The accidental finding

By woodpeckers

Jugendstil houses in Bremen, Germany

I awoke very late in Bremen. The blinds in the room where I'm sleeping are very effective, which is just as well, because when I opened them, I discovered that the house next door really is back to back with this one! The sunlight was streaming in, and all looked promising.

All that had changed by the time I eventually left the house. Clouds filled the sky, and a sullen wind whipped up from the banks of the Weser. Cyclists streamed past, ringing their bells, because I didn't realise that the sandstone-coloured part of the pavement was in fact a cycle lane. I headed back towards the town centre, seeking the comfort of shops and cafes.

At the main Art Gallery, I spotted a fine museum shop. The cafe offered an amazing gluten-free cake, and while I chatted to the man working there, he told me about the main exhibition.

"Four Euros for an Audioguide isn't bad" I thought, not realising that the entrance ticket to the gallery was an additional thirteen Euros, on top of the mandatory locker ticket fee for storing my jacket!

Reader, it was worth it. Did you know that Hans Christian Andersen was not only a prolific writer of fairy tales, but also that he was a talented artist and paper cutter, a "poet with pen and scissors"? No, neither did I. Nor that he visited Bremen. I've found a link to the exhibition, in English, which I'll post below. I'm lucky to have stumbled across the gallery, as the show closes in three days' time.,-hans-christian-andersen-mal-anders-_arid,1777240.html

Whilst in the gallery, I received a WhatsApp from Steve, concerning the death of a friend. While it's wasn't unexpected, it still knocked me back, and I was glad to be somewhere warm and low lit whilst I collected myself. Yet another friend lost to Cancer. She was only sixty three. I will write more about our friend M. another time when I feel less raw.

Afterwards, I had to hurry to another side of town to collect Mari from choir. Her idea was to ride her bike home and have me run alongside, like a dog! Can't see me doing that every time. Fortunately I'd had a drink of water while I waited for her at the café Pax. The whole world of preschoolers and their parents seemed to be there too, waiting for their older offspring. Toddlers tumbled around, some in underpants...all very relaxed, with a jumble of bikes, bags and scooters in the porch.

On the way back, it crossed my mind that I'd take up cycling in England, if the cycle lanes were on the pavement, instead of in the road, or shared only with buses.

Supper is over now, Kim and I have done a little catching up, and she's gone off to bed, leaving me with the two cats and television for company. It's been an interesting first day, tinged with sadness. Always, when I go away, I realise I need a great deal of catching up with sleep. An email informs me that the new silent killer, the elephant in the room, is something most of us take for granted. It's called - wait for it - Work.

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