Hello, cruel world. A fortnight into the new job and I am absolutely flattened. I have gone from knowing everyone and everything to knowing no one and nothing. It’s very tiring. And I lost all my swipe cards on Friday night, so I may not even be able to get to my desk tomorrow. Quite the achievement.
So what news, I hear you ask. Well, the boys and I went to Cork. We went to Charles Fort and the Bulman for lunch. It didn’t rain on us. I call that a success. Then we saw a seal near the slip way beside the car park. Very exciting.
Nevertheless, probably the highlight was passing a shop selling holy statutes. Daniel looked dubiously at Padre Pio and asked, “Is that Obi Wan Kenobi?”
While the boys and I were in Cork, herself was in Rome for the week. Actually, Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento, Montecassino and Naples. Notwithstanding the exhausting programme, she had a wonderful time. She liked the Trevi fountain and the Map Room in the Vatican Museums the best.
Early on in proceedings, I got this email.
Have successfully ordered McDonald’s in Italian. Forgot to ask for ketchup and was thrown by the choice between mela and kiwi but all in all quite successful.
Clearly, the trip was not entirely about expanding culinary horizons.
The boys and Mr. Waffle featured briefly on Irish language television talking about house swapping. I was at work and the Princess was at school but the boys were off being minded by their father so they got to star. Actually every word they spoke was edited out so they were a bit crushed. Former colleagues of mine (husband and wife team) saw it and when they saw the photo albums (to show the TV people the houses we had stayed in), carefully labelled they said in unison “That is so typical of Anne.” My filing fame has spread and in the most positive way, I’m sure.
Last Monday night was a bit hideous. Daniel had GAA, Michael had scouts and herself was in a massive Dublin archdiocese concert. They were bringing 600 secondary school students together every night last week to sing a range of hymns. 2,000 years of liturgical music and the focus was very strongly on those pieces composed for saxophone and guitar. Sigh. Some of the pieces were composed for the event. I particularly enjoyed the combination of jazzy upbeat music and the very old testament type lyrics “If the just strike me down, it’s done out of kindness” and “Let all that stray from what is good, be thrown a rock of judgement”. I did not get any dinner but I did have a large packet of maltesers at the concert.
On Friday night, Daniel and herself had speaking parts at some ecumenical event. The service was “prepared by the Christian women of Cuba” and it was held at the local Protestant church. Michael refused point blank to attend saying that he was not going to Mass on Friday and Sunday. The booklet giving the details of readings etc. also featured a couple of prayers like our prayers of the faithful. This one caught my eye:
” We recognize that we did not lift up our voices sufficiently to denounce an injustice like the economic blockade that affected the Cuban people for more than 50 years. We recognize our responsibility in allowing walls to be built up which destroy community.”
In the end Michael had to go as I couldn’t and Mr. Waffle brought them all. Daniel and the Princess carried out their roles with aplomb but attendance was poor. Elderly local Protestants and Catholics turned out but not many of them. Mr. Waffle feels that the women of Cuba may have been expecting a different kind of congregation when they decided to put the butterfly hymn on the programme. Apparently, you haven’t lived until you have heard a group of elderly people singing: “If I were a wiggly worm I’d thank you Lord that I could squirm/ If I were a fuzzy, wuzzy bear /I’d thank you Lord for my fuzzy, wuzzy hair”.
Daniel got to deliver the immortal line: “We will now collect our butterflies and bring them to the Scared Prayer Space”.
I was, alas, not in attendance at the Cuban prayer gig, because on Tuesday morning, my poor father fell and broke his hip. My parents are now the proud possessors of four plastic hips. I went down to Cork to see him on Friday night. He was remarkably cheerful given that a) he had a newly inserted plastic hip b) he is nearly 91 c) he spent about 24 hours on a trolley in A&E, and d) he has acquired the winter vomiting bug while in the hospital. My sister and I left him with the paper which he read and my sister tells me he has started to eat again today. He is remarkably resilient.
Final news items. We had parent-teacher meetings for all three children. They are all fine. All of the secondary school teachers told us that herself makes regular announcements over the school intercom. They were more impressed by this achievement than any other as far as I can see. All to the good, I suppose. Also, unrelated, she has won a 1916 poetry competition.
That is all.
Updated to add: I forgot – the dishwasher is broken. A new pump is said to be coming but in the interim we are washing the dishes by hand. The novelty has worn off.
That really is all.