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The 15 minute writing challenge

Updated: Dec 8, 2020


The gauntlet was thrown down by www.janeishly.com. The challenge to pick a word from her teabag of the day courtesy of her tea Advent calendar and to write for a whole 15 minutes to see what you produce. I duly took up the challenge and am now presenting you with 15 minutes unedited, undiluted *insert epithet here*. Please note: these are random musings and no facts have been verified!

Krampus. Oh my, now that takes me back. I’ve lived in North Germany for 24 years now and Krampus plunges me back in time to when I used to live in Bavaria. I remember taking the kids to the various pageants and parades around the area. Grafing, near Munich, I think it was, had a fantastic festival with Krampus and various other traditional spirits dancing like crazy beings through the streets. If memory serves me rightly, they were dressed in old sheepskins and had bizarre-looking masks. I believe these were made by the figures themselves or handed down over the ages. Some of the masks had hinged mouths and would make clacking noises as the dancers moved. Flaming torches served to light the spectacle. Clanking, rattling, beating sounds resonated through the air. Shadows, dark and mysterious filled children with fear. It was madcap and wonderful. The children would hug us close, alternating between peeping through their fingers and hiding their eyes. The sense of fascination always won over fear.

Other Krampus events, especially in my little Bavarian village, were tamer in comparison. Along would come Saint Nikolaus and Krampus would follow in his wake. Krampus knew who was naughty, St. Nick knew who was nice. Children would be invited to recite a poem and, in return, were rewarded with a present from the kindly saint’s enormous sack. The children didn’t need to stick by our sides for this and so it happened that one moment our eldest was standing next to us and then suddenly we heard her sweet little voice reciting a poem in German for all the crowd to hear. As the first child to brave the disapproving face of Krampus, the applause she received was deafening. Our hearts were bursting with pride.


Who appreciates their child more than their parent? Don’t we all have the most wonderful, most deserving, the cleverest of children?


Happy times. And all brought to mind by a teabag.

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ANDREA GARFIELD-BARKWORTH

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