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Archive for November, 2011

Watching Paint Dry

30 November, 2011 at 10:38 pm by belgianwaffle

I do my online shopping with Superquinn on a Wednesday night. The website never ceases to amaze me. For some reason they have scorned Google’s customised search options to give you their own more quirky approach.

A couple of sample items from tonight’s list:

Kitchen Paper
A search under kitchen paper reveals nothing but yet, somehow, I feel that there must be some kitchen paper in the Superquinn empire. Aha, I am not fooled, I try “kitchen towels” nothing. Using quite amazing cunning, I try “kitchen towel’s”. Bingo. But you know, maybe it would be worth putting them under “kitchen towels” as well, just for those people who don’t know about the obligation to put an apostrophe in all plurals.

Toilet Paper
There is no toilet paper. Ah no, a novice’s mistake, I should have searched under “toilet tissue” which is obvious really.

Washing-up liquid
Searching washing-up liquid gives a paltry few results. Try “Fairy” though and you hit the jackpot.

Cocoa
Cocoa was under cocoa as, mysteriously, were air fresheners.

Double Cream
This returned two items: double cream and “Oil Of Olay Double action Night Cream Sensitive (50 Millilitre)” If you were looking for night cream would you look under double cream? Nope, didn’t think so.

Corn Flakes
Sole item returned: “Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes Portion Pack (35 Gram)” Well that’s not going to feed a family of five for a week is it?

Aren’t we all glad NaBloPoMo is over?

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

29 November, 2011 at 10:06 pm by belgianwaffle

We had potatoes from the school garden for dinner. It’s not often you get to eat a potato reared in the centre of a big city. They were very nice thank you. Organic but with a significant exposure to exhaust fumes.

Ancient Rome

28 November, 2011 at 9:55 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself is doing a project on ancient Rome at school. She’s really enjoying it and has already stripped our local library of its books on Rome and cost us a fortune in printer ink. So you can imagine that I was very pleased when this popped into my inbox last week:

My Museum: A Roman Invasion!

This Sunday, Legion Ireland-the Roman Military History Society of Ireland, will rally their troops and invade the first floor of the National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology! The R.M.S.I. are a society dedicated to portraying the Roman Army and it’s Celtic allies and foes in the first century AD. They use highly accurate reproductions of the equipment and dress of the first century Imperial Army and drill and display, through the use of Latin.

Drop-in to speak with them, try their swords and helmets on for size, explore our Life and Death in Ancient Rome exhibition or have a go at hand-to-hand combat and drill formations!

All ages welcome.

Free of charge!
www.museum.ie
www.romanarmy.ie

Kind regards,

Education and Outreach Department
National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology
Kildare Street
Dublin 2

We took ourselves off on Sunday. It was a qualified success with the target audience. She talked to the lads in their Roman gear and looked at their extensive kit. She played “Nine Men’s Morris” with a nice legionary and had a go rolling his bones. However, she didn’t have half as much fun as her brothers who spent a good three quarters of an hour in gladiatorial combat directed by a man in a tunic.

My Husband Says I’m Obsessive Compulsive

27 November, 2011 at 9:41 pm by belgianwaffle

Why would he say that?
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Not for Joining

26 November, 2011 at 6:45 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself is keen to drop out of tennis lessons. You will remember that she left ballet and that she no longer comes to GAA training. On the plus side she likes cycling and her swimming is improving. The coach has offered to give her lessons alone as he thinks that she feels that the other children are better than her and this is why she wants to give up. Incidentally, this is not the case, they are all quite dreadful. She has agreed to give this a go and we will monitor progress.

I am reminded of our friend M who said recently that when he was a child, he just wanted to read “Swallows and Amazons” in peace but his parents kept trying to drag him out for sailing lessons. Maybe I should leave her in peace.

The Poison Pudding

25 November, 2011 at 11:15 pm by belgianwaffle

I decided to make a plum pudding for the first time this year. I got a recipe in the paper and I bought the (lots and lots of) ingredients.

On Friday night I soaked the fruit in stout and brandy.

On Saturday I added the other ingredients. On Saturday afternoon, I realised that I would need some pudding basins.

On Monday, Mr. Waffle ran plastic pudding basins to ground for me.

On Tuesday, I realised that I needed ceramic basins but, after consultation with my sister, I shoved the plastic basin in the oven and put it in a roasting tin of boiling water for three hours. Then I lost my nerve and took it out. The plastic bowl was very, very hot but not melted. The middle of the pudding was cold.

On Wednesday, I put the pudding gloop in a metal pot and put it in the oven in a basin of water for an hour and then I lost my nerve and took it out – largely still cold – re-transferred it the pudding bowl and stuck it in the fridge.

On Thursday I went to the shops to buy a steamer. I could not find one large enough for my pudding bowl. I bought one of those metal things you steam vegetables on. I put it in the bottom of a large pot over a couple of centimetres of water over a low heat. I went out to dinner with a friend and instructed Mr. Waffle to make sure that the water was topped up. I came home to find Mr. Waffle had gone to bed and my pudding was sitting in the pot up to its neck in tepid water (tepid as he had turned off the heat when he went to bed). My instructions were, he explained, unclear also, he had three children to feed and put to bed. And the wretched thing still wasn’t cooked even after being boiled for three hours.

It’s sitting in the fridge as I write. I am going to make a last ditch attempt at steaming in the morning. Do you think that heating gently then cooling several times over a period of a week is going to mean that everyone who eats it will get gastroenteritis? Those of you who studied home economics might raise your hands first.

Family Photos

24 November, 2011 at 10:24 pm by belgianwaffle

I found this confirmation picture of myself the other night. The Princess has already condemned my dress sense, so there is no need to add your voice to hers -in my defence, it was 1981 and I was 12. What she didn’t notice was how like 12 year old me she looks. When you look at my picture side by side with this picture of herself from over the summer, I think you can definitely see a resemblance. Though I seem to have been happier and cleaner. And, also, I have a pointier chin.
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And here’s a picture of my mother as a little girl; it’s a bit difficult to make out but I think she looks somewhat like us as well. I’ve also posted the rather glamourous one taken of her when she got her degree – people, look, white gloves. I have never, alas, looked like that.
img017 img015

And here’s a final pair: pictures of my paternal grandmother and my great aunt. In the older one, my grandmother is on the right (ah, the pointy chin explained). And in the other picture are the same women photographed by my father in the sixties; there, my grandmother is on the left and my great aunt is on the right. Isn’t that nice?
img034aimg035

That’s probably enough for you for one night.

Outsourcing

23 November, 2011 at 8:54 pm by belgianwaffle

I think it was Kara who recommended to me the radio show “This American Life” which I really love. The other day, they had an introductory piece about prime numbers which you can listen to here should you be so inclined. I told Mr. Waffle about this and he was interested and did some research the fruits of which I give you here. Because I can.

Hunt for prime numbers: the puzzle was set by Mercenne – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mersenne_prime. The breakthrough you mention was made by Édouard Lucas – see link here. [Actually not, but never mind, this is interesting all by itself].

Wikipedia says “In 1857, at age 15, Lucas began testing the primality of 2127 − 1 by hand, using Lucas Sequences. In 1876, after 19 years of testing,[4] he finally proved that 2127 − 1 was prime; this would remain the largest known Mersenne prime for three-quarters of a century. This may stand forever as the largest prime number proven by hand.”

Footnote 4 above is a link to another web site which says
“Lucas died under unusual circumstances. A banquet waiter dropped a plate and a broken piece flew up and cut him on the cheek. He passed away a few days later from a bacterial infection (erysipelas). ”

PS a more exciting account of his death is on http://mirrorsoferis.com/ds/013container.html

” … he was the guest of honor at a meeting of the Association française pour l’avancement des sciences — when he was savagely, fatally, assaulted.

A waiter — whose face no-one present saw, whose escape no hand nor word thought to obstruct — came up behind Lucas, and dropped a tray full of heavy crockery on his head. Lucas’s skull was crushed, he was rendered unconscious without the opportunity to say a single word; and though the crushing itself was not fatal, septicemia killed him a few days later. He never regained consciousness.”

Another French site offers yet a third version of his death

“Lucas est mort au cours d’un banquet : une assiette portant un couteau est tombée et lui a transpercé la gorge.”

A further site repeats the crockery theory with an extract from the Petit Moniteur Universel, 6 octobre 1891

“Sa mort a été occasionnée par un accident vulgaire. Dans un banquet auquel assistaient les membres du congrès, au cours d’une excursion en Provence, un domestique qui se trouvait derrière le siège de M. Edouard Lucas laissa tomber, par maladresse, une pile d’assiettes. Un éclat de porcelaine vint frapper à la joue M. Lucas et lui fit une blessure profonde par laquelle le sang s’échappa en abondance. Obligé de suspendre ses travaux, il rentra à Paris. Il s’alita, et bientôt se déclara l’érysipèle qui devait l’emporter. L’Université perd en lui l’un de ses plus brillants professeurs.”

Obviously

22 November, 2011 at 8:54 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: Daniel, why are you licking the ladder on the bunk bed?
Daniel: Because it tastes nice.

Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth

21 November, 2011 at 10:07 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle performed some service for Michael and I said, “Who is the best Daddy in the world?” Daniel was lying on the floor staring at the ceiling and, after some thought, decided to answer the question, “I don’t know, Uncle G maybe?”

Do you know the way to San Jose?

20 November, 2011 at 8:42 pm by belgianwaffle

My brother is still travelling around the Americas. He sends funny emails. They deserve a wider audience. Also, I’ve got nothing.

Hi folks,
Greetings from Costa Rica…the name of the place means rich coast in case ye were wondering. Having an amazing time landed in San Jose on Oct 31…the town I stayed in first is right beside the airport it’s called Alajuela and is the second city. From Alajuela I met a few people that had a car and we went to the Poas volcano….to see the raw ferocity of nature, unfortunately we could only hear it as the crater of the volcano was covered by dense cloud, in fact the visibility was so bad that I could barely see the picture of the volcano on the board beside the view point.

Next was into San Jose….I have a strange ambition in life to ask stupid questions (an ambition oddly unfulfilled by years of obsessive curiosity) like going into Tiffany’s in New York and asking for breakfast or asking someone how long the Camptown race track is or asking someone does it rain in southern California (although the latter was answered emphatically yes by mother nature during my visit there). So in the taxi to San Jose I was presented with the ideal opportunity to ask the driver ‘do you know the way to San Jose’ …….hoping for a fitting acknowledgement of my great wit instead I got a confused look and a reply ‘of course I know the way to San Jose I’m a local taxi driver’ I said you know the song attempting to back track…..negative…tried to change the subject for a way out but the increasingly uncomfortable situation ended up with me having to produce a rendition of the song which was even worse than the original if you can imagine that. The driver couldn’t produce a false laugh to conclude the episode ……finally I escaped the Irish way by talking about the weather.

Next stop was Montezuma on the Pacific coast….planned only to stay 2 days but ended up there a week, it was that kind of place. I took Spanish lessons for the week and made impressive progress albeit from a low base, so much so that I was able to spot the error in the name of the hotel where I stayed next, Casa tranquilo was the name, I questioned the owner why it wasn’t Casa Tranquila as casa was a feminine noun, it turns out I was right but that the incorrect name would be more catchy for the Gringo tourists. I also went surfing with somewhat less success, did manage to get standing on the board just about but with about as much control as a trainee teacher in a northside school.

I stayed in a really cool place in Montezuma called Luna llena (full moon). It was in the middle of the jungle which was amazing except for the time I woke up in the middle of the night to see a giant cockroach buzzing around, I’m afraid to say I left myself down badly; I was completely unable to retain my strong silent type composure, I eventually managed to kill the bug after a terrifying struggle. The mozzies also seemed to see my legs as an all you can eat buffet. Otherwise everything was brilliant met great people and had an absolute blast. The other big thing there was yoga, in new age speak the whole idea is to become one with el cuerpo and connect with the source, I’m afraid during my attempt at yoga the source remained distant, I listened to my body as instructed but my body answered back what the hell are you doing you muppet, I’m definitely in need of more enlightenment.

Next was inland to Monteverde which is a cloud forest, the big thing here is spotting wildlife in the forest. Day 1, got up at 5am for a bird watching trip, (you are thinking there is something drastically wrong here 5am me and bird watching could never inhabit the same sentence unless as a set up for a punch line or something, but no this is a statement of fact, I really did do this). We got to see some cool stuff including the Toucan from the Guinness commercial, I didn’t get any cool photos, spectacular wildlife shots are typically not captured by a sleep deprived, unskilled photographer with a severely mistreated compact camera. Also did a night hike and got to see a tarantula which was very impressive. At the moment I am in a place which is known for it’s active volcano…going to see the lava fields today, my knowledge of thermal landscapes has not been developed since Inter Cert Geography so there’s going to be some scope to learn something new I’d say……will report back.

What’s Hot/What’s Not

19 November, 2011 at 9:06 pm by belgianwaffle

My husband sent me this, because he loves me:
whats hot

Regular readers will recall that I mentioned last weekend that Monday night shopping was a “What’s Hot” item suggested by Irish Times’ journalists. Above is proof of this unlikely fact.

Have you seen this woman?

18 November, 2011 at 9:01 pm by belgianwaffle

A couple of months ago, I started to notice this woman in house and flat windows.
statue 001

Now, I see her everywhere.
Statue 001a

Does somebody sell these statuettes to very willing buyers?
statue 005

Does the city council – the main landlord locally – buy them in bulk and put them in the houses it rents out? Your thoughts on this mildly vexing question would be welcome.

Lofty Ambitions

17 November, 2011 at 8:53 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel has written to our new President, Michael Daniel Higgins asking him to visit the children’s school:

“Dear Michael D. Higgins, Our names are Michael and Daniel. Please could you come to [our school]. Mary McAleese [his very popular predecessor] didn’t.”

Do you think that this will convince the great man?

Lone Wolf

16 November, 2011 at 10:15 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess and I were cycling in the Phoenix Park at the weekend when we saw a man walking with a large flag. On closer examination, it was a flag with a picture of a wolf. We stopped to ask him why he was walking through the park flying a flag of a wolf. “Is it to encourage the re-introduction of the wolf to Ireland?” I asked nervously. Apparently not. We kept on guessing. It turned out that it was art. He had walked from the West of Ireland and he was going to walk all the way across Europe (he’d covered Iceland earlier) carrying his wolf flag. I was charmed by the idea and thought that it was a nice, if slightly odd, way to spend a warm November. He had no website. He gave us a card.

On one side was a picture of a wolf. On the other was the word resistance and, in Irish and English, instructions to write to a PO Box in Israel (he sounded like he was from Northern Ireland, so I’m unclear why Israel), “and tell of a woman soldier/a woman who has taken up arms/a woman who has gone to war”. The Princess and I intend to turn our minds to this matter, but if you had any suggestions to make in the comments, that would be welcome. Come on, it’s for art; we’ll acknowledge your input.

Systems Failure

15 November, 2011 at 10:08 pm by belgianwaffle

Every year my husband’s family do this secret Santa thing and every year I get an anguished email from one of his close relatives asking what would be a good present for him.

This year, however, all is well. We carried out the draw and everyone put the piece of paper with the lucky recipient’s name on it in a pocket. Mr. Waffle looked at his some time after the event and only then, too late, alas, discovered that he’s got himself.

Standards? What Standards?

14 November, 2011 at 9:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself: I’ve been reading this comic “X-men, First Class”.
Me: Oh yeah?
Her: It’s highly unsuitable for Daniel. There are lots of people in bed together. I assume Daniel doesn’t know what they do under the blankets, at his age, but it’s only a question of time before he finds out. And it’s also very violent.
Me: I’d say he focuses more on the violence.

Gendered Space

13 November, 2011 at 8:35 pm by belgianwaffle

The boys stuck this up on their door today:
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What’s Hot; What’s Not

12 November, 2011 at 7:03 pm by belgianwaffle

The Irish Times has a column in the magazine every Saturday with the above title. Generally, it seems to be a series of one liners on what junior journalists have been doing that week. So, for example, first item under “What’s Hot” today was: “Motor Tax Office: They phone you up when you’ve stupidly given the wrong Laser card number.” I’m not making this up. Item 2 was: “Amphibian King: Great fitting service for running shoes, or, our favourite, trail shoes, which are running shoes for people who don’t like running. On the Dargle Road as you come into Bray.” By no stretch of the imagination are either of these items hot. However, they both beat what remains my favourite “What’s Hot” entry from a couple of months ago: “[My local Dublin] shopping centre which had cheap vegetables when I went there on Monday night”.

Needless to say the items have a very strong Dublin bent unless the young journalist has been away for the week. You can tell this as they tend to say things like “What’s Hot?” “Some trendy spot in London.” “What’s Not?” “Long queues at Dublin airport”.

No byline, no wonder.

Do you think it’s a parody? Do you want more next week?

Finally

11 November, 2011 at 9:13 pm by belgianwaffle

I am indebted to my husband for the information below:

Cork city FG councillor Laura McGonigle suggests a “Cork passport

She says

“Corkonians’ unique attachment and devotion to their county is known country and world wide. The Certificate of Irish Heritage is a great initiative, and creates great value and a bond with our people wherever they live, but why not take this further with a Cork Heritage cert or “Cork passport”.

(etc etc)”

And here’s a mock-up of the design.

Cork

10 November, 2011 at 11:16 pm by belgianwaffle

Last weekend my kind sister and parents minded the children while Mr. Waffle and I skipped off to Kinsale. As a former local, I’ve never really been a tourist in this part of the world before. It’s lovely, I can tell you.

We stayed in a place called the Glebe House [query for Protestants – what’s the difference between a Glebe, a Vicarage, a Rectory and a Manse?] and it was delightful – roaring fires; Victorian furniture; pleasant views; and a charming hostess.

On Saturday morning we took the Scilly walk out to Charles Fort.

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I had, to my intense chagrin, left my heritage card in the car but the nice woman from the OPW looked in her book and found the entry showing where my sister had bought the card [a present] and let us in free. €8 saved – hurrah [insert your own cliché about the recession here]. Charles Fort has been tarted up enormously since I last visited – probably about 20 years ago – and it looked very cared for. The OPW staff gave an interesting tour and were very knowledgeable about the site. The sun was shining; the weather was beautiful could it get any better?

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Oh yes, it could. A local collective was having a sale of crafty things; including expensive, but very delicate and beautiful batik pictures. I bought Christmas tree ornaments and soap from the lady who makes it. She was cutting her own ribbons while I was talking to her – the handmade clearly covers all angles. And then we went for late lunch in here; a restaurant I have been curious about for some time. It was nice and very, very busy – still heaving at 4 when we left but not as spectacular as local opinion had led me to believe. Then we went our separate ways for a bit. I got to go around the town which is pretty, though familiar, and particularly rich in what Mr. Waffle disparagingly calls “upmarket tourist tat”. In a sweet shop, there was a young man leaning on the counter speaking to the young woman who was serving in a strong local rural accent. “I was up fixing your father’s rooter last night,” he said. “What kind of agricultural implement is that?” I wondered to myself. Then the young man added, “He’s delighted with the new netbook, isn’t he?” Ah, that kind of router. My favourite shop is Kinsale Silver where I almost always find something but there are lots of great, small, appealing shops and, if only I were a little more organised, my Christmas shopping would now be complete.

On Sunday before being reunited with our children we went for a walk on Garretstown beach and it was so warm that we had to take off our coats. I think we must have got one of the best weekends of the year. As we hopped into the car, I called my sister to tell her that we were on our way, “Will you be glad to see us?” I asked the babysitter in chief. She considered for a moment, “I’ll be glad to see you leave,” she offered. It’s a good job that we had such a wonderful time because I can’t see our babysitter in chief being ready to take on another weekend of sunshine and laughter with small children immediately.

Just a Link

9 November, 2011 at 12:35 am by belgianwaffle

My sister is doing film reviews all month long. And today is her birthday. Just saying.

Family History – For Philatelists Only

8 November, 2011 at 10:01 pm by belgianwaffle

When I was in Cork over the weekend (more on this anon), my mother made me clear out some of the accumulated papers which had settled down in my old bedroom.

One of the things I found was a House of Floris box; does anyone remember these? My father used to bring them to my mother from London when he went there for work in the 70s and there was a really delicious one with a crystallised violet on the top (or something purple, maybe it was just a sugar violet, same difference). A trawl of the internet failed to turn up a copy of the cover so sparing no expense, I have taken the box from, possibly, 1976 and scanned it. Now you too can gaze at that familiar cover and remember biting off the crystallised violets, or possibly not.
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Why, you might ask yourself, did I keep a box from the 1970s, well, obviously, because that’s where I kept my stamp collection. To form the core of my collection, I was given a number of stamps which I carefully affixed to my album, using hinges, remember those? What I did not properly appreciate at the time was that my father had kindly given me his collection and also my Great Uncle Jack’s.

Great Uncle Jack’s collection goes from the late 1890s to the early part of the 20th century (he seems to have given up collecting about 1902). This is the cover of his stamp album:

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And here is an exciting sample page:

img022

I thought you might like to see the list of countries (you can’t fool me, if you’re reading this post, you’re that kind of person). I’ve only done page one; that’s enough for you, no sense in overdoing it.

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My father’s period of stamp collecting covered the period 1938-39. Here’s the cover of his album:

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And here’s a sample page:

img025

You will appreciate that 1938/39 was a difficult time for the stamp collector as borders began to move with some rapidity. The index of countries had to be considerably amended by the careful owner to reflect the progress of the advancing German armies.

I think that a quick look at the cover of my album will show how the romance had gone out of stamp collecting by the 1970s:

img026

I mean, it didn’t even have an index, is it any wonder I became disillusioned?

Reading

7 November, 2011 at 11:02 pm by belgianwaffle

“Great Irish Lives” ed. Charles Lysaght [New Year’s Resolution]

This is a collection of obituaries from the London Times, starting with Grattan and Daniel O’Connell and covering many major figures thereafter. It was a present and it isn’t the kind of thing I would have bought it myself but I found it entertaining and mildly interesting. Although, you would need to know a lot about the ins and outs of 19th century politics for most of it.

“Under My Skin – Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949” by Doris Lessing [New Year’s Resolution]

I loved chapter one – lots of ancestral history. I will love this book, I thought to myself. OK, you know where this is going. It was ok, but my fundamental problem was that I found the author very annoying and difficult to relate to which is a problem for autobiography. I found myself sympathising deeply with her much loathed mother. And she lives so much in her inner life, it can be a bit difficult to follow what is happening in her outer life. She assumes that you know a lot about her novels and her life already which, I suppose, is not unreasonable but it is a false assumption, in my case anyhow. She has lots of affairs, she leaves her husband and two small children, her second husband, possibly, becomes an East German spy. But yet, it is dull, for my money because she’s so enormously earnest.

“The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” by Rebecca Miller [New Year’s Resolution]

I finally persuaded my book club to read one of my new year’s resolution books when I had them trapped in my house recently. It covers the descent into nervous breakdown of the perfect wife – something of a theme for Americans, I often think. It’s a reasonable page turner. The characters are not very believable; maybe people like our heroine do exist but I think it is doubtful. But lots of things happen to her and they are well-described and the book is well-written also. Entertaining.

“The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula Le Guin

We went into the library in Marino, round the corner from Bram Stoker’s house and they had an enormous gothic section. I was suitably impressed. They had a number of Ann Radcliffe books but when I asked for “The Mysteries of Udolpho” they said it had just been taken out. I took this instead. And a little quiz to check if anyone is reading along. Ann Radcliffe and Ursula Le Guin are linked in my mind by having been read by a fictional character in a book I read over the summer. If you identify it, you may be my husband.

Anyhow, this seemed appealing. Look, gender and science fiction, my key interests in one handy package. It starts off fine. Slightly underwhelming but fine. And that’s how it continues. The big item of interest is that she tries to imagine a world without gender. It’s not that interesting; and I’m a feminist.

“A Life of Contrasts” by Diana Mosley

I was reading this in tandem with Doris Lessing’s book and I have to say that I found it by far the more enjoyable read. I couldn’t help feeling that Doris Lessing was a much worthier person but far less entertaining than Diana Mosley.

This is, of course, more Mitfordia as Diana was born Mitford and became, briefly, Guinness and then Mosley. I know most of the stories and the cast of characters already. And Diana was probably the most interesting sister of them all. She defends Mosley at every turn and despite myself, I find some of the questions she raises interesting. She seems a charming and lovely person despite her beliefs – sorry, but there it is. She glosses over, as I suppose might be expected, the less pleasant aspects of her husband’s activities and she must have been the only, somewhat sane, (her comments on the deaths of the Goebbels children make me wonder whether she was entirely so) person defending Hitler in 1977. Definitely worth a read. But, if you are going to tackle only one Mitford book this year, make it the six sisters one.

Linguistic Diversity

6 November, 2011 at 10:15 pm by belgianwaffle

Her: Mummy, what’s an airing cupboard?
Me: It’s what English people call a hot press.

What I did on Thursday

5 November, 2011 at 11:15 pm by belgianwaffle

On Wednesday, I took herself to Cork on the train to stay with my parents for a couple of days.

On Thursday, I had a particularly full day as follows:

01.00: Sister arrives into her bedroom (where I am spending the night in Cork), turns on light, rubs in hand cream, chats.
01.00-02.00: Drunken students sing rebel tunes on the street, apparently directly under my sister’s bedroom window.
02.30 – 04.00: The Princess comes into the bedroom at 5 minute intervals to ask whether it is morning yet.
05.00: I get up to get the train back to Dublin.
06.15: Get on the train.
08.45: Arrive in Dublin in driving rain (only comfort – surely this means tonight’s tennis match will be cancelled).
08.45-09.00: Queue in rain for Luas ticket behind a number of people who cannot use the machine. In the end, cannot forebear from offering advice as I have already missed two trams.
09.15 – 18.00: Work (including lunch meeting, the pain).
18.00 – 20.30: Cycle home, bond with boys, put them to bed, do grocery shopping online, calculate and print out childminder’s payslip and, conclude, alas, that it has cleared up enough to play tennis.
20.30 – 22.00: Cycle up to tennis club. Play tennis. Lose.
22.20: Arrive home. Realise that I have yet to pack for my weekend in Cork – boys are to join their sister in my parents’ house, Mr. Waffle and I are to flee the coop. Hurrah. Further realise that I will need to schedule a post for NaBloPoMo.
23.10: Write post.

Unanswerable

4 November, 2011 at 10:16 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Why is the light for the bathroom outside the door?
Me: So that you don’t electrocute yourself turning it on and off with wet hands.
Michael: But when the light is outside, your enemies can turn it off when you’re on the toilet.

There’s always one

3 November, 2011 at 9:00 pm by belgianwaffle

The clocks went back on Sunday. We forgot. We arrived for 11.30 mass at what we thought was 11.45 (punctual as ever). It was in fact 10.45 and the priest was finishing 10.00 mass. As we walked through the door, he said, “The mass is ended, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Daniel, who had been the cause of our lateness, was very taken aback. He had been told that, if he hurried, he would not miss the Sunday school thing in the sacristy. Now, mass had ended. He started to howl at the top of his voice (a very loud place), “Mass is ended, oh no, mass is ended.” You might have thought that fellow worshippers would have rejoiced at this evidence of youthful enthusiasm, but no.

On a Railway Platform

2 November, 2011 at 8:33 pm by belgianwaffle

Small girl to me: I’m Ciara.
Me to small girl: Hello Ciara, how old are you?
Her: I’m 4, except on trains and buses when I’m three.

NaBloPoMo

1 November, 2011 at 9:00 pm by belgianwaffle

It’s November. I will be posting every day.

Aren’t you delighted? No theme suggests itself. Posts will be random musings. There’s excitement.


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