I woke up this morning to find it was an hour later than I thought it would be. Were it not for my computer automatically re-setting itself to European Summer Time, I doubt I would have found out for days. But it means that spring is kinda officially here. And it’s beginning to become obvious from the weather too. At least it was until it began raining yesterday morning (it’s still raining now).
On Friday, I could smell smoke. Not my own cigarette’s smoke; real, proper, something’s-burning smoke. I dunno where the smoke’s was coming from, but I knew it existed cos the weather was nice enough to have the window open and I could smell the smoke. So, after nearly five months of winter, the end of the tunnel seems to be just a few yards away. For some reason it’s been a particularly rough winter. Probably absolutely nothing to do with this huge climate change myth, eh?
Anyway, my first Berlin winter was an adventure, cos I’d not really known sustained periods of snow in England. Each winter since then has ground me down further and further. This winter has seen me retreat from life completely and cocoon myself in central heating. It doesn’t help that I want to permanently leave Berlin as soon as I can sort it out, the winter only carves those feeling deeper into my brain.
I’ve cleared my desktop of all outstanding work in the last week. No new projects to do, so in a week or so I’ll be going on holiday to New York. By the time I get back, spring should be in full flow. And, hopefully, I’ll come back with a new lease of life, cos my brain has been toying with me of late, making me feel things I don’t wanna feel, making me blue. But it’s been nice to not wear gloves when I’m outside this last few days. Strange how a little thing like that can make life more palatable, huh?
And I don’t think I’m alone. Berlin stretches its limbs and sips a latté on the pavement when the sun comes out. That’s the first sign of spring here: restaurant owners diving into their cellars to get the extra chairs and tables to put out on the street.
People seem to have a spring in their step. There seems to be a massive sense of joy that the winter is nearly over, and this is evident in what I see as I walk around the park with Billy. I’ve seen two seperate, seemingly normal people singing out loud; hordes of people outside a local ice cream shop; some middle-aged twins roller blading; a man flying a massive kite; a man practicing his fighting moves with a big stick (not sure what it’s called, but it was like you’d see in a martial arts film); and, as a way to perfectly describe the joy of spring, I saw these three primary colour-wearing people hanging out behind a basketball arena.
The contrast between behaviour now and a couple of weeks ago, when the streets were still covered with snow can be best summed up with these two examples. Back then, in the Ice Age, I was walking Billy and this woman was walking towards us. As we were about to pass each other, she spat in Billy’s direction – she missed, thankfully – and began shouting at us: Fotze! Fotze! (the English translation is an anagram of ‘cnutie’ without the I and E). She went on to rant about dog owners and dog poo everywhere. She was loopy. But a couple of days ago, I was cleaning up Billy’s mess, and a little boy looked at me and said Danke. That was nice.
So, spring is here. Hurrah for that. And the goodness of that is only heightened by Liverpool beating Everton. Not only did they beat them by playing most of the game with 10 men after Steven Gerrard was sent off, but Everton’s ex-Manchester United player scored an own goal. Not only that, but he’s also Barry Neville’s brother. Ha! Couldn’t be better.
There is, of course, a black lining to this springtime silver cloud: tis now the season for hippies to play their damned bongos in the park.