The West Enders, Episode Twelve: March Weekend

sg208566Valentine’s Day is past and the milder weather of March sets in. A new coffee shop opens in town, managed by Zayn, who is a very ambitious young man. It’s an immediate hit and on a busy Saturday morning, there can be quite the queue.

sg208568Charlotte, Monique, and Mira meet up for a post-yoga class coffee. Monique fills her friends in on her Valentine’s Day ball date with Sutton.

“I was so angry at Emma,” she says. “I can’t believe how blatantly she set me up and made it impossible for Sutton to do anything except invite me. Does she think I am incapable of finding my own date? Does she think that I even want to go to a ball? Does she think about me at all? I love Emma, but she gets so fixated on things in her own head that she never even bothers to ask anybody if they want their lives to be micro-managed.”

“I don’t blame you for being upset,” says Mira. “But at least the ball was fun and the music was great. Kurhn did a great job – she has a beautiful voice.”

“I suppose,” says Monique.

“Did you like Sutton at all? Did you have a good time with him at least?” asks Charlotte.

“He’s okay,” Monique admits grudgingly. “But he’s not my type. He’s one of those guys who lives, breathes, and eats sport all day long. And he’s not very intellectually inclined. I doubt he’s read a book since uni.”

Poor Merida! If only she knew how little Monique cared about her date with Sutton, she might not have behaved so badly. She’s still very depressed and has decided to see Midge professionally. She’s not sure if she needs counselling or coaching or a combination of the two but Midge is qualified in both so she decides to make an appointment.


Midge tries to help her to focus on what she wants out of life now that she’s not modelling any more. Merida is so fixated on finding love that it’s a difficult task at at the moment.


In the kitchen, the young women are having a girly chat with Jazmin, the newest member of the house. The tweens especially are fascinated with her and she, Yuki, and Momoko are becoming fast friends since they are all students at the same university.

sg208596Kurhn is continuing her voice lessons with Nicole.

sg208598Luna and the Dolls are rehearsing in the yoga studio after the morning yoga class finishes.

sg208565There’s a new musical group rehearsing as well, but in the student union at the university where the ball was held. It’s the only space with a grand piano, which is Sandra’s instrument. Barbie’s younger sister is a singer as well and has been touring for some time. She’s come to town with her group, Ladies in Black, and Barbie and Sandra join them for an impromptu songfest.


Barbie tries not to be jealous of Amy, who is younger and very beautiful. At the same time, Amy tries not to be jealous of Barbie, so wealthy, so successful. There’s more than a little sibling rivalry between the sisters.

img_2706Kevin is home on Saturday afternoon and  has agreed to watch the two youngest children while Steffi takes Evi out to play in the garden. The other children are there and Steffi enjoys the company and the gossip. There’s a football match on but Kevin thinks that Blessing and Yvette can handle the crowd at the George without him. He’ll come in for the evening shift.


Bonnie has agreed to meet Nick for a drink. Neither realised that there was a match on and that the George will be heaving. Nick is close to finishing up his PhD and has applied for a lectureship at the university where Bonnie is a senior lecturer. Bonnie is happy to help Nick with his application and gives him advice on the best way to write up his application materials. Nick is feeling as if he is under a lot of stress. He really wants this job and he’s doing everything he can to finish his thesis. The problem, he realises, is Yuki.

Nick is starting to question everything about his relationship with her. He’s really fond of her, she’s charming, fun, sweet and young. So young. Very young. He’s completely baffled by her new friendship with Jazmin, whom he finds positively infantile. Yuki is happy to let him get on with writing except when she wants sex. She wants a lot of sex. All the time. Nick is starting to feel very stressed about that, almost as if the core of their relationship is built on sex. Well, he thinks, it is. It has been from the beginning.

He looks at Bonnie, sitting across from him. So mature, so adult, cheerful and pleasant, intelligent, a scientist, so interested in her field and so unaffected. No focus on fashion, just down to earth, jeans and a red checked shirt. Like him! He’s wearing a red checked shirt too. sg208576

There’s just one problem. She’s tall. Very tall. And he is not. All the Panenka sisters are tall. Tall and blonde like a pack of giantesses or Valkyries.

Suddenly his reverie is stopped cold. Bonnie has just said something very alarming.

“What did you say?” he asks.

“Yuki. Your relationship. I’m sure it can’t be a problem, it started when you were both students. She’s not in our department or even our Faculty, so I’m sure it won’t matter but the university takes a very dim view of academic staff having affairs or romantic relationships with undergraduates – or even post graduates. I’d just keep it discrete if you are hired so it never becomes something you have to explain.”

Nick is gobsmacked and can’t think at all. Then he sees a woman standing at the door, waving at someone in the crowd. She’s stunning. Completely and absolutely stunning.


And she’s short.


Nick can’t stop staring at her.


And then she notices and looks back at him. Poor Nick is completely flustered and tries once again to focus on what Bonnie is saying. He finishes his pint as quickly as he can, thanks Bonnie and heads out.

Who is this beautiful woman? What’s Nick going to do about Yuki? Find out in the next episode!


The West Enders, Episode Eleven: Valentine’s Day Part Two, All the Single Ladies and a Seduction

sg208544In our last episode, we saw how some of the dolls enjoyed their Valentine’s Day Ball, but once again, we’re going to backtrack, this time for only a few hours, to Steffi and her young charges.

Steffi is trying hard not to feel sorry for herself. She loves children and tonight, while everyone enjoys their romantic activities, she’ll be home with her own four and five others. Kevin will be at the George, of course – no romance for Steffi! Viviane has made her a homemade Valentine and she’s really touched, but sometimes she just wishes she and her husband had some romance in their marriage. She tells herself, somewhat wistfully, this is how they make a living and she just has to accept it.


Downstairs, Corbin and Jazmin have their romantic dream of a night alone spoiled by Hari, Skipper, and Rikki, who have decided to spend the evening watching films on the computer. No matter how they try to persuade them to go to the cinema, it’s no use. Corbin resigns himself to watching flicks online with “the kids.” He certainly looks like he’s not bothered! Of course, he and Jazmin might have gone to the cinema instead, but as usual, neither has any money.

sg208528At the George, it’s “All the Single Ladies” night and drinks are half price for all unescorted women. Once the night gets underway, the single men who have also gathered have zeroed in on the single lady of their choice. Merida, alas, is not one of them and sits drinking glass after glass of wine while pouring her heart out to equally single Bonnie and Esmée.

“I thought I really had something going there with Sutton,” she sighs. Bonnie and Esmée can only exchange glances. “Ever since I left the modelling agency my life has gone downhill. I’ll never find love.”

“Maybe you should concentrate on your own life, instead of trying to find a man,” says Bonnie. “I would love to have a boyfriend, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of my existence.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” Merida retorts, “You and Esmée have exciting careers!”

“I wouldn’t call being a dentist exciting,” says Esmée, “But it’s lucrative, I’m independent, I’m providing a service to the community, and I don’t have to wait for a man to make my life complete.”

“Well, you must have had a man at some point, since you have a daughter,” responds Merida, all discretion and manners gone at this point.

“Yes,” says Esmée, “Layla had a father. And now she doesn’t.”

Bonnie gives Merida a hard stare as if to say, “Shut it, Merida.” Merida gets the hint.


Behind the trio, a little drama is happening quietly.

“Charlotte, please talk to me,” pleads Marcelo, in a rare loss of his usual total composure.”You are the only woman I can ever love. You know that. I know how much I hurt you. I’ve changed, I promise. Don’t keep putting me off. I love you.”

“Save it, Marcelo,” is Charlotte’s cold response. “I loved you more than life once and you cheated and cheated and I will never forgive you for breaking my heart, ever. It’s over.”

Neither notice that behind them, Yvette is listening, completely crushed. She’s been yearning for Marcelo’s attention since New Year’s Eve. “If perfect Charlotte is the kind of woman he goes for,” she thinks, “I have no hope.”


At the other end of the bar, Blessing is being chatted up none stop by Zayn. When she stops to serve someone, Zayn texts Corbin to tell him about the hot new barmaid at the George. When Corbin texts back to tell him it’s Emma’s cousin, he’s slightly taken aback at first, but then regains both ardour and charm and keeps on bending her ear. To be honest, she seems less than impressed.

But what about Momoko’s plan to seduce Ryan once and for all? How’s that going?


Momoko and Yuki have prepared a feast of Japanese food for Ryan and Nick, served with generous amounts of wine. Ryan and Yuki, have small glasses (Yuki has learned her lesson about alcohol!) while Nick pours himself a large glass. Momoko is feeling a bit nervous about the plan but decides the wine is delicious and drinks a glass, then another, and another. Ryan is a bit concerned and asks if she’s okay, but she giggles and brushes him off. “I’m fine,” she says. “But I have a little surprise for you upstairs. Wait five minutes then come up to the bedroom!”


Once upstairs in the bedroom, Momoko finds Yuki’s sexy nightgown laid out on the bed for her. It certainly should do the trick, she thinks, but why is she feeling so dizzy?


Whoa! Poor Momoko really doesn’t feel well.

sg208548She’s just a bit tired, that’s all. Maybe if she gets into the bed and waits for Ryan…sg208549Momoko gets into bed and promptly passes out.

sg208550Ryan waits and then goes eagerly upstairs to the bedroom, having guessed what Momoko is up to. Alas, ’tis not to be. He shakes her gently and calls her name, but all he gets in response is some incomprehensible mumbling in Japanese. He leaves Momoko to sleep it off and heads home. So much for that seduction!

Don’t miss the next episode as the dolls chat about their Valentine’s Day experiences and start on their next adventures.

The West Enders: Episode One

Today I am going to take the dolls in a new direction. I’ve been working on a doll house for some time now and it has taken shape in unexpected ways. The house consists of a kitchen, front room, master bedroom, nursery and bathroom on one side, and a walled garden, yoga studio, pub, and medical centre on the other. Building the pub reminded me of the British soap opera, the East Enders, centring on a pub, so I decided that my dolls should enact a soap opera as well, called “The West Enders,” particularly since the house is located on the western edge of the city in which I live. The pub is called the King George III, for the last king of both England and America, the two countries in which I have lived.

For this first episode, I am going to introduce some of the cast of characters.

sg208260 First up is the Panenka-Puppe family. Kevin Puppe was born in Germany but migrated to the UK while we were still part of the EU. (At the moment we still are, but have voted stupidly to leave.) Kevin is the part-owner and manager of the pub. His wife, Steffi Panenka is sitting in front of him holding their youngest child, Mitzi Panenka-Puppe. The Panenka family emigrated to the UK from the Czech Republic, now known as Czechia, many years ago when Steffi and her sisters were quite young. Steffi has five sisters, only two of whom feature in our story at the moment. To her right is her youngest sister, Skipper. Her daughter Evi stands in front of Skipper. Their oldest daughter, Gretchen, is at a friends’ house. On the far right is Dr Bonnie Panenka, palaeontologist and university lecturer, holding Uwe, Steffi and Kevin’s only son. The other three sisters are Ivana, Claire, and Katie Panenka, but I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing much of them soon.

Steffi and Kevin have had a difficult marriage. Before they began having children, they were both very active in sport but when the first two children arrived in short order, Steffi had to spend most of her time looking after them. Kevin lost his job, became very depressed, and when Steffi told him she was pregnant with their fourth child, he left her. He simply vanished, leaving Steffi in a terrible way. Because she had three small children and another on the way at that point, she decided to earn her living as a registered child minder. Kevin blamed Steffi’s sisters for the collapse of the marriage, claiming that they interfered constantly and encouraged Steffi to criticise him. The sisters don’t believe a word of that. They think that the responsibility of fatherhood was simply too much for Kevin. In the end, he came back after Mitzi was born, saying that he wanted a reconciliation because he missed his children. Steffi noted that he didn’t say he missed her, but she took him back anyway.

Kevin struggled to figure out how to make a living for months after his reconciliation with Steffi. Previously he had worked as a football (soccer for the Americans) coach for a school district. To his extreme annoyance, Bonnie Panenka, a keen footballer, has recently taken on coaching some of the children in the doll house as a volunteer. At last Barbie Roberts, a wealthy businesswoman, offered to be the silent partner in a pub, along with her fiancé, Ken Armstrong. Business in the King George III is now booming and Kevin is happy.

Poor Steffi, however, is not very happy. Kevin works long hours and is rarely home. Their marriage seems to lack any warmth, although both she and Kevin have tried to rekindle the excitement of their early years together. Steffi is lonely and without her sister Bonnie, feels as if she would not have any one else with whom she has any rapport.


Christmas is approaching and the Panenka sisters have organised a party for the children for whom Steffi cares. Layla Olivier (age 2), on the far right, is the only child who spends the day with Steffi; the rest only come after school until their parents come to get them after work. To the left of Layla is Lottie Lamb-Cuthbertson (age 8, attending Year 4), then Evi (age 3), and then Lottie’s little sister Alexandra (age 6, attending Year 2). To the left of Alexandra is Viviane Ekpo-Holmes (age 4, attending Reception). Behind Alexandra is Rikka-chan Kayama, nicknamed Rikki, a student from Japan who boards with the Panenka-Puppes and has become Skipper’s best friend. Rikki is 12 and Skipper is 11; both are in the first year of High School, Year Seven.

We’ll leave the West Enders for now and return soon for Episode 2, in which I’ll  introduce more of the characters.