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Posts tagged ‘niece’

Reign of terror

The battle was long and arduous. At least one of us was in tears at any given moment, and I’m sorry to say that most of the time it was me. I had experience and physical presence, but she had guile and stamina.

She was focussed and absolutely remorseless, employing a wide range of tactical manoeuvres. They were always unpredictable, pitiless, and admirably devious. She used all resources to hand, and many that weren’t. She demonstrated an impeccable line in psychological torture.

She played a flawless game of strategy and cunning; a worthy opponent indeed. I emerged victorious only after I threatened to dismember her teddy bear.

It’s not easy putting a four year old to bed

The priest’s children and the miller’s cow never do well

Back in Kenmare, we have been hit with an unseasonable spell of warm weather. The Irish rioted because the Minister of Education wouldn’t extend school holidays to take advantage of it; the entire country phoned in to radio stations bitterly lamenting why ‘that hairy bollox’ couldn’t show a little bit of human decency and/or compassion and let the little wans enjoy their last bit of freedom before they had to grow up and get mortgages and pension schemes.


The Irish really are completely, fabulously nutso. I listen to the radio whenever I can:


“So, you went to stay in a rather unusual place-“


“Oh right, yea I did, yea. It was an Orc community, like- you know Lord of the Rings? That sort of stuff, residents running around Dungeons and Dragons like with pointy ears-“


“Their own?”


“No, no, stick on ones-“


“So, before we wind up now- oh, actually we should have been off the air three minutes ago. Just quickly then, what do you think of Elvis?”




“Elvis, you know, The King. ‘Thnkyouvermuch’.”


“Elvis? Mad overrated. Awful feckin’ gobshite, especially-“


“Sorry, I don’t think you can say that on air.”


“Ah well now, I just did.”


I have settled into the place with ridiculous ease. Andrew was supposed to come over in early October, but the NZ Embassy was into its fourth month renewing his passport.


Mum and Dad are in great form. I was surprised to realise that Dad has been an auxiliary minister for nearly ten years – he and Mum moved to Kenmare shortly before I went to Dubai. He has just been made a Canon. It’s not the same as canonisation, which is sainthood, but he’s heading in the right direction. I think he gets fast-tracked into heaven – at least, there don’t appear to be any other perks, apart from the numerous opportunities for corny jokes (he’s easier to fire etc).




It’s awful pressure being a priest’s daughter though. People always think you’re wild and reprobate, partying and shagging until all hours.


“The priest’s children and the miller’s cow never do well,” according to Edel. It’s a German proverb, apparently; and the first time I’ve ever been compared to a miller’s cow. Possibly not the last.


When Mum isn’t playing golf, she’s usually in the kitchen entertaining visitors, dodging Dad (who wanders around presumably blessing stuff), airing language entirely unsuited to a Rector’s wife, answering the phone, baking scones, bread and quiche, and preventing Ceara slinging food; and all at the same time

Irish holiday

Deadlyjelly stuck to Eoin


Bertie and Mum on the road to The Farm



Parsnip yield of Eritrea

In early December, I went to Montpellier to visit Daire and his family. Daire is the proudest of fathers – all he wants to do is show off Ceara to the world whereas I got the distinct impression poor Jasmin wanted to curl up in a dark room and never see anyone ever again.


Both parents are absolutely smitten and extremely conscientious. Dr Spock appears to be as out of fashion as a leg-warmer, and now one must pick ones child up at the first hint of noisiness or risk social rejection. I always thought you let ‘em screech till they fell asleep, so that was the start of my education. The amount of time and effort that goes into a six week old baby was a real eye-opener.


Although I was enchanted by my new niece and could spend hours just holding her and watching her scrunch up her little face and blow bubbles, I have to admit it was a relief handing her back to her parents at the end of each day. I was exhausted just watching them.


Obviously, the recent and frequent Johnson’s Baby Oil scents, the clench of tiny fingers, and the lines of babygros strung out on washing lines have all made me consider the prospect of motherhood.


On the other hand, the squall of little lungs and the malodorous whiff of nappies has made me think about other things entirely – like the parsnip yield in Eritrea and the life-cycle of the fruitfly, for instance

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