Well, thanks to you, I am now!
When I still lived in South Africa, unfortunately going for a walk outside was out of the question, unless Bob or my neighbour Carel walked with me. Look, that is just how it was and at least it provided more income for the local Gym. Moving here to our village in Burgenland changed all this for me.
Walking at all hours of the day and by myself is safe and possible. I didn't let any moss grow under my feet and set off for a walk on my very first morning here. Who wouldn't want to walk in this paradise. ( Bob in his wisdom figured out that there was no more need for him to walk with me. He much prefers to sleep in on the Winter mornings! ) Oh, I walk through forests, vineyards and rustic country lanes. Sometimes there is a crowd along the way cheering me along: buck, hares, mice and the odd donkey.
That saying, ' come rain or shine ' is my mantra. Walking in rain is no problem for me. Gosh, if a little bit of rain deters one from walking, the folk living in England would hardly do any outdoor exercise...
To be honest, snow and icy conditions do pose a slight problem, but I've learned how to distribute the weight on my shoes. A few slips, slides and tests of how cushioned my backside is, has taught me tout-de-suite. Apart from a lone runner, I haven't seen or met any other full-year walkers yet.
Of course he looks like a marathoner ( very skinny and always floating over the road. Kind of like Bruce Fordyce, the South African running legend. ). In the beginning I imagined that he was some pro-footballer / soccer player / ski champion doing his daily training. At last year's Christmas function I ran into him and he disillusioned my fantasy. As it turns out he is a policeman.
There are a few other ' constants ' that I see on my walking route. A few pensioners drive around the vineyards inspecting nature, the vines and progress on the few building sites there are. A neighbour fixing his wall, adding to his house etc...
Well, one of them usually stops next to me and has a little chat with me. Something along the lines of: " Oh, so you walk every day? " or " Isn't it too hot / cold for you? " Look, I don't mind, as it gives me a chance to meet new people.
But a few weeks ago I wish he hadn't stopped to talk to me. As we met up next to the forest, he dropped his one-liner almost with glee. " Aren't you scared of wild pigs attacking you? "....
The minute he drove off with a friendly wave, I carried on walking, but at the same time feeling a touch intrepid. Was that rustle a mouse, rat or rather a wild pig coming for me? Suffice to say that nowadays I tend to mentally work out how to run away from a possible encounter.
The other day, my neighbour added more flesh to the bare bones of the wild pig tale. He told me to throw the apples not on our compost heap, but to take them to the forest entrance and leave them next to the path.
When I asked him, if it was for making compost there in the forest, he replied: " Oh no, that is to feed the wild pigs and deer."....All I can say is " Oh dear me ! "