Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


The Single Mother’s Weekend

Saturday, dawn: Husband and father-in-law depart for a weekend of bonding and looking at history in Berlin.

Saturday, 9am: Arise, having read book and enjoyed coffee in bed while the children watch some morning TV and get themselves breakfast (I warmly recommend the over-fours).

Saturday, 10am: Raining, so we proceed to the usually hideously over-crowded indoor playground, where I bury myself in my book (Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos, which is so beautifully, poetically written that I cry into my coffee) while the children leap about on the trampolines. When not reading, I check out the fathers, ranging from hot to not but all of whom appear to be actually enjoying spending time with their children and think about how the father species has improved in my generation; drink the world’s most disgusting latte; and try out the trampolines.

(Note to self: trampolining after three natural births is dicing with public humiliation.)

Saturday, 3pm: Return from playground and have burning urge to bake peanut butter biscuits. Eat biscuits and lie on bed while finishing book.

Saturday, 7pm: Have marathon Harry Potter reading session (six chapters of the Prisoner of Azkaban) on my bed, which is declared the girls’ dormitory for the weekend, broken by philosophical discussions on why Snape is mean, why the Weasleys are so funny, and which further HP story includes the unlikeable and ratty Peter Pettigrew.

Saturday, 9pm: Tell the girls to sleep and start Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key.

Sunday, 7.30am: Smallest child wakes at record late hour. Oldest sister takes him down for breakfast and telly. Read more of the excellent Sarah’s Key, washed down by two cups of coffee and thank the universe for my coffee machine.

Sunday, 9am: Children return to the dorm for more HP.

Sunday, 11am: Persuade family to get dressed.

Sunday, 1pm: Eat lunch and head for the cinema to watch Up (Oben, auf Deutsch). Eat peanut M&Ms during movie. Suffer regret.

Sunday, 4pm: Visit ice-cream parlour. Drink the best Milchkaffee in the Burg while the kids have ice-cream.

Sunday, 4.30 to 6pm: Attend a formal Lego and puzzle session. “You will play with me, Mummy,” says smallest child firmly.

Sunday, 7pm: Bath and return to dorm for climactic finish to the P of A. Sirius Black is a goodie! And Harry’s godfather! Harry conjures his first Patronus! It is almost too much for us all to bear – even those of us who have read it all before.

Sunday, 9pm: Off to bath to finish Sarah’s Key. Husband and father-in-law due back shortly.


Number of books read: 3

Number of coffees drank: 7

Number of cute dads discreetly admired: 2

Number of peanut butter biscuits: 3

Number of peanut M&Ms: whole packet

Number of meals I actually consumed at a table: 1

Number of feelings of overwhelming love for children: too many to mention

How much I am looking forward to husband coming back: a lot


Today Charlotte Will be Modelling …

… her very own sweat.

(Just thought you’d like to know.)

It’s been hot. Hot, hot, hot. It’s been so hot, I cleaned off the six weeks of mould that had accumulated on the paddling pool during our monsoon, stripped my three children down to their nethers and threw them in.

It’s been so hot, that we have scraped the rust off the three fans that languish unused like white suits of armour in our bedrooms, and switched them on.

It’s been so hot that I washed down our trailer trash garden furniture, dried it and arrayed brightly coloured tablecloths upon the tables to make pretty.

It’s been so hot that I swept the terrasse and hosed it down to prevent it from dehydrating.

It’s been so hot that our universally retired neighbours are scaring us by wearing their vests and skimpiest bathing costumes in their gardens.

It’s been so hot that apart from the sound of happy neighbours chatting in their gardens, all I can hear is the shush-shush of hoses as they water their well-manicured lawns and flowerbeds.

It’s been so hot I can hear our own lawn growing, along with its very good friends, the weeds.

It’s been so hot that lemon beer has been the only thing to drink.

It’s been so hot that salads have been the only thing to eat. And ice-cream.

It’s been so hot that Burg has a party atmosphere. People are jollier than the Professor of Jolly at Oxford University.

It’s been so hot that I’ve seen loads of friends, eaten lovely food, paddled in a brook, watched my kids wave sticks at pinatas, lounged on a rug under the shade of a large umbrella, enjoyed a braai at home, strolled into town and walked home with an armful of roses as a present for myself and a new vase to put them in. Best of all, on the way to and from the supermarket, I rolled down the window of my car and played Bob Marley and the Wailers loudly for the benefit of all humankind.

Every little thing IS going to be alright.


The Sun Is Wearing a Very Small Hat

The sun has come out. May I mention that again? The sun is shining, and is predicted to continue doing so for the whole weekend, which is a good thing, seeing we have to attend an (outdoor) summer party tomorrow and host an (outdoor) braai in our garden on Sunday. Sun is a Good Thing. Especially here in Germany, where it has been raining and grey and COLDER THAN WINTER IN SOUTH AFRICA for the last six weeks.

It has just dawned on me that the lack of sun for the last six weeks is the reason why I have been so out of sorts. I didn’t mention it here, for various reasons:

1) I’m not good at mentioning depression while I’m having it. Only after the fact.

2) While there are some things I can share with the whole damn world, I don’t always like to share that I’m stuck inside with three kids, rain outside, piles of washing to put away, too many DVDs being watched and me working my way through the children’s sweet tin. Only after the fact.

3) I like to present my happy, smiley face to the world. With a hat on.

I often don’t even know I’m out of sorts, until afterwards. Then I look back and realise why I started seven books and couldn’t finish them, forgot to put the bins out, ate too much chocolate, started a diet, became unable to blog anything other than memes, wasted time watching crap movies like Elizabethtown, neglected all household responsibilities, became very slow and began a list of reasons why I disliked myself.

I blame the weather. I was SAD of course. Very, very sad. And with the sun starting to shine, with wearing a skirt instead of jeans, with kids in T-shirts and sandals, with some promise of Vitamin D, I am feeling BETTER. I have sunglasses at the ready, I am eating salads, I may even be able to take my kids to a playground this afternoon.

I don’t have this problem; unlike many Germans I find pale interesting, but just a little bit of sun is going to do me a lot of good.

I may even become bouncy.



I Promised Not to Blog About the Laundry …

… so I’m letting Dave Walker do it for me:

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

We have a laundry mountain. It is oppressing us. It is threatening to take over the cellar. It is creeping up the stairs and hanging about in piles in bedrooms. It is draped over washing lines on the terrace. It is becoming omnipresent.

But we have a weapon in our arsenal! The weapon is called The Lovely I. The Lovely I is a sweet-faced lady who comes to tame our laundry into neat, ironed and folded piles. We have decided it is essential to bring her in tonight at all costs, before the laundry mountain suppresses the entire house, and calls in militias.

While she bravely fights the battle, with iron in one hand and TV remote control in the other, and an ear out for kid-like squeaks from the bedrooms, we’ll be toasting her from the nearby Portuguese restaurant.

The Generals have got to eat, you know.

Wishing y’all a Schoenes Wochenende from sunny Deutschland!