Sunday, June 13, 2021
I went to in person mass for the first time in a long time. Fine, you know, mass like.
I realised that notwithstanding my freedom to go anywhere in the country I had perversely not ventured further than 2kms from my home all weekend.
Monday, June 14, 2021
I had a medical check-up before work. Spoiler alert, I’m fine but could be thinner. I had a spectacular bruise on my arm all week from where they took blood.
My brother reported from his holiday in West Cork. His clutch gave out between Barleycove and Goleen. This is not a good place for your clutch to give out; I will give you that. He seemed relatively unpreturbed.
Herself had Irish paper 1 and maths paper 2. I startled a poor schoolgirl who was getting her lunch in the same shop as me by asking her how she thought the maths paper had gone. Look, I was curious to know. It went fine you will be pleased to hear both for herself and the girl in the sandwich shop.
We’ve had a bit of a re-org at work and I find myself doing my old job and my new job at least temporarily so only dragged myself away from the excitement of this about 8 in the evening. Alas.
The boys’ school reports turned up. Pretty good all things considered including that they have had a mostly online school year.
Tuesday June 15, 2021
It was my mother’s second anniversary. My sister sent me flowers. Unclear how I managed to forget until then but I did I fear. I can’t believe it’s been two years since she died. It seems in some ways to have gone very quickly.
Herself had Irish paper 2 which passed off peacefully and Daniel, yet again, had training. Since his return to hurling he now has training/matches four nights a week and on Saturday afternoons. I am not sure how sustainable this is. It is making week night dinner a bit challenging. We can either eat before 6.30 or after 8.30. So, it’s 8.30 most of the time. That’s ok in the summer holidays but I can see it being problematic once we’re back to school.
My little niece in London turned 4. It’s so weird that we haven’t seen her in the flesh since she was 2 and now she’ll be going to school in the autumn. Wretched Covid.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
It was Bloomsday. Lots of coverage but relatively limited impact on me. I took a picture of the seagull babies standing in the chimney tops opposite my office.
Herself had her French exam. It was fine.
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Herself agonised a bit about whether she would skip the art written exam and rely on her calculated grade but in the end she went in. It’s so strange this year when loads of them are skipping exams because they have the calculated grade to fall back on.
Friday, June 18, 2021
I booked us in to various activities for when we spend a couple of nights in Carlingford. I rang the office. God, I love to talk to people and explain what I want rather than filling in the online booking form. The man I spoke to recommended a number of restaurants in the town for our dinner as well. Is this available from an online booking form? It is not.
After dropping my bike off for a post-purchase tune up, I hopped into the car and drove to Cork. It was my first time back in Cork since my father died. It was a bit strange but I was very glad to be back. My brother was still in Schull so my sister kindly offered to feed me which was just as well. This was the state of the fridge in my parents’ house.
And, the unkindest cut, this was the state of the tea caddy.
I always forget how much later it gets dark in Cork that in Dublin. My sister and I went for a walk around the Lough and here it is at 10.30 at night.
No filter as the young people say.
I went home to my parents’ house and spent the night there alone – the first time in as long as I can remember that my sleep was undisturbed by the BBC World Service blaring from the bedroom next door.
Saturday, June 19, 2021
I went into the Crawford Gallery which had a good exhibition. It juxtaposed research about people who were killed in the War of Independence with recent pictures of the places where their bodies were found. It was strange to think of these perfectly ordinary places where I have passed hundreds of times without a second thought being the sites of violent deaths.
I went into the Market to buy some food for my lunch and I was greeted by the sight of this wreath. So much for the Rebel County moniker.
I thought that town looked a bit grim. A lot of places closed down and overall a bit grubby and depressed. Over a year of Covid has not been particularly kind to Cork.
There was much talk of Prince’s Street being pedestrianised and people dining out and it was nice but limited.
That said, there were a lot of new buildings since my last visit and a lot of ongoing works. The Square Deal furniture shop on Washington Street (my mother’s nemesis – “how can that place keep going when it sells such ugly furniture?”) has been knocked down and presumably something will arise in its place.
After lunch I went across to College to pick up a Father’s Day present for Mr. Waffle. For someone who did not go to UCC he has an impressive collection of t-shirts from there. College was pretty quiet but the shop was open and there was a wedding in the the Honan Chapel and a small group of students graduating. The beginnings of a return to normality.
I spent the rest of the afternoon packing up items from my parents’ house to bring back to Dublin. I found it curiously exhausting and depressing. I checked each item with my siblings and they were quite relaxed about seeing them go, indeed, I was encouraged to take more. On this preliminary raid, I took 4 boxes of stuff including (with mild reluctance) 9 volumes of Peyps. Peyps was a great favourite of my father’s but I’ve never read any of the diaries myself. No time like the present, I suppose.
That evening we had a small birthday celebration for my aunt who turned 92 either on June 20 or22; her mother and her birth cert disagreed and this dispute has never been satisfactorily resolved and it is unlikely to be now.
We reminisced about my father a bit and we were reminded by my aunt how, very annoyingly, when asked to tell a story to his children he would say, “One dark and stormy night the captain sat down and said to the mate, ‘Mate, mate, tell us a story,” so the mate sat down and said to the captain, ‘One dark and stormy night the captain sat down and said to the mate, ‘Mate, mate, tell us a story.'” And so on until we gave up in despair.
My brother returned from West Cork €500 poorer but with his clutch repaired.
Sunday June 20, 2021 – Father’s Day
I went up to the graveyard to see my parents’ grave before driving back to Dublin. It’s a good graveyard and never fails to be of interest when I visit. My mother is buried in my father’s family plot and I thought of the old Irish proposal, “Do you want to be buried with my people?” Ah yes, romance.
When I got back to Dublin, everyone showed a gratifying level of interest in the unboxing from Cork even though it was mostly ware.
Herself had expressed an interest in the gossip chair so I brought that back for her. She seemed gratified.
Neither Mr. Waffle nor I have fathers any more which is odd and something we are still getting used to – not that either father was a great believer in Father’s Day.
Daniel was meeting a friend in Liffey Valley shopping centre (miles away) and I collected him. Honestly, it’s so far away, I felt I was half way back to Cork by the time I got there. We live quite near the centre of Dublin, you would think that this might be a handy spot to meet friends.
Monday, June 21, 2021
The longest day of the year. I met a friend for lunch which was delightful. Herself went out for dinner with friends to a gastropub in Leixlip of all places. Again, I would say, what is wrong with the city centre, did all of these Dublin based people really need to go to another county? She had a wonderful time though and it was great to pick her up and see her so happy and animated. She hasn’t had much fun this year. “Did you tell them that Leixlip is a Viking place name? As you know, Leix is the same root as Lax and it means salmon leap,” said I. “No, I didn’t, as I felt I was as weird as I needed to be without mentioning it” she said, “but if it’s any comfort to you, I thought it.” My work here is done.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Herself stopped me on the stairs as I was leaving for work to tell me she had a bad dream about physics. Ah, the Leaving Cert dreams, they are starting early.
Mr. Waffle’s soccer started back. He’s delighted. I’m delighted for him.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Herself had her dreaded physics exam. Alas, it did not go well and she is slightly in the horrors but I remain reasonably optimistic that between this and the predicted grade she might yet get what she needs but she was pretty glum, God love her.
In more cheering news, the plumber who had really gone to ground says he will come and redo the bathroom this month. I’ll believe it when I see it but at least we have a quote now which is progress.
And even more cheering, I got notified of my second vaccine appointment.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
After an absolutely epic administrative battle with Eir, Mr. Waffle succeeded in getting my old phone unlocked and it has been passed on to Michael who is only mildly pleased.
I went in to work without my coat as it was so fine and got sodden as I cycled home in the lashing rain. Alas.
Friday, June 25, 2021
Mr. Waffle ordered a gliding bench for the back garden. It is identical to one which was in his parents’ house and I am delighted with it. He is a genius. First unlocking the phone now this; what a man.
Herself had her last exam (applied maths) and now it is all over. It’s so weird to think that she will never be a student in the school again. She’s had a tough couple of years with Covid and the exams felt like they went on forever. I’m so glad that she’s finished, she really needs a break.
She’s also finished with all of her maths notes.
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Myself and Michael went to the National Museum. He didn’t hate it. Looks like a win for me.
My brother (a mere 48), got his second dose of the vaccine in Cork.
For cinema night we had “Lola Rennt”. A very popular German film from the 90s but no longer so readily available. Mr. Waffle had his Scottish friend in Vienna buy the DVD and post it to him and then sprung it upon his unsuspecting public. Am I married to the world’s most organised man? Why yes, I think I am.
Sunday, June 27, 2021
Herself got the train to Killarney where she and her friends are spending a couple of days to celebrate the end of the exams. Killarney is the new Ibiza, apparently.
I got my second vaccine dose. It wasn’t quite as efficient as the first time around but I was in and out of the centre in under an hour including 15 minutes in the observation room so not bad either. I’m feeling a bit tired but otherwise symptom free. I am so delighted to be vaccinated and so pleased that my fellow citizens feel the same with really high levels of take-up.
It was a beautiful day and we took the boys to the Botanic Gardens which was fine and, as far as they were concerned, less awful than other outings I might have dreamed up.
And in a final, and to be honest, unwelcome, sign that things are getting back to normal, I got a message from the church baptism group – looks like we’re back on duty in July.
Are you too taking tentative steps back to normality? Will life ever be the same again?