It’s been a busy time. The boys turned 14 on September 27. That’s a lot of candles.
Birthday posts will follow describing them at 14. Something for you to look forward to. We took them and five of their friends to Kildare (for which we had to hire a spare car, I couldn’t quite face the bus with seven teenagers) to play a game where they run around and pretend to shoot each other.
When we got to Kildare, all of them went into what was basically an enormous shed. There were lots of men of all ages sitting inside, dressed in military clothing. I thought they looked a bit daft but, I suppose if they’re enjoying themselves, what harm? And all to the good for the boys’ friend’s uncles who run the place.
We were encouraged to leave and go to Kildare village (outlet shopping about which I have mixed views) but when we got there, it was absolutely heaving so we went to the Japanese Gardens and National Stud instead. I had previously believed these to be two different attractions but in fact the man who left the Stud to a grateful nation also had an interest in gardening and brought in a man from Japan to lay out the garden. Surprising.
So it was, as Johnson said about the Giant’s Causeway apparently, worth seeing but not worth going to see. I mean it was a nice way for us to while away an afternoon but I’m not sure I would have been delighted to have driven down from Dublin specially. The stud features a (very mildly) interesting museum including Arkle’s skeleton:
Somewhat surprising. We got to wander around and look at the horses. Most expensive was Invincible Spirit. It costs €120,000 to have your mare covered by him and he looked suitably pleased with himself hanging around the fence with his coat on:
It was more fun going around and looking at the younger horses who came up and had a good look at us, let us give them a rub and then kicked up their heels and galloped around the field.
The Japanese Gardens were also appealing in a not-extensive kind of way.
Then we just had time for a nice cup of tea before going back to rescue the boys. The place was full of young families and I felt a bit old and more than a bit smug as I strolled around unencumbered by prams or tantrums.
The boys had had a great time shooting at each other and they were sweaty but cheerful as we drove them back to Dublin. A great success all round. I have to tell you, I am loving the teenage years.