Monday, October 09, 2006

Garden ... the "before" shot. Posted by Picasa

Sunday on the streets ...

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Cologne … hence all the pictures I posted during my perambulations through the city. I started walking early in the morning, Sundays are so quiet in Germany, and the streets were deserted except for volunteers setting up roadblocks for the Marathon. Later in the morning I went out again and found a short street with a church at the end of the block and a vacant apartment on the second floor of an old building. It’s just the kind of place I’ve been looking for but I have no idea if the space is actually available. I’ll be checking back with it this week.

Most of the day however, was spent on a long and often torturous walk with His Holiness. There seems to be no correlation whatsoever between the amount of energy he seems to have inside the apartment and the energy he is willing to expend once he is outside of the apartment. It’s Sunday morning, our cranky neighbors have just come in from a long night in the bar and HH has begun his morning relay race between the living room and the bedroom, his small but solid feet pounding out a wake-up rhythm on the wooden floors. After trying to calm him down and reminding him twenty or thirty times that we don’t run in the house on Sunday, we quickly got dressed and dragged him (literally) kicking and screaming out into a perfectly stunning Autumn day. No sooner had his red, white and blue tennis shoes hit the sidewalk than he was whining that he wanted to be carried and began clawing at my legs whimpering. Where was the little boy who five minutes earlier wanted nothing more than to run, run, run up and down the halls of the apartment? Here the coast was clear, not a cranky neighbor in sight, and all he could do was sulk. The next three hours were an on again off again mix of heaven and hell. He would see something that interested him and brighten up and five minutes later would be grumpy and clingy again. After much struggle and Papa finally carrying him home from the banks of the Rhine (not a short walk with an 18K boy in your arms) he fell deeply and soundly asleep in his bed. It was the wrong day to take him out, no matter how beautiful the light or perfect the temperature or anything else … HH was tired yesterday and probably just needed to pad around the apartment in his pajamas. Papa isn’t always right and that’s a good thing to remember.

At the end of the day, while HH was taking his nap, I went out to meet a new friend who works at a small café nearby. We had spoken a number of times about gardening, something I enjoy immensely but had to leave behind when settling in Cologne. She told me that locals tended the gardens surrounding the church in the Platz nearby, because the city of Cologne could not afford to keep them up. It seems they can’t even afford to clean the park – so that is another task the local residents have assumed. She showed me a large plot, near one of the entrances to the park. It was scraggly and what vegetation there was had borne the abuse of wandering dogs and weekend revelers whose broken bottles, cigarette butts and other assorted debris were scatted about. This was my little piece of Cologne … a plot of turf that would challenge my horticultural and social skills, as they had never been challenged before. I’ve never tended a public garden but I’ll let you know how things progress.

Here’s a shot of the garden as it looked yesterday afternoon.