Christmas Mass in Germany is different. Well, at least in a catholic church in protestant Hamburg. We went for the 9 o’clock mass. You know the one you go to because you want to go early, before you stick the turkey into the oven and put the ham into the biggest pot and onto the fire to cook both for hours. It’s all about timing. Getting the turkey, the ham, the potatoes (boiled and roasted), sprouts and carrots and broccoli, getting it all ready at the same time. Although – that’s the easy part. Much more difficult is it to get all the people around the table all at the same time and not too long before the dinner is ready.
The organ playing was impressive, the priest’s singing was quite good (he sang everything, from hymns to the Our Father). This was the short early mass, before the Hochamt later on, so it just took over an hour. Half an eternity by Irish standards.
Instead of turkey and ham, we had a big breakfast and went to the hospital to join Pádraig. He has received so many cards and present that there ain’t enough tables to hold all the cards. Thank you to all, on behalf of Pádraig, who sent him great cards, great presents, and really really nice messages. You know the song Ronnie Drew sang about Spanish being the loving tongue (or something like it). Well, I think that Irish must be the loving tongue because many of the good wishes that Pádraig received were in Irish. It is brilliant to have such a bond and to be able to express it in such a beautiful language. It means 1000 times more than just ‘words’.
Pádraig continues to do well. There hasn’t been a dramatic jump in how he is. But there have been slow and steady improvements. He has been eating twice for (I think it must be at least close to) a week now, and not just stewed apple but mashed carrots and potatoes and, for the first time today, bananas. When we left him this evening, I was sad, as I always am when we leave him, but we knew that he is getting better.
To celebrate Christmas, we went to have a drink in our favourite bar in our favourite hotel – and guess who we saw and talked to: Udo Lindenberg, you know him if you had a look at some of the music links in previous blogs. He looks great, is extremely polite, and moves and talks very much like the Udo Lindenberg you would see on stage. He is who he is. And I hope he’ll continue for a long time!