Was it the title lured you in?
Tuesday 23 May
School having been cancelled on the Tuesday, Michael and I went out for an adventure to enjoy the beautiful weather. Daniel sensibly, it subsequently transpired, stayed at home.
We climbed the Sugar Loaf. It was a beautiful, beautiful day for it. I’d told Michael to bring a snack and he had water, a packet of crisps and a packet of water biscuits. He ate the crisps on top of the mountain leaving a whole packet of water biscuits for later.
By the time we got down, it was about 2.30 and we headed to Enniskerry to get lunch. Google Maps, as is sometimes does, sent us by a remote and circuitous route. By 3 we weren’t a lot nearer to Enniskerry and in the middle of nowhere. It was at this moment that we got a puncture.
My brilliant husband had put the emergency number in the glove compartment (you think I can change a tire? think again) and the emergency man when we called explained to us a nifty trick where you can send your exact location via Whatsapp (necessary as we had no real idea where we were). Also I had failed to fully charge my phone in the morning and had only 10% battery which was not charging on the in-car charger. Tense times. I rang Mr. Waffle who was in a foreign airport but able to tell me that the car had a spare tire and where to find it. Not obvious.
Anyway, the car repair man eventually came, fitted the spare tire, pumped it up and set us on our way after a hot, hungry and sweaty 90 minutes in the car. Michael said, “We stress ate those water biscuits like a herd of buffalo”. I ate them like someone starving. Anyway we went straight home. We’d gone off Wicklow in the sunshine.
A busy evening followed collecting my sister from the train station, leaving her with Michael who filled her in on Bulgarian politics (yes, really), deciding it was safe enough to let Daniel cycle into town to meet his friends in the pub and collecting Mr. Waffle from the airport. I was exhausted. That’s what you get for trying to make the most of the fine weather.
Wednesday, 24 May
My sister was up for a project management conference and she sent me the funniest text I’ve received in a while.
Mr. Waffle dropped her to the conference and I collected her. Although the venue is not far from our house, it took forever. I was very glad to get back on my bike to go in to have dinner in town with some old college friends. We are old. Only one of us has any children in school. Surprising.
Thursday, 25 May
We had the school graduation. All things considered a surprisingly good time had by all.
Saturday, 27 May
We visited Mr. Waffle’s mother and the in-laws. I went for a swim afterwards which was lovely. Mr. Waffle was not to be tempted though. We took the boys out for dinner to celebrate the end of school. I am still wrestling with the idea of having no children in school.
Tuesday, May 30
Inspired by my success at the weekend I went for another swim. It was a beautiful day and basically just me and pensioners enjoying it. Hah. Lucky old us, I guess.
I went to a colleague’s mother’s removal. It was in Massey’s funeral home. For years I have wondered what kind of name is “Rom Massey”. I mean is it Ronald? Anyway the removal was advertised as being in Ramon Massey’s funeral home. Ramon? Raises more questions than it answers.
The preliminary census results came out. Michael nearly died of happiness going through them and offering us little insights. It appears that we are now a country of 5 million people having been 3 million for as long as I can remember. The thrill.
Friday, June 2
Mr. Waffle and I went to art school grad show. Yeah, I know, but is it art? And I went out for dinner with a bunch of former colleagues which was very enjoyable indeed.
Saturday, June 3
God, it was baking. Mr. Waffle and I went to a fair of produce from Normandy- I am on the French embassy mailing list and this is the kind of thrill available. Almost all dégustation of French products which, yes, absolutely, I am willing but very little to actually buy. We bought some cheese from Évreux and I told the bored French teenager selling it that Devereux is a common Irish surname and dates back to the Norman conquerers from her town. Was she interested? Are you joking me?
Sunday June 4
In what became a weekend of exploration by public transport, Mr. Waffle and I took the DART to Malahide Castle.
Honestly, can’t really recommend the house tour (the house is mildly interesting but the guides are, more’s the pity, not the super knowledgeable OPW ones) but the gardens are lovely.
Portrait above of one of the Gunning sisters who married two Dukes (consecutively) and about whom our guide, sadly told us nothing. And as you will see, it’s a good story.
Monday, June 5
Mr. Waffle and I took the DART again with our bikes and cycled to Kilruddery. I honestly would have thought it impossible but it’s actually quite close to the DART station. On the other hand, do I recommend taking your bike on the DART on a sunny bank holiday Monday? Probably not. I was, possibly excessively, pleased to see bike stands right by the entrance to Kilruddery where we had a nice lunch and a stroll around the grounds.
Needless, to say while Mr. Waffle and I were out gallivanting in the sunshine, that they had so kindly provided, the boys were at home studying. As everyone said, it was real Leaving Cert weather. A friend sent me this.
Tuesday, June 6
After my weekend of exciting cycling and swimming, I decided to cycle to Sandycove and have a swim. I went off in my light summer dress. I nearly froze. Leaving Cert or no, Irish weather does not reward complacency.
Wednesday, June 7
At last, at last after two tense weeks of swotting with increasing gloom at home, the Leaving Cert started. Day 1 was alright.
Still, much stress.
Thursday, June 8
I managed to give away a box of old cables and a broken printer. To think of these items, utterly useless to me and destined for a life in landfill, being reused warms the cockles of my heart. The man who took the printer further filled me with delight as he was a Dutchman and he took it away on a bike. He works at Drimnagh Castle and they are on a shoestring and he reckons that he can fix the printer and use it there. How truly gratifying.
The guys rescued the Nintendo DS from the box of cables and have been happily playing on it for the first time in about 10 years.
Friday, 9 June
Much like the rest of the nation, Michael did not enjoy Maths paper 1. His brother thought it was fine.
Sunday, 10 June
My friend sent me a flyer about a Finnish choir who were visiting Ireland so Mr. Waffle and I went to the pro-Cathedral (for historic reasons, Dublin has two Protestant Cathedrals and no Catholic Cathedral – this is what it got, known to its friends as “the Pro”).
It was all a bit more elaborate than I had anticipated. Not only was there this Finnish choir but it was also Corpus Christi (had forgotten) and the new Papal Nuncio’s welcome mass to Dublin. Many pews were roped off for the Diplomatic Corps and heads of religious orders and Provincials. There were 3 (count them!) archbishops on the altar and loads of priests. All, except for two younger black men, looking pretty elderly and grey, if sprightly. The church had lots of room notwithstanding the ranked masses of diplomats, provinicials etc. I don’t know, if that mass isn’t going to be full, it really looks like the end. I am old enough to remember when Corpus Christi mass was standing room only and there was a procession and everything.
Anyhow, the newish Archbishop of Dublin did the welcome bit and I was curious to see him in action as I hadn’t seen him before. He commented on the recent census results which show numbers of Catholics had declined by 10 percentage points since the last census (to 69%, I am Michael’s mother, I have these statistics at my finger tips) and how heartened he was by the immigrant communities who are, basically, better Catholics. Certainly more devout. Anyhow, he welcomed the visiting choir who were Lutherans from Helsinki Cathedral and made some noises about ecumenicism. As a friend of mine pointed out this was funny on Corpus Christi which is basically a feast day designed to highlight the differences between Catholic and other faiths but I suppose they were there. The new Papal Nuncio gave the sermon and try as I might, I kept zoning out, so what his views might be and whether he conveyed any special messages, I cannot say.
The choir were superb which was just as well as mass was an extended 90 minutes. What are we, Orthodox? Afterwards, the 86 year old nun who is attached to the children’s school whom all the students adore, came up to us. She only lives around the corner it appears and is a regular attendee at the 11.30 Sunday mass. She had no difficulty recognising us and we had a long old chat where she tried to inveigle me into joining the school’s Board of Management. She is in absolutely terrific shape. The children keep her young, she says.
There was one of the Finnish choir children’s mothers on the door when we went out drumming up business for their concert at 3. She was very cross that it wasn’t advertised and I sympathise but what could we do. I said that I had been notified via WhatsApp and wasn’t it busy this morning? “I gather you went to Cork as well?” I said winningly hoping to divert the conversation into happier channels – who wouldn’t love a trip to Cork in June? Apparently only 12 people came to the concert in Cork. I was mortified. “And it was free, unlike when the Palestrina choir came to Helsinki and you had to pay and I put up two boys from the Palestrina in my own house”. Alas. However, the youngsters in the choir seemed to be having a great time. When we came out they were standing beside their bus singing an incredible version of happy birthday – volume and harmony breathtaking – to one of their number.
Tuesday, June 13
The Leaving Cert continues unabated. Maths Paper 2 yesterday was better than paper 1 on Friday. The nation is convulsed by the trauma of paper 1 – letters to the paper, articles, phone in radio shows (you think I’m joking, I’m not). As I said to Michael, “At least you’re not alone”.
While my poor children laboured today, I took the DART off to Sandycove for a very pleasant swim. Somebody has to do it.
Biology and Irish paper 2 today. Dan not a big fan of the biology paper but look, onwards and upwards.