Saturday, 28 November 2009

To every thing there is a season...

Never has this been more obvious, nor indeed more regulated, than here in Germany. After a coaching this morning, I looked out of the window to the lowering grey sky, and remarked to my repétiteur how depressing the weather was, becoming distinctly colder and wetter every day. True, he replied; then a grin spread slowly over his face. But what a perfect time to drink Glühwein, he said.

Not at all coincidentally, the Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas market) opened here yesterday evening. A mug of Glühwein (hot spiced wine) is clutched in the hand of pretty much every adult visitor to the market. There is not a glass of Federweisser to be seen. I'm not complaining, mind; what could be nicer than sipping Glühwein and inevitably burning your mouth on roast chestnuts, at this time of year? However it's very noticeable that Things Are Done at the Proper Times, over here. The flower stalls in the market at the moment, for example, are overflowing with Advent decorations for the table consisting of evergreen wreaths planted with four sturdy candles, one to be lit each Sunday in Advent, and optional bits of kitch decoration covered in glitter. I have absolutely nothing against these; but a few weeks ago, the In Thing, decoration-wise, was an assortment of oddly-shaped and colourful squash - these are now NOWHERE to be found. The squash, in their turn, completely ousted the previously ubiquitous sunflowers. It reminds me of the sudden fall-off in attendance at the outdoor pool after summer. Evidently the Rules are out there somewhere, I have simply yet to find and translate them! (Incidentally, it feels rather daring to put a picture of my completely unseasonal squash on here - rather like crossing the road before the Green Man shows up. Having lived in anarchic London for so many years, the sight of young, not-entirely-sober people waiting patiently at pedestrian crossings at 2.30 a.m., with not a vehicle in sight, is strange in the extreme!)

Those who have an interest in the language-learning aspect might be interested to note that today I turned on the television whilst absorbed in something else, and only gradually noticed that I understood the gist of pretty much everything that was said without diving desperately for the dictionary. I have of course a long way to go, but four months after moving over here I have reached a basic level of competence that is somewhat reassuring. Absolutely bugger-all use in practice, of course, in a city where the accent is impenetrable, and in rehearsals where even I can recognise that the director has a terribly strong accent, but uplifting nonetheless!

No comments:

Post a Comment