Month: February 2013

The weekend before…

It’s the 24th of Feb., and the weather forecast to the end of the month looks relatively mild. Mild of course means in the high minuses (or low minuses? I’m not sure how counting negatives really works)… and seems at this time of year to come with the disgustingness of Sleet- the worst infliction of the heavens’ upon the people.

Snow is cold, sure, but most of the stuff this winter has been fluffy and delicate, and dancey (I think I’ve already abused Tchaikovsky enough previously in creating this image.. so if you’re not getting the image you must go and scold your parents for raising you in a deprived environment featuring an absence of ‘Fantasia’.. and then go and watch Fantasia… obviously).

Sleet is more of a ‘going straight for the eyes with tiny pinpricks of frozen pain’ type of monster.

Nonetheless, what with Nature’s current plan of things, I don’t think I’m being overly foolish or chicken-counting in asserting that:
                                   Andy and Tegan have Survived the German Winter!

Which of course has only been possible through the Learning of Many (small and large) Lessons, including:

1) Don’t wear earrings when it’s minus 10, the metal conducts all the heat from delicate earlobes
2) Australian shoes are made for gripping sand and dust, but are not match for ice, salt and cobblestones.
3) Ich bin Heiss actually translates as ‘I am horny’. It’s probably more appropriate to tell the old women on the overheated bus that you’re slightly warm (I think- Mir ist heiss: which is more ‘it feels warm to me‘.. I guess that makes sense).

and so on.

I will also comment that the cold weather has made it possible to appreciate the German diet- Andy is incapable of exiting the apartment on any day without at least one sausage under his belt, or, alternatively, the promise of Ditsch (super-oily german pizza fast-food chain) in the very near future.

Nothing like a tummy filled with fat and carbs for braving a -11 day!

On that -11 day, when we were back in Golm- Tegan came upon a frozen puddle, and got very excited by it. Andy stood back while she spent several minutes trying to crack the ice by the very-safe ‘jumping method’.

If only I’d know what was just around the corner:

Frozen lake!!!!

Andy would not let me jump on this one. I did do a heel strike, but it made an ominous cracking sound, and although I think it was too far frozen to give at all, I quickly stopped trying to test it…really very unscientific of me.

You can see the frozen plants under the water… poor plants!, and this tree was actually half frozen into the lake

Winter is somewhat sepia-toned…

We had a bit of a walk into Golm village, the duration of which seemed infinitely longer than the time taken for -11 cold to conduct through the Aussie-winter soles of my boots and turn all my toes to ice.

But it was very picturesque.

I’m not sure if you can see easily from this picture, but the bush to the left is absolutely FILLED with hundreds of tiny birds that seem to be omnipresent here. You can see at least 10 of them sitting on the top, but the hedge is somewhat hollow, and there must have been at least 40 or 50 constantly flitting and chirping.. very sweet.

Lichen wins at winter:

How the birds keep warm:

I’m actually not super sure what’s going on here, maybe it’s man-made to block the cold coming in from the chimney because they now have Centralheating?

And a church.

I will admit now, that -11 was the coldest we got this year, and I think it’s actually been a pretty mild winter- with all the colder stretches punctuated with warmer, snow-melting days.

It’s really amazing how quickly the days are lengthening (from sunset before 4pm a couple of months ago, we’ve already progressed to sunset just before 6pm: bring on the creepy super-long northern hemisphere days) and it feels now that if we just wait out the sleet, that The Time Will Soon Come when the daffodils and tulips and cherry blossoms can bloom not only in the heated protection of our apartment, but actually in the Outside World!

If we were Real Men, next winter we’d take on Russia.
Probably feeling pretty ok with current level of manliness though…

Pictures of Domesticity *

Complete with Andy modelling…

(*warning: rather dry post for those not caring about the intimacies of our living space)

Welcome to the visual tour of our new Wohnung:
You come into the apartment, to the Flur… you can see in this photo the front door handle sticking out to the very right hand side. The current view is through to the kitchen, with the photographer’s back to the bathroom.

I’m kinda in love with that little chest of drawers, which we also got from the Spanish people. The shoe rack and big corner plant are from the Kaufland, and the shelfy thing that the plant is sitting on, and the baskety things that the ivy is in we found on the side of the road.
Germans seem to really embrace this ‘trash is treasure’ concept: unwanted items are put outside for others to pick up.
Last night I saw one of those portable clothes racks and the night before a pair or rollerskates!
Going into the kitchen:
(here you can see the edges of the door again to the right of the picture, going into the Flur).

I think we still need a microwave. Note the three bins: one for Restmull, one for plastic and one for paper. We are such good little Germans!
Also, my basil is dying again. I think maybe this time it had too much water? Possibly the worst plant scientist ever.
The photographer’s back is currently facing the Wohnzimmer, so let’s do a 180 turn (and stand on a chair):
Note that the art installation has now moved. Also the bucket is full of curtains that we haven’t worked out how to put up yet. 
Sofa bed- Ikea, little pink foot-rest- side of road, everything else-Spanish people.
Here’s the other side, with the table and Andy’s reading chair (both Ikea). The viewpoint for the previous photo standing on top of that chair to the far right. Clearly this photo was taken a couple of days ago when our apartment was cleaner. 
Shall we go for a close up of all that domestic bliss?
I’m kinda getting hooked on buying flowers here. 
There are so many flower shops EVERYWHERE- there are three places to buy flowers (two shops and the supermarket) just in the main station alone… and everything is super cheap.
The stuff in the foreground is cherry blossom, that you buy as as ‘bare’ sticks with only tiny buds, and which gradually bloom over the week.
We also bought this really cool little amaryllis bulb (for 1 euro I think) a couple of weeks back, which shot up to about 50 cm tall and then burst into these wonderful red flowers… and then almost immediately realised that it could not sustain such beauty and committed suicide in the middle of the night:
Silly thing grew too big to hold up its own weight.
Anyway, seeing as we’re in the bedroom now:

This is the view from the door. Andy insisted on having a second bookcase, despite us only owning about 8 books.

We are very german, and have to single matresses in a 200 cm by 180 cm frame. Oh so Practisch. Mostly because the supercheap bedframe only came in 140 cm or 180 and not 160- and it is nigh on impossible to buy 180 cm.

But it does mean I can have a firmer bed than Andy, and there is less night-time inadvertent face-punching.

Cupboard from Spanish people (ultimately Ikea-ean), bedside table from Ikea, little wooden cupboard from side of road.
And then if you go back out of the bedroom door into the Wohnzimmer, and take a right turn, you’re back in the Flur, to the right of which is:
I’m pretty excited about that ivy, and I love that we have a washing machine (also via Spanish people). However, the bath/shower situation is by far my least favourite thing about our apartment. The shower does not have a rest at head height, so if you want to actually shower,  you have to hold the hose and do the hair scrubbing/facewashing/etc. with one hand. Apparently the last people were ‘bathers’.  I’ve currently got a wire rigged to suction hooks that you can attach the shower too, and it’s, for me at least, better than the one-handed thing, but it’s still not ideal, and tends to mean that you have to stand really close to wall to be under the stream (and of course the bath is sloped at the edges). Not sure what we’ll do about that….
Anyway, apart from that we love pretty much everything about the place- including the quietness of the neighbourhood and proximity to the hbf etc. 
I didn’t show you the Balkon, which comes out from the two big windows in the Wohnzimmer… but it’ll happen in time… we’re currently toying with the idea of getting a little BBQ for summertimeparties!
And now, a plant: