Will we? We will. Expect a daily post in November. Hold on to your hats etc.
Daniel: Vague statement
Me: Could you be more definitive?
Daniel: Only those who wish to be corrected deal in absolutes.
One of my Sunday book club friends had tickets to see Marina Hyde being interviewed by Patrick Freyne in Liberty Hall so I went along on Tuesday night. I bumped into the little brother of a friend of mine (he was in school when I first met him and I just can’t get over it even though he is now in his 40s), someone from my Monday night book club and a colleague from work (Ireland is very small but even by these standards, that was quite the crop of friends and acquaintances).
Marina Hyde was pretty good actually. Great projection – say what you like about English public schools and Oxbrige (she did), they give you great public speaking skills. Anyway the funniest thing she said was about some woman who messaged her on Twitter and said that her husband had a first from Oxford in economics and therefore could possibly claim to be the greatest economist of his generation – like Kwasi Kwarteng – but he had recently super glued his teeth together. Apparently he got super glue on his hands and tried to lick it off. Let that be a lesson to you.
She did say that she found the news cycle a bit exhausting. A couple of years ago you could go away for a week and come back and it was pretty much the same but now you’d make yourself a cup of tea and when you came back everything would have changed. She had got up at 4 in the morning to write her column (eek!) before getting her flight to Dublin and on the way over she worried that her column would be out of date while she was up in the air and offline. Related, I see that Liz Truss has just resigned.
Me: Sweeping generalisation.
Me: Don’t be such a pedant.
Michael: That’s nit picking not pedantry
So here I am several months into my work break and I am still loving it. I thought once the boys went back to school in September and herself went off to Paris and then back to college, I might get bored. Not at all so far. Last time I had this much time alone was when I was six months pregnant with herself and we had just moved back to Brussels. I can remember being a bit bored. But, I am not pregnant now and it turns out that the increased mobility and being in Ireland rather than just back in a country where everyone I knew was working full time makes a big difference.
My initial plan to re-join the tennis club has been thwarted by an 18 month waiting list. I am outraged. I am half thinking of trying yoga. Is this crazy talk? I have never yoga’d before and I am a bit nervous about starting now. Your thoughts are welcome. In the absence of other forms of exercise, I have been cycling around with enthusiasm. I was particularly proud of a very long cycle I made to a distant suburb beyond the Dublin ring road to meet someone for lunch. I was a bit late for lunch though. It’s a long way. I took Michael for a tamer cycle through the park a couple of weeks ago and he was almost enthusiastic. He finally got a new bike and this has contributed to his enthusiasm levels I think. It positively sails over the ground compared to his clunky old one.
I went for a swim in the sea in September with a good friend who is also not working (she took a redundancy package pre-Covid and is pretty clear she’s not going back). She swims in the sea every day of the year. Not quite sure I am up for that yet. I was surprised how nice a dip in Howth in September could be. She has a lot of kit though. I’m not sure I’m ready for the level of investment required. Still I enjoyed our swim with fellow crazy people and then a lovely lunch in Howth afterwards.
I am finding cooking more enjoyable now that I have more time to do it. I made, yes made, a very successful batch of hummus. I was distressed to find that all this talk of chick peas is nonsense and the main ingredient is basically olive oil.
I was able to visit a good friend of my mother’s from college. She’s probably the only person left on earth to whom I can turn for tales of my mother that I don’t already know. Having known this woman literally all my life she’s probably the only parent-like figure left in my world. This is doubtless why she felt it appropriate to greet me with the words, “You’ve got fat.” True, alas. As we talked about my sister who is buying the rest of us out of the family home and the paper work she is womanfully ploughing through as my father’s executor, my mother’s friend commented on how good she was to take all this on. “Of course,” said she, “she was always the nicest of the three of you, that’s her problem.” Indeed. Weirdly, am quite keen to go back for more of this as she is absolutely great fun and I really like her.
My newfound plenty of time status means that I arranged for a birthday cake for a friend whose birthday fell on a book club date. Unfortunately, it turns out that those of us not gifted with plenty of time are good organisers and there were no fewer than three birthday cakes on the evening. Is too much cake really a problem? I refer you to my mother’s friend’s comments.
I’ve had a lot more time to spend in cafes. I love a good cafe. I have been very impressed by how nice the young people in cafes are to elderly customers. They appear to have almost infinite patience and turn a blind eye to those who furtively unwrap Marietta biscuits from tin foil while sipping their tea. Well, things aren’t getting cheaper, are they? I was particularly impressed by a young woman (his companion not a waitress) listened to an older Polish man describe his colonoscopy in detail. To be honest, I could have done with being seated a little further away.
As covered in an earlier post, I have been to Paris and I’ve also been to England and Wales (more details to come, something to look forward to as I like to say). What I enjoy about travelling in the new dispensation is how much freer it feels when trying to pick travel dates – a day earlier, a day later, it makes no difference.
I’ve had a nasty cold I am having trouble shaking for the past three weeks (not Covid, I tested, other colds exist). I am very nearly better now though I still have a slight cough (makes one feel like an absolute pariah in the current environment) and I have quite enjoyed being sick on my own time. If I’m sick, no one needs to cancel a meeting. I can go out one day and stay at home the next without feeling guilty. Though I do think that I am more noticing of my illness without the stress and adrenaline of work crises to distract me.
I had dinner with a friend the other night. We were supposed to go to a play but it was cancelled due to illness. It’s the first time in years I haven’t gone to the theatre festival but we may have dodged a bullet as our chosen play got, at best, mixed reviews. She asked me whether I was missing work. I really am not. I have had a tough couple of years and maybe I am just decompressing still. But, due to an extensive lunch programme, I’m still getting the best parts of work – the gossip, the gossip obviously – without the normal accompanying pain. I am a bit surprised and a tiny bit sad – I mean what have I been doing with my time – that I don’t miss it at all. There is no pleasing some people is all I can say.
As part of his Leaving Certificate examination in geography, Michael and his class went off to the Dublin mountains to measure (?) a body of water. The school app sent photos of young people consulting pieces of paper while wearing waders in the middle of a lake. Michael arrived home grumpy, slightly damp and chilled. It was with some reluctance that I reminded him that the young man for French conversation (a great find by the way, v pleased with him) would be arriving at 6.30 and as his brother was, yet again, at GAA training, Michael would spend the hour on his own experiencing the thrill of French conversation. He was not pleased. It went fine but nonetheless, he announced to us bitterly afterwards, “I am physically and mentally exhausted.” Alas.