4/6/98 – Pauline and I were worried about the length of time it’s taking our house to sell – RG has three more people lined up to see it on Saturday.
5/6/98 – I took Sean and Billy to the end of the road for football, and they ended up playing in Stephen’s house for a while.
6/6/98 – I took Sean, Susanna and Olivia to the end of the road to play football, and we met up with Stephen.
7/6/98 – In the afternoon we all went to the Botanic Gardens, which was having an open day. The kids had good fun, with face-painting, a nature trail, etc.
10/6/98 – Sean and I watched Brazil beat Scotland 2–1 in the first, somewhat disappointing, match of the World Cup.
11/6/98 – Susie is at Jane’s, and Sean is at Matthew’s party.
12/6/98 – Susanna had no school today; Sean had his sports day … Susanna took part in a toddlers’ race; Sean took part in his class’s race and in a skipping race, coming about fifth in the latter.
14/6/98 – We had put up the tent in the back garden for the kids, and they played in it for ages. They also constructed weapons in case of a lion attack during the night – Sean has recently been scared every night. They slept with these under their pillows.
15/6/98 – Pauline went to the cake-eating session at the school for parents who do lunch duty; I put the kids to bed and watched most of Germany v. USA. Pauline came home full of caffeine.
16/6/98 – Stephen called for Sean and I took both of them to the end of the road to play football for a while … Sean and I watched Brazil v. Cameroon later.
19/6/98 – Sean called me at 7 to ask a question about his new McDonald’s watch – he’s obsessed with it (Susanna has one too) … Susanna’s last day at playschool.
21/6/98 – There was a ‘family fun day’ at St Enda’s, with music, magician, Punch & Judy show, etc. The kids had a great time.
22/6/98 – We got just Sean out to school. The magic notes given to Sean and Susanna by the magician had duly changed into pound coins during the night … I took Sean and Stephen to play football at the end of the road – I met Stephen’s dad, Paddy. Sean, Stephen and I played a match against three bigger kids, which we won 1–0.
25/6/98 – Went out to meet Sean on his way home from school.
26/6/98 – The kids had lamb chops, potatoes and peas (Sean eating peas for the first time in ages – Susanna proved stronger than him in wrestling and tug-of-war last night, and Pauline told him this was because she eats a better range of foods).
27/6/98 – Sean and I watched Brazil beat Chile 4–1 in the World Cup – he was very pleased.
30/6/98 – We got Sean out to school – his last day in St Attracta’s. He had a potted rose plant as a present for Mr Neary, and didn’t have to wear his uniform – they were going to have a party … [later] Sean cried himself to sleep – distraught over not seeing his friends when we move house.
2/7/98 – Pauline and the kids arrived. They’d all had a good time – Pauline was very happy with the house at Knocktemple. Sean and Susanna had been sliding down the muck heap, had been shown animals by Sinead across the road and so on. They were very taken with the new place too.
3/7/98 – Sean and I watched Brazil beat Denmark 3–2 in the World Cup quarter-finals – Sean burst into tears when Denmark scored in the first couple of minutes.
4/7/98 – We arrived at Knocktemple, and the kids spent most of the day playing on the big pile of topsoil. James came and took down the electric fence – there are no cows in the field at the moment, so it’s like a big garden for us.
7/7/98 – Sean and I watched the Brazil–Holland match, which Brazil eventually won on penalties.
11/7/98 – Sinead has taken Sean and Susanna up the fields to watch a tractor baling hay.
12/7/98 – Sean and I watched the World Cup final, which was a major disappointment for him, as Brazil didn’t play well and France won 3–0. He cried constantly for the last 15 minutes and beyond, and was more or less inconsolable – not realizing that heroes can fail.
13/7/98 – Pauline took the kids to the shops to buy toys with money that they found, presumably dropped by leprechauns, on the hill in Knocktemple at the weekend.
15/7/98 – We all went to Dundrum, and Pauline and I signed contracts for the purchase of the site at AC’s … RG rang later – NOC is going ahead with the purchase of our house, and will pay a booking deposit on Thursday.
17/7/98 – Pauline and the kids arrived, having had a great time in Cavan. They spent yesterday clearing stones from Maire’s back garden.
19/7/98 – Sean and Stephen were playing racquetball out the back when Sean caught Susanna, who was behind him, with his racquet – she had a nasty cut above the left eyebrow, which bled quite a lot.
24/7/98 – A couple of guys, and then James, arrived to plant trees at the side, and were helped by Sean and Susanna.
25/7/98 – We all went to Tighe’s at 9.30 and Sean played his first game of pool.
27/7/98 – When the kids were asleep Pauline and I set up Sean’s snooker table and tried it out – it’s quite good fun.
28/7/98 [Sean’s seventh birthday] – Sean and Susanna went downstairs at 7.20; I heard Sean’s exclamations of delight. I got up shortly after and played snooker and pool with the kids … Sean’s party arrived – the guests were Stephen, Simon, Billy, Michael F, Michael N, Michael B, Matthew, Kevin and Olivia. I organized a pool tournament, which was won by Stephen … [Later] Sean enjoyed his birthday enormously.
29/7/98 – Pauline and I played numerous games of pool after the kids were in bed.
31/7/98 – Pauline took the kids to see Godzilla in Stillorgan in the afternoon (Sean was particularly impressed with it).
2/8/98 – We all went to Quinnsworth in Nutgrove and did the shopping, then we went to Marley Park and played hide-and-seek and a game in which one of us (a bull) tried to catch the others.
4/8/98 – My new bike was delivered, flatpacked – I adjusted it and went for some rides, some with Sean or Susanna on the handlebars.
8/8/98 – Sean cried in the car because he will be going into first class, not second with AJ. Pauline said we would let him go into second if he would apply himself, but he eventually said he would go into first.
9/8/98 – We spent a few hours at the Lakeside Manor, and the kids had a great time again, catching minnows and playing in the water. Then we went to Maire’s and they had a great time again, playing on a water slide. Sean was particularly good at sliding on his front, much to his delight.
10/8/98 – Susanna was allowed to go to Stephen’s house with him and Sean – very pleased with herself. Earlier she told Pauline a story about having let a dog into its house at the end of the road, which Pauline believed but Sean later recognized as a fib.
13/8/98 – Sean called for Stephen; Stephen was here for a while and then Sean went off for dinner and a sleepover.
17/8/98 – We’re settling in in Knocktemple, and it feels very good indeed. We won’t miss Dublin.
18/8/98 – Stephen, Sean and Susanna played outside, and Sinead took them into the fields (Stephen was at first reluctant, being shy and fearing bulls).
19/8/98 – There was an amusing incident where Sean thought he was being chased by a calf, and ran a long distance at an astonishing speed as well as more or less leaping over two gates.
20/8/98 – A while ago Susanna came into the room and said to me, sadly, ‘I loved all the years in Dublin’.
21/8/98 [in England] – Sean saw his first-ever frogs over the fence, by next door’s pond.
25/8/98 – We had lunch in St Martin’s in the Field, and went by Tube to Lambeth North to visit the Imperial War Museum (‘I hope the worms aren’t alive’, Susanna said).
26/8/98 – Pauline bought Sean a football game (with his money), which he loved.
29/8/98 – Jim took Sean into town to try on an army outfit, which was bought for him.