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Changing By Degrees

3 August, 2018 at 10:57 pm by belgianwaffle

When we were in Cork, Mr. Waffle and I found ourselves in the Stone Corridor in UCC admiring the ogham stones. There was an office with a plaque there; it said “Head of Student Experience”. “What do you think that is?” I asked Mr. Waffle. “I think it’s what we used to call the Dean of Discipline when I was in college.”

More Cork

31 July, 2018 at 8:36 pm by belgianwaffle

Thursday, July 19

Despite only having finished her course the previous Friday, the Princess and her companions were having a reunion in Dublin less than a week later. She was very keen to go which I thought was ludicrous but her kind indulgent father said that we should let her go so we drove her up to the train station in Cork with 6 minutes to spare before her train left. Note to file, Clonakilty to Cork may be 45 minutes by car; outside Clonakilty to the train station is quite a bit longer.

My brother who, when he is not being annoying, can be rather saintly took the boys off to Milano’s for lunch and Mr. Waffle and I had a really lovely lunch in the Farm Gate which I would very much recommend.

We spent the day in Cork bonding with relatives each of whom asked me in turn why on earth I had chosen to go to Clonakilty on my holidays. We picked herself up from the train at 8.30 (a train which she leapt unto 3 minutes before it left Dublin – it was a day of close shaves) and took ourselves back to base. She opined that her 5 hours on the train for 3 hours with her friends had been totally worth it. So that was something.

Friday July 20

For his own obscure reasons, my brother was cycling from Cork to Skibbereen. He stopped off on his trek and we all had lunch together in Deasy’s outside Clonakilty which is quite fancy and, therefore, didn’t have chips. Some trauma ensued as some of the cohort thought that the nice view and gourmet menu did not make good that deficiency.

Then we went to Kinsale to meet a friend of Mr. Waffle’s who had just bought a house there. We had take away fish and chips at her place for dinner so the natural order of things was restored. We also had a an opportunity to take our traditional “Caution Children” picture so that was obviously good.

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On the way back to Clonakilty, to the intense chagrin of Michael who stayed in the car timing how long I was taking, we stopped off and had a look at Timoleague Friary which is very, very beautiful It was sunset (about 10.30 so Michael’s chagrin was understandable, I suppose) and it looked quite spectacular.

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The setting was pretty spectacular also.

No filter, honest.
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Saturday 21 July

I went to the Red Strand for a swim leaving my non-beach loving family to entertain themselves as well as they could in my absence. Their loss, frankly.

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We went in to Rosscarbery where I spent many bored summers as a teenager (a friend’s parents had a house there) and, to be honest, there is still little enough to do. However we did have dinner/afternoon snack in a very nice pub. One of us had prudently bought a jumper and two of us were cold so she made the ultimate sacrifice.

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I was a bit grumpy and herself asked what I would like. “Why?” I said suspiciously. “Because who ever is the grumpiest runs this family.” This was a startling insight and I realised as I turned it over in my mind, entirely true.

My brother sent us a photo of Lough Hyne which I include because, you know, why not? It does highlight one of the problems of Clonakilty. It is West Cork but not west enough. It’s a bit of a trek to Lough Hyne from Clonakilty (not impossible, 40 minutes in the car) but almost all the good places are a bit of a trek.

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I went up to Cork for the evening because, since my brother was away, I thought I might be able to help my sister out a bit with the elderly relatives. I am not sure how much of a help I was really, particularly as she ended up having to feed me as well but we did enjoy a nice walk.

Sunday 22 July

We packed up and set off for home. Already Mr. Waffle and I were somewhat preoccupied by the thought of the working week ahead (something that does not happen at the end of week one of a three week holiday, I can tell you) and it was a long enough drive back. We stopped off at Blackrock Castle in Cork for lunch because I thought that it would not take us much out of our way (it did) and it would have pizza (it did not, they took it off the menu before Christmas, alas, alack).

On balance, West Cork again next year I think, but further west.

Clonakilty, God Help Us

30 July, 2018 at 8:38 pm by belgianwaffle

We went to Cork last summer for a week. You may remember that excluded from the list of potential places to stay was Clonakilty on the grounds that it was too near Cork and why would you bother. This was good advice I gave last year and I would have done well to have heeded it. But earlier this year, a family from Clonakilty contacted us and asked would we do a house swap and I thought, why not? I know why not. Why did I think that? Anyway we agreed dates and then they wanted to push it to earlier and, like fools, we agreed.

Furthermore, poor old Clonakilty has a gloomy reputation. It was home to a big workhouse during the famine and really the last desperate staging post of dying people hence when you say Clonakilty, people will often say to you, “Clonakilty, God help us” which is a tag line that I think the town has probably been keen to lose since 1847 or thereabouts (I’d say they’d like to have Macroom’s line instead “the town that never raised a fool”).


Sunday 15 July

Herself returned to us from her three week course on Friday and it was such a thrill to have her back. She was very reasonable about packing up to leave again two days after returning. It was a long old drive. We stopped for lunch in Cashel and got in to Clonakilty late afternoon. The house was in the middle of nowhere and it was slightly damp like many, many houses in Ireland but if it was going to be damp after a month in the heatwave, I shudder to think what it was like in the winter. On the plus side they had a wheel attached to a tree in the garden.

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And a piano that was in tune in the house.

We took ourselves into the town which, to be fair, is attractive enough, and went to the tourist office looking for attractions. There was much Michael Collins stuff and also the railway village. In addition to the price of your admission, you get to go on a tourist train around the town. “Would you like to go on Choo Choo?” the tourist office lady asked our mildly affronted 15 year old.

My sister drove down to Clonakilty that evening and saw Jack L in concert. He was good but he needs to find a younger fan base, it’s not often I feel like one of the youngest people in the room.

Monday 16 July

We recovered from our drive and stayed around the town. We bought a card game called “Now That’s What I Call Music” which I cannot recommend highly enough. Did you remember that “Don’t Give Up” was a collaboration between Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel? If yes, this is the game for you. I drove each of my partners wild by singing the 80s songs mentioned but, never, never knowing the artist. We bought a good jigsaw because that’s what holidays are for.

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We bought some books for the children.

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Tuesday 17 July

We went to the model railway village. It was not entirely successful. Our children were the oldest children there by a good ten years. But they were patient. We exhausted its charms quickly. Probably this functioning phone box was a highlight. We decided not to go for the choo choo train around the town experience. This was particularly good for herself as later she ran in to someone she knew in the town and bad and all as this was, it would have been considerably worse if she’d been in the tourist train.

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Continuing our run of poor luck we chose a deeply unpleasant pub to have our lunch in. Go us.

After lunch, we took ourselves to the Michael Collins museum in Emmet Square. This was a success. It was housed in a lovely Georgian house in the square where Michael Collins lived for a bit (not in this house it transpired). And the displays were interesting and it was all quite well done.

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We peaked a bit too soon on the jigsaw.

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I bought a great bowl with a drawing of an octopus by these people. We have named him and I love it. I loved it so much that I later went back and bought a jug and a casserole and it is dishwasher and oven proof. No favours etc. were received for these kind words. Sadly.

Wednesday 18 July

Despite really hard work on my part over the years, Daniel loathes the beach and Michael and Mr. Waffle are, at best, neutral. But it was the best summer since 1976 and I insisted on going to the beach. We went to Inchydoney which is a lovely beach and the Princess and I both swam. Here is how her brothers enjoyed it.

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The Princess continued to diligently read her very hard book on Aids. I made good progress with “99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret”. Don’t judge.

Once we left the beach, both boys cheered up and we had a nice lunch in the nearby hotel. We went to the Michael Collins homestead which is a bit basic but, you know, grand.

Then we went to see the Drombeg Stone circle which I thought was pretty impressive. Beautiful site overlooking the sea.

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My Dad was telling me that he had had it described to him by the archaeologist who found it. Apparently he married a publican’s daughter from Clonakilty and the stone circle was well known locally but archaeologists had never been near it (they have their work cut out, West Cork is just one big wedge shaped gallery grave) and he wrote about it and publicised it. It was felt that he would be the next professor of archaeology at UCC but then he died young. See, if you’re from Cork these are the extra exciting details available to add to your guide book information.

Then we went on to Glandore for a cup of tea. Glandore is basically a couple of houses and a view. But what a view.

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And then one of the pubs has been gentrified and it offered seats outside with shade and cushions and blankets and a delightful desert menu which we partook of liberally. It was absolutely delightful.

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Stay tuned for the second half of our Cork adventures.

Long Hot Summer

1 July, 2018 at 11:13 pm by belgianwaffle

The boys have been on a range of courses on a week on/week off basis.  On off weeks, Mr. Waffle is normally able to check in at home a couple of times a day.  Mr. Waffle was away for work for two days last week and the boys were home alone for both days.  On day 1 they went out briefly to deliver leaflets for a neighbour (there’s going to be a local walking tour apparently) and Michael lost a baby tooth.  He’ll be 13 in September, will the baby tooth collection never end?  He felt strongly that in his father’s absence the tooth fairy would never come but he was wrong.  He said that the fact that agents associated with the tooth fairy accidentally threw the tooth in the bin earlier meant that the work force was unreliable.  However, the fact that the tooth was found – and you have not lived until you have gone through the black bin on a warm day looking for a missing baby tooth – argues strongly for the work ethic and reliability of this particular tooth fairy agent.   So, day 1 was alright but by the end of day 2, however, it wasn’t quite “Lord of the Flies” but it wasn’t far off it either.  Michael’s entire intake for the second day prior to my return home from work appears to have been 2 slices of toast and honey so no wonder he was  a bit ratty.  On the other hand, it is so hot that even I don’t feel like eating and, unlike Michael, I am fond of eating.   Poor Daniel does not deal well with being cooped up all day and he was like a caged lion.

Mr. Waffle came in on Thursday night on a late flight.  He said that he heard two other passengers who had met on the plane chatting.  She was a Ukrainian woman who appeared to have lived in Dublin for a number of years and he was a Pole visiting Dublin for the first time.  Mr. Waffle heard her say to him, in reply to a question about the weather, “It’s 28 degrees, they think it’s really hot.”  Dammit it is really hot and I remember 1976 (the year of the heatwave, lads).  Guess what Mr. Waffle brought home from Luxembourg?  That’s right, a French/Dutch Michelin map of Denmark.

On Friday afternoon, I took the boys to the swimming pool.  I was kind of amazed that they could swim.  I think I have mentioned before that we gave up on swimming lessons years ago in the face of stern opposition from them and I have ever since been terrified that they would drown in open water.  While I wouldn’t describe either of them as strong swimmers, they both enjoy swimming underwater, can both float for ages and Daniel can do a length and Michael about 3/4 of a length which, frankly, was much better than I would have thought possible, clearly something sank in from the hated lessons.

On Saturday we went for a walk in Wicklow from the Pier Gates to Lough Dan. It was pretty toasty. It was fine on the way down although a bit warm from time to time. We seemed to reach the shade pretty quickly.

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The views were delightful, as always.

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The boys enjoyed going across the little river on the stepping stones.

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When we got there, the lake was beautiful. Mr. Waffle and I swam and the boys paddled, it was boggy but warm. What genius brought swimming gear and towels? This genius.

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I thought the journey back would be easier. I don’t know why I would have thought that because it was ALL uphill. Once we got out from under the trees, it was a bit “Mine eyes have seen the abomination of desolation” as we trekked up the stony roads in the blazing sunshine.

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By the time I arrived back at the car, I was utterly exhausted. The boys seemed ok though, so that was something. We went for dinner in Roundwood to sustain us for the drive home.

Today was quiet after our epic trek yesterday. We went to visit the grandparents but that was about it for the day. Excitingly, I did get to speak briefly to my firstborn. Main news items: she is enjoying her residential course and she is out of phone credit.

Poor Mr. Waffle is off to lovely Luxembourg again today so I dropped him out to the airport this evening. His flight was delayed by an hour but he was able to work on his Danish on duolingo – we are doing this in anticipation of our trip. Possibly a bit pointless. I can now say, the girl eats the apple and the girl eats an apple. A distinction which seems ludicrously important in lesson 1. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Home alone or Random Updates

20 June, 2018 at 10:44 pm by belgianwaffle

“So what news?” you ask.

A couple of weeks ago, I made Mr. Waffle and the boys go to the theatre to see “A Feast of Bones” which the Princess and I saw five years ago and liked. They left the house with great reluctance. Michael, in particular, pointing out that I had a history of never booking them in to good things. I pointed to the session on African explorer Thomas Parke which still remains my single most successful cultural outing. However, I finally have a second triumph, because they all really enjoyed the performance. Go me.

The weekend before last, Mr waffle was off in foreign parts for the weekend. He had a 25 year college reunion. Meanwhile I held the fort. We had a lot of pizza. Michael had his drama showcase which went fine thank you for asking. Daniel had a match – I dropped him up and another parent brought him home. He told me that he was taken off injured after 5 minutes which wasn’t totally ideal. I think he has some kind of floating body in his knee and from time to time, when I have an idle moment, I worry about this. Herself took a break from studying (this was when the Junior Cert was still on – happily it has now ended, it was ok, results in September) and went out for walk at the seaside with her friends. There was a certain amount of scurrying to get everyone everywhere on time but we made it. I left the washing out on the line overnight though – living life on the edge.

On Sunday we cycled to mass. “Are you ok?” I asked Dan. “Fine, why?” he said. “Your knee injury from yesterday,” I said. “Oh,” said he, “I made that up, I was fine and played, it’s just that I didn’t want you to make me have a shower.” Where to begin? I still took him and his brother to the cinema that afternoon (because I am saintly and he did shower on Sunday morning).

Herself finished her exams last Friday and the saintly mother of one of her friends took a group of them to the Taylor Swift concert. A good time seems to have been had by all etc.

Last Sunday was the annual church garden party. Yet again, I found myself manning the ice cream wafer stall with no fridge. Very trying, frankly. Mr. Waffle won the father’s day raffle – a hamper which looked promising but turned out to be full of Nivea for men products. That’s what happens if your sponsor is the local chemist, I suppose.

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There was a box full of loads of Greek and Latin plays and histories. And even though our house is full to overflowing with books and I suspect I will never read them I was unable to resist picking up 5 books for a euro (two French books as well which will be for herself to never read). Here are the books I will never read:

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The boys did a science course last week but have no activities planned this week which fills their little hearts with delight. I met them in town for lunch on Monday. They made their own way in and out. They were in great form. I have to say, if I never see Milano’s again, it might be too soon. That evening, Daniel had a GAA match in Tallaght. Tallaght! With the snow earlier in the year, they are still catching up on league matches during the week rather than at the weekend and it is spectacularly inconvenient. It feels like the season is never going to end.

Daniel went back to the ophthalmologist this afternoon and basically he is cured. He will probably always need glasses but as he is very longsighted, his eyesight will improve from now on. Apparently watching television and playing on the phone is good for his eyesight, if anything. The patching when he was little has worked and his astigmatism is gone. He can wear contact lenses for sport if he likes. And we never need to go back to the ophthalmologist. Nice man but, frankly, I rejoice.

He got his hair cut to celebrate and we had a cup of tea.

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Mr. Waffle is away for work until tomorrow evening, so I am coping alone (so far so good). Real challenge will be tomorrow. The children will be home alone all day – when Mr. Waffle is in the country, he drops in at lunch time to feed them – so I have told them that they have to get dressed and feed themselves. It remains to be seen how that will pan out. Will I come home to starving, feral children in pyjamas? All to play for. Poor Daniel has yet another GAA match. Happily it is relatively nearby so I have told him that he will have to get himself there by bike and he seems resigned if not enthusiastic (I appreciate that enthusiastic would be a big ask there). We’re all looking forward to the return of Mr. Waffle tomorrow evening, particularly the person who may, possibly, have felled a down pipe while doing some overdue rose bush pruning. Also the cat who is sitting looking at me as I type, hoping against hope that I might feed her again.

Tragically, he has to go away again next week and the week after. How will it all end? Also, we have no summer holiday booked. I think I am beginning to panic a little here.

My aunt was 89 today or will be on Friday. My granny always said that my aunt was born on June 20th but the Californian authorities have recorded it as June 22nd on her birth cert. Still, the family wisdom is that my granny ought to have known and so my aunt is celebrating today. Only a spring chicken etc. compared to my father, of course.

Any news yourself?

Gloom of the Exile or Slightly Self-Indulgent Reflections

31 May, 2018 at 7:50 pm by belgianwaffle

When I was growing up in Cork, I always wanted to leave. It seemed too small, too cramped, too confined. It was full of people I knew, people my parents and siblings knew and you could not go anywhere without being observed. Everyone cared about your business. Also, I grew up during a time when all Irish university graduates were expected to emigrate at least temporarily, often permanently. My own parents both emigrated and returned to Ireland eventually. In my 20s, time spent living in Italy and Belgium, confirmed me in my belief that the best fun was to be had away from Cork. When I moved back to Ireland in my late 20s, I moved to Dublin. I liked Dublin very much, I still do. Among its many virtues is that it’s within striking distance of Cork. Also, Dubliners are not picky, everyone is assimilated. In Cork, my mother who came from a neighbouring county and whose own parents were actually from Co Cork, has been living in Cork for more than 50 years and she is still considered a blow in.

When we moved back from Brussels, we did consider moving to Cork. Mr Waffle (a Dubliner) proposed it. I considered it but a number of factors militated against that choice. Firstly, I had a job in Dublin but no job in Cork. I suppose Mr. Waffle could have started on his own with no money in Cork as easily as he did in Dublin but somehow the prospect of no money at all was unalluring. I remind myself of these things when I miss Cork.

But yet, when my oldest friend, another Corkonian, said to me recently, “I always feel sad when I leave Cork.” I knew exactly what she meant. Of course, this is the loveliest time of year in Cork and so it is at its most missable. I was cycling around the city on one of my weekends at home recently and aside from enjoying the far superior cycling infrastructure which Cork offers, I was struck again by how attractive the city is. While Dublin turns its back on the river, choking the quays with heavy traffic in both directions, Cork is practically all river and while there is plenty of traffic, there’s a lot of the city where you can enjoy the river.

UntitledI feel that I know Cork in a way that I will never know Dublin.

I know the schools and I have feelings about them. When I was an apprentice solicitor, myself and a friend from school were having a cup of tea and a bunch of Scoil Mhuire girls came in and she hissed at me, “Look at them, they’re in their school uniforms and we’re trainee solicitors and they’re still better dressed and better made-up than us.” I know where I would have sent the boys to school – they would have gone to the primary school where my cousin was the principal; they would have gone to the secondary school that their uncle and grandfather went to. I would have considered a range of options for herself in relation to all of which I would have had very firm views; I wouldn’t have sent her to my old school and probably not to Scoil Mhuire either. In Dublin, meh, who knows really? They have Dominicans and Loreto nuns, we had Presentation and Mercy.

I know College (other people called it UCC or the College but as my parents both worked there we were more intimate with it); until I was 11, I lived on campus and I have spent my life walking in and out of there. I spent endless hours playing bad tennis in the lower grounds and lost innumerable balls forever in the river over the fence.

I would have wanted to buy one of the houses up in Sunday’s Well where the gardens slope down to the river; maybe we couldn’t have afforded that but maybe we could have bought a house in town, on the North Mall, a persistently underrated street by the river in the centre of town. I know where to look and what each location is like with a degree of intimacy and certainty that I will never know in Dublin.

My father’s family were all from Cork. I know the place where my grandfather was shot at by pro-Treaty forces (or the State as we now think of it) during the civil war (they missed); I know the house where he died in the 1930s. I cycle past it regularly. Between us, my father and I have been cycling along the Western Road for nearly 100 years (at 93, I concede he has done a lot of the heavy lifting on that). I know Murphy’s brewery where my great grandfather and great uncle worked as clerks. I know the South Infirmary where another great-grandfather worked as a caretaker and my father put in time as a junior doctor. I know the house that my great uncle Dan built in the suburbs (containing Archangel pine imported from Russia) when he won a (small) lottery. I know the Lough where he skated when it froze over in the 20s (skates still in my parents’ attic awaiting the next great freeze along with Uncle Dan’s gas mask from the Emergency, just in case we need it). I know that my grandmother ran a newsagent which also sold cigars called “The Cuban House” up on MacCurtain Street (and I think someone very unlikely like the Duke of Westminster had the ground rent on that one, you don’t get to be unbelievably rich without having interests everywhere, I suppose). I know the two hotels that were designed by architect cousins (a little undistinguished perhaps – maybe I am bitter because when my mother asked one of them about her extension, he said it was “OK, if you want a bowling alley” – it was long and narrow and he was ultimately right about how dark the middle room would be). I know the stained glass window that my grandfather played in an exhibition hurling match to fund.

UntitledI know who the merchant princes are, the solicitors on the Mall, their families, their connections. I remember the lovely rather glamourous lady who was one of the Roches of Roches Stores a friend of my parents who had painted nails and smoked a cigarette in a cigarette holder and who on one, never to be forgotten, Christmas Day gave me a present of a Sindy doll – my third that day. My mother wanted to give one or even two back to the shop but I staunchly resisted and hung on to them all.

Look, I knew everyone, I knew where I belonged, I knew the city like I knew myself. I often think now I threw that all over for Dublin, for Brussels and for anonymity and adventure. It was a bargain that was well worthwhile in my 20s and 30s but now that I am in my late 40s, I am feeling something perilously close to regret. I think it is probable that Mr. Waffle and I have had more success at work than we would have had in Cork and probably more interesting work too. On the other hand, work isn’t everything and Dublin swallows up money in a way that Cork is less inclined to. My children are all Dublin children. Even if I moved to Cork in the morning, their identity, their loyalties, their sense of home and who they are would all be bound up with Dublin. On the other hand, Mr. Waffle would always have been a blow-in until the day he died and all of my Cork credentials would not have dislodged that. But I would have been near my own family and I can’t help feeling that the pace of our lives might be a little less frenetic.

With the benefit of distance and middle age I feel a permanent small sadness that I do not live where I am from.

Weekends Rounded Up

26 May, 2018 at 3:36 pm by belgianwaffle

The bank holiday weekend is a while ago now but I know you are keenly awaiting an update from me. Oh yes you are. Saturday was unremarkable but on Sunday, which was a beautiful, beautiful day, my poor sons spent the day in the art house cinema judging the young audience award for three films (one Finnish, one Italian and one French-Senegalese co-production – all a bit worthy, I think). Herself had plans with friends so Mr. Waffle and I daringly went out for a walk for the day in the Wicklow hills. The weather was really beautiful and we got a little bit burnt but it was delightful. The thrill. If 15 year old me knew that I was describing a walk as a thrill, she would be utterly appalled.

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On Monday, we went out to visit Mr. Waffle’s parents leaving herself at home to study for the Junior certificate (state exams at 15 – a taste of the fear that is to come in 3 years when she sits her final school exams). Later that afternoon, Mr. Waffle and I went up to Glasnevin cemetery to investigate the newly reopened Daniel O’Connell round tower. It’s only just reopened and currently only open from 1-3, given that it was 4.45 that was quite annoying.

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However, we had a soothing middle aged walk around the cemetery and the botanic gardens followed by a cup of tea so not too bad. They have tea rooms in the cemetery but I feel there is something a little disturbing about that so tea elsewhere. We had a pleasant evening in the garden where the boys managed to lose 4 tennis balls to various neighbouring gardens and one landed in the middle of the dinner table (to clarify, outside). I am a martyr to my sons’ entertainment.

The weekend before last, Mr. Waffle and I again went off together and visited Charleville House – we offered to bring the children with us but it was an offer that they were resolute in declining. It’s a big house in Co. Wicklow that is owned by a property developer and opened up to the public at various times of the year for tax break reasons. I wasn’t hoping for great things but it was actually very enjoyable. Firstly, we had the place to ourselves which is always good. We explored the grounds in a mild way. I have reached the age where I find grounds delightful. Four rooms in the house are open to visitors: the hall, the dining room, the music room and a drawing room. There is a really lovely collection of art and furniture. We had the ministrations of two guides entirely to ourselves and could ask questions and look at things for as long as we liked (honestly, the tax break must be terrific because there is no way that this enterprise is turning a profit based on the visitor to guide ratio). I particularly liked a John Lavery picture of the neighbouring Viscountess who was an interesting character in her own right. Highly recommended. I couldn’t face asking to take pictures indoors but here are some pictures of the grounds. Well worth a visit.

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Also, I bought, second hand fire irons. I have been spending my evenings since floating in a cloud of brasso fumes. Idiotically, failed to notice on purchase that bargain basement price may have been due to the fact that there was no shovel. Alas. Photo of work in progress.

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Also that weekend, I has my first spice bag. I think that this is a Dublin only delicacy. It’s chips and chicken strips in batter mixed with spices and chillies. I found it quite spicy myself but I was glad to have sampled the cultural phenomenon. Daniel made a spice bag in home economics on Monday so it is clearly part of the mainstream here. Are people outside Dublin aware of this particular thing or is it, like the deep fried Mars Bar, a delicacy only available in a particular jurisdiction?

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On Sunday I made the boys and Mr. Waffle go for a cycle along the sea front which was moderately successful. As an incentive measure, we had chips from Beshoff’s at the end of our cycle ride and before heading back. Take away chips on Friday and Sunday: truly exceptional parenting.

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Last weekend I went to a work dinner in Kerry on Friday night, took the train to Cork on Saturday morning and came back to Dublin on Saturday night. I wouldn’t exactly recommend it. Although, I must say, the view from my hotel bedroom in Killarney was lovely.

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I did get to go for a lovely lunch with my sister in this convent in Cork which has been repurposed as the Nano* Nagle centre and the UCC school of architecture.

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On Sunday, I forced everyone to walk from Bray to Greystones along the coast. Suffice it to say that it was not a success and all the children were quite cross with me, though no one was quite as cross as Michael who pointed out that it was yet another failed outing on my part and then asked when was I ever going to stop. A low point was finding out that the Dart wasn’t running and we were going to have to get a bus back from Greystones to where our car was parked in Bray. In my defence, I would say that the rain held off for much of the walk.

Actual enthusiastic little faces filled with joy:
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*Real name Hanora. My own granny was called Hanora but I can really see why it’s gone out of fashion and nickname versions were so popular. Granny was always known as Nina. If your name is Hanora, I’m sorry. Not as bad as Tanora (popular fizzy drink in Cork, not normally a girl’s name but I saw one year in the Holly Bough that a grief stricken Cork exile had gone for that for his daughter).


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