Sep 072009
Carpenter school bus
Image via Wikipedia

Column for 02/09/09

I woke up early. Outside the rain, which has been such a prominent part of this summer, pounded on the window and I decided that another five minutes under the duvet wouldn’t hurt.

When I finally surfaced the weather hadn’t improved; resigned to the fact I plodded down to the kitchen for my compulsory caffeine fix before putting the girls’ school lunches together. The mind-numbing routine of school mornings was upon us once again.

The rain kept falling as the girls had their breakfast and we checked and double checked that they had all the bags, books, pencil cases, lunches, water bottles and other paraphernalia that a new school year demands. So much for my recent prediction that the start of school would bring some long overdue sunshine. If anything it just started to rain harder.

After one last check to make sure they had everything we headed out of the house to find a flood forming outside our front gate. Just as the bus pulled up I grabbed my wellies and ferried the girls across the pooling rainwater so they could climb aboard with dry feet. I waved them a hasty goodbye and ran back indoors to dry out.

Continue reading »

Jun 172009
School's Out for Summer

Image by Jagrap via Flickr

The little one was staring intently at the calendar this morning… her lips moving silently as her finger traced the days. She "shushed" me when I asked what she was doing, turned the page to the following month and kept on counting.

When she finally finished I asked her what she’d been doing. "Seeing how many days there are ’till my birthday," she said, brimming with excitement about an event that was still more than a month away. She was already making lists of who she wanted at her party, what sort of food she wanted, what games we’d play, even what she was going to wear.

That’s when it hit me… there was something coming a lot sooner than her birthday, something big that had approached under the radar and was now almost upon us. I grabbed the calendar, and the letter full of dates from where it was pinned by a magnet to the side of the fridge.

Sure enough, there it was in black and white: the kids only have two weeks left in school before they break up for the summer holidays! Two weeks… and then they’re home for more than two months.

Continue reading »

Jul 232008

Published in the WOW! supplement of the Evening Echo

For the umpteenth time this trip I found myself wishing I’d bought a GPS navigation system before leaving Cork. No more wrong turns, no more uncertainty, no more doubt, no more trying to decipher ineligible foreign road-signs through rainy windscreens. As it was we’d taken the wrong turn onto the motorway from Tours and were heading for Paris instead of Le Mans.

This wouldn’t have been quite so bad if we’d realised our mistake straight away. But Murphy’s Law works just as well in France, so we naturally realised our error just after passing the last convenient exit to reach the right road. Forty minutes later another exit hove into view. We were miles out, but, loath to retrace our steps on the motorway we set off cross-country.

Here a GPS would have come in really handy, rapidly calculating a new route to get us to our destination as quickly as possible. But of course, if we’d had a GPS we never would have gone wrong in the first place. Seven hours later an exhausted Jones party rolled into Cherbourg.

Continue reading »

Mar 272008

Time ticking away Time is a curiously elastic commodity. One minute it’s flying by so quickly you don’t even notice it’s passing, the next it draws out into what seems an eternity. Have you ever looked at the clock, thought you had plenty of time to do whatever it is you needed to get done, only to glance up at it again a few moments later to find all of that time had evaporated?

It happens to me… a lot. Time, in our house, compresses and expands with gleeful abandon. Take this morning for example. This morning started off normally enough, time seemed to be behaving itself. Then the children started “playing” with a bit too much exuberance, time compressed and in the blink of an eye I lost a couple of hours. Suddenly it was lunchtime.

Take an arbitrary period of time… let’s say two weeks. If you were off on your holidays for two weeks, and were set to leave in exactly two weeks you can guarantee that the fortnight before you travel will drag on interminably, while your two weeks in the sun will veritably fly by. You’ll be home again almost before you realise you’ve been away. That’s time playing it’s “funny” little games again.

Continue reading »