An unexpected surprise.
Sundays and public holidays are my favourite days to go for a long walk. Cars are almost nonexistent on the roads ( well it's not as if we have traffic jams but instead of five cars passing the whole walk, none do ) and thus the human stillness is complete.
For some reason I tend to come across half a zoo on most walks and today I picked up a battlion of horseflies when I took the time to pat Sepp's horses. Irritating beyond belief and thankfully nobody saw me striding along constantly waving my arms over my head, behind my back and around me.
Luckily they didn't like the upper Eisenberg and buzzed off to find another victim. A variety of birds were settled on either the electricity lines, trees or the more delicate tops of maize along my route and were tweeting at the rate of Donald but in a more cheerful way.
A lot of the holiday cottages are let and I love to decipher the various number plates along the way. The ' W's ' are easy and rather infamous here due to their different driving style. On the upper Eisenberg I veered off to the left along a forest stretch and could have sworn that I saw a fox sitting patiently five meters in. Suddenly my pace increased although it could easily have been a ginger tabby looking for a field mouse.
A bit further on a hare crossed my path. At least I thought so as my eyes took a while to adjust and decipher, which I think the hare's did too...it waited until I was closer before hopping away to safety.
Further on a most inopportune house, beyond having a bad position had the sold sticker in the window and it boggles the mind how it could have found favour. Yet, houses in our area are selling like hot cakes.
In a case of deja-vu, a young deer was grazing on the verge of the road and jumped off into the shrubs after identifying me as a sort of big foot. The rest of the walk was devoid of anything exciting and that is what makes it so addictive. One of the only times where thoughts can run wild, do cartwheels, imagine the impossible while skimming along the various corridors and cul-de-sacs of the mind .
Honestly, I must be dilly the way I refuse to throw away old shoes. Really, old shoes full of dents, wear and tear not to mention the aroma aquired throughout the summers.
In case you might be thinking that I have one of those organized shoe closets let me put your mind at ease. The full extent of my shoe storage are a couple of dusty old shelves in the delightfully termed ' Sommerküche. ' A little cottage on our property that has morphed into storage central and faces de-cluttering only during leap year.
Quite ingenious to put all the unwanted possessions out to pasture together awaiting that infamous rainy day. Out of sight, out of mind. Well, I ventured in there earlier today, equipped with brown bags ( akin to a rubbish bin ) and good intentions.
Isn't it funny how esoteric we all become once we pick up an old shoe, book or game. Images of good times had flit through the mind bound ruthlessly with a ribbon of time. Time had, time gone but hopefully not time wasted.
Old shoes, shoes that are or rather were practical should be given the boot once the sole has left, but stubbornly I find reasons to keep them. A game of what if? makes it darn near impossible to discard these shoes. Well, today I've given a pair of old running shoes an upgrade in living space...they've found a place inside our house, mingling with a friendly bunch of our current shoes. One step at a time!
I never know when I am going to be the lucky recipient of our cat's affection. Sometimes all day long and other times a mere smidgeon just before meal times. More a point of a reminding me in case I'd forget to feed her...as if that's ever happened!
The omnipotent Google gives seminars and lectures on how to cut a cat's nails but we've never quite got around to doing that. Every time my acupuncture session starts, I think of a way to persuade Bob to give Mausi a manicure. As cute as she is, she might turn into a wildcat and really give us an overdose of acupuncture.
For some reason she loves to knead methodically before cuddling down on my arms, legs or stomach. Not a few seconds either and if I try and get her to settle down she carries on that much longer. By now she should realize that what she feels is what she gets.
Look, once she settles in to be cuddled, all the pin pricks tend to fade from memory and as soon as she purrs like a lion, they are totally forgotten.
Of course I'm not the only pin-cushion in our household. Funnily enough it isn't Bob. He was clever enough to shoo her off a few times and she is more reluctant to apply acupuncture tactics on him. A lot of our bed linen has not been spared tough and rather mysteriously has developed a holey pattern.
Only yesterday I had to tell Bob about her Naughtiness and the plight of our linen and the need to replace them with new ones. Luckily all of ours are hand-me-downs and ancient.
" Which ones did she ruin? "
" The orange ones. "
" Oh thank god, I hate those...!"
Despite some promises about the extreme heat being done and dusted, yesterday decided to buck the prediction and scratch on the 40 degree door. Yikes it was stifling and not to mention muggy. Just after three the first sms from Zurich came through ( never mind that we saw the writing in the sky ) and some rain fell, just enough to ensure my pristine dry washing on the line had to stay out a bit longer.
The heat returned, supper was made and some Blaufränkisch had which shouldn't really but somehow lends an excuse for my memory loss in regards to the washing on the line.
Nine o'clock saw us go to bed with the odd thunder and lightening in the sky. Of course it intensified and it didn't take long before an sms came through. Bob got up to have a look in case it was a call out for the Feuerwehr.
" Schatzi, you won't believe it! They are predicting 110 km/h winds along with the rain. "Oh dear. We could hear the howling start, doors slamming and rain drumming on the various roofs. Being inside it felt rather cozy until I remembered.
" Bob, I forgot to take the washing off the line. "Oh, one would think I committed a major crime. ( Luckily, with esoteric premonition I had omitted to hang my undies on the line which gave me a good night's sleep ) He was imagining our bits of laundry flying about the village and was less than happy when I told him about the lone position his undies had on the line.
" Bob, weren't those your blue underpants that just flew past the window? "In between laughing like kids and picturing those blue undies in one of our neighbours' yard, Bob was muttering about my forgetfulness and the bleak future it painted for him.
This morning on the way to drop Bob off at work, we drove slowly and carefully down the road scanning to the left and right of us...just in case one of Bob's belongings was dangling precariously on a windowsill, garden chair or car window.
Yesterday afternoon I was busy tidying up a veranda when a neighbour came over to talk to me. Bob was at the car doing his own thing. It was a hot afternoon still and it was a welcome interruption to shoot the breeze with our neighbour. He's about my age but one hopes a bit older as being the oldest is never much fun.
Halfway in our news gathering conversation ( village life has its rewards ) I happened to espy out of the corner of my eye another neighbour of sorts approaching. He is of an age where he assumes that giving critiques and tongue lashings are his god given right and being retired affords him oodles of spare time to find enough cause to apply and practice the above.
Last year Bob got a taste of it and Bob having been brought up with manners, merely stood in respect of an elder and quietly nodded away as he told me afterwards.
Anyway, when I saw this man making a beeline towards us, I inadvertently blurted out to my other neighbour:
" Look, sorry but I'm going back to do the gardening as I don't want to be admonished for something or the other. "Oops, I thought, I shouldn't have said that out loud...
" Don't worry, I'm also out of here. Don't want to be taken to task. "If we could have, we would have scattered like bugs when the light turns on, but he was too close already. Of course we were friendly and had a shortish conversation but with aplomb both of us steered it away from any potential pitfalls.
Hopefully when I get to that age I won't be befallen with the same tendencies although, I think I just might be...already I have been known to say:
" When we were young, we would have never done this or that! "
Any seasoned gardener will know what we've just found out. Planting zucchini is fool proof and a great way for a garden novice to feel abundant and successful. Enough of both to enthusiastically relive it the following year. The pro's have cleverly restricted their yield by only planting two seeds of baby marrow with enough room in between but Bob was so delighted when all his seeds germinated that he replanted eight in our vegetable garden.
For a while these eight behaved in an orderly fashion and then, they took over and made a zucchini themed garden, one that is very prolific in rewarding us. At any time there are five or six huge marrows ready to eat and it seems as if they grew overnight.
Zucchini soup, zucchini fish stew, zucchini fries and pasta & zucchini on a loop. Let's just say that after such a green sounding menu, the heart and stomach year for blue cheese pasta, steak eggs and chips.
We cunningly tried to gift a lot of our produce but it seems that most planted their own and don't want ours. Freezing them is not a good idea as we only have a small pint size freezer compartment and making a jam might be rather eccentric and questionable. The size of each zucchini could easily be fodder for the Guinness Book of Records considering that we didn't use anything remotely related to the periodic table.
Yesterday Bob went to explore the jungle and came back with the tidings that only one zucchini is left over...yet, more yellow flowers are growing announcing another round of them. As I am writing I think I have found the answer to our vegetable abundance. A mere two meters away we've got a huge lavender bush. A hive of bees constantly on it and surely as a way to thank us they did a bit of extracurricular activity on our zucchini plant!
The lure of a fly instead of a fly as a lure it seems. There are a subset of creatures that find their energy zenith at three am. Cats, flies and the odd clubber.
The buzz was hidden for a long time and I only found out about it when a sudden heavy bump awoke me. It transpired that this lone fly had started to use my body as its airport. Buzzed here, buzzed there but made sure to land on my hip, ankle or hair. Very annoying when one is trying to sleep.
Of course the other early live wire, Princess Mausi thought this was the bee's knees and was literally quivering with excitement. The fly buzzed and princess meowed in her quick mini soprano. She jumped in the air, on the couch, on a chair and finally on me. Yikes, she lunged to catch the fly on my ankle, the fly grinned and flew off and yours truly had a scrape with Mausi's claws.
Admonishing my little one to stop it only made her more determined to carry on in a game of catch the buzzer. Once or twice she misjudged my hair and I felt a narrow escape from her claws but only by a few centimeters. A new conundrum opened up for me...if I went back to sleep the chances that I would wake up with the odd scratch on my face were high. This fly loved my hair and Mausi didn't care...
Eventually I fell asleep with both my arms over my face and luckily awoke with only two arms painfully asleep but no lasting damage. I just know that this fly is keen to start again tomorrow morning and I' ll have to find a way to make our house a no-fly-zone.
I have to say that live with a cat is never boring...
As you know it's been and actually still is extremely hot and humid. Temperatures at night are still hot and the bit of cool air from the open bedroom window first brushed Bob and seemed to have stayed there. My side of the bed was akin to a sauna and definitely not fun.
At about ten I migrated to the lounge and made my bed under the open window. At least some respite but the air was far from cool. Accepting a long night ahead of me, I turned on the inevitable thriller, Tatort, and settled down to work out who'd done it.
When all of a sudden, the television went black, pitch black, followed by all the dots of light on other appliances, I got scared. Window open, murder plot on mind and due to the storm outside coupled with the strange noises mingled with odd streaks of lightning. Isn't that when in the movies the murderer gets illuminated with an ax in hand?
Of course after having calmed down a tad bit I started to wonder whether we'd paid the electricity bill but remembering that we had, I got up to go to the front room to see if the street lights were in order. Perhaps it was just us...Not at all as the street lights were out and the lane was in utter darkness.
What to do...Mausi, busy going through the terrible two's had made herself scarce, not wanting anything to do with me and Bob was audibly sleeping through this power cut.
I lay on the couch and got to thinking about the many power cuts Bob and I lived through in South Africa the last few years we were there and how quickly I had forgotten them. How quickly one takes anything for granted. Electricity is precious and shouldn't be a given. This morning I have renewed respect for it and have been heard to say:
" Lights Bob, lights Bob! "to which the outraged reply was instant:
" That's rich coming from you!!!!
It's been so hot that we don't know how and where to sleep at night. Oh sure, the temperature cools down at night but a reduction of 10 degrees still brings us to around 30 degrees without a breeze. Sleeping outside on a sun-lounger has been scrapped after seeing the fox use our garden as its living room.
The lawns are browning ( that is those whose owners have buckled to the neighbourhood eh, watch ) and the flowers are wilting dreadfully. Ours are at least due to the lack of an outside tap and the resulting manual filling of watering cans from the bathroom makes one less than generous with the watering. Walking in the morning I see lots of hose pipes being pulled about green gardens, but as nice as they look one tends to wander if it isn't a waste of a precious resource?
Don't get me wrong, I love coming home to the cheerful red window boxes and the odd planted gardenias but in these hot conditions they perhaps shouldn't have been planted.
Next year our windows will be a treasure trove of herbs and heat resistant plants. In fact the more I think of it, having a window sill filled with the purple splendour of a lavender bush seems heavenly. One window lavender, the next thyme interspersed with rosemary and sage.
Reading up on it, I have now learned that they don't need as much water as those decorative beauties seen all over the village but they will be a delightfully aromatic addition to any home. Imagine, planting only lavender in the boxes on the ledge outside our bedroom windows...the whiff of aroma alone will ensure I'll have a restful sleep. New adventures ahead!
Memories are tied irrevocably to food or at least mine are and trussed up at that. Against my better judgement I saddled the chariot with a cooler box inclusive of ice blocks on the back seat and was on my way to Oberwart before eight this morning. Already it was warm and getting warmer with a predicted 40 plus this afternoon. Not the type of weather to be out and about but our larder is bare and the fridge tends to mirror our disappointed faces from its empty glass shelves.
Also for a chance to buy a pair of shoes after being terribly disappointed at the various sports shops in regard to finding a new pair of running shoes either because they don't have any in my size or because nobody thought it necessary to help never mind greet me. Last Friday I found out via the postman that Hofer ( Aldi ) had a pair of running shoes in stock today. Pamphlets somehow having been mysteriously stuffed into our postbox!
Before you shake your head at me, I have to say that those shoes were tested at a renowned sports university, are waterproof, padded for the heavy footed and don't look too bad for their price ( 1/3 of the name brand shoes ).
Each year when I buy a new pair of running shoes at astronomical prices ( for me ) I tend to wonder why, at those prices they still carry the Made in China label. Every time ( rightly or wrongly ) I see the sticker Made in China all those documentaries viewed jump to the forefront of my mind.
At least I'm going to give the Hofer shoes a try and see. It was rather surreal to see so many bargain hunters fighting over products before eight in the morning. Yours truly came prepared with a pair of socks in her purse!
All the other shops I needed to frequent only open at nine and so I went to InterSpar to while away the time in air-conditioned comfort. Just like all roads lead to Rome so do all lanes lead to the bakery department. Yum, yum, I had to try out their brioche just because it looked so inviting and fresh.
Well, I took it home to have after lunch and the first bite I took transported me back to the campus of Durban University and the little tearoom on it. They served the most divine Chelsea buns, huge, fresh and glazed with iced sugar. Healthy, perhaps not but tasty for sure.
Through the years I've partaken in this bakery item in its various shapes, conditions and sizes and even now, I can recall the places I bought most of them and how much fun it was to eat them...
On the way home after dropping Bob off at work I took the first turn into Gartengasse instead of my usual Dorfstrasse and only because on the way earlier the road was almost blocked by two huge trucks and a crane. A new floor ( ! ) is put on top of an existing two storey house and might end up the tallest building in the road.
As it was still a bit cooler ( 20 degrees at 5.45 am ) I drove with the windows open and casually slow too. You know, the other morning we only avoided an accident because of Bob's quick reflexes. A deer had jumped across the road a meter in front of us and since then I reign in my speed just in case...unless a BeeGee song is played on the radio. We all have our foibles after all.
Almost at home, in fact on the fence side of our house I noticed a rather skinny ginger cat in the middle of the road. Gosh, whose kitty might that be? It halted for a second to weigh the dangers of our chariot and then proceeded to run into the meadow next to the road. Only the size of its tail gave it away.
Suddenly my brain and eyes coordinated and realized that a skinny fox had meandered out of our garden and gone across the road. Yikes, a fox my mind screamed. First I pressed both buttons to whirl the windows up and then idled to where this wild animal had cut a path through those tall blades of grass. Didn't want it to jump through my window!
Somehow I shouldn't be surprised to see a fox so close as we live a stone's throw away from a forest but even the mere word, fox, demands one's attention and respect. The fact that it had slinked out of our yard made me wary to drive up the driveway in case I saw our Tigger lying there injured or worse. Foxes have been accredited to slaying many a chicken in the village and why stop at those...
I needn't have worried. Tigger was patiently awaiting my return on the windowsill, Mausi was safely protected by the mosquito netting and the only iffy part was walking to the washing line to get the laundry down which I left it there last night by mistake. Believe me, I did plenty of back exercises by repeatedly twisting left and right to see.
Of course for the rest of the day I will tread with caution and perhaps take one of those pesky walking sticks along with my camera...