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Neglected or Completely Random Round-Up

28 July, 2018 at 10:46 pm by belgianwaffle

This blog has been a bit ignored recently. I’ve been busy, what can I say?

The cat has been killing small animals to beat the band. One weekend we had an injured pigeon (one wing down) and a small mouse fleeing around the garden to the cat’s endless delight. We went out hoping that matters would have resolved themselves on our return. When we came back the mouse had gone to his reward but the pigeon was still hopping round the garden. The cat had lost interest and fallen asleep in the flower bed. Mr. Waffle had to usher the injured pigeon to safety in the lane through the shed. You haven’t lived etc.

Herself went off on a three week residential course. I missed her. She had a great time. When she came back, I overheard her saying to her brothers, as the three of them cleaned up in the kitchen, “You guys have really missed your union rep.” Oh yes she is returned.

While she was away I made the boys go to gallery. They can now recognise St. Jerome at 20 paces. A summer afternoon well spent.

They also went to a tennis camp which was somewhat successful. Inspired by this and Wimbledon, Dan and I went out to play a match one evening and I practically expired from the heat. Irish people are just not made for hot summers.

My sister came to visit and too the boys to Taytopark which they quite enjoyed notwithstanding some reservations that they might be too old and sophisticated for it. My poor sister lost her car exhaust while staying with us and fell and hurt her knee in Taytopark so not a total win for her.

My Parisian friend’s family came to Ireland for a fortnight. She was stuck in Paris and in the first week we were on holidays in Cork (much, much more of this anon) but we saw a bit of them last week. We went out for a drink on Monday night and they came around to us for a barbecue on Wednesday evening. Unfortunate that the cat chose to catch a mouse under the table in the garden and decapitate in front of the horrified yet fascinated gazes of the French children. The eldest who has stayed with us a few times on exchange pointed out that the house was full of spiders (a bit I suppose) and coupled with the mouse, it was just too much. I scoffed at her fears and kept from her the fact that when I went to put the burgers on the barbecue there was an enormous charred spider sitting on the grill. Alas. Look, nobody dead yet, eh? My friend came to join her family today and we had lunch together and then went to see the children perform in the drama emerging from the drama camp they had been in all week. It was pleasant, I have to say. And Daniel is going to stay in Paris for a couple of weeks next summer and they’ll take him to see Paris Saint Germain.

It’s all been a bit exhausting though. In previous years, we have tended to do a week in Ireland followed by a fortnight abroad for our summer holidays. This year we did a week in Cork in July and then a fortnight back in work and then we’re off to Denmark. The week in Cork meant Mr. Waffle and I were frantic in the week leading up to it and equally frantic this week after (with added French entertaining duties – it was worth it, but it was hard). Next year we will do three consecutive weeks again.

On the plus side, met a friend for lunch and in our regular, “how are your children?” update told her that herself was going into transition year and she said that they had a work experience programme and might our firstborn be interested. Since finding herself work experience is a problem that has been gnawing at me since the start of the summer (herself seemed relatively unphased) with the school sending me unwelcome text reminders that it had to be sorted before she went back to school in September, I was very pleased. I could have taken her in to my office, I suppose, but neither of us were particularly keen. I feel, however, the life lesson she is getting in how to get a job may not be exactly the one we would want.

Finally, and only tenuously related, while I am on the theme of neglected, the html or css or whatever on this blog seems to have given up the ghost. The twitter links don’t work, the feedly link doesn’t work and the pictures are bizarrely stretched. Not to mention the weird wide margins. And now WordPress is torturing me about General Data Protection Regulation. Frankly, if this website is harvesting personal data, it’s news to me. I had to add a privacy page filled with suggested WordPress text and I feel it is overkill. I cannot believe that this blog is the kind of thing they were thinking about when the GDPR was drafted. Deep sigh. Maybe I can pay someone to fix it all.

Long Hot Summer

1 July, 2018 at 11:13 pm by belgianwaffle

The boys have been on a range of courses on a week on/week off basis.  On off weeks, Mr. Waffle is normally able to check in at home a couple of times a day.  Mr. Waffle was away for work for two days last week and the boys were home alone for both days.  On day 1 they went out briefly to deliver leaflets for a neighbour (there’s going to be a local walking tour apparently) and Michael lost a baby tooth.  He’ll be 13 in September, will the baby tooth collection never end?  He felt strongly that in his father’s absence the tooth fairy would never come but he was wrong.  He said that the fact that agents associated with the tooth fairy accidentally threw the tooth in the bin earlier meant that the work force was unreliable.  However, the fact that the tooth was found – and you have not lived until you have gone through the black bin on a warm day looking for a missing baby tooth – argues strongly for the work ethic and reliability of this particular tooth fairy agent.   So, day 1 was alright but by the end of day 2, however, it wasn’t quite “Lord of the Flies” but it wasn’t far off it either.  Michael’s entire intake for the second day prior to my return home from work appears to have been 2 slices of toast and honey so no wonder he was  a bit ratty.  On the other hand, it is so hot that even I don’t feel like eating and, unlike Michael, I am fond of eating.   Poor Daniel does not deal well with being cooped up all day and he was like a caged lion.

Mr. Waffle came in on Thursday night on a late flight.  He said that he heard two other passengers who had met on the plane chatting.  She was a Ukrainian woman who appeared to have lived in Dublin for a number of years and he was a Pole visiting Dublin for the first time.  Mr. Waffle heard her say to him, in reply to a question about the weather, “It’s 28 degrees, they think it’s really hot.”  Dammit it is really hot and I remember 1976 (the year of the heatwave, lads).  Guess what Mr. Waffle brought home from Luxembourg?  That’s right, a French/Dutch Michelin map of Denmark.

On Friday afternoon, I took the boys to the swimming pool.  I was kind of amazed that they could swim.  I think I have mentioned before that we gave up on swimming lessons years ago in the face of stern opposition from them and I have ever since been terrified that they would drown in open water.  While I wouldn’t describe either of them as strong swimmers, they both enjoy swimming underwater, can both float for ages and Daniel can do a length and Michael about 3/4 of a length which, frankly, was much better than I would have thought possible, clearly something sank in from the hated lessons.

On Saturday we went for a walk in Wicklow from the Pier Gates to Lough Dan. It was pretty toasty. It was fine on the way down although a bit warm from time to time. We seemed to reach the shade pretty quickly.

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The views were delightful, as always.

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The boys enjoyed going across the little river on the stepping stones.

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When we got there, the lake was beautiful. Mr. Waffle and I swam and the boys paddled, it was boggy but warm. What genius brought swimming gear and towels? This genius.

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I thought the journey back would be easier. I don’t know why I would have thought that because it was ALL uphill. Once we got out from under the trees, it was a bit “Mine eyes have seen the abomination of desolation” as we trekked up the stony roads in the blazing sunshine.

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By the time I arrived back at the car, I was utterly exhausted. The boys seemed ok though, so that was something. We went for dinner in Roundwood to sustain us for the drive home.

Today was quiet after our epic trek yesterday. We went to visit the grandparents but that was about it for the day. Excitingly, I did get to speak briefly to my firstborn. Main news items: she is enjoying her residential course and she is out of phone credit.

Poor Mr. Waffle is off to lovely Luxembourg again today so I dropped him out to the airport this evening. His flight was delayed by an hour but he was able to work on his Danish on duolingo – we are doing this in anticipation of our trip. Possibly a bit pointless. I can now say, the girl eats the apple and the girl eats an apple. A distinction which seems ludicrously important in lesson 1. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Ch Ch Changes

27 June, 2018 at 10:19 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself has dyed her hair for the summer again. Compare and contrast 2017 on the left and 2018 on the right. The most noticeable thing, I think is how much older and more sure of herself she looks. That and the hair.

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She went off to a three week residential course on Sunday and she was only too happy to say farewell to her sorrowing parents. There was an unfortunate incident in relation to a retainer. In the car as we were arriving she said, “[My friend] M says that she left her retainer in our house on Friday”. M is going to the same residential course so when I saw her and her parents, the first thing I said was, “I hear M left her retainer at our house.” Had M told her parents? She had not. Were they annoyed with her? They were. Did the Princess blame me for being unable to keep my mouth shut? She did. Did we find the missing retainer despite Mr. Waffle going through the food bin in case it had been inadvertently thrown out? We did not. Alas.

She went to see Christine Lagarde (in town for a brief visit) speak and asked her father but not me for some good questions. I was suitably outraged. I have good questions.

Notwithstanding the associated drama, I miss my first born.

The boys and I are home alone today and tomorrow as Mr. Waffle is away for work. The pair of them were at home alone all day today and, I have to say, I did feel quite guilty abandoning them but they seem to have survived with no particular ill effects. On the contrary, Daniel has become a scrambled egg making master.

And in other very exciting news, we have finally booked our summer holiday and we are going to Denmark. Give me your Danish tips.

Home alone or Random Updates

20 June, 2018 at 10:44 pm by belgianwaffle

“So what news?” you ask.

A couple of weeks ago, I made Mr. Waffle and the boys go to the theatre to see “A Feast of Bones” which the Princess and I saw five years ago and liked. They left the house with great reluctance. Michael, in particular, pointing out that I had a history of never booking them in to good things. I pointed to the session on African explorer Thomas Parke which still remains my single most successful cultural outing. However, I finally have a second triumph, because they all really enjoyed the performance. Go me.

The weekend before last, Mr waffle was off in foreign parts for the weekend. He had a 25 year college reunion. Meanwhile I held the fort. We had a lot of pizza. Michael had his drama showcase which went fine thank you for asking. Daniel had a match – I dropped him up and another parent brought him home. He told me that he was taken off injured after 5 minutes which wasn’t totally ideal. I think he has some kind of floating body in his knee and from time to time, when I have an idle moment, I worry about this. Herself took a break from studying (this was when the Junior Cert was still on – happily it has now ended, it was ok, results in September) and went out for walk at the seaside with her friends. There was a certain amount of scurrying to get everyone everywhere on time but we made it. I left the washing out on the line overnight though – living life on the edge.

On Sunday we cycled to mass. “Are you ok?” I asked Dan. “Fine, why?” he said. “Your knee injury from yesterday,” I said. “Oh,” said he, “I made that up, I was fine and played, it’s just that I didn’t want you to make me have a shower.” Where to begin? I still took him and his brother to the cinema that afternoon (because I am saintly and he did shower on Sunday morning).

Herself finished her exams last Friday and the saintly mother of one of her friends took a group of them to the Taylor Swift concert. A good time seems to have been had by all etc.

Last Sunday was the annual church garden party. Yet again, I found myself manning the ice cream wafer stall with no fridge. Very trying, frankly. Mr. Waffle won the father’s day raffle – a hamper which looked promising but turned out to be full of Nivea for men products. That’s what happens if your sponsor is the local chemist, I suppose.

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There was a box full of loads of Greek and Latin plays and histories. And even though our house is full to overflowing with books and I suspect I will never read them I was unable to resist picking up 5 books for a euro (two French books as well which will be for herself to never read). Here are the books I will never read:

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The boys did a science course last week but have no activities planned this week which fills their little hearts with delight. I met them in town for lunch on Monday. They made their own way in and out. They were in great form. I have to say, if I never see Milano’s again, it might be too soon. That evening, Daniel had a GAA match in Tallaght. Tallaght! With the snow earlier in the year, they are still catching up on league matches during the week rather than at the weekend and it is spectacularly inconvenient. It feels like the season is never going to end.

Daniel went back to the ophthalmologist this afternoon and basically he is cured. He will probably always need glasses but as he is very longsighted, his eyesight will improve from now on. Apparently watching television and playing on the phone is good for his eyesight, if anything. The patching when he was little has worked and his astigmatism is gone. He can wear contact lenses for sport if he likes. And we never need to go back to the ophthalmologist. Nice man but, frankly, I rejoice.

He got his hair cut to celebrate and we had a cup of tea.

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Mr. Waffle is away for work until tomorrow evening, so I am coping alone (so far so good). Real challenge will be tomorrow. The children will be home alone all day – when Mr. Waffle is in the country, he drops in at lunch time to feed them – so I have told them that they have to get dressed and feed themselves. It remains to be seen how that will pan out. Will I come home to starving, feral children in pyjamas? All to play for. Poor Daniel has yet another GAA match. Happily it is relatively nearby so I have told him that he will have to get himself there by bike and he seems resigned if not enthusiastic (I appreciate that enthusiastic would be a big ask there). We’re all looking forward to the return of Mr. Waffle tomorrow evening, particularly the person who may, possibly, have felled a down pipe while doing some overdue rose bush pruning. Also the cat who is sitting looking at me as I type, hoping against hope that I might feed her again.

Tragically, he has to go away again next week and the week after. How will it all end? Also, we have no summer holiday booked. I think I am beginning to panic a little here.

My aunt was 89 today or will be on Friday. My granny always said that my aunt was born on June 20th but the Californian authorities have recorded it as June 22nd on her birth cert. Still, the family wisdom is that my granny ought to have known and so my aunt is celebrating today. Only a spring chicken etc. compared to my father, of course.

Any news yourself?

It Begins

6 June, 2018 at 8:08 am by belgianwaffle

Herself is sitting her very first state examination this morning; the first person in this household to do so since 1988. The man to clean the gutters is arriving at 8.30. It’s all happening here.

Wish her luck.

Not with a Bang but with a Whimper

3 June, 2018 at 9:27 pm by belgianwaffle

Last Friday was the boys’ last day in first year. They were both quite miserable with colds and we kept them at home. So there was no real celebration. Herself has the Junior Cert starting next Wednesday so she isn’t finished her school year for a couple of weeks yet.

On Friday night everyone was recovered enough to go out for our traditional end of school celebration in Milano’s. Traditionally, this was a lunch time event but since the boys were a bit under the weather and herself wasn’t finishing school until mid-afternoon, we left it until dinner time. I would not recommend Milano’s in Temple Bar on the Friday night of a bank holiday weekend. There was a large hen party at the table next to us and the noise was deafening. The combination of wavy wallpaper and a light on the blink created the perfect conditions for a migraine to develop. It was all a bit hideous.

However, we have got through the boys’ first year in secondary school and, all in all, it hasn’t gone too badly, I feel. It was a tough transition from primary school but they got there. Michael has just been chosen for the student council and he is quite pleased with himself, thank you very much. Daniel has found himself just the wrong age for school sports teams which has been deeply frustrating for him but something that will be remedied from September. Academically, they’ve both been fine despite some misgivings on my part because they were so young.

Herself seems to be very on top of the whole school thing now – it’s always so hard to judge but she seems to be very relaxed and well able to deal with anything the system throws at her. The teachers love her. She cleaned up at the school prize-winning again and came home laden down with trophies and certificates.

Notwithstanding the relative success of the school year, we are all delighted that it is over. Roll on summer holidays.

Brace Yourself

29 May, 2018 at 7:13 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself got braces last Friday. I am quite sad. She had this adorable snaggle tooth that I loved but I think it probably has to go before she grows up. I blame the Americans and their obsession with dentistry. And also myself.

The Pain Quotidien has opened in Dublin (be still my beating heart) and we went on Saturday morning but her poor mouth was so sore that she really couldn’t eat anything. Oh dear.


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