February 19, 2013

Broken Promises

Almost one month on, and we still have snow!

The early burst of snow in October now leaves us in retrospect with the enduring impression that our winter is close to being six months long!! This is of course not strictly true. The snow has melted in between times for a few days here and there and once (about ten days ago) you could smell spring tangibly in the air.

These last few days have brought more fresh snowfall – a steady white drizzle restoring immaculate order and dashing fledgling promises of life and abundance.

The birds are going crazy, not knowing whether to come or go, clustering in conference on the larch tree then wildly cackling off to alight elsewhere for a moment, filling snow-filled crevices with echoing song pleading for life, for green, for something to change...

The chickens have also been getting rather confused, taking it upon themselves to lay in any comfortable corner they come across on the days that they have ventured out. It took a while for me to realise (thinking the changeable weather had reduced their urge to lay) until I came across twelve eggs in the corner of the sheep shed, three in a plant pot and a handful in a pile of sand.

Inside, with all our beds crowded into the big room for warmth, I have now been able to strip Saskia's room, seal off the hatch and the channels we had chiselled out to accommodate the new electrical system, repaint and soon to take up the floor boards and insulate against the cold air from the cellar steps directly below.

In the coldest months this room suffered the most from damp, having no wood burner within reach of it. It is clear that by next winter we must have some kind of integrated heating system to include this room and the bathroom that will replace our temporary kitchen.

A distraction came my way last week in the form of a day as an Extra for a film being shot in Görlitz. Thirteen hours I spent there, eleven of which just sitting around in costume in cold, draughty rooms drinking coffee and eating white rolls with sliced ham and cheese. Crew received crusty brown bread with salmon and salad and rumour has it the stars were fully catered for with fresh, organic food in their heated dressing rooms!

It was certainly an experience to get a sense of what it is like behind the scenes of a film and to watch with awe the skill of the costume-makers and make-up artists: they are truly the backbone of any film production, dressing up their models to then perform as puppets at the beck and call of the Director... 15 times we had to simulate a busy kitchen, me slicing bread over and over with a blunt knife the first shoot and washing up in a dry sink for the other! It was impossible to really get into character and stay in it with the continuous stopping and starting.

I came away feeling very grateful that my life is my own.

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