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Archive for April, 2013

How Does the Human Race Survive?

15 April, 2013 at 9:51 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Ow, ow, ow.
Me: What happened?
Michael: I put my eye on to the bulb at the centre of the Death Star to look at it closely and burnt my eyelid. Ow, ow, ow.

No, Just No

14 April, 2013 at 10:36 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel: Oysters are mammals.
Me: No, they’re not.
Daniel: Are you sure?
Me: Yes.
Daniel: How do you know they’re not mammals?
Me: Well, they have none of the characteristics of mammals at all, they don’t give birth to live young…
Daniel: How do oysters have baby oysters?
Me: I don’t know really.

Pregnant pause. Please forgive the pun.

Harry Potter and the Jacobites

13 April, 2013 at 10:44 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle brought this to my attention as it combines two of our children’s favourite things:

Still Drawing

12 April, 2013 at 9:38 pm by belgianwaffle

The problem with moving around the corner from where you lived before is that you don’t necessarily feel the need to move everything all at once.

A week after moving we are still going down to the old house to pick up stuff. The attic and the sheds haven’t been touched. This reminds me of when we moved into the old house and Mr. Waffle kept bringing stuff from storage and I couldn’t believe that there was more. “Still drawing?” asked my father. “Eh?” “From the well of possessions.”

There is more. Even though the new house is twice the size of the old house there still doesn’t seem to be enough room. Alas. I see another IKEA Billy in our future.

A Decade

11 April, 2013 at 9:26 pm by belgianwaffle

Tonight I kissed a nine year old girl goodnight and tomorrow I will have a ten year old sit at breakfast with me. Yes, indeed, herself will be 10 tomorrow.

She has been reading “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” Amy Chua [who knows why?] and reporting to me on my parenting failures. Has she performed in Carnegie Hall? I fear not. But if reading were a competition she would star. On Sunday she had a prayer of the faithful to read out in front of the congregation: “For those who think that that the Christian faith is incompatible with compassion and kindness”. I thought that incompatible might give her pause but not a bit of it.

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She is very happy in school. Her teacher this year doesn’t seem to be as good as those she has had in previous years (alas) but the Princess is doing well (except for her continuing atrocious handwriting). She is in fact breezing through school and she is lucky because she happens to enjoy the things that are valued in schools. I do worry that when she is actually required to do work to keep up – which is coming – she may be in for a salutary shock.

The school has a considerable social mix and her classmates’ parents come from all walks of life which is one of the things that really appeals to me about the school. It’s also small and most of the children know each other and all of the staff know each and every child in the school. Herself has become pally with some of the older children and looks out for some of the younger ones.

She likes to climb mountains and she likes to swim but physical activities outside of these two are anathema to her. She is utterly brilliant at inventing games for her brothers to play and stories to tell them. They regard their parents’ efforts as paltry by comparison. Unfortunately, she is capricious and sometimes her favours are withdrawn. Oh woe.

She loves to eat meat which is great but I wish she would expand her vegetable repertoire beyond raw carrot. She has a sweet tooth. She is brilliant at arguing the toss and she never lets go. She did not get this from her mother. She is obliging and kind and has a reasonably developed sense of duty. She is lovely and loveable and she has made me a better person (though definitely also a tireder one).

I just looked at last year’s birthday post and I said most of the same things. I suppose she hasn’t changed so much or maybe I’m not paying proper attention. I do have a slight feeling that it is all going a bit faster than it was and I want it to slow down a bit. I want to know her better as she is now and I feel that I never have enough time (though I have just this instant refused to go upstairs and chat and chased her back to bed so I am not entirely consistent in this). I think the biggest difference between us and our children is how quickly time goes for us and how glacially slowly for them.

As attentive readers will know, we moved house last Friday and, although the new house is great, she misses the old house. One evening she said, “I want to go home.” I know what she means. It feels a bit like we are in a holiday house or adrift from our moorings. We spent nearly 5 years in the old house which is half her life to date. It feels like the end of an era. But, I suppose, the start of a new one.

Happy birthday, my beautiful girl.

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Unsafe System of Work

6 April, 2013 at 11:03 pm by belgianwaffle

Have you ever filled a hot water bottle with boiling water while reading a book (which you are holding in one hand) and holding the bottle against the work surface with your mid-riff? I advise strongly against.

Really not Simple at all Syndication

5 April, 2013 at 10:42 pm by belgianwaffle

When I first started reading blogs, on the advice of Fluid Pudding, I used bloglines to keep track of them. I was delighted with myself, it was fantastic. What happened? It announced it was going to close down. With great reluctance, I moved to google reader which I found loathsome. Then bloglines announced that it wasn’t going to close down after all but having forced myself to get used to google reader, I decided to stick with it as, of course, google was a massive company and my effort in getting acquainted with google reader would not be wasted as it would go on forever. Who knew what would happen to bloglines?

Incidentally, following a recommendation from Chris Cactus, I downloaded the feedly app on to my phone in February. It wasn’t for me – interface was too trendy and loading too slow and not designed to skip feeds – but I just let it sit there.

What happened? As you know, google decided to dump its reader. Oh the bitterness. Oh well, I have spent the past couple of weeks getting used to feedly and it’s alright I suppose.

I now predict two things:

1. Google will change its mind about withdrawing reader at the last moment (I, of course, will already have committed to feedly).
2. Feedly will go to the wall.

I see that bloglines is still going.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

4 April, 2013 at 10:32 pm by belgianwaffle

We were supposed to spend last Monday packing to move house on Tuesday. Alas, the carpet fitter who arrived on Saturday arrived with one carpet too few. After some anguish, we put the move off to this Friday. On the plus side, I’m really hoping that varnish downstairs will be dry.

Unfortunately, the Princess had already boxed up all her books and she spent the weekend pacing the house in a state of considerable bitterness. Re-opening of the library on Tuesday was greeted with ecstasy. Meanwhile, the boys have fallen out over who owns what as, for the first time, they have to separate their worldly goods into two rooms.

Wish us luck for tomorrow.

Ours is a High and Lonely Destiny

3 April, 2013 at 2:19 am by belgianwaffle

With one thing and another, my father is often called upon to visit hospitals. The Bons Secours hospital presents particular difficulties, as he pointed out to me, because when he phones for a taxi to go to out patients, he gives the name the full French flourish and the dispatcher is baffled and then goes, “Oh you mean the BONS!”


2 April, 2013 at 10:11 pm by belgianwaffle

My father has returned from hospital to the bosom of his family. They were kind to him in the hospital; fixing his hip, giving him birthday cake and delivering newspapers to his room between 8 and 8.30 (ah private healthcare). My sister phoned me the day of the operation and she was in his room and she said to me, “Do you want to talk to him?” “Not unless he wants to talk to me,” I said and I could hear him in the background saying, “Not unless she has something particular to say.” Later, I said to her, “You know, I was worried, he is not as young as he once was and he could have died under a general anaesthetic.” “Well then,” she said, “you would have had the comfort of knowing that your last interaction with him was utterly typical.”

All the same, I am very relieved that he is at home and on the road to recovery.

Snow, Snow, Come Out in the Snow!

1 April, 2013 at 10:40 pm by belgianwaffle

We drove up to the Wicklow mountains at the weekend to look at the snow. On the way up there was no sign but after we passed Enniskerry, there was lots. We went for a 40 minute walk covering the exciting combination of bog and snow; even wellingtons and salopettes were insufficient to ensure entirely dry feet but all very beautiful. And we had spare shoes and socks in the car.


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