Tuesday 6 December 2022

Last of November, First of December

The last three days of November were here, starting with Monday, the 28th. It was a good day for desk work, which I did all day, and not ideal for walking. Nonetheless I went out after work; the soft drizzle wasn't too bad but I decided against the muddy fields and instead visited parts of town where I had not been in a while.

This tree in front of a bank next to one of our main roads is always particularly beautiful.

The rain continued into Tuesday (Nov. 29), but I reached my work place for the day largely dry. People at the German Literature Archive in Marbach always make me feel welcome, and we had a productive and pleasant meeting. 

View from the top of the hill where the archive and museum are; Ludwigsburg is shrouded in fog.

View towards Benningen on the other side of the river, where I so often direct my walks.
By late afternoon, it stopped raining, and so my Mum, my sister and I met up to visit the Christmas market together. I was so happy when my sister suggested that, and all three of us enjoyed it. We started early enough for it not to be too packed yet, and when the crowds really descended on the market, we went home.

Sorry for the blurry pictures - I was not focusing properly while making sure to keep up with my Mum and my sister.


I had to be up early on Wednesday, the 30th, for an appointment at the breast cancer screening centre. They invite me for a mammography every two years, and I duly go. In the past, I have had false alarms, and I am not scared or anything, but better safe than sorry, right? The result should arrive by letter some time this week.

Sunset was going to be at around 4:30 pm with full darkness around 5:00 pm, so I had to go early if I wanted to walk in daylight, putting in maybe another hour or two of work afterwards. I did that, and in spite of the day being entirely grey, it was good.

It's unusual to see so much foliage still on the trees in December, but it looks beautiful and lights up a grey day.

Benningen town hall, next to the station where I always board the local train to get back to Ludwigsburg.
Thursday, the 1st of December, was here: I had not just one, but FOUR Advent calendars to open! (All of them with chocolate...)

Work was on-site at my client's today, but they are saving on energy bills and the office building is not heated properly. I knew that and dressed warmly, but no matter how warm you dress, when you sit most of the day and only your fingers move at the keyboard, the chill creeps into you anyway. They have also set the taps for the toilet sinks on cold water only - I HATE having cold hands to begin with and then having to wash them in cold water! Next, I was looking forward to a hot lunch at their canteen, which is usually really good. To my disappointment, my food was only luke warm... at a restaurant, I would have sent it back, but in this situation, I ate quickly to get at least a remainder of warmth. Still, all things considered, it was a good day, but I am considering NOT working on site there this week.

Friday, the 2nd of December: The much awaited Schrottwichteln ("Secret Rubbish Santa") with my girl friends was taking place at my home, as per our tradition. Several times, I have posted about this event on my blog; as a group of friends, we have been doing this for at least 20 years. We started out alternating between our respective places, but ever since my husband died, I have been the host, and it is always a cheerful evening. That does not mean that we do not talk about serious or sad things - we do -, but mostly, that night is a happy one.

There were only four of us at my flat, with our friend from Northern Germany joining us by video link.

The next morning, Saturday (Dec. 3), I got up early again. My trains to Offenburg were on time; I arrived at O.K.'s cottage at lunch time for a quick snack before we set off: The next two hours, we went from door to door in the part of the village assigned to us, selling tickets for the village band's annual concert. 

For the past two years, the concert could not take place, but now we were back, and it felt as if we'd only been round people's doors last year, not three years ago. We sold many tickets and had a few nice conversations, but I was more than ready to go home and spend the rest of the afternoon and the evening in the warm cottage, doing a few household jobs while O.K. had to go out again - so close to the concert, there are extra rehearsals scheduled for the band, not just the one band practice on Wednesday evenings. 

On the 2nd Advent Sunday, the 4th of December, we only went for a quick walk around the village in the early afternoon; the rain increased in intensity, and by the time it was dark, the sound on the cottage's roof windows made one glad to be indoors. After coffee and cake, we put up a few bits of decoration; while O.K. put in another hour or so of trumpet practice, I read blogs and played on my ipad. We finished the week with a delicious meal of cheese, bread and wine, followed by a movie on TV.


  1. I have my mammogram and bone density tests this week. We get results within the hour and they are sent to our computer. Hope we both have good results, Meike!
    You are brave to walk in the rain. I just stay in and ride my exercycle on days that are too cold or rainy.
    I enjoy the touches of Christmas that are appearing everywhere and have just started to put my own decorations up around the house - bit by bit...

    1. Yes, let's hope for good results, Ellen!
      A little rain does not bother me, but when it is really pouring outside, I rather stay in, too.
      In time for my visitors on Friday night, I added more Christmas bits, and this weekend I plan to put up my tree.

  2. Washing your cold hands in cold water ! Antibacterial gel might be a better solution.
    Companies should not get away with reducing the heating but they do, alas.
    Do you have stratagems both mental & physical for addressing cold days & nights ?
    Soldiers, mountain climbers, North & South Pole explorers all have to battle the freeze.
    As a child I thought of Scottish weather as character forming. I was a cheerful boy.
    That view towards Benningen is uplifting, it will raise your spirits on wet days.
    Music is essential. The village band and OK's trumpet playing.
    I am hearing Trumpet Voluntary in my head: Jeremiah Clark's masterpiece.
    A little chocolate stimulates the brain like opening a door in your Advent calendar.

    1. *Jeremiah Clarke: Trumpet Voluntary.*
      This classic is posted under Britain Shall Prevail, whatever that means.
      Little is known about Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707) but his trumpet solo is played at many a church wedding as the bride walks down the aisle to meet the bridegroom.

    2. Gel does not feel the same as soap and water when it comes to clean hands. I rather stay home and work from here than go to the office until it gets a little warmer.
      My stratagems, if you can call them that, for cold times are hot drinks and blankets, as well as getting out well wrapped and move. The flat feels very warm when I return from a walk!
      I read the information about Jeremiah Clarke that came with the youtube clip. What a troubled soul he must have been.

  3. I like the white lights on the tree. Beautiful!

    1. Which one, Sandi? The two lit up trees are in different places, and maybe the photos come across differently on your computer screen; the lights are actually golden.

  4. It seems to be the week for mammograms. I joined you and Ellen in getting mine--this morning, as a matter of fact. Would seem the weather has not been too conducive to walking--and the on-site office situation doesn't sound terribly workable either. That creeping kind of cold that seeps into ones' bones makes it hard to concentrate because all you can think about is how cold you are. Hope you are able to simply work from home.

    One of my sons is working nearby you today in Stuttgart. Of course, his overnight flight was delayed, so missed his connection to the city and arrived late. He will be struggling to overcome fatigue today as he goes straight into meetings. Such is life these days. Here's to an improved work week for both of you.

    1. Not knowing what your son does for work, I wonder whether he could not simply work remotely, as so many people do now; business or work trips have certainly declined. Apart from the environmental and economical impact, it means that people have to cope less with the discomfort of late arrivals and change of time zones.

      You are so right about the cold seeping into one's bones and making it hard to focus on work! I think I will stay here this week and not go to the office, unless my client really wants me to.

  5. Chilly office, cold water and luke warm food sounds like a rather miserable combination, and not likely to induce a good work atmosphere... Sounds better under those conditions to work from home if you have that possibility!

    1. Normally, I have that possibility. This week, I have a few documents that do not (yet) exist in digital form and that I would like to hand over, but they are not urgent, so I could skip my on-site day this week and only go in once more before Christmas.