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It Never Ends

July 10th, 2017

I was in Cork recently and went into town to get some things for my father. I was out rather longer than I expected. He telephoned me.
Him: Are you alright?
Me: Yes.
Him: There’s no rush back; it’s just when you were late I was worried you might have been in an accident or something.

He is 92, I am 48. It looks like parenting is forever alright.

In other news, he told me about the college chaperone. When my father was at college in the 40s and my mother in the 50s, the college employed a chaperone; by the time I got to college in the 80s, they had thrown their hats at it. I suppose it was the 60s did for the institution of college chaperone.

Anyhow, Mrs. Madden (for that was her name – possibly the last UCC chaperone, google was unhelpful in relation to my researches in this regard) was friendly with my father and she told him this story. Apparently the students would be assigned to mind the chaperone in turn and keep her plied with food and spend time chatting to her. She said to this one young man, “This is very hard for you, I am sure you would much rather be out dancing with the girls”. Instead of mendaciously insisting that there was nothing he would rather do than spend time with Mrs. Madden he said seriously, “Yes, but I offer it up.”

My father related this tale over dinner out – my sister and I were triumphant at having got him and my aunt out for my aunt’s birthday. This involved a complex series of manoeuvres with a walker, a wheelchair, a disabled parking badge and a phone torch. This last was cunningly deployed to allow those whose eyesight was less than perfect to read the menu in the dim lighting which the restaurant favoured. You may congratulate us.


July 9th, 2017

The National Gallery of Ireland has reopened and I went for a look around. It was so lovely to see all the pictures that have been in storage for years; not to mention the rooms that have been reopened. There’s still some rehanging to do though.


I am fond of Fragonard and it was nice to see his Venus and Cupid back up in the Gallery. I was keen to send it as a postcard to the new mother in London but they didn’t have any; possibly for the best.

I went in on my bike and I found myself cycling to where the bike parking has always been. It was slightly obscured by a hoarding.


And if you didn’t know, you would never have found it. As at the time of visiting, it wasn’t quite restored but, doubtless that will come.


A Star is Born

July 8th, 2017

I got a new niece on June 15. Mr. Waffle’s sister and her husband in London had a baby girl and it is very exciting. The children are delighted to have their first new cousin in nine years. We’re all dying to see her in Dublin (we have mercifully held off on descending on the new parents in London). Our family whatsapp group which had been filled with health logistics for older relatives is now filled with baby photos; it makes a very pleasant change. It is lovely to have good news.

I am tempted to tell the niece’s parents that by the time the Princess was their new baby’s age (about 3 weeks), she had attended a wedding in another country.* Not something I would really recommend to be honest. Although, with pleasing symmetry, the eldest child of that marriage is coming to us the week after next to brush up her English. Herself and the Princess get on fine but, I don’t think they will be attending each other’s weddings although, I suppose, you never know.

*It’s usually about this point that Mr. Waffle tells me, “It’s not a competition.”

Friday Night Fun!

July 7th, 2017

Mr. Waffle is out at a work dinner tonight. The Princess is mid way through her three week residential course which she is loving. Communication with her parents has been sparse. Typical exchange captured below.

IMG_1554 (2)

So the boys and I were home alone together this evening. In a triumph for parent and childminder alike, when I came home from work they were still in their pyjamas. “What is the point of holidays, if you can’t have a lazy day from time to time?” asked Michael. He and I have fundamentally different views on this matter.

Anyhow, as Mr. Waffle prepared to go out, I said to the boys, “We’ll have fun together, won’t we?” Daniel looked at me, raised an eyebrow and said, “Fun with pasta?” Yes, indeed, it was pasta for dinner again. There’s a boy who knows his mother.

Updated to add: the cat has just been sick on the rug in the hall.  Friday nights don’t get more fun than this.

The Garden of Earthly Delights

July 6th, 2017

We have a small urban back garden and an even smaller front garden. Notwithstanding its miniature size, until recently, it was a bit out of control. We paid a very efficient and reliable man to make it beautiful. It felt a bit profligate, to be honest, it’s not as though the garden is massive and I feel we ought to be able to manage ourselves but we weren’t. And now, joy of joys, it is delightful. Now that the weeds are under control, I feel able to buy and add plants myself. I spent €20 at the church garden party on plants (nearly flooring the delighted child on sales) and planted them all; the mild thrill. Yes indeed, the return to horticulture is complete. In other news, I was in charge of the ice cream wafer stall on the hottest day of the year with no fridge; I spent the day running in and out to the priests’ kitchen and doling out rather melty, sticky wafers. Still we sold out.

The Family Walk: An Endangered Species

July 5th, 2017

Since the children have been very small, Mr. Waffle and I have been taking them on family walks which they tolerate and occasionally enjoy in fact but despise and loath in prospect. We haven’t had so many weekends to go on family walks recently with various other family responsibilities to attend to but one Sunday recently, we had an opportunity to go on a family walk. I told them about it a couple of days in advance, the children were all bitter and Herself turned down several invitations to hang around with her friends as she told me with great bitterness. As she had been seeing them all pretty much 24 hours a day since school finished my withers remained unwrung.

On the day itself it took us forever to get out of the house. They were all grumpy and we arrived at Carlingford at lunchtime. I’d brought some baguette to keep us going but a majority of the party felt it would be best to have lunch first. I was not among the majority. I sat through lunch in the pub brooding on my wrongs. The others were cheered though but then we started on the actual walk and there was a bit of “I don’t want to” from herself and the whole thing was a somewhat tedious. We walked uphill for about 45 minutes and we saw some cows.


Daniel and Michael recover from our epic uphill trek:


I had hoped we would walk to a deserted village but by the time we started it was too late. A tamer route was substituted but at the top of the 45 minute uphill, the party was a little unsure about directions so we walked back down the way we had come to everyone else’s delight and my fury. The days of whinging beforehand, the one hour and twenty minute drive to get there, the lunch in the pub, the moaning when we started off and all of this for 45 minutes uphill and about 20 back down (it was quite steep). I was truly fit to be tied. They were all a bit contrite at this point and sent me off to an antique shop to browse while they scuttled away for ice cream. I didn’t buy anything but I did find a replica of my duck jug; it turns out he’s available in good bric-à-brac shops everywhere.


When I rejoined my family they offered to drive to the deserted village; that was really not the point. God, even writing this, I am remembering how very peeved I was.

I am not sure how much longer we can keep dragging the children on walks and have me retain my sanity. In more positive walk related news, Mr. Waffle and I went for a walk together in Wicklow and it was beautiful and nobody was cross at all.

Here’s a picture.


Yet, somehow, my ire has abated and, even now, I am thinking of making them all schlep up to enjoy this view when the Princess’s French exchange comes in July. My poor, poor little family.

Oh Cecilia, You’re Breaking My Heart

July 4th, 2017

My father is 92 and my aunt has just turned 88. When I had dinner with them recently, I asked my aunt about toys of her youth. “Well,” she said, “I remember I had a beautiful rag doll called Cecilia.” “You can’t possibly remember that after all these years,” objected my father. “Yes, I do,” she countered, “because she was named after aunt Cecilia who made her for me and you took her and nailed her to a tree when you were playing cowboys and indians.” Can I reassure anxious readers that sibling relations have improved since the early 1930s? But, poor Cecilia, never forgotten.

Mildly related: I wanted to call the Princess Cecilia after the very same aunt but Mr. Waffle put his foot down. I made her take it for her confirmation name instead because that was before she was a teenager and I had some influence; recently she has been torturing me by saying, “But did I really take Cecilia or did I just tell you that?”

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