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Fighting the Patriarchy

4 December, 2016 at 6:42 pm by belgianwaffle

My brother came to stay last night. He’s not a big believer in feminism; I feel if at this point my sister, my mother and I have failed to convince him, then he’s a lost cause. Herself thinks that this is a paltry attitude and seizes every chance to point out to him the error of his ways (this is a child who accuses me of being an instrument of the patriarchy when I say that green is a nice colour on her – perhaps I have done my work too well here). Anyhow, she hauled him over the coals and routed him comprehensively before breakfast.

I can’t help feeling, therefore, that it was unfortunate that, in his presence, she had to troop up to the altar this morning to do the second reading which included the line:

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed.

In other news, I have finally finished the wretched essay.

Being Irish

6 October, 2016 at 8:57 pm by belgianwaffle

Over the summer, two rowers from west Cork won silver medals at the Olympics. The nation went crazy. I did not as I was on my summer holidays in Brittany and was not swept up in the madness.

I was on the phone to my sister who told me all about it.

Me (as the tale concluded): V. exciting. Do we know them at all as they are from Cork and we are honour bound to have a connection to all Cork people?
Her: Well, no, but their aunt is in my pilates class.

Some kind of point proved here, I feel.

Irresistible Force Meets Immovable Object

2 August, 2016 at 10:41 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself likes to argue and debate. So does my brother. She is a feminist. Despite the best efforts of three generations (his mother, his aunt, his sisters, his niece) my brother remains resistant to the idea that discrimination against women exists in any form in Ireland. He and I have been arguing about this for around 30 years and I have largely given up. Herself is made of sterner stuff. Also she and my brother really seem to enjoy the vigourous cut and thrust of debate whereas I just get cross.

In my new back seat role, I enjoyed this dispatch from the front line.

From: Herself
To: Me
Subject: If The Media Wrote About Theresa May’s Husband The Way They Write About Samantha Cameron

Am having an argument with Uncle Dan about whether institutionalised sexism exists.

Rug – Further Developments

10 February, 2016 at 8:56 pm by belgianwaffle

So, I went to Cork at the end of January and collected the rug. It was packed into an impressively small parcel:


I was able to transport it to Dublin by train with the aid of my sister’s suitcase:


I have to say that it looks pretty impressive now that it is installed:


The children and the cat absolutely and unreservedly love it and spend a lot of time digging their toes/claws into it.

I love it too. However, it brings to crisis point our need for new curtains, sofa and armchairs. When we moved into the house in 2013, we kept the faded pink regency stripe curtains and the orange chintz furniture as a stop gap measure. Already the existing colour combination was exciting but the addition of the rug has tipped us over the edge. You may not have fully appreciated this from the last photo. Have a look at this photo which still doesn’t do justice to the real thing:


It’s even more thrilling when the curtains are closed. I think the sofa will have to be first to go – at least the curtains aren’t uncomfortable.

More home decorating news as we get it.


25 January, 2016 at 6:15 pm by belgianwaffle

My sister was in India for work last week and bought me another new rug, She got me a lovely one for the hall a couple of years ago and it is lasting beautifully.


This new one which is winging its way from India as I type is much bigger though. I am filled with excitement and suitably grateful.

She said to me that she had bought the rug but I wouldn’t get any big presents until I was 50. I was cast down (though still very grateful) but then cheered at the thought that 50 wasn’t as far away as it once was. And then cast down again at the thought that 50 wasn’t as far away as it once was. It was a roller coaster, I can tell you.

I am going to Cork at the weekend to rescue the rug and bring it back to Dublin. Photos to follow. Hold on to your hats there.

Updated to add – it arrived in Cork yesterday, impressively packed.

Let It Go

27 November, 2015 at 11:09 pm by belgianwaffle

I am sitting here in wonder. My brother has never heard of the song “Let It Go”. He’s firmly refusing to believe it’s famous. I’m refusing to believe that he hasn’t heard it. I’ve sung it for him in English, French and Dutch (that’s how I roll). Very reluctantly, he has conceded that the fact that the version he looked at on YouTube has 450 million likes might mean that some other people are aware of this obscure number.

Happy Birthday

9 November, 2015 at 10:27 pm by belgianwaffle

My sister is 40 today. She had a party at the weekend in Cork (when all of my children were clean at the same time) but today is the actual day. When your younger sister turns 40 it doesn’t seem as old as it once was.

I was six when my sister was born and for years, I was just way older than her and had no interest in her concerns. When she was six, I was starting secondary school. When she was twelve, I was in college. She and my brother were great buddies uniting in opposition to my will. I was loftily above their concerns.

When she was very small, she was quite hard to understand and I do remember that my brother and I – who understood her with no difficulty – undertook to translate her utterances to our parents. This was a very frustrating experience for her as we said “No, she doesn’t want any cake, she says we can share it.” Perhaps as a consequence of her siblings being so vile, she became very good at hoarding things. Her sweets lasted longer than ours. She was a great saver. It was a running joke in the family that she still had her communion money – until quite recently, actually. But she was always really generous. She shared her sweets when we had finished ours.

She was very stubborn. Once on a camping trip to France when she was a small girl, she announced that she was going home in response to some spat with my parents. She stalked off furiously. My father looked up from his paper and, pointing in the opposite direction said, “Cork is that way.” She turned on her heel and walked determinedly that way. I am not quite sure how my parents got her to come back. She was also very responsible. She learned to cook early and she is still a really wonderful cook. From a very young age, she was in charge of cooking and shopping when my parents were away. I might have been in college but she was competent (though when the cat had kittens in the hot press while my parents were away, I was still the one who had to deal with it – I didn’t abrogate all responsibility).

Nearly seven years is a big age gap until your 20s but then we started to do things together. We went on holidays. I visited her in Plymouth where she had her first job. I remember having a lovely time. We took a sea tractor and went to Burgh Island for dinner. We had cream teas and we went swimming a lot [she hates going to beaches but she is very obliging].

As the years have gone on, I have appreciated her more and more. I speak to her almost every day. She gives great advice, she is really helpful and kind. My children love her and not just because she is extraordinarily generous to them. She is immensely reliable and obliging.

I know that people who haven’t sisters lead perfectly happy and fulfilled lives (like my firstborn) but I think I am very lucky to have my sister. I love to see her, I love to talk to her and I have great fun with her. We have a lifetime in common and a shared understanding of all kinds of things. She has a unique position in my world and it would be so much poorer without her.

So a very happy birthday to my wonderful sister and may she have many, many more of them.

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