The very busy spider Deborah

Surely everyone who has had a baby in the last forty or so years knows about The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. But perhaps not so many people know about The Very Busy Spider. The spider has a very, very busy day building her web. Lots of animals invite her to play, but she is too busy to stop. And at night, she sleeps. Why? Because it has been a very, very busy day.

Today, I had a very, very busy day.

I woke late. 7.20am. Damn.

Made coffee, had a quick shower.

Let the cat in.

Made three school lunches – sandwiches (hummus for the younger Miss Seven, vegemite and cheese for the elder Miss Seven, hummus and cheese for Miss Ten), apple and mandarine (for the Misses Seven), apple and banana (for Miss Ten), choc chippies biccies (homemade of course!), muffins (also homemade), and ate some fruit toast in between. The strangelings get their own breakfast, ‘though they need a little supervision.

Let the cat out.

Supervised hair brushing, teeth brushing and the like.

Let the cat in.

Put some sheets on to wash.

Took the strangelings to school. Cat took the opportunity to go out.

Heard children’s reading, in the Miss Sevens’ classroom.

Returned home, hung sheets out, put more sheets on to wash.

Made another pot of coffee.

Let the cat in.

Marked essays.

Let the cat out.

Bribed myself to mark more essays with the reward of calling a friend.

Marked more essays.

Hang sheets out, put more on to wash, put the dishwasher on.

Called dear friend, who went to see her parents in a country town, but her car broke down (Saturday) creating problems with returning home on Monday. Friend is frustrated with home town mechanics, who seem very unsure about being able to fix the car. “Might be able to do it Monday, but maybe not ’til Tuesday.” Friend is very, very frustrated. I advise large glass of wine, in the local pub, before lunch, to shock the locals.

Let the cat in.

Marked more essays. Finished every essay on hand!

Went down to university to collect some more.

Stopped at the supermarket on the way home.

Got home and finally made myself some lunch (around 1.30pm).

Another very dear friend calls me. Spend an hour talking to her about the new man in her life. This is a very good thing; she has had a very rough decade or so, and it is wonderful to hear the happiness in her voice. Possibly TMI in some respects, but not really. It is so much fun to giggle and laugh and rejoice with her. Eat lunch in her ear. Let the cat in, and out, and in, and out, several times during the call.

Chop up some onions for red onion and capsicum jam (scroll down for the recipe), sprinkle with salt, cover with clingwrap, and leave for an hour or so. Let the cat out. Hang sheets out, put towels on to wash.

Check my RSS feed, make a few comments, answer some emails, let the cat in, realise that I forgot to get lightbulbs at the supermarket. Feck. Rush out to local hardware store to get lightbulbs on my way to get the strangelings from school.

Misses Seven come home with me, Miss Ten stays on for netball practice. Cat comes in.

Put fresh sheets on Miss Sevens’ beds. Find them some afternoon tea, start making teacake.

Let the cat out.

Around 4.30pm, start thinking that Miss Ten should be home soon, and just then, she comes in the door. She lets the cat in.

Put the towels in the dryer, put some more sheets on to wash.

Teacake into the oven, rinse the onions, start making red onion jam. Let the cat out.

Take teacake out, put red onion jam on to simmer. Ask the strangelings to let the cat in.

Bring wood in and light the fire. Finally give in to requests to let the strangelings watch TV. Let the cat out.

Start making costumes for the Miss Sevens’ play, and put preserving jars into oven to sterilise.

Get sheets out of the dryer, put more in. Cat comes in. Put the last set of sheets on to wash.

Leave costumes for a while, finish off red onion jam.

Let the cat out.

Bottle the red onion jam. Four little jars of it, plus a small pottle of leftovers in the fridge.


Ice the teacake.

Start making chilli sauce for tacos (for dinner).

Let the cat in.

Set sauce to simmer, finish costumes.

And here they are!


Very, very simple. Just fabric ponchos, with elastic at the necks, and wristbands to keep them in place, and trimmings on one. In a pretty conceit, the Miss Sevens’ drama teacher has cast them as the real nightingale and the mechanical nightingale in their end of term play of “The Emperor and the Nightingale.” They are monozygotic (one egg, or identical) twins. They are thrilled.

Let the cat out.

Finish making dinner and serve it. Mr Strange Land arrives home about 5 minutes later. Lets the cat in.


Cut up tea cake, and serve some for dessert.


Put the rest in a tin in the pantry.

Let the cat out.

Let the cat in.

Mr Strange Land cleans up the kitchen (our usual arrangement, but bless him, nevertheless). Shoo the strangelings though teeth etc, and off to bed to read for a few minutes.

Make up the guest bed.

Sing to the Misses Seven, check on Miss Ten (who is too old for a goodnight song, alas), turn lights out!

Check e-mail etc. Send a note to the strangelings’ drama teacher. Make a few comments on blogs here and there around about the place.

At last, get to do some singing practice. This is URGENT; I am singing a recitative and aria in my teacher’s mid year concert in about 10 days, and there is one phrase that is still troubling me badly.

Late night – put up this post.

And why the busy, busy day? My beloved parents arrive tomorrow, and how can one possibly make do without home made pickles, and cake?

Let the cat out.

I’m going to bed now.

It has been a very, very busy day.

This entry was posted in Life.

10 comments on “The very busy spider Deborah

  1. Unmana says:

    How did you manage to remember all the instances when you let the cat in or out? Were you taking notes? 😀

  2. Three things:

    1. Good on you for marking those essays. I have to be sellotaped to a table to make myself do it

    2. Would some sort of catflap make your life a bit easier?

    3. I thought only Irish people said ‘feck’

  3. rayinnz says:

    Shoot the cat (or use your favourite way of losing a cat)

    You will be amazed at how much more time you will have

  4. Mindy says:

    I second installing a cat flap. The other option is rather, um, alarming.

  5. Chally says:

    I am thoroughly charmed by your crafty skills. Reading about your day was a lovely start to mine.

  6. homepaddock says:

    You cook, you clean, you sew, you drive, you shop, you sing , you blog . . . you’re a mulit-talented mulit tasker and I’m in awe of all you do.

    And should we pause for thought because the only item on your long list of things accomplished that is regarded as “work”, would be the marking.

  7. M-H says:

    Get a cat flap! 🙂 And congratulations on surviving your busy day. I hope you can relax enough to enjoy your visitors.

  8. Paul says:

    Hmmm… Shooting the cat seems a little extreme but I’m sure a jugged hare or rabbit stew recipe could be adapted. Serve it to Mum and Dad. Solves a mulitude of problems.

  9. […] The very busy spider Deborah at In A Strange Land […]

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