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First day of summer - The Lyorn's Den

Mon Apr. 4th, 2011

12:02 am - First day of summer

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Looking at the calendar, it's only 3rd of April, but today's weather was more like early May: Warm and sunny, and the plums and almonds were already in bloom. The meadows in the valleys were bright green, though up in the hills they were still yellow and brown -- not enough time to grow yet, and not enough rain.

Hiking around Ebermannstadt

I went hillwalking again today. Spring is so short, and it's the only really good season for walking. Summer is hot and full of insects, early autumn full of insects and undergrowth, late autumn rainy and with days that are too short, and the paths are no good in winter.

I got up at nine and had breakfast -- my stamina isn't what is was since I have lost so much weight. Start point for the walk was Ebermannstadt. I was a little worried about finding a parking place (I always am), but it was too early for the "lunch, a light walk, then cake and coffee" crowd and I had the main street to myself. Walked past an old water wheel, and then uphill. A lot. First through a residential area, then through the woods, to a wooden post, a memorial for a girl who got killed in that place 260 years ago. That was four kilometres, and twohundredsomething metres in height. I didn't manage to pace myself, again. Had to stop and gasp for air at the steep parts.

After that, it was the type of walking I like best: Open fields, open skies, good paths, no big ups and downs. The early insects were out, and the sun was really burning. I was glad I had thought to use sunscreen -- this was my first day in short sleeves. Eight kilometres nicely on top of things, and then past a fake castle (Burg Feuerstein -- build in 1941 as an high-tech R&D facility, made to look like just another medieval castle on a hilltop. You couldn't make this up.) and steeply downhill. My knees do not like that. Again, too much residential area on the way down.

I considered having lunch somewhere, but I didn't bring anything to read, and I get bored waiting for food in a restaurant when I'm eating alone. So I stopped at a beer garden on the way home (where you pick up your food at the counter), had a "Brotzeit" and a watered-down apple juice (would have liked a dark beer, but had to drive), and went home.

And that was when the headache set in. I always get headaches from walking. It's a curse. I don't let it stop me, though. Took two ibus, went to sleep, and when I got up, it was better. Attempted to chip away at yesterday's drama a bit, and played The Box Game with the cats.

Playing the Box Game with the cats

One of these days I need to take the cats to the vet for their shots. Now the cats are very sweet, but also very sneaky and agile, and very hard to get hold of. Getting them in a box to take them to the vet will be hard the first time, and might become impossible after that. So, for the last week, I have been playing the Box Game with them every evening.

The Box Game goes like this: When it's nearly time for their last feeding of the day, I get the box from the junk room, and a bunch of cat treats from the food cupboard. I sit down with the box, door open. The cats stay very close because they know there are cat treats involved. Would anyone like to go into the box? No? If I direct you to it gently? And if I put a cat treat in, maybe?

Usually one of them will decide to get the cat treat, and let himself guided full-cat into the box, tail and whiskers and all. I close the door, tell him that he's a great cat, and feed him another cat treat. In stage one, I let him out then and gave him another cat treat. Stage two meant getting lifted on the table, and down again. Stage three, what we are currently at, means getting lifted on the table, and then carried into another room. The plan is to continue with "getting out of the flat", "getting out of the house", and so on.

Today, the boys both wanted their turn at the Box Game. I am carefully optimistic.

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