This year we celebrated Christmas on both 24th and 25th December. On the 24th Jacqueline and David went to Schaffhausen and had a very enjoyable fondue chinoise with Judith, Stefan and Marianne. Judith is not terribly well, but managed to enjoy herself.
On the 25th, we held our Christmas meal in the Atelier, which worked very well as a location: more space, and the luxury of cat-free (=stress-free) preparation over a couple of days. Jacqueline treated us to a super menu (concocted with Áedán) and the room looked really festive. This year we had a “hired” tree in a pot – it will go back into the ground after the holidays! This year we were joined by Regula, Stefan and Marianne, Dani, Sarah, Loana and Päde. The discussions went on into the small hours…
Imagine our delight to see the tradition of a private Schrennengasse 17 Advent Calendar in our staircase being carried on by Regula yet again this year. The daily pictures are posted here. This year the theme could be angels and carols…?
December 1 – introductory music
December 9 – Erzgebirge
December 20 – Merry Blissmas
December 24 – Silent monks
(December 1) Winter crept up on us unawares this year. It was pleasant and warm for a long time and then the temperature plunged to under zero, and we even had snow.
(December 8/9) Over night, it snowed heavily for these post Climate Change times. Bus and tram lines were interrupted – almost British conditions…
As David’s sixtieth birthday fell on a Saturday this year, there was no excuse but to hold a party. Jacqueline, Seán, Áedán and Regula prepared the whole event, which took place in the Atelier. Seán cooked a splendid meal for nearly thirty old friends including David’s cousin John and his wife Kim, who had come specially (and unbeknown to David) up from deepest France (Limoges environs). Áedán helped with the logistics and was barista (with his own coffee machine). Sarah and Loana helped with the serving. It was a truly delightful evening and the Atelier proved its versatility yet again.
David went with a colleague to Tanzania for a two week volunteering trip to help Sisters of the Chipole Benedictine Convent of St. Agnes to start working with computers, and to introduce networking with Internet access. We took a total of ten laptops that had been donated by Credit Suisse to the Convent and started training selected Sisters with spreadsheets and basic accounting. David also took on the task of modernising their website and coordinating its updating with other Benedictines in the US. We started in Dar es Salaam for a couple of days and then went on to Chipole, near Songea in the Ruvuma region, which is in the South-West of the country and is economically poorer than the tourist North and commercial coast in the East. Among many other things including seeing how the people really live in that part of the country, we saw two hydroelectric schemes initiated by the Sisters and a new maize mill.