I’m finding it increasingly difficult to summon up the traditional Christmassy levels of cynicism and misanthropy. Instead I find myself looking forward to it all. New fatherhood is the only reasonable explanation. On Saturday morning we erected the tree (plastic, green, Wilko’s 2008 vintage) and I coated it in lights and tinsel and the other tat. I am profoundly opposed to ‘tasteful’ Christmas tree decoration. A tree should look like the Dame in a Dalek pantomime, or else don’t bother.
In the afternoon we dropped in with Brit Jnr on what can only be described as a Christmas soiree, mulled wine and canapé job, full of thirtysomething lawyers: women in wool and Ugg boots, men in stubble and jumpers, mostly childless but getting serious about thinking about getting serious about it. Brit Jnr, four months old now, was a huge hit – she always is a hit because she’s cute and lively and gives everyone a big grin when she’s passed around, allowing you to say “Ooh she likes you”, which is the most cockle-warming thing it is possible to hear in this cold universe.
From the soiree we popped into town so I could have a Weissbier and a Bratwurst in the Kraut Christmas market, which includes a temporary Booze-haus. The Bavarians have an impressive way of making plain wood and bare lightbulbs appear cosy, and Weissbier and Bratwurst is one of the great international culinary combinations, like crispy duck and plum sauce or lager and kebabs. They were real Germans, over for the season, including one unmistakeable glassy-eyed, razor-cheekboned Aryan Herr of the kind that we Britons still find a mite unsettling. This, I suppose, is what the BNP’s ‘indigenous’ people should look like, whereas in fact our white supremacists look like Nick Griffin, ie. three parts Norman, one part Welsh dwarf, six parts bullfrog.
At the bar two long-haired English biker types in middle age were standing, pleased as punch, downing Pilsner and singing along to the 80s rock so beloved of Germans and middle-aged bikers. They were playing air guitar to ZZ Top as we left. I was pleased for them, they looked like they’d found a spiritual home. Shame it was temporary but perhaps it will be back next year.