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Archive for January, 2011


30 January, 2011 at 8:56 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: Michael, stop picking your nose and eating it. It’s disgusting.
Him (extending finger): How do you know, you haven’t tried it.

Possibly, You Had To Be There

29 January, 2011 at 11:38 pm by belgianwaffle

I was at a very entertaining dinner party recently. As my fellow diners included, inter alia, someone who works for the IMF and a banker, there was an explicit agreement to steer clear of the bailout. Instead, we talked about books which was quite lovely. At one point our hostess went round the table asking us to recommend a really, really good book that was worth reading (if you care, I said “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson) and not one but two people recommended “La Bête Humaine” by Zola. Our hostess, naturally interested, asked what it was about. There was a horrified silence. It was a long time ago. I did sympathise as I often only retain the vaguest impression of what I have read but still. Vaguely reminiscent of David Lodge’s “humiliation“.

She’s Not Dead

28 January, 2011 at 11:29 pm by belgianwaffle

January has not been a great month, so far. My loving husband and I have both been very busy at work. In addition we have encountered, in our extended circle, grim deaths, redundancy, unemployment, dissolution of a working partnership and the country collapsing around our ears. And I haven’t even mentioned the funerals. Irish people go to a lot of funerals and January is peak time for that.

Then, last Thursday, the wretched cat went missing – she had never been more than 4 hours away from the next meal before. We looked and we looked but, by Sunday, we knew we were doomed. The Princess was distraught. It seemed extraordinary that a small, fat, bad-tempered ball of fur could provoke so much misery. Then, on Monday, at lunch time, without the slightest attempt at explanation, the cat turned up, grubby and hungry and, apparently, glad to be back. Let us trust that this means our luck is turning.

Christian Forgiveness

27 January, 2011 at 11:05 pm by belgianwaffle

Over Christmas, I went to the local church in the very small parish near where we stayed. The Christmas collection had been stolen on Christmas afternoon while the families of the parish were having their Christmas dinners. At this point, I expected some noble words about loving the sinner and hating the sin and that we should pray for the thief who must be an unhappy person. Instead the priest advised parishioners to lock their doors and give particularly generously to the collection. Somehow unsatisfying.

What Goes Around Comes Around

26 January, 2011 at 10:58 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: How would you like it, if I threw your hand mirror in the bin?
Me: I wouldn’t like it at all, now put it back in my bedroom please.
Him (waving the mirror menacingly): Then STOP putting my stuff in the bin.

Pedants’ Corner

25 January, 2011 at 10:56 pm by belgianwaffle

Spotted on the way to work this morning: a van emblazoned with the words “Clean and Glean – Window Cleaners”. Hands up, if you think that they know what glean means. This should separate the wheat from the chaff.

What are we to make of this?

21 January, 2011 at 10:13 pm by belgianwaffle

When I came home from work, Michael looked up from what he was doing and said, “Mum, the babysitter kicked me.” He then went back about his business. I protested feebly, “Don’t call O “the babysitter” Michael, she has a name.” And then I turned to O and asked “Ahem, did you, eh, you know, eh…” to which she said, no.

Nevertheless, the children have not taken a shine to her and, certainly, she is not as good as her predecessor who was terrific. But she seems ok. And she will be finishing in the next couple of months in any event to go back to France for the ski season. So, I suppose we will tough it out.

I discovered that the children have other plans. The boys’ teacher took me aside this morning. She said that the boys had told her that they were working on a secret plan developed by their sister. At her signal they were to scream and only to stop when she picked up the cat. I see a number of difficulties here including both the objection of the cat and the Princess’s choice of co-conspirators. Still, I am experiencing definite unease. This evening the Princess asked me why I can’t sack the babysitter.

Oh dear. Do you think that the babysitter will tough it out?

A Neighbour’s Child

20 January, 2011 at 10:00 pm by belgianwaffle

While driving through Co. Limerick to visit my uncle over Christmas, my mother and I had the following conversation.

Her: You know that woman who had an affair with an English politician?
[Here I spare you details of how we whittled down the list of potential candidates until we came to Christine Keeler]
Me: Yes.
Her: Her people come from in there [pointing through hedge at farmland].
Me: I thought she was English.
Her: Well, yes, but her people were from here, her aunt was the reverend mother in Charleville.

I thought that you would like to know.


19 January, 2011 at 9:46 pm by belgianwaffle

Background: The Government is spectacularly unpopular even by the standards of incumbent governments. A general election looms.

A young man came to the door the other night campaigning for one of the parties in Government. He looked damp but smiled gamely. My withers were wrung. “How has it been?” I asked. “Not as bad as I expected,” he said enthusiastically, “nobody has kicked me yet.” He handed me a leaflet extolling the virtues of his candidate. The Princess surveying this new form of doorstep interaction somewhat dubiously asked me, “Should I get your purse, do you want to give him a tip?” “All donations welcome,” replied our undaunted campaigner.

How Do Children Survive to Adulthood?

18 January, 2011 at 9:50 pm by belgianwaffle

I found the mug that the children use for rinsing out after brushing their teeth on top of the toilet cistern. “Why is it there?” I asked the children. The Princess explained. Apparently the cleaner had used a new exciting and particularly foamy disinfectant in the toilet. Michael had used the mug to scoop out the foam and play with it. Words fail me.


17 January, 2011 at 8:40 pm by belgianwaffle

The Irish Times delivers its newspaper to your door on Saturday morning if you pay €1 extra per paper for the privilege. I decided to give Mr. Waffle a subscription to Saturday’s Irish Times for Christmas. Like all the best presents, there was something in it for me also.

The first Saturday of the year was January 1. Did the Irish Times come? No, it did not. During the week, I called. Although I had experienced no difficulty in requesting and paying for my subscription, no one was available to answer my call about actually receiving it. They said that they would call me back, if I left a message. I left a message. Did they call me back? No, they did not.

The second Saturday of the year was January 8. Did the Irish Times come? No, it did not. I had thought that New Year’s day might have been an aberration. Clearly not. I emailed on Saturday, January 8, politely but firmly asking where my paper might be. On Wednesday, which I think you will agree, is not immediately, I received the following reply:

Hi Anne,

Sorry for the delay getting back to you and for the missed delivery last
Saturday. Our driver had some difficulty locating your address.

I have now found it on google maps and will pass directions to him. He
will make sure that your delivery is made next Saturday and each
Saturday after that. I have credited your account for these 2 days. This
will add 2 additional deliveries onto your subscription when it is

Please give me a call if there are any further problems.


Does it strike you that someone might have looked at Google maps at some point after 17 December when they took the money from my account and before January 12 by which point they had missed two deliveries? Never mind, we soldier on. My constant harping about this has come to the attention of the children and now every time we pass blameless Evening Herald vendors on the street, Michael asks, “Is that the man who took your money and didn’t give you your paper?”

The third Saturday of the year was January 16. Did the Irish Times come? No, it did not. I have sent an email to my contact. I await hearing.

In the interim, I might advise strongly against going for the Irish Times delivery service which at €1 a pop is expensive and, worse, doesn’t appear to actually deliver the promised service. And it’s not as though I didn’t already have many reasons to hate the Irish Times.


16 January, 2011 at 8:38 pm by belgianwaffle

Last night, the Princess had a friend to stay. All the children went to bed at 9 o’clock. At 10.00 we trapped the boys in our bed and they finally went to sleep. At about 10.30 a very loud alarm in a local municipal facility went off. Phone calls to authorities led to the information that nobody could turn it off. The Princess and her friend came downstairs to complain about the noise. We said that they could sleep in our bed (at the back of the house). We transferred the sleeping boys back to their own beds from ours and in hopped the girls. At 11.30 we decanted the girls and were finally able to get into our own bed. We were delighted. True, four other people had already slept in it that evening, but parents have low standards.

Oh yeah, while we were waiting to get to bed, appropriately enough, we watched the DVD box set of “Outnumbered” which is distressingly accurate.


14 January, 2011 at 11:50 pm by belgianwaffle

Christmas 2007 – Bike 1

St Nicolas - Antwerp Zoo 032

Christmas 2010 – Bike 2



13 January, 2011 at 10:15 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess was going through the wastepaper basket for her own obscure reasons this morning.

Her: Why did you throw this out?
Me: Because it’s last year’s telephone directory.
Her: But I want it.


Her: Look at this receipt. It’s for books; including the Percy Jackson book I got from Santa. Does this mean that Mummy and Daddy are really Santa?

Anguished pause.

Me: No, it means that we bought that book as a present for you but when we saw that Santa had bought it we gave it away to someone else.

It’s like living with bloody Sherlock Holmes.

Is Everything Genetic?

12 January, 2011 at 12:23 am by belgianwaffle

Daniel: I’m the best in the class at Irish dancing.
Me: Good for you.
Daniel (after some reflection): The best except for S.
Me: Well, you know, S’s mother is a dancer, so you would expect him to be good at dancing.
Daniel: Am I good at what you do Mummy?
Me: Well, um, you probably have latent middle manager skills.

New Year’s Resolution

9 January, 2011 at 10:39 pm by belgianwaffle

To read the pile of books beside my bed:

Almost all of the tomes are improving. There are many worthy presents (I did not buy “Great Irish Lives” myself), a few bookclub books I still haven’t finished (“33 Moments of Happiness”, I have been looking at you since 1998) and things I found in the bargain basement in Hodges Figgis that I knew, even at the time of purchase, were going to prove challenging (“Ladysmith”, really, why?).

I aim to polish them all off. Except for “Map of the Nation” which is Mr. Waffle’s and I am not going to read it, I know my limitations. And Saki, Father Brown and Myles are what I read at night when I have nothing else on and they are going to stay there forever but everything else is fair game.


8 January, 2011 at 5:01 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess cycled without training wheels today. She got the hang of it surprisingly quickly but maybe that’s because she is a little older than children often are when they get behind the handlebars for the first time. For my money, a more exciting moment than when she first walked. Unfortunately, I can’t remember when she first walked so this may contribute to my reaching this conclusion.


On the 12th day of Christmas

6 January, 2011 at 10:18 pm by belgianwaffle

A very happy new year to you. We have been celebrating Christmas offline. Santa came. Everyone got lots of presents. We visited Mr. Waffle’s parents. We visited my parents. We went to our friends’ house in East Cork which has neither computers nor television. We snuck up to Dublin for a new year’s eve dinner leaving my parents and siblings to the mercy of our children. We have no news. I hope that your Christmas was equally delightful and uneventful. Tomorrow the Christmas tree comes down and normal life resumes on Monday.

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