How have we been since December 24 you ask?
The Princess was very keen to go to midnight mass (at 9 on Christmas Eve) to sing with her choir. I wanted us all to go together but felt it was too late for the boys. She promised faithfully to go to mass again on Christmas day with all the family so herself and Mr. Waffle went to mass on Christmas Eve and she sang a verse of “Away in a Manger” on her own and she was delighted with herself. On Christmas Day, she dutifully went to mass again (as did her saintly father). The choir were given the day off in recompense for the night before so it was just the organist and the choir director who sang solo. The director spotted herself and asked her to do a reprise of her “Away in a Manger” after communion: “Do the first verse and we’ll see how you’re doing after that.” So away she went. The organist accompanied her quite brilliantly; speeding up and slowing down as necessary. To be fair to the Princess, she sang clearly and in tune. After mass, a number of people congratulated me on her performance including one woman who said that the Princess “made the mass”. A comment which was, theologically, probably not entirely appropriate but was nonetheless very welcome to the singer’s mother.
The presents went down well and Santa played a blinder. Daniel in particular was delighted with his Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 which he had described as “urgent” on his Christmas list. Michael got a bop it which is a strangely compelling toy. Mr. Waffle has banned its use in the car. The Princess got a zoomer which is an electronic voice activated puppy. Like Siri, I think he is less comfortable with Irish accents than English or American ones. I heard her say repeatedly to Zoomer “Sit, sit, sit.” She achieved varying results. As he lay on his tummy at one point, I heard her say “That’s grand Zoomer” which I’d say was fairly baffling to Zoomer. She also got “The Screwtape Letters” at her request. On Christmas day, she said, “I feel bad going to mass after starting to read that book.” I pointed out that it was not a manual but a system of warnings. “Oh,” said she. This is clearly going to end well.
On the food front, those who said that turkey is a big chicken were right. It was all pretty painless though, oh Lord, there is a lot of it and my parents-in-law who came to us for Christmas dinner are not heavy eaters.
On the 26th we went orienteering with the cousins. It was a beautiful day and very sunny though icy.
It made a pleasant contrast to our trip last year when the weather was, frankly, inclement. Oh yes, a happy memory:
We have just returned from a trip to Cork where we stayed in our saintly friends’ house again – they were in Spain for Christmas so we moved in. We went down on the 27th amid apocalyptic storm warnings but all was well.
There were many more presents in Cork including a Skylanders swap it set which the boys played almost constantly. The highlight for the Princess was probably a trip to the ice rink. A year of roller blading means that she is better than all the rest of us combined on the ice. The boys enjoyed it somewhat less.
We found a dead dolphin on the beach (not included in atmospheric beach shot below):
On Sunday Michael was outraged to discover that he was expected to go to mass twice in one week. I assured him that mass in the country was much shorter than mass in Dublin. Mass was at half eleven and we arrived at 11.28. When we went in, they were on the “Our Father”. We had relied on the internet for our information but the internet had let us down. Clearly mass had started at 11. We slunk to our seats in shame (this was the wilds of east Cork, it’s not like we were going to get to another church) and left again at 11.40. Michael said, very perkily, “You’re right, mass is a lot shorter in the country.”
We drove back to Dublin yesterday. Under the stairs, there was a very strong odour of raw poultry. We had a very good look round but found nothing. I can’t help remember how we never found the head of the pigeon that the cat caught a couple of weeks ago. After that trauma, Mr. Waffle and I just managed to stay awake to midnight. Clearly a good omen for the new year. And today we mostly stayed around the house and some friends came to visit. The boys and I went to see “The Desolation of Smaug” where they were delightfully terrified. And no work or school until next week. Hurrah. Now, if only we could find the source of that smell.