It's no longer about the new, it's about the best. What was the best thing about the past year 2022? What do I remember fondly and what can last in memory against the tide of time?
I would like to start this detailed review of the year very calmly: the year 2022 again had 365 days. 52 weeks. Each day had 24 hours. Every hour 60 minutes. Every minute, you guessed it. Numerically speaking: The year had approximately 31,536,000 seconds. In a slightly above-average person, the heart beats approximately every second. Poch, poch, poch ... I'm sure my heart beat more often in many situations in 2022; but there were also moments when I was so relaxed that my heart calmed down so much that it actually beat every second. Over 30 million times. Unbelievable. Some things last year were decided in a few heartbeats. Others I thought about for 100,000 heartbeats. Many decisions were taken from me, my body decided them for me. I am very grateful for this biological intelligence of my body. It has helped me, because of it I now weigh a good 12 to 15 kg less than I did in January last year 2022.
Much was good
What was the best thing?
The year I started so many good things, a new job, attention to my health, working with a notebook like Obsidian, to which the above quote is owed. Obsidian was brought to me by my son L., to whom I owed so much more this year. Thank you, L.
But 2022 was also the year of goodbyes. Some things are good to write about here, after all it is sometimes very cathartic to write such things down. I don't want to write so much about the silt, these things are already slowly drifting down the river through time out of my field of vision and have already disappeared around the next bend in the river. Memories, simply washed away by the water of life that flows on with every heartbeat.
The best first. That's when I'm struggling with myself. Was it my diabetes or my new job. The new job came first, well, almost simultaneously.
The Competence Center
Competence Center 5G.NRW
The Competence Center 5G.NRW (CC5G.NRW for short) is helping to develop North Rhine-Westphalia into the lead market for 5G: It reduces technical entry barriers for companies, develops the economic potential for vertical markets and accelerates innovation diffusion.
An old companion, colleague and friend asked me in February if I would like to work at the Competence Center 5G.NRW as a research assistant. I didn't hesitate for long, not even 3600 heartbeats, and applied in mid-February and actually got the job. I have now been working part-time as an employee at the University of Wuppertal since 1 May. A strong intervention in my professional life, the time for my agency is thus cut in half. I have great colleagues and also in retrospect I am very happy with this decision, which has brought so much exchange, social interaction and new friendly people back into my life.
Listen to the signals
Diabetes mellitus, colloquially abbreviated to diabetes, German Zuckerkrankheit or, more rarely, blood sugar disease, refers to a group of metabolic disorders of carbohydrates that include, among other things, disturbed glucose homeostasis. They are based on an (absolute or relative) lack of insulin and lead to chronic hyperglycaemia if not treated or if treated inadequately.
I was not well in the spring. I didn't know why. I drank loads of water, slept badly or not at all. My friend U. sent me to the emergency room one Saturday. Rightly so. Very high blood sugar values, very bad liver values. Diagnosis liver inflammation and diabetes type 2. The stay in Petrus Hospital was terrible, for many reasons, but it is not worth writing down here. The cucumber illustrates it perfectly. I am thankful that my body gave me that finger point. Maybe at the last minute, that's the equivalent of 60 seconds. (Which says something about the idiom.) I went on a strict diet and lost 15kg in 6 months. Trousers from 2002 fitted again, I feel much healthier and more agile, overall, to this day. I am in regular medical care and doing well. And maybe in 2023 I'll manage to weigh as much as I did in 1998, namely 85 kg.
The stretched time
Four days in Wallonia
The Walloon Region is one of the three regions of the Kingdom of Belgium and thus a constituent state of the Belgian federal state. The population is predominantly native French, with German in the far east. The capital is Namur, and the largest city by population is Charleroi, following municipal reforms in the post-war period.
Spending time with the children has always been the greatest gift for me. I was all the more delighted to take a trip to Wallonia with my son at the beginning of 2022, in May to be precise, for over 300,000 heartbeats. What was meant to be the completion of our cycling tour from Den Helder to Paris, which we had to abandon a few years ago, turned out to be a journey of somehow infinite length, because we were travelling without a plan, drifting from place to place and curious about everything. Wallonia is exquisitely beautiful, but its austere charm is not easily discovered. Brussels is a multicultural city whose brittleness and diversity we appreciated very much. They were great seconds, minutes and hours; and as you can see from the Lion's Hill at Waterloo: sometimes it pays to stand back from things so you can see them properly.
For those who would like to read it again, here is the link to Part I – Through Wallonia I - Brussels The undiscovered beautiful country
Quiet villages on the Moselle and Saône
By bike from Koblenz to Dijon
La Voie Bleue
The Voie Bleue, the Moselle-Saône Cycle Route, is a cycle route that starts at the Luxembourg border and goes all the way to Lyon. We have the Franco-German War of 1870 to 1871 to thank for this beautiful cycle route, which was the only reason why the Canal des Vosges (formerly Canal de l'Est) was built.
Our bike tour in autumn 2022 took more than 1.1 million heartbeats. We cycled from Koblenz along the Moselle and the Voie Bleue to Dijon. It's not that we haven't done long bike tours before in our lives, such as Triberg-Ulm, Flensburg-Copenhagen, Den Helder-Brussels or our beautiful tour last year around the Teutoburg Forest; but this trip surpassed everything before in diversity, tranquillity, beauty and intensity. It was simply a wonderful journey with my wife, full of serenity and peace.
Self-organisation with obsidian
My second, glass memory
The Obsidian software
Obsidian is a knowledge base and note-taking software that works with Markdown files. It allows users to create internal links for notes and then visualise the links as a diagram. It is designed to help users organise and structure their thoughts and knowledge in a flexible, non-linear way.
The notebook comes before the website because it is the most significant achievement of the last year for me. The work on the status report on Sullivan's thesis Form follows Function made the introduction of a slip box urgently necessary, as I would like to go back to the - initially - European roots of architectural theory on this topic and, above all, understand them correctly. All this is no longer possible without good information organisation, which my son L. first brought to my attention. I believe I have found the right tool for this in Obsidian. Here I can store all the references, literature, quotations and thoughts. It is simply great to see what I have already found out about the concept of beauty, for example.
State of play reports and the new subdomain
Ernst Simon Bloch (1885-1977) was a German philosopher. Bloch placed himself in the tradition of Karl Marx's writings and is today classified as neo-Marxism. He wrote: The real genesis is not at the beginning but at the end, and it only begins when society and Dasein become radical, that is, when they take hold at the root.
A lot has happened around the website in the last year. The blog has moved. It now has its own subdomain and can be reached at blog.cronhill.de/en. In retrospect, I'm still not entirely sure whether it was a good idea, but it really is a topic on which one can have very many different opinions. I think it's good that, with the exception of travel, all the writing and thinking is concentrated in one place, like in my progress reports, one of which has been published so far. The factual reports are a form that allows me to think and write about questions in the longer term, beyond the chronological stacking of blogging. The photography section has become the travel section, and there is still the photography page, which focuses entirely on the visual, now with new images not shown before.
23 blog posts and a status report have been published in the last year. In three languages. That makes 72. It takes a few heartbeats to read them and there are people out there who have done so. They have read what I write and they have responded. With comments and personal gravity mail from France because I once wrote something about strange mines from Faber-Castell. I write for myself; nevertheless, I am happy for any form of recognition, thanks or benefit that my writing might have for one or the other. The Cronhill.co.uk website has become an important part of my life, it is a lot of work and just as much pleasure.
Dear readers and friends, thank you.
Actually it is ironing
Sewing is actually ironing. And if you're obsessive, you can have a lot of fun ironing. And then have just as much fun sewing. I have sewn before, but I haven't had the time for the last 20 years. Now, in 2022, I have started again and it is a great joy for me. My friend J. inspired me to do it, my friend A. photographed me. Pictures and post to follow.
The new bookshelf
There were three big projects in the workshop this year. A new shelf for the living room, colourful, bright and diverse. For my son L., I made a wooden toolbox that contains everything he needs as the founder of his own existence. For my 3D-printer I built a showcase with a floor made of concrete, stable, safe against vibrations.
Blog entries will follow
Someone read aloud
Hikes through the Mark Brandenburg
The five-volume Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg is the most comprehensive work by the German writer Theodor Fontane (1819 - 1898). In it he describes castles, monasteries, towns and landscapes of the Mark Brandenburg, their inhabitants and their history. Published between 1862 and 1889, the work is an expression of a growing Prussian national consciousness and romanticism.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful things I started last year and am continuing this year: I read to my mother. Unfortunately, thanks to a disease in both eyes, she can almost no longer see, and reading is no longer possible for her. I try to make time for her once a week and read to her from Theodor Fontane's Journey through the Spreewald; it's a double win, as Fontane was - for me personally - at the peak of his travel writing with these books. But I also read a lot outside of this winning activity, but now I read differently. I try to better understand the rich thoughts of the authors I read, to put them into context. This makes reading more tedious, but at the same time the richness that comes from the thought and writing engagement with the ideas and positions is all the greater. Last year I followed my whim and bought enough books to last me for some time, at least 2023.
See what is
The new Photography page
After Lassalle: Seeing what is
Ferdinand Lassalle (1825 - 1864) was a writer and socialist politician. He wrote in 1862: 'All great political action consists of, and begins with, speaking out what is. ' - What now? Second lecture on constitutionalism. 17 November 1862, Berlin. In: Gesammelte Reden und Schriften, Zweiter Band, Paul Cassirer, Berlin 1919, p. 109
I have been taking photographs since about 1984, when I bought a Nikon FE and a 1.8/50 mm lens. That was enough for everything for so long. The Nikon FE was lost under a bank on the coast of Normandy in 2003. Then came digitisation, an F90x, then my two Sigmas, finally the Lomo BEL AIR, an analogue bellows camera with three image formats. Now my beautiful wonderful Nikon D800E which takes such incredibly sharp, well exposed pictures. My friend and colleague Kerstin Sonntag has motivated and supported me a lot to show the pictures in a format of my own. There is a lot to see and with the new "old" Photography page it is finally coming. At the moment there are the categories Architecture, Urban, Landscapes and Analogue. Portrait and Gardens will follow.
Behind the river bend
Mud. Perhaps very grainy silt. In 2022 there were also things that didn't go so smoothly. There were times when nothing happened at all. There were also processes that came to an end, whether because of the Corona pandemic or for other reasons.
Since 1998, after an earlier phase from 1984 to 1991, I worked again with friends on a collaboratively built model railway. In 1998 I was asked if I would like to do it again. A side effect was that every Tuesday after tinkering I went to the cinema with a friend. All over NRW. Unfortunately, that came to an end this year. We were given notice to vacate the premises and unfortunately we couldn't find our co-conditions in other places. So at the beginning of 2022, 24 years of model railway construction went into the container. That hurt, for many reasons.
I am a cineaste. Between 1998 and 2018, I'm sure I watched an average of between 40 and 70 films a year at the cinema. That never came back and the few films I watched in 2022 I can count on one hand. I remember Mrs Harris and a Dress by Dior well, an intense, humorous and loving film. A patch film that I actually wanted to watch with a friend.
The vanilla of life
The American sociologist Richard Sennett predicted early on that long-term social ties would be replaced by fleeting ties. The kind you know from Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. You are no longer part of these people's lives, but only the recipient of their little antenna, which they stick out into a social network or Whatsapp as a representative of their lives. It is the pure surface, an unfortunately very weak atomic bond. One of my long-term relationships / friendships has ended for these reasons - as I see it from my point of view. All my attempts to arrange physical meetings, to spend time together, physically, failed. In fact, even on the grounds that this fleetingness, this weak bond, would be quite practical after all. Today I realise: weak bonds also mean that one has to invest little strength and little energy in them. If the bond is destroyed, it is not a great loss. And weak ties also mean I have to take on little responsibility and take little time. Time, probably the most expensive currency with increasing age, the real vanilla of our lives, so to speak. I remain true to my simple foreign exchange (a nice ambiguous term), at present the following applies: You don't have time, you take time. Taking time means love, means appreciation. Appreciation is a beautiful word. It contains so much. The value, the treasure and the process, the appreciation of the value. This also makes it clear that this cannot be a passive process. It means: people and things that I take time for have a significance that is above that for other people and things. Everyone has to set their own priorities, I understand that. In friendships there should be parity about priorities. If there is no longer parity, the friendship comes to an end.
But where one door closed, another opened. In this respect, all is not yet lost. Here's to a new one!
All the best to you all and a rich year 2023.
Looking back on the year 2022, only the best counts. The best can stand against the current of time and remains in my life's memory; the silt, on the other hand, is washed down the river by time.