Where is Michael, you might be wondering. Yeah, he’s ignoring our petty earthly concerns.
Daniel read at the carol service on the Friday evening before Christmas and he was absolutely fantastic. I was very proud of him. Mr. Waffle tends to regard our children’s successes and failures as their own but I regard everything as a reflection on me and I basked vicariously in his glory. The carols were nice too.
On Sunday we had our Christmas drinks party. Every year I am in the horrors in prospect and then quite pleased with it when in progress and delighted with myself afterwards. This year was no different. We had a moment of suprise when Daniel said, as I stood poised with a toothpick over a cocktail sausage, “I think those are the ones Michael puts in his mouth.” “And puts back in the box?” I asked in horror. Apparently so. Anyhow we had an unopened packet and we spoke to Michael about toothpicks being a single use item so a win overall.
On December 23, I queued outside Sheridan’s cheesemongers in town for 20 minutes. It was a small price to pay as my sister-in-law was making Christmas dinner but I think we can take it as a sign that the Dublin economy is still doing just fine.
It was a busy couple of days. For all of us, apparently.
On Christmas Eve, the children and I met and an old friend of mine and his children. We’ve been doing this for about 10 years now so that makes it a festive tradition, I suppose. I found old pictures of when the children were smaller and he and I were quite nostalgic. My children were politely indifferent.
When we got home, Mr. Waffle told us that the toilet seat upstairs had broken. I thought it a bit unlikely that he would succeed on his hunt for a replacement on Christmas Eve but I underestimated him. A Christmas miracle.
We went to midnight mass (starts at 9, over by 10.30) and so we had a pretty relaxed Christmas morning with no one up before 9.
Christmas presents this year were pretty successful overall. I rolled over Mr. Waffle’s subscription to the Economist and did not get him a copy of “Surveillance Capitalism” about which I had given strong hints and which filled him with fear because all he really wanted was the new Ross O’Carroll Kelly book which I dutifully delivered.
As we were going out to dinner herself did us all an amazingly elaborate Christmas breakfast which we all enjoyed though she was slightly frazzled. Christmas lunch with the cousins was very good and entirely labour free although Mr. Waffle and I felt a bit guilty; we’ll have them around for dinner in the new year.
Mr. Waffle and the children refused to go orienteering on St. Stephen’s Day but we did go for a walk so there was that. I was not as pleased by the situation as this picture might lead you to believe but my children were an absolute delight.
We did very little on the 27th and headed down to Cork on the 28th. We decided to have lunch in Milano’s in town when we got to Cork before pushing on to grace the relatives with our presence. I was ill-prepared for parking in town. I decided I would test out the city council’s park by phone service, it is not effective. I am €10 poorer and I still had to scoot off to buy parking discs – I met two traffic wardens and they told me that the park by phone service was down; where I might buy discs and that they would not clamp my car while I was gone. This is perhaps not fascinating but I had to get it off my chest. It ended up costing me €20 for an hour’s parking.
Nonetheless we went on to my parents’ house in reasonably good order. My sister and brother always get very extravagant presents for the children (and indeed me) and this year the children, yet again, cleaned up.
I gave my father a new cap – sorely needed – and it may have been my most successful present of the year. He wore it to mass on Sunday and we both thought it looked pretty good. He was chirpy on Sunday and as he and I drove back from mass together (leaving the others to toil on foot) we reprised together some of the more popular carols performed by the choir.
My brother, the boys and I went ice skating together which was moderately successful. We went to Kinsale for a walk with my sister. As I said cheerfully to my little group as I ushered them in to the car, “It’s not actually raining.” The children dutifully posed for the now traditional “caution children” shot.
After an hour or so patiently waiting outside in the damp, we finally got our lunch in the Bulman. While we were queuing, my sister’s friend came with her husband, her five year old, her brother and her 83 year old father. We chatted. Mr. Waffle suggested that we should give them our place in the queue. The rest of us were heartless. He is a better person than us but we were hungrier than him. Happily we were all seated at more or less the same time so the terrible ethical dilemma did not arise. Then we went on to Charles Fort which, alas, was closed. Curse you, OPW.
My sister and I went for a wander around the craft shops of the town and Mr. Waffle and the children went home (having driven to Kinsale in two cars which was handy if not ecologically sound). By the time I got back to Cork that evening, I was starting to feel ill. I was sick as a dog last night and was not wellfor our drive back to Dublin this morning but here I am in the comfort of my own home with as much lemsip at my disposal as I may need to see in the new year.
A very happy new year to you all and hope Christmas went well for you too.
We watched a festive rom-com the other night. It wasn’t great. Before we started watching I went into the kitchen to carry out various, perhaps not entirely, essential tasks. The others waited patiently on the sofa. Daniel came to find me.
Him: Watching “The Holiday” is like going to mass.
Me (surprised, I mean wouldn’t you be?): Really, how is that?
Him: You’re the only one who wants to go but somehow you’re slowing us all down.
It’s another of my gifts.
It has been busy here in Waffle towers. Lots of seasonal things: present buying; tree purchasing; card sending; Christmas partying.
We went to see “A Christmas Carol” in the Gate on Tuesday night. It was a pricey enough family outing. It might have been more successful had the children been a bit younger or, in the case of herself, more cheerful. She was tired, it was a school night, she had lots to do and we were forcing her to be there. All true but not information delivered in a manner calculated to please her mother who had envisaged a fun Christmas outing. “I’m not sitting beside Michael,” she said, “as we filed into our seats, “he makes noises when he consumes culture.” This set the tone somewhat. The second part was better than the first and, at the end, Michael hopped up and gave an enthusiastic standing ovation. He was standing alone for quite a while but, in the end, he brought the theatre with him and everyone stood up.
On the way out, I got chatting to an elderly gentleman (typical enough of the patrons of the Gate) who was making slow progress out due to a bad knee. “You would never think,” said he conversationally, “that I was once the Irish under 17 sprint champion but I was. I met Jesse Owens, I knew Jesse Owens. Did you know that the person who first got him interested in running was an Irish-American in his school called Charlie Reilly?” I did not but I’m willing to bet he was in a religious order. The children upbraided me for talking to random strangers and we went home.
I got my annual haircut. My hairdresser firmly resisted my requests to chop it all off but it is, at least, a good deal shorter.
We have carols in the church on Friday night – Daniel is doing a reading; we’re having some people around for drinks on Sunday afternoon and then my last day of work before the holidays is Monday; I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it is unlikely to be anyone’s most productive day at work.
How are your own preparations progressing?
A weekend filled with adventure and excitement etc. On Friday night, Mr. Waffle, the Princess and I went to see a local theatre troop do a Christmas special which was good in parts. Inevitably, herself knew one of the cast who had videoed her doing various worthy things in youth organisations over the years.
On Saturday, Daniel had a match miles away and Michael had his drama showcase. Michael’s drama went well, although Daniel was not delighted to hear another child address Michael with the words, “As your twin…” in the play. Daniel lost his match but felt he had played reasonably well so was cheerful enough notwithstanding his defeat. Sadly Michael has decided that he has had enough drama and doesn’t want to sign up for next term. Alas.
Then last night, my sister came up from Cork and joined us for dinner. Last weekend the Princess was in Cork and her phone died. While her cruel parents felt she would manage, her kindly Cork relatives decided to club together and get her a new iPhone X as a Christmas present which was delivered early (last night) on the basis that she couldn’t be expected to survive phoneless for much longer. And even though my brother who is a shameless haggler in all circumstances managed to get the shop to knock €75 off the price, it was still quite the expensive present. Herself was ecstatic as well she might be.
Today Daniel read at mass and he was absolutely wonderful. After mass, Michael lent across to me and said, “Wasn’t Daniel supposed to be reading today?” He had completely failed to notice his brother reading which does make me wonder whether any of the service at all seeps in.
This afternoon, herself was off on a Christmas baking extravaganza with her friends, the boys had their friends over to play “Call of Cthulhu” [“Dungeons and Dragons adjacent” is how herself describes it, probably all you need to know] and I went off to my bookclub Christmas meeting which was quite delightful.
And now my sister is going to call in again having visited IKEA (which she loves and is not available in Cork) and will doubtless come bearing further gifts. Very satisfactory. And how was your own weekend?