Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


Season’s Greetings

To all my blog readers, old and new, I wish you a happy Christmas season, surrounded by family, friends, fabulous food and a mountain of new books.
See you on the other side!

A snowy Heidelberg (thanks to siutung on Flickr)



Skiing By Numbers

25 – Blue runs skiied

24 – Public usages of bad language

23 – Age of my skiing instructor

21 – Age of the other person on my ski course

18 – Age difference between her and me

17 – Times I kept the youngsters waiting

15 – Minutes Daisy waited at the bottom of the slope on the day we “skiied down the mountain together”

10 – Red runs skiied

8 – Humiliating fear-related tumbles

7 – Times my children flew over my head in a lift screaming “Look, everyone, there’s our Mummy!” as I tried to lever myself out of the snow on the edge of a cliff

5 – Hot chocolates consumed on slopes

4 – Times I nearly fell off the lift

6 – Days in which I skiied

6 – Nights in which I went to bed early

1 – Night in which I partied

4 – Glasses of red wine I drank that night

6 – Jaegermeisters I drank that night

3 – Songs I sang loudly into the microphone – with dancing – for the listening pleasure of my audience (Sweet Caroline, Mustang Sally and can’t remember the other one)

1 – Time I cried at breakfast

1 – Wonderful new friend made on skiing holiday

1 – Full-body massage enjoyed

1 – Cheese fondue relished

1 – Black run skiied

0 – Disfiguring accidents

Clearly I have this skiing lark taped.


Feeling a Bit Piste

I’m off skiing on Saturday. Not my greatest talent, skiing. However, having stunned both Austria and Italy in years previous with my abilities on the piste, I have decided to share the love with the inhabitants of Switzerland. The good burghers are already preparing the essential cheese fondues and hot chocolates that are necessary to keep a skier of my remarkable and note-worthy skills upright on the piste. In other words, reward! The only reason I ski is so that I can enjoy numerous, sumptuous, guilt-free hot chocolates afterwards. Oh, and to keep an eye on my children whose skills are far superior to mine. Not only do they gloat over their pristine German, but they gloat over their pristine parallel turns while laughing mockingly at my inelegant snow-plough and tendency to spend a lot of time sitting down.

Little buggers. They are so lucky to be learning to ski as kids, while I have to do the same as a not particularly fit nor agile adult who grew up having beach holidays. In Africa, there was not a lot of snow happening. Give me a beach and I fit in nicely: I do the book, sunglasses and towel thing spectacularly well. I even get in the sea and shriek, and have been known to toss a frisbee. But snow is foreign matter, and strapping myself to some planks in order to get down a mountain at high speed with only my muscles between me and disfiguring accidents, even more so.

As a last-ditch attempt to prepare myself, I joined a gym a week ago, and have been there every day, trying to build leg and stomach muscles. I have generated a lot of sweat, but can’t see any new muscles. It may have been too late, but I am hoping they are there, subtly lying in wait under my skin ready to transport me towards the next hot chocolate.

As another form of comfort, I am taking a large pile of books, including Jane Smiley’s wondrous A Thousand Acres, which I have just started and am loving. I will be leaving my laptop behind, but taking my notebook and pens in order to work on Chapter Three of my novel, which is 22,000 words long and showing no sign of stopping. I have started dreaming about one of my characters, which is convenient since the next chapter is about him. In the last dream, he was baton-twirling in a newly-threshed field of corn, which is not entirely relevant to the action, but never mind.

So wish me luck, dear blogging friends. I hope to return intact, having mastered the parallel turn and rewarded myself accordingly. Also if I could be spared jeers and mocking laughter, that would be good too.


My Christmas Present to You

I wanted to write a post about the absence of snow, the environmental consequences of global warming, how the SUV drivers of Europe won’t be able to ski this winter because it’s not cold enough to snow, but I’m not going to. You can read the NY Times article for yourself if you want to.

Instead, I’m going to give you a present. I beg you to do this with your children. If you don’t have children, try it yourself. It’s the most fun you can have on your computer apart from blogging. You come away feeling like a genius, having created masterpieces, but it’s really easy. And I should know.

Friends, bloggers, webwaifs, I give you … your very own snow-maker. Copy and paste the URL and enjoy:

Your very own snow-maker

And I wish you all a happy, peaceful Christmas season, filled with lots of presents, feasting and naps on the sofa. And for the lucky ones, some snow.