One of the many, varied perks of the parents being in town, is being able to leave the house without a child. It is a luxurious feeling indeed, to sit in a French cafe/boulangerie with a vat of coffee in front of me and not one little chubby hand in sight. The number of things I could do, uninterrupted, is intoxicating, the chances of me surfing aimlessly until playgroup pick-up high. But for now the coffee is hot, the music cinematically Frenchy and the quiet lovely, so I shall fill you in on what we have been upto.
May brought the warmth with it, finally, ending a long, slow crawl towards tee-shirt weather. Even though my parents find the evenings too chilly and my Mum takes her windcheater everywhere with her, while the Germans – and I – wear short pants and sleeves. The roses are out, the beaches are full, life has, as it always does this time of year, migrated outside.
Now that we have moved out of the city, and into a more rural setting I see more thatched roofs than I do glimpses of the fjord, more blindingly yellow Rapsfelder than stately Altbau apartment buildings. The kids are outside all day everyday, their hair whitening in the late-spring sun. Whereas my parents’ previous visits have been punctuated by walks to the water, or drinks at the schickimicki Seebar, this time round we are seeing more of the north German countryside, in all of its green, ever so gently rolling glory. We have taken a couple of drives, and go for daily walks around our new village, seeking inspiration for the garden. Everything is in full, heavy bloom – the bees are pollen-drunk and the garden centre we braved on the long weekend was teeming with people desperate to plant their annuals and get maximum blossom enjoyment during the warmer weather.
We took Mum and Dad to the Freilichtmuseum and almost had the 40 hectares to ourselves. Die Lüdde picked tiny daises to try and feed the goats, rode the carousel, and we all hopped a ride on the train. Last time we were there, it was for the splendid Herbstmarkt and everything was red and golden and cosy, the air smoky and cool. This time it was warm and cloudless, the sky blue and sunny. One could even say the sky was a cornflower blue, and as naff as that sounds, it is somewhat fitting given Germany’s national flower is a cornflower. Did you know that?
We went back to our favourite animal park, the wonderful Arche Warder. Der Lüdde reminded me how new everything is to his one-year-old eyes, and how much more he is taking in as the days swish past in the blink of an eye. I forget sometimes, to be honest, how quickly the world is opening up to him, concentrating more ofteen on the experience of the older, verbal child.
We’re in for rainy weather which will probably last all the way until the end of Kieler Woche. But that’s okay; it’ll be good for the garden.