Monday, May 24, 2021
My 48 year old brother got his vaccine appointment having only registered the previous day. Where is my appointment?
Unrelated: I am quite pleased with the before and after haircut shots I got of us all.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Infants are being vaccinated around me. My brother got his vaccine in the City Hall in Cork. He said that the sign on the booth said “vaccine of the day” a bit like “soup of the day”. His particular soup was the Pfizer vaccine.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Herself had her school graduation. We watched it online and the students were in school. The school did a great job actually given the limitations of the format. They had a slide show. There were speeches and herself won an overall prize which was pleasing for her. Sitting in my office, watching it over lunch time, I shed a furtive tear. It is the end of an era.
I got my vaccine appointment for Saturday: let joy be unconfined. Mr. Waffle got his for Sunday. Looking at the invitation, he saw that it said you were to be at the vaccination centre exactly five minutes before your appointment time. “Do they think they’re vaccinating Germans?” he asked.
Thursday, May 27, 2021
My sister got her vaccine appointment for Tuesday. Everyone’s getting in on the act now.
Friday, May 28, 2021
It was Daniel and Michael’s last day of school. It lashed. Daniel was gloomy. A good friend of his is moving schools. They used to play basketball together in the yard after school. “You never know when you will do something for the last time,” he said dolefully. It transpired that the boys had played basketball the previous day not realising that it would be impossible due to the rain the following day. This friend lives nearby so I hope that they may be able to see each other despite attending different schools but Daniel has no faith in their joint organisational abilities. We’ll see.
Our neighbours are getting work done on their scullery and since our roofline is shared, we thought we might do something at the same time. We had plans when we did up the kitchen a couple of years ago but we ran out of money. We can afford it now so I suppose it probably is now or never but I do not welcome the thought of having builders back in the house. The architect called round and we talked about drawings and costs. Apparently, builders are almost impossible to get at the moment so it could be well into 2022 before we do anything.
Over dinner, the children discovered that all three of them are fascinated by the youtube channel of Canada ant guy. Interesting, if a little unnerving.
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Herself had her last applied maths class. Her teacher has been amazing, commuting up from Galway to teach them every Saturday. He promised them that if they did applied maths outside school he would keep teaching them for the full two years and he kept his promise even when he moved to Galway for work at the start of sixth year and even when he could have continued remotely. Did he get paid a penny for this work, his time or even his travel expenses? He did not. Very decent in fairness.
We got yet another road map. Let’s hope this will be the end of it.
I got my vaccination (Pfizer, the Gucci of vaccines I understand though I would have been quite happy to have the Dunnes Stores of vaccines). The vaccinator asked whether I was happy to take the vaccine today. “Delighted,” I said. I nearly cried with joy. The whole thing was impressively efficient. My appointment was at 14.40, I arrived at exactly 14.35 and I was vaccinated and sitting in the observation room by 14.43. Pretty good. I went to the shop and the library on the way home and got myself some middle aged treats to celebrate.
I had absolutely no side effects other than a sore shoulder for about 24 hours.
Then later that afternoon, Mr. Waffle got a call that his mother was not well. My poor mother-in-law, she has had such a difficult time in recent years suffering from dementia. When well she was a most delightful person and, a real tribute this, both of her daughters-in-law were extremely fond of her and we all went to my parents-in-law’s house as often as we could and all of us, adults and children, have had very, very happy times there.
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Mr. Waffle was vaccinated.
Mr. Waffle and the boys and I went out for a walk on the pier. A classic walk much enjoyed by my mother-in-law.
Then we went to visit my mother-in-law. It was pretty miserable. It felt a bit like suspended animation.
Later, Mr. Waffle went out to the airport and picked up his sister who had come home from London to see her mother. It was a very odd experience. She had a PCR test before flying and then the airports and planes were extraordinarily quiet. It was so odd he said, she was coming to visit their sick mother and he hadn’t seen her since November 2019 and he wasn’t even sure whether he could hug her. This Covid thing has been so grim in big ways and small.
Monday, May 31, 2021
I went into work. “Where are you going Mum?” said Daniel. “Work,” I said. “Still?” he asked. There’s something unsatisfactory about going to work when everyone else is on holidays. Herself and Mr. Waffle went out to see my mother-in-law. She seemed somewhat improved. After some toing and froing with the public health authorities, my sister-in-law who’d flown in specially, got to visit her too. We were all pretty relieved.
I was quite charmed by a video of my London sister-in-law and my niece singing some Italian classical number together after dinner that evening which circulated on the family whatsapp group. I think my mother-in-law would have been delighted. The in-laws live near the nursing home and we have been using them as a base when we go out to visit my mother-in-law which is nice – the cousins have seen a lot of each other lately.
That evening, Daniel came flying out of the kitchen, in to the rest of us and announced, “There’s a twitching headless bird in there.” Herself held back the irate cat while Mr. Waffle disposed of the corpse with a dustpan and brush. The perils of pet ownership are endless.
My latest copy of Slightly Foxed arrived. It is always a delight but I was mildly peeved to see that it came with a flyer plugging “The Oldie”. I felt that was a bit pointed.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
With my mother-in-law so ill, I found myself thinking a lot about my father in particular. A big thing about losing a second parent which I didn’t really appreciate until it happened to me is that you will never go home again when you have no parents. I appreciate I have a perfectly good home with my own children and my husband and, indeed, that my parents’ home (currently in my brother’s custody) is available to me to visit. But somehow the idea that I will never call home again, go home again to the place that was home home for so long is very sad. I haven’t been to Cork since December when my father died and I am almost scared to go back to the house as it reminds me too much of my parents and their lives.
Mr. Waffle stopped off in the city centre on the way out to visit his mother and we had lunch in the park which was really lovely and I think, cheered us both up. His mother seemed to be improving a bit when he got to the nursing home. His sister went back to London and things seemed to be on a bit of a more even keel.
I arrived home and herself said to me, “I’m so stressed.” “I’m not surprised,” I said, “with your Leaving Cert starting next week.” “It’s not that,” she said, “it’s that I’ve been locked out of my gmail account.” A good sign, I suppose.
Meanwhile at dinner, Michael, who has an ability to tune out in relation to matters he is not particularly interested in, asked his sister solicitously, “Is your Leaving finished now?”
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
I went into town early for a dental appointment. I’d chipped a tooth at the weekend. I feel it’s probably the beginning of the end, random bits of tooth flying off. It was not my normal dentist who greeted me. Apparently he had retired and sold on the practice. His mother, who was the year ahead of my father in college, died last July (surely she and my father were UCC’s oldest medical graduates at the time of their deaths) and he subsequently yielded to his wife’s request that they move to Mauritius (where she is from and had a job offer to head up some GP training programme, not a random choice and I suppose after 30 years in Dublin she wanted a change). A slightly surprising development. The new dentist was fine anyway though, sadly, from Laois, not from Cork and, so far, we haven’t established any people we know in common. He said that I grind my teeth (I know) and this was why my tooth chipped. I’m to go back in a couple of weeks for further repairs. Sigh.
At lunch time I went to a specialty tea shop and got myself a new supply. I had a grand old chat with the tea vendor about options. Following our discussion, I moved on to Ceylon tea which I am quite liking. I told them all about it at dinner and herself said, “Every part of that story is boring in a surprising way.” This is why I have a blog.
My mother-in-law continued to be stable.
Thursday, June 3, 2021
I got up at 6.45 and felt like an American (I never normally get up before 8). Herself and myself cycled out to the park and then in to Chapelizod to have breakfast out together. It was very pleasant indeed.
I talked to my sister who had quite a poor reaction to the Covid vaccine and was feeling unwell. She had Covid at Christmas and I wonder whether that made a difference. Anyhow her own concerns were completely dwarfed by the discovery that a colleague of hers in India – a man in his 40s had died of Covid. What a horrible thing to happen.
Daniel having just recovered from a leg injury, hurt his shoulder in training. These sporting injuries are non-stop.
For the holidays, the boys are making dinner once a week on alternate weeks (herself is exempt until the end of her exams). Michael made risotto for dinner and it was excellent.
Friday, June 4, 2021
My mother-in-law continued to improve.
I intended to take to the hammock (hands down Mr. Waffle’s best ever purchase) for the afternoon with Soduku but only got in a brief half hour before my phone pinged.
Before the libraries closed for Covid, I ordered loads of books and these have been coming in over the last week. Almost every day, I got a text saying “The book you ordered has arrived.” I would rush out to the library and pick up the book (delighted now, in fairness) and then the next day, have to repeat. Is it a bit ungrateful to wish the notifications could all have come on the same day.
Anyhow, Dan and I zoomed out to the library to collect my books and also shopped for Friday night dinner which was a huge success for us. Literally, the best received meal I have ever prepared for my family. I think it was the range of options that won them over.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Mr. Waffle, Dan and I cycled out to visit my mother-in-law in the nursing home.
She was so much better than when I had seen her the previous weekend. It was really heartening. As is standard most places we got our temperature taken when we arrived and yet again, the staff marvelled at how low Daniel’s temperature was. He seems to operate a couple of degrees below the rest of humanity.
I got a library notification that another book had arrived.
Sunday, June 6, 2021
I have been keen to cycle on the Royal Canal Greenway beyond Maynooth for a while and this was the day that the dream was to be realised. The weather was great. Daniel was resigned. Michael less so. The whole trip was slightly disastrous. We got the train to Maynooth with our bikes. I had never been. It’s an attractive enough little town and the castle and university campus are interesting.
To sweeten the troops we were having a takeaway pizza lunch in town (sadly restaurants still closed due to Covid). We got the takeaway pizza and I regret to report it was unutterably vile and not the mood improver we had hoped. We cycled out of Maynooth. Michael continued to act like a gloomy raincloud. We stopped for ice cream, he decided not to have any. We sat on the grass and looked up through the hedgerow to blue skies. Michael hunched over his book, the picture of misery.
In fairness, it is true, I suppose, that you need to be a certain age before you appreciate scenery.
We decided to cut our losses and, rather than cycle 20kms to Enfield which had been the original plan, just go 6kms to Kilcock. In part this was due to the relatively limited train service from Enfield and in part the air of unmistakeable gloom which by this time had settled on the whole party. We got the train at Kilcock. It was the inter-city rather than the commuter and we were unceremoniously tipped out at Maynooth as we hadn’t booked our bikes on.
At Maynooth we picked up the commuter train in a state of unabated gloom. Then the nursing home rang Mr. Waffle and we all looked at him anxiously. It was good news, his mother was much better but as a result we now needed to book our visits as heretofore rather than turning up unanounced at all hours of the day. It was a relief.
We got home about 5 hours after we left. Daniel said to me, “Were we really out for five hours to cycle 6 kms?” I am afraid that we were.
That evening we watched the oddest television programme. The premise was so bizarre that Mr. Waffle tempted us all to watch. The description is below. It was odd.
Monday, June 7, 2021
After the horrors of the previous day’s outing I announced that I would spend some time away from my loving family on the bank holiday Monday. They all seemed keen that I should do so.
I went in to the gallery, which was lovely.
I sent the troops a photograph of a picture of “The Fair Geraldine” whose family home we had seen in Maynooth the previous day.
I also sent a picture of Speaker Connolly. One of the train stations we had passed through on the previous day was named after his wife Louisa. If you haven’t read it, I cannot recommend highly enough this book about Lady Louisa and her sisters.
Despite my enthusiasm, my messages to the family Whatsapp group on Kildare related pictures received a somewhat lacklustre response. Too soon, possibly.
I bought some clothes in a shop. I had lunch on a terrace to celebrate the re-opening of outdoor dining. It was pretty good. And we managed to book our holidays. We will be spending a fortune to stay in Ireland but at least we have somewhere to stay.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Herself asked me to light a candle for her exams as she had no grandparents who could do it for her which made me a bit sad. I lit five to be on the safe side in front of the statue of St. Bridget whose feast day is February 1, my mother’s birthday. Bound to be efficacious, I imagine. And my sister said she would light some in Cork which is clearly even more efficacious. You will have seen this joke on the internet, I am sure.
The Leaving Cert is such a rite of passage in Ireland that exam papers are covered in the following day’s newspapers. My sister tells me there are two kinds of Irish people, those who dream about their teeth (really?) and those who dream about the Leaving (this is me). This is the context in which loads of people sent messages wishing herself luck and her aunts sent cards and presents.
In further excitement, I had lunch outside with a friend for the first time in months. Herself who was trying to minimise contacts in the run up to the exams in case she is a close contact or gets Covid was not entirely delighted. Alas. Look, I lit the candles.
At dinner Michael asked herself whether her Leaving Cert was over. “No,” we all said, “it starts tomorrow.” “But,” he said, “she’s graduated, how can the exams be after graduation?” Good question.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
At last, the start of the Leaving Cert. She headed off in reasonably good order to start with English paper I. It’s the creative writing part and she’s good at that. She did a story on a prompt about a person getting off the ferry from Fishguard. She said that she was half way through her story – where she intended to have the protagonist drown and was busy whipping up a storm – when she realised that the prompt involved the person getting off the ferry and she had to change tack in a hurry. It seems to have gone fine all the same.
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Herself enjoyed very much reading about her first exam in the newspapers. English paper II was in the afternoon and she had 3 hours and 20 minutes to get through it. Honestly, it’s the people who mark the scripts you’d feel sorry for. Herself was generally pleased although she did get a raised welt on her finger from writing at speed for nearly three and a half hours.
The hurling coach contacted Mr. Waffle and asked whether there was any chance Daniel would go back to hurling. He gave it up three years ago and he was pretty adamant at the time but this message seems to have landed at a good time and he said he’d give it a go. He had a pretty good time at training so it looks like his hurling career might revive.
Herself used my phone to ring my sister and as she was looking at my contacts, she said, “Do you mind me asking something?” “Fire away,” I said. “Well, you’re getting older now and people you know are dying. Are you going to take the dead people out of your contacts?” Apparently not. In fact, my parents are still in my favourites and, realistically, I’d be pretty surprised if either of them answered a call at this stage. This reminds me of that wonderful Joan Didion book, “The Year of Magical Thinking” which I read over a decade ago but really stayed with me.
Friday June 11, 2021
We’re having a bit of a reorganisation at work and this was my last day with the old team. One of them is a truly delightful older man, who I will really miss. He turned 65 today. He is showing no signs of retiring. You have to admire his enthusiasm for the world of work.
I took Daniel to the physio to look at his sore shoulder. She took him to the gym (I have been to the same physio – I didn’t even know there was a gym, I feel expectations of a fit 15 year old and an unfit 52 year old may be different) and put him through his paces and pronounced him broadly cured and good to play in the match the following day. He was pleased. Following the success of our previous week’s shop, Dan and I bought material for dinner again.
I forced Michael to cycle to the library with me (another reserved book notification) as a change of scene from Crusader Kings in his bedroom. I would point out though that he has had some success against the old enemy in his game.
On our way back, some young men in a car were irate that I wasn’t cycling fast enough and shouted abuse at me which I found unpleasant. Michael said that I should ignore them or else they’ve won which is admirably zen like of him but I was not so zen.
Herself had maths paper in the afternoon. She met our neighbour, a retired maths teacher, in the lane on the way home and they had a good old chat about it. Due to Covid students are not allowed to talk to each other after the exams and I think she is missing the post-mortem which is a traditional part of all examinations in the normal world. Her parents are quite useless for maths so I was glad she met the neighbour. He asked her to post the paper through his letterbox when she was finished with it so that he could go through it. Lads, it takes all kinds.
We had a barbecue for dinner. The weather held which was good and the very elaborate range of food was broadly welcomed. However, the occasion was somewhat marred by the chicken skewers going on fire early in the proceedings. Alas.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
I cut the grass in the back and lounged in the hammock with the paper. Delighted with myself. Daniel had a football match in Malahide, noble Mr. Waffle took him. Michael continued his quest for world domination in Crusader Kings with a brief break to mow the grass in the front. Herself studied diligently for next week’s exams. Her uncle said to her not to listen when people said she would learn nothing two days before the exam. Of course, he personally had always found that advice disheartening because that is when he began studying.
I saw this flyer on a lamp post and asked herself if the Irish was right. She had a lot of thoughts about the use of the urÃº. I’d say she’s ready for her Irish paper next week.
At dinner Michael asked herself what exams she had had that day. Everyone turned on him and shouted, “It’s Saturday!” This whole Leaving Cert thing is taking a lot out of him.
It is rose season and this is filling my heart with joy.
The peonies are also putting out their best efforts.
That’s enough for one post.