Archive for October, 2011

Reformation Day

Like almost every other blogger, today I’m writing about a holiday. But it’s not Halloween. Today is Reformation Day in five German states, including mine. According to his friend Philipp Melanchthon, October 31st 1517 was the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg, not far from where I live. Reformation Day was first brought to my attention when I noticed these strange and beautiful new cakes in the window of every bakery. Apparently the four little diamonds represent the bishop’s hat. Are they a cousin of the Hot Cross Bun?

Luther didn’t intend his handyman job to directly challenge the Pope’s authority. At that early stage he was mainly interested in debate and the church door was something of a 16th century blog space. His actions would change the course of history. But waiting in a queue that lead out the bakery door today, I wondered how many of my fellow queuers had considered the message contained in his ninety-five blog posts. As one reads through them it’s hard to miss the wrenching desire for truth to triumph over power. Luther had been reading his bible, he knew where God’s forgiveness could alone be found. Not in the Pope’s pardon, bought for money which went to Rome, but only in the cross of Jesus Christ. Five hundred years later it’s no less true for us.

Three and counting…

One of the great joys of knitting (of which there are many) is knitting for babies, your own babies most of all. As Rose was born in the height of Australia’s summer, I’ve never before had the pleasure of knitting tiny newborn things that would really fulfill what is the true purpose of hand knits; to be very, very warm. Before Theodore had made his grand entrance (ahem), I’d knitted him three sweaters. The first was tiny neutral coloured version of the Newborn Top-Down Baby Cardigan by Nancy Pietraszek.

The second was a Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater by Carole Barenys, knitted in Rowan’s Wool Cotton in a colourway called French Navy.

 The third was a modified version of the Kumfy Schluettli by Meg Layaw. Sadly, he’s now fitting snugly into this, the largest of the three.

Knitting for Theodore has been a special process for me. With mixed feelings about the expectation of a new little one to care for, knitting helped me gradually gain confidence that I’d be able to bond with him and meet his needs. As every knitter knows, knitting is therapy of a most efficacious kind. Just in case you were beginning to experience sibling rivalry on Rose’s behalf, have no fear. This cardigan accompanied us in pieces to England and was intended to be a gift on the occasion of acquiring a brother.

His early arrival thwarted this plan and the cardigan became instead a labour of therapy in his very early weeks. Now that winter is threatening to foreclose, my knitting efforts have reached that frantic level that October demands.

Knit on.

Punkim Scones

Of all the things I’ll miss one day when I look back, autumn is high on the list. And it’s not just the leaves. Harvest festival, harvest service, pumpkins sitting with stately repose in every window display. You’ll imagine my delight when a few pumpkins of the homegrown variety made their way into my grateful hands. One from Chris’ grandma (along with potatoes and pears from her garden), two from Ivonne’s parents (fresh walnuts as well) and the giant quarter of pumpkin I bid for at our harvest service auction. I’ve made buckets of soup. But there comes a time when a new pumpkin idea is necessary…

The last pumpkin scones I ate were made by Tony. Following the directions for “one cup of mashed pumpkin” he proceeded to whiz a cup of raw pumpkin in the food processor and add it to his scones. True story. Pumpkin scones enjoy a special place on Australia’s culinary map. They’re one of the foods eaten by Hush and Grandma Poss in the quest to make Hush visible again (prize if you know which city). But their biggest claim to fame is as the signature dish of Florence Bijelke-Peterson, that strange personality of Queensland politics in the 70s and 80s. If you’d like the original recipe, Lady Flo did actually publish a cookbook. I’m told her secret is to cook the pumpkin and leave it in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have a scone cutter on hand, a wine glass works 🙂

Our summer in England

This year, Tony gave me a present on his birthday. I came home to find a card in the doorway (painted by Rose) with four cans of compressed gas. The rest of the gift was laid out on the living room floor: two inflatable bed rolls, two sleeping bags (the kind that zip together), a small gas cooker and a tent. He had a plan. The plan was for “a grand camping trip through England”.

I’m sure many people thought us foolish for spending our precious summer holiday on a camping trip to England. Actually, I know some of you did. You told me. Despite the inhibiting factors kindly pointed out to us (advanced pregnancy, unreliable weather, unreliable car, etc) we embarked on our big adventure. A last hurrah as a family of three.

High and low points:

Ferry trip from Dunquirk to Dover. White cliffs, as promised.

Staying with delightful Jim and Libby West, our new friends in Essex.

Seeing Jamie Oliver’s father Trevor at the Cricketer’s in Essex

A day in London

Singing “Portobello Road” on Portobello Road and “Feed the Birds” on the steps of St Paul’s

Spending the second night of our camping adventure in Gloucester hospital with severe vomiting

Free health care with my German health insurance. Love the European Union.

Being advised by the hospital doctor not to continue with the camping adventure

Deciding to salvage the holiday with last minute guesthouse accommodation

“Full English” breakfasts in guesthouses

The beautiful Cornish seaside

Driving onto the narrowest, steepest pedestrian street in Cornwall with swarms of tourists glaring

Finding that, despite all appearances to the contrary, it was possible to drive out the other side

Bath (so far my all time favourite city)

Cambridge (so far Tony’s all time favourite city)

A Jane Austen pilgrimage to Lyme Regis

Being in so much pre-labour pain that I couldn’t reach the Cobb to see Louisa Musgrove’s steps

Spending the warmest, driest day of our trip on the side of the road waiting for a tow-truck

Learning our car was not broken down

Driving safely home through five countries

Being home just in time to go into labour

Thanks must go to my darling husband. It was his idea, his generosity and his exertion which made such a holiday possible. Always my companion in adventures big and small.

xxx


About Me

A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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