It’s Mother’s Day today in Germany, just a few days after what used to be called Father’s Day but is now called Men’s Day (Männertag). There was no breakfast in bed and there were no flowers, but we decided to celebrate the day by joining the good people of Neuenbürg for their annual open air street festival. Neuenbürg is just about a quarter of an hour South West of Pforzheim, by car which we borrowed from the centre.

As it happened, it was the first really miserable day since we arrived here. We felt with the people of Neuenbürg because the festival was – while not a complete wash-out – let’s just say: pretty quiet. There were tons of food and general store-type stalls in the streets, some of them selling stuff I hadn’t seen in years, like a woven ‘carpet beater’ (Teppichklopfer), a witch-type broom, or real authentic handkerchiefs (yes, the ones you wash, dry, and iron after use:), and there was also stuff I had never seen in my life, such as the original ‘sock hanger’ (“never loose the matching sock”), or a round-shaped plug brush (“Steckdosenbürste”) that should, of course, be on hand in every well-stocked kitchen. All this under the May Tree, the “Maibaum”, and right beside the food stall selling, just today, German Asparagus. Not Polish, not Hungarian or Italian or Spanish, no – but German asparagus!

We bought some of those weird-shaped brushes and had a portion of Maultaschen, the local variety of super-sized ravioli before we went back to the car, put the heating on to full power and drove slowly back over pothole-covered roads to Pforzheim.

No Eurovision Party tonight. No excuse to stay up into the small hours. Instead: geating into bed early to be ready at the crack of dawn for week 2.