Dad’s Diary

The kids had ‘World War I day’ in school last week, to mark the centenary of the armistice of 1918. The teachers arrived in Edwardian costume, and the kids were dressed in old-fashioned clothes, or dressed as nurses or soldiers. Most of the boys came dressed as soldiers and, inevitably, some shooting games ensued. The…

Dad’s Diary

It was a proud moment this week, watching my eight-year-old son tog out as captain of his school football team. He looked smart in his kit and even had an easy authority, as he casually directed his teammates, as he walked up to take the kick off. It seemed only yesterday that I was kicking…

Dad’s Diary

In the deepest dusk, I found myself in a Hampshire woods, reading the names of Irish holy women from their graves. Many of these departed nuns were born in the 19th Century, and had lived through times of great upheaval, war and conflict. It moved me to see my compatriots buried in exile, many long…

Dad’s Diary

“Ten years.” I found myself contemplating these words in awe and disbelief last week. Time had pulled its usual trickery. The day before yesterday, I was walking down the aisle with my new wife – then there was something of a busy blur – and suddenly a decade had passed, as if instantaneously. Ten years…

Dad’s Diary

It was a deep summer’s dusk as the hills of West Cork unfolded before my weary eyes. I was driving home from England for a holiday with my three oldest children, while my wife took some quiet time with the new baby. The girls in the back slept. Seán, sitting in the front, was entranced…

Dad’s Diary

I would hesitate to plot a graph projecting the expansion of my belly. However, my wife, a doctor, has no such qualms. When, last Friday, she carefully plotted the dimensions of her late-pregnancy belly on a graph, they were slightly less than they should have been. This can mean the baby is not getting quite enough…

Dad’s Diary

The last days are the slowest. Nine months of pregnancy passes by with respectable speed, until the last few weeks, when the flow of time slows to a trickle. As soon as the 37-week mark is passed, and the baby is officially full term, labour could begin at any moment – and it would be…

Dad’s Diary

For a child, the most magical part of their home is not the house itself, but the garden. Gardens twitter and hum with life. They are full of mysterious bugs, birds, frogs and sundry slimy things. Bushes and undergrowth become secret dens, where adults may not tread. The lawn is for football and games of…

Dad’d Diary

This is the face of 21st-Century nesting: a steady stream of Amazon boxes full of baby bottles, nappies and sundry accoutrements has been arriving at the door for days. My wife was distracted, studying for a high-pressure medical exam she had to do. Now that it’s done, her mind has turned more fully to the…

Dad’s Diary

You are always in the middle of something critical when you get ‘the call from school’. A surgeon might be about to make that vital incision when his mobile will bring with the news that a kid has a high temperature. A footballer might be about to score the winning goal in the FA Cup…