Wednesday 26 August 2020

Another Tuesday Evening Walk, and an Encounter

Last week Tuesday, on the 18th of August, I was at first unsure where to direct my after-work walk. It was a day of fast moving clouds and very warm, and the probability of a thunderstorm putting a quick end to my walk was rather high. According to the weather app on my phone, there was no rain or thunder forecast for my immediate area and the next few hours, though, and so I set off in a south-west direction.

Only now when I was looking it up here on my blog have I realised that it was also a Tuesday when I last walked that circuit, and the sky looked quite similar on that day back in July.

These birds gathering on a power line are probably starlings, but I am not sure. Anyway, they, along with all the harvested fields, made me think summer is as good as over:

Most remarkable about my walk last Tuesday was an encounter towards the end of it:

A heron stood on a harvested wheat field, closer to the path than any other of the many herons I have spotted on those fields during my walks. The beautiful bird was only a few steps away from the path, and did not seem worried at all when I stood still, too, and slowly pulled out my phone to take a picture. He or she watched me closely, but moved a bit further away from the path only when a lady with a dog came along. The dog was well behaved and did not even bark at the large bird, but the magic of the moment was broken and everyone moved on.

My sister sent me the above view from her balcony. With the sunset painting the white buildings pink, it looked more like Miami than Ludwigsburg!

Later, when I was already safely back home and enjoying my dinner and some TV, rain and thunderstorm made their way to my area.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Rainbow Days

On the 16th and 17th of August, we finally had some rain. It came along with thunder and lightning and made not only for a welcome cooling down after several hot days and almost sleepless nights, but also for beautiful skies.

Sunday the 16th started off like most of the previous days, warm and sunny. 

O.K. and I were spending the weekend at my place and went for a combination of running and walking in the morning before it became too hot. For the evening, we had planned to meet with my sister and walk to the nearby farm beer garden, but the rain put an end to that idea. We went to my sister's instead - the rain had stopped by then - and spent a very pleasant few hours on her beautiful balcony, having home-made pizza and chilled rosé.

Monday saw me working at a client's office; as before, it was good to meet some of the people I have been working with for years but not seen face to face in months. When at my desk, I had the room entirely to myself; lunch at the canteen was quiet with only a certain number of people allowed in and sitting far apart. To be honest, I would have preferred to just have a sandwich at my desk, but of course when a client asks me to have lunch with them, I do not say no.

Just as I left the office, it was pouring with rain and my umbrella was not very effective in the thunderstorm. By the time I reached home, the rain had almost stopped, and I rushed to my kitchen window to look for the rainbow I was sure had to be there. And indeed it was there - not just one, but two!

They lasted for a few minutes only, and I felt lucky in catching them. My sister saw them, too, and sent me the above picture.

Friday 21 August 2020

The Longest Walk 2.0

More than eight years ago, in March 2012, I wrote a post entitled "The Longest Walk". I have not been back to that specific place more than once or twice since then, but have been meaning to go for a while now. Last Friday, everything seemed to work in my favour: I had plenty of time, expecting O.K. only on the Saturday; I managed to finish work early enough, and the day was not quite as hot as it had been lately, when it was not a good idea to walk in the sun for hours.

If you want to compare my pictures from March 2012 with the ones of last week, you can click here for the old post.

The motorway was packed nose to nose - Friday late afternoons are not the best times for travels, which is why O.K. prefers to drive the 150 km from his place to mine rather late when we spend the weekend here:

View towards Asperg:

My goal, the "Kaiser":

At this point, there was nothing left of the gentle breeze that had been so pleasant to walk in before. I was down at the bottom of this vast sloping field - the photo does not show how long and steep the slope really is - and it was really hot and dusty down here. Good job I had a bottle of water with me.

Much closer to home already, view of Pflugfelden, a suburb of Ludwigsburg:

This reading lady sits on the village square in Pflugfelden:

The runmeter on my mobile phone said I had been walking 18.82 km (about 11.7 miles). It felt good, but I must admit that for the last 2 km or so, I was really, REALLY looking forward to my dinner!

Thursday 20 August 2020

A Birthday Party

This week, I have been posting almost every day - there is so much catching up to do before the month is over!

The 12th of August is my Mum's birthday. Yes, "Glorious Twelfth" has a different meaning in my family! Of course, a big birthday party was not feasible, but we still wanted to make the day special for her.

My parents' friend Rita lives on the ground floor in the same house, and her garden is at the back of the house, facing east, meaning it is in the shade all afternoon - perfect on a hot day such as the 12th was.

Six of us gathered there in the evening. My sister and Rita had organised everything and made the garden pretty with garlands and lights, putting chairs and tables out so that we could sit with enough distance from each other. Rita grilled meat and sausages (also some vegetarian ones for those who wanted them), there were various salads and bread, and of course cold drinks with or without alcohol.

My contributions were a well-chilled peach punch and a bowl of watermelon salad. I can't believe I have not posted the recipe on my blog before - it has been a favourite summer dish of ours for a few years now. The ingredients are watermelon, feta cheese, roasted pine nuts and chopped mint leaves, marinated with lime juice, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. So refreshing!

Rita's cats kept us entertained, especially Keks, who managed to get hold of a large green dragonfly. Velvet, who is an old lady now, only came out for a drink and then a rest by the pond.

The day was special for me in another way, too: Usually, I go running once a week with a friend who lives close by, and once on the weekend with O.K. It has been too hot for running in the evening recently, and so my friend and I agreed to try an early morning run. On that Wednesday, I got up at 5:40 in the morning, had a sip of water, brushed my teeth, put my running things on and left the house at 5:55 in order to meet my friend at 6:00 outside her house.

It was a truly enjoyable experience and a pleasant run, perfect at that time of day! I really should do this more often - if only I didn't like my sleep so much...

Wednesday 19 August 2020

A Sunday Barbeque

Sunday, the 9th of August, was forecast to be even slightly hotter than the Saturday had been. We opted against running or hiking and went for a gentle walk around the village instead, in the morning before it became too hot.

There was a slight breeze, and it was actually a really pleasant walk, in spite of the heat making itself felt already. After about an hour, we were back at the cottage and thinking about lunch.

O.K.'s cottage is on the other side of a narrow cul-de-sac road from his parents' house, with a courtyard/driveway in front of their house and a strip of garden along the side. At that time of the day, it was still in the shade, and so we brought out the grill from the shed and had a barbeque for lunch.

Because of the wasps, we only grilled our food out there, but ate it in the kitchen, carrying our plates the few paces from the cottage's front door to the grill and back. It was much cooler inside, and no wasps! The grilled vegetables, sausage and rustic bread made for a delicious Sunday lunch.

We spent part of the afternoon resting, refreshing ourselves at the fountain a few times in between, and later had a cold evening meal on the balcony. By that time, the heat had become bearable, and we sat there long after sunset, admiring the beautiful starry sky. Even the Milky Way is visible from there - no chance of that in town, where I live.

Having decided to take the Monday morning commuter train instead of heading home on the Sunday evening made it all so much more relaxed and pleasant. All went well on the Monday morning, too, and I arrived home with 20 minutes to spare before my first conference call of the day.