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29 September, 2018 at 5:17 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel and Michael were 13 on Thursday, 27 September. My parents were 51 years married. It was the feast day of St. Vincent and almost of St. Michael. It was all go, I can tell you.

13 years, quite a while.

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More Weekend

23 September, 2018 at 7:48 pm by belgianwaffle

So we went to our play last night. Despite the rather grim subject matter which was a little close to home (siblings caring for a parent with dementia) it was funny and the acting was very good. I would possibly call it my best Dublin fringe experience ever – this is quite a low bar. If you get a chance, The Cat’s Mother is recommended.

Michael was back to hockey this morning and Daniel and I went along to 11.30 mass together. He did the Prayers of the Faithful with the other children in the choir – it went chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, growl. Although he’s not the oldest, he is the oldest boy and he’s the only one whose voice has broken. He seems relaxed as does the choir mistress who says that his new baritone goes well with the other children. Both boys’ voices have broken over the summer; I don’t really notice much but apparently a number of their classmates have commented.

As a special treat for Mr. Waffle we went to the transport museum this afternoon. I had completely forgotten that we’d been before years ago but I found a reference on the blog. I would be less harsh on this occasion. Maybe it’s a better outing with older children but still not tremendous now.

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We had a cup of tea and then went for a walk on the pier in Howth which was nice in a low key kind of way.

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We got our weekly call from herself while we were walking on the pier. It was a bit unsatisfactory as reception wasn’t great. She seems to be having a good time and settling in well as far as we can tell. I do miss her. It’s probably as well we are restricted to one call a week (“It’s supposed to be immersion, Mum.”) as otherwise I would probably be on 4 times a day.

Culture Night

22 September, 2018 at 6:15 pm by belgianwaffle

Last night, the boys went for French lessons (not a success). While they were there, as part of Culture Night, Mr. Waffle and I went to the RIA and the Mansion House. I’d been to the Mansion House for events before and it was grand but a bit dull. Not their brass, though, which was impressively shiny and made me realise, sigh, that my own is in sad need of polishing. A very enthusiastic woman in the RIA explained about the Irish Historic Towns Atlas and explained, even to my satisfaction, why on a 25 year project when even Youghal and Bandon are done, Cork city is not due until 2020. Apparently it’s because Cork is particularly difficult to do as it has a very complex and ever-changing street landscape. So there.

We went with the boys to the Terry Pratchett exhibition in Trinity which was disappointing as it was a bit heavy on lecture and light on other elements. There was a great map though. It was a bit of an evening of maps.

We went to Gotham (a pizza and burger joint off Grafton Street) for dinner as I could not face Milano’s. It was crowded but they were able to put us outside. It was the first time in years I’ve eaten my dinner beside a smoker and the first time ever for the boys who were displeased but also fascinated. “Wait until tomorrow,” I said, “when you wake up, all your clothes will smell of smoke.” We packed up reasonably rapidly and went home.

When I was going to bed I noticed a weird small rash thing on my neck. “Probably stress,” I said to myself gloomily. In the morning, however, it came off in the shower so I can only suppose that it was ketchup which ended up on my neck due to a combination of peculiar eating habits, shortsightedness and poor hygiene. You’re welcome.

In other cultural news, Mr. Waffle and I are going out to the theatre this evening. It’s a thing in the Fringe and only an hour or so; we are leaving the boys to fend for themselves. Mr. Waffle has just come in after struggling for about an hour with a ladder and the unhappy interaction of the down-pipe and the rose bush in the front garden. I’ve told him we’ll have to leave for the theatre in about 15 minutes. He’s delighted.

We spent the day ferrying Daniel and Michael to various activities – tennis, drama etc. But, we also looked at ovens for our new kitchen. I want to get an aga. Am I crazy? Stove/oven advice very gratefully received.

Just now, the cat has skulked to the flower bed with a dead mouse between her jaws, I can only hope that my shouting at her, “Don’t you dare bring that into the house!” will be effective. All the news as it happens here.

And how has your weekend been so far?

Fliuch Báite

20 September, 2018 at 9:18 pm by belgianwaffle

It absolutely lashed today. I traipsed round town grimly at lunch time trying to find a present for our lovely former childminder, T, who was coming to say goodbye to us before moving back to France. My normal first resort would have been an Amazon voucher but he is very ethical and disapproves of how Amazon treat their workforce so it seemed a perverse choice. I bought him a reasonably large framed photo of St. Stephen’s Green as he used to go there often with the children after school so, I assume that that means he liked it. As I splashed out of the photo shop, I realised that I was unlikely to be able to get it home on my bicycle. Just as well, really, I ended up getting the tram instead.

This evening I had to get home in time to say goodbye to T and give him his present, get to the school for a parents’ meeting at 7 and feed the boys dinner. Mr. Waffle was supposed to be home by 5 but as there were no taxis at the airport, he ended up splashing in to town and getting the tram home thereby missing his chance to say goodbye to T and the school meeting. He was sorry to miss saying goodbye to T and I must say, I felt quite tearful myself saying our final goodbyes, he was such a nice man and the children loved him – he reminded Michael how he used to carry him on his shoulders from school to Stephen’s Green (Michael was never a child for unnecessary effort) and how one Wednesday he collected them from school (I usually collected them from school on Wednesdays) and Michael started crying and saying, “I want my Mummy.” Apparently he kept it up all the way from school to the bus stop and all the way home on the bus and only stopped when T bought him a lollipop from the shop at the bus stop. My heart.

Anyhow when I got home from the school meeting what did I find? My saintly husband had lit the fire and made tea. Is it any wonder I miss him when he’s away?

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Home Alone

19 September, 2018 at 11:28 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle is away for work this week. Herself is gone, Mr. Waffle is away. “Who is next?” we ask ominously. I feel like old Aunt Ada Doom. The boys and I are coping though I wouldn’t say that our diet stands up to particularly close scrutiny. Particularly as the oven has died.

I didn’t get home until 7ish this evening leaving the boys to their own devices [or possibly just their devices, let us not inquire too closely]. Sadly, the frame of Daniel’s glasses had broken at assembly that morning and the combined efforts of the school staff throughout the day had not fixed them. He doesn’t see much without them and neither of the boys called me to tell me. I could probably have got home a bit earlier had I known. Anyhow, I saved the day by fixing them pro tem with superglue but it does not seem likely to be a permanent solution.

Mr. Waffle went off to Finland with a copy of the Hollybough. I feel I wrote before about my ambition to be in the Hollybough Christmas photo selection. There are loads of them. All you have to do is have a Cork connection, go somewhere mildly exotic and photograph yourself with the Hollybough. I put it in the bottom of our suitcase to go to Paris last year but Mr. Waffle, under the sadly mistaken impression that there was no need to bring it to Paris, unpacked it. I found it under the bed again when we got back from Denmark this year. Mr. Waffle confessed that he thought of it as we were speeding along the motorway out of Copenhagen airport but felt that no good could come of sharing that thought. Anyhow the upshot of this is that he has taken it to Finland to get a photo with a view to restoring his credit. He’s not from Cork you might argue; fear not, even his tenuous connection would be more than sufficient, however, a good friend of ours in a lofty role in Helsinki is from Cork and, time permitting, he may meet her for a cup of tea. If he does, that’s a centre page spread, right there. I’ll keep you posted.

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Weight of Responsibility

19 September, 2018 at 7:51 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel: I have to contact M on instagram.
Me: I didn’t know that you were friendly with M.
Him: Not particularly but she’s on the student council and I need to know something.
Me: Is there anyone nearer home who might be able to inform you.
Him: Herself is in France.
Me: Anyone else we know on the student council?
Him: Oh yeah, Michael.

In fairness, I wouldn’t say Michael is exactly flaunting his new powers.

Weekend Round Up

9 September, 2018 at 7:24 pm by belgianwaffle

So we are slowly getting back to normal after the return from the holidays and the departure of Herself for France. The two weeks between our return from Copenhagen and her departure were spent in a whirl of activity. Herself went to Belfast for a conference, Cork to say farewell to the relatives before departing on her odyssey (a financially very worthwhile journey although, in fairness, that was not at all her motivation) and Donegal to the Gaeltacht with the school. That’s a lot of travelling in a fortnight even if you haven’t just come back from Denmark and are about to depart for France. Also, she has a vast circle of friends all of whom had to be seen and bidden a fond farewell, some more than once. When she came back from the Gaeltacht (last Wednesday), I announced to the family that she would not be going away again before she went to France. Michael voiced mild surprise, “Was she away? I thought she was up in her room.” This may explain why he feels that, at least initially, he may not miss her.

On Saturday morning Mr. Waffle and I went out for breakfast in town leaving the boys to the tender mercies of the x-box. We signed them up for French classes until Christmas, news which they greeted with the amount of enthusiasm you might imagine. Our lovely, lovely French childminder is finally sick of Ireland and moving back to France. He had been coming on Friday afternoons to play games with the boys and force them to speak French whether they liked it or not but now he is gone and we have to consider alternatives.

On Saturday afternoon we had the street party and it says a great deal for our residents’ committee that they managed to pick a rainy afternoon after the finest summer we have had in 40 years. That said, it was nice to see all the younger children who live nearby and the new families who have moved to the area. Michael really enjoyed it but Daniel was not in the mood for it although he came and played football and basketball with the other children. He had just returned from his final hurling game. While he likes Gaelic football, he has been lobbying to give up hurling for some time and yesterday was, by agreement, his last hurling game ever (end of an era etc.). His team was beaten 6-19 to 1-2 and he is not one to shrug off defeat lightly. Perhaps finishing on a low note. He has also been recently diagnosed with Osgood Schlatter disease which is not serious but explains why he has had a lump on his knee for years and was limping after every match and training and means I have had to notch my sympathy levels up from my traditional, “you’re grand”. Apparently you grow out of it so the cure is, basically, just wait. It was not maybe the ideal moment for him to join in the street party fun.

This morning we were back to mass in the parish for the first time in ages. Some new priest turned up. He spoke on the second reading which was a nice one (religious people, how come so much St. Paul and so little James?) about how every person has value and we shouldn’t judge based on appearances or wealth. This is the part of Catholic teaching that really appeals to the wishy-washy liberal in me. So I was not delighted when the priest used it as a starting point for saying that probably no one in the congregation had any importance in the world and yet we could influence things even though we were pretty powerless. He suggested we take the example of Saint Serapia who sold herself into slavery as she felt that this was how she could serve God (without wishing to criticise Saint Serapia, I am not completely convinced). I am possibly being a bit chippy here but I resented the way he patronised the congregation of this parish some of whom are perhaps not particularly rich; it being Ireland, I can absolutely guarantee you that quite apart from the number of the parishioners who were themselves very important in the world, every one of those parishioners, even if not “important in the world” (and pray define that and isn’t the point of the reading that importance in the eyes of the world is not important in the eyes of God?) has great influence with all kinds of people who are “important” in the tiny pond that is Ireland. By the way, please note the irony of my being judgemental about a priest’s sermon on a reading about the importance of not being judgemental. If I have one fault… (as a friend’s brother said to her, “If you have one fault?)

In other religion related news, our musical director had one of her pieces sung during one of the events when the Pope came to visit and we are all suitably impressed. She jotted it on the back of an envelope in 1996 and now it is sung all over the place. The excitement.

We had Mr. Waffle’s parents and their carer around for lunch and then found ourselves slightly at a loose end. My programme of constantly ringing herself for updates yielded fruit and she called to tell us that she had finally reached her destination in the west of France after her orientation in Paris. She’s a bit flattened, poor mite, but she seemed in reasonably good form, all things considered. She’s starting in the Lycée tomorrow and has promised to ring to update us tomorrow evening. It’s all go.

Back in Dublin, after some deliberation, I forced Mr. Waffle and the boys to go up the restored Daniel O’Connell tower which was only moderately successful.

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On the plus side, we got to touch the coffin which, apparently brings good luck. A little unlikely, I would have thought but like Niels Bohr and his horseshoe, I understand it works whether you believe in it or not.

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We were all reasonably interested but it turns out Osgood Schlatter disease is not super-consistent with playing hurling, football, basketball and climbing to the top of a round tower in one weekend.

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Still and all, good views (in the foreground is the museum building which I did not make us visit although the price was covered in our entry ticket to the tower; we have been before and I am merciful).

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And sighting of a dangerous handrail. So definitely not a complete loss.

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We got home for 6 for poor Mr. Waffle to take a work call and the rest of the evening has passed off peacefully so far.

And how was your own weekend?


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