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My Birthday – Extended Disco Remix

10 March, 2017 at 11:10 pm by belgianwaffle

It’s my birthday today. Last weekend my sister took me to London overnight and she flew me business class, oh yes. I realised that it’s been nearly two years since I flew anywhere. I haven’t missed it, I have to tell you although, business class certainly beats steerage. We went out for dinner (my saintly sister-in-law and London guide responded nobly to an email saying, ‘recommend dinner venues and afraid I won’t have time to see you guys’ – she also got me a Persephone book for my birthday) and we talked and talked. We went to the National Gallery which is superb. When I did art history (diploma, spare time, pre-marriage and children), one of my lecturers said that going to the National Gallery in London is like being at an amazing party and each time you go into a new room seeing a raft of familiar friends. This is so true.

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I took the day off work today. I am feeling quite elderly although yesterday I got this comforting text from my friend R:

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[Note smuggled in reference to reading Elena Ferrante in Italian. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, my parents paid good money for these pretensions and I am going to use them.]

On the other hand, one of my bookclub members is getting married and when she and her fiancé went to the church to discuss logistics with the sacristan, he said, “You’re the mother of the bride aren’t you?” The worst thing was that he kept apologising for the remainder of the discussion.  On the plus side, she can have as many flowers as she wants. It hadn’t struck me before but, of course, I too am in mother of the bride territory. Slightly horrifying.

I got loads of cards, including two handmade ones from my sons. I was pleased. I got a cheque from my loving parents which is always welcome. The post also brought herself good news on an exam. People texted (sample from my brother: “Hey Anne happy birthday… Hope you have a brilliant day…. Am in France at the moment will call when I get back. Any requests for presents….A Chamonix stick of rock will hardly cut it I suppose”), emailed and called. Mr. Waffle got me more Persephone books and a print out of my blog which I really wanted in case the internet ever died. Are you mocking me?

That, right there, is the reason I haven’t got a PhD:
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Note cunning juxtaposition with New Yorker book of cartoons. Unintentional.

Mr. Waffle and I spent the day together. We went for a walk in the Wicklow Hills which was damp but not unpleasantly so.

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We went out to dinner to a surprise location and we arrived home about 15 minutes ago to find all the children still up so I thought I would update my blog.

Yet another very satisfactory birthday. Every birthday, about now, I realise that Mr. Waffle’s birthday is on March 19 and I have nothing planned. It can cast a pall on the end of any successful day, I can tell you. Poor Mr. Waffle.

Romance

9 March, 2017 at 8:26 pm by belgianwaffle

The Saturday before Valentine’s Day, Mr. Waffle said to me, “Tuesday, can we declare a truce?” “Tuesday,” I said wildly, “what’s happening on Tuesday.” Our lives are filled with logistics and I was worried I’d missed some. “Valentine’s Day,” he said. “God, yes, a truce,” I agreed. I was not therefore entirely delighted when on the morning of February 14, Mr. Waffle presented me with pink card with a heart on it emblazoned with the words, “To my darling wife”. I opened it up, “Did you read it carefully?” I asked. “It’s just that on the inside it says ‘Happy Birthday'”. Oh, yes, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Weekend

4 March, 2017 at 8:01 pm by belgianwaffle

Our weekends are logistically challenging at the moment. Daniel has a match on Saturday mornings, usually in a distant location and Michael has a course in town from 1.15 to 2.45. Herself has a course, on the other side of town from 12.15 to 2.15.

A couple of weekends ago was not untypical. Daniel had a match in Howth which is brutally awkward to get to. Mr. Waffle took Dan and the neighbour’s child out to the GAA club. The pitch is on a high outcrop overlooking the sea which, as Mr. Waffle pointed out must be beautiful on a warm summer’s day but on a sleety, freezing day in February, it was nothing to write home about. Our neighbour’s child is very slender and quite fragile looking (though handy at gaelic games despite appearances to the contrary). He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt when he turned up at our house. “Would he like a tracksuit?” we wondered. No he would not as he had underarmour and he pulled it down to mid-thigh as he spoke. Frankly, we didn’t feel it would cut the mustard. When they got to Howth, the neighbour’s child went in goal. Sadly, our team was being flattened* and he was very busy in goal. So busy in fact that even though he now conceded that he would quite like to put on the tracksuit bottoms, there wasn’t a moment’s quiet form him to do so. Eventually, he got a knock to the head and had to come off which may have been a mercy. Mr. Waffle took the visibly shivering child into the club house and got him into the tracksuit and plied him with hot chocolate and crisps and he seems to have been no worse for the experience.

Meanwhile back in the city, I was looking out glumly at the rain. The Princess was getting the bus into town and wasn’t quite sure where her venue was. I volunteered to go with her leaving Michael home alone. She and I got the bus in together and then I went to get the bus home but due to extensive works on the new city centre tram line was utterly unable to find the bus stop for the return leg for a surprising length of time. I was consequently both late and very damp when I got home to pick up Michael. We rushed into our rain gear and cycled into his course. Then I cycled off to her course and showed her where the bus stop had moved to, put her on the bus, cycled back to Michael’s course, cycled home with him, peeled off my damp clothes and stayed at home for the rest of the day a shadow of my former self.

If I had known in my 20s what was coming, I would have enjoyed those long, relaxed weekend brunches even more.

*Daniel got man of the match as he is a child who does not give up even under the most daunting of circumstances. I was pleased for him, it was all that could be salvaged from a rather grim experience overall.

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.

L’Actualité Dans Toute Sa Majesté

12 January, 2017 at 6:16 pm by belgianwaffle

When we lived in Belgium, I used to occasionally buy and read “Royals” magazine. The clue is in the title; it goes large on the Belgian royal family but all of the European royals feature from time to time (the Grimaldis are my absolute favourites; what a family) and sometimes more exotic royals from Asia or the Middle East. I used to read it in a post-modern, ironic way and, because it’s in French, it’s clearly not the same as reading, say, “Hello” magazine which I am obviously too lofty to read.

Mr. Waffle goes to Brussels for work from time to time and on his return he often picks me up a (post-modern, ironic) copy of “Royals” magazine. Inspired by his success he got me a subscription to 12 months of “Royals” magazine last Christmas. I have to tell you I was not delighted, I felt I’d tipped over from post-modern, ironic to weird middle-aged Belgian royalist lady. Anyway 12 months later, my subscription has finally expired. If you need to know anything about the Belgian royal family, ask me now. While I have to say that I enjoyed it more than I expected to, I am glad to have reverted to being an occasional consumer of Belgian royal family news rather than the Irish expert on Prince Laurent’s latest quirk.

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There’s Still a Mountain to Climb

8 January, 2017 at 6:03 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle was up with Daniel at the GAA club before Christmas. A number of players from the women’s and men’s county teams were there to talk to the children and do some training with them. There were about 500 boys and girls there.

One of the Dublin team players said to the children, “Who’s the best at handstands?” Mr. Waffle said all of the boys immediately put their hands in the air. Very few girls’ hands went up. Instead, the girls started talking amongst themselves, “Are you the best? No, I’m not the best, maybe X is the best.” And so on. Ironically, given that far more of the girls are doing gymnastics (yes, a gendered space that), de facto it was likely that far more of the girls could do handstands. Capacity doesn’t really seem to matter in these contexts though, does it?

Definitely Maybe

30 November, 2016 at 11:37 pm by belgianwaffle

The residents’ association met for their AGM this evening and Mr. Waffle retired as chairman after two years of faithful service. Unfortunately, no one volunteered to take his place. So it is to be considered again at the next meeting. Do you think this will end well?

In other news, it is the end of November. I have made it through another NaBloPoMo. If you have stuck with me, thank you. I have to tell you, I see quiet times ahead on the blogging front in the immediate future.

And, no, I still haven’t done that 1,500 word essay. Thanks for asking.


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