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Weekend Round-Up

10 December, 2017 at 8:28 pm by belgianwaffle

On Friday night there was no hockey training for Michael as it was cancelled due to cold weather. This is not the kind of attitude adopted by the hardy GAA players/coaches to cold weather; it was very welcome though. I had my office Christmas party so although it was my Friday half day, I went back in about 5 having spent the afternoon picking up my daughter’s bike from school (she was on the DART to friend in Wicklow) and watching a film in front of the fire with my loving sons. I was reluctant to go back to work but did and it was grand but I felt dutiful and virtuous rather than having fun and letting my hair down; possibly for the best. I bailed out about 7 to pick up herself from the DART. She was going to a friend’s Christmas carol concert in Trinity. I was a bit dubious – I have been stung before by youth choirs. We met her other friend J in front of Trinity and then went into the chapel where the concert was to be and to my surprise and delight it was quite warm. And then the concert itself was absolutely superb. The singers were amazing; they were unaccompanied but sounded utterly beautiful. The performance included the only good version of “Away in a Manger” that I have ever heard (sorry everyone). My favourite song was probably “Gaudete” but they were really all excellent. Afterwards herself and myself went to supper and that was lovely too although she was exhausted by the time we got home.

On Saturday afternoon, Daniel had his final GAA session of the year (7 a side tournament – which his team won – followed by pizza). You will note that the GAA were not put off by inclement weather like the hockey people. Michael meanwhile had his drama showcase (v good if a bit confusing). Herself and myself attended and we picked up glitter Christmas glasses.

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Afterwards we went to look at the Christmas window in Arnott’s (for me, for me, children only v mildly interested) and got on the new extended Luas line home (verdict from children – “it’s a tram”).

On Saturday night we all trooped off to see the Princess win an award. My poor parents and parents-in-law are not really well enough to attend this kind of event any more and my brother and sister are a bit too busy and far away so herself had to make do with enthusiastic support from her parents and some lacklustre support from her brothers who were, you know, supportive but a little bored.

This morning we had mass (herself mentioned from the pulpit for her award but they got her name wrong so, um, swings and roundabouts) and choir rehearsal. Had a great chat with one of the other parents while waiting for rehearsal to end. Like my mother, he is from Limerick and v interested in horses. I was asking how his daughter was getting on in secondary school and he said that he had spent last night explaining sets to her. “It is,” said he, “very useful for working things out if you want to put a combination on the tote.” He spent some time trying to explain this to me but, unlike his 13 year old, I seem to be a slow learner, I am glad, however, that somebody has found a practical example for the use of sets.

At lunch time we took ourselves off to see a special screening of “A Muppet Christmas Carol” in the cinema. Singing along was encouraged but it did feel like Michael and I were the only ones who knew all the words; so we were, I thought, a little conspicuous. We had hoped to go and look at the snow in the mountains but it was too cold and wet (I mean, I know snow is wet but you want blue skies to enjoy it not leaden sleeting ones) and we realised, belatedly, that herself has grown out of her hiking boots and would have to climb the mountain in Converse runners so instead, we went to the parents-in-law for a visit and now we are home, I have lit the fire and nobody is going anywhere for the remainder of the evening.

How was your own weekend?

First World Catastrophe

29 November, 2017 at 10:39 pm by belgianwaffle

I spent nearly 5 years choosing a sofa. It was delivered today and it is unutterably hideous. I want to cry. I think we’ll have to get rid of it. It’s much too big. And the smaller one I chose to go with it is disproportionate and ugly. I would show you photos but I haven’t the heart to take any. My affliction is not rendered the easier by being utterly ridiculous.

The Struggle Continues

28 November, 2017 at 8:47 pm by belgianwaffle

I have recently covered how ideologically opposed I am to Kildare Village (outlet shopping) in principle while being strangely attracted to it in practice.

When we went down to the wedding in East Cork a couple of weeks ago, we stopped off for breakfast in the Pain Quotidien in Kildare Village which I loved. Mr. Waffle was distinctly less impressed as he sipped from his bowl of weak tea. “It’s all very well abroad,” said he, “but I am in Kildare and it seems outrageous to be drinking this kind of tea when I know that everywhere around me perfectly good, normal tea is available.” I left him to brood over his tea while I went for a quick run around the shops. I bought some Penhaligon Bluebell perfume which my father used to bring from London to my mother. When I met my sister that evening, I said, “Smell this!” and held up my wrist and she instantly recognised it. I’m wearing it all the time now although I do seem to be mildly allergic to it and it makes me sneeze which I concede is sub-optimal. Like my relationship with Kildare Village.

Did I mention it has a Villeroy and Bosch shop? I love Villeroy and Bosch.

Still more of it

21 November, 2017 at 7:32 pm by belgianwaffle

I had a thing at work on understanding how our brains work so that we can all be better employees. So, the nice Ukrainian psychologist sat down with me and showed me a map of my brain and started talking about the importance of hydration. “You know how you feel when you have a hangover?” she asked. “Actually, no, I’ve never had a hangover,” I said. She started to laugh, “Twenty years I’ve been talking about this in Ireland and you’re the first person ever to say this.”

I have commented before on the perverse relationship we enjoy with alcohol in Ireland. Yeah, it’s funny, but you know what, it’s really not.

Saturday Night at the Movies

19 November, 2017 at 7:18 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle, the boys and I went to see Paddington last night. In the cinema, we met a) Daniel and Michael’s friend and his family who had just seen Paddington – they recommended it b) a friend of the Princess’s (she remained unmoved when I told her that her friend was there and thought that Paddington – which the Princess had refused to see with us – was a worthy film) c) a boy from Daniel and Michael’s year in school and two second years from their school and d) a neighbour from the bottom of the road and her two sons. I used to think that Dublin was an anonymous big city; I think I was misled.

Anyhow we all quite enjoyed Paddington in a mild way. The Princess joined us afterwards in Milano’s (funded by my brother’s Tesco vouchers, thanks Dan) and we explained the plot to her though we had some difficulties (what did happen to the treasure? and the book?) she surveyed us in mild contempt and said that if we were having plot problems with Paddington then she despaired of us all. No change there then.

In unrelated news, Daniel won the hamper raffle at school. It was in aid of the student council where herself is a leading light. There’s a hilarious picture on the school’s twitter feed of her handing the hamper over to her brother with a forced smile while he is receiving it with unalloyed delight.

Wedding Bells

18 November, 2017 at 10:18 pm by belgianwaffle

Yesterday we drove down to East Cork where two of my oldest friends got married. We stayed in the Castlemartyr resort and, as always when there is a hotel with a character-filled older bit and an underwhelming modern extension, we ended up in the extension. It was nice all the same though and boasted the largest bed I have ever slept in. We left the children largely to their own devices for about 10 of the 30 or so hours we were gone but we did have a childminder stay overnight. I can confirm they are all still alive.

So, the happy couple are 60ish and have been together for 31 years and I have known them for 27. Most older people who get married have smaller weddings but they had a massive one (as they are a gay couple, they have been waiting for a while); there were about 250 people and aside from M and R’s nephews and nieces we were all pretty middle aged which I rather liked. It was funny to see the nephews and nieces, some of whom I haven’t seen since they were children, all turned into young adults.

I first met M when he was the youngest partner in the law firm where I did my apprenticeship. He was interested in the arts and far more entertaining than any of the other partners (a low enough bar, I concede). When we both left that law firm we stayed in contact. He’s been buying me lunch for more than a quarter of a century now. He and R make a great couple and they’re one of the few couples where I am equally friendly with both partners. Over the years, they have been wonderful to me and, as I acquired husband and children, to them also. M sang at my wedding, they have bought me food and given me food (M is a great jam maker), put me up innumerable times (we still stay in their house in East Cork), given me lifts (I travelled to Cork with M every Christmas for years, they’ve brought herself up and down to Cork) advice and kindness. They are the only people who ever visit us unannounced and I love to see them, every time. I must say as I looked at the enormous crowd of delighted friends and family at their wedding, I thought that they have truly reaped what they have sown.

Child of Our Time

16 November, 2017 at 10:19 pm by belgianwaffle

Me (perusing entire supplement to the Irish Times on the joy of skiing) : Michael would you like to go skiing again?
Him (who last went skiing when he was 3 and retains no very firm memories): Yes, I think I would.
Me: Maybe we’ll go then, not next year but perhaps the year after.
Him: Remember the bust is coming.

Who has spent a lifetime absorbing the lessons of the 2008 crash and its aftermath, then?


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