Saturday 29 June 2019

June Almost Over!

Breaking news: June is almost over! There is only one more day left to this most glorious of the summer months (at least here, in my small part of the globe). This year, the month had everything from chilly days and nights to sweltering heat, from storms with thunder, lightning and hail to beautifully fresh, quiet summer mornings.

Roses were out in full force, cherries were picked from my kitchen window, mulberries out of the bedroom window. Walks and hikes and runs were made, a lot of lovely food, drink and ice cream was consumed, and in between all that, there was also some work and the near completion of my new bathroom.

These pictures are from the 10th of June, when O.K. and I spent the long weekend here at my place. That Monday was a bank holiday here (Pentecost Monday). It had been a rainy day, a bit on the chilly side, and it dried up a little only in the afternoon. We took the chance (and our hooded rain jackets) and walked to the palace grounds:


For the way back, we chose the longer, more beautiful route through the deer park. It started to rain again before we reached my place again.

Friday, the 14th of June, saw me and "the girls" get together for what is actually a regular institution: The first Friday of the month, we meet for a meal. Most of us have known each other through work, two of us still/again work together. If we can all make it, there are six or seven of us, but that Friday, there were only four. We had pizza, as you can see.

The next day, it took me more than three hours to get to O.K.'s (instead of the usual 2); there were many delays and cancelled trains, but eventually I made it there.

It was a sunny weekend, not really hot yet, but very pleasant to have drinks and our meals on the balcony, and good walking weather:

Rucola with Grana Padano and freshly baked baguette; Merguez (a spicy French sausage)
Full moon seen from the train home on Sunday evening
Full moon as seen from my bedroom a couple of hours later.
My bathroom as such is complete now:

There are little things still to decide on, such as a lamp above the mirror and a small cabinet on the wall to the left of the mirror. 
But two big things are still missing, too: The door to the room, and the glass partition and door to the shower. 
Several times I have been inquiring with the company who are to deliver and mount those parts, and several times I have been told they'd be in touch - but I didn't hear back from them when they said they were going to call about arrangements for the delivery, and so it has once again been me. Is it our job as customers to chase after our orders? One should think not! 
But of course I need a door to the room itself, even though the glass door to the shower is not so important (it is no problem at all with the shower curtain). Also, I need to know WHEN they turn up, as I need to take the smaller things out of the room to give them enough space to work, and maybe have to make arrangements with a neighbour to let them in, should it all happen while I am out for work. It all does not really reflect well on that company, and I certainly won't recommend them to others.

Monday 24 June 2019

A Doll's House

Well, actually, it was a hotel in Berlin, where I stopped for two nights at the beginning of this month. I went there for a three-day conference of the German Association of Data Protection Officers (my work), and since the conference location was fully booked, my colleague found a smaller place on the same road.

This was one of the most unusal places I have ever stayed at: The hotel consists of 8 rooms, some of them en-suite, two shared bathrooms, a breakfast room, kitchen and reception/office room. It comprises the entire first story (not ground floor) in a building that dates back a little more than 100 years. Originally, it was a flat for military officers and their servants. 

After WWII, a group of women who had lost their husbands took up residence with their children. In order that they could go to work, they took turns in minding each other's children. Later on, out of that group of women and their kids, a sort of Bohemian mini community formed. Various artists lived there permanently, some only when working in Berlin, such as actors when filming in Berlin-Babelsberg. 

Eventually, the hotel was sold to a couple of youngish men who run it today. They have renovated what was necessary (mainly the bathrooms, I imagine) but kept the original furniture where it was still useable. The hotel has a vintage look and feel - largely because everything in there IS vintage, no replicas!

I was at first put in the wrong room, and just as I was getting ready to unpack, one of the young men knocked at my door and told me about their mistake. He carried my little red suitcase to the best and largest room - also the farthest from the entrance door, along a long, winding corridor.

Here is what became my room:

The view from my window went towards this suprisingly quiet inner courtyard, right in the middle of the huge city:

It was proudly announced that the mattress on my bed was brand new, and the bed was indeed comfortalbe and the room clean. Breakfast was also fine, with fresh fruit and everything else you'd expect. But...
...during the day, temperatures rose above 30 Celsius (in the 90s F), and during the night it was no cooler than 27 or 28 (in the 80s F). What with the building being relatively old, no a/c and the windows badly insulated, it was nearly impossible to sleep. I kept the window open all night, but there was as good as no airflow from the enclosed courtyard.

Still, this was a very unusual hotel, definitely a different experience from your average business hotel!

One of the shared bathrooms was open on the morning we left, giving me the opportunity to take these pictures:

The windowless corridor, looking towards the entrance door (on the right) and reception (where the chairs are):

One corner of the breakfast room. (The sink is not in use anymore, just left there for decorative purposes.

Oh, and why the headline for this post? When I sent my sister pictures of my room, she commented that it looked like a doll's house. She is right - I have seen old-fashioned doll's houses just like that, with flower-printed wallpaper and painted wooden furniture a bit on the large side!

Thursday 20 June 2019

Horse Market Parade

For the 251st time this year, my hometown has been celebrating its Horse Market. Long-time readers of this blog will remember that apart from a proper horse market, the event means a fairground, show jumping and other horse-related shows along with prizes for the best, and the highlight on the Sunday afternoon: the parade.

Ever since I was little, I've been to watch the parade, with a few exceptions. This year, it was the weekend I was supposed to move back into my flat after almost three weeks of bathroom renovation. It was very hot on that Sunday (2nd of June), and even though my flat was a bit of a mess and very dusty from the work, I definitely did not want to spend this beautiful day with cleaning only and nothing else.

Usually, my Mum or even both my parents would have gone to watch the parade with me. But it was too hot for them to stand at the roadside for an hour and more, and so understandably, they both said no when I asked them.

My upstairs neighbours F and T (T, the husband, is a professional plumber and was also involved in my bathroom renovation) were home, and when I asked them if they felt like coming along, they were all for it. It has been only a year and a half that they have moved into the attic flat; they have left Turkey two years ago when the political situation there became unbearable (and possibly dangerous) for them.

We spent not only an entertaining hour watching the parade, but got ourselves ice creams afterwards, and leisurely strolled back up the road together to where we live. I did some more cleaning then, but left the bigger and noisier jobs (hoovering) to the next day. 

I did not take quite as many pictures as in previous years, but you can still get a good impression of the hour-long parade, I suppose:

Still my favourites: the Shire horses!