spinning wheel, twists of floss

Pierre Etienne Theodore Rousseau

Not a productive week, my time fractured by minutiae and mundanities, dealing with storage, nursing newly-spayed and very unhappy Loki, (who has to wear a cone for ten days) and planning for the Cities of Light cruise, departing in ten days. I did write a little, no new narrative, but many story notes in the Moleskine, covering not only The Bone Box, but my thoughts on The Friendship Killers and The Serene Widow. Attended my writer’s group and read the first 8 pages of The Serene Widow, also read two delightful Regency novels, Liliana’s Letter by Alina K. Smith and The Curate’s Brother by Wendy Van Camp. I also read my way through Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid. So while I didn’t get much actual writing done on The Bone Box, it was never far from my mind, but I’m nowhere near making my November 10 extended deadline so let it go, bear.

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One thing I’m very much looking forward to on the cruise is the stop at Cochem an der Mosel. Snagged from Wikipedia, this panoramic photo shows Cochem nestled in the heart of the Moselle Valley below the Eifel range and that knobby stone structure on its hill to the right is Cochem Imperial Castle. We lived in the heights of the Eifel range above Cochem when Dad did his tour of duty in Germany. He was stationed at Hahn Air Force Base, a three hour drive away from where we lived, on economy, as it’s called when you live off base.

On the Eifel is a small German military base, and back in the day, they gave us American families four townhome-style buildings in the housing supplied to German military families. My family lived on Lilienstrasse. I and my friends would catch the bus down to the village  to hang out. We’d wander the cobblestone streets, buy rich, soft vanilla ice cream from the street vendor, poke about the shops with our hands in our pfenning-less pockets, sit on the river wall and watch the tour buses unload. We of course were not tourists; we lived there.

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We attended school at Hahn. Every weekday morning our van, supplied by the German base, would arrive at 5 a.m. to pick up the six of us (I think there were six) and drive us to Hahn and would bring us back in the afternoon when school was over. I liked that long commute. Our driver was a young, friendly German serviceman. Along the way we’d pass through wine villages on the riverbank, shaded by steep forested hillsides, vineyards and orchards carved out here and there.

I had my favorite landmarks that I’d look for every morning. One was a lone red brick wall, stained with black, all that was left of a building bombed during the war. The other was what appeared to be the ruins of a Roman temple tucked up on a hillside. I could barely glimpse its columns standing like sentinels in a grassy field. And then there was the pear tree growing high on a hillside. Every spring it bloomed in white blossoms and was a lovely sight.

Once one afternoon, when it was the end of grape harvest season, our driver stopped on a pastoral road and let us scramble up a hill to a vineyard hung with harvest leftovers. We happily snatched handfuls of green wine grapes and scrambled back down to the van. Memory still holds the sharp, sweet tang of those pilfered grapes.

I hope I’m able to treat myself to my favorite snack–pomme frites and mayonaise–french fries and mayonnaise. Street vendors would sell a cone of freshly done french fries with a generous dollop of thick mayonnaise–num, num! German mayo, creamy and flavorful, tastes nothing like American and I can’t wait to relive this old memory.

Another fun food memory… my little sister was crazy about brochen, German bread buns, crunchy-crisp on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside. In the afternoons a bread and pastry truck would cruise through the neighborhood, its music playing merrily. My sister would beg five pfennigs from Mom and fly down the stairs, along with the rest of us to meet the brochen truck. Yep going to have to have a brochen or two.

Tomorrow is my writing progress report meeting so must get to pulling it together,going to have another cup of coffee and some kind of breakfast too.

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Images courtesy of Wikipedia

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