Me: I’m thinking about summer holiday options. Where might we go this year?
Many voices: Not that Estonian island you keep talking about.
Me: What about Japan? Not this year, but next year maybe?
Daniel: What’s wrong with like…Newry?
Me: I’m thinking about summer holiday options. Where might we go this year?
Many voices: Not that Estonian island you keep talking about.
Me: What about Japan? Not this year, but next year maybe?
Daniel: What’s wrong with like…Newry?
Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24
Christmas Day fell on a Monday. I went to regular Sunday mass on the 24th in the morning. In the tussle between the (lovely) newish choir mistress and the (severe) retired choir mistress, the latter won out with traditional numbers including “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. A perennial Advent favourite.
I zoomed home to watch “A Muppet Christmas Carol” with Michael and anyone else who was interested. As I say, year after year, an amazing Christmas film and Michael Caine’s best work.
My sister, in exile from Cork (the builders are in her house), was up with her partner’s parents in Dublin for Christmas. This was a source of some bitterness. It was her first Christmas ever out of Cork and it was not a concept that had a great deal of allure for her. However, we were all glad to see her and exchanged Christmas presents. Hers, as ever, much better than ours.
We had her to dinner and I got to deploy my Christmas ware; colour me delighted.
Due to an unfortunate miscommunication with chef (Mr. Waffle), dinner was roast beef and not chicken so the mountain of Christmas stuffing I had made the day before was not deployed. Never mind I have been working my way determinedly though it ever since. Stuffing for breakfast anyone?
I am pleased to announce that the Christmas pudding went up in very satisfactory flames (part of a Lismore Christmas hamper which I recommend). In fact in a development which I can only describe as unusual, everyone got a flaming little piece as it took quite a while to go out. Tasted grand too.
Our Christmas crackers came with a guessing game which nearly killed my sister as she collapsed in paroxysms of laughter at my utter inability to guess the name affixed to my forehead.
She then came with us to midnight mass (9pm, confusingly). Those of you who have been counting will realise that it was my second mass of the day which, honestly, felt like a lot. Herself and Mr. Waffle guessed what poets would be covered in the sermon. They got points for Patrick Kavanagh and John Betjeman but no Seamus Heaney. Hymns were broadly good (severe older choir mistress holding out) but we had “Love is Christmas” for communion which definitely came from the younger choir mistress (who is a saint and very talented but whose musical taste, sadly, does not chime with mine). “Because there are so few Christmas hymns,” I whispered to herself bitterly. “Don’t be churlish,” said she. Fair, but honestly, mass went on for so long that it felt like midnight and didn’t I deserve a “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” having been to two masses? Apparently not.
Christmas Day, Monday, December 25
We didn’t get up until 11 – recommended – and then exchanged presents which were broadly a success, I think, though hard to know whether Santa really did deliver for the children. I was pretty pleased anyhow.
We went off across town for Christmas dinner with the cousins. They had also invited Mr. Waffle’s aunt and uncle, their daughter and her children. So we were a big crowd and a good time was had by all. I did feel for my sister-in-law when the uncle and aunt were ill and unable to come but their grandson came (much admired slightly older second cousin to my guys) and brought, surprise, his girlfriend, who, double surprise, we discovered five minutes before sitting down to eat, is a vegan. My poor sister-in-law began anxiously listing the things the vegan could not eat: not the meat, not the potatoes done in duck fat, not the sprouts with bacon, not the parsnips with parmesan…”Do you eat mushrooms?” she asked. Fortunately the vegan said yes and my sister-in-law whipped them up. The rest of us got to eat the amazing Christmas dinner. Santa had brought Michael “Poetry for Neanderthals” and it was great to see almost all the cousins playing from the sophisticated 21-year-old with his vegan girlfriend to the 15 year old hostess. Only the eight year old was a bit shy and stayed chatting with the grown ups.
Then we packed ourselves up and came home where the children did Mr. Waffle’s Christmas treasure hunt which they love. He thought it would be really hard but it took them about 20 minutes. More challenging material required for 2024. It slightly reminds me of a six-year old’s birthday party where you have all these games prepared but 10 minutes in they’ve passed the parcel, played musical chairs and musical statues and ten six-year-olds are looking up at you hoping that you have something prepared for the next hour and fifty minutes.
We had a three way video call with my sister in Dublin (who, ironically, was eating her Christmas dinner at her partner’s sister’s house, a ten minute walk from where we were having our own Christmas dinner but the logistics of meeting up were a bit beyond us), my brother in the Canaries and me. He seems to be having a good time. “Did you go to mass?” I asked him because I enjoy torturing him. “Yes, yes,” he said, “we had the loaves and the fishes.” “On Christmas Day?!” I asked. “Ah, is it the same everywhere?” he asked. “I mean you couldn’t even make a guess for today of all days? I despair,” I said. Just as well I went twice I guess.
It was my father’s third anniversary but I had thought about him on the solstice and that seems like a better day to remember him for a lot of reasons.
St. Stephen’s Day, Tuesday, December 26
Herself made her Christmas breakfast which was deferred from Christmas Day due to logistical challenges and very nice it was too.
Mr. Waffle and I went for a walk in the park. This made me think “Windows has caused a general protection fault.”
I had a quintessential Christmas snack. Yes, yes, that is spiced beef.
That evening, herself and Daniel went out to visit friends. When I was collecting herself she asked, “When are we going to Cork?” This is the reason why I repeat logistics ad nauseam though, in fairness to her, herself is not usually the one caught out. “Tomorrow morning,” said I. Surprise, disquiet etc. I collected Dan as well and he, at least was aware of our plans. I’d told him loads of times apparently. Sigh.
Wednesday, December 27
We left for east Cork at 9.30 in the morning. Our friends’ house there where we have stayed many times over the years and for which we are very grateful has a fatal winter flaw. The heating is very eco-friendly and, for reasons I do not understand, this means that the house takes hours to heat up. The teenage neighbour was supposed to go in the day before and fire up the heating for which service we were to pay her a tenner. Money which we would more than gladly have paid had she done the job, but alas, you just can’t get the staff.
We turned on the heat and went out to a local hotel for lunch. Golf course view but, you know, grand.
Mr. Waffle and I went for a walk on the beach leaving the children behind. Bracing.
There was a portable sauna (it’s far from etc.) and people left it to swim in the sea. Extraordinary. And people were out surfing as well.
When we came back to the house it was, alas, still baltic. We tried and failed to get the stove to work (it is a capricious beast, I emailed our friends – in Madrid for Christmas isn’t it well for them etc. – and got this reply “No special tips for the stove but follow instructions. And then do so again. It is like prayer. It will be warm by morning.”). I had neglected to bring a hat from Dublin so I spent the evening with a tea cosy on my head. This must represent some kind of new low but it was warm. I discovered in the morning that poor Michael, who is far thinner than me, had gone to bed with his jumper, coat and trousers on over his pyjamas. Yes, yes it was warm in the morning.
Thursday, December 28
We had a further walk on the beach for enthusiasts in the morning.
We drove up to Cork and had a nice lunch in the city. Then we went to my sister’s house where she needed to deploy us moving boxes and furniture in advance of the arrival of the electrician scheduled for early next month. The builders have done a lot of work and the house looks pretty good if absolutely filthy and covered with builders’ dust. We worked away and then the boys went back with my sister and her partner to their temporary accommodation to play Magic (if you don’t know, lucky old you) and Mr. Waffle, herself and myself went into town for a poke around. The Crawford Gallery was open, always a delight; I will be sad when it closes up for a couple of years of works – in 2024, I think.
I have been nominated family keeper of photo albums. When we were moving boxes we found another photo album. The first half of the album is devoted to pictures of my father and his mates sailing and climbing mountains.
The second half is devoted entirely to me – on my own, with various relatives etc. – as, needless to say, it should be. Here I am with my Granny, my father’s mother. Note cigarette, a classic touch. She actually gave them up when I was 3 or 4 so I never really remember her smoking. She’s wearing the diamond engagement ring that we found earlier in the year when we were cleaning out Aunty Pat’s upstairs. I’m wearing it now. Herself suggests I should sell as with the development of such excellent lab grown diamonds, I am losing thousands every day I fail to dispose of it. I will not be disposing of it.
That evening we all went out for dinner in Blackrock castle. Honestly, in the past I have been underwhelmed by the food available but it was actually quite nice, handy for the road back to East Cork and a lovely setting. Herself got us talking about what minor super powers we would like to have. She wanted to always be able to order the things she would most like on the menu in a restaurant or maybe to know what clothes would suit her best just from looking at them on the rack; Daniel wanted to be able to avoid sporting injuries; Michael wanted to always know when the bus would come (the commute to college is trying for him); Mr. Waffle wanted to always be able to sleep at night (that’s actually my super power, it’s grand but not as good as he thinks it is); I wanted to be able to always find something to watch on TV that would appeal to all the family; my sister’s partner had the best answer though, after a moment’s pause he said, “I want to be able to answer questions like these.” Meta.
Friday, December 29
The morning brought further obligatory walks on the beach and between that and packing up and cleaning up, it was nearly 11 before we got on the road to Dublin.
Unusually enough, we decided to stop on the way for lunch. The road is so good now that unless we start quite late as we did this time, it’s hardly worth stopping. On this occasion, timing suggested that Abbeyleix would be a good place to stop. There is a really lovely old pub there called Morrissey’s and my strong memory is that I have had a sandwich there in the past. However, although the pub was otherwise unchanged from my last visit 20 odd years ago, there was no food to be had. A cafe across the road turned us away as they were fully booked though annoyingly enough almost entirely empty when we went in (I don’t doubt that they were fully booked for lunch but it is galling to be turned away from a largely empty establishment). We ended up schlepping about a kilometre out of town to “the hotel”. The hotel does not do lunch but there was a kind of trailer thing in the yard with a heated enclosure. Beggars cannot be choosers but I would not call it a vintage lunch experience. We went back to Morrissey’s to warm up and sat beside the stove (installed when the pub was opened in 1775 and still, I can attest, delightfully toasty). I had forgotten just how nice a pub it is but the absence of food in Abbeyleix is definitely off-putting for the casual visitor.
The rest of our journey was accomplished without further incident. Herself read us aloud extracts from the Farmers Journal. She reads it a couple of times a year and is a big devotee. I’m sure her great-grandfather would be proud of her knowledge of mart prices but we’re all a bit puzzled by her enthusiasm.
I returned to a threatening email from the library. In fairness, it was my third overdue reminder. I had taken out David Copperfield but I was finding it hard going and had only got to page 50. Since the library abolished fines, Mr. Waffle has been wondering how they are going to deal with useless people like me who occasionally (not always, not always) return their books late. Well now, I know, unless I return David Copperfield pronto, they will suspend my account. I would have returned it on the morrow but, of course, Monday being a bank holiday, the library was closed on Saturday (I love the library service and use it all the time but like the rest of us, it has its idiosyncrasies that you have to get to know).
Saturday, December 30
I finished my Christmas jigsaw puzzle. Delighted with myself. Time well spent.
New Year’s Eve, Sunday, December 31
Herself went off to England by ferry at 8 in the morning (flights too dear) to go to a New Year’s Eve party in London. You have to admire her dedication. She’s back tomorrow (by plane, return flight is cheaper but at 9.40 from Gatwick, alas for her). Hurrah.
Today is the feast day of the Holy Family. The priest went all out in his sermon which went on forever and, slightly bafflingly, encompassed the role of the family in resolving the war in Gaza. A fifty minute mass and no singing. Alas. The second reading was from the reliably irritating St. Paul and included this paragraph, never my favourite:
Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.
I remember my parents particularly enjoying the “children be obedient to your parents” line and us countering about driving children to resentment before extracting money to spend in the penny sweet shop across the road from the church. What a long time ago that seems now.
I really love this time of year but I realise that as I get older, it will always be tinged with a little melancholy. And perhaps, after all, this is a nice way to remember those who have died.
Anyhow, enough melancholy, onward and a very happy 2024 to you. Tell me, have you made any resolutions for the new year?
For the first time in years, I didn’t post every day in November. I just forgot. It’s been busy back in the world of work.
Daniel’s shoulder is still causing problems. I’m not sure that he is entirely capable of managing his own medical affairs. One evening he had to call the doctor’s surgery – land line, this is relevant – about his shoulder. The surgery closes at 5.30 and at 5.27 he rang me (whatsapp free on the home wifi) to tell me he was out of credit. It was a race against time to top up his phone and inevitably when he rang at 5.31 he got the automated, “Did you expect us to pick up? You must be joking” message. Anyway he did manage to get through eventually and has been scheduled to be seen at a sports clinic where the next available appointment is July 2024. Fantastic.
Since I last wrote we have had riots in Dublin and a school stabbing so it hasn’t been the best of times for Dublin. On the night in question, I was out in Skerries in north County Dublin (subsequently revealed to be the best place to live in the world, honestly, nice and all but not entirely convinced) having dinner with a school friend. Poor old Michael texted me to check whether I was ok but, in fact, he was far closer to the action at home than I was in my North Dublin fastness. I subsequently heard that on the night of the riots various groups were trapped in their offices (my favourite, the Department of Education quiz night participants) and Trinity students had to stay overnight on campus.
We were flying to England to visit herself at the weekend and I was a bit worried about the boys and asked them not to go out in town while we were gone which felt like we were giving in to the rioters but there it was. Anyway, they were fine and there was no more rioting either. We had a good time in England except for the part of it we spent on trains. It had been suggested to us that flying to Birmingham would be a good way to travel. I cannot recommend Birmingham airport which is undergoing extensive renovations. I fell over comprehensively in a damp lift (water, I think) and lay on my back like a beetle waving its little legs in the air. All of the pre-recorded announcements had a hoover in the background. Unpleasant.
Nor can I recommend the train service which in my (admittedly limited) experience cancelled trains at short notice and had everyone squeezed on like sardines with no chance of getting to your reserved seat. However, Birmingham airport was redeemed by its lovely staff. Mr. Waffle lost his wedding ring and he just gave up. I, however, went back to security and a really kind man checked all of the security belts. He didn’t find it but gave me a form to fill in in case it turned up. Mr. Waffle had no faith in the form – to the extent that he just bought a new wedding ring – but he filled it in and they found the ring and sent it back to us. Very gratifying.
We had a nice time in England overall notwithstanding our transport trauma and it was very nice to see herself.
I have returned to tennis having finally got back in to the tennis club 18 months after I applied to rejoin. I was stiff all over after my first session. Let us hope things improve.
My sister is on the mend having been pretty unwell. I went to Cork to visit her to speed her recovery. I am not sure that it really helped but I had a pretty good time. It was nice to visit Cork at Christmas (all of December now apparently) and finally get to inspect this Marina market which I’ve been hearing so much (fine but, as my sister observed, probably not notiony enough for me). While I was in Cork, Dan’s team won the Championship. He was very pleased, notwithstanding his shoulder he’s been turning out a bit for training and matches (the physio thinks it’s ok, I hope it’s ok).
The Cork-Dublin train is Ireland’s best train line and when you travel you can shove your bike in the guard’s van. If, like an amateur, you get the Cork Dublin train that is not direct you have to stand on a chilly platform in Mallow, change trains and put up with this kind of bike storage.
Some of you have doubtless been wondering what was the source of the weird smell under the stairs which appeared around the time of my mother-in-law’s funeral. It went away but then Mr. Waffle disturbed the beast in its lair and it came back with renewed vigour but this time, Mr. Waffle managed to trace it to its source. It was a (mercifully wrapped) packet of cooked chicken pieces which had been purchased some months ago. They had lain forgotten in a rucksack in the interim waiting for their moment to shine.
A former colleague’s father died and I spent the days before the funeral humming and hawing about whether I ought to go. It was in rural Kilkenny which is just far enough out of Dublin that I would have to take a day off to attend but not so far that nobody could reasonably expect you to attend. I was definitely going, then I was definitely not going but in the end, I went. Having taken the day off work to go to the funeral, you might have thought I would arrive on time, you would be wrong. As with every funeral I have ever been to, I was glad I went afterwards; there was actually a big crowd of former colleagues there and we had a grand old chat. The burial was in the church yard which in my experience is quite unusual as most funerals seem to involve a trek to some graveyard in the back end of nowhere. And then there were sandwiches and tea (of course) in the adjacent church hall. A more elaborate lunch was being served in the town afterwards but the tea and sandwiches in the hall were great as they allowed me to sympathise in the warmth, and, you know, a cup of tea, not to be sneezed at.
I went to the Kildare Village outlet shopping centre on the way home. I despise it and all it stands for (the fake American vibe, the car dependency, the absence of the diversity you get in an actual city etc) but I also really like it. A difficult time for me. I see they have bike parking. A luxurious Sheffield stand it is not, but it is something, in fairness.
In one of the shops I attempted to buy something for €20. The shop assistant refused to take my money and said that I had to buy two things. Did I leave in a huff? I did not. I, somewhat reluctantly, picked up something else. What a wheeze.
We had Saint Nicolas in Dublin. He sent chocolate to herself in England. His feeling for weights and measures is not what it might be. Herself was, on the whole, pleased to get a kilo of chocolate delivered.
I had my Ukrainian lesson on December 6 and we talked about St. Nicolas in Ukraine. They have him, he comes on December 6 and he brings satsumas. On December 6, when my teacher was growing up (she’s about the same age as me so this would have been in the 70s), the classrooms all smelled of oranges as people illicitly peeled their satsumas under the desks. When I was growing up in Cork in the 70s we used to get a tray of satsumas for Christmas. The excitement in seeing them come into the house, the joy in eating satsumas whenever you wanted. In retrospect, I am very puzzled by this. It’s not like satsumas were not available all year round and I can’t imagine that my mother (very much officer in charge of food in our house) would have objected to us eating as many as we wanted at any time of year, unlike other Christmas treats which were rationed for obvious reasons. I have verified this with people my own age; the big tray of satsumas for Christmas seems to have been a treat for everyone in Ireland in the 70s. Baffling.
I’ve been Christmas lunching with work to beat the band. Exhausting but not unpleasant. I have had not one but two book club Christmas events (two bookclubs). One in my friend’s beautiful house in the suburbs where she had a magnificently decorated 12 foot tree in her drawing room (replacing the grand piano which normally sits there – question to self, where on earth did she put the grand piano?). Her son took a picture of us all in front of the tree and everyone looked amazing except me and I’m right in the middle. Sigh. Even my children felt the need to reassure me that I don’t really look like that. Eyes closed, mouth half open. My other bookclub met in the Westbury hotel for afternoon tea yesterday. Lovely and Christmassy and I kept my mouth closed for all the photos. Sadly, I looked a bit like Rudolf as I was dying with a cold and probably shouldn’t have gone and definitely should not have cycled home in the rain. I was so miserable last night, awake all night that I stayed home from work today. My new boss is lovely and, as I said to Mr. Waffle, “Since I started only about six weeks ago, I have taken every kind of leave, bereavement leave, holiday leave, leave to go to a funeral and now sick leave. He’ll think I’m incapable of putting in a full week.” I have looked at my work email over the course of the day but only in the most desultory way. All I need now is to tell him I’m applying for adoptive leave. I am not applying for adoptive leave.
I have had my hair cut – finally – first time in about 18 months, honestly, well overdue. I am delighted but I was truly unnerved to see how like my brother I looked in the hairdresser’s mirror with my hair cut short. Herself wants to know why I look so glum in all the selfies. Look, I feel foolish photographing myself, there was a time when this was not unusual, right?
Here I am looking slightly cheerier with herself.
Crocheted Christmas tree – an idea whose time has come?
My sister-in-law sent me this very pleasing picture of Hodge, Samuel Johnson’s cat in London.
We have got the best Christmas tree ever this year. I am delighted. I held off until this weekend just gone in the face of some opposition. We had to go to a new place because our regular vendor was out of trees in the size we wanted. What a blessing in disguise; a definitely superior tree was found after some tense moments that I would prefer not to speak about.
Everyone was there to decorate it (herself back from staying in a foundation in Munich where her friend is studying and which appears to be the most amazing place the Princess has ever stayed, I have rarely seen her so enthusiastic about anything and she’s polishing up her German again on foot of the visit so pleasing). And we had Christmas music playing in the background. I was beside myself with joy. Except for dying from my cold. It doesn’t really photograph well but you will have to take my word for it that the tree is magnifico.
More news as we get it.
Earlier this week, I went for a cycle in the park with my loving husband. The place was pretty much deserted on a damp Monday afternoon.
We had a cup of tea at the lake.
Then we headed for home where we arrived safely notwithstanding the fact that this stag looked pretty dubious about our bikes. You have to imagine the sound effects – Mr. Waffle saying in increasingly urgent but low pitched tones, “Don’t stop to take a picture, keep cycling.”
The weather was lovely on Wednesday and I went for a swim in the sea with my friend who swims in the sea every day of the year. She has several pairs of magic little bootees which fool your body into thinking it’s not going to be unbelievably cold. I am a big fan. I think I might buy my own for summer time swimming which would look stupid but do I even care anymore? It was lovely swimming – yes really – and then we went for lunch afterwards.
We went to Wicklow overnight with the in-laws. Of the younger generation, only Michael and the youngest cousin (6) came but they both seemed to have a good time. Daniel was home alone for the first time. Delighted.
It was lovely to see everyone and my only regret was the bank holiday traffic which was horrendous. In fairness Wicklow (the garden of Ireland as it styles itself) was looking pretty good.
My sister was in Dublin for the weekend and came to dinner last night. It was great to see her. To my absolute horror I realised that her birthday is coming up in November and somehow, in all of the other excitement, I am not as on top of her present as I might be. Never mind, there’s still time. She filled me in on her extensive building works – she’s moved out until Christmas at least. Terrifying.
Today Mr. Waffle and I cycled to Howth, stopping off for breakfast on the way. I raced him back – I wanted to cycle and he was going to get the suburban train, the DART which allows you to bring your bike on board on bank holidays. I got home first but, alas for him, he had to cycle as well as the DART was undergoing bank holiday Monday repairs. I feel that correct competition conditions were not observed. Howth was looking lovely although there was a woman photographing a rat sitting up and eating some fruit and nuts on the pier. “He’s only a baby and people keep leaving stuff out for him,” she explained. He looked very large for a baby, if you ask me.
I am fully decorated for Halloween tomorrow.
Although none of my decorations are as effective as those of my neighbours up the road who have impaled turnip heads on the spikes of their garden fence.
A busy week. What am I trying to avoid thinking about? Why the return to work tomorrow. It has been fantastic being off. I’ve been lucky to do it. And the job I’m going back to will be grand, I think. But currently this music is playing on repeat in my head. As the young people say, “If you know, you know.” Wish me luck.
I mean not super exotic travel but travel nonetheless.
Mr. Waffle was in Bruges, at a college class reunion thing; a broadly good time was had by all. Except the cat. She is fed by Mr. Waffle, inter alia, before bed. At 10.30, she takes up her position on the corner of the rug and begins looking at him imploringly. In his absence, she stared at the couch, clearly hoping he was going to materialise and having zero faith that I would feed her.
Herself, before returning to England, went to Cork where she was feted and petted by her adoring uncle and aunt.
An otherwise uneventful trip was made exciting by the travel arrangements. She needed a 19-23 id card for the student ticket for the train. It only arrived on the morning she was leaving but, sadly, after she had actually left. I had driven her to the station in the driving rain and heavy traffic and there was no way we would have time to turn back. I was resigned to buying a full fare ticket at the station but then her father – like a superhero in waterproofs – cycled to the station and gave her the ID. Honestly, quite a bit more thrilling than it sounds.
Also, in public transport news, my children keep losing their travel cards and while Mr. Waffle was in Bruges another one was lost. Looking at the account there are about 16 cards called things like Michael2018(2). Poor Mr. Waffle, the administrative duties of a father are many. Anyway thrillingly, following this latest loss, Mr. Waffle found that he was sitting on a gold mine. There was about €100 sitting on the various long lost cards waiting for him to recover (after considerable effort – order of administrative labour, first class).
Then, like the extremely saintly mother I am, sherpa-like I drove the Princess’s stuff back to England while she flew to attend a conference, the logistics were almost unbearably complex.
Before driving to England to my intense chagrin, a tree crept up beside me and broke the side mirror on the car. It worked ok but slightly suboptimal for my long drive. And 500 of your earth euros to repair it. I’ve decided not to fix the scrape I gave it going in the gate in Cork, there’s only so much I can afford.
The offending tree with its victim:
My trip to England was grand. I ensconced herself in her, frankly, palatial student accommodation and then turned around to get the ferry home. I spent two nights with my friends in Shrewsbury. It is such a lovely town. Look at it.
I am unclear whether the best shopping in England is to be had in Shrewsbury or my friend really knows what is likely to attract a fellow middle aged woman. They have a lovely indoor market there and I spent like there was no tomorrow.
On the way back to the ferry, I stopped in Conwy in Wales. So lovely, so utterly unknown by me until the ferry to Wales became such a big part of my life.
I am back to work on Halloween (not ominous at all). Expect less gallivanting thereafter.
Mr. Waffle and I found a blue book voucher on the bookshelves and decided to go away mid-week. The excitement. If you gave us the blue book voucher, I am really sorry because we have no idea who gave it to us.
We went to Hunter’s Hotel where we last stayed in January 2003 just before we moved to Brussels. The hotel is nice but the food was terrible then. My sister-in-law who I normally find very reliable on these matters said, “But it’s really improved in the intervening 20 years”. I regret to inform you that it has not. Still a lovely setting though and a good spot for afternoon tea or breakfast but definitely not for dinner.
And we went for a walk in Glendalough. All of the pines on the way up to the Spinc – which is a walk we sometimes do – have been cut down and replaced by native trees. I am sure it will be lovely in 20 years but at the moment the walk up is the abomination of desolation.
You win some you lose some. Still nice views from the monastic site:
and from the top.
And I am very excited about the mid-week break as a concept. I suppose this will dissipate when I return to the salt mines in the near future.