Mothers’ Day was a bit of a damp squib this year so wanted to plan a nice Fathers’ Day to put the guilts on AO. He got a handful of cards that, a week on, are still lingering in the ‘transient’ pile of papers in the conservatory- perhaps testimony to their warm response. Any road, we soldiered on and decided to get a boat on the broads.
This sun was (intermittently) shining and the boys looked adorable in life jackets.
The water was quiet. We motored up and motored down and three hours had passed.
1) Total news blackout. Delete social media app. Delete News app.
2) Smell your children: snuffle them and nibble their necks and revel in their beauty. Ignore creeping sadness that they are growing in a darkening world.
3) Cook. Eat those feelings.
4) Listen to 90s’ rock. Remind yourself of feeling young and powerful and scornful of anyone older than you. Remember feeling sure you would make the world better and feel heartened that that’s exactly how school kids are feeling now.
5) Meet friends in a pub and avoid politics. Take a book to read while you wait to help filter pink-faced yobbing off.
6) Visit museums. Remember we’ve made mistakes in the past and come out right in the end.
Imagine like you’re 15 and get your dad(in law) to give you a lift to the airport.
Get a beer there. Immediately.
Arrive. Dump all baggage and stuff phone and hotel key in pocket and take a moment to celebrate not having to remember all the kids’ crud you’re usually having to lug about. Seek out beer.
Prop open eyes with matchsticks and eat through the exhaustion just so you can symbolically go to bed at PAST TEN O’CLOCK.
Wake up at PAST EIGHT O’CLOCK and panic that you’re not making enough of a day in the city without kids. All the museums! All the sites to see! Linger over hotel buffet breakfast though: it’s free and you’re not having to eat it while you decrust toast and pack a lunchbox.
Hire bikes. Berlin is whopping.
Hop on an all day tour. You can regress to a childlike state as you blindly follow an effervescent Ozzie. It’s like having a very informed au pair to tour you around the vast and fascinating city.
Befriend the only other Brits on the tour. You can spot them because they will be cycling at the back and hesitating at amber lights: “no, after you”
Go to East Berlin. Drink your way around the hipster bars- you’re young and cool! Get pissed. Miss last UBahn home. Panic. Remember you’re an adult and have a job and can afford a taxi.
Wake up late. Get the guilts about wasting valuable time. Go to Checkpoint Charlie museum.
Go for a swanky drink in swanky West Berlin and pee in a swanky loo where you can look at the animals in the zoo below. Revel in novelty of being watched by a monkey rather than a toddler.
Meet up with friends. Eat pork knuckle in Gendarmenmarkt. Have actual conversations with the person you married and remember they’re funny and interesting and quite fit.
Head on out to an Iron Maiden concert in an enormous outdoor amphitheater. Breathe in the sweat, beer and rock.
Take time to enjoy feeling young. And the fact that there’s no queue for the women’s toilets but the men’s snakes on for miles.
Hire bikes. Go for a keeeeebab in the Turkish quarter. So what if it’s only 3.20 on a now-sunny afternoon?
Soak up some more culture and cycle along the path of the old Berlin Wall the wends its way to Brandenberg gate.
Have a scoot about one of Berlin’s 2500 parks. (Credit: Ozzie tour guide)
Drop back bikes. Pick up bags. Get fourteen different buses and tube trains because you can’t afford a taxi because you’re not actually a full-fledged adult and want to save your euros to have a prosecco with your new friends at the airport.
Realise that your children haven’t missed you at all.