Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Brief, Tragic Life of a Snowman

On Sunday Thieu and Mads went to the Platz out the front of our flat and built a snowman. The only carrots we had were some left-over roasted ones so the nose was on the droopy side. Mads was unwilling to sacrifice any of the sticks in her stick collection for the snowman's arms and suggested Thieu use leeks instead. Which he did. In the typical way of snowpeople-building Mads lost interest fairly quickly but Thieu became deeply involved. Emotionally involved. I started to worry. There are really only two main crimes around here - bike theft and snowman desctruction. With this in mind I took lots of photos of the one that Thieu and Mads' built. But after we returned inside Thieu kept checking out the window to see if the snowman was still there and growling menacingly below his breath whenever anyone got too close to it.

Of course, the inevitable occurred. In the afternoon Mads and I went ice skating and by the time we returned home all that was left of the snowman was two frozen leeks, laying on the ground. I've no idea what happened to the roast carrot.

We came inside and I decorated Mads' stick collection with baubles. I knew I'd find a use for it eventually.

Friday, December 17, 2010

That Time of Year

Last year it felt like one day I rounded a corner in Frankfurt and tripped over the Christmas market. I remember I was shocked. It seemed so early. I probably grumbled something along the lines of; 'I refuse to think about Christmas before my birthday,' which is the same thing I've been grumbling for some time now. But this year it was different. This year I was impatient for the market to appear. Perhaps it was because the market was so Glühwein-y good last year, despite the crowds, despite the high-tack factor. Or perhaps it was because I was happy for anything to come along that might stop me from thinking about my birthday. Which was rather a large one. I even decorated the Christmas tree two days before the Big Day because I was so keen to forget about the whole thing.

Then the Birthday came and I must admit I sulked for most of the day, especially as Thieu was away and I was feeling rather neglected. But then in the evening my upstairs neighbour came down with a cake she'd made and the downstairs neighbour came up with a present and so I stopped sulking and invited them in for a glass of sekt and suddenly things were much brighter.

Then Thieu came home with flowers and Mads gave me the very lovely Ü you can see in the picture above and I started to feel quite cheery because I have always wanted an Ü of my very own and now I have one. And I also received a camera which I used to photograph the Ü. And we went out for dinner across the road and I had goose which is the sort of thing people of my age probably shouldn't eat any more but I did it anyway and it was delicious. So it was all very fine in the end, you see?

And since then we have partaken of many seasonally-appropriate past times. There's been much arranging and re-arranging of the new "Activity Scene" (as the kid calls it) which was delivered by St Nicholaus on Dec 11. Generally Saint N fills children's shoes up with lollies on this day - or sticks if they're naughty - but I think he was a little confused by Mad's announcement the night before that she hoped he would bring her 'a really nice stick' for her stick collection and he therefore decided that an Activity Scene was the safest option.

What else? There's been much eating of snow. And also laying down in snow and moving arms and legs to make snow angels - something Mads learnt to do by watching Charlie and Lola. There's also been that fun parental past-time known as 'lugging around all the stuff that your kid peels off when she enters a train or shop'followed by that equally fun game; 'putting all the stuff back on when you leave the train or shop.' Yeah, we love those. And of course visiting of the Weihnacht Markts.
I've noticed a rather lovely symbiotic relationship between Glühwein stands and carousels. Where you find one you generally find the other not far away and it works beautifully for all concerned. Child goes around and around on the carousel while the parents keep toastily warm drinking wine. Happiness for all.

Now, does the kid look sick in the photo above? Not really does she? But apparently she had scarlet fever. It took us another two days to find that out and even the doctor who administered the test seemed surprised when it came up positive. No one over here seemed fazed by it. Perhaps it's just another seasonal past time.

So that's the year I guess. This time next week we'll be in Amsterdam - or at least on our way. I wonder if they have Christmas markets there?