Monday, May 3, 2021
My friend L offers to host live, in person book club from her back garden on May 30. Words can barely describe how delighted I am. Then my hairdresser texted to ask if I would like an appointment. Where will the thrills end? For reasons which are largely pandemic related I haven’t had my hair cut since November 2019 and it hasn’t been this long since I was in college. And it is driving me crazy. This will all end on May 21.
Mr. Waffle and I cycled out in the rain for a couple of hours into an entirely new cycle way previously unknown to us and within 5kms of our house.
Readers, how did we miss this?
In fairness to us, I will say that signage was not at all what it might be. It was drawn to our attention, however, by the beacon of investigative journalism that is Lovin’ Dublin.
The rain was a bit stop start and in between showers it was very pretty. And we had our waterproof trousers.
As we’ve cycled round the city, I’ve noticed some very clever layouts near schools which aim to slow traffic while also being appealing to look at. I spend much of my time complaining about street furniture (this is middle age lads) but I think this is lovely.
After finishing up Hamlet the previous night which took a lot out of us, we decided that Shakespeare over zoom was not for us and gracefully bowed out of future adventures of this kind.
We cleaned the house. I am sick of the cleaning rota.
I heard that the blogger who I mentioned previously who is about the same age as me with children about my children’s age has died. It made me feel so sad for all the lost opportunities and for her children and her husband. I am counting my blessings again and, really, they are many.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Re-entry to work after the bank holiday weekend was trying. To offset the pain I received clothes from an order I had placed at the weekend (very speedy in fairness). I’d bought a pair of plain navy chinos. When I opened the package, I discovered to my horror that they had an elasticated waist. I thought that I would just try them on before sending them back. Oh my goodness, so comfortable, made of some super soft fabric and, you know, elasticated. I’m keeping them, I feel like some Rubicon has been crossed but I almost don’t care.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
I tried on the new expensive perfume Mr. Waffle gave me for my birthday. Daniel asked why our house smelt like my parents’ house. I wondered vaguely why there was a burning smell upstairs. It turned out it was the perfume which has, not unpleasant, peat fire undertones. The website describes it thus:
a delectable haze of burnt chestnuts laced with a fine trace of golden caramel. It gradually reveals a voluptuous blend of rich Haïtian vetiver, cardamom and red pepper bathed in the delicate floral notes of cassia absolute and lush jasmine blossoms
I mean, whatever you’re having yourself. Would recommend actually but that may be because it smells like my parents’ house, I cannot say.
Michael is starring in a film at school. Daniel was given the opportunity to participate also but turned it down in favour of painting planters while wearing a bin bag [the bin bag was the school’s innovative way of keeping their uniforms paint free]. Sometimes the Transition Year programme is exciting and innovative, sometimes it involves painting planters while wearing black bin bags.
I met a friend for a walk in the park at lunch time. It hailed on us. We pulled up our hoods and kept walking proving that Irish women in their 50s are unstoppable.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
It was a beautiful day. The boys had a 20km walk as part of their TY programme so Mr. Waffle said we should drive them to school. I did but I felt very guilty in my big behemoth as I passed fleets of primary school children going in either alone or with their parents on bicycles. By waving and driving very slowly and carefully, I tried to explain that I was really one of their number and not a person who would drive children to school on a beautiful day despite the very visible evidence to the contrary. To my absolute horror, herself said that the children on bicycles were a bit of a pain as they tended to be less safe in traffic. Where did she get these notions? Not from me. I pointed out forcefully that if all these children were driven to school it would be much more dangerous for her than having them cycling. She was unrepentant.
The school has a retired nun in her 80s who is very active and does various projects and so on with the students in the school. They all love her (not how I felt about the nuns who taught me but, good, I guess). Anyhow she has written a book and we were all bidden to the online launch of the book by the new Archbishop of Dublin. I had a look. Herself tells me her class were all on whatsapp commenting. The enthusiasm levels. The new Archbishop does not appear to speak Irish with any fluency (or at all?) however, he was willing in fairness to him. He gave a longish speech and I found myself forcibly reminded of the more boring sermons that I have had to sit through. Now that I am on the verge of being let back into in person mass, I’m not so sure I want to anymore.
Daniel skipped training as he was still exhausted from his 20km walk.
Mr. Waffle pointed me towards the HSA website where the return to work video/questionnaire assumed everyone would be driving back to work and I sent them an email pointing out that they should be encouraging walking and cycling and I realised that I have actually gone full crazy cycle lady.
Friday, May 7, 2021
The mother-in-law of one of my colleagues died suddenly during the week. She was from a small town in the west of Ireland and my colleague’s wife had been going down every weekend for the past couple of months to mind her mother. That’s been tough on him and their young children. Last weekend when his wife was leaving, his mother-in-law slipped €200 into her hand. Then she died unexpectedly on Wednesday night. I almost cried when I heard this. Before my mother got sick, I never left Cork without getting €50 slipped to me at the station – this continued long after I stopped needing the extra cash. You know this business of love languages? The love language of the Irish mother is cash slipped into the hands of their children as they head off from home.
Mr. Waffle bought a hammock from a crowd in Cork called Hammockology. Having grown up in the tropics, he’s always had a soft spot for a hammock. I am astounded that there is a viable business in this in North Cork though.
The lilac has been amazing this year and I am delighted with it. The rest of the family are entirely indifferent. In other gardening news, our grass on a roll has thrived despite Mr. Waffle lifting it up (i.e. pulling it out by the roots) to see whether it was growing. The only problem is that it is showing up our existing grass somewhat.
I finally persuaded herself to lodge her birthday cheques. We went to an outside lodgement machine and it was “out of service” but we could hear noises inside and I said, “Wait, wait, they might be just restocking it.” We waited. Herself stuck her head in the bank window to see what was going on but a grumpy lady closed it instantly. We waited 15 minutes and gave up in despair. As we were driving away (more guilty driving when we could really have cycled), herself saw someone go up to the machine. We turned around and lo and behold it was working. I was a bit peeved with Bank of Ireland. They could clearly hear us hanging around outside because we could hear them working inside. Would it have killed them to have intervened in our speculative conversation as to whether the machine was going to come back into service with the joyous tidings that it was? Perhaps you had to be there but I was pretty annoyed.
We were listening to music in the car and I asked her whether she knew any numbers by the Corrs. She did not so I had her put on “Runaway”. She was reading the comments under the song on youtube and said, “Oh dear.” “What?” I asked. “This was put up in 2017 and one of the comments is “I’m going to walk down the aisle to this beautiful song in October 2020.” Oh dear indeed.
Saturday, May 8, 2021
I had an appointment to collect a poster from the framers at 10. I woke up at 9.57 and was there at 10.05. Honestly this represents a personal record.
I also picked up my new bike from the bike shop. I am delighted.
I found the cemetery where Francis Johnston is buried within our 5kms. A hidden cemetery relatively distant from the church. I am astounded by all the things I have found in my 5kms. Sadly the cemetery is locked and a bit overgrown. Mr. Waffle has a colleague who is big in the Church of Ireland and I’m hoping he can tell us how to get in.
I proposed an outing to the children and herself said to me, “Do you know what your problem is? You have very lock down 1 energy, this is lock down 4, you have to stop proposing things.” This may be true.
Sunday, May 9, 2021
We took the boys on the new cycle path we’d discovered (lock down 1 energy). It didn’t rain on us. Small thrills.
Mr. Waffle had a work call at 5 so we scuttled back to the house reasonably promptly. Herself spent an hour on the phone with her friend speaking German. It was broadly satisfactory she said but they were both a bit concerned that they were compounding each other’s errors.
Daniel and Michael are both growing like mad. For the first time in ages, at the moment, Michael is taller than Daniel.
Mr. Waffle has taken to posting Pringles containers back to the manufacturers for recycling (I am not the only crazy person in this household – our consumption of Pringles has increased due to Cinema night, I offer by way of explanation for this development). They had an arrangement where you put them in a box and sent them back free post. But as of Monday week, he has to go to UPS in Swords (North Co. Dublin) to recycle them and I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s diminishing returns.
Monday, May 10, 2021
Mr. Waffle had to go to virtual abroad and was up at the crack of dawn due to the time difference.
We got a letter about a confirmed Covid case in the school. These used to worry me but now I am utterly blasé.
The libraries re-opened! Hallelujah. I got a notification that the book I had ordered had arrived. I went in and picked it up – our local library was open until 8 – and also had a lovely browse for myself. I have missed the library. I do not miss the head high pile of books on the hall table which I was finally able to return.
Daniel had a zoologist in for the day to talk to his class. It sounded a bit unpromising but actually he loved it and found it really fascinating.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
I registered to get the vaccine. Happy day.
My sister sent us an unexpected hamper of goodies. Happy day.
I had my last parents’ council meeting of the year and Mr. Waffle had the residents’ committee and Daniel had training. All over zoom except training but it was a busy evening, I can tell you.
Mr. Waffle got his first haircut since November. I was delighted. His father came of age in the 1970s and liked to keep his locks flowing and with Mr. Waffle’s long hair, it began to increasingly feel that I was living with my father-in-law or, possibly, Boris Johnson.
I met the press officer in work for a quick cup of tea at the end of the day and she came bearing all the day’s papers which I took home with me. Herself started going through them in the kitchen and as I was on my zoom parents’ council meeting, I heard her saying in bemusement to Mr. Waffle, “The Examiner is all about Cork.” She should really know that that’s the point.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 – Update from the house of vermin
The cat caught another mouse. She had it in the kitchen (let’s pretend to ourselves that she didn’t catch it there, will we?) and Mr. Waffle tried to usher her and the mouse outside making the rookie error of not closing the kitchen door so the mouse skittered out into the hall with the cat in hot pursuit. She eventually tracked the mouse down under the sofa where she killed it and ate it. Dear Lord, it is, as my daughter would say, a lot.
Herself has basically been advised to go into purdah in case she gets Covid or is a close contact and cannot sit the Leaving. She’s a bit tense about it all but I am reasonably optimistic. If the worst comes to the worst she can fall back on her calculated grades (grades given by the school – we had to do French outside of school which was a pain but we got there) which I imagine will be good. The way it works is that she will get the better of the school calculated grade or the written examination grade and she won’t ever be told what the school grade was so it’s not clear at this stage how she will do. I do feel for her, there’s so much uncertainty.
Michael’s class had the zoologist for the day. He didn’t enjoy it as much as Daniel, apparently Daniel had told us all the good bits already.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
The hammock arrived. We are delighted. My colleague who is 56 got vaccinated today. With any luck my vaccination should be in 4 days then – that’s Monday. Fingers firmly crossed.
Daniel and Michael went off to Kildare with the school and spend the day shooting at each other with air guns and learning archery. They seem to have liked it.
Friday, May 14, 2021
The boys finally got their hair cut. The Chinese woman who cuts their hair kept commenting on how handsome Daniel had got. “He was fat with a round face and red hair, and now he’s handsome,” she said admiringly. Several times. As Daniel said, it was hard to really feel that she was complimenting him. “How could she think you were fat?” I asked him. “Well,” said he, “remember she’s the woman who said to me before that she felt I should share my food with my brother?”
Anyway, they both look fantastic. Delighted.
The health service has had a major IT attack and the nation is being held to ransom but we’re not paying it appears. Apparently vaccinations are unaffected, we will see. I am very glad that I have no elderly relatives in hospital at the moment, I will say that.
Saturday, May 15, 2021
We’d been due to go to the cousins’ house for an outdoor dining experience but it lashed. I mean, really, the Irish weather has a lot to answer for. We’re going to try for next weekend.
Mr. Waffle and I explored Malahide between showers. It’s a small seaside coastal commuter town. The pedestrianisation of the main street is a matter of bitter debate. I mean it’s very small and very drive aroundable but to hear the debate you’d swear people’s cars were being taken away. This country. Yes, we drove out there. What’s your point?
Daniel had training again, they appear to be making up for lost time. I don’t know when he’ll be able to play an actual match, the poor child.
Our local chipper does nice gelato so we went to get some. We discovered that now he’s selling sourdough bread and we got some of that too. Notions lads. The local graffiti writers may have a point.
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Herself has a head cold. Notwithstanding purdah. Michael and Mr. Waffle and I went for a cycle in a bit of the park to we’d never been in before rejoicing in the name of “Furry Glen”. It was grand if oddly named. Admire my beautiful new bicycle going through the trees as captured by Michael, perhaps not entirely spontaneously.
Still no notification on the vaccine but you never know, fingers crossed for next week.
In a moment of madness I ordered Michel Barnier’s Brexit diary from the FNAC. It arrived today and looks every bit as dull as you imagine it might. Have I lost my mind?
Finally, apparently we will be able to travel to England, Scotland and Wales from June. I am now seriously thinking of a 3 week holiday in the UK in August. Give me your holiday recommendations please! Hidden gems lads. I mean, I’d love to go to Devon and Cornwall but I imagine it’s much too late to look to book something now.
I just LOVE that Chinese hair lady story. It’s so… Chinese. Or Singaporean. In the olden days, when I still tried to shop for clothes and shoes here, I would regularly be told, quite seriously, to take my enormous feet to the men’s department. I was also once asked by a dermatologist – who I had tasked with microdermabrasion – what I was going to do about my “unslightly jowls”. Back then I was horrified, but it happens so often (I’m too tall, my hair is too long / too grey / too thin, my children are too noisy, maybe I was once pretty?, my husband is handsome, so much more handsome than me, etc – all true, btw) now it’s all water off a (large-footed, jowly) duck’s back.
Nice bike, and hurrah for lifting of restrictions.
You could have our house for a week in August or September
If you do not mind the temperature the north east coast of England – from the Humber estuary and above, would be good.
Starting around Beverley (disclaimer – my mother was from Beverley, we know it well, Alice in Wonderland’s white rabbit is in St Mary’s church) and York and then Whitby (where Count Dracula came ashore) and on up to Holy Island (mind the mead..). It’s all rather fine and not as busy as the SW coast and Norfolk..
I have not yet taken a jumper off in Northumbria (watch yourself in the Alnwick poison garden), although I have in East Yorkshire – just not very often.
And York of course, is York.
Lots to do, lots of walking to be had but big country houses and history.
Although.. do you think the Indian variant will write that off? I am not sanguine. We made it back last summer and finished off selling my mother’s house but now…
Gorgeous bike. Bring it to Dumfries and Galloway and have a lovely time riding around on rural back roads. When it isn’t raining. Which it mostly is in August
That’s funny Jess. It reminds me of when, years ago (when crucially I was pretty slender), I went into a small Spanish clothes shop and as I walked in the door, the woman behind the counter took one look at me and said, “No, too big, nothing for you.”
Heather, you heroine, v kind but now it looks like we won’t be able to travel to England in August after all. Alas.
Suzy, these are excellent tips and I will save them up for later because, unfortunately, it looks like it is not to be this year.
Thank you TM, it is a gorgeous bike, I’m delighted with myself. Looks like rainy August in Scotland may not be for this year after all, but maybe next…