Saturday, July 11, 2020
We finally got on the road to Cork. Let joy be unconfined. A friend of mine has a holiday house in Kinsale and as she and her family are based in the US and unable to travel this year, she suggested I should go down and I decided that that might make a nice change now that nationwide travel is again possible.
Daniel fell asleep in the car. He explained to us that he had been awake all night as his wrist was so sore. Ominous.
We stopped off in Cork on the way to Kinsale to get supplies and to visit my father. Cork was looking delightful, I must say.
My father was only alright but he perked up a bit when he got the chance to examine Daniel’s (carefully sanitised) wrist. “A bad sprain,” he pronounced, “or possibly a scaphoid fracture, he’s going to need an x-ray.” We took Daniel to the clinic and they took an x-ray and diagnosed a bad sprain. He got a support for his wrist and we were finally free to go on to Kinsale.
My friend’s house is in Sandycove, just outside the town and it has one of the best settings of any holiday house I have ever been in. The views are delightful.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
I was sorry that poor Daniel’s sore wrist meant that he wouldn’t be able to kayak or swim but he had a better night with his support and slept fine.
The day started off overcast but the weather cleared as the day went on. Herself developed an inexplicable interest in Greek and she and Mr. Waffle spent a happy hour sitting together going through the basics (mostly the alphabet as far as I could tell) while the boys played Magic (if you don’t know, you’re better off) in their bedroom. There was no real internet – coverage was poor and I didn’t want to use my friend’s wifi with a data cap. We were thrown back a bit on our own resources and I was surprised how ok that was for all of us.
My brother cycled to Kinsale to visit us. It’s 30kms from Cork city but as he explained, he had to get a pump from a friend in Waterfall so he came the long way and did 45kms. I am baffled. He called me to get directions to the house. “I’m coming into Sandycove now, where is it?” he asked. As I was talking to him, Mr. Waffle was saying, “I can hear him.” Fortuitously, he had called for directions from the bottom of the drive. We were all pleased to see him and he promised to come back later in the week to try out the kayaks.
Myself and the Princess went out for an experimental kayak. It was satisfactory. We swam as well. A bit on the chilly side. The set up for the kayaks was excellent with private access to the shore from across the road from the house and, better again, a nearby island to kayak out to.
Then we went into Kinsale for a stroll. It is a very attractive little town and although I’ve known it all my life (even had my wedding reception there), it’s still lovely to visit.
Because I had briefly lost my mind and, I suppose, because there was no internet, I agreed to play monopoly. I still hate monopoly. Only one person left in a huff. For reasons I cannot explain the version of monopoly my friend has in Kinsale features St Barth. I now know more about property values in this Caribbean paradise than I expected to after a week in Kinsale.
Monday, July 13, 2020
It was lashing rain. I was on to work first thing and as coverage in the house was pretty poor, I had to drive the car around the corner to talk to people. Maybe not the best start to the week.
On the plus side, Daniel said his wrist was much, much better. The hospital rang saying they wanted to do another x-ray to check something that was unclear from the first one. A mixed report then.
A friend of Mr. Waffle’s who has bought a house in Kinsale and currently getting it renovated came to visit. She’s from Cork but based in London and had been self-isolating at her mother’s house for a fortnight. She found it tough going, I think. There were loads of English accents in Kinsale and, although a lot of English people live in the area, I have to say, some of them definitely looked like holiday makers. Other non-Irish visitors seemed thin on the ground.
That afternoon, Daniel’s wrist was so much better that he wanted to go out on the kayak. I was a bit reluctant but himself and Michael went out and had a great time, so I think we can probably rule out those concerns about a broken bone.
My father’s uncle and aunt had a house in Sandycove and after dinner, Mr. Waffle and I went for a look. It was a lovely Georgian hunting lodge and I experienced definite regret that it had been sold on rather than going to their deserving nephew and niece (Uncle Jack and Aunt Cecilia didn’t have any children of their own and my father and aunt were the only children on that side of the family, there are lots of things from that house that ended up in my parents’ house and some even in mine. By all accounts Uncle Jack and Aunt Cecilia were absolutely lovely, they certainly had lovely things).
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Feeling extremely sorry for myself, I got up at 7.30 in the morning and did 90 minutes of hard labour on the laptop. My general sorriness for myself was tempered by observing Mr. Waffle who, also very busy, got up at 4.30 to finish something. Note to file, no more July holidays.
In ongoing success for Tuesday, I took the family to the Old Head of Kinsale where I have been many, many times. Not since the 90s though, it appears, as all access for non-golfers has been blocked since then. I knew about the travesty that was building a golf course on the Old Head but I thought some limited access for walkers had been retained. My mistake.
We went back into Kinsale and walked to St. Multose’s church. You may recall that I have become fascinated by the dramatist Lennox Robinson who it turns out was from Cork. I mean, who knew? His father was a curate in this church and his nephew put in a stained glass window so we went to have a look. Lennox Robinson’s sister married one of the Dormans who were a big family in Kinsale and I was pleased when Mr. Waffle told me that he noticed that there is still a scion of the Dormer family on one of the church committees. Ah continuity.
Then we walked out to Scilly and had lunch in the Bulman. A traditional pleasure which seemed largely unchanged and, for me, was only marred by fielding a brief work call. The restaurant seemed fine – only one menu per table and a sign at the door asking you not to come in, if coming from abroad and you hadn’t self-quarantined for 14 days, but otherwise pretty much as normal.
We did some brief shopping in Kinsale and then Daniel and I kayaked out to the island.
Mr. Waffle and I fielded some last work calls and then it was time for dinner.
After dinner, he and I and the Princess walked out the headland to get a good look at Aunt Cecilia and Uncle Jack’s house. I did feel a mild pang. My father has always been strongly against holiday houses on the, not unreasonable, grounds that then you have to go to the same place on holidays every year. But I quite like going back to the same place. My father said that when Jack was getting work done on the house, everything went wrong – the builder went bust etc.- and for the duration, he and Cecilia put up at the Imperial hotel on the South Mall. The glamour, lads. He was an engineer and he designed a turf powered central heating system for the house. Revolutionary for its time, I’m sure, but I would imagine it has been replaced by now.
View from the house out to sea.
Herself was a bit glum as she wanted to spend a couple of days staying in a friend’s house in Cork but we vetoed it on Coronavirus grounds. It’s a bit hard to know what the rules are and I felt a bit of a heel as she has been so good but, on balance, we decided best not.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Mr. Waffle had a big meeting at 10 and I said that I would take the children to Cork for the day so we were up showered and in the car for 9.55. Quite the achievement, I can tell you. At 10.30, he rang to say that (very positive) developments meant that he did not actually have to work all day after all. We were in Cork by then so I left him to rejoice alone. On my own count I rejoiced also as I was not expecting any more work calls for the remainder of the week.
Herself and myself went into town in Cork leaving the boys in my parents house enjoying the thrill of re-connecting with the internet. It’s a bit weird going clothes shopping when you can’t try anything on so I failed to buy anything other than 6 vests for my father and a new teapot (a particularly middle aged haul) but herself got a couple of things. She bought herself a pokÃ© bowl in the market (it’s far from pokÃ© bowls etc).
We went back to Kinsale after lunch and my brother drove down to join us at about 5.30. We went out in the kayaks with him, went swimming (absolutely freezing), had dinner together and played 20 questions, it was lovely.
About 10.30, he said that he had better go and wondered aloud whether a) he would have enough petrol to get to Cork, the low fuel light was on and b) whether the garage in Kinsale was open. As to b) the answer was no. He went off into the darkness and I very much feared I would get a call to rescue him but no, he just managed to limp to Cork airport where he was able to fill up. Honestly, once a feckless younger brother, always a feckless younger brother.
Thursday, July 16, 2020
This was our last full day in Kinsale. Herself went into Cork city to meet a friend and Mr. Waffle, the boys and I went to Garrettstown beach. It’s my father’s favourite beach near the city and the place we almost always went when we were children. We took the body boards as it usually has great waves. The waves were not as fantastic as normal but Daniel and I still had an excellent time. Mr. Waffle went in only briefly and Michael, after a brief paddle, declared it just too cold.
I went up to Cork and paid a last visit to my father before collecting herself from town. She had been to the cinema which, she said, was an odd and almost solitary experience. She also said that a lot of shops in town weren’t letting in people who hadn’t the Covid tracker app. The previous day it was announced that pub openings would be delayed and that masks were to be compulsory in shops so perhaps everyone was just a bit more vigilant.
As it was our last night, I’d booked us in to a restaurant in Kinsale where I had been previously for lunch but never for dinner. It was busy enough. We had our temperature taken on the way in and there were screens between tables. Sadly our screen did not protect us from the noise of the cheerful but slightly drunken Dubliners at the next table who were celebrating the birthday of one of their number. The service was slow, the food was mediocre and the noise was deafening. Overall somewhat disappointing. Honestly, I’m just not sure how well this whole thing is going to work when people are drinking and eating out. I saw our waitress snap a picture of the drunken Dubliners on one of their phones. It’s all a bit worrying.
We scurried home to have dessert looking out at our view.
Friday, July 17, 2020
We left early on Friday morning as Mr. Waffle had a meeting in Dublin that afternoon. Quite honestly, it was one of the best holidays I have had. It was weirdly great not to have wifi. The house was really well set up for a family with every bit of kit you might need. The water and the kayaks were 100 metres away. The view was amazing and we all really needed a break. It was great to see my family. Notwithstanding work demands, I think everyone enjoyed it. Maybe we will go on holidays in July again.
Also, when we got home, our long awaited masks were in the hall. The postman had managed to get them though the letterbox so good news all round.