I took the children to Cork last week leaving Mr. Waffle to work alone in the big smoke. I stayed with my parents who I felt would welcome the excitement of being woken early, feeding our picky eaters and generally bonding with their grandchildren. That last worked well, the Princess and her grandmother are now both addicted to “Keeping up Appearances“.
We made the obligatory trip to Fota. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. Mr. Waffle, safe in his Dublin fastness, suggested that it might be fun to go. Hah. It was a warm day and I covered the children in sunscreen. Michael and Daniel insisted on wearing their jumpers which they resolutely kept on all day – turning slowly purple in the heat.
No sooner had we passed through the gates (long queue, of course) than the children scented the possibility of acquiring plush toys. Once this hurdle had been cleared, they threw themselves into the playground by the gate paying scant attention to the monkeys sitting nearby. The Princess discovered that she does not like sand in her sandals and, to my horror, I saw her sitting in the middle of the playground licking the sand off her toes. Does this kind of thing happen to anyone else?
We then hurried on to the cafe in the centre of the park because everyone was hungry. The cafe had long queues and the food was quite vile. I lost each of the children in turn in the seething mass of humanity in the nearby playground and, of course, had to drag the other two, unwillingly, on the search, so that I didn’t compound my losses. I spent €27 on a range of items which the children might eat. The Princess ate most of hers. Daniel ate some chips. Michael ate two or three chips, announced he was full and skipped out to the playground. As is his form, 15 minutes later, when the food was gone, he announced that he was hungry. Ice creams followed. Daniel kept asking to go on the little train around the park but we always seemed to miss it and he spent much of the day looking after it mournfully. At no point, other than when we saw the baby penguins in the incubator, did they show the slightest interest in the animals. Sigh.
On Friday, the boys and I dropped my parents’ car into town to get the clutch fixed. We found ourselves in the centre of town at 8.45. It was a perfect morning. Blue skies, leafy vistas and no one in town but ourselves. The boom was kind to Cork and the centre didn’t change fundamentally, it just got nicer. Cork is at its best in summer, it feels like a compact appealing maritime town which is exactly what it used to be. For me, there is nowhere in the world that is so lovely early on a sunny day. Maybe the fact that I no longer live there added some enchantment to the view.
We went into the market for a wander. The lady in the egg stall gave us free duck eggs to try and confided that they were all very excited about the Queen of England’s forthcoming visit. Michael walked around the market holding his nose because it was full of disgusting smells like olives, fish and fresh bread.
We got back to my parents’ house in time to watch the British royal wedding. Sample conversation during same:
Daniel: When will this be over, I want to watch cartoons!
Michael: Why can’t we watch cartoons?
Their mother, sister and grandmother: Wait, wait, look they’re going to kiss on the balcony.
Herself was somewhat confused by the extensive references to the Irish Guards and shouted out gleefully, “Look Mummy, the Gardaí are coming.” Of course, having spent the week in my parents’ house, we were fully aware of all aspects of the wedding. My father reads the Daily Telegraph – does it make it better or worse that they used to always take it in his house when he was growing up? The Telegraph outdid itself last week with pictures of the happy couple on the front page every day.
After the wedding, I prodded the children out the door to the beach. Despite considerable reluctance, they loved Garretstown beach where they had never been before and all got wet to varying degrees.
Is it always the last day of a holiday that’s the best?