Winterspeck December 22, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Darlings, the sky over Berlin has decided to give up on keeping up even the meagrest of appearances. The sun thinks, unlike the diligent lamp-lighter in the Little Prince, that it is not worth its while shining weakly for half an hour or so a day and has put its feet up and decided to tend to Berlin later. The shortest day is, of course, just behind us – summer starts today! – but the shortness this year appears to have borrowed an extra layer of grey. It is now gone 8, so should, I think, by rights, be daylight and, while you wouldn’t think it was night if you bothered your arse, needlessly, to look out the window – I’m only bothering to open the curtains so I’m not the subject of neighbourhood tuts – the sky hasn’t got that much of a daytime quality about it either.
So I plan to eat and drink the darkness away. Plus everyone’s favourite day of the year is just around the corner so eating and drinking are majorly par for the course. And we have guests coming this year – they know this blog exists, so I can’t be too revealing – but we are a drop worried about what we’re going to give them to eat. Mind you, they’re both from the English-speaking world so hopefully don’t know anything about food. Still, I slightly can’t get beyond thinking a bowl of cornflakes for the starter and then two bowls of cornflakes for main course. Perhaps with a bowl of cornflakes with sugar for pudding.
Plus there is a no-sweet-things policy in this house…
We’ll relax it for guests. But, gosh, terrifying letting people into your home, isn’t it? Giving them first-hand experience of your domestic folie à deux. The Russian and I are going to have to hide so much evidence of bits of our existence over the days to come. Like we did when his brother came to visit before he knew my darling was a trouser-bandit and I was his
bellebeau and then he walked into the kitchen when the Russian gave me the only spontaneous peck on the cheek he’d ever given me. And then the Russian accidentally pinched his bum. I think as long as I can remember to take my discarded clothes off the Christmas table, we’ll pass muster…
I think it may have been a one-man executive decision – the no-sweet-things policy – but the Russian mostly goes along with it and makes sure that any gorging on Snickers is done outside the home. I do occasionally remember that policy needs to be enforced so, in moments of political zeal, I carry out spot checks and make sure no sweet things have been smuggled into the house. Yes, sorry, I’m afraid you do have to remove your shoes and belt, sir. All in the name of girth-control, of course. Which hasn’t factored in that the consumption of 18 billion savoury/liquid calories a day are also a significant contributory factor to size.
But it’s the season to be jolly. To let your hair down. Bend the rules. Yet I am busier with work than I have ever ever ever been in my long-legged life so have had almost no opportunity to make the most of the atmosphere of almost unbridled joy that Berlin’s ever-smiling, ever-polite citizenry never need an excuse to create. I did manage to have one or two light ales in honour of this chap’s birthday the other day – there was a sweet angel at the occasion that I chatted to. When I realised I was being exposed to a new species of human, I asked him his age. And he said 24. Which I think was the sweetest thing I’d ever heard. I didn’t even know 24-year-olds still existed! I gave him a brief lecture: don’t take drugs, put a little money aside every month, what do you mean, you’re a musician? Get a job! And a hair-cut! Help little old ladies across the road, an apple a day…, wash behind your ears, wait till you get married, tolerate benignly but laugh and point fingers the second they leave your field of vision at those dim enough to think differently from you, look both ways, careless talks costs lives, honey’s very good for you. And then I gave him the five-euro note I’d been planning to use as a hankie to buy an ice-cream. Mind you, that’s 700 quid now, isn’t it? – but otherwise it’s been work, work, work and almost no play at all.
So the Russian had smuggled in Nutella. I’m a late adopter because of growing up in such non-privilege. Can you believe I didn’t get to go skiing in Switzerland for the first time till I was 15? Fif-fucking-teen! If that’s not child abuse, I don’t know what is. But a school French exchange when I was 17 introduced me to Nutella. And oysters, and rabbit, actually, but Nutella’s resonated with me more ever since. But, obviously, one can’t just pander to one’s desire for Nutella! Like other almost unimaginably extravagant luxuries, I thought it was to be savoured strictly away from home only. Perhaps in a little hotel somewhere. Or as the house-guest of an obscenely rich friend who just has Nutella cavalierly lying around cupboards! So I needed an excuse, to assuage my guilt and justify the consumption, to open the jar, excavate huge, great, stonking mechanical-digger-loads of the stuff and polish it off before looking down at my rotund frame and regretting it with due speed. “I’ll only allow myself a spoonful with a cup of tea,” I settled on as a routine and had hardly got to my second cup before it was all too late anyway and the Russian had cleaned the thing out better than brigands raiding a jewellery shop.
Anyway, it’s led to a quest for ever better, ever more luxurious, December-only sweet items. And we’ve discovered this. If it’s only available in Germany, and you’re mad enough not to live here, drop what you’re doing and hijack the first conveyance that will get you here. Chocolate and mint but – imagine! – even better than After Eights.
I think we’re all allowed a little indulgence till the sun comes back, don’t you?