A colleague just sent me this picture with the caption “glad to see that you’re still working on your sabbatical”. He thinks it’s the image of me. Really?
Back to School
Well, we’re back from holidays, the boys are back at school, herself is on holidays in Spain and Mr. Waffle is back in his office. I am officially home alone. So far, I LOVE it. It helps that my former colleagues have been having a truly torrid time. I feel slightly guilty but mostly delighted not to be in the thick of it.
I have many, many tales to bring you from our summer holidays. Hold on to your hats etc.
Mr. Waffle went to Warsaw for a college reunion trip. He was a bit nervous because of much trailed airport chaos. In the end it was fine in Dublin but his KLM flight did get cancelled because of chaos at Schipol and he had to fly back Ryanair which he did not love. One of the people on the trip was someone who is a former colleague of mine.
Meanwhile a current colleague of mine was flying via Warsaw after a trip to Armenia to see the Irish football team (a slightly crazy level of devotion, if you ask me and one which is rarely rewarded with a win). He flew via Warsaw and as he was sitting having a drink in the pub at the airport a hand tapped him on the shoulder and, of course, it was his former colleague on her way back from the reunion.
Michael asked me recently why the Irish divorce level is so low and I think it must be because people cannot have affairs. No matter where you go there will always, always be someone you know waiting to tap you on the shoulder.
Not Roman Holiday
The Italian exchange has arrived. Mr. Waffle and Dan took him into town this morning and showed him the sights. They seem to have been very thorough in Rome and I think there is hardly a significant sight that Dan hasn’t seen. I felt we were on our mettle and, let’s be fair, even on a good day, Dublin is not really going to rival Rome. But it seems to have passed off peacefully and the visitor expressed suitable interest in our local sights. The visitor seems to be a nice polite young man. At about 9.30 last night he asked, “Where’s the sunset?” so the lads were able to fill him in our long summer nights. Already he has learnt something from this cultural exchange.
They’re off in the Dublin mountains zip lining this afternoon. I had firm instructions to conceal from the visitor that I speak Italian but, for obvious, reasons, it hasn’t really arisen so far. He speaks pretty good English. The Italian school system has a strong literature focus which is why Italians are familiar with Shakespeare and Blake (yes, really) but weak on finding their way to the train station. This is not a problem for our visitor, in fairness.
I did not tell you that my last week at work was slightly blighted by bicycle chain problems (now resolved you will be pleased to hear). One night, as I was leaving about 8 the man in the portacabin at the gate insisted on helping. I begged him not to but he insisted. After about 10 annoying minutes he said, “The problem is, that’s broken you’ll have to take it to a bike shop.” I thanked him as civilly as I could, wheeled the bike around the corner, turned it upside down and after some poking to deal with the damage the man in the portacabin had wrought, fixed it. A group of Italians nearby burst into applause. They were from Naples and very pleased though not surprised to find an Italian speaker available to them. They had a number of queries about the joys of Howth. And also the pronunciation of Howth. If only it had featured in the English literary canon they would be alright.
So I’m still confined to my bedroom. My sister sent me a cheering hamper of food.
Today’s test is definitely a less strong line than earlier in the week so maybe, maybe tomorrow I will be released back into the wild. Let us remain optimistic.
I Always Wait for the Longest Day and Then Miss It*
So yesterday was my first day of not working. The weather was lovely. I was able to sit in the garden. I could chat face to face with Mr. Waffle and the boys from a safe distance. I could take my meals in the garden. I felt much better. My face got slightly sun burnt. Not normally a cause for rejoicing but it was a surprisingly pleasant day. I still, alas, have a cough and a runny nose but everyone else remains infection free. Today is a bit more overcast so I am dividing my time between the garden and the lovely isolation bedroom. I can see this becoming quite tedious. I think I will try another Covid test in the morning in the hope that maybe I am no longer infectious.
The view from my perch yesterday. A massive improvement on the day spent in the bedroom.
We had a long chat with herself yesterday. Logistics seem broadly sorted for her return from England; she won a mild prize (Â£50 book token) for an exam – not the end of year ones which she just finished but I have to hope that this is a promising sign; she has exhausting and exhaustive summer plans; and she should be home next weekend. Hurrah.
I ceremonially put on my work out of office and dealt with a few last emails.
My favourite aunt – my father’s sister – is 93 either yesterday or on Wednesday. My grandmother and the hospital disagreed on the date and the matter was never satisfactorily settled. I spoke to her on the phone. She seems perky I am pleased to report.
I got a message from Daniel at 8 this morning telling me he was on the bus to Offaly to spend the day with his friend from there. Rome, Edenderry, he’s covering all the exciting locations this week.
Michael and I are thrown on our own resources. Mr. Waffle was able to spend a good bit of time at home yesterday but today he is more tied up at work. Michael is finding working as my chef close to a full time job and he is not hugely enjoying it. But he is resigned. We played charades for a bit in the back garden – something than allows for distance – but this is all we could come up with.
Still, I am enjoying not being at work. Lots to look forward to, I feel.
*Small prize (honour and glory) if you know where this quote is from. It used to be one of the Princess’s favourite books and she would often quote from it.
The Best Laid Plans
Friday was my last day at work for a while. The last couple of weeks have been…intense culminating in a late night session running in to the early hours of Friday morning (3 am since you ask). I spent all day Thursday feeling a bit under the weather and as the evening wore on into Friday morning, I felt worse and worse. At one stage I went around closing all the windows in the room we were working in as I was cold although nobody else was. I’ve been a bit sick on and off over the past couple of weeks but repeated Covid tests were happily negative.
I decided to cycle home rather than get a taxi after the marathon session to 3 am because I didn’t want to abandon my bike. As I cycled home through the summer city night, I felt quite dizzy. Perhaps, I thought, because I was tired. I dragged myself from bed the next morning at 10 having passed a sickly night. I took a last Covid test and, wouldn’t you know it, it was positive. I broke the news to colleagues and I sincerely hope that I haven’t given it to anyone – so far so good but my window closing antics can’t have helped I fear – I got a laugh from one sympathetic message which said: “Conscientious to the end, getting sick in your own time.”
Yesterday and Friday I was absolutely miserable. Today, I’m ok really, it’s just like a head cold. I do wonder if I could have two things together because I’m surprised that Covid alone would make me so ill given that I have all the vaccinations.
On Friday night I was due to collect Daniel from the airport and hear all about his trip to Rome. Mr. Waffle was at a dinner. Mr. Waffle had a sober dinner and collected Dan later. I still haven’t been able to talk to him in person and I would like to give him a hug, now that he’s home. Preliminary indications are that he had a good time. He brought me Daim bars from the airport and Pecorino cheese from Rome and I have been sustaining myself on these delicacies. And everyone was right, he was able to get himself to and from Rome by plane with no difficulty even though the flights were delayed both ways.
Poor Michael has been entirely neglected by his mother for the past week and I was hoping to see a bit more of him over the weekend but alas, our only engagement is him leaving food parcels and pots of tea outside the bedroom door for me.
Yesterday, for my first day off, I was planning to go to a talk at the Dalkey book festival with a friend. She had booked lunch after, we were both really looking forward to it. Sadly, this is where I spent my Saturday.
I was due to get the ferry to England on Monday morning, stay with a friend in Shrewsbury and then collect herself and her belongings and come back home. We are considering a range of logistical alternatives and it will all be fine but I have to say, I was really, really looking forward to the trip. Oh well, another time. She was at her ball last night and I have photos which show a lot of imagination in relation to eye make up. Successfully, if you ask me.
Meanwhile I am confined to my bedroom. Mr. Waffle has brought up the desktop for me to play with, so expect regular blog updates. Though not a lot is happening to me so maybe not. The downstairs bathroom and the temporary shower in the utility room [we got it put in when we were doing the upstairs bathroom and it is so unutterably hideous that I had suppressed its very memory but it’s still there just waiting for its chance to shine] have been assigned for my use. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel judged.
Oh and today is Father’s Day. You would have to feel for Mr. Waffle given the very limited service that has been available.
Incidentally I am in the throes of discovering that every single chair is uncomfortable and reading in bed doesn’t have as much to recommend it as I had previously thought. My back is killing me.
And a last piece of news from next door. Their misfortunate daughter has Covid again. I think that’s the fourth time. As always, things could most assuredly be worse.