Monday 27 February 2023

Last Full Week of February

Only today and tomorrow to go, and March will be here, bringing not only the spring equinox and official beginning of spring for my part of the world, but also my birthday (and that of several people dear to me) plus a mini break, a week-long course for work and most likely a pub quiz,

Last Monday (the 20th of February) was sunny, and very mild at 14C (57.2F). I spent my lunch break at my Mum's (of course having an excellent meal), and after work, my sister joined me for the first time on one of my most frequent routes, across the fields via Freiberg to Benningen.

Tuesday, the 21st of February, was equally sunny and mild. And good job it was - because due to repairs, my trains ended in Korntal, one town/stop before Weilimdorf, where I work. A replacement bus service was operating, but I had no intention of using that - it would have taken me almost as long as walking, and so I walked, still being on time for my first meeting of the day. The way back was the same; it is not a very nice walk, but the good weather helped.

This was the best part - a foot path along the rail tracks. For most of the time, I crossed from one industrial estate into the next.
Wednesday (Feb. 22) saw me working from home, avoiding the local train problems and starting work early. I also finished earlier than usual that day, as an outing was planned for my department: Ten of us were booked for a special guided tour at Ludwigsburg palace. 

The palace is open to the public only via guided tours, and the main tours include most of the stately rooms. The special tour we had booked only took in 12 rooms, and our guide was impersonating a lady-in-waiting from the year 1808, in authentic costume and using (mostly) authentic language of the time. We had to act as if we were minor aristocrats, visiting unfortunately when the King and Queen were away, but giving the lady-in-waiting the chance to show us round a bit.

It was good fun and although I have been at the palace for tours so many times I could easily be a guide myself, there were still bits I had not known. The tour lasted well over an hour, and I was glad I had prepared well for the unheated building - at some stage, I even put my woolly hat on, and my mittens came in handy, too.

Outside, it was still mild and spring-like, but we were glad to walk the short distance to the Irish pub where I had booked a table for us. The next couple of hours were spent in the warm, cosy pub, chatting over our plates of fish & chips and pints of cider (or beer, for some); a successful and pleasant event all around.

By Thursday (Feb. 23) it was obvious that O.K. had caught a heavy cold and was not going to drive up for the weekend. 

I met a friend after work; we had an excellent meal at a Greek restaurant where I'd never been before, and caught up on our news since the last time we'd met last August.

In line with the weather forecast, temperatures dropped on Friday, the 24th of February, and grey clouds replaced the sunny blue skies of the first half of the week.

My last work call ended shortly after 4:00 pm, but instead of starting my weekly cleaning right there and then, I first needed a walk, and went out for almost exactly one hour. It was nearly 7:00 pm when I called it a day with the cleaning, and spent the evening resting, watching some TV, reading and of course talking to O.K. on the phone.

Saturday (Feb. 25) brought a mix of clouds, sun and a few drops of rain eventually turning into snow. 

Much of the morning was spent finishing my house work (mainly cleaning my windows - honestly, I was ashamed of how dirty they were; I don't mind household tasks at all, but for some reason I do not quite understand myself, cleaning windows is my least favourite job of all), followed by a walk across town and the old cemetery (not in use anymore, but a peaceful park), crossing the palace grounds on my way back.

A tiny green parrot? No - budding leaves on a shrub.

Here is the name of the shrub.

Before O.K. had caught his cold, we had booked a table for the four of us (Mum, sister, O.K. and I) at an Italian restaurant within easy walking distance from my Mum's. We still went ahead with the meal; my Mum's friend who lives on the ground floor in the same house joined us instead.

Our pizzas were good, as they always are at this place, and I even bumped into my former boss and his wife, who have become friends over the many years we've known each other.

It started to snow just as I was walking to the restaurant, and kept snowing for most of the evening.

On Sunday, the 26th of February, a powdering of snow covered the gardens I see from my kitchen window; it was cold and windy with some more snow falling.

My sister suggested a visit to Stuttgart's Rosenstein-Museum, a museum of natural history which we visited every now and then with our parents when we were kids, and always loved it.

The museum is housed in a palace built to be the summer residence of King Wilhelm of Württemberg. You can read a short wikipedia article in English here.

Much to our dismay, upon arrival we saw a long queue in front of the building - almost entirely composed of families with small children. We decided to brave the queue and the crowds inside, now that we were here, and I am glad we did; yes, the noise level was almost unbearable at times, but the museum itself is still as beautiful and interesting as we remembered.

There is also a lot of information about extinct species, how we as a species are ruining the habitats of so many plants and animals, and what can be done.

A huge room is about The Sea, the lighting suggests you are under water. The floor is made to look like the real thing, too, complete with plastic waste.

We walked through the park into the city centre, and on our third try found a place where they had a table for us, so that we could have coffee and cake (my sister) or sweet potato soup with fresh crusty bread and a soft drink (for me). 
This is actually a rose garden, very beautiful in the warmer months.

Looking back at the museum

A train to Ludwigsburg was just a four-minute wait away afterwards, and I spent the rest of Sunday at home in my warm, clean and tidy flat, watching TV (a documentary about Harry Belafonte), reading and playing my favourite computer game (The Sims 2) as well as talking to O.K. on the phone.


  1. You certainly kept yourself busy! - I'm no "fan" of cleaning windows either, don't usually get round to it until it *really* needs doing... ;-)

    1. It's one of those days again where I can not comment on my own blog other than as "Anonymous" - in spite of being signed in AND having refreshed the website several times... oh well. Anyway, it's me, Meike.
      It is very rare for me to have a "slow" week, but not all my weeks are as busy as the past one.
      My windows were in dire need of cleaning for months and months before I finally tackled them on Saturday!!

  2. I'm rubbish at cleaning windows too. when the sun shines, I keep seeing bits I missed. The palace looks awesome.
    It doesn't seem a minute since your last birthday, but it must me a year. Have a good one!

    1. Wonder of wonders, I have done nothing different with this reply than with the one to Monica's comment above - but now I am "all there" and not anonymous anymore...!!
      Yes, as much as I love the sun lighting my flat, I must not look at my windows too closely :-)
      My birthday is towards the end of March, still about 3 weeks to go :-)

  3. Hope OK is getting over his cold. Your palace and museum visits looked like great fun. You certainly pack a lot of fun into your free time!

    1. Thank you, Ellen; he is much better now.
      We have so many fascinating and beautiful places to visit here - the only advantage of it being so densely built up.

  4. Happy March! The best month of the year! Haha.

    1. Happy March indeed! It will be even better when it warms up a little :-)

  5. Ludwigsburg Palace is a dream, a wonderful Baroque dream.
    Walking in its courts would be the highlight of my week.

    As a child I promised myself that I would have several miniature Victorian theatres when I was earning money : I never did buy a single one.
    Ludwigsburg Palace's in-house theatre reminds me of the toy theatres that were on sale in a shop in Covent Garden, London. The shop is gone now.

    A Victorian theatre gives me a thrill even today.
    There is an old interview with Laurence Olivier (YouTube) in an empty theatre.
    The interviewer is Ken Tynan.

    Stay warm during the Ides of March ...

    1. The theatre is actually much older than Victorian, and its machinery from back then is still fully functional and gets used during the summer months for opera, theatre and concerts.
      There is a short video on youtube about the palace; if you manage to ignore the awful music, you can see quite a lot:
      The lady in the pale pink court dress is the same one who was our guide last Wednesday.

    2. Yes, your theatre belongs in the era of Die Zauberflote.
      And I can hear the prelude to Cosi fan tutte, the young woman with the dove-grey stole would be fluttering her Japanese fan to the exquisite melodies.

      *Paul Schofield in Amadeus.* YouTube.
      Schofield was cast as Antonio Salieri in the premiere of the play *Amadeus* at the National Theatre, London.
      F Murray Abraham reprised the role of the embittered Salieri, jealous of Mozart's divine talent, in the 1984 motion picture *Amadeus*.
      Abraham played a bitter English teacher in *Finding Forrester* and in his dark moods managed to outshine Sean Connery, I thought.

      I shall attend to the YouTube film on Ludwigsburg Palace this evening. Thanks.

      Edinburgh is a Georgian city while Glasgow is Victorian though there are a few Georgian buildings if you know where to look, and we have a pre-Reformation cathedral with a weird cemetery on the hill behind, the Necropolis.

      *Glasgow City Chambers - a look inside.* YouTube. Graham Forbes.
      Terence Davies shot his 2000 film *The House of Mirth* inside our City Chambers.
      It was based on the novel by Edith Wharton about old New York.
      Gillian Anderson played an elegant woman who loses her position in society.

    3. In the 1984 "Amadeus" film, I was infinitely more imressed by "Salieri" than by Mozart's antics. I remember going to the cinema with my Mum, and some people finding the depiction of their beloved hero Mozart so outrageous that they left the cinema half way through the film, loudly voicing their protest.

    4. Amadeus irritated me too, strange to think I only watched it for Salieri.

      From a dubious source that Mozart may have giggled, Milos Forman asked actor Tom Hulce if he could improvise an outrageous laugh.
      *I've never been able to make that sound except in front of a camera,* said the actor.

      Saul Bellow said the only embarrassing thing about Mozart is that we struggle to speak about the sublime in music,
      Yet still they write about his having Tourette's Syndrome, Capgras Syndrome, Dependent Personality Disorder, and a pathological gambling habit, all of which comes with an IQ of 155 and an ability to mewl like his cats.

      *What Amadeus Got Right. The Imaginative Conservative.*
      Vincent DeLuise.
      *Obscene Child. The London Review of Books.*
      Sheila Fitzpatrick.

  6. How wonderful it must be to live where you do and you can visit a beautiful palace and interesting museums! I have to smile at your sister getting the cake and you having soup with the crusty bread! That would be like my sister and me, she would have the sweet and I would want real food. LOL! We have not had snow but up and down temps with rain here and there, sometimes lots of it! Our temp the last day of Feb. was 80 degrees. It set a record!

    1. Living in Ludwigsburg certainly has its advantages, but I am glad I can so often enjoy the beautiful area where O.K. lives, too - the Black Forest on one side, the river Rhine on the other, and meadows, fields, orchards and vineyards in between.
      That meal at the café was our first meal since breakfast, and it was mid-afternoon; my sister's breakfast had been savoury and mine sweet (muesli), so our choices at the café were only natural :-)

  7. Hopping over from Weaver's blog, and stand amazed at your very busy week! I feel quite the slug, as I did not leave home for an entire week about the time you were getting about. It certainly looks beautiful where you are, with so much to do.

    1. Hello Granny Sue, and welcome to my blog! I have seen your comments many times at Pat's blog, and it is nice to see you here, too :-)
      That week was not particularly busy, actually; the weekend was unusual in that I was on my own, but because I was not traveling to O.K.'s and back, felt less busy.