At 2.30 this morning, Daniel woke up. I went blearily downstairs to get him a bottle (no advice please). Near the microwave, I felt something squishy under my naked foot. There were two slugs disporting themselves on my kitchen floor. Tell me would it have been better or worse had I been wearing my scholl sandals? Also, how did they get there?
I met a friend for lunch the other day. We had the following conversation:
Him: You are like Kerry Katona.
Me (feeling a bit like an elderly, out of touch member of the judiciary): Who the hell is Kerry Katona?
Him (sensing my concerns): Formerly part of a popular beat combo known as “Atomic Kitten”, m’lud.
Me: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. [Pensive pause] Why am I like Kerry Katona?
Him: She’s very rough.
Me (coldly): Your point?
Him: I think her mother was a junkie.
Me (very coldly): Your point?
Him: She’s just been declared bankrupt but right up to the moment she ran out of money she kept spending like there was no tomorrow.
Me: Yes, I am just like Kerry Katona.
I am cross with the world’s bankers. For the next couple of years we had expected to be poor as one of us is undertaking a brave new venture in the world of work. And, unfortunately, brave new ventures are often associated with a dip in earnings. Furthermore, also unfortunately, the one undertaking the brave new venture is the one who previously made most of our money. However, we will be poorer than we had anticipated as, alas, our savings from our days of relative affluence have now disappeared in the crash (who, no really, who could have predicted that the greatest economic crash since 1929 would happen on the one occasion we actually had money in the stock market?). We will be living on baked beans for the next two years. A particular pity since none of us is very fond of baked beans.
My lovely aunt who is in Dublin for a couple of days has decided to outwit the bankers by spending all her money now. She took my brother and me to dinner last night at Guilbaud’s which pretty much did the job. It made a very pleasant change from baked beans.
You know the way we all put our faith in the market economy instead of religion? Is anyone else feeling that this was all a bit of a mistake in retrospect? Just curious.
We have our health.
As of last Wednesday we are no longer commuting hours to the city centre from the delightful but distant suburb where my parents-in-law kindly had us stay for 6 weeks (that would be four weeks longer than any of us thought it would be). On the way in there is a level crossing and for many years it has featured in traffic reports as a Dublin landmark and I always thought it was a poor and unremarkable landmark. That was before I realised that every commuter from South County Dublin spent an hour morning and evening crawling past it. Also I spent a number of hours before a scrolling sign on a hotel telling me that bookings were now “been” taken for Christmas. These things grate. Especially if you have to listen to Charlie and Lola on endless repeat while chugging along. Does anyone else thing that Lola needs something done about her adenoids?
The children all like school. Our worries about the Princess going to school in Irish were completely unnecessary. She is picking it up extraordinarily quickly. It is quite amazing to watch. Also, the structured, assigned seat, looking at the blackboard schooling we favour in Ireland seems to really suit her and she is happy. The boys have settled well into Montessori school and we love their teacher. They also seem fond of her.
Our house is tiny. We have far too much furniture and quite a lot of it is still in storage. Despite 6 weeks and 20,000 euros worth of work, it looks worse than it did before we started. For this, I blame Eamon the electrician who left the place looking like Swiss cheese.
No internet (this comes from an internet cafe), no telephone.
I started work today. I am not particularly enthusiastic about this job but it will pay some of the bills. My reception this morning has not made me more enthusiastic.
My bicycle was stolen over the weekend.
There was an article in the paper recently on free range kids, something I’ve seen knocking around the internet over the past couple of months (am I the last person to notice how many things in the papers seem to be stale versions of what has been on the internet for ages?). It was a Dublin version of what everyone has been saying – our children have no freedom because we’re too scared to let them take any risks.
Since our return to Ireland, we have been struck by the suicidal behaviour of Irish pedestrians who throw themselves across the road whenever they get a chance. This is particularly noteworthy as in the 5 years since we last lived in this country, everyone has acquired an enormous American SUV. And we do not have American roads and infrastructure and these cars are ludicrously enormous on our small streets. (These two paragraphs are connected, bear with me). The other morning, Mr. Waffle passed a private boys secondary school near his parents’ house and he saw a fleet of these vehicles dropping off their precious passengers to school. He said it looked absurdly like an army of mercenaries had decided to take over South County Dublin and were rolling up to the school to make it their headquarters: “The revolution storts* here”.
*This is not a typo, there is a nasty Dublin accent where the “a” sound is substituted by an “o”, I live in fear of my children picking it up but given where we will be living, they are much more likely to pick up a different nasty Dublin accent. It’s hard to know whether to be glad or sorry.
When I sat my matric, there was a space on the front page for candidates to insert place of birth.
The invigilator, knowing his audience, said to his group of Cork students: “When they say place of birth, they mean Cork, they’re not interested in the competition between the Bons and the Ville.”
Since I had had my pen poised to inform the university authorities that I was born in the Bons Secours maternity hospital, his warning came just in time.
Maternity services in Cork are now being concentrated in one centre. Coming back from the park this evening, my brother, the boys and I saw the Erinville being knocked down. It’s just as well that they’ve abolished the matric too.
The builder cleaning out our new house has found a number of items which he feels are perfectly good, including a CD player. He does not want them. None of the other builders want them. We don’t want them. It seems a shame that they should go on the skip. When I told my father-in-law this and expressed the hope that someone might perhaps take these items from the skip, he mused that it was hard to know whether it was more embarrassing to be caught putting something into your neighbour’s skip or taking something out of it. Good point.
The costs of our modest renovation continue to skyrocket unexpectedly (unexpectedly to me, anyway; doubtless providing a welcome boost to the Irish economy). Our furniture arrived from Brussels today and it has been stacked up to the ceiling and out to the walls in the (only) ground floor room. We should have got rid of more things before we left Brussels. Understandably, the painter and the electrician (rewiring the house) say they cannot work in these circumstances. The man installing the kitchen is game to give it a try but a kitchen without electricity is ultimately unsatisfactory. The plumber is unaffected. Tomorrow we will find a warehouse to store our furniture until these tasks are complete and a man with a van to move it. Shortly we will have spent all our savings on renovation and moving (and removing) and when (if) we manage to actually get in to our house (now impossible due to packing crates), we will have to live on air or paint fumes whichever is the more nourishing. Also, our builder has gone on holidays and there is still a wall to be demolished and a ceiling to be fixed. Poor Daniel keeps asking when he can go home (something everyone involved would like to know). We were hoping to be in by August 25 as the Princess starts school on August 27 but there is now every likelihood that we will still be holed up with the unfortunate parents-in-law on that date.
And it’s still raining.