The week leading up to Christmas did not only see me putting up my Christmas tree, as described in my previous post. I also managed to get two good walks in.
On Monday, December 19, after my trains back from O.K.'s were both on time, I arrived at my flat at around 9:15 in the morning. At 3:00 pm I interrupted work for two hours, walking to Benningen and taking the local train back, then working for another while until I called it a day.
|Arriving at the outskirts of Benningen. The sunset was much more colourful than what my mobile phone's camera picked up.
Tuesday (Dec. 20) was much milder, which was good since I had to go to my client's office to work there, and they won't heat the building as good as in previous years so I am permanently cold there. I had another appointment in the same industrial estate that day, to look at facilities we will use in February for a meeting of our professional association. They invited me to have lunch at their beautiful canteen, and the rooms are really good for our purpose, so we're all set for February.
It rained on Wednesday (Dec. 21) morning, but then the sun came out, and it was spring-like at 11 Celsius (51.8 F). Working from home allowed me to schedule my day more or less as I pleased, and you know what I had in mind - another walk, of course! I walked to Benningen once more, but on my "lower" route (I have an "upper" and a "lower" route and usually alternate between the two; both are between 10 and 11 km). The light was incredibly beautiful; my pictures can not really do it justice. Look at the golden light and dark grey clouds and imagine this about twice as intense.
I found this day with its promise of spring and spectacular light very fitting for solstice.
Thursday (Dec. 22) was the final day of our Christmas market. For my lunch break, I met up with my sister for one last visit; we ate there and then ran some errands for our Mum before I went back to work. It rained later, so no walk.
It was again really mild on Friday (Dec. 23), and in spite of heavy clouds I walked for about 1.5 hours between work and cleaning my flat, catching some of the rain on the last bit of the walk.
And then it was Christmas Eve! At noon, I went to my Mum's for some cleaning and last preparations for the evening. My sister and I had lunch with her before the two of us walked to the cemetery to leave a mini Christmas tree and candles for our Dad and R.
|Dad's bird with the mini tree and a poinsettia
Back home, I had enough time to speak to O.K. on the phone, have a shower and change before going back to my Mum's for our actual Christmas Eve celebration. For the first time ever, there were only the three of us, and my Mum remarked on how poor the dining table looked, laid out for three instead of the usual five or six (and more in some years in the past).But we lit the real candles on our pretty little tree and had our traditional Wiener sausages and spuds salad, exchanged our gifts and talked; funnily enough, there were no tears that evening, maybe because we'd done quite a bit of crying at the cemetery in the afternoon.
Sunday - Christmas Day - was still warm and began sunny and bright. I rang Mary (my mother-in-law in Yorkshire), and we chatted for close to an hour before I went to my Mum's to help getting everything ready for the Christmas lunch she was hosting for us, R's brother and his partner who were here from Berlin not only to see R's family (and us) but also to wrap things up at R's flat; a sad and demanding task, emotionally as well as physically.
|Can you believe the amount of Christmas presents I received? And that's without the ones from England (they have not yet arrived) and the ones from OK!
At the cottage, we exchanged our gifts before sitting down for a light supper.
The week was over, but Christmas wasn't - not yet!