Wednesday 25 April 2018

Last of Our Spa Break

Of the 1 hour computer time I have set myself for today, 27 minutes are over and were spent with reading and replying to emails. The rest should be plenty for another blog post - I finally want to show you the rest of our Spa Break back in March.

Good Friday, the 30th of March, was our last day. We had a sumptuous breakfast and then took advantage of the beautiful sunny morning (unlike the other days of our stay here) for some photos of our surroundings.

View from our balcony
Church and vicarage seen from the breakfast terrace
Spa area seen from the breakfast terrace
Hotel entrance - this one is for Kay :-)

After checking out of the hotel, we went back to a place where we had been two days before with zero visibility. The panormaic pictures were taken by O.K. and I have his permission to show them here. You can see the Alps in the distance, and Lake Constance.

We then drove to nearby Ilmensee, a small town by a lake that must be very popular in summer for rowing boats, swimming, sunbathing and walking opportunities.

Last stop on the way home was Birnau at Lake Constance. By then, the sky had begun to cloud over, but the spot near the church (a famous place for pilgrims) made for good views.

We arrived back home well in time for dinner at my parents'. That week had been a very nice and relaxing break, and we were now ready for Easter.

Monday 23 April 2018

Not Really Back Yet...

...but I am allowed to read/write for short periods, and so today I am at my computer for the first time. I have set a timer so that I won't stay too long; it is still hard to read anyway, which is why I won't come visiting your blogs for at least another week. I miss reading your posts, though, and hope you are all well.

This is just to let you know I'm alright. The operation went well and I had no nausea or other negative effects from the full anaesthetics. I was "out" for about 2 hours. The last 15 minutes pre-surgery were the worst, and the first day felt a little unreal. When the patch over my eye was removed for the first time on Saturday morning, I was tempted to shout "leave it!", as it felt so well protected. But the eye needed of course to be looked at, and drops were administered every hour. By Sunday, I was gaining confidence and walking without the patch.

My stay in hospital was 4 days. There were 4 beds in the room, and I must admit much as the other three ladies were nice, they were also noisy - especially at night, when their snoring was as if you were sharing a room with a group of overweight truck drivers.
One of them left the day after my OP, the other two left on Sunday morning - having the room to myself until I was released Monday around lunch time was heavenly!

My bed was the one with the yellow tulips on the bedside table.

OK came visiting on the Saturday and Sunday, he drove 150 km just to spend a few hours with me! My sister and my Mum also came visiting, brought flowers and chocolates. The guinea pig was a gift from my sister, to keep me company. 

My family and friends were (and still are!) the loveliest people on Earth, looking after me so well. At the hospital, everyone, regardless of their function/job/position, from the woman wiping to the floor to the doctor who operated my eye, was friendly, kind and made sure that in a potentially rather unpleasant and maybe painful situation, you were still feeling as well as possible, and treated like a human being, not just "the epiretinal gliosis in room 206".

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you and all of them!

Back home, spring had turned into summer (I call it "sprummer") for a full week - we had nearly 30 Celsius on Sunday afternoon! I am officially allowed walks, as long as I don't overdo it. Going for an ice cream was NOT overdoing it in my opinion ;-)

View from my kitchen window, as OK saw it when he spent the weekend at my place

More soon (also the rest of the photos from our spa break) when I am allowed more computer time.

Thursday 12 April 2018

Spa Break Continued

The day after we arrived was Wednesday, the 28th of March. It was a grey day, and we did go out for a walk but took few pictures:

This was the pattern we established for ourselves for this day and the next: Sleep as long as we like, have a sumptuous and leisurely breakfast, don our walking boots and go for a walk until around lunch time, get back to the hotel, undress and put on our bathrobes (provided for by the hotel), go downstairs to the spa area, have our scheduled massages, spend the rest of the afternoon spa-ing and resting, go back upstairs to our room, get dressed properly and sit down for our three-course dinner at the hotel restaurant, accompanied by a glass of wine or two - all organic food and drink.

On the Thursday, we had less time for our after-breakfast walk plus it was looking very much like rain, so we did not move far from the village, as you can see. But it was still good to be out in the fresh air, and although the woodland had more of an autumnal atmosphere, there were signs of spring if you were looking closely enough.

St. Georg, Limpach:

The vicarage next to the church - have a close look at the windows on the far right. Notice anything unusual?

 This is how far we dared to go that morning:

Woods still looking more like autumn:

The barn on the other side of the road from the hotel is part of the hotel owners' farm. It was built by the current owners' ancestors in the 18th century and is still used as a barn.

The next day was sunny and brought the opportunity for more pictures before we had to leave, but these will have to wait for another post.

Speaking of which, I don't know yet when I will be able to post again. Because tomorrow morning, I'll go to hospital for surgery on my left eye. The operation is on Friday, the 13th - good job I am not superstitious! My surgeon told me to expect to stay in hospital for about 4 days and then stay home for at least two weeks, banned from work and sports. Vision should be restored by Day 5 or so, but I'll have to avoid anything that could increase the inner eye pressure. That will probably mean I won't be allowed (or able) to read and write online for a while, at least not for more than a few minutes at a time to begin with.

But I am definitely going to be back as soon as it is feasible and risk-free.
"See" you soon, I hope!

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Read in 2018 - 6: A Boy*s Own Dale

A Boy's Own Dale
Terry Wilson

This is another of the books I bought last summer at The Little Ripon Bookshop. I am such a slow reader these days, it takes me almost a year to get through a small pile. That has to do with two things: 1. My eyes are not as good anymore as to allow me hours of reading before lights out. 2. I read on my kindle while on the train or elsewhere, and physical books are mostly kept for bedtime reading.

"A Boy's Own Dale" consists of Terry Wilson's memoirs, describing his childhood in the 1950s in Settle, a small town in Yorkshire.

Many people see this now as an enchanted time, a "golden" past where and when everything and everyone was, somehow, simpler and therefore better.
Of course we all know it wasn't like that; there was no such thing as the good old times.
For many who lived their (adult) lives in those years, post-war Britan (like most post-war countries in Europe) largely meant hard work for little money and conservative role models to adhere to with hardly any personal free time or room for the individual life styles we so appreciate today.
Still, for a little boy like Terry, it was his childhood, and a good one at that.

Yes, he worked hard at school, especially once he became eligible for the prestigious school in the next town. "Not the gas works for him", his Grandma said when he passed the entrance exam.
But Terry loved the outdoors, and outside school, nearly all his activities are set there.
He often went out on his own, disappearing all day until tea time, and nobody was worried - different times indeed.

Unlike many children nowadays who spend more time indoors than out, either watching TV or playing computer games, with sports often happening only in the organised manner of a club or at school, Terry was always out and about. He shot, he fished, he grew his own vegetables (and fetched prizes at local shows for them) and did a hundred other things without ever getting bored.
I bet he was not overweight and plagued by allergies like so many children today.
It was an enjoyable read, easy to imagine the places and people the author described, without making me want to turn back time and live in those days.

Terry Wilson died in 2015 at 84.

Monday 9 April 2018

Spa Break

The Tuesday after my Big Birthday Bash, O.K. and I drove (well, he drove, of course) from his village to a place not far from Lake Constance, where we had booked a 3 nights break at a spa hotel. O.K. had been to the place several times before, so he knew more or less what to expect, but an extension has been added since his last visit and so some bits were new to him, too.

The village of Limpach consists of hardly more than a church, the hotel where we stayed, a farm with rooms for holiday guests, a small nursery school and a handful of farms and other houses. No shop, no pub. Oh, and two bus stops!

It is a very quiet place with fresh, clean air - perfect to relax. The hotel has a warm, down-to-earth feel to it, not overly posh (although everything is of good quality). The owner's family have been living in the village for hundreds of years, and still run their own farm across the road. Most of what they serve at the hotel for meals comes from their own (organic) farm.

Here are some pictures of our first day, the 27th of March.

Actually, the first picture is still at home at O.K.'s. The pink blossoms on the tree in his neighbour's garden were such a welcome and pretty sight, one of the first blooming trees I'd seen this spring!

Our room at the hotel:

View from our room:

Another view from our room, towards the spa's garden:

The village seen from a distance during our first walk in the area the same afternoon:

The village church was built in 1275 but has obviously seen alterations and renovations since. The door was open, so we went inside and O.K. took these pictures. The purple curtains hide the saints until they will be revealed on Easter Sunday.

You will see pictures of the church from the outside and some more of the area in another post.

We enjoyed a good dinner on our first evening at the hotel, and I slept like a log - the past few weeks had been so intense, I was really ready for this break!

Friday 6 April 2018

Pub Quiz

In my last post, I said I was going to give you the questions we used for the pub quiz at my BBB (Big Birthday Bash) on the 25th of March. See how you would have fared!

The winning team consisted of 5 people, O.K. including (and no, he did not know the questions any more, and his threat that I wouldn't be his girlfriend anymore if he didn't win was not meant seriously!). 
The prize were 6 piccolo bottles of sparkling wine. As there were 5 to the team, they decided to give the 6th bottle to the person whose birthday was next to mine. That was my friend and colleague RO, and I thought this a really nice gesture of the winning team.

Here are the questions:

1. What is Meike's favourite colour?
2. What types of food are almost daily part of Meike’s diet?
3. How old was Meike when she learned to read?
4. Where in England does Meike spend a holiday every year?  
5. What languages does Meike speak?
6. How many surnames has Meike had so far?
7. Meike's place of birth?
8. Meike's favourite holiday in the course of the year?
9. What profession did Meike originally learn?
10. What was the name of Meike's white cat?
11. How many years has Meike been living in her current flat?
12. What year did Meike get her driving license?
13. Which Star Trek actor's birthday is also on the 22nd of March?
14. Is Meike right or left-handed?
15. Meike's furthest trip so far went where?
16. How many years has Meike been coming to the pub quiz here at “Towers”?
17. What day of the week was the 22nd of March 1968?

Wednesday 4 April 2018

The Fun

Phew - what a turbulent but wonderful few weeks I have had!
As you already know, it all started with an impromptu party at my place on the 22nd of March, my actual birthday.

On Friday night, my Mum and I went to a concert which was excellent. On Saturday afternoon, we met my relatives from England at the airport. Their plane landed 15 minutes early but then there was an unexplained holdup at passport control, and we had to wait nearly an hour for them. Never mind, they were finally there, and it was so great to see them!
My sister invited us all to her place for the evening. We ordered pizzas and had a few bottles of wine (and beer for "the lads", i.e. O.K. and my nephew, who is 24).

On Sunday morning, they all came to my place for breakfast. Usually on a Sunday morning, breakfast means just O.K. and myself at the kitchen table - this time, there were 9 of us crowding my small living room, but everyone found a place to sit and it did not matter that plates had to be kept on knees as the coffee table was completely covered in breakfast things. 

The weather was beautiful, and so after breakfast, we all walked to the palace grounds for a stroll in the sun and some photos.

O.K. and I left the others then with my sister, because I had to be at the pub early to talk to the staff and make sure everything was as it should be.
The first guests started to arrive at 3:00 pm, and then the fun begun in earnest!

Altogether, there were 66 of us at the pub, with only a handful missing due to illness or other reasons. All food and drinks were on me, plus we had a pub quiz with questions about me that my sister and I had made up. I will post the questions for you in another post, just for fun - see how many you would have been able to answer!
The party lasted until nearly 11:00 pm, when O.K. and I were the last to leave.

On Monday morning, we met with my relatives from England again for breakfast, this time at a nearby café, to give them an idea of a typical German breakfast. Afterwards, we had enough time for some shopping in the town centre before we had to take them to the airport again. A whirlwind weekend was over - and I loved every minute of it!!

Monday evening, O.K. and I drove to his village. Tuesday, we left there for our spa break at a very nice hotel in the middle of nowhere (near Lake Constance; more on that in another post). 

We spent three very restful days there, with massages, sauna, walks in woodland and excellent food. Good Friday saw us once again on the road back to Ludwigsburg, for dinner at my parents'. Saturday it was back to the village, because O.K. was scheduled to play with the village band in church the next morning for Easter Sunday Service.

O.K.'s sister and brother-in-law had invited us for dinner that day, so: more excellent nosh!
Easter Monday was mostly sunny and mild so we went for a run (more or less!) in the morning and a walk in the afternoon before I had to catch the train back home.

Yesterday was my first day back at work. It felt as if I've been away for much longer - it was only a week, really, but I packed it chock full so that it felt like twice as long (in a good way, of course!). 

I am still overwhelmed by the amount of cards, presents, flowers, kind wishes and phone calls I received - there was not even enough space on the sideboard to hold everything, and I will go through all my cards once more to make sure I won't forget to say thankyou to everybody who thought of me.