Tuesday, August 24, 2021
I went to the GP about my heel. She confirmed my internet researches. I have plantar fasciitis which is a condition common to runners and fat middle aged people. Alas. The GP said to me that I’d never be able to run again. Startled, I said, “Never? Will I not be able to play tennis?” “Ah, no, I meant you won’t be able to run marathons.” That’s ok then.
Anyway, it seems that loads of people have it – friends, colleagues all sorts of people. Maybe I wasn’t listening when they complained. I went out to a specialist running shop and bought the vilest pair of runners which I now wear all the time. Sigh. Apparently it will get better eventually.
Mr. Waffle had to work. I took the boys to visit the state apartments in Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty museum and the sandcastle exhibition in the castle yard. God love them, they put up with a lot.
My sister called me to tell me that the husband of my mother’s best friend from college had died. He hadn’t been well but it was still a shock.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
My first day back in the office after the holidays. Very painful but I survived. Two colleagues described how their holidays had been ruined by Covid. The more impressive example had each of his four children come down with it in turn keeping him housebound sorting his books for the fortnight instead of going to Donegal. In fairness, we were lucky.
Saintly Daniel made dinner.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
I went to the funeral of my mother’s friend’s husband. It was the first funeral I had been to since my father’s (in Ireland funeral going is a pretty constant duty so it was unusual not to have been to one in so long but Covid rules forbade). The deceased was a dentist, his wife was a dentist and both the priest’s parents were dentists so it was a funeral heavy in dental content.
Herself and her friend went for a night cycle in the park; what will they think of next etc.? I was a bit nervous and sent Mr. Waffle to accompany her to the gates of the park and then later home again. She had a great time but Mr. Waffle was less keen on the whole concept as he sat outside the park gates awaiting her return.
Friday, August 27, 2021
It was so warm I decided we would have a barbecue for dinner. By the time dinner rolled around it was freezing. I refer you to this article from the Irish Times on dressing for dining outside. I don’t think it was a joke.
Saturday, August 28, 2021
My sister was in Dublin for the weekend and came to us for lunch which we were able to have outside. It’s the nights catch you unaware, you’re generally safe enough for lunch. My children write thank you cards because I make them and I am hoping that they will continue to do so forever but it’s a bit of an uphill battle. They stayed in my sister’s partner’s parents’ house on Bere Island over the summer and wrote a thank you card (in Irish, the parents are Irish speakers). My sister gave great feedback. The mother is a poet and she was analysing the boys’ text – it’s like a mirror; different accounts from the right and the left hand. Honestly, this the kind of feedback, I need to justify the effort (my brother is always undermining me with unhelpful comments like “just send a text”).
We went on a boat trip in the afternoon and then a BBQ in the cousins’ house. Definitely packing everything in to the last weekend of summer. The boys were a bit like condemned men in advance of the return to school on Monday.
Sunday, August 29, 2021
My sister and I went to visit the dental widow. We had a surprisingly good time (given that her husband had just died) and the three of us are going to go on a trip to north Cork in the new year. Excitement.
It was the mother of all Sunday nights. I reintroduced logistics Sunday (we say what’s on for the week ahead, it’s complicated, we have a lot on). Herself caused considerable ire at the dinner table by saying blithely, “Oh is tomorrow Monday?”. She is enjoying her extended summer, thanks for asking.
Monday, August 30, 2021
I had lunch with a friend. I welcome the return of the lunch circuit. As she recoiled in horror at my hideous runners she said that she too had had plantar fasciitis. It’s everywhere, lads.
Herself went off to Dun Laoghaire to dine in Wetherspoon’s with her friends. The horror.
The boys found the first day back grand and, at least, the ice is broken.
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
My boss returned from his holidays. Sadly. Lunch out with a friend again. Mild thrills. Herself disappeared off to a distant suburb for a dinner party. I was supposed to collect her but couldn’t get hold of her. As I was sitting there worrying that she had been abducted/murdered etc. she called to stay that she was going to stay over at her friend’s house. She’s making up for lost time on the socialising front.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
I was delighted to see herself for the first time in days. I suppose this is how it is now.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
I took the boys to get their first shot. The whole thing was a model of efficiency. They missed school too. They were delighted. And the woman who gave them the vaccine was from Cork; went to the same school as my aunt. Another exile in Dublin.
Friday, September 3, 2021
The boys experienced no side effects from the vaccine other than slightly sore arms. As covered elsewhere, herself got her Leaving Cert results and, in fairness to her, they were stellar.
We were notified by the school of the first Covid cases of the year in both students and staff; we’re not quite back to normal yet. We’ve another road map anyhow.
I had my root canal. Not as bad as it might have been.
Saturday, September 4, 2021
We took herself out for an early dinner in a nice restaurant to celebrate her Leaving results. It was booked in June so, honestly, it could have been a gloomier party than it was. The boys had pizza at home which I felt a bit bad about but they were not going to appreciate a set menu at â‚¬80 a head.
We got home quite early and I made everyone watch this French film which was supposed to be a comedy. I got free access to it from the Cork French film festival and I was determined to get value. It was quite dire. Herself and Daniel drifted off to bed in despair. Michael stayed to the end. He felt it had some interesting themes about the value of philosophy to politics. It was a film which could only have been made in France. May I say that the description makes it sound much better than it actually is.
Sunday, September 5, 2021
A day of homework for the boys. Herself went out with friends and Mr. Waffle and I went into town. All of us were slightly gloomy at the prospect of the week ahead except for herself who is having the time of her life. This is wearing on the rest of us on a Sunday night.
Monday, September 6, 2021
Work is a bit wearing at the moment. I am making lots of apple jelly. What will I do with it all?
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Further work horrors. And, worse, yet another meeting of the baptism preparation group at 7.30 in the evening – I went straight from work to this excitement. Our parish priest is driving me crazy. “Would it be handier,” he mused, “to have baptisms on Saturday afternoons?” Not to any of the group of (women, of course) who are sitting around the table. Even the mildest and saintliest of us (not me) remonstrated slightly saying, “Well father, if we’re hoping that they will continue to go to Sunday mass after the baptism, it’s not a great sign if they can’t even make the baptism on a Sunday.” He conceded the point. I would love to bail out but I feel that I can’t as it will just be more work for the others. Sigh.
Herself has been pushing to cycle alone in the city at night. Usually I collect her from things after dark and put her bike in the boot. But I suppose, she is 18 and about to move country and I had better resign myself to the inevitable. Honestly, I might as well have collected her as I sat up worrying until she came in anyhow.
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Work horrors continue unabated. We receive an email from the principal announcing that “Henceforth we will be a nut free school.” We are now looking for popcorn (a key part of Michael’s diet) made in a factory which does not contain nuts.
Herself disappears off to a party.
Friday, September 10, 2021
Work horrors slightly diminish but do not recede entirely. I end up working all Friday afternoon which is annoying when I am only paid to work 4.5 days a week. But yet, if I give it up, I will never get it back.
I went to the physio at lunch time. He prodded, he poked, he made me stand in weird ways. He said, “I don’t think you have plantar fasciitis.” He didn’t know what I had either though. He advised me to get heel gel pads and said to come back in a month if it wasn’t better. I feel a bit of a fraud but a slightly relieved fraud.
Mr. Waffle asked whether I planned to throw out the dead flowers. Did he mean the hydrangeas which I had dried and with which I was delighted? He did.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
I saw herself in daylight for the first time in days. We spent a long and painful session trying to decide how to bring her to England for college (boat and car, plane and train, plane and hire car?) and who will go with her (alone; one parent; two parents?). In the end we decided that both her parents would accompany her (her aunt kindly agreed to come up from Cork to mind her brothers) and we would fly and train. I have spent the time since reviewing that decision and I believe it is probably incorrect but I can’t face re-booking. Accommodation in a university town at the start of term is a nightmare and, of course, once we get there, I very much look forward to spending a day shopping for duvets, bedding and crockery. Furthermore, the university authorities have annoyed us all by emailing herself “As you are from within the UK…” I’d say there will be a certain amount of that over the coming years.
Mr. Waffle and I went out to breakfast. We met a neighbour who is making a film about the locality; would have thought it was a bit niche to be honest but he has funding and I, for one, will be very interested. As we were walking on the main road, an elderly lady called out to us, summoning us imperiously to her doorstep. “I need you to help me down the step,” she said. We did. “Now, I need you to walk me to the post office.” We did even though it was quite a bit out of our way but she had a firm grip on my arm and she wasn’t letting go. I thought we were going to have to wait for her outside the post office but she summarily dismissed us at the door and we scuttled off.
We met a mother we knew from the children’s primary school in the coffee shop. She was just out from eight (yes eight!) days in hospital. She had deep vein thrombosis and I think it nearly killed her. She was still black and blue all over and a bit shaken I thought. This reminded me of all the articles I keep reading in the papers about 50-60 being sniper alley and if you can get through that decade ok, you’ll live forever. That said, my father had open heart surgery aged 60 and lived to 95; so not a hard and fast rule.
As we were sitting over our breakfast, pondering mortality and flicking through the paper, Mr. Waffle nodded significantly out the plate glass window. There was our elderly lady perched upon the arm of a new victim who was patiently accompanying her home.
Herself and myself searched the house for her European Health Insurance card so that she could sign up for a GP in the UK. I looked where I felt it would be filed but no joy. Herself said, a bit pointedly, I thought, “So you can find whether I got a smiley face in 2007 through your complete records but my EHIC is missing.” We rang her father. It was in the travel box rather than the health folder. Look, accidents happen in even the best regulated filing systems.
Michael is doing history outside school as timetabling does not permit him to do all the subjects he wants in school. He had his first online class today and pronounced it satisfactory.
She went out to babysit for the film director we met earlier. I walked around the corner to pick her up and continued my chat about the local film he was making. She pinched me twice trying to get me to go home. Again, she is keen to travel alone but even though our house is only 5 minutes away, I didn’t like her coming home in the dark at 12.30. I suppose I will have to get used to this.
It was all-Ireland final day – Mayo v Tyrone. Mayo haven’t won since 1951 and at this stage the whole country is pretty much behind them. Our neighbour across the road is from Mayo. He went all out.
They were the bookies’ favourites but, alas, they lost. The (to be clear, entirely fictitious, I gather) curse lives on.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
It was the day of the street party. It was successful enough considering that it was September and a bit chilly and that Covid regulations meant that everyone had to bring their own food. The children used to love it when they were younger but now they are just too old and sophisticated. People were delighted to hear how herself had got on in the Leaving (yes, everyone is still asking, it is Ireland’s greatest rite of passage) and one of our older neighbours reminded us that he deserved credit for giving her his old desk (I had completely forgotten but he did).
Herself made blackberry financiers from a recipe in the paper. I will miss this service when she leaves. She had two egg yolks left over and I made hollandaise to use them up; I have never previously done this successfully and I was delighted with myself.
One of my colleagues has just texted me that his 4 year old, his 6 year old and he and his wife (both vaccinated) have all tested positive for Covid. We’re not out of the woods yet, are we?
Thank you for this long post, which took me all breakfast time to read ! I love the story of the elderly lady, and I intend to become that kind of elderly lady when the time comes…
Sorry about the work horrors (don’t get me started on that) and I find your dried hydrangeas beautiful.
Viviane, you are an absolute trooper – thank you for faithfully reading!