Friday 28 December 2018

What Christmas Was Like

In my next-to-last post, I mentioned a few of the things I was going to do over the Christmas period. So far, everything has gone as planned.

Our traditional Christmas Eve at my parents', with the tree lit (this year, a mix of real candles and electric ones) and the dinner of Wiener sausages and spuds salad we always insist on. In former years, my Dad used to make the spuds salad. This year, it was a joint effort; my Dad was able to help with the peeling of the potatoes, but the actual salad-making was my Mum's.

I know I say this every year, but it truly is so: It never ceases to amaze me how many presents I receive, not only from my immediate family, but also from the others who are there on Christmas Eve, from my Yorkshire family and (for the past three Christmases since I've known O.K.) from him and his family as well.

After our sumptuous and very delicious Christmas lunch at O.K.'s sister's, we went for a short walk. It was a misty day, cold enough to call for padded coats and the like, but not freezing. Near where they live is a small lake where people go swimming in the summer. The atmosphere on Christmas Day was very different!

The morning of the 26th saw me in the village church, attending family mass. O.K.'s family are no church-goers as such, but he and his Dad play in the village band, and the band traditionally plays in church on holidays such as Christmas and Easter, and of course "us womenfolk" go and listen.

We had a spontaneous visitor early afternoon, bringing a present for O.K. and myself and having coffee with us. Afterwards, there was a bit more than an hour of daylight left, and we used that for a walk around the village. I always like looking at how other people make their homes; some overdo the decorating (or it is not in my taste), some are maybe not very houseproud or don't bother with outdoors deco, but generally, the village is neat and tidy.

I travelled home that evening and arrived at my place at 10:30 pm. The moon shone brightly, and I found that from my kitchen window it looked almost as if the moon was a big shiny ornament on a Christmas tree:

Yesterday, on the 27th, I enjoyed not having to get up at a set time. I slept soundly until 9:00, and took my time over breakfast and in the bathroom. Then my elderly neighbour (the one whose garden you have seen so often from my kitchen window) rang, and we chatted for a good while. I had promised to go over to my parents' to help with a few household things, and the phone call was not planned - therefore, I dashed quickly to the supermarket to stock up on some basics before I finally made it to my parents.

After my sister and I finished our jobs, we had coffee and buttered pretzels (by the way, the proper German spelling is Brezel - there is no p and no t!) with my parents. It was a sunny day and still only early afternoon, so my sister and I went for a little walk.

Back home, I spent some time relaxing, and in the evening rang Mary, my mother-in-law in Yorkshire. It had been many weeks since my last call, and we had quite a bit of catching up to do. She is always very interested in how my parents are doing, and was rather worried about my Dad's health, too, when she heard of his illness in October.

At 9:00 pm, a friend of mine arrived, and we walked the maybe 500 m to a disco where we've been a few times. We had a great time on the dance floor; it was not too crowded, but there were enough people to create a good party mood and still leaving you enough room to dance. I was home at around 2:00 am.

Now I shall do a few household jobs here. In the early afternoon, I will pack my bag and get on the train back to O.K.'s. So far, all my trains this Christmas season were on time - as far as I'm concerned, it could always be that way!

PS: I have noticed that I chose the exact same headline for my post-Christmas post in 2015.

Thursday 27 December 2018

Read in 2018 - 21, 22, 23, 24

As the four books reviewed in this post were my seasonal reading this Christmas, and all relatively short, I decided to make just one and not four posts of them. 

All were published in the space of the 10 years from 1905 to 1915. The style and language, message and morals are typical for that time: Many people were full of optimism about the progress humanity had made in terms of sciences, technology and schools of thought; they believed the solution to the big problems and the answers to the big questions of society as a whole were just round the corner.
Others were more sceptical and saw that the world was approaching a time of hitherto unseen terrors of war and that things were going to change forever right in front of their eyes.
Some of this can be read between the lines in one or other of these stories. Generally, though, all four books are meant to be uplifting and conveying the Christmas message to the reader, touching both mind and soul.

The pictures are not mine - I found them on the internet, and they show the books as the physical volumes may look. Mine were (of course) all free ebooks from the Kindle store with the same standard cover.

21) Little City of Hope / A Christmas Story
by F. Marion Crawford
published in 1907

A poor inventor and his 13-year-old son have not much to look forward to this Christmas. But as they start building a little city of paper and matchboxes, bits of wood and other things found in the workshop, hope begins to find her way into their hearts.
For a while, it seems they built their little city of Hope in vain, but all ends well.

I found the inventor and his son likeable characters and enjoyed the description of their model city. How their frugal daily life was depicted was meant to make the reader sorry for them, but from a 2018 reader's perspective, some of it is hard to understand. For instance, father and son are so poor they can only afford the most miserable cottage of their town, with just one stove to warm the entire place, so that the washing water in the upstairs bedroom of the boy freezes in the jug. And yet they still have a woman doing their cooking for them, and their cleaning and so on. If I were that poor, I surely would make my own meals and do my own household work, wouldn't you?

Anyway, a nice read and a glimpse of different times.

The author has his own wikipedia entry here.

22) The Romance of a Christmas Card
by Kate Douglas Wiggin
published in 1915

The wife of a village vicar is a talented painter and writer, and makes a little extra money by selling pictures and poems to be published as Christmas cards. When she paints her lonely neighbour sitting by the window of her humble cottage one winter night shortly before Christmas, she has no idea that the published card will return love and happiness not only to her friend, but also to her own home.

I enjoyed how village life was depicted as a mix of good and bad - the good that can come from a close-knit community helping each other as well as the bad such closeness with nosey neighbours and tongue-wagging villagers can bring.

You can read about the author here on wikipedia.

23) The Spirit of Christmas
by Henry van Dyke
published in 1905

This was the most religious of the four, containing not one continuous story but lectures or articles derived from lectures as well as two prayers. They made for some interesting reading, though, with sometimes a surprisingly modern approach to various subjects. 

Click here for the author's wikipedia entry. (Kay probably knows that he wrote the English lyrics to Beethoven's Ode to Joy.)

24) Rosemary: A Christmas Story
by C. N. and A. M. Williamson
published in 1906

Probably meant for a young-ish audience, the author tells the story of how two former lovers find each other again and one fatherless girl gains a new father. It is rather sentimental, but interesting for its glimpse into the differences between rich and poor folks at the turn of the century.
For a Christmas story, the setting of sunny and mild Monte Carlo in winter is rather unusual - there is not a single snow flake in sight in this book!

Alice Muriel Williamson often published under the joint names of herself and her husband, Charles Norris Williamson. Both have their own wikipedia entries; the one for Charles Norris is linked to from Alice Muriel's here.

Monday 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas!

Dear friends in Blogland,
No matter whether you are regular or occasional readers, commenters or not, fellow bloggers or readers only: 
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, and all the best for 2019!

My biggest Christmas wish is coming true: Having my Dad still with us. The four of us (my parents and my sister) will be able to spend Christmas Eve together, something that was not at all certain back in October when my Dad almost died.

And last week Thursday, we even went to the Christmas Market together! My Dad coped rather well, walking with his walking aid (he hates the thing but it really does make things easier). We all had mulled wine and some of the food traditionally offered at the market. My sister took this picture of us, and I am allowed to show it here:

On Friday, I left the office at 4:00 pm, feeling like a runner who gets really exhausted on the last bit and is just glad to have finally made it to the finishing line. I won't go back to work until the 7th of January - such luxury!

Saturday morning saw me on the train to Offenburg; I spent the weekend at O.K.'s. It was the village band's annual concert on Saturday evening. I had helped with the selling of tickets a couple of weeks ago and heard O.K. practise a few times, but of course I had never heard the entire band playing the pieces. This year's motto was "Heros", and here is the play list:
  • Music for a Hero (Thomas Doss)
  • Ivanhoe (Bert Appermont)
  • Grandfather's Clock (George Doughty)
  • Cry of the Last Unicorn (Rossano Galante)
  • The Polar Express (Alan Silvestri)
  • Astronautenmarsch (Josef Ullrich)
  • The Wizard of Oz (Harold Arlen)
  • Indiana Jones Selection (John Williams)
  • Satchmo! (Louis Armstrong; arranged by Ted Ricketts)
I am sure my friend Kay will know most of them! Of the three extras, the last one was what must be one of the most popular Christmas songs in Germany (O du Fröhliche), and many in the audience sang along. The band played well, and the soloists were excellent. The village hall was decorated beautifully for Christmas. Afterwards, we had sparkling wine and snacks and talked to friends and family who had come to listen. We were home shortly before 1:30 am.

Sunday was rainy and windy and, after we had spent the morning helping with the clearing and cleaning of the village hall, a very quiet day for us, with only about an hour's walk between showers, and at 8:00 pm, O.K. took me to the station. Both train journeys were smoothly on time and not crowded, and when I arrived home last night at 10:30, I lit the four candles on my Advent wreath, had cup of tea and some chocolate and watched the second half of Midsomer Murders before going to bed.

My to-do list for today reads as follows:
  • open Advent calendars:
  • have coffee, read emails and blogs:
  • write this blog post:
  • shower and get dressed
  • light candles on wreath and have breakfast there for a change (and not in front of the computer)
  • blow out candles
  • put on CD with Christmas songs sung by Thurnscoe male choir
  • clean flat while listening to CD, singing along and having little cries alternatingly
  • write card to favourite neighbour
  • take card and present over to said neighbour (the elderly lady whose garden I see from my kitchen window)
  • have a small meal of things in the fridge that need eating up
  • have a little rest (optional)
  • play favourite computer game for a while (optional)
  • write blog post on my other blog (about said computer game; optional)
  • light candles again and sit down with Christmas book from my childhood
  • have another little cry
  • change into pretty dress and put on some lipstick
  • put presents for tonight in big bag
  • take said big bag and walk to parents'
  • celebrate Christmas Eve with family and the three friends that are part of the family
As you can see, only the first three are done. Now I'm off to do the rest!
Update at 2:30 pm: more things ticked off the list!

And then?

Christmas Day will see me on the morning train back to O.K.'s, because his sister has invited us for lunch. I will travel back home again in the evening on Boxing Day. The 27th I intend to spend mostly with my family. On the afternoon of the 28th, I will once more be on the train to Offenburg - we are yet again invited somewhere, and again on the 29th. I am not sure yet what day I will be travelling back to Ludwigsburg, but I already know it will be by car with O.K., as we are going to celebrate New Year's Eve at my parents', with my sister and a friend being there, too.
Whether we'll be back at O.K.'s parents for their traditional New Year's reception (it sounds like a grand affair - in reality, it is just "us", the family, having champagne and a traditional regional meal) I don't know yet, as his parents have also had health troubles. In any case, O.K. has to work between Christmas and New Year but has the first week of January off, so that we get to spend a bit more time together.

Let me finish this post with pictures I took this morning from the Christmas book of my childhood, mentioned in above's to-do list. As you can see, it is very battered and well thumbed, but I would never, ever throw it away.

I do not remember exactly how old my sister and I were when we were given this book, but it always belonged to us together, and at some stage, we wrote our names and (wrongly spelled) address in the front. We made a few clumsy attempts to repair it when we were still kids, and they are just as much part of the book as the pictures, song texts and stories in it. The pictures coined my ideas of Christmas, and are very traditionally German; in style, they range from the 1930s to the late 60s. 

What is your personal Christmas treasure you can not imagine this time of year without?

Friday 21 December 2018

Read in 2018 - 20: Neanderthal Seeks Human

Neanderthal Seeks Human
Penny Reid

Although this book classifies as typical chicklit or romcom (it calls itself "Smart Romance"), and it definitely had a few slightly annoying (for me) elements, I enjoyed reading it.

Set in Chicago, it deals with what probably many of us are familiar with: The feeling of not being adequate, of being the odd one out, of not matching the expectations of others, of not deserving the love and attention of that special someone we love.

Janie is one such bundle of insecurities, even though she is well past her puberty (when it would be very rare NOT to feel at least a bit insecure). In terms of brains, she is high above average, but in her experience, this is more a burden than an asset, and a stumbling block in relationships.

In the looks department, she feels too tall, too big, her hair too unruly and her fondness for high heels frowned upon.

When se loses her job and is escorted out of the building by the gorgeous security man she has secretly been admiring for the few weeks he has been working in her building, a chain of events - no, rather a whirlwind - is set in motion that leaves no stone unturned in her life.

Of course, all ends well, but there are several surprises in store, also for the reader; the sum total is foreseeable, but the twists and turns on the way there left me wanting to read on.

The elements I found slightly annoying were the frequent licking of lips and glancing through eyelashes whenever the heroine's object of desire was near, and that he invariably had his hand at the small of Janie's back when it is necessary for her to walk from A to B, as if moving on her own without his direction was impossible. 

Something I have noticed in other, similar books (and remarked upon it before in other book reviews here on my blog) was the drinking: Alcohol seems to be the preferred method of handling any type of crisis in the lives of young, modern women. Well, I am either too old or not modern enough, because for me, alcohol is for celebrating, and I would never even remotely consider drinking an entire bottle of wine on my own while having a bath in my hotel room after a particularly demanding workday. I'd probably end up in hospital!

Still, as I said, I enjoyed reading this book, and I should really not complain about what I find for free at the kindle store.

You can read more about the author and her work here.

Monday 17 December 2018

My 3rd Advent Weekend

A week has passed since my last post, and only one more until Christmas Eve! I am very much looking forward to it, and also to the two weeks off altogether. My last working day this year will be the 21st of December, and my first working day in 2019 will be January 7.
As before, there will be quite a bit of toing and froing, me mostly spending just one or two nights at the same place before being on the (rail-)road again. But that is what it's like when your love lives 150 km away and you wish to spend time with both families, and I am very much used to it by now.

After I had this really nasty cold the previous weekend and could not see O.K., I really really wanted to be with him last weekend, even though it was not planned originally. 

On Friday night, I hosted our annual Schrottwichteln for the 9th or 10th time, I think - we've been having this particular kind of party for longer, but we started to hold it at my place only after Steve's death. If you have started reading my blog recently or can not remember my earlier posts about it, you can read more about it here.

This year, everyone who had said they were coming did eventually make it - some later than others, because (as is so often the case) there was yet another situation with local trains (I found out today that a train caught fire because the driver - get this! - drove it with the brakes on...!).

Here I am, all excited about the present that happened to end up with me:

...and after unwrapping:

Three batches of Toast Hawaii, several bottles of champagne and seven plates of star-shaped ice cream later, the party was over and a bunch of happy friends said good-bye until our next meeting. One spent the night at my place, as she'd been travelling nearly 700 km for the party.

The next morning after breakfast, she left to meet up with other friends in town (she used to live here until some years back), and I packed my overnight bag and left for the train station.

This is the huge Christmas tree with nativity scene at Karlsruhe main station, where I had about 15 minutes before catching my connecting train:

It had been a grey morning in Ludwigsburg, but soon after the train left Karlsruhe, the sun began to get through, and at O.K.'s, it was a beautiful sunny (but cold) afternoon. This picture I took from the high speed train - hence the fuzziness. In reality, the way the sunrays seemed to be "pouring" over the rim of clouds almost looked like a waterfall of sunlight:

I arrived at Offenburg station with only 9 minutes delay, met by O.K. We dropped off my bag at his cottage and then went to see one of his oldest friends and his wife. They both have their birthday in December and so usually celebrate together. More champagne, then coffees and delicious cakes, before we had to leave because O.K. had another rehearsal for the village band's annual concert.

While he was out, I first had a little nap and then did what I often do - ironing :-) (I've mentioned before that ironing is, along with washing up, one of the household jobs I really like doing and do not mind at all.)

The next day was the 3rd Advent Sunday. We woke up to the first proper snow of this season in our area; I took this picture of O.K.'s balcony:

My Mum sent me this from her balcony, so I knew what to expect upon getting home:

O.K. took me to the station around lunch time. Both my trains were bang on time, and to ride through the snow-covered countryside in the soft early afternoon light was a pleasure. I had my kindle with me but only read a few lines here and there while we were stopping at the rather unattractive stations along the way; it was much nicer watching the world outside than reading.

At home, I had about 35 minutes; enough time to start the washing machine (remember, I'd had a house guest on Friday night and left early on Saturday), light three candles on my Advent wreath and have a quick cup of coffee and some chocolate while opening the two latest Christmas cards I found in my mail box.

Then it was time to leave again and meet my Mum in town. We went to a special Advent concert - a "sing along" concert! It's been 10 years now that an association of Ludwigsburg choirs host this event where the audience are explicitly invited to sing along. For my Mum and myself, it was the first time - but definitely not the last! We enjoyed the experience greatly. 

It simply feels wonderful to sing the familiar Advent and Christmas songs with so many people - around 200 on stage (seven choirs, from an elementary school choir to a rather professional sounding group of five ladies with the most beautiful voices and perfect timing) and 1,000 in the audience.
The program was cleverly spaced with usually one or two songs sung by one of the choirs on stage, and then one for everyone to join in. I used to sing in my local church's choir in my teens, but of course my voice is not the same as it was, and my technique is rusty, to say the least. Never mind - this was NOT about how good (or not) you sing, but about singing as such; singing for fun, singing with a full heart.
Most of the time, both my Mum and I were able to sing along happily, but don't be surprised to read that at one time, we both cried and had to stop singing for a little, busily faffing with our tissues. Whether someone believes the message in those songs or not, I wonder if anyone present at such an event can not be touched by it.

We had about half an hour left afterwards before it was time for my Mum to see to my Dad's medication, and so we had a quick mulled white wine with ginger on the Christmas market. It was a perfect ending to this beautiful 3rd of Advent.

Back home, guess what I did - I watched "Back to the Future" (part III) which happened to be on telly, with the candles lit again, and a plate of Christmas cookies.

Monday 10 December 2018

Home Alone

Last weekend, I was home alone instead of travelling to O.K.'s. 
On Thursday morning, I woke up with a nasty scratchy feeling at the back of my throat, but as usual, I tried to ignore it, thinking it would go away. Well, it didn't. Instead, it developed into a full-blown cold that meant I was able to work on Friday only with the help of drugs (which I usually do not take, but I had to complete a job for a client by Friday evening). It also meant I was not fit for travelling, and certainly did not want to pass my cold to O.K., who has only just recovered from his own first cold of the season, while at the same time in the middle of rehearsing for the village band's annual concert.

So, home alone it was. But don't worry, I was not alone all the time. My sister did a spot of shopping for me on the Saturday and stayed to watch an episode of a series we both like, and my Mum came for a cup of coffee on Sunday. We lit the candles on the Advent wreath, and she kept me company until it was time for her to go home and administer the next round of medical care to my Dad.
And of course, O.K. and I talked on the phone both days. Hooray for flat rates!

You are all so kind, asking about my Dad. He is doing better but still needs a lot of help, and my Mum's life revolves around him right now. All the more important it is that she gets to be out and about every now and then on her own, and do nice things for herself.

The weekend before last (the 1st Advent weekend), I was at O.K.'s. Therefore, I did what cleaning and decorating I wanted to do on the Friday evening, so that I would find my flat nice and cosy on my return.

We had planned a day trip to Lake Constance with a group of friends for the Sunday, but it rained all day, so we cancelled that trip. This resulted in an unexpected quiet and relaxing Sunday at O.K.'s home - very nice for a change!

He cooked Shakshouka for us that evening - so delicious, and a "first" for us. A colleague of his had told him about this dish, and we'd been wanting to try it for ourselves for ages. Now was the time, and O.K.'s version was very nice, hot and spicy, and very filling. This dish has its own wikipedia entry right here.

Because of the day trip that had originally been planned for the Sunday, I had taken Monday off work and returned home that morning; O.K. dropped me off at the station on his way to work. I went to lunch at my parents', also to see my Dad of course, and last but not least to pick up "my" tin of Christmas cookies made by a close family friend who is like an older brother for me and who was trained as a proper baker when he was a young lad.

On the Monday night, I was scheduled to host the "Living Advent Calendar" (see my previous post). The weather was awful - that much needed rain was coming down in buckets, and not one single person showed up! Good job I had not needed to invest much time and effort into the preparations, and I made the most of it by enjoying another unexpected quiet time to myself.

The rest of the week was busy work-wise, and as I said above, I spent the weekend nursing my cold. 

Today I am much better, although not yet 100 %. I used the time alone at home to write my Christmas cards (hand-writing takes me AGES) and wrap my gifts, and get the parcels ready for family and friends in England. When I finish writing this post, I'll take the parcels and cards to the post office - venturing out for the first time since Friday! It is sunny and cloudy, probably won't be raining, and not too cold at currently 4C.

Sorry - this was a bit long.

Monday 3 December 2018

Remember, Remember the Month of November

December is already three days old, and I have hardly written anything in November. As you know from my previous post, the larger part of October and all of November have, for my family, mostly revolved around my Dad's health.
He came home two weeks ago, and he sounds and looks and behaves like my Dad again more and more every day. (Not that I really see him every day, mind you - but I guess you know what I mean.)
There are still things he can not (yet?) do on his own, but compared to how he was while he was still in hospital, he is doing well and I think we should focus on what he CAN do.
Later this week, physio therapy will pick up again, which will not only mean he'll get out and about a bit more, but also that there will be further progress where his physical strength is concerned.
Thank you all so much for your kind comments and the messages that reached me outside my blog!

What else happened since my last post?

On the 19th/20th, I was in Erfurt for work-related meetings. Erfurt is a city in what used to be the GDR (East Germany) and a place I've never been to before. On the most direct route, it is roughly 320 km from Ludwigsburg. By train, it takes between 4 1/2 and 5 hours.

The hotel was in the historic town centre, and I wish I would have taken a few pictures. However, it was dark by the time I left the hotel with a group of people (we were all booked elsewhere for dinner), and stopping for pictures wasn't convenient. Therefore, all I can show you is my rather large, very clean and quite comfortable room.
Unlike so many hotels in Germany, this one had what I always appreciate: tea & coffee-making facilities! No matter where in England I've been, I've always had a kettle, cups/mugs and a selection of tea bags etc. in the room, even at the most modest hotels or B&Bs. And I am one of those people who simply like to have their first coffee before facing the crowd in the breakfast room, especially when the day ahead is going to be a busy one with many people to listen (and talk) to.

It started to snow on the 20th around lunch time, as this view from the hotel's dining room proves:
Half of the train ride home that evening was through winter wonderland, it was the first snow I've seen this season.

Our Christmas market opened last Tuesday (on the 27th), and my sister and I went to the opening. My sister took these pictures of me as I am going through various "must do's" at the market:
At one of the entrances, now with concrete blocks and huge water bags to stop terrorist attacks.
Queuing for... staple food during the weeks leading up to Christmas!
Choosing cards
Having white mulled wine with slices of ginger - very nice!
Angels spreading their protective wings over the market
The last third of the month saw some impressive clouds and - finally!! - a little rain. It was very welcome! It felt odd having to remember to take an umbrella when leaving the house; for months and months and months, it simply wasn't necessary, because it never rained.

A trip to nearby Marbach was scheduled for the 29th. You have seen the place where I work about once a month before on my blog, for instance in February of this year.
For the first time, I used the panorama option on my phone's camera, taking in the view across the river Neckar from the terrace of the literature museum:

As you can see, it was (yet another!) sunny day, and I enjoyed the walk to and from the train station to the archive and museum. One way takes me about 15 minutes, and I arrived with plenty of time to spare before my scheduled meetings were to begin.

Now November is over, the 1st Advent Sunday is already gone as well, and I am hosting my part of the "Living Advent Calendar" tonight. (I have explained about this here; this year is my 7th year.) As every year, I have no idea who - and how many - are going to show up; it has been a very mild (almost warm!) day with blustering wind and lots of (very welcome) rain, so I do not expect a big turn-out. But we'll see, and I shall duly report!

Monday 19 November 2018

November News

Good news for my family: My Dad is coming home today!! He has made great progress over the past two weeks at the rehab clinic, and I am very proud of him - it must have been really hard work to get to where he is now. There is still room for improvement, of course, and we are sure that returning to his familiar environment will give his mind another boost, and further increase his motivation to continue working on his physical condition.

Unfortunately, I won't be there to welcome him, as I am out of town for work for the next two days, and there are two more work-related events I am supposed to attend later this week. But as soon as I can, I'll pop in with my parents to see how my Dad has been settling in. Actually, I think it is good for my parents to have time to themselves at first, before the round of visitors begins!

So, it looks like my biggest Christmas wish this year - to have my Dad back with us, and him really being my Dad again - is coming true.

Now I've said it: The C-word... some of you dread it, I know from your blogs. I love it, as you know from my blog. It is still a bit over two weeks until the opening of my home town's Christmas Market, but it has turned cold enough now to see the first frost appear on my neighbour's lawn, as spotted this weekend from my kitchen window.

So far, November has been very colourful and not at all the grey, dreary month it is often thought of. Here is photographic evidence :-)

At quarter past 7 on the 10th of this month, this was the morning sky as seen from my bedroom window:

And here the view from my kitchen window:

A walk with O.K. around the perimeter of his village on the 11th:

The mountain range in the distance are the Vosges:

It was foggy on the morning of the 14th, as you can tell from this (yes, another one!) view from my kitchen window:

The mulberry tree in front of my bedroom lights up the day with its yellow leaves, no matter how thick the fog is:

After visiting my Dad yesterday, walking from the clinic to the train station, my Mum and I came across this car - look at the license plate! I don't think I've ever seen a car bearing my name :-)

I hope November is full of colour for you, too.