Well hello again! It seems I’ve taken a reluctant and unintentional blog break, and with no better reason for it than real life being all consuming, or to be more precise, real work. I know I mentioned in previous posts that work had gone a little bit bonkers and that’s probably the understatement of the year. It was bonkers at the end of September and for the past two months a perfect storm has been building and building; individually each knock would be manageable, taken together it’s pushed my team from ‘take a deep breath and just keep swimming’ to ‘I can’t remember the last time that my evening wasn’t flat out working from as soon as the children fall asleep to when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer’. It’s not been great, and something had to give. Well everything had to give; time with the family, cooking, doing my share around the house, and all the things that make me me, including writing and photography and just joining in and feeling part of the communities online. In the last month I’ve done a teeny tiny bit of knitting, and that’s about it; very little blogging or Instagram or anything and I’ve really missed it.
It’s going to get better (it has to get better) and hopefully soon, and then I can get back to being slightly more well rounded than I am at the moment. I managed to turn my laptop off at the end of the working day, and I haven’t opened it more than once since (it’s baby steps!). And on Thursday I had the loveliest treat/enforced happiness.
Sat at my desk at quarter to five on Thursday it took a little while for the sound to break through my concentration and underlying worry about making a train that was actually going to get me home early enough for John to head out to training while also being fully prepped for a meeting the next day. But then there it was again, persistent, and oddly familiar:
And as I turned a page of notes and refreshed the station departure board on my screen, I smiled to myself, and thought “so it’s not just my children that stand in the street and shout up then.”
But they did sound familiar, and in that moment a colleague said “that isn’t your kids is it Carie?”
So we all looked out of our windows, and as faces filled the sixth floor windows, three tiny people and their Daddy started waving madly up at us. In the spirit of ‘if Mohammed won’t put down her laptop and come to the mountain’, the mountain had come to take me out to the German Market for an evening and a bit of time together as a family that didn’t involve domesticity. There are many many reasons why I love that man, but his ability to rescue me from myself is right up there.
They all came upstairs while I finish getting ready, and did as well as six, three and two year olds can be expected to do in a gently silent office. I have a new picture for my board from Kitty, and several pens down the side of my desk and under the radiator, a very colourful to do list from Elma, and Pip’s occasional chirrups of “what doing Mama?” were I’m told, sweetly entertaining to my team (but then I am their boss…!)
And then we were off. The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is apparently the biggest German Market outside of Germany. It is vast, and this year is the 50th anniversary so it’s even more vast and staying for even longer. It fills the whole of New Street top to bottom, and up by the Floosie-no-longer-in-the-Jacuzzi-because-the-council-planted-up-the-fountain and around the corner. On a crisp winter night it is light and sparkle against the darkest of darkness and it is beautiful, and noisy, and warms your soul, even before you get to the mulled wine. The kids started dancing even before we turned the corner into Victoria Square, and then of course they saw the carousel.
It’s becoming a bit of a tradition with us now – all carousels spotted on family outings must be taken for a spin, so while Elma sailed along regally, Pip and John, Kitty and I pulled her sleigh from the three horses in front; Ellie, Penny and We-forgot-to-look.
I’d love to show you photos of the market but for once the camera staying in my bag; my brain was tired and I didn’t want to think about lighting, and persuading the children to stay still or anything more than just being with them – and eating an amazing pork schnitzel and a white chocolate marshmallow (yum). What I do have is a tiny snippet of video that John took, that captures a little of the fun of our evening.
a very precious evening in the crazy of this autumn.