German love

IMG_3978Fear not folks, I’m not going to wax lyrically and embarrassingly about  personal experiences here. Rather, I thought I’d cover some more of the customs that they have over here that I’ve noticed, this time, pertaining to love and the month of May.

The tree in the photograph is a silver birch (currently attached to a lamppost I admit), and it is somewhat full of ribbons (ok, it looks like a lamppost covered in ribbons. I promise there is a tree in there). There is a reason for this, which I will now make clear. If you were, say, an amorous young (or, indeed, old) German lad, with intentions for a girl in a village, you would think that there would be a multitude of ways to tell her of your burning desires. Here, as the month of May approaches, one of your options is to hack down a silver birch tree and tie it to her house. Then festoon it with ribbons.

Naturally, this comes with more challenges than you might expect. Love isn’t supposed to be an easy road. The window of opportunity for this arboreal amorosity is limited, the act must be accomplished during the night of the 30th of April, before May arrives fully. The assistance of friends is required, as the trees are no mere saplings (why express your love with a few bits of twig when a towering monstrosity is an option), and someone must remain sober and in charge of a tractor for the whole procedure to go swimmingly. If your love is in a neighbouring village, you can expect the male inhabitants of that village to try and stop you from wooing their wenches. All in all, a night of fun and possible danger to be had by all, except perhaps the intended who probably sit indoors and wonder what the fuss is all about.

If one is already in love, and the intentions are known and have been reciprocated, then one just places a large heart type device on the house. Although it is not unknown for a tree to be placed anyway, as a giant bit of twiggery is far more impressive than some silly bit of heart shaped paper.

All of these efforts do not go entirely unrewarded. At the end of the month the chap in question pops around to the house of said maiden and is rewarded by the father of the maiden through the medium of a crate of beer. The tree is then removed by the young chap. The more cynically minded amongst you might suggest that it is in fact the crate of beer that causes all of this forestry activity, and not the purity of love, but I like to have some hope that romance is not totally dead. Whatever the cause, it is certainly a popular activity, with dying chunks of silver birch festooning all of the villages around us.

That, therefore, was love. Now for football. The world cup fever is definitely starting to grip Germany now, little German flags are waving from all of the cars, and there is a real feeling that some football is going to be played. A ball will be kicked. Teams will win, teams will lose. Clearly, I have no idea what I’m talking about so I’ve asked my friend Craig who does to send me over some knowledge on the subject of football and let us know how quickly England are likely to go out. This will appear soon.

Additionally, I have made a couple of minor changes to the layout of the blog, so you can get around it slightly easier if you so wish. The changes are not huge (merely the addition of the next and previous buttons below each post) but hopefully will save you from the tiresome scrolling you may have been having to do. Were you actually interested in reading more of course.

Other options are available to you. The full archive of all my ramblings and conjecture is displayed on the right near the top at all times. Popular posts have all revolved around food for some reason. Maybe I should give up on everything else and focus on giving the audience what they want. There are other buttons under each post, which allow you to use a variety of social tools to share this content if you so wish. An RSS feed is available, so you could use that, to whatever nefarious purposes you require. The old fashioned e-mail subscription option is there, although I’m not sure anyone uses that technology any more. You could comment on posts with your thoughts and musings. Essentially, feel free to do whatever you like. The back button in your browser still works effectively as a means for escape I am told. Coming soon.. an explanation of how easy it is to fall off a bicycle. So you do not die from anticipation, the answer is: very.

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