I took the children to Cork for the bank holiday weekend. We did the usual things: bonding with relatives, lots of TV, a trip to Charles Fort and the Bulman, the traditional photo by the “caution children” sign:
The trip down was rendered exciting by a largish piece of plastic from the underside of the car coming off on the motorway (happily it came off near the edge of the road – no damage done to anyone). Our car has been with us since 2005 and, perhaps, this is a sign that we need a change before the NCT later this month.
Herself spent a couple of hours with my 87 year old aunt Marie Kondoing her house. They found my aunt’s birth certificate. She was born in California but returned to Cork aged about 2 and has found it perfectly acceptable ever since and has never, to my knowledge, pined for sunnier climes. I suppose she got it out of her system early. They kept the birth certificate.
Later, when I came to see how they were getting on I heard her great niece addressing my aunt kindly but firmly, “Are you sure you want to keep the Meister Eckhart? Does it spark joy?” My aunt was unsure. I think Meister Eckhart was saved in the end but a vast number of other books (including a substantial collection of theological books which it turned out did not spark joy) and random items were not deemed worthy of keeping. The pair were delighted with themselves: four black bags of stuff for giving away and three full of rubbish. Then, my brother put his foot down and said that the rubbish bags couldn’t go in the bin as it was too full and would have to go after the next collection (my parents and my aunt live next door to each other and there is a complex bin sharing treaty in operation between the two households). They are stored temporarily in my aunt’s front room but I fear they may never leave. In my heart of hearts, I knew that nobody was ever going to bring the four bags for giving away to the charity shop so I hauled them into the car and brought them back to Dublin to give away. They’re gone now, I hope some of the Dublin locals enjoy reading about theology. I drew the line at bringing the bags of rubbish back to Dublin but even now, I am feeling mild regret as there is a real danger that they will never make it to the bin at all.
As though her work in her great aunt’s house was insufficient to meet her needs, herself begged to be allowed to make a pilgrimage to my parents’ attic. I permitted this, but only on the condition that she did not try to tidy it. You will be delighted to hear that “Star Trek Annual 1976” is even now upstairs in Dublin. She also found some material in a big trunk. She loves to sew and make costumes and was graciously permitted to help herself. When it came time to go back to Dublin, she and her brothers kindly packed the car for me. Once we were beyond Mitchelstown, she said, “Is it too late to go back to Cork?” “Yes,” I said. “Good,” she said, “because I brought more material than you might like.” When we unpacked the car, there were bolts and bolts of material. That night, when she dressed up for Halloween, I noted that the lace covering from my first communion dress, was getting another outing for the first time in 40 years.
Halloween passed off peacefully enough. The children went out on their own for the first time. They liked it. More particularly as they came home laden down with sweets. Not a solitary monkey nut this year.
In other Halloween news, the cat was puzzled, and not entirely pleased by the Halloween decorations: