Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Little Oasis

My blog has been looking a little dull of late.
I do so like to have photos on each of my posts.
And I've missed not being able to share them with you.
Especially now that spring is underway,
though you wouldn't know it today,
as it's dull and rainy.
But not to worry as I have some springlike photos
tucked away just waiting to be aired.

But before I do,
I'd just like to thank you all
for sticking with me through these sporadic blogging months,
and welcome new readers and followers.
It's lovely to have you all here!

Now that I've upgraded my account on Blogger,
and found a way to download photos from the camera
onto the computer,
in a roundabout manner,
I hope to be here on a more regular basis.
After all
there's so much to share,
and I miss not being in touch with you.

Back to the spring like photos...

These were taken about a week ago
on the way back from a walk with the hounds.

It's become our practice to drive above the village each afternoon
with the hounds.
It gives us lovely views over the valley
and new smells for the hounds.

The photos you see here
were taken on the way back down the valley after one of these walks.
I'd been admiring one of the trees which is laden with blossom.
I asked Mike to pull over so I could capture it.

There are a number of areas throughout the vineyards
which invite you to stop
and take in the view.

Sometimes it's just a clearing overlooking the valley,
sometimes a bench,
sometimes a bench with a telescope for you to get a closer look.
a chapel.

The area pictured here is larger than most,
with tables, chairs,
water on tap,
and an interpretation board.
It is a popular place for people to sit or stand.
Each day as we passed last week,
there was always someone there.
Except for when I took these photos.

A little oasis.


Monday, 28 March 2011

Mad March Hares

After more than a week of lovely sunny weather,
it started raining as I came back after dropping Mike at the airport yesterday.
Typical, I thought,
it always rains when he goes away.
It's not pleasant walking 4 dogs in the rain, day after day on my own.
However, the sun came out later.
And this morning,
it was even brighter.

In fact it was a beautiful morning,
full of promise.
Unfortunately, as I started off on the walk,
I noticed a herd of sheep a bit further on,
so did the hounds.
They were not in a field, but loose,
and I couldn't be sure how the hounds would react.
So I turned round to take a different route.
Only to see a hare,
followed by another hare,
chasing each other around,
seemingly oblivious of our presence.
At one point they even ran towards us.
That was time to turn around again
and try yet a different route.

Greyhounds are trained to chase after
small furry animals.
That's all they want to do when they see one.
A switch goes off in their brain,
and they are not aware of anything else.
They are fully focused on the movement.

Rufus was very interested,
Jewel was too,
and for once she didn't bark.
I'm not sure whether Paddy saw them,
he's often on a different wavelenght to the other hounds.
But Arthur didn't see them at all,
he has poor eyesight.
But I needed to take evasive action,
before Jewel started barking
and got the others excited,
and I got dragged along behind them all!

So we went off in yet another direction.
Luckily there's lots of routes to choose from.
However further along,
a deer ran across the road.
The hounds all spotted it this time,
it was difficult not too.
But maybe our training is having an affect,
they all remained quiet.
Or maybe it was the earlier start.
Maybe they haven't quite got used to the clocks going forward an hour at the weekend.
I think the wildlife isn't used to it either.
I wonder what we'll see tomorrow.

I did manage to take some photos,
though not of the hares,
or the deer,
too quick!

We're still having problems with the computer.
and despite Mike showing me an alternative way to download photos,
I seem to have forgotten.
But I have managed to resize a photo from 5 days ago, that he downloaded before he left,
and I've managed to post that to Blogger.

It's taken from our balcony
early evening.
I was attracted by the lines the jets make
leaving their traces in the sky.

So I will continue to take photos,
and maybe try again to download them onto the computer.
If I can't manage that,
I will look through photos already on the computer,
and start posting them,
now that I can post to Blogger.
I think the carnival photos are on the other computer,
which isn't connecting to the internet!

Ahh well,
I'll try again tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


On Sunday I went swimming.
I usually go with a friend,
but she was busy celebrating her father's birthday in Dortmund
on a tram!
So I went alone.

It's good to see youngsters enjoying themselves
and being confident in the water.
I didn't learn to swim until I was 18.
It's also interesting to see the difference in cultures when living abroad.
And I think I notice some interesting differences
between the English and German cultures during my swimming trips.
I've often commented to my friend
the casual approach to water safety that they seem to have at the pool.
For instance,
Not once did a pool attendant come onto the pool side.
There was one I noticed sat behind some glass, observing,
but often I don't even see that.
I don't think it's that they have a casual approach to safety,
more that the resposibility is given to the individual.
Parents are expected to be resposible for their children
and children learn that difficult concept of taking resposibility for themselves.

A child of maybe four years of age was enjoying jumping off a diving board.
It was about one metre above the water.
He was clearly enjoying it,
even jumping off backwards,
and doing it all in an orderly manner.
Not running,
not shouting,
or screaming,
and checking that no one was underneath him in the water.
His father was in the pool,
watching him closely and commenting from time to time.
I don't think the boy could swim.
He was wearing something to keep him afloat.
It's not unusual to see children wearing float belts,
swimming in the deep end,
and diving off the boards,
but always accompanied and supported
by a parent.
What I found more unusual on Sunday,
was when this boy's older brother,
maybe seven or eight years old,
took it upon himself to put the chain across the metre high board
and take down the notice on the 3.55 metre high board
and proceed to climb the steps,
followed by his younger brother.
At this point, the father came in close to where the boys were,
though he remained in the pool.
In fact he only got out and went to his son,
when the boy realised his mistake in taking on something so big.
His father went up the steps and carried him down,
The boy then reconsidered,
and decided he did want to try.
So the father went up with the boy,
and together they stood on the board,
and watched as the older brother jumped.
The father then waited while the younger boy eventually jumped off
this very high board,
then the father jumped, once his young son had got to the side of the pool.
The boy clearly enjoyed the experience
as he continued to climb up the steps and jump off by himself after that.

My experience of pools in England are generally that;
there are always,
always at least one pool attendant on duty
on the pool side, at all times.
Always ready to take charge,
stop any child wearing swimming aids,
who dares to go past the non-swimmers imaginery line,
with or without a responsible adult in attendance.
Diving boards are separate from the general swimming area.
On Sunday, it was the resposibility of the divers,
(and swimmers),
to make sure no one dived onto a swimmer.
In England the diving board would be regulated as to when it could be used.
Also pools are generally much noisier in England
in a negative way,
with a lot of shouting.

Having lived abroad now for a few years,
it's interesting to note these cultural differences.

I just wish I'd have the nerve
to make that leap into the water.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


After a misty start,
as forecast,
yesterday turned into a beautiful,
warm day,
It was above 20 degrees centigrade in the shade.
So what did we do?
Did we go out for a ride on the motor bikes?
Did we take the hounds for a walk somewhere new?
Did we eat cake on the balcony?

I dug the garden
and Mike put up a fence.
All hot work,
on a hot day.

But I did sit on the balcony afterwards.
And as I looked through the seeds
waiting to be sown,
thinking ahead to the beautiful garden we shall have,
if we ever get the garden dug over!
I dozed off for a while.
What a lovely feeling.
So I did get to enjoy the warm weather on the balcony
after all.
But only after some hot work beforehand.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Difference Between Men & Women

It's a lovely morning here,
probably the nicest we've had here so far this year.
I even left my jacket off when walking the dogs earlier.

Mike said it is forecast to be 18 degrees centigrade on Tuesday.
I said we should plan something to make the most of it.
Perhaps chose a destination for a nice walk with the dogs.
Somewhere new to us, where we haven't been before.
Or perhaps tidy up the balcony,
and I'll make some cake,
and we can sit out on the balcony enjoying the sunshine whilst having tea and cake.

Mike said,
'How about a ride out on the motor bikes?'

Monday, 7 March 2011

Carnival Time

It's carnival time here otherwise known as Fastnacht.
On Saturday I went to watch two processions.
Otherwise known as umzug.
Normally I would have some photos to share with you,
and indeed I was sorting through them last night for that very reason.
But, I need to upgrade my account with Blogger
before I can post more photos to my blog.
And I do so like to have photos on my blog.

I believe the carnival celebrations are to celebrate the coming of spring.
Our village has it's umzug today at eleven minutes past three.
So Mike and I will go along.
It's a great time for the children as each float that passes throws out sweets for the children.
The adults don't do too badly either.
On Saturday, I was given two cupfuls of gluwein and two cupfuls of wine.
It was a wonder I managed to stagger back home.

In the evening, Mike and I went together to an evening umzug across the river.
Friends had invited us to go along with them.
It had a great atmoshere.
I had decided not to have anything to drink,
but it was so cold,
I initially had some gluwein
and then because I was stood up on a bank behind everyone else,
(in order to take photos),
Mike and the others kept passing more gluwein back to me, wine and even schnapps!
It is just given out to people as they watch the procession.
I must admit,
I slept in later than usual on the Sunday,
and even missed my swimming with my friend,
though she didn't go either.

So this afternoon,
I will take along the camera
and take some more photos,
and hopefully get them onto the blog soon.

I have missed blogging
and need to get back to it.

You can see my posting about the same celebrations in our village last year here @ (not sure why the link isn't working properly.

I hope to be back with some photos soon.
Till then, I hope the sun is shining where you are.