I have been absent. My blog has been unwell but now, I think, I hope, that all is well. I have paid a man money and he has resolved matters. It was pleasing that even the tech expert was baffled by what had happened and had to himself engage with my webhost with various questions I could in no way understand.
You find me languishing at home with a slight head cold after a very busy time. Thrills.
First up, I have attended my last parent council meeting. Eight years of indentured servitude over. Lord, I found it tedious, though occasionally useful. For reasons that are too dull to explain I got a hamper at our last meeting and it contained a lifetime’s worth of chocolate and a presentation box of Teeling’s whiskey which I was planning to give away as a present but before I could do so, Michael broke it. Win some, lose some.
I went to the pastels exhibition in the National Gallery which I would really recommend. Who did I see there only Elizabeth Farren, later Countess of Derby? You will recall that I saw a beautiful full length portrait of her with a muff in New York. Let me remind you.
The one in the National Gallery was much less flattering but it disclosed the vital information, inexplicably ignored by the Met curators, that she was originally from Cork. Good girl yourself, Elizabeth.
Mr. Waffle and I went to see an amateur production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Not too bad actually and we had dinner after in our friends’ house. Our hospitality debt is currently of almost unfeasible proportions.
Last Friday, we had a woman who used to mind the children when they were small around for tea. She was super-nice and always adored the children and they were very fond of her too. She was delighted to see the boys and they were saintly and talked to her for ages, particularly Michael who stayed for her full two and a half hour visit (Dan had training). Her health has not been great and I think she’s quite lonely. She looked amazingly well though. We had a long chat and one of the things she said was that her first language was Alsacienne (sp?) but none of the young people speak it now which is a shame. I am a big Francophile but I think their attitude to minority languages leaves a lot to be desired. Obviously Alsace is a very contested part of France and she talked a bit about her parents’ hair raising experiences during the second world war. And also her own hair raising experiences of trying to get a new flat in Dublin when her landlord sold up. She’s in housing for older people now and she has a nice small apartment and she can stay there indefinitely. She’s very pleased but as it only came through a fortnight before she had to vacate her previous accommodation, it took a lot out of her.
On Saturday night, the boys and I went to see Foil, Arms and Hog in Vicar Street. Honestly, they’re hilarious.
A couple of weeks ago, a guy I had gone out with in Rome in 1993 contacted me. We hadn’t totally lost contact after I left Rome and we’d been to each other’s weddings in 2000 and 2001 respectively but we basically hadn’t seen each other since. His youngest daughter was doing an English course in Dublin and he and his wife were visiting, could we meet up? I invited them to dinner on the bank holiday Sunday (I thought we might have a barbecue, pause for laughter). He sent me a photo of his family, I sent him a photo of mine. None of us have got any younger but we have produced 6 beautiful children between us.
Anyway on the Sunday they arrived. I nearly lost my life not only were the parents and the English learning child in Dublin there but also the other two children. We had enough food but it was touch and go and only my ludicrous over-buying saved us from disaster. On the plus side, all the children got on like a house on fire. Their eldest (20) who looks like a sporty cool dude was a complete nerd on the inside and he and Michael really bonded. Almost the first words out of his mouth when he came into the house were “You have Risk Game of Thrones”. Sadly, this is true. It’s so strange – but really nice – to see people again after such a long time and their children who you never knew existed. The parents work in Geneva and they seem to have three Swiss children even though she is Spanish and he’s Italian. The children’s Spanish and Italian is perfect as is their French, obviously, and I can tell you their English is pretty good too.
On Monday, exhausted from our day of hosting, the boys stayed home to swot for the Leaving Cert which (terrifyingly) is now next month (they were pretty impressed by the more relaxed system that appears to apply in Switzerland and the Swiss kids were equally horrified by the ides of everything hanging on one exam). Mr. Waffle and I went to Kilkenny for a day out. Mr. Waffle’s great grandfather was a fireman in Kilkenny (thank you 1911 census records) and we went and inspected his house which was a solid brick built construction. And we also visited Kilkenny Castle – finally value for my OPW family card – and did the tour. I was, yet again, so impressed by the quality of the OPW tour guides. One of the first inhabitants of the castle in the early 1200s was Isabel de Clare who said the guide, inherited a lot of her land from her grandfather who was a king. Could this be the daughter of Richard de Clare or Strongbow who basically started the 800 years of oppression? It could indeed and the guide threw in for free that Isabel and her mother Aoife are buried in Tintern Abbey in Wales which I am now keen to visit.
And my brother pitched up at our house on Monday with all his worldly belongings. He has got the ferry home from France and is on his way back to Cork but working from Dublin for the week. He likes to keep us all on our toes.
And how was your own bank holiday weekend?