11/5/03 – We all headed to the church in Ballyjamesduff for Sean’s confirmation. This went well, notwithstanding the bishop’s dull homily. Sean did a good job of reading a prayer of the faithful.
14/5/03 – Sean and I watched Real Madrid lose to Juventus, to our disappointment.
17/5/03 – Sean and I watched the FA Cup Final – Arsenal beat Southampton 1–0, much to the joy of Sean in particular (officially all four in our household are Arsenal supporters).
6/6/03 – Sean got an early birthday present, to which he had put some of his own money – a CD player. He was very pleased with it.
20/6/03 – The four of us went up Lough Crew late in the evening and had a good time, with Sean doing spectacular slides on the way down.
4/7/03 – We finished constructing the tennis court, and all had some good games later – Sean is particularly keen.
15/7/03 – Pauline collected the kids, who had had another good day … Sean had canoed out to an island in Lough Ramor.
22/7/03 – Sean practised his Gaelic football kicking in the field with me, in the long wet grass.
26/7/03 – Sean, Andy and I did some digging for worms. Pauline dropped us and Susanna at the nine-eye bridge and went on to Cavan, where she bought an Arsenal shirt for Sean’s birthday. We enjoyed the fishing – Sean and Andy moved to the lake side of the bridge, where Sean caught lots of small perch on a spinner. I caught one when Susanna and I joined them, and she caught one too – her first fish ever. When Pauline came to collect us, she caught her first fish ever.
28/7/03 – Sean’s twelfth birthday. He is still in bed as I write. We presented him with an Arsenal jersey from the three of us – he’s very pleased with it.
31/7/03 – Sean cycled to Martin’s; he swam in the pond and ended up having his dinner there (not in the pond).
7/8/03 – Yvonne was at Lough Crew with the actress Olwen Fouéré and a sound-man, Eoin Reilly – they were recording Olwen reading a story inside the cairn, for About the Days. They called here afterwards for a coffee and a chat.
11/8/03 – There was a review of About the Days in the Irish Times, which was fairly negative; I emailed Yvonne to offer some words of encouragement. When she replied later, one of the things she said was that Sean was lovely and had made a big impression on Olwen.
18/8/03 – Sean and Susanna have disfigured chins since they vacuum-sucked all the air out of their tea-mugs, causing capillaries to burst.
21/8/03 – Sean is enamoured of Kerry accents. Referring to Mick O’Dwyer, he said ‘When I’m an old fella, that’s the kind of old fella I’d like to be – full of tales.’
1/9/03 – An important day for Sean, as he started secondary school. He got on fine.
2/9/03 – Sean had his first French class, and liked it – he had been afraid that he would dislike French as much as Irish, and we had to talk him into doing it. He seems to be adapting well to secondary school.
12/9/03 – Sean played in goals in his match, which was Virginia first year v. Ballyjamesduff (soccer). His team lost 4–0, but he felt that he played well.