Christmas Eve was held with Grosi in Schaffhausen this year (traditional fondue chinoise!). And Christmas Day took place in the Atelier in Zurich, as Eva, Miguel and Laura were also in Switzerland! Stefan, Marianne, Sarah and Regula rounded off the group. This year we rented a tree in a pot from Uster – this is the most environmentally interesting option at the moment, short of growing a tree ourselves in the garden. Jacqueline made a splendid decoration of the room and table, and Áedán helped with the menu, which was a joint “HG” effort. A great time was had by all. The cats enjoyed themselves in the house on their own!
David and Jacqueline arranged another Nine Lessons and Carols project this year with an ad hoc choir, featuring Áedán and Regula, our dear friend Candace from Boston, and with the help of Christian Döhring on the organ and Philipp Claßen, who composed a new carol for the event, sang and even played tambourine too! The service took place in Kloster Fischingen and the Felix and Regula church in Zurich. Both performances were most memorable and enjoyable.
We wanted to use the top back balcony for wintering our plants last year, but were too late starting. Finally, the plans reached fruition and the conservatory, built by Sean and David over several weeks out of aluminium profiles and plexiglass, is finished. It wasn’t trivial to build 12 m or so up in the air. It already has plants in it from the terrace, as we had a cold snap over the weekend too.
Joined by David’s American cousin Pauline and her husband Greg, David and Jacqueline spent two weeks enjoying italianità to the full. We started in Zurich and travelled via Novaggio and Lugano (with day trip to Luino) to Milan, Padua, Venice, Bologna, Brisighella, Pesaro, Urbino, Forlì, Ravenna, Florence, Siena, Montepulciano, Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Todi, Orvieto and finally Rome. The journey was a mix of rail travel and car, and the Americans in the party got to understand why Europeans prefer smaller vehicles (and hate the the ZTL Zona Traffico Limitato in Italian towns)! Pauline and Greg went on to Naples and the Amalfi coast, managing to keep their quota of Aperol Spritz to at least one per day! We never had spaghetti, pizza only once as a main dish, and in Montepulciano we had a fantastic Florentine-Style Steak (Bistecca Alla Fiorentina) – all 1.91 kg of it! In Florence we had a very memorable and classy evening meal in the Leggenda dei Frati restaurant, complete with splendid evening view over the city.