Well, after twelve hours of travelling, I'm back in the Gingerbread House with my husband. He'd even vacuumed. The man is truly a gem.
Those of you who read this post will probably begin to suspect that whenever I travel, disaster follows. If I were very narcissitic - or slightly paranoid - I would start to become concerned that my desire to fly unleashes some natural catastrophe, this time the earthquake in Japan, subsequent tsunami and the reactor meltdown. I not only feel very sad and quite shell-shocked about the whole situation (I can't watch any more news reports - too distressing), I also have lingering feelings of responsibility. I think I'll stay put for a while.
To take our minds off terrible things, let me tell you what I got up to in Ireland:
I've Got a New Baby Niece
Baby Erica arrived on Pancake Tuesday, my brother and sister-in-law's first child. Naturally, much rejoicing was had, and Mammy and Daddy Gingerbread even decided to brave a trip to Dublin to see the new baby - and I got to go along. This might not seem much to you, but it involved major trauma for the Gingerbreads. My parents do not like to travel. Anywhere. And although Dublin is only an hour away, getting from the depths of the countryside (where they live) to Holles Street Hospital in Dublin city centre is no less stressful than a shuttle launch.
Needless to say, we got lost. Dublin is devoid of road signage, which had a significant role in this development, but let's just say that it came as no surprise to any of the car's occupants that we ended up driving in circles. My parents' forty-year relationship teetered on the brink of destruction as snippy comments flew back and forth across the gearstick divide about someone's driving skills and someone else's navigational talent. Finally, I was sent to ask a taxi driver for directions.
When I returned, my brother was on the phone, frantic. The visiting hour was ticking by and no relatives had yet turned up to admire the fruit of his loins. I tried to give my father the taxi driver's directions, but these were intercepted by my mother, who was trying to simultaneously calm the new father and calm my father - and trying to amplify the instructions for my father, who suffers bouts of selective deafness when concentrating on the road:
Me: "The taxi driver said you drive straight on till the traffic lights, turn left, cross the bridge over the canal and turn right after the third set of traffic lights."
Mammy: "TURN RIGHT AT THE CANAL AND TAKE THE THIRD SET OF TRAFFIC LIGHTS ON THE LEFT. Yes, Michael, I'm still on the phone. Just giving your father directions."
Me: "No! Drive straight on till the traffic lights, turn left, cross the bridge over the canal and turn right after the third set of traffic lights."
Mammy: "Okay. Did you get that? DRIVE THROUGH THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS AND TURN LEFT AT THE BRIDGE WHEN YOU'VE PASSED THREE SETS OF TRAFFIC LIGHTS. Yes, Michael, we're on our way."
Me: "NO! Drive straight on till the traffic lights, turn left..." etc.
But we finally found the hospital, which was tucked away in a busy side street, and gathered around the cot to admire the little sprog. She was passed around like a swaddled parcel and declared to be perfect.