Tuesday 31 December 2019

Good Bye, 2019!

While I was still in bed this morning, my mind slowly and leisurely shifting from sleep to wake mode, I was thinking about what to write in today's blog post, the last for 2019. 

Should I bore you with the statistics of what the past 12 months were like for me? 
365 days, about 220 of which were working days, so and so many of them spent away from home, how many train trips back and forth between my town and O.K.'s village, miles walked or run, numbers of books read (33 - I am four reviews behind at the momment), dresses bought, meals consumed, parties attended?
I could do all that, but it would involve a lot of counting and jotting down, something I am not willing to do today.

Or should I do what I have done some years ago after having seen it on another blog: Look up the first post of each month of the year, and write down the first sentence of this post?

Maybe I could simply give a quick summary of what my year was like, or I could leave that for some time next week, before I go back to work.

Instead, I could just write down what I've been doing since my last post, and put a few pictures in to illustrate.

Tuesday, 24th of December, Christmas Eve:
After a very quick visit to my elderly neighbour (the one whose garden I have often showed you as the view from my kitchen window) to wish her Merry Christmas and give her a little something, I went to my parents' where my sister and I put the ornaments on the tree.
For the first time in 54 years, the tree has no real candles. I regret this, but it was the sensible thing to do; my Dad's mobility is severely limited now, and the room is just not big enough to make it feel safe with so many burning candles in the middle.
You will probably agree with me that the tree still looks very beautiful.

I went back home to have a light lunch (and eat up the fresh food I still had and would otherwise have to throw out) and give my flat a good cleaning, then just before 6:00 pm I went again to my parents, this time with all my presents.

We had the cosy kind of Christmas Eve we all want - our traditional meal of Wiener sausages and spuds salad, then exchanging our gifts, and the rest of the evening spent chatting, reminiscing and talking about anything and everything that comes to mind.

So many presents!!!
So many cards!!!

Wednesday, 25th of December, Christmas Day:
An early start for me, getting up at the same time as on a normal working day. I took three trains to O.K.'s, and both changes had me running with my suitcase to catch the next train - it was all rather exhausting, but I made it in time to O.K.'s.
We exchanged our presents (as usual, I got heaps of lovely and useful things!) at the cottage and then drove the short distance to the village where O.K.'s sister and her husband live, to have a festive meal there with the family.
The sun came out and allowed for an after-meal walk, which was truly welcome.
We spent the evening at O.K.'s watching a film that sounded much better in the TV listing than it actually was. Maybe more about that in a later post.

Thursday, 26th of December, 2nd Day of Christmas (as it is known in our parts):
Family Mass at the village church with the village band (including O.K.) providing the music, as per tradition. It was beautiful and well attended.
After a simple but filling lunch at the cottage, we made use of the free afternoon by walking the circumference of the village (more or less 7.5 km) and then spent a cosy and relaxed evening watching feel-good films on telly such as "Hitch" and "Mamma Mia", drinking G&Ts.

Ludwigsburg's market square after the Christmas market.
Friday, 27th of December:
We slept in as long as we could, catching up on what had not been possible earlier in the week. Some household work was done, and some time after 5:00 pm, the rain finally stopped, enabling us to walk to another village about 5 km away where we were expected to join O.K.'s extended family for a meal at a Chinese restaurant. About 20 of us were there, making for a lively evening.
It felt good to walk back, and even though it was about 10:00 pm then, it was still rather mild.

Saturday, 28th of December:
Originally, we had meant to drive back to my place that day, but changed our plans and had a very cosy day instead. We went for another walk around the village, briefly popped in at O.K.'s parents who had both not been all that well at Christmas, and then spent the evening watching all three "Back to the Future" films in a row.

Sunday, 29th of December:
Driving to Ludwigsburg took us around 1 hour 20 minutes - a welcome change from the train trips I am used to.
The day started with dense fog at the village, but less than half way into the trip, the sun came through, and we took advantage of it with a walk on the fields for about 2 hours almost immediately after arriving at my place.

One of several herons we saw. There were also some buzzards about, as well as numerous crows and pigeons.
This friendly cat from one of the farms walked with us for quite a while.
The nursery never ceases to intrigue me.
For tea/dinner, we met with my sister at the Indian restaurant nearby, and went back to my place for drinks and a chat afterwards.

Monday, 30th of December:
Knowing full well what to expect (crowds, crowds and more crowds), we couldn't resist going to Stuttgart for a browse of one of our favourite shops and a meal there.
In between, we walked in the park and had a good look at the giant construction site of what is to become Stuttgart's new, bigger, ultramodern railway station - eventually (we're talking years here).
At home, we had an easy meal of fresh pasta (a kind of ravioli filled with a mix of pumpkin, herbs and mascarpone) and red wine, followed by salted caramel ice cream and watching a quiz show on telly.

Tuesday, 31st of December:
When I have finished writing this, I will start baking something for tonight's New Year's Eve celebration at my parents'. It will be very low key, just five of us there, but we will clink glasses at midnight and stand on the balcony to watch the fireworks over the neighbourhood.

To all of you, I hope you will manage to keep what good and happy things you have in your lives, and get rid of what bothers you.
Happy New Year!


  1. Lovely to read about the good times you've been having with family and friends. I love that Christmas tree. It's truly beautiful even without candles. I wish you and your family a joyful New Year celebration and a satisfying 2020!

    1. Thank you, dear Kristi! I hope 2020 was off to a good start for you and yours.

  2. Thank you. That was interesting. However, I think that is the best wish I have seen: To all of you, I hope you will manage to keep what good and happy things you have in your lives, and get rid of what bothers you.
    Happy New Year!" I shall definitely pinch that for my own use. I shall call it "Meike's New Year Hope For Others".

    1. You are welcome to use my wish, Graham. I hope that even the most unhappy of my readers (whoever it may be at the moment) will have something or other in their lives that is good, and be able to focus on that, while working at the less positive aspects to change them, if possible.

  3. Such a great post Meike - you always astound me with all the local walks you take (hikes too when away), and your train trips to see your love! Glad you all decided to forego the live candles now - very dangerous, especially when tree dries out or gets knocked over, yikes! We had them in England when I was a child and I always cringe when recalling them!

    Sending you, your family, and loved ones, best wishes for the New Year - may it bring good health, happiness, peace and much joy to one and all. Will raise a glass to you at midnight.
    Hugs - Mary

    1. Thank you, dear Mary!
      As for the real candles, in more than 50 years we had them and our tree never burnt down, even with small children and several cats around. This year's adjustment was the sensible thing to do.

  4. What a lovely way to spend the Christmas period. Family, friends, simple pleasures and happiness. I wish you a very happy and healthy 2020 Meike.

  5. A lovely Christmas week. I have always enjoyed your comments on other blogs and now I am finally enjoying your blog. May you have a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year dear friend!

    1. Hello Bonnie! Thank you for popping over and your kind wishes, and all the best to you, too!

  6. I so loved reading this. It is sad about the candles though I sure understand why. I wonder if anyone over here uses real candles. I liked your hope for your readers. And the same to you!

    1. Thank you, dear Nan. I am glad you enjoyed this post. Not many over here use real candles, I think we were an exception.

  7. Fun to catch up with you a little bit. Your Christmas sounded like it was filled with family, friends, good food, walks and coziness. Perfect! Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you, too, Silke! I hope you and your loved ones are well.

  8. Having spent a Christmas in Zurich decades ago, we’ve followed the tradition of real tree candles (carefully watched) back here in Australia. I’ve always felt it to be one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Not this year though with so much of the country on fire! Jean

    1. I like it that you took the tradition of using real candles back home with you, but I also understand why you are not using them this year.
      It is something I have always found funny - to imagine Christmas in Australia, in the middle of summer!

  9. Nice to know what you've been up to. Hope the new year got off to a good start! :)

    1. Thank you, Monica! Good for me personally, yes, but with serious health concerns about my Dad.

  10. Oh what a lovely post telling us your relaxing times and your lovely walks too! Guess what, we watched Back To The Future over the holidays too! The first one, C. Wanted to watch it with us! I saw it the first time in 1985 in England with Richard's parents at the theatre in Eastbourne. Thrilled it was such a great movie from America, although Michael J. Fox is Canadian, of course!! You know, I love good films...I need to write a post! See, Meike, you've created a blogging monster! Happy 2020!

    1. The first one is my favourite of the set, followed by the third. There is quite a lot in the 2nd one that Imdid not like, but it is part of the story of course. Especially with the 1st, I could speak along with most of the dialogue, I have watched it so often!
      Happy 2020 to you, too, dear Kay - and I am still glad I persuaded you to start your own blog!