1/6/99 – We got the kids out to school – Sean made a big fuss because he didn’t want to wear his uniform – apparently lots of kids don’t wear them these days. Susanna didn’t have to wear hers because it’s her PE day.
2/6/99 – I played pool with Sean.
4/6/99 – Sean had been complaining of various ailments over the past few days, so we let him stay off school.
5/6/99 – Pauline took Sean to Virginia, and he had a haircut according to his instructions, which looks very good. He was absolutely thrilled with it; he thinks it looks really cool.
6/6/99 – We left around 9.30, dropping off a key so that Sinead could mind Tiger. Susanna was complaining of feeling sick the whole way, and always seemed on the verge of it. We stopped at one point and Pauline tried to make her get sick, rather comically. In fact it was Sean who vomited with very little warning in Newry, into a plastic bag.
8/6/99 – Pauline took the kids to Cootehill in the afternoon, where Sean bought a go-kart with his communion money – he was delighted with it. After dinner we took it to Maire’s; the kids played on it while Pauline and I moved stones on the site. We also had some help from Sean, Susanna and AJ – I caught Sean and AJ’s imagination by saying that any landslide they could start would be a help.
10/6/99 – Sean had to be at the school by 8.20 to go on his trip. They were going to visit the Coca-Cola factory in Dundalk, the Natural History Museum in Dublin and Sea World in Bray … [later] Sean got home around 7, having had a great day – the highlight was the Coca-Cola factory, which was actually in Dublin.
12/6/99 – Sinead was over, and the kids asked if they and she could sleep in the tent tonight. We said OK, and Pauline moved the tent to the back of the house … We expected the kids to abandon the tent for the house at some stage, but they didn’t. Sinead and Sean were awake late, telling spooky stories.
14/6/99 – We got the kids out to school, complete with swim bags and a spoon and potato each – today is their sports day. Pauline stayed to watch them. Susanna came second in the potato and spoon race; Sean won his sack race (as he did last year).
18/6/99 – The kids’ last day in second class and baby infants. They’re having a party and getting off at 12.
19/6/99 – Sean did a lot of reading – he’s reading Fantastic Mr Fox – and Susanna did some too.
21/6/99 – We had gone to Kilbroney Park – Sean befriended a boy called Aaron, and I played football with the two of them. I also played football and snooker with Sean at home.
22/6/99 – I played snooker and pool with Sean, and did a jigsaw with Susanna … Their school reports came – both very good. Sean got ‘excellent’ in everything except ‘very good’ in some Irish categories and handwriting. His teacher says that ‘Sean is a lovely child with impeccable manners’. Susanna’s teacher gave her a lot of high praise, ending with ‘She is a well-behaved child and a pleasure to teach’.
24/6/99 – I took the kids up the fields – the grass in the top field had been cut.
25/6/99 – It was a beautiful hot day …. I took the kids up the fields. Sean followed a hare, which ran along in front of him, for quite a distance; this reactivated his notion that he has ‘a way with animals’.
28/6/99 – Sean and Susanna had had a wonderful time [at Virginia ‘heritage show’], with pony rides and so on.
4/7/99 – Some people reckoned that Nostradamus had predicted the world would end today, but it didn’t happen.
5/7/99 – The kids and I had a walk up the fields. Tiger came too, and chased a hare, which accelerated away in fine style.
11/7/99 – On getting up, I was surprised to notice two beautiful thoroughbred horses rampaging in our front garden.
20/7/99 – Sean was awake very late, reading.
21/7/99 – The kids, especially Sean, have turned into keen birdwatchers since we put up the bird table, though it seems to be used mainly by jackdaws and chaffinches.
23/7/99 – Pauline and the kids arrived, with a lovely new silver bike that they’d bought in Newry – Sean’s birthday present.
24/7/99 – My 39th birthday … The kids brought me in a load of presents and cards. I got CDs by Sheryl Crow, Mott the Hoople, John Lee Hooker and Bob Dylan. Also a fleece and two t-shirts, which suit me very well. Sean brought us coffee in bed and we all listened to some tracks from the CDs. I cycled up and down the road with Susanna (on my crossbar) and Sean.
25/7/99 – Sean and Susanna cycled up and down the road – Susanna is now a fully competent cyclist without her stabilizers. Sean cycled about three miles earlier with AJ and David. They went almost the whole way along the bog road and back … Sean really loves his new bike. He’s also very fond these days of a chaffinch that frequents the bird table and shows little fear – Sean says that chaffinches have the same ‘hairstyle’ as him (brushed back).
26/7/99 – Sean and a group of kids cycled to the bog. Sean loves his bike.
28/7/99 – Sean’s eighth birthday. Susanna gave him her presents – two Harry Potter books and a lottery scratchcard … the kids had a great time playing [at Fort Lucan, with a group of Sean’s Dublin friends] – Sean especially loved the water slide … Sean had a wonderful time, and we all enjoyed the day.
31/7/99 – Pauline spent an hour reading a Harry Potter book to the kids at bedtime.
11/8/99 – Sean had a new pair of binoculars, bought in Dublin with his own money.
15/8/99 – Pauline took the kids and Sinead to a ‘family fun day’ in Castlerahan. They had a great time – while the other three were doing something else, Sean’s name was announced on the PA as the first volunteer for the ducking chair. He got soaked, and loved the attention.
16/8/99 – Sean, on going to bed, was sad about not being with his Dublin friends.
17/8/99 – Pauline took the kids to Dublin early … [later] Pauline and the kids arrived around 10.30. Sean in particular had had a great day – he’d spent the afternoon playing with Matthew, and later played with Billy and Kevin … The kids slept in the same room, having frightened themselves on the way home with talk of monsters etc.
24/8/99 – I took Sean, Susanna and Tiger up the fields at twilight … Tiger managed to get stuck up a tree, and I had to make a precarious ascent to rescue him.
26/8/99 – We watched a couple of ‘nature’ programmes, one on the search for the ‘mythical’ giant sloth and one on polar bears – Sean is very keen on such programmes.
28/8/99 – I had been up the fields with all the kids earlier, and we had seen a fox.
29/8/99 – I took Susanna up the fields to find Tiger, who had spent much of the weekend up there with the kids.
31/8/99 – Pauline put the kids to bed early and read to them for quite a while, as usual. Sean really loves the Harry Potter books.
9 responses to “Some diary entries … June to August 1999”
This is a most delightful extract Brendano, full of gems, and causes me to comment on several things, some of which touch upon memories of my own childhood.
But more than that, the ‘diary’ constantly reminds me of the flow of time and how short life really is. I say this realising my own son is growing up (4 and a half on the 14th of November) and that perhaps I should be noting or diarising the daily occurrences – some of the charming moments. I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to enjoy life as a dad at such a ripe old age. i view life as a ‘field of dreams’ – each day a chance to make a mark.
I love your remark about Sean’s haircut, “a haircut according to his instructions” and Sean’s observation that the chaffinches have the same hair cut as him (brushed back). I suspect that Cymbeline would comment on such a charming thing to say.
You diary reminds of school sports day. I don’t know why but I never managed a decent jump in a sack, just couldn’t coordinate the jump with pulling the sack up at the same time. I wonder whether there is a correlation between being good in the sack race and being good in the sack! Perhaps Sean would have made a comment here.
I remember your first blog (or one of the first) on MyT. You had mentioned a hare off the road – either you had swung a left, of the hare had! And here you recall how Sean “followed a hare, which ran along in front of him.” Absolutely charming. The hare has mythical qualities. I am reminded of a sculpture who created sets of leaping hares, full in leg and length.
Finally at the back of the house, “telling spooky stories in a tent”. Great times Brendano,. Your family has a rich tapestry of memories. Long may they continue and be created anew.
Thanks very much for these lovely comments, PapaG. When I came downstairs this morning and looked out my office window, the first thing I saw was a young hare in the garden. It walked around to the patio and then towards the road before turning back and coming right up to the front door.
Yes, I do see them as magical/mythical creatures. The blog you mention was my very first on MyT – late July 2007, I think, around the time of Sean’s 16th birthday. I remember that you commented on it and also Gaia, SuzieTiv and some others. There are large statues of hares on the streets of Dublin, or certainly there were a couple of years ago.
I’ve always been impressed by your positive attitude … never any silly arguments or negativity, unlike other bloggers (including myself).
I’m glad I kept the diary … it’s amazing how much you forget. I’d advise you to write down bits and pieces about Kojo’s life, the things he says and so on. You’ll enjoy looking back on them later, and he probably will too.
Brendano – I’m chancing my arm here, but I’d like to place a picture of Kojo and his dad right here. Sort of respect to your family. My wife laughs at our antics, the quirky things he and I share. She laughs and says BOGOF (Buy One & Get One Free!) This is a BOGOF photo!
Forgive me if the page cannot take it – in such circumstances please delete the entry.
OK I can see it didn’t take it. I will send you the picture as an e-mail attachment.
The email came through, PapaG … a great photo of young Kojo and yourself (Pauline thinks so too). Two fine-looking chaps!
The inquest into Sean’s death was held this afternoon, and we attended, of course. Quite gruelling, especially as there were other inquests to sit through first.
The verdict, as we expected, was death through natural causes (i.e. SADS … sudden arrhythmic death syndrome).
I hadn’t realised you had been waiting so long for this event. No, not easy at all. I dont know much about SADS though I know you have received comments and advice on this through your posts. I have atrial fribulation which is an irregular heart beat and I don’t think it is the same thing. i was on warfarin for a while but dropped it, and now encouraged to take one aspirin a day in order to minimise any problems with blood clots.
Needless to say, I shall be thinking of you all over the next 5 days. Whether you take small steps or giant steps I hope you manage to cross the stream.
I’m glad you appreciate the photo!
Thanks, PapaG. I think lots of people have some irregularity in their heartbeat, which generally isn’t serious, and I hope the aspirin will help keep you on the right path.
PS I have just noticed a hand behind Sean’s chair in the photo. The same hand that upturned the stool?!
Yes … there is another photo of Sean with our other cat, Itsy, which must have been taken moments before … there’s no hand behind the chair, and the stool is upright. Spooky!