Sunday 31 December 2023

Fourth Advent Week

The Fourth Advent week culminated with Christmas Eve and feels "long gone" - unless I look at my living room, where Christmas is still very much present in the shape of all the cards and presents I received.

Monday, 18 December, was off to a pleasant start when I met my friend for a morning walk at 9:00. We had both started work early and could well afford an hour's interruption, and it was good to catch up with her before she and her family were off to the US to celebrate Christmas with their families back home.

The day was sunny and dry, and our last visit to the Christmas market as a family (Mum, sister and I) after work was not cut short by rain this time.

My Mum and I, listening to three brothers playing carols on bassoons

Enjoying mulled drinks of various kinds

A rare frosty night this December followed; we had -3C on Tuesday (19 December) morning. The day was sunny again but became overcast later.

View from my kitchen at 8:04 that morning...

... and at 8:05.

I had a mid-afternoon appointment for a haircut and then kept working for a while. Apart from a quick walk to Aldi and my visit to the hairdresser's I did not leave the house.

I worked at the office in Weilimdorf on Wednesday, 20 December, and with three of my six immediate colleagues went to the Christmas market afterwards as our mini Christmas celebration from work. We had a fun couple of hours together, and it felt weird to have been at the office for the last time this year. During the day, I had occasion to speak to a few other colleagues who I have befriended over the years, which was nice.

Thursday (21 December) was very windy, if not to say stormy, and wet, but mild at 9C. I worked from home (which was really busy with 8 calls from my boss alone, plus four others from various colleagues) and met with my volunteer group afterwards. We distributed chocolate Santas and tangerines in front of our office at the train station, which was fun - the reactions of people we approached ranged from disbelief and fear of having to sign or pay something to smiles and joy, and brief conversations.

Three of us went to Kullman's Diner for a meal and drinks from there before going home. A good conclusion to this year's rather limited activities with the group.

Friday, 22 December, was my last working day for 2023. I expected it to be relatively quiet (which it was) and over by lunch time (which it wasn't).

I went to my Mum's at lunch time for a delicious soup and getting started on the Christmas tree, but in the end my Mum and my sister decorated it without me as I had to go back to work. I worked until almost 4:00 pm when my former neighbour came for a short visit; we exchanged gifts and she took her mail that still gets delivered to this address in spite of her and her family having moved in May. It was nice to see her one more time this year.

With stormy and rainy weather, I did not miss going out for a walk - and would not have had time anyway.

Saturday (December 23) was dedicated to household things, and I went for a walk of about 2 hours when it wasn't raining, admiring people's Christmas decorations and letting my mind wander. 

I had time to read, play, write emails and watched some TV in the evening.

On Christmas Eve, I opened the last doors on my two Advent calendars. I walked to the cemetery but got rather wet half way through and so cut short what I had intended to be a longer walk on the fields. 

All four candles on my Advent wreath were lit.

Some presents are already waiting on the sideboard.

O.K. and I spoke on the phone and I rested a bit in the afternoon before setting off to my Mum's at 5:30, where my sister and I spent Christmas Eve with her.

We had our traditional meal of Wiener sausages and spuds salad, and star-shaped ice cream for dessert. With the candles on the Christmas tree lit, we even sang a few favourite carols! The amount of gifts amazes me every year.

Christmas tree at my Mum's
More presents!!!
The rest of the evening was spent talking, reminiscing, thinking of those loved ones not longer with us.
Walking home, I stopped to take a picture of my favourite "public" Christmas tree, next to a bank.

And because this is my last post for 2023, let me wish you all a Happy New Year! Thank you for your reading and commenting these past 12 months. 

Display at a wine bar in Ludwigsburg
I know it won't be all that happy and cheerful for some of you, but I hope you will still find some solace and joy in being with loved ones, reflecting on whatever good things 2023 held for you, and looking forward to what 2024 may have in store for you.


  1. I think we all think of this time of year as being more than just an ending and beginning of the calendar, remembering, and planning ahead.

    1. For most of us it is a special time of year, yes - even though we know full well that it is an entirely man-made thing, this division into weeks and months and years; depending on where you start counting, the Earth completes its orbit around the Sun every day.

  2. Happy New Year to you. I’ve enjoyed ‘travelling’ with you on your walks and holidays this past year and look forward to next year with you.

    1. Thank you, SueJay! I‘m glad you weren‘t too bored by similar looking pictures of mountains and trees and sunsets 😊

  3. Happy New Year to you too, Meike! Wishing you lots of lovely walks, fun adventures, good health, and much love! Your posts always brighten my day!

    1. Thank YOU for reading and commenting, Ellen! Blogging would not be nowhere near as fun without kind readers like you.

  4. Your blog is my Advent Calendar.
    I never tire of your sunsets, train journeys, and field walks.
    For me your world has become Alain-Fournier's Lost Domain.
    (If you read an English translation of Le Grand Meaulnes, get the
    Harvill edition with an afterword by John Fowles.)

    *More Presents !* photo is a glimpse into every child's Grotto.
    I once tried to find a children's book with Father Christmas in green.
    Coca Cola created the red-robed Santa but he is the Green Man.
    I half expected him to appear in your town square on Xmas Eve.

    How wonderful that bassoon player must have sounded !
    For years I have been obsessed by the French horn which George
    Martin introduced in the Beatles' song Penny Lane.
    YouTube has many French horn videos, now I'm off to find the bassoon.

    1. The bassoon players were three brothers, and they played really well. Some of the more serious, ancient Advent tunes are perfect for the warm, deep, wooden (in the best sense of the word) sound that instrument makes.

      As for the Green Man appearing on the town square on Christmas Eve - it could well be; I wasn‘t there to see him, though. My Mum‘s place is a 15-20 minute walk from the square.

    2. My half-Italian Hamilton cousins celebrated Epiphany
      (January 6) as much as December 25.
      Their mother, my beloved Aunt Ginetta from Livorno, did so
      as a child.
      The Three Wise Men of the Nativity narratives would have
      come from Iran, would have been monotheistic
      Zoroastrians, and would have been studying the strange
      comet which was seen a few years before 1 A.D. when
      Jesus was really born.
      In Persia (Iran) there was a conviction that a world saviour
      was about to come, and we know now that sages in
      China thought the same.
      Sinterklaas was of course modelled after Saint Nicholas.
      a Greek bishop from Myra in Greece, now Turkey.
      It was wise for the early church to embrace and
      christianise paganism such as the Green Man and decorated
      fir trees.
      John Henry Newman said paganism anticipated
      Christianity and Christianity fulfilled paganism.
      The world of Late Antiquity was haunted by the thought
      that human life passed into nothingness.
      Hence the attraction of Jesus' death and resurrection.

    3. *Poetry : Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot. Read by Sir Alec Guinness.*
      The last line is the death of paganism, but also the death of the old self,
      the difficult rebirth of which Jesus spoke in his night meeting with Nicodemus.

  5. Happy new year, and thank you for sharing your life and times with us so generously. May '24 be happy and healthy for you and yours.


  6. French horn and trumpet ...
    *Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Mile & Helene.* Mile Suchlich.
    *For No One. The Beatles. Helene and Mile.*
    The girls no longer make YouTube videos. A pity.

  7. So far here the new year looks a lot like the old one and has yet to prove itself. (Started snowing again yesterday evening and was still snowing this morning. Rather wet snow, though.)

    1. Still way too warm here for snow, and a rare dry day today which allowed us a good walk of about 2 hours. Windy, though, and the storm is forecast to pick up again tomorrow. Some areas of Germany have severe flooding and damage from the storm (not us, luckily).

  8. I see that you got Father Christmas's head for Christmas! How is he meant to deliver children's presents when he no longer has a head?

    1. Happy New Year, Neil!
      Here's the secret: Father Christmas has a clone...