Goodbye Sunshine

We got her when she was a few days less than four months old. I know everybody oohs and aaaahs about puppies but honestly, nothing about her was cute. She was a skinny little bundle, made of long legs, a long nose and huge ears – and of fear. She was a sensitive little soul, intelligent as could be, ready to trust and love – but all her life, she was afraid of sudden changes, of strangers, of anything new and unexpected actually. Once she felt comfortable with where she was and who she was with, she could be quite the goofball, she loved to learn new tricks and was so good at it – she was the only one of my dogs who not only learned to „high five“ us but would even initiate a high five herself when she felt like it (sometimes she would high five me when she had done something bad, as if to say „yeah, I know, I ate the sofa, I’m a bad doggy, but hey, I can do high fives, so all’s forgiven, right?“).

She could be stubborn at times, and quite a handful to handle, and she was fiercly protective of her family. No strangers would have a chance to do any harm to us, not on her watch. The fact that the postman could hardly hand us our mail when she was around, or that neighbourly chats over the fence where completely drowned out by her barking is so beside the point, isn’t it? She watched over us and let everybody know. Period.

When we brought the twins home, she was first one to roll her eyes in a „oh no, please, not again!“ way – but she was also the first to babysit and play with them, and teach them all kinds of shenanigans. Like digging holes. Lots of holes. Deep holes. So deep you’d swear you caught a glimpse of Australia just looking into it. She loved to run and play but she never ran too far away from us, and she would always turn and check to see if we were still there. Simply because she loved to be with us and didn’t want to lose us.

She was so eager to please, and be a good dog. And she was. I’m so sorry because sometimes, I was too impatient. At times because I had to go to work, other times because I was tired from work, or had a long list of household chores to complete. Sometimes when I was in a bad mood, she’d disappear for a while, wait for me to calm down, and then come and place her head (or sometimes her entire person) in my lap, and help me to leave whatever bugged me behind. I’m going to miss that terribly.

We knew what was going to happen. She didn’t want to go out in the morning, she didn’t want to be with us in the living-room, she stayed in the bathroom, in a dark corner under the sink, and just dozed off. We checked on her regularly, that was all we could do. She was comfortable (well, as much so as she could be, considering the circumstances, and we made sure she wasn’t in pain), and she wasn’t alone. She passed away peacefully at home.

27th May, 2009 – 11th November, 2018

Goodbye Peanut, my darling sunshine. You’ll always be in my heart.

2018 / 2019 – Week 15

Hello my dears, this week, I’ve got such a special project to show you. Everybody, please meet Tinkerbell:

She is a Yamaha XV 535, also known as Virago, and apart from the fact that she is a typical „girl bike“, and the best (if not only) choice for vertically challenged people like me, it was her baby sister (the 125) that actually got me thinking about driving four years ago. When Steve announced he was thinking about getting his bike license, I was dead against it. Those supersports bikes he was into then just frightened the youknowwhat out of me. He tried to help me overcome my fear by explaining the physics behind two-wheel driving, and taking me to a shop to see bikes „in person“, in the hope I’d realize they weren’t as big and frightening as I thought. (No, it didn’t work. Not then.) Somewhere in line was this nice kind of cosy looking black little thing, the only bike in the entire shop that didn’t look terrifying, and the only one I suddenly felt this urge to sit on. From that day on, I knew that if – IF – I ever was going to drive a bike, it would be a Virago.

And now I’ve found her. Or rather, Steve found her. I didn’t really expect to get a bike so soon because we had already stretched our budget quite a bit, with buying Lilly, and Steve getting his license, not to mention all the equipment we needed. I had been prepared to wait until next year, or even the year after, but as luck would have it, there she was, a lovely 1993 Virago with not too many miles on her clock, and since she needed some love and repairing, we got her dirt cheap. I won’t bore you with details, let’s just say there was some technical stuff that Steve took care of while I concentrated on the style stuff. When we got her, she had this dull dark maroon-ish colour, so I decided to give her a paint job. To prepare for that, I hosed her down and cleaned her – and guess what, once the dust of years of neglect was washed off, we discovered her true colour is this beautiful burgundy. I’m going to leave it at that, it’s one of my favourite colours anyway. I polished her chrome parts (not done yet, there’s still some work and effort to put in), and chose a new tail light for her. She is also going to get new indicators and different mirrors, I just haven’t found the right ones yet.

 

So this is us, Tinkerbell and me, after our very first driving lesson. Well, not exactly a „driving“ lesson, though – it was more of a „slowly release the clutch and get rolling, and try to keep my balance, and Steve, please, stay close to me, I’m afraid I’m going to topple over, this is all so overwhelming, hey, look, two metres and I’m quite fine, how am I going to stop this thing, where’s the brake, heeeeeellllllpppppppp!“ lesson – but it sure was fun, and I can’t wait to try again.

Shooting

And so it’s autumn, all of a sudden. The leaves are turning, nights are a bit chilly, there has been rain (hurray for that!), darkness comes earlier, but most of all, it’s that very special light that tells me it’s time to grab the camera and go out. Photography is painting with light, as some wise person once said, so in that sense, autumn light is my favourite colour. Since I’m planning to built a very basic website to keep track of our trips with Lilly, and document the sights we’ve seen and things we did (like our recent trip to the falconry), we took Lilly out for a ride and mini foto shooting yesterday. Here’s my favourite photo so far (please click to enlarge):

I can’t wait for our holidays to start on Monday! With luck, and if the weather holds, we’ll take Lilly out for some lovely rides around the countryside. It has turned out to be one of the most amazing, and most beautiful, adventures of our life so far, and while I still refuse to be called a „biker“, I am embracing this feeling of being an enthusiast.

Now That’s Our Girl

Everybody, this is Lilly. Lilly, this is everbody.

Lilly is a Yamaha YZF 1000 R, also known as Thunderace. No, she’s not mine, infact, I’m too small to drive her (even climbing up to the passenger seat is an adventure equaling climbing Mt Everest). She’s Daddy’s girl, and a dream he had had for many years.

I wasn’t comfortable with the idea at first. It actually took me four years and many months of counselling to be able to embrace the idea of two-wheel driving (I’ve been known to say „I’d prefer a horse, it’s got one leg at each corner, how’s that for balance“), but now that we’ve taken the plunge, I realize that I actually like swimming. Or rather, the idea of swimming. Steve hasn’t finished driving school yet so it will be a while before we’re ready to hit the road.

Funny thing is that even though I prefer naked bikes and choppers, I’ve come to like Lilly – seriously, who could resist that face? – and I do look forward to sitting behind my beloved, holding onto him and enjoying the ride. Most certainly with eyes wide shut and teeth chattering a jolly little tune.

That Little Shop I Love

Finally, I’m getting to show you dears my workplace, aka the little shop I love. Yes, it’s a rather small shop, just one room actually, but it’s stuffed to the brim with goodness.

Okay, facts first. The shop „Wunderlich – Feines aus Garten und Natur“ is located in Münchberg (not far from Hof / Saale, in case you’d like to look it up on a map). It’s a family run business, selling mostly handmade goods, like jam, oil, vinegar, mustard and liqueur, in an amazing variety of flavours. Tomato vanilla jam, anyone? (It’s actually great but you don’t have to take my word for it, do come over and see for yourself.) Everything is made from real produce, no artificial flavours or food colouring, or whatever allergy inducing chemistry the food industry often adds.

We also offer wine from two different Baden-Wuerttemberg wineries, pasta and – as you know already – tea. For starters, I picked some lovely black teas: Darjeeling, a Second Flush from Glenburn Tea Estate (do  check out that link, that place is so beautiful, it makes me want to jump on the next available flight, even though I’m afraid of flying), a Nilgiri (a region in Southern India, the Blue Mountains), a China Keemun, and a Frisian tea (a very rich tea made of Assams and Javas, best enjoyed with some cream and candy). Then there are some green teas, a Chinese Chun Me, and a flavoured green tea specially designed for making ice tea, and a white tea called Pai Mu Tan (which I’m especially curious about), and of course a whole variety of fruity and fruit-flavoured teas. I picked flavours that I think will be perfect for spring and summer – berries, apple, pineapple, mango, you get the idea. I also picked one Honeybush tea, it’s similar to Roibos but sweeter, and two edible teas. „Whatever is that?“, I hear you say. Well, it’s made of dried fruits, and once you’ve made your tea from it, you can eat the now re-hydrated fruit bits, put them in your yoghurt or have them with cream or pudding, or whatever other way you fancy. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to take a photo of all the tea goodness but if you’d please go over to the shop’s Facebook page, my boss Sebastian added some photos already.

We are going to have our first ever tea party on 3rd March, we’re going to offer tea, cake and biscuits, and some of those lovely jams you see here, and honestly, I can’t wait.