Today my big, once a year, three week vacation starts. Alas – I am to stay home – as is everybody in their right minds during this pandemic. Which is not going to end any time soon. The German lock-down, that started beginning of last November just has been prolonged until March 8th, 2021. Whis is exactly, when my holiday will end. Bummer. We are still asked to meet no more than one person from another household. And this is not per meeting or day, but choose one person and stick with the same. So much for meeting friends or inviting folks over. Also, Germans are ordered to work from home, wherever possible. All shops remain closed, (save for food stores and pharmacies), also shut since months are hairdressers and other body-related services (save for medical services), restaurants and hotels. On top, government just ordered to control borders to our worse off neighbours in Czech Republic and Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. Noone without a negative Covid test is to enter the country (our neighbours run the new variants of the virus in higher numbers and Mrs. Merkel wants as few of them introduced as possible). But infection numbers are slowly receding, so at least schools and hairdressers will reopen next week. The rest is ordered to stay put.The initial goal was to have less than 50 new infections per 100.000 people and week. Germany was as high as 200 in December, at certain areas much higher. Now we are back to 60 or so and we were hoping to be allowed back to normal soon. But with the more contagious British and South-African virus variants already about, the bar has been lowered to 35 infections per 100.000 and week. Thus, rumour has it, that the lock-down might even last till Easter.
But another thing is about to change quickly: the weather. We had a real winter lately, complete with snow, substantial frost, the works. However, this morning the forecast let us know, that winds change from Siberian East to British Channel West. Bringing with it warmth from the Atlantic this week. With temperatures rising from -11°C this morning to a possible +15°C as soon as Wednesday. So all this pretty snow and ice will be a thing of the past very soon. Thus, I got up before sunrise today, to walk to the nearby woods to capture the beauty of winter one more time. It might be another five or more years, until I get another chance. Here’s some of the catch: