From Susanne

From Susanne

  • Posted by Sandra
  • On 3. May 2021
  1. March 2020

We skipped our walks during Easter, as we feared it would be too crowded wherever we went, especially as there would be all the still-able and allowed-to-work citizens on top of all the oldies and home workers.  Alas, our considerations backfired and we are now a few pounds heavier!

But we made up for it today with an extra-long walk amidst profusely yellow-flowering mustard or rape fields and almost in solitude.  Spring has come quite early this year.  I seem to remember that these fields were blooming after our return from Spain in mid-May.  Across the valley from our flat, the woods are almost white with beautiful flowering wild cherry trees and other unidentifiable breeds.  The birds and squirrels are still turning up in great numbers at the feeding stations.  Even some new larger birds from the woods, which we haven´t seen before.

The other day, an article in our daily newspaper caught my eye with the heading “Patagonia”.  The author claimed that almost every child has a name of a place, country or region, which, when spoken to itself, has a magical formula.  For him it was “Patagonia” – the title of a book called “Idle days in Patagonia” by William Henry Hudson, which caught my immediate interest and I thought: how appropriate for the present situation!  Then it came to mind that I, myself, had such a magical name since my childhood in my head.  It is “Antofagasta”, a town in northern Chile, as Patagonia in South America, which also fascinates me greatly.  But why, or in what context “Antofagasta”, I don´t know, but whenever I think of South America, this name comes at once to mind.  Has anyone of you had a similar experience?  In fact, I think, it would be quite interesting to find out whether (t)his theory is shared by some of you.  Let me know.

Thumbs up for the 4th week of splendid isolation.  Don´t despair – there are worse things in life one has to face.

Susanne Xxx

Antofagasta is a city in the north of the South American Andean state of Chile. It has a population of 352,600.  The name of the city comes from the Quechua language and means roughly village on the large salt lake.  Antofagasta is the capital of the region of the same name and the province of the same name.

Susanne, in response to your call for magical names from childhood, my offering would be the word “monotonous”.  Admittedly not the name of a town and, at the time, having no idea what it meant, I remember spelling it out loud repeatedly as a very young primary school child to anyone in earshot.  It just rolls off the tongue so beautifully…   (Sandra)

29th March 2020

We have mastered the first week of quarantine rather well, i.e. we lived through it like it was a never-ending week-end. The routine remained almost as described last week. The weather has been kind and we took daily long walks in the afternoon, roaming around the old trails which we took in the past with our various dogs. Miles were not counted, but we noticed it took us much longer than we remembered. The bird- und squirrel feeding places are still very popular, we will soon be running out of seeds and nuts. I do hope “Fressnapf” is still open for stocking up. We have ordered a book on local birds (alas, not through our local book shop) as we are so frustrated knowing so little about them, particularly as they are now our only close companions. The squirrels are a delight as well. They quite often turn up in pairs, tumbling through the trees and shrubs, sitting on top of the bird house, cracking nuts and munching apple slices. Wait till we give them all names!

Unfortunately, the winter returned today and watching the snowflakes hurtling diagonally past the windows one of the Special MJ hands called “Driven Snow” (p. 33) came to my mind. How appropriate. Must try it next time.  The potted Italian “ginestre” on the terrace is starting to bloom, hopefully the coming frost will not destroy its beauty. The acer we planted outside the dining room window after the last storm, when one of the boring fir trees came down, is already showing its lime green new leaves. Also a new experience.

Have a good week.

Best wishes, Susanne Xxx

7th April 2020

Starting into the third week of quarantine, I can thankfully say that we still have our wits together. No signs yet of any deterioration physically, and hopefully mentally as well.  The days seem just to fly by, interrupted only by a shopping trip up the road to REWE once and another one to the animal-food supermarket where we left more money than at Rewe!  But the birds and squirrels are delighted and turning up in ever increasing numbers.

I have been pondering whether we ever experienced such a situation before, and remembered one or more occasion when we were put into similar conditions.  The earliest was soon after the war when my family was living on a farm in Lower Saxony.  Apart from the farmer’s family, there were two more refugee families; all in all, 13 grownups and 11 children.  My younger sister and I developed whooping cough and were banned from school and kindergarten and also kept isolated at the farm in the “best” sitting room.  We also had to live and sleep in that room.  The beds were two armchairs pushed together and one hard, upright, narrow sofa.  Only when the other kids were in school could we play outside.  It was February and one of the hardest winters.  Snow was a meter high and the farmyard consisted only of narrow passages to the various stables, chicken pen, pigsty, woodshed and barn through which we could run.  High white walls and a deep-blue sky above, which I still remember to this day.

While living in Bombay in the late 1960’s, the city was under curfew due to workers unrest, as it was called for over a week.  I was travelling in Northern India with my mother.  We were told at our last stop at the newly opened Lake Place Hotel in Udaipur/Rajasthan that we could not return to Bombay as everything was shut down.  Lucky us – we were treated by the hotel staff like the Maharani herself. Poor John in Bombay had to cope with the problem alone (but looked after by cook and bearer).  Later, when living in Lagos/Nigeria, there were several military coups, which entailed, of course, house arrest for all and sundry and no chance of getting some food or other necessities.  Hope and anguish kept us sane.  It seems that we are quite able to be alone and cut-off from the outside world.

We lie with our sail yacht at anchor or tied to the rocks during our sailing trips for 5 or 6 days at a time with no-one else around, quite happy and content.  I know, of course, that we all are not knitted of the same yarn, but one can try and make the best of any situation.

Have another lovely week of splendid isolation!

Warmest greetings,



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