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Dalkey Island

1 August, 2017 at 10:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Despite my very recent resolution about probably never going on a family outing again, I made the family go to Dalkey island off the coast of Dublin a couple of weekends ago. The weather was beautiful.

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We had a picnic. We explored a bit.

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We paddled.

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We admired the view.

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I didn’t see the famous goats (apparently there are 5 on the island) but I did see some seals very close up and the largest rat I’ve ever seen in my life; also very close up but it moved faster than the seals which were basking on the rocks.

It was a success. More outings to come; my poor children.

Exchanging

31 July, 2017 at 10:35 pm by belgianwaffle

We had the Princess’s French exchange, E, to stay for 10 days. Herself was in Paris in April and had a fantastic time with E’s family so we were on our mettle. We sent them to a make a film camp during the day. It was reasonably successful. I think E quite liked it but it was a bit too full of 12 year old boys for my sophisticated 14 year old’s liking.

A comparison of Irish and French summer colouring:

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I took them to the immersive “Great Gatsby” in the Gate Theatre. You were encouraged to wear 20s dress which, mostly, people did. I attempted to shingle my hair with mixed results. They took out all the seats and moved everyone around. We learnt to do the Charleston. There was a bar in the corner and we all drank from big cocktail glasses (regardless of the drink). It was like an Anu production for the distinctly conservative middle class Gate audience. Herself adored it. Audience members moved around and went to different rooms with the cast. At one point, she found herself in Gatsby’s bedroom with just him and a few others. He was seeking advice from the audience. “Stay away from swimming pools,” she advised. “Why should I do that?” he asked, “I love swimming.” It did feel a bit like being at a crowded, quite exciting party at times which is, I suppose, was the effect they were looking for. E wasn’t so sure and when I asked her afterwards, she indicated that she preferred the kind of theatre where you sit down in pre-assigned seats so maybe not a success all round.

We also went on the Viking Splash, everyone’s favourite tour. Poor Michael was sick and couldn’t come, he was gutted. As we waited at Stephen’s Green for our bus to arrive, Daniel realised that many members of his GAA team were on the tour bus about to leave. It turned out that there was a birthday party for which he had not made the cut. He was not particularly pally with the birthday boy but there were many of his team sitting happily on the bus ahead of us. Due to dreadful traffic it sat there for 15 minutes and Daniel chatted dolefully with his friends and a part of me died. Once we actually got on board our own bus, things improved and I think everyone enjoyed the trip.

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The girls went out with some friends on Friday night and we had a quiet night in. A bit of a relief really, this living life to the full can take it out of you.

On Saturday we went for a walk up to the JB Malone memorial. The views were really beautiful and the weather was lovely. The children were resigned but perhaps not super enthusiastic. Still, we gave E a chance to experience nature. Since her own family were on holidays in the Alps while she was in Dublin, it’s possible she might have experienced even more nature had she stayed with them but we did what we could with the Wicklow mountains.

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Sunday saw us kayaking up the Liffey. Great fun actually but considerably wetter than I had anticipated. We were all sodden from the waist down and splashed all over. Both Mr. Waffle and Herself got Liffey water in their mouths. I heard a tour bus operator say humourously as he pointed us out to tourists, “You need three different injections before doing that.” I really hope no one gets Weil’s disease. We were all exhausted but filled with a sense of achievement. No photos because we didn’t want to drop our phones in the Liffey. We’ll just have to have our memories.

E went home last Monday. She took a jar of runny jam with her. We’re all still recovering from the extensive activity programme.

Always Jam Today

30 July, 2017 at 10:42 pm by belgianwaffle

This is the season when the tree in the front garden produces millions of plums.

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They make the most delicious jam. My jam making has always been very successful in the past (she said smugly).

Jam production line:

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Alas, this year, with a bumper crop of plums, for whatever reason, it just did not set for me. I now have kilos (litres?) of unset jam to reboil. Sigh. I have been making jam most evenings for weeks to use up supplies. You have to go to it reasonably speedily or they go off. You can freeze them but our freezer is tiny and our plum supply plentiful so after activities with the French exchange (more on this anon) I would find myself making jam at midnight which is a bit unsatisfactory. Particularly when it just doesn’t set.

Reopened

9 July, 2017 at 10:18 pm by belgianwaffle

The National Gallery of Ireland has reopened and I went for a look around. It was so lovely to see all the pictures that have been in storage for years; not to mention the rooms that have been reopened. There’s still some rehanging to do though.

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I am fond of Fragonard and it was nice to see his Venus and Cupid back up in the Gallery. I was keen to send it as a postcard to the new mother in London but they didn’t have any; possibly for the best.

I went in on my bike and I found myself cycling to where the bike parking has always been. It was slightly obscured by a hoarding.

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And if you didn’t know, you would never have found it. As at the time of visiting, it wasn’t quite restored but, doubtless that will come.

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The Garden of Earthly Delights

6 July, 2017 at 11:39 pm by belgianwaffle

We have a small urban back garden and an even smaller front garden. Notwithstanding its miniature size, until recently, it was a bit out of control. We paid a very efficient and reliable man to make it beautiful. It felt a bit profligate, to be honest, it’s not as though the garden is massive and I feel we ought to be able to manage ourselves but we weren’t. And now, joy of joys, it is delightful. Now that the weeds are under control, I feel able to buy and add plants myself. I spent €20 at the church garden party on plants (nearly flooring the delighted child on sales) and planted them all; the mild thrill. Yes indeed, the return to horticulture is complete. In other news, I was in charge of the ice cream wafer stall on the hottest day of the year with no fridge; I spent the day running in and out to the priests’ kitchen and doling out rather melty, sticky wafers. Still we sold out.

Wasting my Sweetness on the Desert Air

8 March, 2017 at 7:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Myself and the Princess drove along the lane behind our house and when we got to the end we found someone had parked a van so that we couldn’t get out. I was very annoyed. I penned a strongly worded note as follows: “Please do not park here as your van is blocking vehicular access to the lane.” I then very slowly and carefully and to a symphony of beeping (our new car beeps if it gets near walls) reversed down the length of the lane which is quite long and narrow. “I wonder if he will move?” said the Princess conversationally. “I certainly hope so,” I said indignantly. “I don’t know,” she said, “when I cycled in to school this morning, it was there and somebody had taped a note all over the window saying ‘Don’t park here you f**king eejit’ and I notice that it’s gone now so the van owner must have returned, taken it off and not moved the van.” I take it my note was unlikely to be effective then.

Further Intimations of Mortality

25 January, 2017 at 10:52 pm by belgianwaffle

I meet a group of former colleagues for lunch regularly. The median age of the group is 40ish and I am the oldest, at 47, and the youngest is 36. We met recently and I got there a bit late. As I arrived, one of them asked, “How old are you?” “Why do you ask?” I said. “We were speculating because you were late,” they replied. I told them. “Oh really, that old we thought you were younger, except for G, she guessed you were approaching 50.” I turned reproachfully to poor G, who said, defensively, “I only said that you were looking very well for someone in her late 40s.” I understand that there are three ages: young, middle aged and “you’re looking great”. Have I really entered the last phase?


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