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Garryvoe – Part 2

31 July, 2012 at 9:12 pm by belgianwaffle

Thursday, July 19

We went on our annual pilgrimage to Leahy’s Fun Farm. It didn’t let us down. As ever, the tractors at the entrance were a huge, though to my mind, mildly mystifying, attraction:
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There were encounters with animals which Michael didn’t bother with on the basis that he had a packet of crisps which he would rather eat:
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It’s not cheap and it’s not slick but if you have children, I cannot recommend this place highly enough.

Friday, July 20

We went swimming first thing in the morning and despite how lovely it looked, it was freezing. There was a reason the beach was deserted.

2012-07-20 Garryvoe 006

The boys were keen to participate in Bible Camp which worked out very well as my mother and brother came down to visit. We all went out for lunch, then the boys peeled off to play soccer and learn verses of the bible in the care of large numbers of young adults who will certainly go to heaven for their virtue in running this thing during their holidays. My mother and I went for a stroll and my brother and herself contemplated the water.

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Despite having been frozen earlier in the morning and not having her togs with her, she ventured in:

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My mother and I volunteered to go back to the house to get towels. But we were slow and just as we were leaving the house, she came dripping up in her soaking clothes and said bitterly, “Where were you? I was just about to call Childline.”

Still, all in all, a huge success and another fine day making this undoubtedly, the best week of the Irish summer so far.

Still more to come. Nearly there now though. Tune in tomorrow when Mr. Waffle returns from the big smoke.

Garryvoe – Part 1

30 July, 2012 at 9:12 pm by belgianwaffle

Monday, July 16

This was to be a sort of 1950s holiday with Mr. Waffle back in Dublin working and me at a seaside resort with the children, so, on Monday, we dropped Mr. Waffle off to get the train back to Dublin. Before he left, he put on a first wash and the washing machine refused to work. Ominous. Fortunately, M and R had chosen to extend the warranty on their machine (a decision which I applaud) and Mafew promised that someone would come on Monday. “No, not today,” he clarified. Alas.

On the plus side, there was Bible Camp. We have been to this before – it’s evangelisation through fun and the boys love it. Herself was always a bit dubious and this year put her foot down and refused to join in the communal fun. There was an accordion and this may have been the last straw for her.

In the afternoon, we were in Cork (with our washing, obviously) and the weather was absolutely beautiful. My brother, who can be saintly when the mood takes him, played rugby with the boys in my parents’ back garden while I had a nice cup of tea with my mother and herself continued operation read for Ireland.

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(Note washing)

Back in Garryvoe we ran into the neighbours. The father of the family shares a name with my brother-in-law but looks quite different from him. Undeterred by this, Daniel commented, “I am looking forward to seeing my cousin later.” Children’s minds work in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, July 17

We went to the beach first thing in the morning. It was cold but great fun. I think my bones actually shrank a little as I waded into the water.


We then took ourselves to Bible camp. Herself stayed resolutely in the car reading her book for the hour’s activities but I sat on a bench in alternately freezing wind and drizzle and watched the boys playing while reading the paper. I was thus able to prove that it is possible to get burnt in cloudy weather. Oh the pain.

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My sister and a friend came to visit us that evening briefly distracting Michael from his anguish that he had pulled a heavy kitchen chair over on his foot. When they left, about 10.30, I went to bed. Michael was still awake whimpering that his foot was sore. At 11.30 he started bawling. His foot was sore. Could he conceivably have broken it? He cried loudly and pathetically until 1.30 am when I was getting desperate. Of course, I hadn’t so much as a bottle of calpol on me. I found myself wondering would I get them all out of bed and drive to A&E in Cork or, at least, to an all night pharmacy in Middleton. He fell asleep, I scooted to my own bed. At 2.30, Daniel came in and woke me up. “Michael’s having a tough time,” he said, hopped into my bed and was instantly asleep. Poor Michael was indeed crying again, “The pain! My foot!”. In desperation I rang my father (house phone off the hook, so had to ring my sister’s mobile first and get her to wake my father). I asked could I give Michael one of my own adult paracetemol tablets. How much did he weigh, how much paracetemol was in the tablet? I chopped it up following instructions and Michael was so miserable he swallowed it. About 10 minutes later he was asleep and I was able to text Mr. Waffle my woes for his consumption in the morning.

All night Michael slept the sleep of the just. When I asked how he was in the morning (fearing the worst) he bounded out of bed, saying, “I’m fine.” My father texted me, “How’s Oedipus this morning?” If like me, you thought the only significant thing about Oedipus was that he killed his father and married his mother (notable certainly) then see here.

Wednesday, July 18

After the horrors of the previous night, I was a shadow of my former self. I took the children for the customary tour of Blackrock Observatory which they pronounced satisfactory. Daniel played the theremin:

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On the way back to Garryvoe, Daniel said sadly, “I miss home.” “Why sweetheart,” I asked. “There’s no wifi in Garryvoe.” A whole new world people.

More tomorrow.


29 July, 2012 at 8:19 pm by belgianwaffle

Sunday, July 15

We arrived in Cork to lashing rain. I forced my family and my brother and sister down to the park to see the World Street Performing championships. It was damp. I was wearing sandals and only successfully got the mud out of my feet by mid-week. The children whined. It was an inauspicious beginning. I was, however, proved right because, although the street performers did not hold the children’s attention there were ancillary excitements.
Like this:
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And a zip line over the pond:

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Say what you like about the rain, it makes for short queues. Also, the sun shone, very briefly. After our mud stop in Cork we said goodbye to the grandparents and drove to Garryvoe in East Cork. My saintly friends M and R have a house there and we have stayed there many times. It’s a lovely house, very close to the beach and a relatively easy drive into Cork city. Even though the weather was not terrific, the children were very pleased to see the beach.


It was only when we got to Garryvoe that we discovered that the purchase of an e-reader for her had made little difference to the Princess’s packing habits:

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Endless Summer

28 July, 2012 at 7:42 pm by belgianwaffle

As you read this, if all goes according to plan, I will be on the ferry to France with my loving family.

A full debrief will follow after our return in mid-August. In the interim, I plan to schedule posts on our holiday in Garryvoe last week. With photos. Go on, you can’t wait. More tomorrow.

In other news today is the 11th anniversary of the day the wonderful Mr. Waffle and I got married. We will be celebrating with our family in the self-catering cafeteria on board the ferry before retiring to separate cabins with a child and a half each in tow. When I said, hopefully, to the children that the 28th was Mummy and Daddy’s wedding anniversary and that they should be nice to us, Michael replied, “Do I have to?” I sometimes think that family life isn’t for romantics.

More Of It

27 July, 2012 at 7:41 pm by belgianwaffle

I am investigating getting life insurance. Honestly, being an adult, it’s one tedious thing after another. I met an adviser and there was a very detailed questionnaire which he talked me through. One of the questions was “How many units of alcohol do you usually drink per week?” I don’t really drink at all, so I said, “None.” “We’d better put one,” he said, “otherwise they’ll think you’re an alcoholic who has been forced to give it up and that might cause a problem.”

There’s been much talk recently about this country’s unhappy relationship with alcohol and here’s more evidence of it, if this were needed.

Colourful Insult

26 July, 2012 at 6:47 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael (to his sister): And you like pink which is a colour for girls, babies, worms and toads.

Mind the Gap

25 July, 2012 at 7:33 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel lost his tooth last night. The tooth fairy gave him €1.70 in change for her own obscure reasons. This is the first tooth lost by one of the boys but Michael has two wobbly ones also. Do you think that the tooth fairy always gives the same amount for each tooth lost? If so, I see shoals ahead.

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No Further Questions for this Witness

17 July, 2012 at 12:06 pm by belgianwaffle

Her: Where did you put my plasticine?
Me: I put it back in the box where it belongs and I wish that you could pick up after yourself and not leave things lying around on the floor.
Her: Where did you find it?
Me: On the floor.
Her: I thought I left it in my room.
Me: Well wherever it was, it wasn’t in the box where it belongs.
Her: So, you admit that you don’t even know where you found it.
Me: God, you’re being very annoying!
Her: I prefer to call it being a born lawyer.

Baby Steps

15 July, 2012 at 11:05 pm by belgianwaffle

I read the Free Range Kids blog. Partly because it makes me feel smug; American children seem far more circumscribed in their movements than their European counterparts. However, let those of us without sin cast the first stone. I try not to be over-protective, but I suspect that I am. For example, I would never allow my children to ride from Oklahama to New York, unaccompanied, on horseback. Let me tell you about my recent tentative adventures.

I was in the city centre recently with the children. We went to a café for a treat. When we arrived, Michael liked none of the offerings. “Why can’t I have a packet of crisps?” he said. It wasn’t that kind of café. Herself said that there was a shop at the end of the street and she could go and buy crisps for Michael. It was a very crowded city centre shopping street. It was a slightly rough part of town. On the other hand, it was four o’clock in the afternoon. “You never trust me to do anything,” said my nine year old girl. I handed over the money and sent her off. As I watched her retreating form, I thought she looked very small. But then I remembered the small boy with his violin case (surely no more than 7) who I had seen trotting alone along a Paris footpath when I was last there. I held my breath. She came back ten minutes later with the crisps delighted with herself.

Fortified by this, when she went to her week long summer camp on a college campus, I dropped her at the car park and let her run in alone. My confidence was somewhat shaken by seeing her go in the wrong direction on two mornings. Clearly, she has inherited her mother’s sense of direction. Nevertheless, my task for the summer is to let her out more alone. Wish me luck.


14 July, 2012 at 11:32 am by belgianwaffle

We were in town buying new shoes the other day. Michael languidly extended his foot to the shop assistant. “Stop acting like a little pasha and put the shoe on yourself,” I said. “What’s a pasha?” asked Michael. The shop assistant replied, “A pasha is under a sultan – do you know a sultan? They were in charge of the Ottoman empire and it was very important although they were defeated by European forces in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Do you know the poem, “Lepanto”? “Don John of Austria is going to the War..”

Ah, so that’s where our arts graduates are going.


13 July, 2012 at 11:09 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel and Michael asked me to read to them from a book called “Yuck” the other night at bed time.

I have never read a more disgusting book in my life. Yuck is the most repulsive child. I actually started to feel vaguely ill as I read. Picture the scene, Yuck is in his bedroom playing. He goes to the wardrobe and gets out a bag of bogies from which he proceeds to build a castle which he fills with creepy crawlies. As his mother comes upstairs, he quickly hides it under his bed. His mother and sister come into the room. He empties another bag on to the floor filled with dried scabs [lovingly described]. “What are you doing?” asks his mother? “Playing tiddlywinks,” he says and flicks two scabs into his sister’s mouth.

I am foreswearing Yuck. If they want him in future, they can read him themselves. Need I say that they were rolling around the floor laughing as I read this revolting story?

For the Day that’s in it

12 July, 2012 at 11:10 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel (dividing Jenga Blocks into piles): Is 26 half of 52?
Me: Yes.
Daniel: These Jenga Blocks are James’s and these are William’s.
Me: Who on earth are James and William?
Daniel: Don’t your remember the Williamites and the Jacobites?

Once More, With Feeling

11 July, 2012 at 11:46 am by belgianwaffle

I was telling a bunch of friends about my brother’s experience in Poland and one of them came up with this story from her youth.

She had just qualified and was hitching home to the midlands. She was picked up by a man and she told him all about herself and her qualifications. She decided it was time to give him a chance to say something. “What do you do yourself?” she asked. “I’m in the music business,” he said. “Are you a roadie?” she asked. “No,” he said, “do you know Foster and Allen? I’m Allen.”

The Joys of Owning a Cat

10 July, 2012 at 11:16 pm by belgianwaffle

From: Me
To: Mr. Waffle
Subject: What “Meow” Means

I suspected as much.

From: Mr. Waffle
To: Me
Subject: What “Meow” Means

I see. It may also mean “I’ve been peeing under the lego box for months and I want to be there when you find out”

Product Endorsement

9 July, 2012 at 8:33 pm by belgianwaffle


Euro 2012 Story

8 July, 2012 at 7:21 pm by belgianwaffle

My brother was in Poland for the football. He got on the train from where he was staying to go to the venue and there were loads of other Irish fans. He noticed one guy wearing a Cork city/Ireland shirt and being from Cork, he went to chat with him.

My brother admired the other guy’s shirt. Shirt guy was from West Cork and confirmed, upon my brother asking, that he went to almost all the Cork city matches. This requires a certain amount of dedication because driving from West Cork to the city takes a good hour. My brother was impressed. He confessed that he would like to wear a Cork city shirt too but felt that he couldn’t reasonably do so as he hadn’t attended matches since he had been in college. He confided to his new friend, “It’s so long ago that Johnny Caulfield was the top goalscorer”. To which shirt guy replied, “I am Johnny Caulfield”.

The Way We Live Now

7 July, 2012 at 11:07 pm by belgianwaffle

When I was growing up in Cork, there was nowhere that sold garlic. My mother used to buy it in France in the summer and bring it home. I didn’t taste pesto until I went to Naples as an au pair for the summer when I was 18 (remind me to tell you about that sometime). I was doing my shopping the other night and I noticed that you could buy 3 different types of pine nuts. Seriously, three types? And 6 different makes of chorizo; 6 different makes people. I don’t know; whatever happened to meat and two veg?

Mind you, it has come full circle in one way. My friend’s parents had their shopping delivered. Even then, in the 70s, I knew that was old fashioned and that everyone went to the supermarket. The man would come to their door with the big brown boxes and they would sit down and prepare a list with him for what they needed next week. I thought it was very odd. But here we are, all getting our shopping delivered again but now it’s by international corporations rather than locally owned groceries. This does seem a pity. But still, now we get three kinds of pine nuts. Progress, I suppose.

Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth II

6 July, 2012 at 8:04 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: Does this dress make me look pregnant?
Her: Early stages only.
Me: I think I’ll try this skirt.
Her: That? It’s enormous, it’s huge oh, look at that, it fits.


5 July, 2012 at 9:48 pm by belgianwaffle

We had the American priest for mass again. He made us call out “promise-bridge-freedom” during the sermon. Several times. We called out lustily because we knew he wouldn’t stop until we had made enough noise. But our tone was distinctly doleful. For the creed, he made us say “absolutely” as he read out each line in turn. Priest: “I believe in one God, the Father almighty maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.” Pause. Cringe. Congregation: “Absolutely”. And so on.

Some Planning Required

4 July, 2012 at 11:18 pm by belgianwaffle

The children have downloaded a number of apps on my phone. Battle Nations is popular at the moment and apparently “it’s even better, if you share it with friends.” They want to share but I have pointed out that the only friends available through my phone are my friends who won’t be interested in Battle Nation. Aside, I notice, that somebody posted an invitation to pet hotel on my twitter feed, that wasn’t me.

While he was washing his teeth, Daniel asked me whether I had any friends who were pregnant. “Yes, why?” I asked. “So that when the children are born and get bigger you can invite their parents to play Battle Nations and they can give the phone to the children.” What did I say in response? “We’ll see”. Of course.

I still maintain that I am doing better than Chris over at Rude Cactus on June 25.

Princess Mia

3 July, 2012 at 10:17 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself loves the Princess Diaries books and when the Princess Diaries II was on the TV the other night, I let her stay up until 9 to watch it. It is the most unrelentingly awful film. The fictional kingdom of Genovia is inspired by a mish-mash of Monégasque, English and Eastern European influences. Accents are a bizarre mix, the linguistic regime is, at best, unclear and the whole thing is deeply odd. But she absolutely loved it. She watched the whole thing in a state of rapt delight.

Germaine Greer has a chapter of “The Female Eunuch” devoted to men and women’s different expectations of romance. I think the rot probably starts here.

Barbarians at the Gate

2 July, 2012 at 11:03 pm by belgianwaffle

From Saturday’s Irish Times, page 15:

“..in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, you can see the enormity of the task…”

No, you can see the size of the task or the vastness of the task.

Same paper page 9:

On a Senator who dislikes NAMA: “We were expecting a very heated discussion, seeing as he is such a public protagonist of Nama.”

Antagonist, perhaps?

No Rest for the Wicked

1 July, 2012 at 11:24 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael:Is there mass on Sunday?
Him: But why, it’s the holidays!

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