Firewall (Henning Mankell)

Kurt Wallander enters his office one morning and finds a note from his colleague, who had been called to an unbelievable operation the night before. A young woman and a girl (19 and 14 years of age) had “overkilled”  a taxi-driver, so that Wallander asks himself in what country he is living.

As, shortly after, another body is found in front of an ATM and it will during the course of the action disappear from pathology and will be found again in front of the same cash-machine with his fingers missing, Wallander faces the challenge to draw conclusions without having a clue that he is investigating a crime supposed to change the world and how little time remains to avoid a catastrophe…

Read the review here

Biss ins Gras – 14 eiskalte Krimis für heiße Sommernächte (Various Authors)

Unfortunately, there is no English translation available, yet. This Collection contains 14 short crime stories each from another author and read by another narrator.  Themes reach from betrayed wifes to the Italian mafia. The only thing all short-stories lasting 5-15 minutes share is an unexpected punch line in the  end and an inevitable crime.

Read the full review (available only in German) here

Bad Blood (Arne Dahl)

Although they had a successful start and were able to solve their first case, there are serious doubts about the necessity of the special unit. And then, a Swedish literary critic is murdered on a New York airport. A case that is definitely falling into the cognizance of the unit. Not only that the modus operandi of the murder was incredibly bizarre and brutal, also the weapon is full of riddles. It has been used as a torture-instrument during the Vietnam War and it was used as murder weapon during a series of murders in the USA lasting four years and killing 18 people of whom 10 could not be identified. 15 years later, the “Kentucky Murderer” seems to be on his way to Sweden. As soon as the crimes continue there, the special unit has to solve a case centering around an impenetrable coppice of power, profit and moral dilemmas.

Read the review here (available only in German)

The last riding-lessons before Christmas

Three weeks after my Botox-Injections, which had meanwhile come to their full effect, I had my last riding lesson before Christmas this week. I was more relaxed than I had been for several weeks before. Almost as a logical consequence,  I could get into Shirley’s rhythm far better than I could in the last few weeks. Shirley’s walk was soft and safe as it has always been. Right after the first round, I realized that I had more self-confidence, so I asked my riding-therapist, if we could repeat the exercise we did last week.

Riding with closed eyes worked far better than last week. It worked that well, that I rode a complete round without seeing anything. Shirley snorted relaxed and pleased. Next, we did the cone-slalom on both hands.

It was a great and relaxed lesson. The next lesson will be on January 6th so that I wish all riders, horse-lovers and their horses a quiet and trouble-free New Year’s Eve and a great happy 2014!

A horse as breathing-therapist

After the events of last week and taking into account the surprising answer of the horse expert, I was looking forward to the lesson this week. And the lesson was full of light-bulb-moments.

Right after I sat on Shirley’s back and found the right position, my horse turned my attention to what I did not understand last week. She turned her head and took a deep breath. I never heard a horse breathe that deep. It felt, like Shirley was about to say: Understand now, my friend? Oh yes, I did, my dear Shirley.

The lesson itself was full of memorable events, too. The first few laps were more relaxed than those of last week, though not as relaxed as I would have liked.

Shirley’s jerky and sticky movements of last week had disappeared completely and she was far quieter this week. Then, my riding therapist had an idea: I should close my eyes and ride a long, straight line without eye-sight and let Shirley control everything. Not that easy! Interesting how focused humans are on eye-sight, as long as they have it.

“Walking blind” on a horse feels so different! It took me a second try to let it happen. The result was enlightening and exhilarating. As soon as I finally found Shirley’s rhythm while being blind, Shirley snorted loudly and proudly. Almost immediately an intense feeling of relaxation ran through both our bodies. I felt it through every fiber of my body and Shirley relaxed from head to dock. It was a moment of perfect luck.

Learn to speak „horse“

Last week, I had my Botox-injections and an improvement is clearly visible even though I am far away from pain-free. Being not pain-free surely had an impact on this riding-lesson. Somehow, Shirley’s movements seemed to be jerky and sticky. The walk surely was different from what I had experienced the weeks before. I could not interpret what happened right during the lesson. The more I tried to concentrate and interpret what Shirley was doing, the less I understood. It was really strange.I did not feel uncertain in any way, and yet, this lesson was everything but fluent. These jerky and sticky movements of Shirley, a few extra halts and relaxing again.

It was obvious that Shirley tried to talk to me. It almost felt that she was “shouting” but I simply did not understand what Shirley wanted to say. Her warm and gentle way after I disclimbed the horse made me certain that Shirley intended to help me.

After these experiences I contacted the already mentioned Tanja Budnick and told her what happened. Her reply was astonishing, simple but clear as glass, so that I was about to bash my hand against my head and an answer that Shirley should conform a week later. The answer was: Relax!

Riding after Botox-Injections

Today, I received my regular Botox-Injections that should kill my spastic-pains within the next 10 to 14 days. And, we had another upcoming premiere. For the first time ever, the Botox-Injections and my riding-therapy were scheduled for the same day. And, more than that: Only the 30-minute-car-drive was lying in between the leaving of the surgery and the horse-back-riding. A moment, I had desperately been waiting for since the great pain had begun.

The timing worked out almost perfectly and during the car-trip my pain eased a little bit and according to my assistants climbing the horse was easier than in the weeks before.

Riding itself was better, too, even though we had to make an extra hold because of the pain. This time, we skipped doing special exercises since the main task was to dispend the Botox in the muscles. Shirley did a wonderful job and I wished for nothing more than being able to let her know how much our cooperation and she herself means to me.

Riding under pain

After I already experienced some pain caused be a lovely combination of wet-cold-weather and enormous muscle contractions caused by spasms in legs and arms, I was hoping Shirley could ease the pain. The pain had even gone worse throughout the previous week. After trying to ride for about ten minutes, I voluntarily dismounted the horse, something that I had not done for many years, if I ever did at all.

Taking into account the serious pain I was in and the enormous respect I feel towards what horses are willingly giving to humans, it was the only possible and the only respectful decision to make.

Now, I am looking forward to my Botox-Injections next week. Immediatly after that, I will be on horseback.