Thursday 11 April 2024

First April Week

Another short working week, with Easter Monday being a holiday, and seeing the hottest day of the year so far.

Easter Monday (1 April) saw us getting up relatively early so that we'd be in time for church; the village band traditionally provide the music for the family service that day. At 10C/50F, it was chilly. It was also wet and windy but cleared up late afternoon, allowing for an hour-long walk around the village before dropping in with O.K.'s Mum for a bit.

On Tuesday (2 April), just like the previous week I took the trains I normally take on a Monday morning to get home, and was at my desk at the usual time. I was very tired, had a bit of a headache and felt queasy in the morning. Resting on my bed for half an hour during my lunch break helped a lot, and so did the after-work walk to Benningen through the beautiful spring late afternoon and early evening, including a pale rainbow at the start that I just about managed to see before it vanished, and the first apple blossoms.

Click to enlarge and spot the rainbow!

Almost at vanishing point, if you look carefully, you can still see the rainbow.

apple blossoms

A chilly and rainy day followed on Wednesday (3 April), just right for working at the office all day. At 6:00 pm, my sister and I met at our Mum's for a delicious meal of home-made vegetable soup and freshly baked mini naans. My sister had been to the south of France over Easter to visit our relatives there, and told us of her trip and how everyone is.

It was milder but still rather windy on Thursday (4 April) with a mix of rain, sun and clouds. After work, I walked for about 1.5 hours in a part of town I'd not been to in a while.

sunrise on that Thursday morning

It is always interesting to find yet another spot from where the giant ferris wheel is visible.

Sometimes I direct my walks to places that I knew well in the past, such as the street where my piano teacher used to live and where I went for lessons once a week in my mid-teens. The family name is still on the mailbox, and the house has the same, slightly neglected "bohemian" feel it had back then.

Friday (5 April) was considerably warmer at 23C/73F, and I took advantage of it by leaving my windows wide open all day. I am not sure how much the beautiful spring day had to do with it, but I felt like I was "back" and properly "me" again for the first time in weeks, my energy and ability to focus returning.

The day consisted of the usual succession of work, cleaning and packing my little red suitcase until it was time to walk to the train station. Both trains were on time. When O.K. picked me up in Offenburg, we first stopped briefly with a couple of friends before driving to the village. It made for a late supper at the cottage at 10:00 pm.

The next day, Saturday (6 April), came with record-breaking temperatures and wall to wall sunshine: We had about 28C/82F, but the nearby village of Ohlsbach was later given as the warmest place in our part of Germany that day at 30C/86F. It is not so unusual to have warm days in April, but this kind of temperature was much higher than average.

We spent it working around the house and garden of O.K.'s parents. I scratched the moss of a set of stone steps leading up to the patio; while the mossy stones look nicer than the naked concrete, it also made the steps slippery when wet, and dangerous for O.K.'s Mum who will be 84 in August.

I don't mind physical work at all - it allows the mind to wander and gives a sort of satisfaction rarely felt with the abstract stuff I do for a living. But I must admit that the backs of my legs and some other body parts are not used to kneeling and crouching for hours, and every now and then I had to get up and stretch a little. Sore muscles were with me for a few days afterwards, but that's alright.

O.K.'s sister suggested a BBQ at her place that evening, which was much appreciated, since it allowed us to work longer and save time otherwise spent on preparing a meal ourselves. It was still warm enough to sit out in their garden all evening - a pleasant end to a real summer day.

It was "White Sunday" on Sunday (7 April), the name given to the Sunday of the First Communion for Roman Catholic children in Germany. Since O.K.'s village is predominantly Catholic, it is an important day there, with the village band playing for the children and their families on the square in front of the church after the service. 

The warm, sunny weather made for a good turn-out, and it was nice to observe the crowd in their festive clothes. 

Back home, we changed into walking outfits (it was warm enough for me to wear my hiking shorts and a short-sleeved top!), got into the car and drove about half an hour to the village of Nordrach. From there, we walked one of the many tours suggested in a booklet I keep at the cottage. 

Amazingly, in spite of the good weather, we walked most of the tour entirely on our own, the only sounds being birdsong, a murmuring beck running along the path and our conversation - beautiful, and just what I needed.

pear blossoms

Along the way, boards informed about various fruit trees cultivated in the area, such as this pear tree.

Who would not want to have a little rest with such a view?

Baking houses are typical outbuildings at the larger farms here, and this one was open, selling home-made schnaps and other products from the farm.

typical Black Forest farm house

Old stable in Nordrach

Nordrach church inside...

...and out. It is nowhere near as old as it looks; what you see was built in the Neo-Gothic style in 1904/05.
It was neither a strenuous nor particularly long walk, just over 10 km I think, but perfect after the previous day's physical work. Back at the cottage, O.K. fixed us our favourite drink for a summerly evening (Apérol Spritz), and we took one up to the patio for his Mum as well.

For our evening meal, we grilled the rest of the meat and Merguez sausages left over from Saturday.

A busy (as usual) but good week altogether.


  1. What a lovely weekend you had, Meike. It is so wonderful to see the signs of Spring everywhere and it always makes me smile. I am glad you and O.K. have so much fun together!

    1. I was really longing for a walk in the woods, something that had not been possible for a while. It was also good to get at least started on the many jobs that want doing around the house and garden of O.K.'s Mum.

  2. I do miss not having the energy at the moment to go further than my village like I used to, but enjoy being able to do it vicariously through blogs like yours. No one can go everywhere, but your countryside looks magnificent just now.

    1. It really is a beautiful time of year to be out there. Every year when autumn arrives, I think it is my favourite season. Then spring comes round and I think the same.