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Durchhalten

February 9th, 2019

Honestly, I can’t remember when I have had a more miserable January. At least 3 of us had the flu and we were all sick. I am only really better now. Poor Mr. Waffle is still going around coughing pathetically. His recovery was not, I imagine, in any way advanced by a shower of hail while he stood on the side of a GAA pitch this afternoon cheering Daniel on to a miserable defeat.

The works in the kitchen have been quite hideous. The house continues to be almost always filled with builders and dust. The temporary kitchen set up in the utility room is as hideous as you might imagine. We had many freezing weeks without a wall. The temperature in the temporary kitchen fell to as low as 8 degrees celsius and the olive oil solidified. For one hideous wet, rainy, cold miserable night we had to go out in the back garden to get to and from the temporary kitchen.

We enjoyed about a week of an earth floor in the kitchen which as depressing as it sounds. Particularly, when you see the cat eyeing it speculatively as a vast indoor toilet facility. Our tiles in the kitchen were laid on earth by the Victorians and, as Mr. Waffle said, there were worms there sticking their heads into the air for the first time since the build up to the Boer War. British worms.

There were several dates for delivery of windows to make the kitchen weatherproof. This was even more important as doors between the kitchen and the rest of the house had to be removed. Two of the delivery dates were missed to no one’s real surprise but the windows and glass doors were delivered on February 4 and although the door doesn’t open and the bathroom window is not the colour we ordered, we are inclined to regard this as a definite step forward.

Meanwhile, like a fool, I am doing a course which required an assignment to be submitted by February 7. It had to be done in the course of January. You would think we were suffering enough but I enjoyed putting myself through that extra layer of misery. I am never doing another degree, diploma or anything unless it is for my own entertainment and maybe not even then.

My poor 93 year old father also got the flu and I was ringing him for daily updates on his condition. He’s almost recovered, thanks for asking. As I rang to hear his litany of woe and he sympathetically listened to mine, he would say, “there is only one thing for it ‘durchhalten'”.

I think the worst might be over. But it might not.

The Problems of Another Age

January 23rd, 2019

My aunt was telling me that, many years ago, my Granny got a new fur coat with which she was very pleased and she brought it home. Instead of hanging it up in the wardrobe she put it on a hook under a high shelf the better to admire it.

No sooner had she paused in her admiration than a stray bird flew in through the window and perched on the high shelf above her fancy new coat. It was the work of a moment for the cat, also in the room, to climb up the fur coat and secure the bird. I understand that the coat was never the same after. I suppose the bird wasn’t either.

Art Not Imitating Life, Apparently

January 17th, 2019

Me: Do you ever read my blog?

Her: Yeah. I’m never more than about 3 weeks behind.

Me: I suppose you know what’s in it – you live it.

Her: Yes, but that’s very different from reading it.


Small Victories

January 16th, 2019

Herself said to me the other day, “I am so glad that you sent me to my school, I would have hated to have gone to an English language school”. I think that the effect of 10 years of education through the medium of Irish has finally had its effect.

I can only hope that her brothers eventually feel the same but thus far they remain resolutely unconvinced. Alas.

The Biter Bit

January 15th, 2019

Michael: Why did people let Draco do what he did?

Mr. Waffle: Draco Malfoy or, do you mean Lucius Malfoy?

Michael: No, I mean Draco the tyrant.

Mr. Waffle (beginning description): Well, I suppose he was a little bit draconian.

Daniel: Dad, he was Draco, he was literally draconian.


Failing to Keep Up with the Joneses

January 14th, 2019

When we went to Cork for a week our next door neighbours minded our cat, then when they were in France last week we fed their chickens. They came back at the weekend and we exchanged token gifts in return for neighbourly services.

Our token gift: a packet of artisan marshmallow picked up at a food fair in Cork

Their token gift: two large bars of chocolate, a jar of foie gras, a jar of onion confit, an enormous amount of Tomme and some other mountainy cheese.

I feel bad but I had some of the foie gras this evening and, God knows, we need some cheering in the midst of illness and renovations, and I was cheered. Also, Mr. Waffle tells me that he put out their bins and took them in again so there’s that. As against that, we got four eggs from the hens during our period of responsibility.

Changing Mores or an Unexpected Caller

January 14th, 2019

Over Christmas Mr. Waffle and I went for a walk along the South Bull Wall which is a wall with a lighthouse at the end of it that sticks out into Dublin bay. Half of Dublin was there (including a child from the boys’ class whose parents had forced him out while we left ours plugged in to the mainframe). The guilt.

They missed the great views out to Wicklow across the bay but they were unmoved when we told them.

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Anyhow, this is all by the by. The story I am wending my way gradually towards concerns a couple who were walking towards us. The woman was speaking with great vehemence, “I mean, she’s a monster, unbearable, who even does that?” I listened with interest to hear what the sin was and, apparently, the monster dropped in on them without notice. That was it, that was her sin. Sadly, only my friends M & R do that to us but I love an unexpected drop in. Is it now gone the way of the dodo? My sister tells me that a woman who was in her class in school has a sign up in her driveway saying, “Please respect our privacy and do not call to the door.” This just strikes me as rude. Am I out of touch? What do the young people do?


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