Saturday, 31 October 2009

Seasonal photos

leaf collageYesterday we collected leaves in the park and April made a couple of collages with them. Here's one. Needless to say, we are still wiping glitter off our faces.

pumpkinThis week Simon, April and me made a pumpkin head. Simon did the design (of course); April helped by removing individual seeds as Simon scooped them out; and I was face carver. It was the first time Simon had seen inside a pumpkin. He admitted to being surprised that it wasn't a solid mass, but a cavity full of seeds and a bit of flesh.

Here the Devil contemplates the enormous Halloween 'To do' list.April dressed as the devil

Friday, 30 October 2009

A world in a grain of sand

This morning was good.

Well, it started a bit sooner than I'd like, with Little Man crying 'Mmm, Mum, Mhm' at 6:15. Ouch. However, as we were all up and dressed so early I decided to make the most of the time and took the kids to the park.

The playgrounds here are built on sand, which means that if you go equipped with a bucket and spade it's possible to build sandcastles, which is just what we did. We dug some lovely holes and built some interesting structures which we decorated with autumn leaves. When we dug one hole we found a tiny green bucket that someone must have left behind - some exciting treasure for April!

The park was particularly beautiful today because it was completely covered in a carpet of leaves. The sun was low and shining and it caused the dew-spotted leaves to sparkle. There were so many leaves falling down that it looked like the sky was snowing gold.

In the trees there were rose-ringed parakeets (they can be found living wild all over the city) and on the ground we saw two foraging jays.

April also said she saw some worms. She was very pleased with this nature 'spot'.

One of few pieces of poetry I can quote is the opening stanza of William Blake's 'Auguries of Innocence':

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Full version here...

I like to think we followed Blake's advice today, by drinking in all the small details around us.

Monday, 26 October 2009

We came, we saw and we had pizza

Simon's younger brother came to visit this weekend. We thought we should show him something of the city so we took him to the Romano-German museum in the centre of town. I hadn't been there for over two years so it was lovely to have an excuse to go again.

Roman Museum collageThis collage shows some of the interesting exhibits we saw: including a fabulous Dionysian floor mosaic from around 200 AD (top right); the reconstructed tomb of legionary infantryman Poblicius (bottom left); and some fantastic glass animals (bottom right).

If you ever find yourself in Cologne I really do recommend taking in this museum, as it is packed full of fabulous artefacts.

Afterwards we continued the vaguely Italian theme by stopping off for a pizza. Though whether the ancient Romans would have understood the concept of a 'Hawaiian' is anyone's guess.

Read about my previous visit...

Find out more about the museum...

Friday, 23 October 2009

Birthday monkey fun

Well yesterday was my birthday ('Geburtstag') and so I moved another year closer to 'The big ticket birthday'. The main thing is that I am not there YET.
squirrel monkey
I decided that the best way to cling to my youth was to act like a kid - so I spent my birthday with Simon and the children at a monkey park an hour's drive from here. We saw monkeys, reptiles, exotic birds and meerkats. (The photo is of a squirrel monkey. I only had my camera phone to hand, so it's not the best quality.) The park was laid out over a huge area of German forest, amongst steep hills of firs, giving it quite an Alpine feel.

There were also lots of un-manned rides at the park and these provided many opportunities for cheeky monkey fun - Heath-Robinson contraptions such as a small carousel powered by one person on a bicycle; or a cable car operated at your own risk by the insertion of 50 cents; and a circular multiperson bicycle that just went round and round and round about its centre point.

More about the monkey park...