I’m back in Stuttgart and one of the things I promised Beautiful Daughter was bike rides, so naturally on the first day back it absolutely piddled it down with rain.

Day two dawned and Beautiful Daughter announced that this was the day for a bike ride. I pointed out that it was still drizzling. Beautiful Daughter wasn’t interested.

“If it’s cold and wet we can come back and have lots of hot chocolate”

The promised ride is “To the cow farm and the rabbit farm”, two agricultural establishments nearby. As the name suggests one keeps a large herd of dairy cattle and one has a cunning marketing strategy in the form of a sizeable pen full of cute bunny rabbits alongside the farm shop.

After a steep first few metres, the road levels out for a bit and Tinybug accelerates, for a bit anyway. After a while the hill get steeper and she slows until I catch up with her and put my hand on her back. I wait for the usual instruction:

“Just for the steep bit Papa”

“Okay…”

At the top of the village, away from the shelter of the houses the rain comes at an angle, but Tinybug has her eyes on the reward for the climb: a second road that branches off from ours and around the hill we’ve been climbing. At the turn the pressure on my hand falls way and she’s off, disappearing behind a field of mangy looking sweetcorn; thank goodness for traffic free agricultural roads.

I trudge after her, the rain obscuring the view across the valley. We have an agreed meeting point at the junction between this road and the route to the farm, and as I round the hill I can see her in the distance.

I am a fairly introverted person, in fact for me one advantage of cycling is that I’m not expected to actually talk to people I know. Beautiful Daughter is the exact opposite and will happily converse to anyone who stands still long enough. Even here on an empty hillside in the rain she’s found some kind soul who probably stopped to ask if she was okay (A reasonable question when meeting an apparently unattended five year old in the pishing rain in the middle of nowhere) and is now probably getting an animated account of the ride, last week and matters arising.

On seeing me the relieved looking jogger carries on and we turn up the straight road to the cow farm. The cows are all in their nice dry barn; sensible creatures, cows.

It occurs to me that the rabbits are probably following a similar policy, and clearly Tinybug is thinking the same thing. At the next junction we can go right to the Rabbit Farm or left to take the short route back to the apartment. She is clearly weighing up the options

“What are you thinking?”

“It’s cold.”

She weighs the decision: Rabbits or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate wins.

After a small hill the rest of the route is back into the valley and she’s off down a nice flat concrete road. I find her waiting by our regular meeting point, the “Red House”, home of a local sculptor who puts artwork along the grass verge. I find her looking critically at a complex abstract piece that probably took weeks to produce and is likely worth tens of thousands of Euros.

“Can we climb on that?”

From here I can watch her all the way down to the end of our road so she can roll ahead again until the corner and we come to the apartment together. Bike parked and she’s bounding up the stairs two at a time, no small feat for a five year old.

“What’s the hurry?”

I get that look children give hopelessly forgetful adults.

“It was cold, so we get Lots of Hot Chocolate…