me in turn.
It did end eventually and Michael was keen to return to his home. On the way home, the neighbours asked Dan in to play with their middle child who is a great friend of his due to their continual excursions to GAA matches and training together. “Sure,” I said. “We’re going out at 2.30,” said the friend’s mother, “Is that ok?” “Fine,” I said. We were dropping Mr. Waffle to the rugby match; news which Michael greeted with prolonged howls of outrage “I want to go home to my own house.” We were slightly late, traffic was heavy, Mr. Waffle likes to be punctual, no one had had lunch, Michael continued to recount his woes loudly and sniffly, I was conscious of our deadline at the other end when the neighbours needed to drop Dan back and my lemsip was wearing off. It was a tense car journey though in the end, Mr. Waffle was on time, we were on time and Michael got home.
When we got home, Daniel discovered that his Christmas list had gone missing and needed to be found immediately. Michael couldn’t open the milk bottle which needed to be opened immediately. Herself looking at me trailing around the house miserably still in my coat with my overnight bag in the hall said, “Mum, would you like me to make lunch?” Which she did, very competently. I’m beginning to feel that those teenage years may not be as bad as everyone says they will be.
I’m still sick as a dog but a quiet afternoon at home has done much to restore me. We had a particularly thrilling game of ludo.