Sunday, May 17, 2020
A quiet day. We have broken out the jigsaws at last.
Cleaning rota was implemented as usual. I still feel astonished that this is working some seven weeks in.
Mr. Waffle and I went walking around our area again. We went to a depressed, miserable estate. It’s only a stone’s throw from the very nice estate we walked around last week. The houses are also Victorian and bigger (three stories rather than two) but it is not a pleasant spot. One of the houses is boarded up. The front gardens are unloved and there are no trees or other greenery on the street. Many of the houses are divided into grotty looking flats and bedsits. It’s a mystery why this should be so unattractive and the other estate so nice. It’s also off the main road and, obviously, adjacent to all the same amenities and the houses are bigger so, presumably, better for families but yet, it looks like it’s had almost a century of neglect whereas the neighbouring estate looks like it has had a century of love and affection and you can really tell the difference.
I retired to my bed at 8 in the evening with a nasty headache. Poor me.
Monday, May 18, 2020
I woke up completely recovered. We were all up at the crack of dawn as the boys are doing online exams this week.
My father called me which was exciting. Sadly, he couldn’t hear me at all. It made me so sad. I think he is really lonely and bored and, to be honest, quite unwell and I am afraid that he is going to keel over before I have a chance to talk to him properly again. I don’t know whether to go and visit or not. I mean, it would be just great if I came from Covid ridden Leinster and gave it to my father in Cork. There is absolutely no point in my going and waving from outside the window as he wouldn’t be able to see and hear me. I need to be a metre from him and bellowing to have a conversation.
Herself got a lovely message from her German teacher which perked her up; she’s recorded a video for her project work and the German teacher liked it which was good because she put in an awful lot of work on it. The boys had Irish and maths exams online this morning. Daniel found maths easy and Irish hard and Michael the reverse. A suggestion that they might compare their answers and learn from each other was met with a distinct absence of enthusiasm.
We were going to meet friends for a walk this evening to celebrate the beginning of phase 1 of the end of lock down (up to four people from different households can meet outside maintaining social distancing) but the weather is inclement and we’ve deferred it to tomorrow.
I had my online bookclub and we were a slightly gloomy group. The novelty has truly worn off. Still, things are improving. Slowly.
I stayed up until all hours on my phone. A slight regression caused by not putting it safely in the hall before dinner and ignoring it for the remainder of the evening. I am largely on the wagon again but this was a lapse. Alas.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
All the climbing roses around the front door have come out and when you step out there is a beautiful smell of roses which I don’t think I ever noticed before [insert your own jaded thoughts about slowing down and smelling the flowers here].
Daniel’s year head got in touch with me to tell me that he had not submitted his maths test from yesterday. When he finished his morning’s testing, I enquired. He had failed to press send on the google form but, happily, he had his rough work and was able to re-submit.
Herself went into school to empty her locker on a socially distanced timetable.
After work, Mr. Waffle and I met friends for a sunny and socially distanced walk. It was really lovely. In person is 1000 times better than by vc.
Having cast my phone from me early in the evening, I dutifully went early to bed and felt smugly virtuous.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
I was up at the crack of dawn (8.00) to go to our local hipster cafe for take away fancy bread for breakfast. It was, disappointingly, only alright.
The boys continued their online exams. Some seem very speedy and easy with 20/30 multiple choice questions but some are hard and long (history, for example). They finished their 2 hour science exam in about half an hour and assured me they had checked their answers twice so I sent them off to the local courts for a game of tennis. However, despite tennis courts and golf clubs having reopened on Monday, it appears public courts are not. Alas.
I got a parcel from a lovely shop in Leap which I saw referred to on instagram. The parcel was satisfactory – candles and writing paper (neither of which I would call a need, as such but definitely nice to have) – and I will give them a plug here for all your nice things needs (no free goods were given in exchange for this post, regrettably). The shop is called the Old Mill Stores and I desperately want their laundry thing that you hang from the ceiling. Our utility room ceiling is the old scullery and the ceiling slopes. I emailed to ask whether they thought it would work. They replied with commendable speed and said that they thought yes but I should check with a local handyman perhaps. Mr. Waffle who, you will recall, has established his temporary office in the utility room was a bit unsure about having a cast iron structure above his head. Particularly if it were installed by either of us. The Princess has taken to calling the device “the widow maker” so with one thing and another I’m holding off for the meanwhile but feel free to go for it yourself.
The weather was so nice that I decided we should have a barbecue and I went up to the butcher to buy necessary material. It felt like traffic was back to pre-Covid levels, I must say. I’m a bit worried we’ll be going backwards soon.
We ceremoniously turned off the Aga, it was just too warm. I will miss my environmental crime scene over the summer months. I have to say, it’s really come into its own during lock down – it’s very cozy when you’re home full time and who doesn’t need three ovens?
Herself met her friends in the park for a socially distanced walk which was fine but, I think probably not as exciting as she had been hoping. The 2 metres is a bit miserable for everyone but children and teenagers in particular, I think.
Mr. Waffle and I went for a mild walk in the, very warm, evening sunshine and then we had our barbecue in the garden which was lovely. Though the barbecue probably needs a wash (I assured them that all of the germs inside the barbecue were dealt with by the heat – hoping for the best here). Another exciting lock down project.
Thursday, 21 May, 2020
We woke up to no wifi and when you have two people doing online exams, two people doing online work and one person doing online school, that’s a bit of a disaster. Happily it came back at 8.55 but it was on and off all day which was very tense making.
The boys had their German exam. Daniel decided to try the French exam as well on a “why not?” basis. Michael decided that there were lots of reasons why not and didn’t bother. Later in the day, Dan had his business exam. I asked him to show me his French paper and in doing so he inadvertently deleted his business exam and had to start again. This online examination system needs some work.
Herself arrived down to breakfast with a heart tattoo on her chest and I nearly had heart failure before having had time to reflect that there was nowhere to get tattooed and being reassured that it was a temporary tattoo. It took a lot out of me.
As I was finishing work for the day, the phone rang from an unknown number. It was IPSOS/MRBI polling about public health. Lads, I love a survey. I always answer surveys. I’ve never met a survey I didn’t like. For years I have been looking at IPSOS surveys in the paper wondering bitterly why I have never been surveyed. I was delighted. The conversation went as follows:
Her: Would you be prepared to take a call from IPSOS/MRBI?
Me: Yes, very much so, I would love to, I’ve been waiting for this moment for 51 years.
Her (laughing): OK, your data will be anonymised, you won’t be identifiable, GDPR, call recorded etc. etc.
Me: Fine, fine, I’m ready.
Her: Do you have anyone between 15-34 living in the house?
Me: Yes, my daughter is 17.
Her: Do you think she’d be prepared to take the survey, it’s very hard to get people between 15 and 34.
Me: Yeah, I’d say she would. I’ll ask her. [Talk to herself, yes, back to pollster]. Yes, she’ll do it.
Pollster: You’re going to hate me.
Me: What, you’re going to survey her instead of me??
Her: Um, yes, I’m afraid so.
Bitter isn’t the word for me. Herself, myself and Mr. Waffle went out for a walk afterwards and she told us about the questions. Lots about the nation’s reaction to coronavirus and who we trust the most. She spent the rest of the evening prefacing her views with “Nation’s representative 17 year old about to speak”. Bitter.
On the plus side, I was out in the front garden cutting some roses for the house and a lovely young person passing by said, “You have a beautiful garden.” Of course, credit goes entirely to the people who lived here before us but I was pleased all the same.
Friday, 22 May, 2020
The boys did their last online exam and are finished school for the year. It was lovely to see them so genuinely delighted. Mr. Waffle had bought them a new game for the x-box and we let them play it together (it’s quite an innocent thing about preparing food in a restaurant with cartoons and we were rather touched as we’d been quite prepared to pay for the more standard shoot-em-up offering).
Meanwhile, herself started her exams which seemed tough enough. Three hours of English. She hates Paul Durcan, I’m afraid.
I had a coffee break with a friend based in Brussels. We would never have done this in peace time but I must say, it was quite satisfactory in its way. VC is better than a phone call. Begium is further along in its re-opening than Ireland and she told me that she and her husband were getting the tram into town that afternoon to go to the gallery on a socially distanced pre-booked visit. I nearly expired from envy.
My afternoon off was not what it might have been due to a number of work queries. One of which came as I closed the boot of the car (first vehicular outing in many weeks) and due to distraction, I brought it down on my poor daughter’s head. She has a bruise the size of a duck egg.
Mr. Waffle took the boys out with a kite as it was windy. Some success. The wind also brought down the climbing roses at the front of the house so I spent some time with twine and nails pinning it back. It fought back and I may have permanently embedded a number of thorns in my person.
We watched “The Social Network” for our film. Not a bad choice but three of us had already seen it. I was amazed to discover that none of my children had heard of Napster.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
I was up bright and early. Dan had a training session via zoom. I sat in the back garden in the rain holding my phone. Better than doing the plank, I suppose.
I tried out the new x-box game we bought for the boys. Very wholesome but still too hard for me.
Mr. Waffle and I cycled in to town in the rain. Town was busy enough. We tested out the new cycle infrastructure. It’s a start. Better than it was but not reaching the lofty heights of “good”. We walked around Stephen’s Green in the rain.
We wondered, as never before, about whether the sculptors of the statuary in the Green would entirely approve of the gardeners’ placing of pots of geraniums. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that they probably don’t enhance the vision the sculptors had for, respectively, a famine group and Robert Emmet.
We had a zoom quiz night organised by my friend. We won. As ever, first prize, organising next weekend’s quiz night.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
My sister tells me that my brother has spent all weekend at his tennis club rejoicing at the re-opening of the courts. I note that the public courts in the park up the road from me still haven’t re-opened. This seems a pity. I am regretting letting my tennis club membership slide.
Yet again, the cleaning rota went off without a hitch. Miraculous. Entropy is against us and it will all be to do again next week. Sigh.
I met a colleague in the park for a socially distanced work gossip which we both enjoyed very much.
Daniel, Michael and I cycled 10 kms (5 out, 5 back) to look at the sea. Although the weather was beautiful, we were all a little grumpy. I met a former book club member on our cycle and could not remember her name although she clearly knew mine. Alas.
We started another jigsaw. I stayed up until all hours working away. Alas.
It’s all go here, how are things in your own Corona virus location?
There was a pulley (for that is what we called it) above the Raeburns (poorer people’s Agas?) in both of my grandparents’ houses. I would quite like one too.
I too love a proper survey (although the Internet has rather ruined things with so many poorly done online ones). My best ever survey was being stopped in the street to ask my opinion about chocolate muffins and then being invited into a hall to taste some. The interviewer said could she just check I was over 18 as otherwise they’d need my parents’ permission. I was just about to turn 30 and a bit gloomy about it and I have to admit it made my day (the muffins were nice too)
Regarding the Aga – do you have another oven where you can cook/bake during the summer months?
As Lesley identified, a Pulley Maid can be purchased in various styles http://www.pulleymaid.com/.
Congrats to the exam takers.
Lockdown still in force here, but people making their own judgements about what is and isn’t acceptable, we’ll see in due course. I blame Cummings.
Mask wearing not widespread.
Fox, with 6 Cubs, has destroyed neighbour’s garden and is working on ours. It’s all go.
Interested in pulley/Aga/Raeburn commentary. If the current cost of a Raeburn is anything to go by it is no longer for the impoverished.
TM, the muffin survey is exciting, I’ve never had anything like that, needless to say.
Henry, more on fox alert, please.