Home Alone

… until retirement

In recent years, we at Harlequin have dedicated a few articles to the topic of “home office in Covid times”. At the time, this was “the new normal” and admittedly – it didn’t just have downsides. However, most of the working population for whom home office was an option had the prospect in the background of being allowed / able / obliged to return to the office at some point.

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Herr Czaja,

Translator’s note to readers less acquainted with German politics:
Harlequin RGE’s open letter is addressed to the current Secretary General of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), in opposition since last year for the first time in 17 years. The CSU is the Bavarian sister party of the CDU. (Why Bavaria, one of some 16 federal states, should need its own separate “Christian” party is an issue that while fascinating could fill volumes and probably stretch your reading patience.) Our Harlequin’s observations may nevertheless seem familiar to some of you abroad…

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier – Spy

Some of our contributions now have the character of a series, because after the first contribution the same phenomenon suddenly appears everywhere. Most people will recognise this when buying a car or clothes. You’ve just decided on a “beautiful rarity” and you then come cross it on every other street corner – at least that’s how it seems. In reality, you have only become more sensitive to this specific perception. This is what happened to me recently, after buying an older house, with which I unexpectedly came across – or rather was thrust into – the trappings of an extinct profession.

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The whistle

A friend called me recently. I was just coming from the hospital from a check-up (don’t worry, nothing bad) and he caught me on the way to the parking lot. Now my car isn’t brand new, but it’s not old either, so it has a Bluetooth interface, which allows phone calls while I’m driving – especially since the whole thing works with voice control. When the ignition is turned on, the phone automatically connects to the hands-free system and the call can continue.

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Birds in Art

The more I look at the painting, the more my gaze wanders from the face of the old, shabby-looking woman to the owl at her shoulder. The owl here stands for drunkenness and bad, vulgar behaviour. In the 18th century there was the expression “as drunk as an owl”. The picture hangs in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, which was painted by Frans Hals in 1630 is called Malle Babbe1, 2. Owls are also considered wise because of their sharpened senses and night vision abilities, which already fascinated the ancient Greeks. The owl was the companion animal of the goddess Athena, the patron goddess of Athens and the goddess of wisdom.

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 It doesn’t always have to be goose

What do you have to eat on Christmas Eve? In some German families, sausages with potato salad are a tradition. Or carp with potato salad. When I was a child, there was a lot of excitement at first because we children were not allowed in the living room because the tree had been decorated by our parents and was supposed to be a surprise (it looked the same every year). Then came the giving of the presents, followed by a 3-course meal, a sinful gluttony. Because at 11 pm we all staggered into Christmas mass, drowsy and our bellies full. That was the “family tradition” for many years. Today I experience it quite differently. Let me describe how we will probably celebrate Christmas Eve.

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Oh come all ye faithful…

…to the Christmas market

When it comes to Christmas markets, there is not only the group of fans (“Finally, a Christmas market without Corona restrictions!”) and the group of the uninterested (“What am I supposed to do there? There are only crowds, unhealthy food and presents that nobody needs!”) but also people in the “Yes, but only if…” category. The “yes, but” can come from different directions: “Yes, but only if it’s free.” or “Yes, but only if it’s not too crowded.” (Which in turn amounts to “Yes, but only if it’s not free.”)

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Drugs party

According to a status report on drugs 2021 (national REITOX (Réseau Européen d’Information sur les Drogues et les Toxicomanies) node to EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction), in 2018, 8.3% of 12-64 year-olds had used drugs (especially cannabis) within the previous 12 months, of those more men than women. Bavaria in particular is well above the average, especially noticeable among 14-17 year olds.

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A lifelong companion

The 70s cast long shadows

My colleague PUE has written about lifelong learning at Harlekin.blog from time to time – I will now follow suit and comment on “lifelong furniture”. It’s about the magnificent exhibit pictured above, which was brought back from the attic to the light of day.

In the first Corona summer (how that sounds…) a major renovation campaign took place at our house with all kinds of measures to make our 60s terraced house fit for the future. Corona rules made some preparations necessary. Routes were marked in the house, etc., in order to allow the 3 – 6 builders who were working in and around the house at the same time and ourselves to take coffee breaks “at a distance” – including pleasant chats over coffee, of course.

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The Reading

This post is by our guest author Susanne Bröer. Susanne lives in Berlin, is a graduate in business management, has been passionately sewing quilts for 30 years and writes short stories, so-called five-liners.

Thursday, 8 pm! There aren’t many people sitting in the auditorium, maybe a dozen – mostly of the older generation, literature lovers, so to speak. Some are armed with writing material to take notes, others wait in curiosity for the literary spectacle that is about to follow. A woman enters the stage, dressed in black, accompanied by an almost ash-blond small boy, presumably her son. A large book with a red cloth cover lies open on the table in front of her.

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