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17 November, 2015 at 7:06 pm by belgianwaffle

It was wet and windy today. I had a half day. Michael was home sick. Mr. Waffle minded him in the morning and I had him in the afternoon. I abandoned him to drive into school and pick up Daniel (bike in the boot) and then when I had dropped Daniel, I went in search of herself (communication continues to be challenging – the phone Santa got her for Christmas is unsatisfactory). I found her almost home, her little helmet bobbing along as she walked by the nearby shops. She had been blown off her bike. She had a bloody knee but no serious injury was sustained except to her dignity.

Mr. Waffle arrived in at 6, also windswept and disappointed that his soccer was called off. There’s enthusiasm.

45,000 homes are without electricity though thankfully not ours (although we did lose the internet there for about an hour, so, you know, we could empathise). I lit the fire and made biscuits. Now we are about to eat them.

It’s a day for staying in.


Dispatches from the Classroom

11 November, 2015 at 10:02 pm by belgianwaffle

As part of the new dispensation at secondary school, herself has got an iPad (I know). This has brought unexpected benefits. Before the iPad came into our lives, I used to send emails to my children and they went into the void. Now at least my emails to her are answered and she sends me some of her own.

I got this from her today.

To: Me
From: Herself
Subject: Rosa ist nicht eine Mädchenfarbe

Rosa ist eine Mädchenfarbe

It’s from her German textbook. I was pleased that my consciousness raising work has not been wasted. I showed it to her father this evening and he said, “In this context it would be Rosa ist keine Mädchenfarbe“. Arguably, he is missing the broader point. I must, however, concede that here in the house of pedantry we regularly interrupt compelling arguments to point out grammatical errors which often goes over poorly with those making the compelling arguments.

In other news from herself, she has a new gym teacher (part of the general rotation of teachers and subjects, apparently). They did yoga today. She tells me that it is “extremely physically taxing”.


A Misunderstanding

5 November, 2015 at 11:21 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Oh no, next Sunday, is going to be a long mass.
Me: Why do you say that?
Michael: Whenever it says on my calendar that it is a special occasion, there’s always a long mass.
Me [puzzled]: What does it say on your calendar?
Him: Remembrance Sunday.
Mr. Waffle: Ah, you’ll find that’s not celebrated here.

Nuacht an Lae

3 November, 2015 at 10:00 pm by belgianwaffle

I collected the boys from school today. As I shepherded my precious children along on their bikes, I was conscious that I was more than usually precarious on my own. Features for my added comfort included:

A basket which was very wobbly [I tried to get it fixed on Saturday but local bike shop had only one basket in stock and he didn’t recommend it – why, we ask ourselves] and liable to tip out its contents [in this case, one loose set of keys, one handbag, one long cylinder of wrapping paper and one bicycle lock] on the slightest provocation; and

Two heavy children’s schoolbags tied, reasonably securely, to the back carrier.

As I was turning right into heavy traffic my bike stopped moving. As the traffic was more or less at a standstill this wasn’t as awkward as it might have been and, happily, I didn’t fall over. I lifted up my, heavy, steed and moved to the side of the road. A strap from one of the school bags had got caught in the chain. As the bike is one which has a back pedal brake, extracting it was quite difficult and lengthy and made me and the strap absolutely filthy.

Once extracted, we then went home like the wind. I had undertaken to Herself that I would collect her from school at 3.35 in the car but warned that we might be a little late. This was before I realised that the boys’ extra-curricular courses started today [tin whistle and art, respectively, so far so good, tin whistle supplied, mercifully] and that they wouldn’t be out of school until 3.30 rather than 2.30 as usual. And then they took ages to emerge and I did not speed our passage home with my bicycle related difficulties.

I had no way of communicating with my first born other than by email [though as she informed me, a trifle coldly, I thought, I could have phoned the school] and although I sent her a mail saying that I would be late she only got it after 4 at which point she had been waiting for a while. I finally turned up at 4.15 the picture of guilt. How well I remember my mother doing the same thing to me.  Alas.

Then this evening is filled with a different flavour of guilt (procrastinator’s guilt – are you familiar with this?) as I am avoiding packing for a trip to Cork with the family at the weekend for my sister’s birthday and for a work trip on Thursday and Friday. The plan is that my loving family will collect me at the station on Friday evening and we will drive to Cork. The logistics of packing for both events simultaneously is too much, so I have put it off until tomorrow which I know to be a mistake. Don’t mock the afflicted. Also, I have requirements for the children’s clothing for their aunt’s [significant] birthday party. I think everyone will need more information than, “Pack something nice to wear” or I will be sadly disappointed. And, of course, I have nothing to wear myself.

Still it could be worse, poor Mr. Waffle is at the AGM of the Residents’ Committee. He went off this evening looking very glum.

This is the kind of exciting news that posting every day brings.  For completeness, have a picture of my sons disappearing into the fog on their bicycles this morning.


I’ve been to Paradise but I’ve never been to Meath*

2 November, 2015 at 11:19 pm by belgianwaffle

Yesterday, Mr. Waffle’s brother and his wife took our children and theirs to Tayto park. The park named after a potato crisp which proves that stereotypes are there for a reason.

It’s in Meath just on the outskirts of greater Dublin. The original plan was that we would rendez-vous at Tayto Park. Mr. Waffle and I spent quite a while trying to work out what to do near Tayto park in November and rapidly came to the conclusion that our best option after dropping the children would be to turn tail and go home. Happily, the cousins came in two cars and collected our children from home and dropped them back.

With a whole afternoon on our hands, we decided to go out to Howth for lunch and a walk. We went to the pier for lunch. Recession? It is over. We went to Aqua; next available table for two? 3.45.

[Conversation about Aqua at my bookclub this evening:

Friend A: It’s amazing.
Me: Maybe, but we didn’t get in.
Friend B: Yeah the food is fantastic.
Me: Yes, but we didn’t get in.
Friend A: And the view out is wonderful.]

We eventually found a table at another spot after queuing for a bit. Yes, really. We had to fight off some queue jumpers but, egged on by the woman behind us in the queue, we secured our table eventually. The minute we finished, about 2.15, two other enthusiastic diners hopped into our chairs.

The place was awash with tourists. Really, who says, “Long weekend in November, let’s go to Dublin!” Lots of people it transpires, almost all of them French, and fortune definitely favoured them, the weather has been delightful and yesterday it was so mild and sunny that lots of people were wearing shorts.

We then went off for our walk around the Hill of Howth which was pleasant but definitely busy. It was misty but pretty.


As we went around, a solitary Dutchman approached us from the opposite direction.  He began declaiming.  Initially, we thought he was speaking to someone else, but no he was addressing us.  He said, irritably “If you go on, maybe six headlands, all the same, misty and then a lighthouse.  About an hour’s walk and all the same.” Then he stalked off.  “Was he comparing it unfavourably to all the cliffs in Holland?” we thought nastily.  In any event, he clearly had no idea what the weather is normally like in Ireland in November or he would have been just delighted with his lot.

The children were returned to us at tea time happy to have done all manner of terrifying things including eating their own weight in crisps.

A satisfactory Sunday all round.

*If you are unfamiliar with the Dustin the Turkey number which inspired this title, may I direct your attention here.

Playing Hard Ball at the Negotiating Table

8 September, 2015 at 12:57 am by belgianwaffle

We have decided to reconsider pocket money amounts for the children in exchange for extra work around the house. We also decided to close the gap between what the boys get and what their sister gets as this has caused no end of grief all year.

Mr. Waffle made a first pass at negotiations at the weekend while I was away. The boys were delighted. Mr. Waffle texted me as follows in relation to herself:

First meeting of pocket money committee over dinner. [Herself] rejected management proposals – wants greater differential or less productivity. We may have to go to plenary.

I will keep you appraised of developments.

Happy Anniversary

29 July, 2015 at 3:12 pm by belgianwaffle

We got married 14 years ago yesterday on the only fine Saturday in 2001. And we’re still married. Pretty good going.

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