Thursday 30 April 2015

Post No. 699

Nearly 700 posts now! And it does not feel that long ago that I wrote No. 500; nor would I have thought I'd stick to this for so long when I took my first tentative steps into the blogosphere. But then again, I usually am someone who sticks to people, things and places for a long time; I am not a "butterfly" in that I am not volatile when it comes to friendships, work, hobbies or habits.

Can you believe this is already the last day of the first quarter of 2015? Whenever I look at dates on a calender, I find time is passing with incredible swiftness. And it gets even more poignant when I observe the day-to-day changes happening outside. Take the cherry tree in front of my kitchen window, for instance.

A few days ago, it was all covered in beautiful white blossoms. By yesterday, they were almost all gone, and now the tree is clad in tender green leaves.

Clad in green I was, too, when I went walking with my Mum Sunday a week ago (see previous two posts).

To work, I have been wearing a blouse I bought already last year in winter but could not wear until now because of the cold weather. You can't see it properly in the pictures, but the pattern on it is keys and locks - very fitting for my line of work (data protection and IT security). It's adding such little touches of humour to otherwise boring business outfits that I like.

A very banal post, this one, I know; but I had to write something, didn't I? And not much else suitable for my blog is happening in my life these days. (It is all good things, let me assure you - just nothing I feel comfortable blogging about.)

Sunday 26 April 2015

Where We Went Last Sunday - The Village

From the majestic pear tree (see last picture of last post) we walked up the hill on a path that wasn't exactly a road, but we wanted to enter the village from the back and not on its main road.

Here are our first glimpses:
A strange collection of wooden poles, old rooftiles and... an upturned tombstone, of all things. Very unexpected!

This friendly little fellow spent a few minutes with us, letting me stroke him or her (I didn't check) and getting my hands all dusty from the earth it kept itself rolling on. In Germany, three-coloured cats are called "Gl├╝ckskatze" ("Lucky Cat") not necessarily because they themselves are luckier than other cats, but because they are believed to bring luck. It's rubbish, of course, but I still like the term Gl├╝ckskatze.

This was the building the cat had come out of. It almost looks like a piece of art, as if the plant growing from its brick wall was put there deliberately. A fascinating example of how nature gets where nature wants, if left undisturbed.

It was now about 1:00 pm and we had been walking for about an hour. Breakfast was hours ago and so we had a short rest on this bench, eating our savoury biscuits and some chocolate and drinking water. Friendly people with bikes and dogs passed us, and as you do in such instances, greetings were exchanged (never happens in town, does it).

We were ready then to explore the village. There wasn't much to explore - it's a handful of houses, and I'm afraid we were rather disappointed - not by the size (because we'd of course seen its size from afar and knew it was really more a hamlet than a village), but by its looks and condition.

Really only a few buildings were as handsome as the ones you can see here; old, traditional barns with their timberwork, large gates and sturdy stone foundations.

There was a general air of shabbiness about the place, a bit sad to look at. Many houses had been either built or renovated during the 1960s and 70s, and it showed - the style of those decades simply does not look so good in the countryside, and you could tell that nothing had been done to those houses ever since. A select few houses had been built or renovated recently and looked new, neat and clean, with solar panels on the roofs and decoration around their front doors making it obvious that here was a young generation leaving their mark on the village, but even those houses somehow lacked character.

Does anyone know what this tree is? Not even my Mum was sure, and she is usually very good at trees' and flowers' names.

We were soon finished with our exploration of the place. Leaving the village, we both agreed on that we still wanted to walk on and not return to the allotment already. Instead, we walked down the hill again and on towards the woods.

Nearly at the same time last year, I posted about spring in the woods; there is something so wonderful about the atmosphere in the woods at that time of year.

But we weren't there yet. First, I had to be daft and have my Mum take pictures of me:

We entered the woods from this path, going slightly uphill. It was wonderful! The ground was covered in anemones, but they had their petals half closed, as if it were already evening, in spite of it being maybe 2:00 pm.

This one is for Kay :-)

The last stretch of road back to the allotment felt the longest... We had been walking for three hours, and were ready for coffee and home baked muffins with my Dad.

It was a good day, and I know more of the same (or similar) will follow.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Where We Went Last Sunday

Last Sunday, it wasn't overly warm (there was actually quite a chilly wind blowing), but it was sunny and dry, and so seemed ideal for a nice long walk with my Mum.

This time, instead of walking our familiar route from Marbach to my parents' allotment (you've seen that walk several times on my blog already), we joined my Dad when he drove there, and set off for our walk from the allotment.

You have seen some of the places where I took pictures before, and so have I; but the gardens, woods and fields never look the same. Weather, seasons, time of day, light, growth, people, animals - it is all in a continuous state of change, and therefore, never boring (at least not to me!).

First of all, here are some pictures I took at the allotment:

Just like in my recent post with pictures from the palace gardens, the forget-me-nots do not appear nearly as beautiful as they are in reality. Believe me, they were much bluer! I put this down to my lack of skill in taking professionally good pictures. Maybe I need a forget-me-not-filter on my camera :-)

The tadpoles are for you, Frances! They are toads, not frogs, by the way. I saw Mama (or Papa) Toad resting at the edge of the pond on my previous visit, but didn't take a picture.

Leaving the allotment, the first part of our route was very familiar:

See the village over there? So far, I've never walked there, only ever admired it from afar. There are several pictures of it on my blog, for instance here.

Now we were approaching my favourite spot, the grassy path I've been on about more than once. Much to my relief, it was still like I remembered it, and the strangely unfinished-looking construction work leading from the road towards the path remains as it was. It does not look as if there is anything more going to happen.

Once we arrived at the other end of the grassy path, instead of taking to the left, we took to the right - for the first time ever. This was our original plan, we wanted to see where that road leads, and how nice a walk we would find there.

It was at this point where we decided to turn right and walk to the village we've seen so often from the road leading away from the allotment.
If you've been following the number of right bends we've taken, you will have worked out that by this time, we were actually moving back towards starting point - only on a parallel route.

The edge of the forest visible on the picture below is where "my" grassy path is:

I could hardly believe it when I saw close-up how the rapeseed fiels are in bloom already! This was the 19th of April, after all.

Another week or two, and this plantation of apple trees will be all covered in beautiful white-pink blossoms:

Almost there! Behind these trees is the village. The beautiful tree in the picture on the right is a pear tree.

Well, I think this post has already become very long, and I suspect some of you have given up by now and gone to do other things. So, let me show you the village and where we went next in tomorrow's post.