Yesterday I went on an outing to "Stempel Mecca", a craft fair in Hagen, a town some 80 kilometers from Düsseldorf. I had stayed up rather late the evening before, and then put the light out and wanted to sleep at about 1.30 a.m. Just as I was drifting off, I heard strange noises, coming from the direction of the window, fluttering and scratching. I tried to ignore it, but it would not let me sleep, so I got up and went to the window. The noises stopped, and I could see nothing. I thought it must be a leaf caught on the window frame and fluttering in the breeze, as the window was open at the top. So, went back to bed, tried to sleep. Was 2.30 by then, and the noises kept starting again. Every time I got up and went to the window, there was nothing to see or hear. Sooner or later the noises stopped, but I didn't get to sleep till 5a.m., which made the night very short. Got up, opened the curtains and looked again if I could see what had caused those strange noises in the night. At first I saw nothing, then I saw a shadow in the vase on the window sill. It's a red murano-glass vase with a bottle neck. I looked inside it, and saw, to my horror, a bird, dead and stiff with outstretched wings and claws. The poor thing must have flown by mistake through the window and then nose-dived into the vase, and couldn't get out again, hence the frantic attempts in the night. It must have died of exhaustion. This morning I managed to remove the bird from the vase with a wire sling, and have buried it outside in the garden. The vase has been washed and disinfected, but I do not want to keep it anymore, so I will give it to the next charity shop.
Anyway, after that strange start to the day, my friend B collected me and we drove off to Hagen. No problems, we got there in an hour and even found a good parking space almost in front of the door. We paid our admission, got a stamp on our hands - a blue flower - and submerged ourselves in paradise. Lots of stands from all over Europe and the USA, with stamps, inks, paper and equipment galore, enough to let every scrapper's heart beat quicker. There were lots of craft demonstrations, too, where they showed amazing ways to use stamps and inks and colours, and produced fantastic and inspiring things. I was determined to only buy a few new stamp pads, which I did, although the term *few* is relative. Somehow the baskets filled up at each stand, and we both came home with several bags full of crafty bits and bobs and prospects and little presents. The two demonstrators from *Heindesign* were really marvelous, it was very fascinating to see what works of art they made in the shortest time, we could have watched for hours. But it was time to start the journey home. We wanted to go to Burger King on the way back and have something to eat, so we set off in high and hungry spirits. After a few minutes, we were on the motorway heading to Essen, everything stopped - a traffic jam. On a Sunday, and it seemed to have no apparent cause. We had seen no signs warning about jams or building works, nothing had been broadcast over the radio. It took more than an hour for the next 7 kilometers, till we could leave the motorway and head off somewhere - anywhere, we didn't know or care exactly where we were, we just wanted to get moving. Later we heard in the radio that the motorway had been closed due to road-works, but they had evidently forgotten to post their signs or broadcast in time....After a few minutes, we were looking for a garage, we saw some wonderful signs, not in the sky, but ahead of us on the road - not only a garage, but KFC and Burger King, too! After filling ourselves up in BK, B filled the car, and the rest of the journey home - on a different motorway - was quick and uneventful. It was a long, interesting day in the company of my best friend and scrap-mate, and I enjoyed every minute of it, even the traffic jam....still, it was a pity about that poor bird!