Wednesday morning dawned bright and hot. My friend had a physio appointment in the morning, so I decided to stay home and write some postcards.
That was when I first noticed the cherubs.
To be accurate, I had, in fact, noticed a cherub or two (or five) in our apartments the night before. They were a little hard to miss. But I had excused them on the grounds that cherubs are what happens when you get baroque, or even pseudo-baroque.
But there were more than five cherubs.
There were more than twenty-five cherubs.
There were, in fact thirty-nine cherubs.
(That I am aware of)
(And not counting the ones on the quilt covers)
This is how my morning went.
I would start to write a postcard, and I would look up – and see a cherub smirking at me from the ceiling.
I would go to wash my face – and there would be a cherub staring at me from the light fitting above the sink.
I would glance across to check the time – and see a cherub swinging merrily from side to side, on the pendulum of the clock.
Want to put away clothes? There are cherubs on the wardrobe.
Feel like a shower? Five cherubs are observing your every move.
Even the walls weren’t safe – there were tiny, sleeping cherubs nestled into the plasterwork between the bricks. Cherub larvae, just waiting to hatch.
This was not a decoration. This was an infestation.
By the time A got back from her appointment, I had reached the point of checking the chandeliers and bed curtains for hidden cherubs. So many cherubs could not possibly exist with innocent intent. My friend agreed.
We fled the apartment for safer territory.
The Altstadt is quite pretty.
We decided to visit the Zwinger Palace, which has a rather famous fountain.
We had found the source of the infestation.
At the Cathedral, we found further signs of cherub incursions.
The organ was particularly badly affected – I expect it will start playing everything on the triangle stop any day now. The lectern was no better.
I may have developed a slight complex about cherubs.
…which, incidentally, we have decided are insects, probably hatched from the dome over the Art Academy.
In our cherub mythology, they live on gilt and gilding, which explains all the drab concrete buildings in Dresden. They aren’t actually relics from DDR times – they used to be just as golden as everything else, but the cherubs ate all the gilding off until nothing but grey remained.
OK, I’m going to stop talking about cherubs now, except to note that if you want to get rid of them, you need an organist, a large vase with a lid, and some crumbs of gold for bait. I am certain that this is true. I am also certain that the cherubs are there, somewhere…
One of my scientists moved back home to Dresden a couple of years ago, and she met us at the Schockoladenbar, which had all sorts of hot and iced chocolates and cakes. It was really lovely to see her again, and after our cake, she showed us around some of the Neustadt, including a courtyard with lots of artist’ studios.
I’d love to live in the house with all the drainpipes – I wonder if it sings when it rains?
There was also some fabulous street art.
We passed the Eric Kästner museum.
Then we walked back along the Elba to our apartment to get changed – it was so hot!
We found another cherub on the key, and had to do a quick recount to be sure there had been no breeding while we were out. The numbers were actually down slightly, which was less reassuring than you might think. Where had they gone???
Then we went out to dinner, just in time for sunset as we crossed the bridge with the flood memorial.
The sun goes down so slowly in Dresden compared to Australia.
And the light is fantastic.
After dinner, we walked around the old town by night. This was quite fun – we meandered past churches and palaces and there were these big squares surrounded by cafes, all showing the football. So we would wander around and admire architecture until we heard a shout, and then we would rush over to the nearest TV screen to see who had scored.
That was a lot of fun.
And then we headed back to our cherub-infested hotel room for a sleepless night in the terrible heat.
(Three guesses what we dreamed of, in those moments when we did manage to sleep…)