Without having checked, I think I might have been using this same headline in previous years. I know that for me, somehow the end of August and beginning of September always sets a special marker within the year. It is not necessarily the back-to-school mood that obviously prevails in families with children of school age, or when you work as a teacher or school staff. Neither is the case with me, and more often than not, during my own school days summer holidays did not end at the end of August, but up to two weeks earlier or later. (In Germany, summer holidays are set on a sort of rota for each federal state. They span the entire period from end of June to mid-September, making sure that not all of Germany have their holidays at the same time, in order to avoid total chaos on the motorways etc.)
Anyway, back to topic! It is the last day of August, but it already feels like mid-September. Of course, that is due to the weeks of hot and dry weather we have had, with many trees already shedding their leaves or at least turning brown.
My fourth week back from Yorkshire started with Monday, August 22, working from home - not my home this time, but O.K.'s cottage. I had accompanied him on the drive back to the village on Sunday night, with my little suitcase and my work laptop. It was his sister's birthday on Monday, and since I did not have any appointments that required me to be on site in Ludwigsburg, Marbach or Stuttgart, I came along.
It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot, so that we could celebrate J's birthday in their garden. There were just the six of us - J and her husband, J's and O.K.'s parents and O.K. and myself. Burgers were grilled, and everyone put together their own burger, with a choice of buns, sauces and toppings. My favourite were the diced onions, caramelised and boiled with port wine. Lovely! One burger was big enough to fill any hungry stomach, but because it all tasted to good, some of us had another half each. There was well chilled rosé wine or beer, and of course plenty of water to drink. I enjoyed the evening very much, and hope J did, too - it was her birthday, after all.
I traveled home on Tuesday morning without a hitch, and after work met an old school friend for a walk in the palace grounds.
On Wednesday, I went to see my parents after work.
|August 24, about 7:30 pm|
|Sunrise on Friday, 6:23 am|
It was very hot and humid on Friday; even not doing anything physically more demanding than cleaning my flat after work, I was wet through. During my lunch break, I ran an errand for my parents and arrived at their place soaked, and it really wasn't that long a walk. Late afternoon, the threatening thunderstorm finally materialised - and most importantly, rain!!! Thunder and lightning were not directly hitting us, and the rain was not torrential; rather the gentle, steady kind we were so looking forward to.
It was raining again when I left the house on Saturday to travel to O.K.'s. The trip was chaotic to say the least, and took me a full four hours instead of the usual two. I was still in time for another birthday celebration, though: O.K.'s Mum had her birthday on Friday, but we went for a family meal at an Italian restaurant with a good beer garden on the Saturday, and afterwards sat on O.K.'s parents' patio with drinks until dark.
The sun was fully back on Sunday. For the 2nd time this year, O.K. got our bikes ready. We cycled to a village about 12 km from O.K.'s where the local riding club was hosting a fête, complete with show riding and competitions. Maybe you remember that back in July, we were at a wedding? It was the very same friends we were meeting there, and the same riding club. We enjoyed our food and drink and of course chatting with our friends before riding home on our bikes some time mid-afternoon. On the way, we stopped for an ice cream in the village, and after a little rest at home, went for a brief walk to take in the beautiful evening light.
|Ice cream on Sunday afternoon|
|Sunset on Sunday evening - now as early as a quarter past 8!|