2016 is approximately five hours old where I am, so a Happy New Year to all readers and followers of this blog.
As always, WordPress/Jetpack offer a yearly report and the 2015 report for this blog may be found here. I do notice that I have been less active than in previous years due to a combination of being very busy and preferring to spend whatever time is left over on writing fiction rather than blogging.
Meanwhile, we had a lovely, if quiet New Year’s Eve. Like the past few years, we had dinner at Ristorante Romantica, a great Italian restaurant in Brinkum, North Germany. You can see the menu in the following photos:
I also posted the photos live on my Instagram feed, to the amusement of my family (“What is this?” “What are these other photos?” “Why did you take a photo of that?”). I would have livetweeted the pics as well, except that I had exceeded my smartphone data budget for December, so my provider put me in the slow lane. Instagram still works, tweeting photos doesn’t.
We were home at around eleven PM and switched on the TV to watch the great party at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin for the final hour or so. At least, the Berlin party still took place, unlike the New Year’s Eve paties in Munich and Brussels.
Meanwhile, in her New Year’s address, Angela Merkel thanked both volunteers and professionals for helping the refugees who have come to Germany. This is actually the first time that a politician has ever addressed me and thanked me for my work, albeit indirectly. A pleasant change from e.g. Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schröder, who infamously called teachers “faule Säcke” (lazy sacks). I particularly liked the fact that Merkel did not forget the many professionals working to give refugees a new home, since so far politicians have only thanked the volunteers. Not to discount the great work that volunteers are doing, but administrative personnel, doctors, nurses, police officers, teachers, etc… are also doing great work and it shouldn’t be discounted, just because they are paid for it. Angela Merkel’s speech is very good in general, so why don’t you just watch it?
There was a time where I’d have been stunned to even manage to watch a New Year’s address all the way through, because they were usually boring blather. Though I did see Helmut Kohl’s infamous mixed up 1986 New Year’s address (a technician got the tapes mixed up and the TV station broadcast the previous year’s address) live on TV and even remember saying to my parents and their friends, with whom they were celebrating, “Hey, did you hear that? That idiot just wished us a good 1986. He’s so stupid he doesn’t even know what year it is.” None of the others had even caught it, since no one was listening.
Now Helmut Kohl had something of a reputation as clumsy and a little thick in the first term of his reign, so everybody assumed the 1986 bit was a slip of the tongue. And of course, it’s telling how very samey those speeches were that no one (except Mr. Kohl himself who was reportedly furious) realised that they were broadcasting the wrong speech, until Kohl got the year wrong. Even the background and the suit look the same, only the tie was slightly different.
Back to 2016: At midnight, we had champagne and then went outside for the fireworks. We had a package of rockets and a fountain/battery type thing with sixty shots. Fireworks batteries are getting increasingly popular and they look lovely as well. Total 2015 fireworks budget: approx. 15 Euros.
It was somewhat foggy, not to mention smoky from the fireworks, but nonetheless, I managed to get a few good shots: