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Extended Round-Up

4 November, 2018 at 11:54 pm by belgianwaffle

The coda to our logistics last week was getting Herself back to France. She was due to fly out at 9.50 on Wednesday morning. Alas, I did not see some form online which was supposed to be filled in for under 16s [Air France didn’t need one but Aer Lingus did – I know, I know, when you’re explaining you’re losing] and she was thrown off on the steps of the plane. Mr. Waffle had to zoom back to the airport and re-book her for a later flight and then we needed to re-book her train from Charles de Gaulle to the west of France. It was all a bit stressful. She is Miss Super Competent in fairness to her. She got on the plane in Dublin and from there, unaccompanied, navigated her way to the train station in CDG and on to the express train back to her host family in the west of France.

Poor Mr. Waffle meanwhile spent the morning in the airport (unexpectedly, obviously) and then came home to find that the wretched cat had captured a blackbird and brought it into the kitchen. Mr. Waffle arrived home to a storm of feathers and the bird standing dazedly on the work surface between attempts to hurl itself out the closed window. The cat was pacing the floor frantically some dimly understood precept (or possibly her vast bulk) preventing her from hopping up on to the work surface. Mr. Waffle threw her into the utility room and ushered the bird into the garden. The cat got out the cat flap in the utility room and was waiting anxiously for them at the back door so that escape plan was not entirely successful. The bird got out eventually and we are still finding feathers in surprising places. Joy.

Meanwhile it was Halloween in Dublin and for the first time since moving in, our decorations beat next door’s. It could be that now that their children are 19 and 17 they are not trying so hard but I like to think that we really tried. The boys looked very impressive in their costumes but were too sophisticated to go door to door and just wore them for school.

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We had planned to go to Cork for a couple of days over mid-term before Mr. Waffle’s father died and I wondered whether we should cancel but after some humming and hawing we went in the end. In a new development, the boys stayed in my parents’ house and Mr. Waffle and I stayed with my sister. This was a very satisfactory development for everyone except, possibly, our host.

We drove down on Thursday night which was a bit of an epic trek but it did mean that we woke up in Cork on Friday morning ready for a day of Cork related fun. In what can only be called the high water mark of family cultural engagement, the boys said that they wanted to go to Charles Fort in Kinsale on Friday, so we did. It was a bit damp but we missed the worst of the rain. On the strength of this, I bought a new family heritage card for €90 which means that we have to go to at least six heritage sites over the next year to break even. I fear the worst. So do the children.

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We went for lunch in the Bulman and Daniel took the obligatory before and after pictures of the ketchup bottle to send to his uncle who does not love ketchup. The waitress assured me that ketchup is part vegetable but I am not entirely convinced.

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We took the traditional picture at the caution children sign.

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On Saturday, my brother and sister minded the boys for much of the day (including a trip to Milano’s for pizza, let joy be unconfined) leaving myself and Mr. Waffle to our own devices. We were a bit blinded by the unexpected freedom. We went for breakfast and, after a trip to the Crawford gallery and a mild wander around the town in the rain including a look at food fair in the City Hall, we waddled on to lunch. In slight desperation, wondering what to do next, I asked Mr. Waffle to check a list of 17 hidden exciting things to do in Cork he found on the internet. One of them was feed the ducks in the Lough. I mean, I’ve no objection to feeding the ducks but I wouldn’t exactly call it exciting. We had about an hour and a half until Mr. Waffle was meeting a friend for coffee and I almost suggested going home (to be fair, it was lashing) but then I had a mild stroke of inspiration and we went to see Elizabeth Fort and the Protestant cathedral.

Elizabeth Fort boasted mildly exciting views and an air raid shelter which I don’t remember seeing before. It was extremely damp and had a random collection of cold damp objects for viewing including this slightly alarming map.

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I quite like the cathedral although I am not generally a fan of neo-gothic. Mr. Waffle wondered about the candles and the IHS on the altar. “Maybe they are very high church?” I offered. “Not in Ireland,” he said firmly. He said it was the least Protestant looking Protestant church he had ever been in. I wonder was he misled because Ireland is basically full of 19th century neo-gothic churches that are Catholic and there are inevitable stylistic similarities. It’s a mystery.

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That evening, the boys played board games with my sister and her partner and had a fantastic time.

We drove back on Sunday morning. It was actually a really good idea to go in the end. We all had a lovely time. It turns out that despite the cynical words of my son Michael on another occasion, there is such a thing as fun for all the family.

Culture Night

22 September, 2018 at 6:15 pm by belgianwaffle

Last night, the boys went for French lessons (not a success). While they were there, as part of Culture Night, Mr. Waffle and I went to the RIA and the Mansion House. I’d been to the Mansion House for events before and it was grand but a bit dull. Not their brass, though, which was impressively shiny and made me realise, sigh, that my own is in sad need of polishing. A very enthusiastic woman in the RIA explained about the Irish Historic Towns Atlas and explained, even to my satisfaction, why on a 25 year project when even Youghal and Bandon are done, Cork city is not due until 2020. Apparently it’s because Cork is particularly difficult to do as it has a very complex and ever-changing street landscape. So there.

We went with the boys to the Terry Pratchett exhibition in Trinity which was disappointing as it was a bit heavy on lecture and light on other elements. There was a great map though. It was a bit of an evening of maps.

We went to Gotham (a pizza and burger joint off Grafton Street) for dinner as I could not face Milano’s. It was crowded but they were able to put us outside. It was the first time in years I’ve eaten my dinner beside a smoker and the first time ever for the boys who were displeased but also fascinated. “Wait until tomorrow,” I said, “when you wake up, all your clothes will smell of smoke.” We packed up reasonably rapidly and went home.

When I was going to bed I noticed a weird small rash thing on my neck. “Probably stress,” I said to myself gloomily. In the morning, however, it came off in the shower so I can only suppose that it was ketchup which ended up on my neck due to a combination of peculiar eating habits, shortsightedness and poor hygiene. You’re welcome.

In other cultural news, Mr. Waffle and I are going out to the theatre this evening. It’s a thing in the Fringe and only an hour or so; we are leaving the boys to fend for themselves. Mr. Waffle has just come in after struggling for about an hour with a ladder and the unhappy interaction of the down-pipe and the rose bush in the front garden. I’ve told him we’ll have to leave for the theatre in about 15 minutes. He’s delighted.

We spent the day ferrying Daniel and Michael to various activities – tennis, drama etc. But, we also looked at ovens for our new kitchen. I want to get an aga. Am I crazy? Stove/oven advice very gratefully received.

Just now, the cat has skulked to the flower bed with a dead mouse between her jaws, I can only hope that my shouting at her, “Don’t you dare bring that into the house!” will be effective. All the news as it happens here.

And how has your weekend been so far?

Alas Alack

22 April, 2018 at 10:49 pm by belgianwaffle

There was an all-white cat who lived in one of the houses at the top of the road who had been coming to our house and putting the frightners on Hodge since he was really quite small. He had one green eye and one blue eye. We called him Griddlebone and he marched up and down the gardens of the road as though he owned them. He frequently wandered into our house in summer when the doors were open to Hodge’s furious and hissing disapproval. Only the other day, I arrived home to find Mr. Waffle indignantly announcing that he had just seen Griddlebone weeing against the kitchen window (from the outside, I hasten to add). Griddlebone was insouciant, he was nimble and devil may care and the other morning, I found his body on the busy main road nearby. A neighbour came out and took in the body before it got squashed. Apparently his owners called him Bowie; he’ll always be Griddlebone to us.

Ominous

17 January, 2017 at 8:14 pm by belgianwaffle

When I checked my personal mobile as I left the office this evening, I saw that herself had called me at 2. I rang her back. “Oh yeah, it was an emergency when I called you. The cat caught a mouse and brought it into the utility room.” “What happened?” I asked. “I shut the door and called Dad and he’s going to deal with it when he gets home.” Cravenly, I cycled home very slowly. Mr. Waffle opened the front door to me. “Did you find the mouse?” I asked. He had not. We both looked again but could find no trace. Could the cat have eaten it all, including the tail? She is certainly less hungry than usual this evening. Alternatively are there mouse body parts quietly rotting in an unseen corner of the utility room? It’s all to play for, folks.

A Lot of Responsibility

5 October, 2016 at 6:16 pm by belgianwaffle

Neither Mr. Waffle’s parents nor mine are particularly well at the moment and we have been tugged a bit in various directions. My sister-in-law was over visiting and she said reflectively, “You have a lot of responsibility: two sets of parents, three children, a cat and six chickens.*” I thought, yes, we do have a lot of responsibility and it may partly explain why posting has been a bit on the light side. Also, starting a new job (it’s still new to me, I started in February) is more tiring than you might think. And I am doing a work related course and there are assignments and I profoundly regret signing myself up for it in the first place. Sigh.

*In fact the chickens belong to our neighbours and we were only minding them while they (the neighbours) climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with their two teenagers. Yes, I am impressed as well. It did allow Mr. Waffle to send me this message when I asked if all was well at home:

Fine. Children still in pyjamas so am next door supervising hens.

Life’s rich tapestry and all that.

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Happy Anniversary

1 August, 2016 at 10:21 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday, July 28. As we got married before having children and when Mr. Waffle was in a different line of work, that was, then, a relatively quiet time of year. Now the children are on holidays; it is one of Mr. Waffle’s busiest times of the year and we go on our family holiday immediately after.

This year has been particularly difficult as for the last number of years, I have been able to take unpaid leave over the summer but it wasn’t possible this year. We kept our childminder on for the afternoons and signed the children up to a couple of courses and Mr. Waffle took up the slack. It was all a bit stressful. Unfortunately, herself was ill for almost all her course and the week before the boys were due to go on their course I got this plaintive email from my husband.

To: Me
From: Mr. Waffle
Subject: Re: All well at home?

To my horror got a call from the sports camp I thought the boys were doing a course next week but apparently it’s this week. Will have to see if they’re willing to go for the last three days and if [childminder] can do afternoons. Also means we have no course for anybody next week…

In other words, it’s a busy time and we almost, but not quite, forget our anniversary every year. We tend to remember a day or two before when it is too late to do anything but scramble for a not entirely adequate present. For example, the internet tells me that crystal is the appropriate offering for a 15th wedding anniversary; I got Mr. Waffle a book and he got me flowers [very welcome flowers, I hasten to add].

Happily, this year, our firstborn surprised us and when we came home from work, the table looked like this:

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She made us risotto for dinner with help from Daniel and Victoria sponge for desert and it was amazing.

Also, I still love my husband, which is great. He sends me funny emails. Samples below:

From: Mr. Waffle
To: Me
Subject: Signs and portents

My laptop is being weird and currently refuses to open any files or programs.

Also five slugs in utility room / by back door.

I think I’ll call it a day.

From: Mr. Waffle
To: Me
Subject: What is the best Irish term for Brexit?

Sasamach? Bréalú?

I understand someone else came up with these terms but I am always glad to be consulted on matters of national importance.

A couple of weeks ago, the cat brought another pigeon into the house. This time it was not dead. Mr. Waffle grabbed the pigeon from the cat; trapped the cat in the utility room and chased the pigeon around the kitchen (I asked Herself about it – “It was terrible, the pigeon fell in my soup”. Terrible on so many levels). Eventually he was able to usher the pigeon out of the kitchen into the hall while the cat continued to scream blue murder in the utility room. Mr. Waffle said that the pigeon was somewhat dazed but it picked itself up and waddled along the hall and out the front door, somewhat to the bemusement of passers by.

On Saturday evening he rescued the cat from up a tree where she was chased by three small yappy dogs who have moved in across the road. We are not loving them. Mr. Waffle, however, is fantastic.

The other evening I was trying to print off the childminder’s payslip and the printer wouldn’t work. Michael sidled up to me; “Sorry,” he said, “but I think I broke the printer.” “How do you think you broke the printer?” I asked. “I dropped 10 cents down the paper feeder,” he said. I shook it and I turned it up and down but to no avail. “I’m not cross,” I said, “but how did you drop 10 cents into the printer?” Apparently he had been practising coin flips and it had just escaped away from him. After the last unfortunate demise of a printer, my clever husband had taken out a guarantee. €12 well spent. We now have another new printer. I think love is in the details.

Think of us having another delightful anniversary dinner in France. After all, 15 years is definitely worth celebrating.

Returned Safely to These Shores

18 June, 2016 at 6:10 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself was returned to us last Wednesday after a wonderful week in London. Her aunt and uncle were very kind and she had all manner of treats and excitement including a trip to the ballet to see Swan Lake which she absolutely loved.

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Although the weather was a bit mixed.

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She was due to arrive back on Wednesday at 5 but her flight was delayed unbeknownst to me. I was stuck a bit late at work and rang Mr. Waffle to see whether our heroine had returned. “No,” he said, “and I am at the airport, so who is going to be home at 6.30 to relieve the childminder?” I flew home like the wind calling the childminder to tell her that I was going to be late. No answer. I rang the land line at home. Daniel answered.

Me: Hi sweetie, can I speak to K (childminder)?
Him: Yes, but do you want to know my news?
Me: Yes, of course, but can I speak to K first?
Him: It is interesting news.
Me: OK, sweetie, tell me your news first.
Him: When we came home from school the hall was full of blood and feathers.
Me: Oh God.
Him (with relish): Yes, and we found a dead pigeon in the corner of the drawing room.
Me (yelping): Oh God.
Him: Yes, and it’s still there.
Me: What??
Him: Yes, K has a phobia of birds (really, really is this a thing?). Michael and I locked the cat into the utility room. I hoovered up the feathers in the hall and Michael mopped up the blood. K showed us how to turn on the hoover from the kitchen. But we were too scared to deal with the body.
Me: OK, I’ll deal with it when I get home.

Return to the house. I readied myself with a shoe-box and a plastic bag. I went into the drawing room to see feathers, blood:

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and a corpse in the corner:

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I ran out again. Maybe not my finest hour [Daniel took the photo above]. Then the phone rang. It was Mr. Waffle. Herself had returned and they were wondering could they get a lift from the airport. Absolutely. I sped out, leaving the boys at home on corpse watch.

I picked Mr. Waffle and herself up outside the airport.

Me (to daughter): Welcome home my darling, did you miss us?
Herself: Um, no but I did have an amazing time.
Me (to husband): I have slightly unwelcome pigeon news.

On his return, he disposed of the corpse. What a man. Glad to have our firstborn back and despite herself, I think she might be a little glad too. And she brought us all presents.

2016-06-15 20.06.00

Is it true, Hodge, does nothing taste as good as thin feels?


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