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By the Time You Read These Lines I Will Be Gone

31 July, 2016 at 10:10 pm by belgianwaffle

I won’t be gone very far but I will have, God willing, managed to make it to the ferry to France with my loving family.

Posting has been pretty light around here recently with one thing and another and that isn’t likely to hugely improve during the fortnight in France (Brittany again, thanks for asking). However, my fanbase (my sister and my aunt) are anxious to see more posting so I might line up a couple of things to post while I am away. There’s something for you to look forward to. As ever, full holiday debrief will follow on our return.

Luna Lovegood

30 July, 2016 at 10:09 pm by belgianwaffle

The script of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is being released tonight at midnight. Herself has spent the past fortnight working extremely hard at turning herself into Luna Lovegood. She found a chest of material in my parents’ attic and spent hours sewing remnants into an extremely nifty cloak.


My sister lent her hair curlers. Her father printed out her Hogwarts letter on fancy yellow parchment.




She has just left to attend the pre-launch party. She is very ready.


Updated to add – it went well! And as we went back to the car at midnight, people stopped us on the street saying, “Harry Potter, right?” and looked at her new book and she was delighted.



9 July, 2016 at 9:37 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself has returned from France. Hurrah. We missed her. She had a good time in parts but I think it was a long time for her to be away eating salad regularly.

This afternoon we decided to cycle to a new crêperie. We went out to the shed only to discover that the Princess’s bike had been nicked during the week. To be fair to us, we noticed that the shed door had been forced but we couldn’t see that anything was missing. Observant, that’s us.

We bought her a new one today anyhow and she has pronounced herself pleased.


We have now added a new bolt to the shed door. Insert your own proverb related joke here.

We Few, We Happy Few* or a Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Bicycle

8 July, 2016 at 8:14 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle was looking at the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035 (yes, our fireside is a forum for the wisdom of serene old age) and drew my attention to the following paragraph:

The number of girls aged 13-18 cycling to school in the State, has fallen from c.19,000 in 1986 to c.500 in 2011. Over the same period, the cycling mode share has fallen from 11.2% to 0.3%, or from approximately 1 in every 9 girls to close to 1 in every 30.

Funnily enough, 1986 was the year I finished school. I cycled in and out every day for my entire secondary school life, even when it was lashing rain and I feel it almost always was. Mr. Waffle also cycled to and from school. Now, as adults, we both cycle to work. I know there are lots of people who cycled to school who don’t cycle to work but I’m willing to bet that there’s no one cycling to work who didn’t also cycle to school.

So it was understandable that Mr. Waffle and I felt that the Princess might cycle to secondary school when the moment arose, last September. We felt some trepidation at the start of the year but it’s been fine. I must say that I hadn’t realised that she was one of only 500 in the State (although, numbers may, of course, have risen since 2011 and the trend is positive – I await the results of the 2016 census on this point with nerdy enthusiasm). I really wish that cycling infrastructure in Dublin were better and more people could feel comfortable getting out on bicycles. In particular I would love to be able to let my sons cycle alone to their primary school. But it’s just not possible. It’s pretty heart stopping even when I’m with them; I just couldn’t let them go alone.

I know this is going to make me sound like a smug cyclist (for the simple reason that I am, I suppose) but I am so glad that my parents made me cycle to school every day. It never occurred to me to stop cycling when I learnt to drive. Partly, I think because I saw my father cycling to work and around the city as an adult. He continued to do so into his 80s but he has been grounded now.

Cycling is handy and speedy in the city and it’s probably the only exercise I get with any consistency. I hope that I can make all my children lifelong cyclists too.

*I am aware that this comes from a speech before going into battle; sometimes cycling in Dublin can feel like that.

Summer Extravaganza Continues

5 July, 2016 at 7:27 pm by belgianwaffle

Many years ago, when I lived in Brussels, I shared a house with a woman from Paris and we became good friends. She came to my wedding. I went to hers. Even though the Princess was only three weeks old and it was our first time travelling with her. We went from Brussels to Normandy. It took a lot out of us. The next year, my French friend and her husband had a baby girl. We said that when the time came we would exchange daughters.

And we did. My friend’s daughter E came to stay last week. I’d really only known her from Christmas card photos and she is a sweet little girl. She’s only 12 to the Princess’s 13 and a year seems to make quite a difference. Herself seemed much more sophisticated. They went to a science course in Trinity in the morning and for most of the afternoons, we let them wander around Dublin alone together which they both seemed to rather enjoy. I think culture may have got short shrift but they both saw plenty of Penny’s. I was a bit worried the first day but when they got the bus home safely together, I was reassured.

They went off to Paris together on Friday morning. On arrival, they were promptly packed into the family car and taken to stay with friends in Normandy and only returned to Paris on Sunday. My friend moved house last week – so herself may yet help with unpacking. It’s all a bit unclear. Much drama and excitement anyhow and she seems to be enjoying herself so far.

It’s Been Busy

5 July, 2016 at 6:56 pm by belgianwaffle

Well there’s been the Brexit thing and I find myself utterly rivetted by the excitement across the water.

Then, we sold our old house. We had been renting it out but when we were no longer in negative equity, we felt it would be advisable to sell up and repay some of our current mortgage [sale closed on the day of the Brexit vote which is probably good in retrospect but utterly coincidental]. Mr. Waffle did all the heavy lifting including dealing with the estate agent and the solicitor.

We decided to sell through Felicity Fox because I liked the look of their ads (I have been looking at house for sale ads since I was a small child, I’m a connoisseuse) and because I liked the idea of supporting a woman who had gone out on her own in the rather masculine-led world of Dublin estate agents*. We had no contact with Felicity herself but it all passed off peacefully and speedily. After we sold the house, the estate agent turned up with a thank you card and a bottle of prosecco which I thought was pretty good. I am easily impressed. My solicitor said, “That’s what you get, if you go with a fancy South side estate agent.” I am not entirely sure that this is true.

The day before the sale closed, I got a call from the solicitor who is a friend of mine from college. In the course of the conversation, I realised just how much of the work my loving husband had done. The conversation went as follows.

Her: This is a bit awkward, but just checking that you know that you’re due to close on the sale of your old house tomorrow.
Me: Yes, of course.
Her: It’s just that I haven’t spoken to you or had anything in writing from you throughout the transaction [we witnessed the documents at home in front of another solicitor because I couldn’t get in to her office during the day] and I wanted to check that you weren’t buried under the patio slabs.

*No favours etc were given for this endorsement. Unfortunately.

Where is Heath Robinson When You Need Him?

4 July, 2016 at 6:49 pm by belgianwaffle

I was down in Cork at my parents’ house recently. The cistern in the upstairs bathroom has been delicate for a long time. Unless you put the handle at exactly the right angle, it continued filling indefinitely. When I went to the bathroom, I discovered that the arrangement no longer worked and to address the problem, pro tem, my brother had tied his belt around the ballcock and pulled it upwards by attaching his belt to the window catch. It worked but it was, frankly, sub-optimal.

Inevitably, I suppose, the day I was due to leave, while moving the belt to open the window, I managed to break the lid of the cistern. I apologised all round and ran out the door to get my train. I haven’t been back since and am afraid to ask whether cistern lids are a standard size or whether, even now, something special is being crafted for my parents in the armitage shanks workshop. Sigh.

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