That’s actually the weekend from weeks and weeks ago. I’m behind. Anyhow, some of the people I used to work with in Brussels came over for the weekend. It was lovely to see them and the weather was spectacularly beautiful.
One of my former colleagues, T, stayed with us. She does not have children herself and one can only hope that she has not been put off the idea by Michael’s constant, mortifying whining – “How much longer is she staying?” He gave up his room, most unwillingly, and boy did he want everyone to know that he wasn’t happy about it.
Me: Michael, did you know that T is a twin also?
Me: Michael that’s very rude, say ‘sorry’.
Me: Like you mean it.
Michael: Daniel doesn’t say sorry like he means it.
Yes, Ireland of the 1,000 welcomes.
Fortunately, former colleague N, who is working in Dublin for 8 months, had arranged an elaborate programme as I was something of a broken reed. They walked around Howth Head in searing heat (unusual); they came to my housewarming on Saturday night; they went for a stroll around Dalkey on Sunday.
On Saturday, Mr. Waffle had to work and I took the children off to the beach in Portrane. I had never taken them there before and was a bit uncertain of the way but we made it. It is a lovely sandy beach that is shallow for miles. When I reached waist height in the water, I collapsed after the long trek and had my first swim of the season. It was all very pleasant in a mild way. When I saw those who had walked for 4 hours around Howth Head earlier that day, I knew that I had been wise to acknowledge my limitations and only walk into the sea.
Not a great shot of the beach but you can see that the sea is a long way away.
They have also decided to go for an unusual juxtaposition of old and modern in the siting of their water tower beside the clock tower:
On the housewarming, one of my former colleagues asking whether there were any single men coming. A rapid mental scan of my guest list confirmed that there were not. Woe. On the plus side, older married couples are great with the presents. We are groaning with fancy champagne stocks. The weather was terrific and we stayed outside until late. One set of neighbours had brought their 10 and 12 year old children and our children stayed up until 12 to entertain them – something that herself particularly enjoyed. She was hyper all evening letting people in and telling them where to put their tasteful gifts and chatting animatedly. A friend commented that it was a shame that the Princess had set her face against an Irish medium second level school as she didn’t think that her English needed further improvement. I was torn between smug delight and angst at the knowledge that herself had been letting her, occasionally forceful, personality shine forth on the guests. At one stage during the evening, she hugged me and said, “I love this party!” She is really one of these children who love to talk to adults. Also, she is very sociable, like her father.
And then on Sunday, out to Dalkey: it really was beautiful and quite unlike Ireland; my Brussels friends now have a deeply warped view of what the Irish summer is like. All to the good really.