Springtime in Upper Swabia

Same procedure as every year … Märzenbecher und Kelchbecherling in der Schwäbischen Alb (Brieltal, Lautertal, Wolfstal)

Ende März bei Briel (Brieltal) 

Ende März bei Briel (Brieltal)

Ende März bei Briel (Brieltal)

 

Im Brieltal: Frühlings-Knotenblume (Leucojum vernum), auch Märzenbecher, Märzbecher, Märzglöckchen oder Großes Schneeglöckchen genannt

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Brieltal: Scharlachroter Kelchbecherling (Sarcoscypha coccinea), auch Zinnoberroter Kelchbecherling oder Zinnoberroter Prachtbecherling genannt

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Sonnenuntergang im Brieltal

Sonnenuntergang im Brieltal

 

Im Lautertal:

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Im Wolfstal

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A town gathers to burn a witch

There are many reasons why a witch just has to be burnt, and yes, it still happens in our day and age. We were quite excited and did not want to miss this blazing opportunity so we brrr…braved the night cold and marched along with our neighbours and many other townspeople up to the fields near our house. We were heading for the tower, a very big and high pile of dead wood, which had taken a day or two to put together. The moon was full and the witch tied to the stake at the top of the wooden tower must have been casting her last spell. She was now ready to burn! The children from the voluntary fire brigade all fired up their torches and, as we all looked on, set the giant heap on fire.

There’s something mesmerising about flickering flames and it gets even more hypnotic as the fire grows, not so? This is one of the oldest annual traditions typical to our area and no, the witch is not a real live person. Duh-uh! In fact our witch looked more like a male scarecrow wanting to hug the moon hee…heee. It is also not celebrated everywhere in Germany and there are two versions of this custom, called the “Funkenfeuer”. The one that seems most popular is that it is a relict from an old Germanic-Pagan custom to drive the winter right outta here! Like, like, LIKE especially when standing in a cold field and feeling the heat eminating from the fire, hoping it stays this warm…like please…forever. Some-one does not like winter 🌞🌞 The others see it as a ritual between the ending of the Shrovetide (carnival) and the beginning of the long fasting period before Easter. This or that, it’s a lovely tradition which brings us all together even though we know that the winter can sometimes last longer than your Easter eggs. The “Funkenfeuer” in our area is also always on the first Saturday after Ash Wednesday. Other areas do this on the Sunday.

A fire this size takes very long to burn. L.O.N.G. We stay put, with our eyes on the witch scarecrow thingy. It is sort of goose-bumpy seeing it slowly tilt towards the ground and threatening to fall down in one whole piece. Nooo! Stay up! Stay up! Yeah, a couple of crazies around here. You see, it’s seen as a bad omen if the witch scarecrow thingy falls down before exploding or burning out completely. Plopps! Well, our one did fall but they pushed it right back into the fire. Burn, baby, burn! See, no problem. Bye-bye bad omen. Hello Spring. Phew! Give me a beer 🍺

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Sweet Home

So there we were, in the middle of winter, taking ‘refreshing’ walks and purposely passing by the new red shiny sporty little car, almost covered in snow, and just waiting for us to buy it. Yes, we wanted to buy a new car, but somehow between looking at engines and wheels, we ended up signing on the dotted line to build a brand new abode instead. So, no gas guzzler, but lots and lots of building blocks…uhm bricks. Even though we’re not physically piling or erecting anything ourselves (leaning tower avoidance here) it still has been one of the most nerve-wracking yet exciting experiences so far. Our very first assignment was to choose a kitchen when there was only a hole in the ground, uhm cellar. Yep, try planning a kitchen from four black lines on a floor plan. Oh, and forget those free online kitchen planners, because, when you finally hand over your ‘this-is-my-dream-ta-daa’ design to the professional with the dazzling white teeth, he shatters your dreams into tiny little pieces by shaking his head and telling you that the big double-door refrigerator will not fit into the alcove. On the plan it did not look like an alcove. Whatever. Then after hours and hours spent deliberating with the dazzler, and reluctantly removing a cupboard or ten, you finally have it. A headache, and of course a new ‘clip-art’ kitchen! Arghhh! So hard to visualise something on paper, not so? We also spent a LOT of time choosing doors and floors, sockets from dockets, lights for nights, basins and baths, and yes, after all of that, we still love one another…wink wink…As all this was so time consuming, we’ve not had enough time to update our blog, but now there’s some breathing space, so here it is. Our story. Brick by brick. Storey by storey…

Construction - Cellar: March 2013Point. Point. That one over there! This is the beginning of our home sweet home. The cellar!

Construction - Cellar: March 2013    Construction - Ground Floor: March 2013

Next up, covering up the cellar…and soon after, the first floor being built over it. Progress!Construction - Ground Floor: March 2013    Construction - First Floor: April 2013

Snow, snow, go away! It’s brrrry cold, but the work goes on regardless. Preparation for floor two. From the same perspective (right), sans snow, but with beautiful dandelions!In der Nachbarschaft    View of new housing development area towards our house in May 2013

Cranes, cranes everywhere! The rest of the newly developed neighbourhood. Bring it on!

Construction - First Floor: May 2013Yep, that one over there is ours. As you can see, floor number two is now complete. Huhu!  Construction - Second Floor: May 2013    Construction - Second Floor: May 2013

FINALLY!!!! Floor number three. The Penthouse! And it is OURS! Whoop-whoop-hooray!

Construction - Second Floor: May 2013New neighbours (foreground). Houses springing up like mushrooms…absolutely amazing!Construction: First view into our flat from inside - Living Room    Construction: First view into our flat from inside - Living Room

Curiosity killed the cat, as they say. We just could not wait to get a look inside, despite all that dangerous looking scaffolding stuff. This view is of the inside of our living room. After seeing this we had another look at the floor plans. Why did it look so small?? It’s supposed to be at least forty square metres!! After lots of nail chewing, we were told that it is normal. Bare brickwork always appears to be smaller. Don’t worry. Yeah right! We worried. At the very first ‘free-from-danger’ opportunity, the tape measures were rolled out. Sure is sure.

Construction - Second Floor: May 2013    Construction - Second Floor, windows are in: June 2013

Here they are preparing and sealing the roof. The view on the left is of the front (main entrance) and the one on the right is from the side, showing some of the balconies. Construction: Our new flat from inside - Living Room    Construction: Our new flat from inside

Phew! Looking much better inside, and of course, bigger. Jumping for joy! This is the living room again, with very big windows. Oh let the sunshine in tra-la-laaa…Starting to ‘feel’ the place now, and also finally able to envisage where to place what, like a couch big enough to seat an army, or something ‘out of this world’ to store our millions of music cd’s…*grinning*

Construction - Second Floor, August 2013: View from our balcony    Construction - Second Floor, August 2013

This is the current view from our balcony (left). And hmmm yes, we are so lucky to have an almost 360 degree field of vision which stretches out over all the rooftops to a wonderful and amazing view of the fields and forest, which is only one or two hundred metres away.

Wohnzimmer - Fußbodenheizung ist bereits verlegt    Schlafzimmer - Fußbodenheizung ist bereits verlegt

Underfloor heating! Yay! Warm feet! Double Yay! The one on the left is the living room again, and the one on the right is our future bedroom. Even though much progress has been made so far, it will still be another few months before we can move in. Can’t wait!

Wohnzimmer Anfang Oktober - Estrich ist verlegt    Badezimmer und Duschecke Anfang Oktober - Estrich ist verlegt

It has been only one week, since they installed the underfloor heating, ONE WEEK, and abracadabra, covered and plastered already. Must be some kind of ‘just-add-water’ cement because the floor is already dry. Well, at least dry enough for two very ‘just-a-quick-look-see’  inquisitive and excited pair to trod on. That’s our living room on the left, and the bathroom is on the right. As one loves to shower and the other one loves a good old splish-splash, with lots of bubbles of course (uhm, no duckies), there’s enough room for a walk-in shower, a bathtub, his and hers basins…yay…and of course, no queues.   😀

Blick aus dem Schlafzimmer    Blick aus dem Arbeitsszimmer

“Someday I will fly over the rooftops, and I’ll have all that I’ve dreamed for…” are the words of a song by four lovely lads. On the left is the view from our study, and on the right is the view from our bedroom. Unfortunately it was very overcast…