When we drove to Denmark yesterday we started from E’s parent’s place, which is in the north of the Netherlands right on the border with Germany (as in: if you leave the village, you leave the country). We didn’t expect any border controls obviously, it’s one of those many small crossings that even before the Schengen treaty didn’t see much activity. And indeed there weren’t any.

Within meters of passing the border we did however get an SMS “The federal government: welcome! Please follow the rules on tests/quarantine” plus a URL. It made E and me laugh ‘Achtung, hier spricht die Bundesregierung’, ‘attention, this is the federal government speaking!’ as if spoken through a bullhorn while you’re surrounded Blues Brothers style.

It is the first time the Federal Government of Germany expressly welcomed me on their turf!

Perhaps they should continue the practice of SMS’ing a formal welcome message from the federal government even after the Covid measures have been abolished again. It has a certain ring to it, being welcomed to the country by the government itself.

foss4g Bonn

The German federal eagle, also half affectionately, half mockingly referred to by the locals as ‘das Huhn‘, ‘that chicken’. (Image by me license CC BY NC SA, taken 2016 in the former German parliament in Bonn, when I was presenting there)

I sighted Fred again this year, a big carp that lives in the water course behind our home. We think we heard him splash around a few times already but didn’t spot him yet. Last year the first sighting was early May, now its over a month later. Whether it’s because we spent less time at the water side this cold spring or because Fred was someplace else, I don’t know. At least it’s good to know who he’s still around, spotting him the fourth year in a row.

painting framed

The painting on the left I gave myself as a present at the end of December. The title is City Lights, and I like the explosion of color, and patterning in rectangles and triangles. It’s made by Hungarian artist Pető Csenge, and I bought it from her directly. It was unframed and to get it framed I had to wait for the framer to be open again after the lifting of some of the lock down measures. A little over a week ago I went and selected a dark blue frame, and picked the framed painting up last Saturday. It now hangs on my home office wall, and I like the result, also in combination with the photo next to it, that echoes the color scheme and division in different squares.