The issue has been sparked by Hamish who in earshot of his father clocked me huddled furtively in the corner, and asked innocently enough what I was buying off the internet, and could I get him something. This is the kind of thing that Stevie hates. His feeling is that if a 3 year old (nearly 4 year old actually) knows what you are doing on the internet then it's indicative of oft-seen behaviour by dear old me.
Curse those pesky kids! I'm having to become increasingly careful about all my regular little habits. The ones which seem to drive Stevie nuts in particular relate to (a) the internet CRIME: using from dawn till dusk (supposedly) and (b) photography CRIME: documenting every second of every day. One thing he can't complain about is that he buys me new lenses and then I don't use them; I'm pretty sure that would annoy him too. But while we were away on out regular little Legoland/Playmobil Funpark jaunt he became utterly riled by things like this:
I hear you. "What?" you're saying. The thing that he finds so awful is that the kids when they see things like Der Maus and Bernd Brot in the street they automatically run up and start posing in front of them, which in my mind only looks really embarrassing (for me) when I don't have my camera with me, and they still do it. It happens whenever they see anything which they consider a 'photo opportunity'. Giant strawberries, 4 foot high polar bears holding ice creams, bronze hippos, Berlin Buddy Bears, barely known German tv characters...they spot them, run forward and start blathering on about cheese.
This crime is compounded by things like Stevie saying "Come on Hamish, what's taking you so long?", and him responding "Oh well, you know, Mummy likes to take a few photos". It's like a red rag to a bull. In my defence I have also trained the two of them to stay absolutely stock still by my side when I am taking photos of buildings and things. That way I don't lose them and they don't risk getting run over, so that's something, right?
Anyway, I won't bore you to death with yet another bunch of Legoland/Playmobil photos, we had a great time at both places though I was coming down with the lurgy at the Playmobil Funpark, and felt like I was getting the flu because everything ached. Apart from the obvious highlights (no wasps, no queues, kids having a fabulous time) we also visited a couple of places we hadn't previously been to. Leipzig was the first. I don't know why, but we both had had a much different picture in our minds of Leipzig. Stevie was somewhat disappointed that it wasn't desperately communist and eastern looking (I know, prettiness is so old hat), and I'm not sure what I thought. I knew about it's role in the fall of the GDR, where the first important demonstrations took place, but not much else.
What I didn't know was that it was the hometown of Bach, or that it would be so pretty, with a different style of architecture to other German cities we've visited. It has previously been on the New York Times list of top ten cities to visit.
The other place we stopped off for a break was Erfurt, which had been recommended to Stevie by his work colleagues, and it was lovely. I would highly recommend a visit to Erfurt. Our prior knowledge of Erfurt was phenomenal: basically we both know it as the place in our very first German book where people like to hitchhike and strangers chat about getting a light for their cigarettes. And certainly there were a lot of people there, and quite a lot of them were smoking. But what we liked about it best were the little narrow streets with utterly gorgeous fachwerk buildings. Not that I got to take photos of them all, because what I realised on this trip was that it's not the kids who inhibit my enjoyment of visiting new places, but my beloved Stevie, who practically races through them, no lingering and lazy wandering allowed. Now what he really needs is a camera in order to slow down and really enjoy the sights...