Drowsy today & introspective and I had to sort of tip myself out of the house like the last olive clinging in the jar. The market stallholders seemed to me noisy and boisterous, cheerful in an inflicted way. When I paused in front of a mound of strawberries the guy shovelled a dozen punnets into a bag and thrust it at me, saying, One Euro. A little further on, a stall of organic produce, flecked apples and satisfyingly plump brown mushrooms. “I’d like 400g of those please and a lemon and a….” Reaching into my stash of German words I realized I’d no idea what is the collective noun for leaves of spinach. A bunch? A bouquet? A posy? I can’t say any of these things in German. “… a piece of spinach, please.” She was already stacking it into the bag I had handed her. “A piece! I like that.” “How would you normally say it?” “Ah, well… I’d like some of that spinach, or a little of your spinach, or a bag of spinach… But I like ‘piece.'”
In German piece and peace are different sounds but I do love the way they have named their cemeteries: literally the resting place, “the peace court.” Court as in shared space: courtyard. So I guess höflich (polite) means really, courtly. God… that was exhausting. But at least I have a mountain of strawberries to fill my bath.