Monday Miscellanea

I’ve been in Bavaria with Mum and Curious Dog since the afternoon of December 10 and most of the time it has been foggy and dingy, with only about two afternoons when the sun managed to disperse the fog. But out I went every day anyway with Curious Dog for our walks and it was always quite pleasant. Rather unseasonably mild just a few degrees about 0°C. One afternoon, I saw three deer on a slope in the woods above our path. The deer and I looked at each other for some minutes before they leapt away. They blended in very well with the shades of brown of the trees and I only noticed them because CD was staring at them first. He didn’t bark and he didn’t try to chase them (well, as he was on leash he couldn’t have, but he didn’t even try). That was a nice experience.

A few weeks ago, when I was still at my place, I saw a grey heron in a field by the side of the road hunting for insects or frogs as I was driving by on my way to the shops. On the way back, it had been run over by a car and was dead. That was horrible and I’m still sad when I think about it today. I really hate that so many animals fall prey to traffic. Whenever I see such a tragedy, I always start musing about driving less, but it’s not practical. Here in the countryside in Bavaria, with spotty public transport, it would be a nightmare to do one’s grocery shopping per bus. You’d need half a day at least for one trip. Public transport tends to be good in cities, but rudimentary in the country in Germany. So, I have to continue using my car, but maybe when I retire and have more time, I’ll either move to a small town where I can do my shopping on foot or by public transport or perhaps I’ll get a freight bike. In the meantime, I try to drive carefully and am glad that I’ve not killed many animals myself (although a lot of luck is involved – a lot of times you just can’t help it). I once hit a blackbird who didn’t survive and once I had a close shave with a deer (that was years ago, and I still remember how shocked I was). The deer jumped into the fender of my car from the side, coming up out of a ditch. But I was driving very slowly through what was a dark and foggy night. I braked and swerved, and the deer ran off. There were no marks on the car which made me believe that the deer probably only got a bruise (if anything). But I was super shaky for a couple of hours afterwards.

On a more positive note, I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve finished all the novels by Dickens that I still wanted to read this year, Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities. I read a book for my book club and another non-fiction one for fun. I also read the two Toni Morrison novels still on my list (Home and God Help the Child). I want to write reviews for most of these and will hopefully manage to get started on them this week. Despite this progress I don’t think that I’ll get to all the books I mentioned in my End of the Year Book Tag post. I’ve been doing most of my reading at the weekends, when I was also baking some Christmas cookies, shopping and cleaning. So, I’m quite happy with what I’ve read so far in December, and I enjoyed it all.

I was incredibly busy last week with work. Lots of quality checks and end-of-the-year tasks. I was absolutely knackered at the end of each day and not up to blogging or even reading – I just nodded off in front of the TV. This week, I’m working today, tomorrow, and on Wednesday and then will be on vacation until January 17. So, lots of time for reading, watching films, playing games with Partner (once we are back at my place on December 31). I usually get lots of reading done in those weeks at the beginning of the year. After all, the weather will probably be wet and cold and this year there’s the lockdown. So, a good time to curl up with a good book, some hot tea and some left-over Christmas cookies. It’ll be great, I’m really looking forward to it. I love having a long break at the end of the year to wind down and get fresh energy for the new year and I usually save up my vacation days for it.

Corona infection numbers in Germany are still increasing despite the lockdown in place (it hasn’t been long enough). It seems that the first vaccines will be available at the end of December for residents of retirement or nursing homes. Mutti, at 82, will be eligible for a shot soon. I just hope that she will tolerate it well. She tends to have strange reactions to medications. I’m also not sure how it will work. I guess we’ll have to get the shot here in Bavaria as this is Mum’s main place of residence and so I expect her notification will be sent here. But it will take some weeks till all the elderly are vaccinated and I’m sure we’ll organize it somehow. Anyway, the vaccination is a ray of light in these times.

One of Mum’s sisters (my aunt) is in hospital, having just received an artificial hip. She’s spending Christmas in rehab and so far she’s not allowed any visitors. Mum calls her every day. She’s doing well, except for the loneliness and the boredom. Her husband is allowed to drop of things, but he’s not allowed to see her. That’s hard for them. I hope my aunt continues to do well and will be able to return home soon.

Brexit isn’t going well. There’s still no trade deal agreed on between the UK and Europe. Things remain interesting, but even with a deal it will be sad to see Britain leaving the EU at the end of the year. Without a deal, I can’t imagine the chaos. Worse than the current chaos at the borders because of the travel ban because of the mutated Corona virus in the UK? No doubt, we shall see.

Keep safe, world

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