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Hurrah

27 November, 2018 at 9:06 pm by belgianwaffle

When I was growing up my mother used to say that people are mostly honest and I have found this to be basically true. Here it is illustrated yet again (sample size, one, as a former colleague used to say).

As I was running for the tram this evening, I realised that my wallet was not in my bag. I retraced my steps to work and after checking back in the office and not finding it – sigh – I began to compile a doleful mental inventory of all the things that would have to be cancelled and replaced. I thought that perhaps I had left it in the cafe where I had lunch. And happily it was still open at 6.30 and even more happily someone had handed in my wallet and they handed it back to me with the contents entirely intact. Oh frabjous day!

I’d met a friend there for lunch and he had insisted on buying lunch so I had taken my wallet out to pay and then forgot to put it away (genius). In the course of lunch I said to him that I was going to be 50 next year and instead of expressing the surprise and shock which is always the right response when someone tells you this, by the way, he said, “That is fecking ancient.” Which is true but also unwelcome. And looking around the cafe he added, “This is the kind of place you’d expect to be full of 50 year old women too”. I’ll say this much for my tribe, we are very good at handing in lost wallets.

Weekend Round-Up

25 November, 2018 at 7:54 pm by belgianwaffle

On Friday, Daniel was still feeling a bit sick so he missed French class. Michael and I went in together. While he was not enthused, he is now resigned to French class which, I suppose, is progress. While he was doing French verbs, I went to the new look Bewley’s and had a cup of tea and a cherry bun. I was pleased with my experience: the tea was good, the bun was good and, as I was in no rush, the fact that service was spectacularly slow was not a problem. A fire is nice at this time of year and although I was seated miles from the fire, it definitely improved the overall atmosphere. I will be back.

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Yesterday morning, Mr. Waffle and I cycled off for breakfast together to a new venue recommended in the Irish Times, we were a bit underwhelmed but breakfast is a low stakes investment and we got to go to the architectural salvage yard across the road afterwards so, a win really.

The afternoon was heavy on logistics. My brother was in Dublin again. I collected him from the station and then dropped him and Dan to collect Michael from drama and the three of them went for pizza. Then Michael came home and Mr. Waffle dropped my brother and Dan to the Dart (like a metro only not as useful) and they went to the Ireland v US rugby match. The outcome was pretty much never in doubt and Daniel was pleased. He does not bear losses by his team with anything approaching equanimity.

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Then I collected Dan from town leaving my brother to go out with his friends.

This morning, Daniel was called upon to read at mass at short notice. He rose magnificently to the occasion and I felt like a minor celebrity as people rushed up afterwards to congratulate him on his performance. Michael was at hockey with Mr. Waffle and my brother was still in bed. A neighbour called round to ask the boys to distribute leaflets for the Christmas fair next weekend and had loads of interesting news about the neighbours (deaths, births, marriages, house sales). Why do I never hear anything?

After lunch, I dropped Daniel round to a friend’s house and my brother to the train. I felt curiously at a loose end. I went into town with Mr. Waffle who wanted to look at the soldier sculpture before it was moved on tomorrow. Stephen’s Green was full of people who, last minute also, were peering at the statue.

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Building on previous success, we went to Bewley’s but there was a huge queue – town was heaving – so we went elsewhere which was mildly unsatisfactory. Mr. Waffle went home and I went around the shops in a desultory fashion and made my way home in the rain. When I got back, Michael was curled up on the sofa in front of the fire resplendent in his dressing gown and slippers. He opined that he had made better use of his afternoon and it was hard to argue.

Herself was in Paris today with her friend, their planned trip for yesterday having been stymied by the gilets jaunes. I was slightly anxious all day because that is my job but I have just received a text confirming that she is safely back.

25 November was my Nana’s birthday which was unfortunate as she always hated the dank miserableness of November. I wonder what she would think of town full of Christmas shoppers and all the lights up. You know what? She might like it.

Unfunny

23 November, 2018 at 8:51 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle and I went to a fund raising thing for the school in town last night. It was in a comedy club and the school had some tickets to sell and there were regular punters as well. I felt at least 20 years older than everyone else there, even the other parents.

I found it depressing and, worse, deeply unfunny. It was sexist, racist, homophobic, vulgar and often mean. I sat there glaring with my arms folded throughout. Everyone else was roaring with laughter. Was it me? Am I miserable and middle-aged? Is this what the young people like? Is it unhelpful that I am not a drinker? Is it somehow funnier and less offensive, if you’re drunk? I have been to lots of comedy things over the years, I am not incapable of finding comedy funny (she said defensively). But, I suppose I would never have chosen to go to this kind of show in this kind of venue. I hadn’t realised that there was still so much of that kind of thing out there.

Alas. Definite highlight of the evening was discovering that one of the Princess’s friends was cast in an ad and he is now on telly all the time (in a kind of blink and you’ll miss it way, but still).

#Notallcyclists

14 November, 2018 at 8:06 pm by belgianwaffle

Regular readers will be aware that I commute to work by bicycle and I am, basically, the much-maligned cyclist’s friend. However, I have to say, my affection was severely tested one lunchtime when a cyclist came flying around the corner on the pavement at speed. Myself and another man who were walking along jumped smartly out of his way. The other pedestrian shouted at him, aggressively, I grant but the cyclist had nearly run us both over. The cyclist then yelled right back at this man, who was black and called out a nasty racial slur. I have to say, I was really shaken. I’m sure there is plenty of racism in Ireland but I have never been so up close and personal with it and it was horrible. I wish I’d said something but I just scurried away out of trouble. I want to do better next time while hoping there will never be a next time at all.

100 Years

11 November, 2018 at 7:09 pm by belgianwaffle

So, I have never celebrated Armistice Day in my life. I have wandered gloomily around Belgium in the rain on the day – it’s a public holiday there – desperately trying to find something for small children to do when everything is closed but I wouldn’t exactly say I was reflecting on the war.

Armistice is funny in Ireland. Obviously during the first world war, from 1914-1918, Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom though many people including three of my four grandparents, were putting in significant efforts to change that situation. Post-independence, there seems to have been a feeling that to celebrate the Armistice was in some way, anti-Irish and against this State. I grew up in the 70s and 80s and I certainly never thought about the Armistice or celebrated it in any way. In fact, I think my first real awareness of it was after the Enniskillen bombing on Armistice Day 1987.

But Ireland has been making its way through what we’re calling “the decade of centenaries” remembering the turbulent times between 1912 and 1922 (the worst is yet to come – dealing with the civil war legacy) and in relation to this, there has been a great deal of talk of World War I and all those forgotten Irish men who went to the front and died. When I was in Cork at the Protestant Cathedral last weekend, I noticed lots of Armistice Day wreaths and memorials and I found myself thinking that it was odd that we never see that in Catholic churches when the overwhelming majority of those killed must have been Catholics.

However, today there was, to my great surprise, a big crowd at mass and the priest made it clear that it was a memorial mass for all the parishioners who had died in what he called “The Great War” – definitely sounded very odd from the pulpit. But they read the names of the parishioners who died in the war and the choir sang and we remembered the dead of the last year (November is the month of the dead for Catholics anyway so it was in keeping) and processed down the church with our candles. It was still surprising to see a woman in the congregation wearing a poppy. I suppose it’s a strand of Irish history that we haven’t really acknowledged very much. That seems changed for good now. It’s taken a while.

The Christmas Kitchen

8 November, 2018 at 8:22 pm by belgianwaffle

So about January this year, we thought that we would do some work on the kitchen and the utility room. We got drawings, we got costings, we scaled back our ambition a bit. We went backwards and forwards for months. Work was due to start in September, it did not. Nor did it start in October. It was definitely to start this Friday. The builder promised it would be finished for Christmas. Is it starting this Friday? It is not. Will it be finished for Christmas? I don’t think so, woe and alas.

Car Related Woes

22 October, 2018 at 7:20 pm by belgianwaffle

Poor Mr. Waffle has been on the road a lot visiting his parents who, sadly, are not at all well and live on the opposite side of Dublin. He heard a funny noise from the car but ignored it. A mistake, it transpired.

In his extensive car time, he noticed that one of the front light bulbs had gone so he wrestled with replacing it and while he was doing so, our neighbour who does haulage and van hire, saw him and hoved up to help (our neighbour has a pretty accurate understanding of our technical abilities).

Later that day as Mr. Waffle was, yet again, enjoying the delights of the Dublin ring road (the unlovely M50), the funny noise reached a crescendo and it turned out a tyre had gone. He pulled in and called our insurance (he discovered that the jack would go just high enough to remove the old tyre but not high enough to put on the spare – a truly terrific spot to discover this). A young woman from Northern Ireland dispatched a tow truck and he sat forlornly on the verge (he felt sitting in the car might put unwarranted pressure on the jack) as cars whizzed past. Very quickly a tow truck came up – not from the insurers but from the M50 authorities who have their own people prowling the ring road on the alert for anything which might cause a delay. They fixed the tyre in about 2 minutes and Mr. Waffle was able to step down the Northern Ireland tow truck. On one level, how impressive. On another, still doesn’t work as the M50 doubles as Ireland’s largest car park most of the time.

Anyhow, he limped home, a bit put out. As he parked the car outside the house, the neighbour from across the road turned up and said, “Hasn’t been a great day for you and the car has it?” It transpired that he had passed Mr. Waffle sitting on the grass verge on the M50. “I couldn’t stop, as I was transporting whiskey,” he explained. Who even knew there were special rules for transporting spirits? Anyhow I suppose Mr. Waffle was amply supported by others. On the other hand, our neighbour’s already poor perception of our technical abilities has fallen even further with the story of the jack. Alas.

Also the wretched car failed its NCT last week. Apparently, irony, it has the wrong kind of tyres.


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