Autumn, that is. I shouldn't be surprised afterall it is nearly the end of October, summer is well and truly gone and so the next season is autumn (unless the crazy weather is deciding to skip the inbetweeny seasons and jump straight to winter - I do hope not)
I have decided that there are ways you can tell that Herbst is Hier*, there are certain signs in Germany that make it obvious;
- the children are all wearing multiple layers, the German kids that is, they all come fully equipped with vest, shirt, jumper/sweatshirt, trousers, jacket, scarf & probably hat and don't forget the all important 'winter boots' which are usually fleecy lined and fully waterproof. My son meanwhile scoots out of the house in just a t-shirt and hoodie, mothers of his friends have all given up remonstrating with him and me, when they pass comment I just shrug and remind them that we're English and hardier than your average German.
- all the house proud hausfrauen** have removed their pretty summer flower displays from their doorsteps and replaced them with squash, I'd say pumpkins to help you understand what I mean but these displays are never just large orange hallowe'en stylee pumpkins, oh no, these are squash in as many varieties, colours and shapes as there are hours in the day. This is not something I indulge in, but as our official front door is at the back of the house and most people come in and out through the kitchen door, no-one (hopefully) realizes - not that I care to be honest.
- all the cafés still have their outside seating set ups but with the addition of blankets over every seat, so you can get your caffeine fix (and probably cake too) as well as getting your fresh air (although you will probably be a getting a good few lungfuls of 2nd hand nicoteine)
- some of the smaller eis cafés have shut for their winter break, all packed away until next spring, this doesn't mean that it's hard to get ice cream, Kettwig (tiny little place that it is) has at least 4 eis cafés and only 1 actually shuts up shop in October - of course it would have to be the one closest to where we live but fortunately I don't have the German ice cream gene.
- the furs are out, already, and it's not even proper cold yet. Admittedly these were more gillet style (armless, waistcoaty things) as opposed to full on jackets/coats but they were definately fur, real, dead animal fur, none of this fake stuff here.
- Glühwein is back on the menu, the summer cocktails of Aperol and prosecco are banished to the store cupboard and instead we are offered cheap red wine made palatable only by the addition of cloves and cinnamon sticks. Fortunately Lulu's has martinis on the cocktail list all year round.
- the leaf blowers are busy. I've commented previously that Germany is very green with lots and lots of mature trees around, most of which, it becomes apparent at this time of year, are deciduous and so cover the footpaths everywhere in a carpet of leaves. Until that is a little man from the council comes along with a reverse hoover on his shoulder, he's followed quick smart by a teletubby-alike vehicle which then removes any evidence. Needless to say this has to happen more than once as not even the Germans have managed to co-ordinate nature. They even clear the paths in the woods (!) but not quickly enough for MIL's liking (like they even clear the leaves away in England?!)
- the cars are all being uglied, winter tyres are not mandatory here, but if you were foolish enough to have an accident between October and whenever Easter falls***and didn't have winter tyres on then you would struggle to get your insurance company to not think you responsible, at least that's what I'm told, it could just be an urban myth, but I'm not about to check it.
So that's it, autumn is HERE, next stop Christmas, hang on to your hats!
* not a typo btw, hier is deutsch for here, honest, you can check it hier if you don't believe me.
** again not a typo, frauen is the plural of frau.
*** the unofficial 'rule' is that winter tyres should be worn from O to O (October to Ostern****)
**** Ostern=Easter - aren't you learning lots of vocab?