The Sodden with the Gorgeous
Alright, alright, the leaves are turning. And yes, I got more than I could ever have hoped for with the warmest September in the history of Septembers, so I shall shut up. Onward we march, the scent of woodsmoke in the air, the crunch of leaves underfoot.
I said to SG the other day that, for the first time since moving to Germany, I feel completely and utterly prepared for the impending cold. (Although as soon as I said that, I realised I need a pair of gumboots, which I promptly ordered online. Sehr wichtig.) I have a waterproof(ish) Übergangsjacke (probably could do with a new, totally waterproof one, I suppose), a Winterjacke (which will do until I find a longer, warmer one, because I am sick of having a cold bottom) a lovely wool Mantel for dry but chilly days, a lighter Mantel for dry but slightly less chilly days, a blanket Schal, Schnürrstiefel, normal Stiefel, (but not, it has just occurred to me, real Winterstiefel which hitherto hasn’t been a problem because I avoid going out in the snow, but I foresee, unfortunately, having to spend time in the snow with the children this season. Hmmmm.) three million Mutzen and, also in my online shopping basket along with my gumboots, I placed faux sheepskin lined Hausschuhe (my very first pair of real, official house shoes.) With just a hint of smugness, I announced that for the first time in years, I truly feel like I have an appropriate outfit for almost every single weather occasion Schleswig-Holstein can dream up. When I lived in Sydney, I genuinely don’t think I owned a coat. And if I did, it was one my mother forced me to buy when I was 14. Now I have enough to categorise by weather type. I don’t know who I am anymore.
Excepting a brand new pair of Winterstiefel, which are on the top of my shopping list, die Lüdde is also prepared for the incoming cold and for her first, how can I say this, Real Winter. Real in the sense that she will be out there in it, come rain, hail or shine. And real in the sense that we don’t have any plans to skip 3-6 weeks of it, by fleeing to Asia or Australia. Scheisse. Last year, when days were particularly shitty, we just didn’t go out. But this year, she is bigger, less containable, completely awake to the lure of playgrounds and parks and puddles – especially puddles. This year, when it snows, she will want to be right out there in it (which is a shame … I suspect SG will be spending a lot of time rolling around in snow, while I sip hot chocolate and wave out the window). So this year, her Mum has to German up and get out there in the cold/wind/rain/snow. This year her Mum has to follow the ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes’ mantra, by which the Norddeutsche live their windy lives. This year, die Lüdde truly gets to appreciate the wonders of a full-on, all-in-one Schneeanzug and I, the wonders of wrestling the child in and out of it on a daily basis. I can’t wait.
Autumn, like Spring, makes no guarantees up here. Days can be blindingly gorgeous, with blue skies and golden light and chestnuts galore, and one tumbles down the street chicly dressed in non-waterpoof garb and lovely little boots, clutching a hot drink and thinking numerous romantic thoughts. Or days can be grindingly grey, sodden, filled with puddles and wet clothes and cold feet, and one races down the street wielding a pram covered in a plastic poncho and an umbrella that has become the wind’s plaything, wearing the non-chic, waterproof clothes and praying someone won’t stop you to point out your baby’s ears are exposed to the wind and they will surely freeze to death. I seem to find myself doing more of the latter than the former, but as a result one makes a point of really enjoying the lovely parts of Autumn; pumpkin soup and collecting chestnuts and realising every second tree is an apple tree and there are few lovelier sights than a tree covered in blushing apples.
And so you take the gorgeous with the sodden, amass a huge jacket wardrobe, and spend a lot of time wondering how soon is too soon to crack out the Glühwein. Answer; it is never too soon.