We had plans for Saturday. We were going to walk to the Credit Union, which is a fair hop, and then get the bus across town to a Sports Expo that sounded interesting – exhibitions and try-outs and a chance to have a go at different sports. We woke up to a severe dose of Irish weather and it was like we’d never seen rain before. Consternation and confusion. What would we do? How would we get there? Sanity and the 21st century prevailed and we got a taxi to the Credit Union. We spoke to a lovely lady who very nicely told us that we haven’t a hope of getting a loan from them just yet, which was fair enough really, considering we’ve only just set foot in the country.
Off we headed to the bus stop in the lashing rain. I was wearing a t-shirt and fit-flops, so I was attracting some weird looks. We were soaked, but the bus ride was nice and long and warm and dry…. When we arrived at the Sports Centre, I did think that there seemed to be a distinct lack of cars, but we wandered in anyway. The building was vast and silent. We homed in on noise coming from one of the halls, and found some people wandering around looking at sports equipment. I went over to sign in and was told that the Expo had been cancelled. Cue howls of anguish from five wet and fed up children. “But this is the Used Equipment Giveaway!” declared the woman brightly. “Do any of you have ice skates?” She swept us off to tables and tables of ice skates, sat us down and sent over more people to help us find our sizes. Seven pairs of skates later (with a particularly cute pair for Rebecca), the boys were directed to the ice-hockey gear table, where they looked like American football players within minutes. I never realised so much gear was needed for ice-hockey! Big padded chest things, huge shin guards, padded shorts, helmets, gloves etc.
Not satisfied with the number of sports we were trying to engage with, one of the helpers sourced astro-turf trainers for the boys, and another man sorted them all out with baseball bats, helmets and baseballs. We were laden to the gills.
We hauled all the stuff outside into the still-pouring rain, only to see a bus approaching across the road. Whooping and waving our arms, we all started running towards it. He stopped. Looking back, I’m not sure what he thought. Two adults lugging black sacks and five shrieking children wielding baseball bats. Canadian bus drivers are so nice.
All the equipment was free, by the way. Completely free gratis. Serendipity.
Sunday morning was our first excursion to Mass. I marched up the road with Christopher, Isabel and Benjamin. We were a bit late and the church was packed, so a deacon was showing people to seats. “How many?” he asked in a hushed whisper. “Four” I whispered back, and we were shown to the very front seats. The kids were horrified. Anyway, we met Father Lawrence, who was lovely, and whose 75th birthday is on Wednesday. The whole church sang Happy Birthday to him at the end of Mass. It was all very disciplined, by the way. None of this scrummaging up the aisles at Communion time. The deacons/ushers stood at the end of each pew and we all filed up in order. Unfortunately, we were in a kind of no-man’s-land, so we were last, and I went one way and the children scattered another, panicked, turned, bumped into each other, refused to go first and finished by eyeing up the lady with the chalice suspiciously. We need to practice receiving under both kinds, if only to see their faces when they taste the wine.
We had very little food in the house, so we decided to load everyone up with backpacks and cycle to the grocery store. Off we went, all little ducks in a line and stocked up at Extra Foods. The backpacks were stuffed and to be honest, it was child labour. They struggled home, with Rebecca sighing “I’m tired” at intervals, as she sailed along in state in her seat on the back of my bike. Lady Muck. I don’t think the kids will agree to go on a “mystery cycle with a surprise at the end of it” again in a hurry.
Today was Monday, and Michael left at 6.15am for work. Rebecca is becoming very disgruntled with this. “Work? AGAIN?” she said querulously this morning. We decided to go to the library, but then they ganged up on me and said they wanted to go swimming, so we did both at the Lawson Civic Centre. The library is brilliant, loads of books and dvds and a play area, with computers for children and a limit of 100 items per card. I didn’t tell Isabel that, obviously, as she’d see it as an open invitation. We went to the pool then, which has a wave machine and body boards, so there was lots of attempted surfing going on. We got out like prunes two hours later, and cycled home again, ready to eat the legs of the table.
Michael is gone out to look at a car, so fingers crossed. Jenna and Jo Ann have been wonderful and have phoned every time they’re heading to the supermarket, but it would be great to have our own transport.