I've been a bad blogger over the past week or so. Normally I have a stash of things ready to go, but between my mother being here, and my son having taken to waking up at extraordinarily early hours (six in the bloody morning!) I haven't even had time to read my favourite blogs.
Still, it's been nice to be off work and just getting stuff ready for Christmas. My mother and I have been to four out of the five Christmas markets in Münster. Today was the best as we popped in to the oldest and biggest one in the Rathaus courtyard (and beyond) and were able to relax, ramble, purchase some last minute items and have some currywurst and pommes with the rest of the rabble. Then I had to have a couple mugs of Gluhwein just so my mother and mother-in-law could get the nice red Muenster Glühwein mugs (my mother doesn't really drink, although I just sent her to bed with a hot whisky as she caught my cold). I know you can just buy the mugs empty, but where's the fun in that? As a result I only narrowly avoided buying a leather Australian-type hat that my mother thought really suited me, but I knew my wife would hate.
In terms of Christmas markets, yesterday was great. We popped over to Telgte, some 20 minutes (unless you take the shortest route though dirt tracks, thanks Tomtom) east of Münster, a place famous for it's Medieval festivals during the summer. This year was the first Medieval Christmas market, and boy was it fun. When we walked in I have to admit I thought of the John Boorman movie, Excalibur, and that scene where Parcival arrives at Camelot soon after it was built. Lots of stuff going on, Medieval music played on a stage somewhere, fires lit with benches crowded around them, people dressed up for the period with lots of furs and cosy looking cloaks. A paradise for Goths with all the leather goods and chainmail for sale, and just a wonderful relaxed atmosphere. I should have taken more photos, but it would have been hard to capture the smell of wood smoke and food. Oh, and it had the biggest ball pit I have ever seen made out of hay bales. It was like a swimming pool, and actually pretty deep. It screwed my back though. Not because I was playing in it (apart from maybe 30 seconds worth wwhere I had to dive in to save the boy), but because of the constant hauling my son out and throwing him back in amongst the thirty other insane children. My next physio appointment isn't till the 6th of January, so I have to rely on alcohol now to ease my suffering.
Speaking of which, I'm not sure what I'll be drinking on Christmas day. I hope to make it to the drink store tomorrow, otherwise I think I'll rely on my home brewed beer, and maybe a few doppelbocks. I did buy some fruit wine at the Medieval market though, in rather attractive earthenware bottles (1 litre, very authentic) which may come out at some stage.
So, what will you be supping with your Christmas dinner? Indeed, what will you be eating?
After agonising about what I should do, food-wise, I have settled on a traditional (in Irish terms at least) turkey with a cranberry and chestnut stuffing, and cider-glazed roast root vegetables as the main course. Oh, and my mother brought over the traditional spiced beef I asked for, so that'll be simmered in a dark beer soon. Mmm, love that cold, thinly sliced with fresh bread and globs of mustard.
For the homebrew geeks, my first all-grain is now at 1.010. I need to start thinking about making that barleywine soon