Ok, so far, I have to concede, not very different from 2022.
Herself came back from her new year’s extravaganza with friends in Scotland. I rejoiced.
For the first time in a very long time, I booked no family theatre outing in the run up to Christmas. The palpable lack of enthusiasm doesn’t usually put me off but this year, somehow, it did. Mr. Waffle and I went to “The Sound of Music” in the concert hall. Music for middle brows, pretty enjoyable for this middle brow. The woman who was the Mother Superior was superb. How much did I enjoy “Climb every mountain”? Oh very much.
We finished the Christmas jigsaw. Apparently Michael gave it to me for Christmas last year and I never made it as he informed me reproachfully on Christmas day. Herself, adding to the gaiety of nations, said, “Oh yes, and remember the other day you said, where did this jigsaw still in its cellophane wrapping come from? Maybe I could give it away as a present.” Anyway, it was surprisingly difficult, I can tell you. However, “Mischief managed” as Mr. Waffle said.
Mr. Waffle went back to work. Did I go back to work? I did not. Hah.
The boys and I went for a walk around the National Museum. Not entirely satisfactory but not altogether unsatisfactory either. Daniel’s face does rather sum up his mood though.
I personally was very taken with this shoe relic storage system.
We then went out for a very satisfactory lunch en famille in town. Our neighbour from up the road came over to our table as we were finishing up. I had not seen her but she and her family were sitting just behind us. We passed our lunch time conversation under rapid review but all seemed broadly well – I reiterate that Ireland is too small.
Daniel went to the library to get out the Ladybird book of quantum mechanics. He has read it already but apparently it is so good he wants us all to read it. He might be a bit optimistic there.
Herself and myself went on a day trip to Belfast. She came downstairs looking extremely dressed up. I was in my jeans. “It looks like we are going to different events but it’s fine,” she said.
The cross-border enterprise is the only train in the country which still has a catering service so we went all out and ordered a cooked breakfast. It was good in fairness but served in a polystyrene box with two wooden forks (they were out of knives) so presentation not what it might be.
The only cultural element of our outing was to see a lovely John Lavery painting in a church. I really like it. Herself was a bit more dubious.
Other than that we just went to the shops and enjoyed the novelty of being, um, not exactly abroad but not at home either. I thought Belfast was pretty quiet. Good for us as shoppers but a bit grim for retail in the city generally. The market was sadly closed and lunch was fine but nothing to write home about. Food is just not great in Ireland unless you know where you are going. We did not know where we were going. Overall though a pretty successful outing.
January 6 Epiphany
I offered to drive herself to her friend’s house in Kildare for a Women’s Christmas dinner. Due to my general meanness I did not want to pay the motorway toll. I definitely regretted this and we ended up on a 3 county epic trek.
I arrived home a shadow of my former self. Just as well Mr. Waffle had cooked dinner and washed up afterwards.
Our local Eastern European shop was open notwithstanding it being Orthodox Christmas but a big group of Romanians in traditional dress carrying a pole with a tinsel picture attached were singing away which was rather nice.
Daniel went to visit a friend in Cavan. I mean why can’t my children have more friends in the city of 1.5 million people where we live. He took the bus in fairness.
Mr. Waffle and I spent the day taking down Christmas decorations which is a bit of a melancholy activity. The children took away the Christmas tree. They were thrilled to have the opportunity to help.
We wound up all the lights carefully but everybody knows that they will all be knotted up again by next Christmas.
We all went out for a departure dinner for herself which was very nice. I was pleased. Later herself went out for drinks with friends and like the absolutely saintly mother I am, I collected her and another child at midnight and drove them home.
Further melancholy, herself went off back to England. It is miserable seeing a child off at the airport. However, on the plus side, she loves it there and she has to look after her own transport needs when she goes out in the evenings. She would tell you that she is perfectly prepared to do this at home also but when I know she is out, I can’t stand the tension of worrying about when and how she might get home and might as well collect her for added peace of mind. On her flight she was sitting beside a man from Tipperary who turned out to be a nephew of the people who live across the road (see above re size of Ireland). Talking to my neighbour he said that his nephew is a pilot with British Airways so perhaps not entirely surprising that he should be flying back to work.
Mr. Waffle and I picked up a coffee table from friends who wanted to get rid of it. I am pleased. It does not go with the sofas at all so perhaps it may speed up their departure (how I loathe them, big mistake and they are very comfortable which makes other family members keen to keep them, alas, and they were expensive, God they were expensive, double alas).
The physio has inspected my knee and discharged me. It really is nearly better. Gratifying. And tonight is book club. Hurrah.
I trust your own January is going as well as can be expected.
What are you reading for book club? I suggested this to my own, to a rather deafening silence:
I might have to follow through with my resolution to buy and read it. (My own top healthy-and-happy tip: donâ€™t make any resolutions)
Oh I absolutely love your sofas, too bad we don’t live closer… A reading suggestion : Florida, by Lauren Groff (collection of short stories), which I find really great ; I will then read Shrines of Gaiety, I really look forward to it.
Happy New Year to you and family !
Jim Al Khalili is very good doing the Life Scientific on Radio 4, which might be something of a recommendation for the Quantum physics book … I like the fact that over the years he’s interviewed pretty much equal numbers of male and female scientists.
The snippet of that painting in Belfast looks fabulous. Any better photos?
I have to say Jess, I am with your book club. I have just finished Maureen Gaffney’s book and am not the better of it.
Viviane, I think they look less good in real life. Thanks for the book recommendation, will stick it on the list. I enjoy a short story.
TM, well that is good re gender balance but the book is going back to the library with no one having read it except young Dan.
Jennifer, unfortunately not but am sure the internet could provide…