We’ve given up watching the news in the evenings; so, in fact, we’ve given up watching television altogether because all our TV watching consisted of the news and an hour of vain channel hopping thereafter. Now we sit and read and listen to music. We chat. It’s amazing how much of a difference it’s made to my evening. Apart from anything else, it’s delightful to be missing the economic doom news which RTE likes to lead with nightly. I’ll let you know when our resolve cracks.
Archives for February 2012
Children’s dinner yesterday:
Princess – nothing;
Daniel – spoonful of canned sweetcorn with ketchup;
Michael – reheated Yorkshire pudding.
Children’s dinner today:
All – Domino’s pizza.
I got a book about madness out of the library last weekend. The first chapter deals with leper houses and I was talking to herself about this. Don’t tell me you don’t torture your children in similar ways. A lengthy discussion followed about the symptoms of leprosy. Then about leper colonies and how there is a Dublin suburb called “Leopardstown” because the land was used to fund a lepers’ hospital. The following day we visited Dublinia [we had tickets saved from a promotion on milk bottles – are you getting a picture of our home life?] In the, always popular, death and diseases bit there was a wax figure of a leper.
Then today at mass, the readings and the gospel featured -oh yes- leprosy. Herself was listening closely because she was up on the altar doing a try out for altar girl (successful). And the priest was fresh back from his visit to a leper colony in Africa so we covered that in the sermon.
There may be a lesson here somewhere but you’ll have to work it out for yourself.
You may recall that my brother had a three month holiday in the Americas in late 2011. Then earlier this month, he departed for a month’s skiing in Chamonix. It was cheaper to buy skis for four weeks than to hire them. And it was cheaper to get a season pass than four weekly passes. So now that he has his season pass and his skis, he’s decided that he should stay for an extra fortnight. So that he can get value from his skis and season pass. I’m not bitter.
Oh yeah, here’s what he says about the trip so far:
Hi folks, allâ€™s well in Chamonix, el cuerpo demanded a day off skiing after 8 days today. I have had an absolutely brilliant time, but the one slightly disconcerting thing about skiing is that the better you get at skiing the more you realise how bad you are at it. When I started I used to think Iâ€™d be as good as the locals in no time, ignorance is bliss, like being so far behind in a race that that you think youâ€™re winning.
At this stage I can do all the pistes comfortably if not stylishly, off piste on the other hand feels like seconds from disaster all the time………. had some fairly spectacular wipe outs during my off piste lesson on Saturday, but made progress in a crash and learn type of way, (at one stage I was thinking â€˜go mberimid beo ar an am seo amarachâ€™), needless to say Mum just in case youâ€™re worried the only thing Iâ€™m in danger of injuring is my ego. The problem with off piste is you have to be light and agile: my 85kg frame and public sector union flexibility are not helping matters. Still Iâ€™m hoping to be an all mountain skier by the end of this junket. Speaking of which I decided to push out my return date by a further 2 weeks, in my own head I managed to spin this as a money saving decision, I bought the skies and have a season pass so it would be a waste not to get more use from them, right????
The weather when I arrived was unbelievably cold -25 or something; it was like spending the day in the freezer at home next to the peas from 1993. After my first day skiing my designer stubble was frozen white and I looked bit like one of the guys from those photos of the Scott expedition. Next day I got a Balaclava and end up looking more like an IRA man than an Antarctic explorer, but didnâ€™t need to be thawed out. This week has seen the temp pick up, the blue skies and spectacular scenary have made the place much more like a holiday brochure. As for French, the other objective of the trip which hasnâ€™t received much coverage in the mail, I think Iâ€™m starting to get it back a bit of it back, more updates to follow. Anyway have to sign off now and get some sleep as itâ€™s been snowing today and tomorrow is going to be a brilliant days skiing.
“Wartime Women: A Mass Observation Anthology 1937-45” edited by Dorothy Sheridan [New Year’s Resolution]
I found this mildly interesting. It consists mainly of diaries but also some survey material. I particularly liked the research on married women and work from January 1944.
On the one hand:
“…going out to work is incompatible with the proper care of children. Even before the war one saw the sad result of mothers working the the factory in in a certain manufacturing village near here. The children ran about the streets wild and uncared-for with no home life.”
But on the other:
“I feel that it should always be possible – things should so be arranged that no woman should feel marriage is going to drive her into domesticity. There should be just as many openings for women as men, and just as many openings in domestic work for men as for women.”
Plus Ã§a change..
“Just My Type” by Simon Garfield [New Year’s Resolution]
A surprisingly entertaining guide to the world of typography but in the end, the string of anecdotes becomes a little dull. On the plus side, I spend my time trying to work out fonts now. My relationship with Garamond has fundamentally changed.
“A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan
This got fantastic reviews. It’s not that good but I did find it mildly entertaining. It’s a series of interlinked stories showing the effect of time on people’s lives. It ends up in the near future which was pointless. It reminded me of a couple of American novels I’ve read recently: “Freedom” and “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee”. Though both of those were more novel and less a series of short stories.
“Great Apes” by Will Self [New Year’s Resolution]
I read this book while I was ill which made its faintly hallucinogenic quality all the more disturbing. It’s the story of a man who wakes up one day and finds that the world is populated by chimps rather than humans but at a macro level, it’s all the same. So we have London’s infrastructure largely identical and famous people now famous chimps and so on. It might have worked over 200 pages but, in my view it is unsustainable over 400. In fact, I think that the author got tired of it himself and the book ends quite abruptly. Don’t know that I’d read one of his again. A bit too smart for his readers’ good.
I took the children to my parents’ house at the weekend. Mr. Waffle’s parents’ house is always a bit on the cold side for me and my parents’ house is always much too warm for him. This means that at home, I wear my fleece of an evening – mmm synthetics – and Mr. Waffle wanders round in t-shirts and shorts.
The children take after him. Herself couldn’t sleep with the heat in Cork and even I was quite warm. I took off my fleece. Ah, my Cork family observed, you have become a Waffle. Still, my mother, who feels the cold terribly couldn’t really believe that any human being could really be so warm. As herself lay sweating under a single sheet, my mother asked me anxiously, “Do you think that she’d like a hot water bottle?”