2023 年 3 月 17 日
Anyone who can remember reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will remember an awful scene when Harry's friend Ron is dragged under the bad-tempered tree outside the school grounds - the Whomping Willow, and into a dark tunnel. He ends up in a haunted shack - the Shrieking Shack. In one of J.K.Rowlings` many flights of imaginative writing, we discover that the shrieks emerging from this dreadful place are none other than the cries of Remus Lupin each time he turns into a werewolf ウェアウルフ. Great stuff 素晴らしい 😱. Heaven forbid that J.K. Rowlings' books ever get "sanitized" as in the case of Roahl Dahl. If you google "Shrieking Shack" / Images, you will find all sorts of fantasy haunted houses. I think this image should also be included. For me a "shack" is not a house, but a sort of shed or barn. Here is mine, discovered last week on a hike on the Bergstrasse, Odenwald......who knows what horrors reside within? 中に幽霊はいますか？
Spring 春 was making an effort on the Bergstrasse, but was finding it hard work, and the blossoms were few and far between. I was on a walk from Weinheim to Heppenheim. However .......there was this.....
....so all was not lost. We passed little oddities......変
Which also appeared elswhere.......
Have the Odenwalders got something going about snails?
As the Bergstrasse is on the edge of the Odenwald, there is many a spring. Some obviously have a history, and have been adorned with gargoyle-like faces......けいせん
Approaching Heppenheim, the Dom and castle come into view.
After this sunny Saturday's hiking, Sunday turned nasty, with rain and sleet. 変わりやすい天気 !
Time to curl up in an armchair with a cup of tea. 肘掛け椅子に座ってお茶を飲むのが好き. But no ordinary tea. A delicate cup of green tea from southern Japan - Kagoshima to be precise. I don't know how they keep the volcanic dust off the tea leaves, for the area is dominated by Mt. Sakurajima, which is very much alive and well. But the tea is delicious. Here is a map....
.....and here is the tea. In true Japanese style, a romantic presentation......Sencha Green Tea from Kagoshima.....
For breakfast these days I am enjoying "black" tea from Iruma, Saitama. This has quite a rich, mellow taste. No way would I add milk. On the back of the packet it says "....Please avoid places with high humidity and be careful of lingering incense....". Advice noted. I'm keeping it away from the coffee.
There are so many different teas in Japan, you could spend a lifetime sampling them - rather like wine. I am looking forward to tasting this one - It's a "cauldron roasted tea" from Takachiho, a present from the Yoshimura family, my hosts last November.
And on these cold March days I sometimes need a kick of pure sugar....what better than some "Turkish Delight",ロクム, Greek style...mmmmm....😋. Wicked.
Some may prefer a good Bratwurst, or a good Putensteak - but what if the butcher is closed? Ah, well then you need one of these - an automatic Wurst vending machine.......... ドイツソーセージの自販機 !
I'm surprised that they are not more common in Germany. In some countries you can't go far before bumping into a drinks vending machine....now where could that be ? これはどこですか 😉....
As I was in the UK last week I missed our last Book Group meeting, so have some catching up to do. Such as this extraordinary collection of short stories by Ted Chiang called Exhalation........
As well as my Book Group fiction, this book was strongly recommended to me : The Gates of Europe, by Serhii Plokhy, first published in 2015. This is, by all accounts, an important authorative book. The author is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University.
I can see that this book will lead me on a journey into history. Indeed, the author goes right back to the famous Greek historian Herodotus, who describes the culture on the north coast of the Black Sea with whom the Greeks traded with in the 4thc BC. The Scythians. My archeological instincts were alerted on reading of the dramatic find in 1971 of a "pectoral" - a sort of ceremonial necklace or breastplate, made of solid 24 carat gold, now in the Historical Museum, Kyiv. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Pectoral_from_Tovsta_Mohyla
Winged griffins (creatures of Greek mythology who maybe gave J.K. Rowling some inspiration!) attack horses, the animal most important to the Scythian way of life.
Returning to my local woods yesterday I was happy to feel milder temperatures. Even the bees were out and about.......忙しいミツバチ
...and water still lay like a mirror between the trees.........鏡のような水
Thank you for reading !
Feel free to share this with friends if you like. よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください😊
I send out the blog pretty randomly to whoever I think might be interested. Either by email, LINE or WHATSAPP. If you don't want to be sent this blog, don't hesitate to tell me and I shall take you off the list. No problem.
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Irish postscript: Last week was St. Patrick's day, and I was sent this clip, which was entiled: "The tail end of the Portaferry St. Patrick's Day parade....." haha 😂 アイルランド語の追記.