home about favouritesarchives

Archive for the 'Dublin' Category

Home Improvements or Why I Never Liked Pinterest

11 October, 2017 at 7:10 pm by belgianwaffle

When we moved into our house in 2013, we did as much renovation as we could afford and then waited until we had money to do the rest. Now we have money to do the rest but no appetite to do so [I know this is what my boss would call a quality problem but nonetheless still a problem – turns out it’s much easier to renovate before you move in]. I was mildly depressed to see that a house we looked at but didn’t buy in 2012 has been put back on the market, having been renovated “top to toe” by its new owners. In the same time, we have failed to get a new sofa. In fact when our old childminder came back into our lives recently, the first thing he said when he sat down was, “Oh God, you still have that really uncomfortable sofa.”

I am pleased to announce that we have put in an order and are now expecting a new sofa in mid-November. I feel an amazing sense of achievement. Also, we got some fancy new mirrors. All the rest of the family cordially loath the one in the hall but I don’t care. Loathed mirror is on the left.

Untitled

Have an arty shot of the ones over the fireplaces in the reception rooms that cunningly ensures the orange chintz sofa and the regency stripe curtains are out of view.

Untitled

Furthermore, I have, with some difficulty (for me, my sister, my brother, my father and my husband) arranged for my mother’s old dressing table and my father’s old chest of drawers to travel from Cork to Dublin.

Untitled

High on my success, I think I might put back the kitchen/utility room/downstairs bathroom renovation programme for another year. In the interim, Michael is insisting on a new bed, we need new curtains downstairs (only so much one can take of unlined, cherry striped curtains) and we have to do something about the wretched piano. God, my father was right when he said that houses are nothing but trouble.

Cycling Gloom

1 October, 2017 at 7:48 pm by belgianwaffle

I seem to have become obsessed by cycling infrastructure. It was not always thus. I have always cycled. I cycled in and out to school from when I was 12 and I never stopped. I don’t remember being concerned about cycling infrastructure and safe cycling until my own children started cycling in Dublin. It has been regularly heart-stopping. But I persist. I want them to be able to cycle: it’s good for them, it’s good for the planet and it’s handy. It’s also scary.

Herself has been cycling in and out to school since she started secondary school a couple of years ago. I was really nervous at the start but increasingly less so. She is on top of it now, I hope. I note from the most recent census that of the approximately 250,000 girls in secondary school, about 700 cycle. This is a significant percentage increase from the last census where only some 500 girls cycled to school but it’s not exactly a sea change. This is what the census says:

Cycling

The 25 years, from 1986 to 2011, saw an 87 per cent decrease in the numbers cycling to secondary school. 2016 saw the reversal of this trend with a 10.5 per cent increase since 2011, bringing the numbers of secondary students taking to their bikes to over 7,000. Over 90 per cent of these student cyclists were male, but the number of female cyclists has grown by over 30 per cent since 2011.

Her brothers started secondary school in September (more on this anon) and have been cycling in and out together, at first with a parent and, now, alone. It is unnerving stuff. September 8 is etched on my brain as the first day they cycled in and out unaccompanied and came home alive. I enjoyed the following conversation with Daniel:

Him: If I am run over while cycling to school, whose fault will it be?
Me: I am sure that you won’t be run over. When you say “whose fault” what do you mean?
Him: Will it be mine for cycling carelessly, yours for letting us cycle to school or [my sister’s] for refusing to cycle with us?

This was a bit depressing and, honestly, it is absolutely no wonder that people don’t send their children cycling to school in the same numbers as in 1986 (when coincidentally, I finished school) because there are far more cars on the roads, they’re faster and they’re much bigger, squeezing cyclists to the edge of the road and the car seems to be king in Dublin.

I am getting increasingly annoyed about this. So far, my only action has been to follow people who share my annoyance on twitter so, more work may be needed on my part. I was deeply depressed to see that the Liffey cycle route has been shelved because of inability to reach consensus in Dublin City Council. I mean Paris, Paris, is able to put in place better cycling provision than Dublin. Every time I visit my parents in Cork, I am impressed, yet again, by what can be done by a city with far fewer cyclists and much more rain than Dublin. I’m not saying Cork is perfect but it has more segregated cycling options in the city centre than Dublin. An action group has recently been formed and they are standing in human chains trying to keep cycle lanes free for cyclists. I applaud their efforts. However, with the best will in the world, there are many cycle lanes in Dublin which are so poorly designed that even sympathetic drivers who keep an eye out for cyclists (like me when I drive in town, which I do occasionally) find themselves crossing over them and squeezing cyclists. The motoring lobby says that the City Council is anti-motorist and in the grip of the cycling lobby. If only this were true or there were some evidence that this is the case in the form of half way decent cycling provision. I despair.

In unrelated cycling news, my bicycle was nicked a couple of weeks ago from the shed. Mr. Waffle, sneaked an illicitly purchased folding table (long story which you may well hear in due course) into the shed at lunchtime on a Sunday. When we went out to the shed in the afternoon to go for a family cycle, one of the family bikes was gone. It transpired that the €700 door we purchased after someone last tried to break into our shed hadn’t worked. It turns out that, for it to be really effective, it has to be locked.

I got the bike in 2015 on the bike to work scheme and, sadly, you can only claim relief once every five years so, I was alone on the purchase of the new bike. I got a second hand one and it was grand but I was a bit disappointed by the reaction of the guards with whom I had registered my stolen bike. They didn’t hold out any hope of getting it back and suggested that I look on donedeal.ie which, um, you know, I suppose, I might. Sigh.

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.

IMG_1891

We had a picnic. We explored a bit.

IMG_1910

We paddled.

IMG_1913

We admired the view.

IMG_1920

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:

IMG_1949

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.

IMG_1981

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.

2017-07-22 14.38.43

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.

IMG_1997

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

Jam production line:

IMG_1994

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.

202

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.

198

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.

199

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.


  • www.flickr.com
    belgianwaffle's items Go to belgianwaffle's photostream
  • October 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    3031  
  • Categories

  • Subscribe via Email

  • Site Meter

Administrative

Write


Subscribe Share