Accordingly, Imbolc is the gateway to our year ahead. The feast day marking the beginning of the light. Which called for sowing of seeds of the following: two varieties each of capsicum (peppers) and tomatoes, sturdy broccoli, cauliflower, two types of basil and Tibetan gentian. They appear dormant snug inside tiny peat pots in the heated cold frames on the big window sill, but we know, they are busily stretching and growing and expanding as of this minute (!!) and on and on and on.
And this is only the beginning. There are many small bags of ordered and collected and exchanged seeds waiting patiently on R's desk. The man has a plan.
This winter has been exceptionally mild, the two almond trees on the west wall are about to flower.
Today, alas, it started to snow.
In a complete turnaround from last year, when I was on sick leave most of the time and could not take holidays, I am now portioning out my accumulated holiday allowance to be sick. It feels very secretive and only I know that I am cheating.
I try to pretend and make a show of coping. Yesterday, after a short visit to the whole food store and the library, I slept for the next couple of hours and when R woke me up, I continued pretending some more.
Mostly, I try to not listen to the hissing voices inside my head reprimanding me, demanding that I face reality and all that other weird shit. Ah! Not now. It seems I have lost any sense of what feels healthy or unwell, I just plow on, crawl through the day and hope for the best, for the next morning. I am so used to it, being well would come as a real surprise now. Admittedly, this latest level of weight loss and exhaustion is new but for now, I
Franconia, celebrating my father's 89th birthday. He was in top form, everybody arrived on time at the inn, a medieval building once home to the minnesinger (poet) Wolfram von Eschenbach, who wrote the original Parzival (Perceval) story (forget all about Wagner). Of course, this is strictly for tourists, we Franconians just accept it as our birthright, all that medieval history everywhere. We let it shine briefly, just enough to feel somewhat superior and then we ignore it.
As we sat along the tables under the fat wooden beams, eating a proper Franconian Sunday lunch, my father looked proudly around his clan, most of whom are sharing his surname, the youngest barely six weeks old, all on the right track, or so he believes. We played it well.
Franconia did not disappoint (see below). It never does - even on a grey cold January weekend. On the way home, I curled myself into a ball of deep exhaustion, while R drove us home through fog and rain, disobeying the speed limits as usual.
I wish you unfolding and new health along with R's plants.ReplyDelete
And I look at those pictures of that ancient building and think of how the people who built them, who lived in that time, also planted, also hoped for spring and for light.
So long ago and also, yesterday.
hopefully when spring arrives it will bring in better health. hard to feel healthy in the winter. love the pictures of all that old old history. everything here is new, 20 and 30 year old buildings get torn down for new. no history here. it still amazes me that the front doors of houses in Europe open right onto the street!ReplyDelete
. . . but only in the old parts of villages and towns. We know how to build walls and fences, grow hedges and hang thick curtains to keep our secrets.Delete
Thanks for all those pictures! And all that seed talk is exciting.ReplyDelete
I envy you those flat roads. I'm always thinking - where could I find a flat road around here to ride. But alas, there are none. The best excuse I can find for staying indoors and doing yoga.ReplyDelete
This is a completely off the subject sidebar, but I love that first photo of the corridor. It reminds me of the corridor in Gogol's book "The Overcoat". I think he is running from someone who is trying to steal it. Beautiful and dramatic scene.
Anyway, rest dear woman and gain strength from those little seedlings pushing their way up to air.
Beautiful pictures...and speed limits? I never would have guessed! I hope the popping of those seeds will cheer you up and that you willReplyDelete
Speed limits on German motorways are usually ignored unless there are cameras and everybody knows where they are - apart from the tourists.Delete
It looks like blogger grabbed a bit of my comment... that's what I get for looking at the keys instead of the screen and getting used to this new computer - steep learning curve for this Luddite. Sorry if it makes no sense.....ReplyDelete
Oh good - you have ‘couldn’t give a shit’ days. We all need them - and you more than most!ReplyDelete
I love the moon-and-chestnut-flower (I think?) picture. Great shots! And glad that Franconia did not disappoint. :)ReplyDelete
It's the crest of a small Franconian village, famous for its vineyards, depicting the moon and grapes.Delete
There is a heavy cloud cover here that has rarely lifted in the past few weeks, as signs of spring are appearing everywhere. The light outside is just like yours in Germany now. On February 2, I mentioned Imbolc (thinking of you) to a friend who is 89 years old and oriented to Groundhog Day and in "top form," in some ways like your father, having lived through the same 89 years, still lively. I need naps to get through my days. She doesn't! As always, thank you for your photos and your writing. When you mentioned R and seeds, I had a vision of your garden from last year and the years preceding and the garden you will photograph in the coming year. Sending love.ReplyDelete
Love seeing these photos. Thank you for reminding me of imbolc. We are halfway to equinox, and the return of the sun. Oh how I love our beautiful planet whirling in the Milky Way. Take care there, Sabine.ReplyDelete
Spring is a long time coming here. We've had two dumps of snow in the past week and it's been cold, -27 this morning. It will pass.ReplyDelete
The photos are lovely. My family is from England and I always love looking at the old buildings. We don't have that here. Europeans have only been living in Alberta for about 160 years. The indigenous people here followed the animals they hunted from season to season. No old buildings.
Franconia has one other feature you haven't mentioned: the indigenous wine and the bottles wherein it is packaged (The Bocksbeutel has the form of a flattened ellipsoid.)ReplyDelete
It's no good I can't get on with riesling or for that matter müller-thurgau; silvaner does it for me. I won't go on because it would be churlish in the company of such a gemütlich gathering. The great thing about Franconian wine is that it's dry; the bad thing is that it's hard to find in restaurants outside the region.
I wish I'd been invited. All that wood that should be regarded as kitsch but somehow isn't; the hoity-toity spelling of Parsifal; the provender ("a proper Franconian Sunday lunch") that would have been way beyond UK imagination and absorption capacity; and the proud paterfamilias. Also everyone "arrived on time". Alles in ordnung, in fact.
Would I have been allowed to sing "Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome" unaccompanied? Probably not. So I would have spent quarter of an hour cobbling together the far-flung fragments of my German to come up with an "oh ye millions I embrace you" toast that proved how sentimental I get about Germany. You'd have been proud of me. Next year?
Bockbeutel is a given, as is smoked beer. The important part of a Franconian Sunday lunch is the soup, clear broth as in Festtagssuppe with 3 types of dumplings (liver, fried bread, semolina) or in Hochzeitssuppe with pancake ribbons (Flädle) and plenty of cubed vegs. Soup never comes dished up but arrives in large pots with ladles. Only tourists ask for bread with it. The next courses all hinge on the qualiyt and quantity of the soup.Delete
The Rhine is on a another planet far from Franconia. You could rehearse the Frankenlied for next year'a celebrations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenlied
It's the phrase "The next courses..." that intrigues me. The soup with dumplings (which sounds glorious by the way) would probably have done for me.Delete
And yes, pots with ladles are essential to the ambience of such a meal. I've only managed to eat once at the Brasserie Lipp (St Germain des Pres, Paris) where one may not book. The soup arrived in an earthenware crock (capacity - half a gallon). The lid was held ajar by a full-size leek - a very persuasive detail.
This finished, I shall look for the Frankenlied sheet music. Even if I'm not invited, learning a new song will be compensation.
Sheet music to hand. Have no fear. I shall only sing the six official verses (two, if the response is surly). The three Franconian additions I will regard as apocalypticDelete
You could make this part of your exercise regimen as it is a walking song with distinct rhythm.Delete
I shall expect something like this: https://youtu.be/7iSMJ0R66WQDelete
But he was a lyric baritone (I have his An die Musik). I'm just a bottom-of-the-range, fashioned-in-Beijing, three-for-the-price-of-two baritone. I will do my best. I'd go a little further than "distinct rhythm"; how about insistent, revolver-to-the-left-temple rhythm?Delete
Thanks for taking us along. I vastly prefer exhaustion to boredom, especially when a bed to climb into is near at hand. And I know something of plowing forward, pretending wellness, or at least, pretending no pain. I'm sorry that's part of your story, but you also inspire me to press forward, too.ReplyDelete
Yes, you are a constant inspiration. Those pictures are fantastic - and here's to spring and perhaps the cessation of your pain.ReplyDelete