It is November. This means one thing only: Nablopomo. I will be posting daily for the next thirty days. Hold on to your hats.
Archives for November 2021
Wednesday October 20, 2021
It lashed rain. Despite my elaborate rain gear, the wind drove the rain up the arms of my coat leading to damp cuffs. Alas. There is no better way to get wet than on a bicycle.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
My sister-in-law and her husband and daughter arrive from England. Who would have thought that when they moved back to London in October 2019, it would be two full years before they came back to Ireland? I was pretty excited to see my now four year old niece in the flesh as opposed to on Skype.
Friday, October 22, 2021
The school sent a message notifying us that we need to avoid jelly cannabis. I have so many questions. The boys dressed up for Halloween and went into school as Mr. Potato Head and a man in black. I like the potato peeler which doubles as a memory eraser but you can understand why Mr. Potato Head looks nervous.
The in-laws came around. The absolute thrill. I was so pleased to see them. It made me a bit sad that they had been away for so long. We took in an exciting trip to the local playground. All go. My brother-in-law, surveying the range of outfits, asked whether Irish children always dressed up for Halloween on the last day before the mid-term break. “They do,” I confirmed, “do they not in England?” Apparently not. “It’s racism awareness fortnight,” he offered but it’s really not the same.
I had another dental appointment to deal with the bit that fell off my tooth. I am sick of the dentist and he may well be sick of me.
The boys and I watched a quite complicated but rather delightful Studio Ghibli film on Netflix. Thomas, their favourite childminder made them watch loads of Studio Ghibli films as he said that they were an indispensable part of childhood. He was a great childminder.
Mr. Waffle had tickets to the football league of Ireland semi-final but Dan didn’t feel like going and although I offered to go in his stead, Mr. Waffle said no one would believe that I was an under 18 season ticket holder. Alas. On many levels.
We were supposed to more or less be going back to normal post-October 22 but the Covid figures are on the up so no return to normal just yet.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
It was my father-in-law’s anniversary. I’m sure he would have been delighted to see his three children and their spouses and children gathered together. Probably would not have been delighted that his eldest son had come down with some kind of vomiting bug. Poor Mr. Waffle, he sat hunched miserably in the corner of the room like a ghost at the feast.
Sunday October 24, 2021
Dan had his last match with his current GAA team. They have been together since they were 6** so he was pretty sad. Still, minor play beckons (the next level up).
In the afternoon we headed to Mount Usher where we met the cousins and attempted to recreate the photo we took the last time we were there two years ago. Sadly herself wasn’t there being off in England but otherwise, I was quite pleased with the recreation of the picture. It is not easy being archivist in chief; for one thing your children tend to mercilessly mock you.
As Monday was the bank holiday, we all stayed overnight in a local hotel. The four teenagers had dinner before the adults and they sat and ordered together. I am very pleased that the cousins know each other so well. Cousins are a bit different from friends, it’s much easier to chat with them even if you haven’t seen each other for weeks and there is a shared understanding of family which makes it more relaxing to be together, I think. My niece has turned into an extraordinarily pretty teenager and I said as much to the boys to which Daniel replied, “Maybe that’s how you roll in Cork but I can’t say, I’d noticed.” On balance, a good thing, I suppose though, naturally I resent the anti-Cork slur.
Monday October 25, 2021
Daniel had arranged to meet a friend in town at lunch time so we went back to Dublin quite promptly. “Any idea what you and your friend are going to be doing in town?” I asked. “Yes,” said he. Mysterious. Anyhow he seems to have had a good time and stayed away from the cannabis jelly. Michael rather revelled at being the only child in the car once we had dropped off his brother.
I went into Dunnes Stores with a coat I had bought for Dan which proved to be faulty (problem with a seam, since you ask). I had no receipt but I stood my ground politely but firmly and (for the first time ever) asked to see a manager who confirmed that yes it was faulty and they would exchange it or refund me the cost. I emerged dizzy with relief and excitement. Middle aged achievement level unlocked.
I had a distinctly Sunday night feeling on Monday whereas the lucky children were just beginning their mid-term and, while sympathetic, could not really enter into my feelings.
Stay tuned all month for more fascinating content of a very similar nature.
**Updated to add, Mr. Waffle says since he was 3 but that surely can’t be right. You would think with my complete blog and photographic archive I might be able to find out but no, look, certainly since he was very young.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Saintly Daniel cut the grass in the back garden for what, I assume, is the last time this year. The weather is so peculiar.
The in-laws came to stay before heading back to England. Mr. Waffle went out to Tuesday night soccer where he managed to inadvertently hit a fellow player in the face with a ball. The other player went off to get an x-ray. Mr. Waffle arrived home a bit shaken.
Poor Dan was cycling back from GAA and fell off his bike on the grass slope by the side of the pitch. He suffered no injury except to his dignity but, as he pointed out, this was considerable, as he was encased in high vis gear from top to toe and visible probably from space and certainly from all over the pitch.
Separately, this pheasant turned up in my brother’s back garden in Cork city.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
My little London niece was in great form over breakfast and I thought that she’s only got used to us and now she’s off but I trust we will see more of her from now on.
In response to Mr Waffle’s anxious enquiry, his colleague messaged him, that, yes, indeed, his jaw was dislocated but added in a Christian spirit which we can only hope to emulate, that Mr. Waffle should not worry and “it was a good clearance”.
Herself got a lovely care package from her London aunt and was very pleased.
At lunch time, I saw the guards had a road closed and I asked why. “VIP,” said the guard laconically. “Anyone interesting?” I asked. “Some Germans,” said she. Turned out it was the German president. You can’t impress a guard.
Thursday, October 28, 2021
I had a lovely long chat with herself at lunch time. She was procrastinating and I took full advantage of her desire not to get back to her essay. She seems to be having a fantastic time.
I knew I would be stuck late at work as the following day I was off and so it proved but I made it home eventually.
Daniel promptly departed in the dark on his bike for training at 8.15. I’m not sure that I am able for the wait until 9.30 when he gets back. I am absolutely terrified that he will be taken out by a careless driver.
So, why, you might ask, was I taking Friday off work? To go to Holland to a 50th birthday party, like the before times. Stay tuned for details of our exciting Dutch trip.
Friday October 29, 2021
Over the summer we were invited to a friend’s 50th in Holland and we booked flights in what we thought might be an excess of optimism but here we were, actually going. The airport was quite busy but travelling through to our gate was relatively painless. The flight was completely full – every seat. Aside from masks, it felt very normal indeed. Our friend met us at the airport in Holland and dispatched us to our accommodation in a taxi which felt pleasingly decadent.
I was delighted with the Airbnb I found us in the Hague.
It was beside the beach (fine, technically Schevening) and although it was definitely not beach weather, it was nice to see the sea. It had the extraordinarily steep ladder like stairs which come as standard in Dutch houses. I have no idea how old people manage. Maybe all the cycling keeps them super fit?
We went to the supermarket and we were the only people wearing masks. The Dutch only have to wear masks on public transport and everyone has abandoned elsewhere.
That evening we went to our friend’s 50th birthday party. Lads, a hundred people, a buffet and not a mask to be seen anywhere. It was like the before times: I loved it. The boys went off to play cards with the birthday girl’s children and Mr. Waffle and I mingled. We had a grand old chat with an old friend of the birthday girl who has left a very successful career in the law to move into gin production. Do you think I am making this up?
The venue was delightful: a big old house in the middle of a park with a lake. Apparently it used to be owned by Shell for the purposes of entertaining Shell bigwigs before becoming a venue for hire. All going well with Shell eh?
At 9 I took myself off to the airport to meet herself off her plane from England. This was fraught with difficulties due to my imperfect understanding of the Dutch public transport system. I found myself cowering on the tram rehearsing the lines I would give to the ticket inspector when it became clear that my transport card had insufficient funds. Happily the moment never came and I scurried into central station in the Hague and on to my train to Schiphol without further difficulties.
God, it was so nice to see my first born child. She was in terrific form and wanted to go straight to the party which we dutifully did and I am happy to report that we were among the very last to leave.
Saturday, October 30, 2021
We had a quiet morning and then went for a ride on the big wheel by the beach before taking ourselves off to our friend’s house where the boys continued their game with their Hiberno-Dutch friends and a neighbour’s child. Our friend fed all of us, her own family and her two sisters. Quite heroic. And one of us is now a vegan. As well as her own party the previous night and all the attendant relatives in town, she also had a friend’s 50th dinner party that night and her third child’s confirmation the following day. It was a lot but she seemed in great form in fairness.
Sunday, October 31, 2021
We decided to go to the Escher exhibition in town which was pretty good and the boys found it mildly interesting too which is always a bonus.
Herself was keen to go to the Mauritshuis. Off she trotted on her own. She was supposed to have booked a ticket but she hadn’t. The doorman liked her earrings and let her in anyway.
Earrings are visible above in the accidentally Wes Anderson shot of herself and Michael.
We had a final lunch together at the airport. We had to abandon herself half way through to run for our flight. I was sad to say good bye and leave her eating alone in an enormous international airport but it was probably for the best: we made our flight but it was a bit tight. Schiphol is quite a large airport, isn’t it? And two of us were selected for a very slow and deliberate random bag check which did not help matters. There were tense times in our little group. Separately, our 18 year old made her flight with lots of time to spare and a slightly superior attitude.
We got home to lashing rain, a delighted cat and a stream of trick or treaters for whom we had neglected to buy any sweets. Alas.
“It’s starting to get a bit cold, finally,” I said to Mr. Waffle, “Will I switch on the Aga?” “Not the weekend of COP 26,” said he. Everyone’s a critic.
I must say, it was nice to be away, away. I’ve really missed going to different places. I had forgotten how absolutely charming Holland can be. I do feel lucky to have been able to go: I fear restrictions may be back again later in the year so the timing was good. Will Covid ever end?
Monday, November 1, 2021
Return to school after mid-term break is always a bit of a challenge. Not helped by the weekend away. It was pretty chilly as well. Finally glove weather has returned; I was perished on my cycle in to work.
Before the October 22 announcement that everything was going backwards, I had volunteered to host in-person book club in my house and then, when things were a bit grimmer, I asked whether people still wanted to come and four said yes. Look, five is a quorum. It was a bit of a scramble to organise as we had only returned from Holland the previous evening but, happily, the culinary standards for bookclub are not high and people seemed happy enough with the frozen pizza. And we were all very happy to see each other. I am delighted to report that the talented women in both my Monday night and my Sunday afternoon book club appear to be taking over the world and we were all in very congratulatory mode and analysing media performances, if you don’t mind (it’s fair to say that we were not a tough crowd). I can’t help thinking about our mothers and how they stopped working or worked part time or generally had less good careers than our fathers and I wonder about all the expertise and brilliance that was lost to the world. But then we – and our husbands – are also all flattened and stretched in ways they may not have been.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
I drove Daniel to training. I couldn’t bear to let him cycle. It’s just too tense; I’m terrified that he will be run over in the dark. Mr. Waffle posted herself her skiing gear in a large box (7kgs). I suspect she may not relish flying down the slopes with her new friends in her Lidl ski gear but it is perfectly effective, I will have you know.
I dutifully took down the Halloween decorations. If you think I should have cut up the pumpkin before putting it in the compost heap, your views are not welcome here.
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
While I was queuing for my lunch in a sandwich shop, I heard a radio DJ announce that U2’s “Achtung Baby” is thirty years old this week. This made me feel ancient so I thought I would spread the love.
In the evening I overheard Dan speaking in the kitchen, considering our fizzy water supplies, “How can five middle-aged women drink so much water?” It is true that my book club is a bit of a water into wine miracle: everyone only drinks water and they each bring a bottle of wine so at the end of the evening, you are definitely ahead on the alcohol content.
Daniel was in great form because the Dublin County Board (the GAA ruler in our kingdom) has determined that there is to be a new league for U17 boys and his team instead of disbanding has another year of playing together. He is thrilled.
I spent a full three weeks agonising about whether to apply for a job and tonight was the last night I could do anything about it and I let it go. The guilt was outweighed by the relief. Exhausting.
Thursday, November 4, 2021
I have my first social diary clash in years. I am going down to Cork for dinner for my sister’s birthday on November 12 and now I have also been invited to a dinner in Dublin. I welcome the return of the social whirl.
In other glamorous news, before I went to bed, I took something out of the freezer for dinner and I noticed that the drawers were filthy so I took out everything and washed the drawers in the sink. I think this may be crazy behaviour but the drawers look amazing.
Friday, November 5, 2021
I scampered out of work for my half day at 2.30 and spent the rest of the afternoon at home with the laptop open working on and off on something urgent – updating this post in the gaps between document drafts – which is not exactly an afternoon off but not fully on either. Look, we take our wins where we can.
You are fully up to date with my life. This is everything that has happened to me. I have no idea what I will post tomorrow. And it’s only November 5. It’s going to be a long month.
Updated to add: the car failed its NCT but my saintly husband is sorting it. Some problem with the headlights. Sigh.
Michael has online history class on Saturdays.
Me: What did you do today?
Him: Lots about Cork in the War of Independence. You, know, Terence MacSwiney and that other Lord Mayor who was shot.
Me: I cannot believe that you can’t remember his name.
Him: Well, sorry, I can’t, what was his name?
Me: Actually, I just can’t summon it to mind right now.
Me to Mr. Waffle: What’s the name of the Lord Mayor of Cork who was shot?
Mr. Waffle : Oh, I can’t think, I know it.
Me: Remember they shot him in front of his wife and children on MacCurtain street.
Mr. Waffle : Ah, is it TomÃ¡s MacCurtain?
Smart girl wanted.
In other news, I finally planted the tulip bulbs I got as a present. Will they grow, is it too late to plant tulip bulbs? Update to follow in April.
I went into town and bought various dull items but I fell in love with a head that I want to buy to put above the front door. My menfolk are solidly against it. I am considering. Your views would be welcome.
Mr. Waffle and I are off out for dinner tonight – v thrilling – leaving the boys home alone. I don’t think we’ve done that before, actually but I am quietly confident all will be well.