2019 started cold
Nothing new about that, you say. But – although (or, perhaps, because) she’s a Finn – cold dark days cause Riitta much despair.
So we fled to the sun
After a four-hour flight and an adventurous bus ride up a precarious mountain road in the dark, we were welcomed into our little flat-for-a-week Casa Feliz in remote Tasarte. A beautiful spot, surrounded by inviting hills and with a stony beach about an hour and a half’s walk down the hill. One bus a day brought us back ‘home’.
Even my book Aquila – Can Silvanus Escape That God? found its way there among the bird of paradise flowers.
The second week we indulged in a hotel-based lifestyle near Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria. We enjoyed a couple of bus tours and I went diving.
Views from our Swiss neighbourhood
We never cease to be amazed at the beauty outside our doorstep in Oberlunkhofen. There are fascinating woods, a powerful river and grand views of the Alps.
Bremgarten and Zürich aren’t far away.
Protests and celebrations
This was the first year of massive climate change protests, initiated by brave Greta Thunberg. I attended a couple in Zürich and was impressed by the many young people with their catchy, hand-made slogans and songs.
The 1st of August – Switzerland’s national day – is celebrated throughout the country, although in our village the traditional bonfire was cancelled for safety reasons.
In November, I attended the StopArmut conference addressing world hunger, at which Rev. Dave Bookless of A Rocha was one of the speakers. Very impressive to hear his biblical arguments for caring for the earth and its population.
Politics – on both sides of the pond – have caused much consternation and anger.
We’ve enjoyed the frequent visits of Sam and Judith and their children – even taking Cadon and Shaya hiking in our favourite Melchsee-Frutt – as well as Arto and Regiane with Uma. We even entertained Meli’s cats for a while in the summer, much to Uma’s grief (or was it joy?)
Machines and things
A smith’s workshop, a stuffed mammoth, and an ancient water-powered generator.
… from Finland, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Jersey, Iraq, Sweden.
Volunteering at school
For one morning a week I’ve started assisting a 4th year teacher (ten-year-olds in Switzerland). I’ve been impressed how the children accept my presence, put up their hands and say, “Herr Steiner, i chume nid druus!” I love this new task, although I don’t think I’d cope for more than half a day.
Books I read this year …
… some out loud to entertain my wife of a dark evening.
For Riitta’s round birthday we decided to spend a hiking week in Melchsee-Frutt. They warned of snow – in early September! – and we had a dusting for one day, but the rest of the time was glorious, as you see.
Our biennial Steiner family gettogether took place in Dorset in October. For environmental reasons, we decided to travel by train via Paris and the Chunnel – no problem but it proved to be a rather long day.
About 35 of us gathered in two rented mansions for the weekend near Lyme Regis and we had a good time together. Our number even grew during the weekend as great cousin (?) Ada was born on Friday evening and joined us on the beach on Sunday!
We also managed to see our good friends John and Annie Hughes in Ducklington, and then visited Stratford-upon-Avon, much to the delights of Riitta and Meli.
Our little church in Bremgarten underwent a major redecoration in the summer. One Sunday I was asked to interpret for a rather flamboyant guest speaker, Bishop Paul Vincent of El Paso Texas.
The Christmas Eve Festival of nine lessons and carols took place in the International Protestant Church in Zürich. Singing the old Christmas hymns, familiar since childhood, was heartwarming.