Friday, 15 February 2008

You mean posts are meant to have a point to them?

Look what I saw on my way home today - an Ampelmann car!The Ampelmann, in case you haven't come across him, was the traffic light man of the GDR and is today a cult icon and general pinup for Ostalgie. There are entire shops (well, OK, only a couple, but he's got concessions in department stores too!) given over to selling everything from Ampelmann ice cube trays to stem vases, gummi sweets and flip flops. You can even, should you so wish (and who wouldn't?), buy an Ampelmann flag for your tricycle. (This sort of reminds me of a comedian I once saw going through the merchandise sold by the German political parties. You can get CSU bikinis! Do you think Angela Merkel wears them on holiday?)

Slightly more conventionally, you can still find the Ampelmann on traffic lights in East Berlin, and he's begun making inroads into the West too. As you can see, the staid West German guy just can't compete with the jaunty slant of the Ampelmännchen's hat.

And if you patiently stuck with this in the forlorn hope that there might be knitting news burried somewhere at the end - um, sorry! But tomorrow's the start of a two-and-a-bit week holiday, and I'm determined to have something to show for it by time time I get back...

Monday, 11 February 2008

In which I try to brazen out the fact that I haven't so much as touched a knitting needle in three weeks

Back in the good old days when Mike and I actually lived in the same country (it's the little things that make all the difference to a relationship, don't you think?) we used to take it in turns to cook each other three course meals. Admittedly we had slightly different approaches (I believe in things like recipes and scales; he believes in things like Google and the remoter reaches of his imagination), but there's nothing quite like dispatching your other half to the sitting room with a glass of wine and orders to stay put while you set about dirtying every utensil you own, pausing only to call out things like "erm, you like carbon, right?".

Anyway, with a two-week trip to visit him just a few days away I've been obsessively diligently ploughing through recipes trying to put together the perfect menu, which has been a bit more of a challenge than usual because we'll only have a two-ring hob (electric at that - can you hear the violins?). No oven, no grill, and no separate eating area conveniently out of sight of the culinary devastation I generally leave in my wake. I think, though, that I might have managed it! Stay tuned to see if this confidence is justified, or, if you're anywhere near as impatient as me, snaffle a sneak preview.