Easterly Wind brings Advent to Prague

The wind is coming from the East, it is a Russian cold front and now a maximum temperature is a meagre 3C. However, it is about time, we have had a long warm Autumn. The need to go out with a jacket was debatable, not anymore, we are strictly into gloves, hat and thick boots.

It is also getting very ‘Christmassy’ the Prague Christmas market opens officially with the switching on of lights on Friday. There are a couple of smaller markets around the place but the real deal is not yet finished and I can’t wait until it is. The cafes have been selling gluwein for weeks but the weather really has not been that chilly, not hot wine weather, still cold beer weather. Now that is changing, I am saving myself for a gluwein on Friday with the sparkly lights and wonderful sights of the stalls. I will not know whether to sip it down and savour the flavours of Christmas or to hold it tight and keep me warm, whilst I inhale the heady fragrance of Christmas markets and festive joy. Bring it on!

stiltonToday I walked back from the supermarket. I need to do this as they are working on the tram line, replacing lots of the track, of course section they are working on is between my place and the big Tesco supermarket. This means I am developing two things, big muscles from carrying the bags home and shorter shopping lists. As the weather is so much cooler, I am wrapped in several layers, woolly hat, gloves and a thick scarf, I do look like the Michelin man with paniers. On today’s trip I saw a blackboard outside the French & Italian deli that I frequent. There was a chalk drawn Union Jack Flag, with the words most Brits abroad can only dream of ‘Blue Stilton 50% off’. It is amazing that they are stocking the cheese, an essential part of a British Christmas meal but even more amazing is the attractiveness of the price. It was about £10 a kilo, of course I bought some. I need now a bottle of Port and the festive season is nearing readiness.

We have visitors coming this weekend end, friends from our time in Zurich, who now live in Geneva, originally from New Zealand, the are arriving with some relatives who have never been to Europe before. The Stilton and the Christmas market, with a few gluwein will be more than they could ever have imagined. I might even rustle up a few mince pies, bake them just before they arrive in order for the apartment to have that wonderful aroma, a mix of baking and Christmas, which is essentially what a mince pie brings to the home, one of the essential items of Christmas cheer.

As we begin our gentle glide into Advent, lets not forget that the cold weather is not so cheery for all of us. I deliver sandwiches on Fridays to a homeless shelter. They get some hot food in the week but the weekends they don’t, so they will receive my sandwiches, along with those donated by others. The men at the hostel are aged between 16 and 24 years, they are from all over. We also hand over old coats and warm jumpers, anything that can help keep the chill out. I will be buying sugary hot chocolates and handing them out too – perhaps you might come across someone who looks like a hot chocolate might give them some Christmas cheer, it will be better for them than a gluwein, they can enjoy the aroma of the stalls selling it instead.

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