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Snow in the Mountains

16 February, 2016 at 11:37 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle and I went to Glendalough on our own last week. It hasn’t been very cold this year and I was thrilled to find that when we went up into Wicklow, there was snow in the mountains.


And when we got up above the lakes in Glendalough, there was snow.




Down at ground level, there was no snow but the monastic village looked beautiful under clear blue skies.


I cannot believe our luck because there has hardly been a day this winter when it has not lashed rain. Clearly, we have used up our good luck quotient for 2016/the year of the monkey in one fell swoop.

The Great Filing Catastrophe of 2016 and Other News

14 February, 2016 at 11:06 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle and I are tidy. I am the queen of filing and he is the king. People gasp in amazement when they see my tidy office. All of our domestic administration is carefully filed away and (somewhat) regularly sorted through to throw out papers that we no longer need to keep (although, to my knowledge, Mr. Waffle’s bank statements from when we lived in Belgium are still filed in the attic, a fact of which I deeply disapprove – you may recall that we last lived in Belgium in 2008). All this to say that, you know, we are not the kind of people who can’t find guarantees or passports or papers when we need to. You know how this is going to end, I assume. Stay with me anyhow, why don’t you?

Herself is going to Rome horribly early tomorrow morning for a mid-term school trip. She has been counting the days since September when she first heard about it. The programme is daunting. They are going for five days and will visit Rome (Vatican museums, the Forum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and anything else they feel up to – one of the teachers seriously suggested to me that they might go bowling one evening, insert your own sardonic comment here), Pompeii, Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.

She spent the weekend packing. After dinner this evening I went to get her passport out of the drawer and it was there. Of course it was there. I went to get her European health card from the shoebox where we keep these things. Daniel’s was there. Michael’s was there. I emptied out all of the non-EU currency, the Belgian bus tickets, the Paris metro tickets and the foreign stamps which also live in the shoebox but there was no sign of the Princess’s health insurance card. We searched in all the likely places: the desk drawers, the health insurance folder, the folder for herself, all the other folders just in case. It was unfindable. She had had to bring it into school twice so that they could verify that she had it. In light of this I felt that the authorities were likely to check in the cold, pre-dawn Dublin airport whether she had brought it with her. We kept searching. It turned up sticking out of the Lonely Planet guide to Paris on the book shelf. I am not the better of it.

It was also Valentine’s day and my husband got me lovely flowers and a card. I got him some stroopwafels and only because yesterday morning, herself said to me, “I hope you know that Daddy is getting you something for Valentine’s Day.” He took the boys to a reading in the National Library while I scuttled around hoping to find something he might like. I am not sure that he was absolutely thrilled with the packet of biscuits, now. Sometimes I feel that Mr. Waffle gets a poor deal. Guess who is getting up at 4 in the morning to drive our precious first-born to the airport? Not me, I fear.

Have a photo of the boys checking out the National Library reading room:
2016-02-13 14.47.01v2

Earlier today we climbed Bray Head. This was inspired by Michael who needed to do it for some scouting badge. He was pleased to be going. The others, possibly less so. However, we met the cousins and they were all happy to see each other and ran up cheerfully despite the biting wind. A further aim of the trip was to ensure that herself and Mr. Waffle were tired enough to go to sleep early. Any benefits in this regard were entirely offset by the health insurance card trauma.

Still, nice views from the top:


8 February, 2016 at 8:36 pm by belgianwaffle

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Waffle and I took the children to see “Trauma” in the science gallery. It was, well, traumatic. Not unexpected you might argue. After the strain of the exhibition, I felt we ought to do something further of a cultural nature. It would be hard to overstate Michael’s bitterness on hearing this news.

Since we were in Trinity anyway and, one of the major advantages of a degree from Trinity is that it gets you in free to the Book of Kells, I suggested that we might go there and get some use out of Mr. Waffle’s degree. We passed the playing pitches on the way and I found myself, somewhat to my surprise, standing beside a man yelling “Come on Trinity” at a rugby game. How little we know our spouses. Happily Michael’s weary insistence that we might as well get it over with propelled us onwards.

The library is lovely, actually. I note that we went there this time last year so it seems to occur to me as a good outing in January. As ever, I sold it to the boys as being the model for the Jedi library which may be true. They were cynical and bitter, “You say that every time.”


We didn’t stay long and it is genuinely interesting. Afterwards, as we emerged into the drizzle, having contemplated one of Ireland’s great treasures Michael said grudgingly, “I suppose it wasn’t too bad.” I think I will take that as a win.

The Glamorous Home Life of the Working Parent

18 January, 2016 at 10:57 pm by belgianwaffle

I arrived home from work the other night to be greeted by an urgent demand from Michael. Somehow, a DVD and a book had fallen behind the radiator and could not be got out. Before sitting down, before removing my coat, I began work on this important quest. I discovered that the bottom of the radiator was flush with the skirting board and there was no way to get them out from the bottom. Daniel, enterprisingly, got me a stick which had previously been used for flag waving. I poked unavailingly at the DVD and the book. Michael got tense. It was a library book. But of course. I got hotter and sweatier toiling in my coat over the boiling radiator.

The front door banged, Mr. Waffle had come in from work. “Come and help me,” I called. “Never mind your coat,” I added. I explained the problem but he had to establish the parameters of the issue himself (I find that this is always the case for both me and Mr. Waffle, there is no learning from experience in DIY type problems in our house, we both want to try and fail in the same way ourselves). Daniel produced another stick. Slowly, carefully Mr. Waffle and I poked the book with a stick from each end and dragged it to the top of the radiator. Just as we almost got there, it slipped free and fell down to the bottom again. Slowly, painstakingly we tried again, both pushing inwards and upwards with our sticks over the toasty radiator while wearing our coats and being egged on by the boys. About half way up, Mr. Waffle’s stick lost its grip on the book but maintained its vigourous upward trajectory and hit me smartly on the eyeball. Very painful, I can tell you.

At that point, we took a break, took off our coats and had a cup of tea. You will be pleased to hear that later in the evening both items were rescued. My eyeball is fine too. Thanks for asking.

Happy New Year

2 January, 2016 at 12:54 pm by belgianwaffle

I have another cold. On the evening of December 30, I got a headache and by new year’s eve, I was so miserable that I went to bed at 11 unable to make the party to which we had kindly been invited or even to stay up to listen to the bells ringing in the new year. Frankly, not an auspicious start to the year. Yesterday, I didn’t feel up to going to the new year’s day party to which we were invited. We spent the day at home. My sister-in-law and her husband from London came for lunch and stayed for a couple of hours. They are very soothing, undemanding guests, while also being entertaining so it was quite pleasant for me. Mr. Waffle felt that they might have been a bit bored by spending an afternoon listening to me recounting my various ills but I am sure that they had a lovely time. The boys went off to a birthday party and stayed over with the birthday boy, so the evening was very peaceful. I was very sorry for myself. Today I feel alright but not fantastic, still mainlining lemsip and somewhat fed up. The boys will be home shortly from their birthday extravaganza to tend to their sick mother. I am sure that they are looking forward to that. And back to work on Monday. Sigh.

More news to follow. In the interim, I trust that your Christmas was satisfactory and wish you every happiness for 2016. As you know, every reader is precious to me.

A Tooth Fairy’s Lot is Not a Happy One

2 December, 2015 at 8:17 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself lost a tooth yesterday. Who knew children kept losing baby teeth for so long? This morning she came into us to announce that the tooth fairy had not come. “Perhaps he will come today,” I said. She looked at Mr. Waffle with a sapient eye as he dragged himself out of bed and said, “I think the tooth fairy is trudging to his work, even now.”

I got this email from her during the day.

From: Herself
To: Me
Re: Don’t go getting ideas.

This is blatantly unacceptable.

Does there come a time where one is just a smidgen too sophisticated for the tooth fairy?

Plumbing and Logistics

26 November, 2015 at 8:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Our toilet is blocked. Mr. Waffle is upstairs deploying a plunger. The bathroom floor is covered with newspapers. He’s been at this since we got home at 6.30 this evening with only a brief respite for dinner. I feel I am setting a poor example for my children by making plumbing a gendered space but I just can’t face it myself.

We are facing into a logistically complex 48 hours with me going to Cork, herself going to a friend’s house miles away to sleep over (needing to be collected on Saturday morning), Michael doing a thing with scouts and Daniel with his usual Saturday morning GAA match. Today, I have made appointments with doctors and dentists and committed to sending photos to a piano tuner. A number of Christmas events are bearing down on me and I am in no position to be either a host or guest due to complete lack of organisation. Have I laid in any small tasteful presents to dole out at the appropriate moment? I think we both know the answer to that question.

Oh yes, it’s approaching the most wonderful time of the year. You will excuse me, I need to sit quietly in a darkened room while listening to peaceful suctioning noises emanating from the upstairs bathroom.

And to the Americans, happy Thanksgiving. I can only rejoice that this is not an Irish celebration. It might tip me over the edge.

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