time for a change

i know i’ve said this before, but i’ll say it again: i love how much more dramatic the changes of season are in europe than in new zealand. back home we really can have 4 seasons in one day – we’ve had snow at christmas and t-shirt days in winter, & since the native trees are evergreens and snow doesn’t usually settle in the cities, deep winter can be just like a dull wet summer’s day. but here, it’s different. at the moment we are waking up every morning to heavy, chilly mist which clears by early afternoon to reveal a mild, sunny day; the colourful carpet of leaves is slowly growing on ground and in the sunny afternoons the trees blaze from gold through to purple against a clear blue sky. oktoberfest has just finished, kids are back at school, and there is a sense of people settling in for the journey to the end of the year. we’ve had a great tomato harvest and have made lots of sauce and chutney. there are still a few green tomatoes on the plants which i guess probably won’t ripen, but let’s see …

Tourists in Madrid

there was an abrupt end to summer for me, as i was in madrid for the first week of september – leaving munich just as the cold started and heading to warmer climes. but from madrid i went to aberystwyth in west wales, where it was already much colder (and damper!) than munich. so i packed summer frocks and winter boots, and needed everything. in madrid i was at the magdalena festival A Solas, which was very good – well organised, lots of great shows and lots of interesting meetings (i’ve written a bit about it here). i think my spanish even improved a bit. it was only my second visit to madrid and i really liked it, even though most of what i saw was concentrated on the short walk between the hotel and the theatre, and the inside of the theatre. maria, tanya and i did make a couple of excursions into the city; and anyway, between the hotel and theatre was a string of excellent tapas bars, so we really didn’t need to go anywhere else. i became so used to the custom of serving free snacks with drinks that now when i’m having a drink at a bar i’m disappointed not to get a saucer of chips, peanuts, olives or tortilla with it. it’s such a nice hospitable custom – though i have to wonder how they can afford it. one evening three of us drank 7 glasses of wine, which cost €16, and along with the wine we had 3 slices of tortilla, 2 saucers of chips, one of peanuts, one of olives and pickled onions, 2 different saucers of dead animal stuff, and maybe something else that i’ve forgotten. we almost never needed to buy anything else for dinner …

Iris Azqueniezer
Iris Azqueniezer

one of the highlights of the festival was when the beautiful young cellist iris azqueniezer spontaneously played for me at one of these bars, on the footpath near midnight, because i had missed her show. it was so wonderful, i was glad to have missed the actual show!

from madrid i went (via london) to aberystwyth for the first meeting of the Magdalena Archive Project, which aims to find a way to take care of what is becoming a large archive, of 27 years of the project. i’ve written about the meeting on the magdalena site so if you’re interested you can read more there. selene and i stayed at a lovely B&B; with 3 boisterous children, so outside of the meeting we had interesting family meal-time conversations.

now i’m back in munich with no travel planned until november, which is quite a luxury. until recently i have been busy with the CyPosium book and documentation of We have a situation!; now that that is done, the focus is on the forthcoming 10th birthday of UpStage – it’s amazing that UpStage has reached this milestone. vicki & i have been doing lots of unsuccessful funding applications for the celebratory event, so as time has passed we’ve had to reduce our ideas down and down … but we are still going ahead with some performances, networked discussion, and a planning meeting in wellington on 9-10th january. also the current AUT student developer team seem to be a bunch of geniuses so we look set to having version 3 of the software ready to release at the birthday. pretty exciting stuff!

and in general life, andy & i are searching for a new home in munich, which is difficult as it’s one of the most expensive cities in europe in terms of accommodation, and has a very slow-moving property market so there’s not even very much to look at. yesterday we saw what looked like the perfect affordable place in a really good location – but today it’s disappeared from the web site … so we keep searching; and in the meantime making preparations for another southern summer. i’ve heard from bob at gasoline heaven that the valiant is in good shape, he is getting the rust repaired and she will be good to go for another south island road trip – this time we will be celebrating 20 years together and into her 50th year! as well as celebrating mum’s 80th … so, much to prepare for!