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Out of Control Inverted Commas

13 March, 2018 at 6:34 pm by belgianwaffle

My colleague whose father died last month has, naturally, been inundated by mass cards. He tells me he received one from some friends saying, “Sorry about the death of your ‘father'”. “I have to ask them what they were implying,” he said. This inverted comma for emphasis business must end.

Mother’s Day Walk

11 March, 2018 at 6:49 pm by belgianwaffle

Even though they were exhausted by yesterday’s birthday celebrations, I made my family go out for a walk in the Dublin mountains today. Fortune favoured them and the road to the walk I had planned was closed due to snow.

We went for a mild walk in the woods instead. It was snowy, it was foggy. It was not an enormous success. I said that it reminded me of the set of the play we saw at Christmas and my, extremely literal, husband and son both said, “But the trees on that set were all white.” Walking down the snow in the fog, I said to Daniel, “Listen to the sounds, what do you hear?” “I hear running water and birdsong,” he began and was promptly interrupted by someone shouting in the distance, “Are you taking the piss, Jonathan?”

Some key walk statistics follow.

Time spent complaining about walk: 4 hours
Time spent gathering hats, coats, boots etc for walk: 35 minutes
Time spent complaining about wet socks/trousers: 90 minutes
Time driving to and from the walk: 75 minutes
Time complaining about evil siblings’ snowball throwing: 75 minutes
Time actually spent walking: 75 minutes

UntitledUntitledUntitledAnd we had to stop at Tesco on the way home to pick up ingredients for Home Ec tomorrow. Oh the humanity.

7×7

10 March, 2018 at 8:21 pm by belgianwaffle

I am 49 today. Herself arrived home from school yesterday to announce, “Se├ín in my class thinks you’re a drama queen.” “Why?” I asked. “Because he asked what I was doing for the weekend and I said that we all had to stay at home on Saturday because it’s your birthday. He asked if it was an important one and I said no but I told him that we’re all dreading when you turn 50.”

So, yes, I like to celebrate my birthday, is that bad? Herself spent the afternoon slaving over my favourite brownies. I expect to enjoy them after my birthday dinner. Mr. Waffle got me flowers, a candle (always welcome to me) and a framed print of a picture which I once failed to identify on University Challenge (I pronounced it appealing and he took careful note).

More generally, I had a slightly unsatisfactory day. The boys and I cycled into their drama class. Some evil person punctured Michael’s tyre while they were in there which meant it was flat as a pancake when they emerged and we had to walk home pushing our bikes (“I’m tired” “When will I be able to stop and eat my bun?” “I want to go to the toilet.”). It took a lot out of all of us.

Mild highlight of the day so far was herself walking up to the bike repair shop with me after I got home.

Be not afraid though, because Mr. Waffle and I took a day off work during the week to celebrate my birthday. We went for a walk in Glendalough and had a nice lunch in Powerscourt. Was there snow in the mountains? Yes, there was:

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We had to scoot back to Dublin a bit earlier than we would have liked because there were parent-teacher meetings for the boys, but that was satisfactory as well because they seem to be getting on very well which is always a relief to hear.

Furthermore, tomorrow is mother’s day. I am not delighted about it coming hot on the heels of my birthday as I think 48 hours of indulgence is a lot to ask from my family, however, it has put me in a good position to force everyone to go for a walk in the mountains tomorrow. Rejoice.

So I am hoping that 49 will be a good year. My sister is recovering from cancer – she’s gone back to work which is great. I am starting a new job in April – you may congratulate me – and so far I have all of the delight of anticipation and none of the horror of the new job. And surely, I have done enough funerals in the past year that there can’t be too many more to go through this year.

Now, you will have to excuse me because I just heard from the kitchen the magic words, “Someone put the kettle on!” and I think that my birthday cake is approaching.

We All Know What He Meant

8 March, 2018 at 8:20 pm by belgianwaffle

My religious friend is very associated with the Carmelites, maybe he’s even a lay Carmelite, if there is such a thing (I could google it but I know he will tell me whether I do or not so I am saving energy here) anyhow, he’s very pally with a lot of Carmelites and he heard this great story from a Carmelite nun.

So anyway a Carmelite priest was saying mass for this bunch of Carmelite nuns including this lady in the Carmelite convent. For reasons which are unclear he began to talk about Elizabeth I in his sermon. He got very worked up about her many sins against Ireland and, as his indignation mounted, he said, “Virgin Queen, Virgin Queen? She was no more a virgin than you or I.”

Notions

5 March, 2018 at 8:27 pm by belgianwaffle

I met a colleague for lunch recently in a slightly fancy restaurant.

Colleague poking at his plate: What’s that, coleslaw?
Me: Well on the menu, they said is was celeriac remoulade.
Him: Coleslaw.

We Live in a Small Country

4 March, 2018 at 8:26 pm by belgianwaffle

When the Princess was in Neuschwanstein during her Bavarian odyssey recently, she met a woman from Cork. “I asked her where exactly in Cork she was from because I knew you would want to know,” she said. Apparently, they had a grand old chat following on this auspicious beginning.

Then during the recent snowmaggedon we were all watching the six o’clock news and they eventually went to Cork, to Carrigaline, for a vox pop on the snow. As a woman started talking about the state of the snow the Princess yelled at the telly, “That’s her, that’s the woman from Cork that I met in Neuschwanstein.” I can’t help feeling that this kind of thing is much less part of the lives of people who live in larger countries.

Winter Wonderland

2 March, 2018 at 11:55 pm by belgianwaffle

It’s been a very exciting week here, I can tell you.

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My phone started pinging about 6.30 on Wednesday morning with news that the “Beast from the East” (cold air) was coming, the country was to be blanketed in snow and the emergency planning group were issuing a “code red” (it’s far from code reds we were reared etc). From a work point of view, we were somewhat more prepared than when Storm Ophelia struck last year and able to cascade out to people reasonably readily that they were only to come in to work, if safe to do so. I went in myself and it was eerily quiet. Another colleague and I were the last to leave at the not incredibly late hour of 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Mr. Waffle and the children were at home as school was closed as well. About midday on Wednesday we were able to confirm to everyone at work that offices would be closed for Thursday and Friday also – it was a bit of a weight off my mind as I had a hideous vision of last minute calls Thursday and Friday morning.

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We had a lot of snow. Herself is still recovering from a cold and hasn’t left the house since it started. Michael did venture into the back garden and out onto the road and today, with some prodding, to the park around the corner. Daniel went (somewhat) further afield and was rewarded by an opportunity to throw snowballs at the neighbours’ children.

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Mr. Waffle and I walked in to town which was full of bewildered tourists but otherwise, pretty closed and empty.

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We have managed reasonably well. We had sufficient food including strategic bread stocks. We did run out of briquettes but Mr. Waffle chopped up some wood that was in the shed and that’s got us through today, along with the central heating.

Yesterday we watched “The Big Short” and now we all know what a synthetic CDO is so we certainly haven’t been wasting our time. We also tidied bookshelves, shelves in the kitchen, baked, worked a bit, finished homework and put away laundry. It’s all passed off very peacefully. The cat hates the snow though.

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Was there snow where you are? How was it?

Updated to add: Mr. Waffle trekked across the city on foot last night to attend a party. At the top of the road, he was hailed by our butcher. The butcher and two of the lads in the shop had been unable to go home due to the snow and they were staying in the B&B at the top of the road (he has some kind of contract to deliver nursing home food apparently and when they got back from doing the delivery, there was a queue of 20 people outside the shop and he felt obliged to open up and this was his undoing). When Mr. Waffle met them, they were venturing out in search of amusement having exhausted the limited entertainment offered by the B&B – apparently they had been reduced to playing chess on a Friday night and were mildly hoping for something better.


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