For me, the week from Jan. 23 to 29 held several highlights, some of which I had planned, while others came as a surprise.
Monday, Jan. 23, started nicely with a pre-work morning walk with my friend. We had not seen each other since before Christmas, when she and her family went to the US over the holiday period to be with their families there. I didn't know it then, but that was to remain the only walk worth mentioning for days.
Then followed a succession of appointments, and by the time the work day ended, I was ready for a quiet night.
After well over half a year since our last pub quiz, on Tuesday (24th of January), my team finally played the quiz again! We made it to 3rd place, and two of our team mates went home with a bottle of sparkling wine each (not me, as I prefer the brands O.K. and I usually buy). It was great fun and felt so much like "before" - although admittedly, I still find it hard to handle a very full and noisy venue, and we still miss our deceased friend Martin.
On Wednesday (Jan. 25), I worked at the office and managed a brief walk with a colleague during lunch break. Like most of the week, it was a day of humid cold without really raining; not pleasant to be outdoors but good enough as long as one kept moving.
The only bit I walked on Thursday, the 26th of January, was between my Mum's and my place. I spent my lunch break there, enjoying home-made lasagne straight from the oven. Perfect food for another cold and wet-ish day, and always good to see my Mum, of course.
Friday (Jan. 27) saw me on my usual journey to Offenburg. My trains were on time; a good start to the weekend.
Between finishing work, cleaning and washing and packing my little red suitcase, I did not want to rush around and so it was one more walk-less day.
The weather was again cold, windy and grey on Saturday, the 28th of January. We walked to the bottom of the village (O.K.'s cottage is in the upper part) for one or two things we wanted from the shops, and instead of going straight back home, we took a detour across fields, orchards and vineyards - the 2nd and last walk of the week.
It may sound a little obsessive to some of my readers, but I really do feel that something is missing when I can not walk as often and as long as is my habit, and so I was truly glad for that hour or so.
Back at the cottage, coffee and cake were next, and then I rested for a bit while O.K. took care of some matters he had not had time for during the week, before he prepared our evening meal.
One of the surprise highlights of this week came after the meal; let me explain: Many of you are familiar with the Harry Potter books or films (or both). I love them, and you could say I am something of a fan.
When some time last year I found out there was a "20 Years of Hogwarts" reunion of the cast and crew, with interviews taken at the original film sets and plenty of background information, I knew I had to see that. But at the time, the event was viewable only via tickets bought on Sky TV (which I do not have). O.K. wanted to give me the viewing as a Christmas present, but his research only produced illegal (and probably bad quality) stuff which neither of us wanted to have anything to do with.
That evening, he found it available for streaming/download on Amazone Prime (which I do not have, either), and bought it for me to watch there and then - and I loved every minute of it!! I know I will want to watch it again.
My last highlight of the week was on Sunday (Jan. 29). Actually, two: For the first time that week, the sun broke through properly around lunch time. The rest of the afternoon was of clear blue skies, just right for the Winter BBQ in the woods we were invited to.
This BBQ is a special event on behalf of one of the nearby communities. They, like all the other communities in the area, hold auctions for wood in their communal woods every year. This usually happens on a Saturday in January or February. People come and bid for lots in the woods where responsibility of cutting the trees falls on the winning bidder, while others bid for trees that have already been cut by the community. Usually, a fire is lit, sausages and bacon are grilled, and drinks can be bought - all very basic and rustic.
|The bar is open! Drinks are self-service, grilled food is not.
We all gather round the fire, have our food and drinks, catch up with those we have not seen in a long time, and chat to our friends.
|At a quarter to 5:00 pm, the sun gets ready to leave.
|Click on the picture to enlarge it; if you look carefully more or less towards the middle, you may just about make out the moon.
|Large tree trunk I came across while looking for a place to answer nature's call.
|The Christmas tree made for an impressive bonfire!
|A few minutes before 6:00 pm; down where we were, it was much darker.