Upwards and Onwards

I have spent a relaxing couple of weeks here on the farm, eating nutella, putting on weight and growing my beard. I feel like the appearance of my beard has passed from it’s ‘lax personal grooming’ early days, through it’s awkward inbetween phase and has reached full grown, in-it for-the-long-haul maturity so I’m pleased about that. My tan is also doing well and too right, it was 34° here yesterday.

It’s not all been lazy bucolic living here though and I have done lots of weeding, painting and strimming buttercups (despite horses often being named after the flower they actually hate them) for my host, Kerstin. Her parents have also visited each week help out with the work and her father, Herbert, told me the story of how he met Kerstin’s mother, Bruni.

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Kerstin and the dogs

Herbert was born in communist Poland but later lived in East Germamy. In 1960 he travelled to Berlin and tricked the border police into letting him over ‘for the day’s work’ with just a toolbox and the clothes on his back and started a new life as an itinerant construction worker in the West – unaware that one year later the wall would be raised and it would have been impossible to cross. He exchanged coded letters with Bruni and they arranged to meet in Yugoslavia, which was open on a restricted basis to tourists from both the East and the West. Bruni was there with fellow workers on a state funded holiday so had to be discreet in her interactions with Herbert for fear of being informed on for consorting with a Westerner. Plans arranged and minds set, that first evening they eloped and Herbert smuggled Bruni over the border in the boot of his car!

I have also made friends with the two rescue dogs here. Hano is all bark no bite and a hopeless softie when confronted with anything that’s not on the other side of a fence. Thiras is the strong, silent type and likes to drag me by the lead around Neßhoven while I try to keep up on my bike. The horses don’t seem to like me very much.

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They probably don't like me because I grossly invade their personal space

One day out on a short cycle I found a bird sitting in the middle of the road. A car was coming and it refused to be shooed away so I put him on my shoulder and cycled him home but he later seemed to die of shock. Hopefully that wasn’t my fault.

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After two weeks’ rest and some cleat and saddle adjustments my knee seems to be up to the task again so today I once again leave comfort behind and cycle on towards the rising sun.

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