Saturday, 25 December 2010
Turkey, mince pies, sausage rolls, goose, Gluhwein, Lebkuchen and lots of snow
My German Christmas is over, my English one has just begun
There are now two Holy days to visit friends and play with presents, drink Gluhwein, eat Lebkuchen and roast goose.
I spent Heilige Abend, Christmas Eve with my lovely German "family".
I travelled home by the second-but-last tram of the day, arriving on my doorstep just as the church bells of the city peeled. They were announcing midnight mass. It was a wonderful sound reminding me of the many times that I have stood on the doorstep at home with my Mum listening to the bells in Norwich that were always accompanied by the horns of the ships anchored just down the road. The high pitch of the bells with the low horns joining in created a sound that made the hairs stand up on our arms and send a shiver down our spines.
That was the time when the river was still navigatable as far as Norwich and I can remember how much I enjoyed watching the huge ships turning in an unbelievably small space and then unloading their cargoes of coal. That was second best only to hanging over the bridge beside my Grandmother's pub watching the steam trains pass underneath straining to see if Dad was driving.
Talking about trains
I walked into my yard last night through deep crisp snow where only the neighbour's cat had trodden before me. I walked up to my flat and the first thing that I did was to switch on the lights of the Christmas tree then jump into a warm bed.
This year, despite the rush after arriving back from Hong Kong two days too late, I still managed to acquire a Christmas tree. It is the tree that stood in the group at work all last week and was brought to my flat by the cleaning lady under strict orders from her husband.
We conductors love our more-than-a-cleaning-lady, but we have never met her husband. Never-the-less it seems that he knows all about us and our work and had insisted that his wife drive me and the tree home. The tree that she had provided for us from their nieghbouring farm.
On Wednesday after a very Chinese Christmas party with the "Petö" children and their families I was chauffeured home!
Precious memories come out once more
This year's tree is much smaller than I normally buy. I usually have a huge one to accomodate all my precious decorations that are full of memories of the friends who send them to me or of the countries where I have bought them. The tree will be jammed packed when I eventually get round to hanging the decorations with the addition of a Hong Kong memory!
All my life, or for as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of having a train running around the base of Christmas tree, just like you see in picture books.
This year my dream has come true.
I have placed my tiny tree on the coffee table in the middle of the village that is part of my N-Gauge layout. The factory and industrial estate has been moved up to the one end of the table with the terrace houses for the workers beside it, while the pretty village with its church, bakery and tearooms are now assembled around the tree.
Photographs later when the tree is complete with its memories all hanging on it.
Tree decorating and sweet making are the jobs for today after breakfast and a Skype call with my Dad with my great-niece, Aimee, on his knee!
Time to start the day, I may even open a present or two from under the tree beside the train!
Merry Christmas to everyone and thank you for reading my blog.
Over on Conductive World I have just seen that Andrew Sutton has mentioned a Youtube video that he has received from Rowena Somogyvary. I received another one from the same mutual friend:
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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Cows have horns, so does Beelzebub. Motor cars too.
Ships do, for fog, but for the real business, surely they have sirens.
Happy Xmas to you and your railway.
I think you will find that they are usually called horns, that is what they were always refered to on our doorstep, a few yards away from Norwich Boat Station.
They are sometimes called whistles. Maybe it depends on the size of the ship or how they are powered, or even how loud they are.
Steam boats like steam trains probably had whistles.
There is also a bell on a ship, but I think that is only for calling the crew. The horn is for communicating with other boats and the land.
There is a lot about ship's horns available if you Google you can even purchase one.
Hope this helps!
Railway pic. coming soon.
Whoops, serves me right!
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