Seeing stars

Living in a city is wonderful much of the time, but when I get out of whichever city it is, I always realise that there are things I subconsciously miss.  Like the open fields, the woods, and the stars on a clear night.  Some of my clearest memories are of watching the sky, not a one of them are bad.

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night (wiki)

On Saturday I had my own starry night.  I was LTN’s plus one to his old rugby club Christmas dinner.  After being pinned into my dress and climbing a stepladder into my shoes, meeting all his friends and watching people do many strange things, I happily danced those shoes off again and afterwards agreed to walk to the station through the clear and frosty night. The stars were wonderful – which I may have mentioned to LTN more than once or twice.  I might also have mentioned that it was quite cold and the path was uneven and therefore walking was harder as a short person in tall heels than as a tall person in flat shoes.  Maybe.  But it was worth it, the stars really were that lovely.  And the company was too.  Good times.

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Wreathed in smiles

Here’s one result of the greenery picking walk.  There are berries on the holly this year!   Making and hanging the wreath is another important tradition for me, and it has to be slightly different every year.  The base is made from bits of our willow tree, wound around itself until I get a thickness that suits, and then the stems of everything else can be tucked into the weave without the need for wires.  I still end up with holes all over my fingers from the holly though.  We live in ‘the green barn opposite the church’ and I must confess I was dead chuffed that the church reflected beautifully in our porch door for the photo shoot.

However, as usual, the lead up to Christmas is racing by, and I’m not managing to squeeze in as much as I hoped to.  Unpacking took up a fair amount of time, and with the first stage of stuff sorting it’s left me with a massive heap of clothes awaiting alterations for improved wearability.  Fun but I’m not sure when it’s going to happen, especially as there are yet more boxes and drawers to be got through…

It’s a great time of year for cupboard trawling though, strangely satisfying.  The storecupboards here are deep and mysterious so Da and I decided to stocktake before doing the Christmas grocery shop – apart from anything else I needed to know how many baking ingredients he already had before I can start my biscuit and brownie marathon.  I ended up in fits of giggles, as we unearthed bag after bag of bread flour, about a million types of pasta and rice, and successively more mature christmas puddings in pots.  I think the oldest container discovered had a  best before date of 2006.  But hey, what can wrong with condensed milk? Anybody know?  Guess we’ll find out….if it all goes quiet on the squeak front, you’ll know why!

Neon and smiles too

Image

A few more neon words for you. I might have already mentioned that I like words. A lot. I like art with words in too. As I’m not much of an artist myself I can’t create the wonderful scripts/word pictures/… I admire so much from others but I can take photos of words. In neon is nice. Messages from around Berlin, maybe?

in honour of Alex - looking after me in Berlin

shop under construction near Alex (also had RUG)

very posh lingerie shop near Alex

outside the opera

and here is another smiley song. This lady has the best dimples ever, and I covet her umbrella almost as much as I have coveted the Steve McQueen umbrella, the Rossi umbrella, the see through umbrella with dangling strips of bubble wrap that was the most genius jellyfish costume I have ever seen. And I don’t even like umbrellas. Or jellyfish. Inconistency thy name is woman…

Since I left you

Since I left Berlin and re-entered the village I’ve been mostly working on reacclimatising and Christmas.  There have already been two tea drinking with neighbour sessions, and a holly and ivy picking walk through the woods.  Ah, life in the valley….

Along the way I’ve been listening to some tunes, thinking about oldskool mix tapes.  I saw this and had to share, such a smiley video.

The Avalanches – Since I Left You from Macken Entertainment on Vimeo

Hello England

I’m back in the valley!  A fairly painless journey home yesterday, the only sticky bits being having to transfer some weight between bags at the airport (yes, we were those people) and not being allowed off the plane for a while at the other end.  We got a wonderful view of London as we flew in, it looks fantastic from the air.  The river is beautiful and the landmarks are so recognisable, it lifts the spirits and feels like home.  Ish.  I’m missing hearing German around the place…

But I’m back with my folks, and that’s the thang.  It’s good to be home.

Goodbye Berlin

Just a quickie:

This is my last night in Berlin.  Sad times but good company, LTN has just performed a miracle of packing and we now are ready to transfer my life back to the island with 2 big bags, 2 items of handluggage and 2 laptop bags.  That’s particularly impressive because it includes 2 duvets and a big pair of curtains.  I hate this stage of moving, the room looks bare and miserable – but I must confess it’s a lot easier with company.

So here’s my final words before England – yes I’m very very ready to be home, but Berlin has definitely got a piece of my heart and I will be coming back to visit.   I’m not actually going to say Goodbye, Berlin, but of course, what else, auf wiedersehen, pet.

A christmas card tradition

As previously squeaked, it’s definitely approaching Christmas.  Like last year, I’m busy catapulting myself into a new and scary although eminently desirable and desired situation and am thusly almost 100% wrapped up in making the transition as smoothly as possible.  Once again I’m supported by my ever awesome Pierre and most lovely LTN, but I’m still managing to make a meal of it.  Which is to say, I’m so not ready for Christmas, but I am looking forward to baking goodies once I get home.  That’s assuming that the Rayburn is nice, always doubtful since I still think it hatesme.  Last year I was thwarted in my domestic goddess aspirations because I caught some evil flu thing and coughed, spluttered and slept my way through the festivities. Poor old family.  I shall do better this year.

This evening* I’ve been working on our Christmas card. Our family has a longstanding tradition of making our cards.  Now, don’t imagine that they’re all handmade, but the original is created specially each year and then reproduced the required number of times by mechanical means.  I’ve many happy memories associated with this, of long evenings spent at our long table with Mum and Manth, painting bits of the cards all kinds of colours.  And then came choosing the ‘best’ ones for the most appreciative recipients.  There are family friends who claim to have the whole set since forever, which is more than we do.

I’ve been struggling to come up with something fresh this year – last year had an inquisitive goose and snow covered trees and snowman but until recently I thought I was out of festive photos and bright ideas.  But then I posted the Weihnachts Markt snaps and had a thunk….so here is sketch 1, to be transferred to ink and proper paper.  What do you think?

*yesterday, can’t post too many things on one day so this got delayed…