Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

All Saints


(Mr Pomo warns: Includes references to daytime drinking, children, the weather and apartheid crocodiles.)

Yesterday was All Saints’ Day, and a public holiday in our province of Germany. It was like having a Sunday in the middle of the week. Good Catholics went to church. Being neither Catholic nor good, we went kite flying. It was sunny, but very windy and very cold, so after we tired of running around the meadow, we went for hot chocolate. This made us all start to feel pretty saintly.

I love Sundays in Germany. The shops don’t open, except for the occasional bakery, so you are forced to spend time at home with family and friends. In summer, we usually barbeque, but now as winter approaches we have taken to having brunches. These are easy to prepare and child-friendly, and as our local bakery has just started opening on Sundays, we get gorgeous fresh bread: flaky croissants (chocolate ones for the children), rolls of many hues, crunchy loaves. I love the slow meditative feel of a Sunday, and preparing a meal at my leisure while other grown-ups attend to the various needs of my children, so yesterday morning, I made a lasagne. My saint-quotient increased.

Then, since it was Grandma’s last day with us before she flies back to South Africa, we walked to our local Italian for lunch. Everyone behaved impeccably, ate their lunch, refrained from climbing under the tables or pinching the person next to them. And that was just the grown-ups. However we did drink with lunch, and in Germany, a glass of wine means a carafe. It was delicious at the time, but impaired my ability to concentrate during the afternoon. My husband went off for a nap (he had got up with the human alarm clock at 5:30am to take said alarm for a run in the jogging pram, he deserved his saintly rest). I allowed my three children, including my 18-month-old to watch Monsters while I slumped on the sofa. He clung to me, muttering “scwary”. My halo slipped slightly. Daytime drinking just doesn’t suit me. It’s fun at the time, but I always pay.

Later, after the children were in bed, we ate the lasagne and drank more red wine (oops). While Grandma and my husband watched some TV, I caught up on the blog-a-rama and some world news. I noticed that former South African president and apartheid tyrant PW Botha had died, appropriately enough, on Halloween. Known as the Groot Krokodil for his thick skin and bad temper, his name alone sends shivers down my spine, so creepy and scwary was he. His reign of terror saw innocent people jailed, tortured and murdered. However, Nelson Mandela, a saint if there ever was one, said that Botha’s death should “remind us how South Africans ultimately came together to save our country from self-destruction.”

I also saw that Harvard scientists have recently proved that a compound found in red wine can reverse the damaging effects of a high-fat diet and extend life! I collected up my tattered halo, dusted it off and replaced it. I am going to be a happy, long-lived, red wine-drinking saint. I just know it.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

10 thoughts on “All Saints

  1. German Sundays are good, aren’t they? Though I found having to do all my shopping in two hours flat on a Saturday while the rest of the world was doing the same rather – er – concentrated.

    Er… what’s a jogging pram?


  2. I wish we had German Sundays. I’ve been compensating lately by deciding that from the time I go to bed Saturday night until sundown on Sundy, no computer. This means I can’t be tempted to work on Sunday (a HUGE step for me). I’m doing a lot more reading on Sundays, which has been lovely! One of these days, I’ll be brave enough to increase it to bedtime on Sunday, but then I’d miss the blogosphere so much.

  3. I’m a bad Catholic – I’d forgotten yesterday was All Saint’s Day. Making lasagne definitely deserves a halo. I can never make one in under 1 hour! I bet it was delicious. I have heard that about red wine. It depresses me – I can’t drink! I’m doomed not to have any fat-blasting agents in my system… (unless green tea counts…)

  4. Sundays and bakeries – two things I wish I could import to the States. As one of my old European-software-coding-geek colleagues in Boston used to say to me, “You don’t have to go to the stores on Sundays if you don’t want to.” He just didn’t seem to understand my point. Or everything you just described so well.

    I love red wine. . .but then I, too, always quickly thereafter desire sleep.

  5. Congratulations on the saintliness and sympathies on the human alarm clock. Ours used to be set to the same time in the mornings but with age we’ve managed to reset him to go off later. 6.30 is the norm these days (though summer dawns tend to make the time keeping go haywire so 6 oclock threatens) and on occasion there have even been lie-ins until 7.30..those tend to be limited to overcast winter mornings though.

  6. Oh, AB, a jogging pram is one of those three-wheeler things that you can push with a fingertip. Very good for running, if that is your persuasion (it’s not mine). Doing all one’s shopping on Saturday can be stressful, but then, it’s done, which is cool. Emily, John, we do love our German Sundays – so very relaxing are they. Helen, I’m sure green tea is better for one in every way than red wine! Yes, Kit, we are working on reprogramming the little alarm clock – 6.30am would be perfect.

  7. Oh, what wonderful news about red wine – the news gets better and better. I LOVE the stuff, although lately I’ve been drinking rum and diet coke because of the calorie factor, even though I KNOW red wine is much, much better for me in every way, shape and form. I can’t drink in the afternoon either – it does always seem like a good idea but I always feel horrible afterwards!

  8. I have a rule that if I drink in the afternoon I just better not quit. . . Seriously, I’m not much of a drinker and when I do drink I like red wine or really good beer. There is a fallacy in comment 7: most of the calories in your alcoholic drink are contained in the alcohol, so you might as well drink the red wine and skip all the chemicals in the diet coke.

    My Sunday tradition is to work in my garden or take my canoe out on the river. Both very relaxing for me.

  9. “Everyone behaved impeccably, ate their lunch, refrained from climbing under the tables or pinching the person next to them. And that was just the grown-ups.”

    Hee! Your blog always brings a smile to my face Charlotte. 🙂

  10. Sounds like you had a great All Saint’s! I wish the shops didn’t open on Sundays here either – it really isn’t necessary when they’re open so late during the week and, as you say, when they’re closed families are more likely to spend time together instead of dragging the kids around the shops.

    The red wine thing’s pretty good, isn’t it? I recently wrote an article about it and went straight out and bought myself a bottle once I’d finished 🙂

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