Friday, February 21, 2020

Tiny Feet

At a hospital in the north of Spain a baby entered the world at 2.15 am on the 20th February 2020.  Jan and Arancha have produced a playmate for Emma. Both mother and child are well. I am really happy and can't wait to pick up Sara-Sofia and later hear the patter of tiny feet as she learns to walk!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


I went to my first Wine Fair Berlin last Sunday. It takes place over three days at the Messe Nord/ICC which is at the other end of Berlin from where I live. I settled down in an U-Bahn and got out to find Thorsten waiting for me on the platform. Regular readers know he is a computer specialist who helps people each Monday afternoon in a Meeting Centre opposite to where I live.

He managed to get Free Tickets and asked me if wanted to go. It took less than a second to say, 'Yes'. There were many people there. I was surprised. On entry you get a wine glass in exchange for €5 and then off to explore the wine stalls. They were from many countries and represented family wine vineyards. We tried different kinds of wine before finding three stalls from family producers in Portugal.

I confess to knowing almost nothing about wine production in Portugal. I know Spanish, Italian, French and German. I have only been to Portugal once and that was to Lisbon for a week to attend a conference. I cannot remember anyone telling me about local wines. I asked a lady for information at a stall and she answered me in English! She comes from England but is now part of the family which owns The Azamor Family Estate in Alentejo in the middle of Portugal.

We tried different red wines from her vineyard and all we could say was..'Mmmmhhh' after each sip. Wonderful round full aftertastes. You can get information about her estate on the internet. Just type in and also look for a shop that might sell her wines near where you live. I bought a bottle of 'single estate' red wine. I am meeting my Kowalke Gang for a long, lazy lunch on Saturday and plan to share it with them. I should have bought two bottles :-)

Friday, February 14, 2020

Three Days

On Wednesday I went to a local community centre to meet members of my SPD district. It was our AGM or 'Wahlversammlung', They always last a long time. This started at 7.00 pm and ended at 11.00 pm! I stepped down from the Committee and received these nice flowers and a book about what local people from different cultures eat. A very nice present! I helped with vote counting and was very pleased to see many new and young members voted onto different positions.

Thursday 13th February was the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden. There were 4 raids between 13th and 15th February 1945. 722 heavy bombers of the British RAF and 527 from the USAAF dropped more than 3,900 tons of high explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The centre was destroyed and an estimated 25,000 people killed. Most were civilians and the bombing remains controversial even to today. My parents told me about this when I was still a child. They believed the bombing was not necessary to end the war. Others had/have a different view.

Friday 14th February. Yes, it's Valentine's Day. I hope you bought your 'better half' something nice. Just imagine how many millions of people have kissed each other today! I did that yesterday for this morning I went training with Kerstin's Oldies, then had a haircut and went shopping. I'm meeting another nice lady tomorrow morning so I know I shall get a BIG kiss - and enjoy it as always :-)

Monday, February 10, 2020

Two Gangs

Two of my Gangs met yesterday evening. The Muggelsee Gang met the Kowalke Gang. Where?  At the Kammermusiksaal, in The Philharmonie. We went there to listen to Amina playing in the orchestra called, 'Junge Kammerphilharmonie, Berlin'. She is one of the daughters of a couple in the Muggelsee Gang. Her twin sister also has such musical talent but plays in another orchestra.

It started with an introduction to the music we were about to hear. At least 100 people listened to a member of the orchestra present an analysis of the music and with short musical examples. Very interesting, and it prepared us for what we were about to hear. Perhaps more concerts should start with such a presentation. This is what we heard:
 Prokofjew, Sinfonietta, A-Dur, Op 5/ Kodaly, Marosszeker Tanze/ Sibelius, Symphonie Nr.3, C-Dur.
Very well played and a good mix of music.We even managed to get a glass of wine in the break. Prost

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Nice Words

Just read the words on the card headed ' The Rights of the Child' and the other card. Your heart will melt! Mine did. I got them from Alan and Lynne. They came with a programme from Leeds Playhouse about a production they had seen called, 'Dr. Korczak's Example'.

Janusz Korczak was a writer, doctor, storyteller and broadcaster. He was a Polish Jew who ran an orphanage in Warsaw. When the Nazis invaded he and the Jewish Children were put into the ghetto, where he continued to treat the children with respect and dignity. James Brining the Artistic Director of the Playhouse commissioned a play about his life. That is what they saw and Alan wrote that it was all connected with memories of Auschwitz.

Hope you are having a happy and positive week. Today we had sun and blue skies but it was still cold. I'm meeting Johanna tomorrow, then Kaffee und Kuchen with some friends and a meeting in the evening for a beer. Read those words again and think about the person who wrote them.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

February 2020 Things

Nothing special to report about last week. I stayed up late last night to watch BREXIT reports on different TV channels. I heard nothing new, neither from Brexiters nor Remain speakers. Let's see what Boris and his Gang can deliver before the end of the year. That is how much time they have to negotiate now they are outside the EU.

It is a gray, wet day but the temperature has risen to 13°C. I plan a lazy weekend. Next Tuesday evening I shall attend the Berlin Labour Party AGM, Some new, younger members are standing for positions so I shall vote for them!On Thursday afternoon I shall share Kaffee und Kuchen with a couple from my Keep-Fit Gang  - Brexit is sure to come up in conversation! Next Sunday I am going to a concert at the 'Kammer-philharmonie' with some of my Kowalke Gang.

Who has a birthday in February? My oldest and best friend Alan Bateson will be 77 on the 3rd of February and sure to celebrate with Lynne in Castleford. He shares the day with Imre who will be 65 and plans a big party in a couple of weeks time. I wonder what will be on offer to eat :-) Jens W. who lives on the Muggelsee, will be 50 on the 4th. We then jump to the 18th when Dr. I. Pardon will celebrate her 72nd. Not sure if the party will be in Berlin or St. Petersburg. Eleonora will be 61 on the 22nd. Moving to London we find Adrian Bridge will celebrate his 60th on  the 25th February. We end the month in Australia where Peter Bateson will celebrate his 40th on the 28th.      Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you live!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Nice Week

I've had a nice week and hope you had the same. It started with a German lesson with Barbara. We focused on new words and how they are used in daily speech. Then I met my ladies to practice more English before I went to the meeting room opposite where I live to meet Thorsten. I practiced using the Tablet again and agreed to meet tomorrow to change the operating system on my laptop.

On Tuesday, I met my SPD Oldies for Kaffee und Kuchen and meeting three candidates for a soon to be vacant position. They introduced themselves and we could then decide which one to nominate. All of which was done privately. On Wednesday I met a new group of Oldies with an interest in improving their English before I went to the Gündelfinger Restaurant to meet Imre for lunch.

He ate the 3 course set lunch menu plus my pudding and then ordered a plate full of chips - he was still hungry! We then went back to my place for more chats and coffee. He said he was full and did not want any cakes with the coffee. What a surprise! On Thursday I had a quiet day and Friday started with training led by Kerstin. Tomorrow I am going to a New Year festival given by Vietnamese members of my local AWO. I was there last year and really enjoyed it. Perhaps the ambassador will be there again! Thanks for the photo Jutta.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Language Book

I've had a mixed week. Visits included to a new family of refugees, to the hospital to have my hands x-rayed, meeting with the Kowalke Gang for a long lazy lunch on Thursday, training with Kerstin on Friday morning as usual and to visit a special SPD event on Friday evening. Between these and things like shopping for food, I opened another book.

It is amazing. It is called The English Language and written in 1985 by Robert Burchfield (1923-2004). He was born in New Zealand, fought in WW-1, returned to New Zealand and started an academic career. He won a scholarship to Oxford University then edited the Oxford English Dictionary for 30 years.

He also wrote and edited many books. He has complete knowledge of the language in showing how English developed and emerged from contact with many other languages. He also makes clear distinctions between regional dialects and the emergence of written English and spelling.

I recently received an invitation to the Jahresampfang 2020 (annual reception) of the SPD Lichtenberg. This is the district I share with about 270,000 people! It was not the first time I had received such an invitation. As usual it was held im Festsaal (the festival hall) of a local hospital. The hall was packed with members and guests.

Two members received honorary prizes for their work in the community. One was a retired music teacher and he quickly got the members to join him in a song. This was followed by a large buffet with drinks. I met many people I had not seen for a year or more and really enjoyed the evening.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Coffee Talk

Settling back into routine after the Christmas and New Year breaks. We got news from Colin that all is well with him near to Sydney. The flames have moved to another area. There are forecasts for storms and heavy rains in the UK this evening and tomorrow. Also, of high temperatures and fires in the south of the USA. I am sure you get reports on your national news so I won't go on.

I got a very interesting card from Neil Deane. I've posted about him before and now can tell you that he is writing another book. It will probably be completed by late summer and on sale in autumn. Hope to get a first copy to read and write a report - as I have done before. His other job is Prof. of English at Essen University so his time is very limited for writing.

I like his card about the advance of coffee language over the years. It really makes you think. Read the comparisons on the card he sent and judge for yourself. I have also collected more 'Rubbish English' over the last couple of months. Most come from interviews with politicians, business people, sport speakers, journalists being interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and a few from The Guardian.

Here goes: mansplaining / manspreading / upskirting/ anthropomorphising / seriously good / a marmite politician / waspy women / to front up / a pledge card / driving through efficiencies / a huge massive thing / I absolutely think..../ an upfront fee / footfall flags / tomorrowness / freeness / deniability / to delay out / that is a big ask / take brexit off the table.  UPDATE: a concerning issue / hugely being damaged / to reach outside the box / impactful / in battlement looking in / a car-crash interview/ it's less good / it becomes a coin toss / They are the frog in the boiling water/  under what she done/ wokeness has been weaponised / a less big thing / 'Think Before You Speak'. 

Sunday, January 05, 2020


I had a very happy few days in Singapore a few years ago. It was a stop-over on my way to Sydney in Australia. I liked everything about it and noted it was a multi-cultural place. I posted a story and photos to my blog, but you don't need to spend time trying to find them!

Ian and Birgit decided to divide their time between Sydney and Singapore and so found a flat in Singapore. They spent Christmas and the New Year there. They sent me a couple of photos. One of them is of the forest in the north. Very nice and relaxing to look at.

The other is of a tray with vegetable biriyani. Very traditional Indian and a dish I like a lot. In Singapore you will find people from many backgrounds including India. India is also part of Ian's background.

He knows about the history and cultures of the country - and regional food. We spent some time there many years ago with friends from our university. I hope you enjoyed the biriyani, Ian, and keep sending the photos.Now back to life in Berlin :-)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

January 2020 Things

As we enter a new year, the news from Australia is not good. More fires in the south-east and thousands have fled to the coast-beeches to escape the flames. The navy is sending ships to rescue them. Hope Colin and friends are safe and not threatened by the new outburst.

Moving to Europe, the UK has problems with flooding and here in Berlin it is just cool at 7°C. Later I am meeting my Kowalke Gang ladies to go to Berlin Cathedral for a New Year concert. After, we are going to Johanna's to drink a glass of sparkling wine and see in the New Year. Hope you have a happy day and all the best for the New Year.

Who has a birthday in January 2020? 
My wonderful little Emma will be 3 years old on the 10th. She's waiting for the birth of a baby sister in mid-February! Hannelore in the south of France will be 77 on the 13th and sure to celebrate with Peter in a local restaurant. Back in Berlin, Harald P. will be 55 on the 21st followed by Dr. Peter who will be 36 on the 24th. Over in New Zealand, Paul B. will be 35 on the 27th. Moving to Yorkshire in North England we find my niece Scarlett O'D will have her 12th birthday party on the 29th. Back in Berlin, Frau Fox will celebrate her 79th with Michael on the 31st and so ends the birthday month.
Happy Birthday no matter where you are!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Big Pot

I visited Imre yesterday. I was invited for lunch at 1.00 pm and arrived on time. Two days before he had cooked a traditional Christmas dish. It has to be made in advance of eating so that different flavours can soak into the meat and vegetables. It is made of meat with rice, garlic and other spices, which is then pressed into balls and wrapped in large cabbage leaves. In German it is called Kohlroulade and very popular at this time of year.

He reheated it then put some onto our plates. To drink he had bought a red Hungarian wine. He doesn't drink alcohol so the bottle was for me to sip with the food. Very tasty. We then moved into his living room where he showed me lots of photographs covering his life. He also showed me his complex musical system and we listened to some of his favourite bands. His collection is mainly pop and rock music from the 1970s and 1980s.

More talking then coffee and cake before I left for home in the dark and rain. He gave me an umbrella which I shall return when we next meet. A very interesting and relaxing day. Thanks Imre.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

I hope you are enjoying a relaxing family day. You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy the holiday period. In fact, most Europeans are not but they all enjoy what is now clearly a family holiday. The origins of Christmas are in north Europe and they pre-date the creation of the religion which claimed it for itself. Santa, Rudolph and the gang existed before Christianity.

One of the high points of my Christmas Day is opening Christmas cards. This year I got 29 and I am sure a few more will arrive in a couple of days taking the total to over 30. Some of the cards had additional information about family or photographs. Great to read and store for reading again later.

I also use the opportunity to toast my family and friends at 12 noon = 13.00 CET. It links many people in different countries around the world and I like the idea that we are all sipping something nice at the same time! In the second photo you can see my glass with a small bottle of sekt.

I'm having a quiet day and in a few hours Jan and family will arrive. I'm looking forward to seeing Emma again and playing 'Opa John'. Enjoy the rest of the day and tomorrow which is part of the festive period.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Ow's yer ' and

Last Friday I picked up a surgical glove from a medical centre. My Dr had sent me to a specialist Dr who wrote a prescription for a glove. That was sent to my health insurance which eventually agreed to pay. It was not cheap at Euro 144 of which my share was Euro 26. The problem started over a year ago.

I began to notice the muscle between my thumb and first finger was getting smaller. People said it was an age problem so I put a bandage on my left hand and got on with enjoying the year. It got much worse as the year advanced and now I have this strong type of medical glove to stop deterioration and support my hand. Here you can see it.

 I have to go to an X-Ray centre on 8th January for x-rays so my specialist can see what is happening under the skin. On the 9th January I have to go to a hospital for more checks on my face. Still lots of blotches and hard type of spots - which have nothing to do with adolescence!

 Last Wednesday I started with pains in my lower right leg. I went to the Docs this morning and got a prescription for tablets called 'Doxycyclin AL 200 T'. I have to take one each evening before supper. I also got some bandages for my leg. They are slightly elasticated and I have to wind one tightly around my lower leg. Busy time with Drs at the moment. Hope you are keeping well and healthy.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Mixed Wednesday

The day started by going to the gym-training centre where I go each Friday morning to enjoy being with Kerstin and her Oldie Training Gang. We were joined by members of her Wednesday Oldie Gang. We started by raising a glass of sparkling wine at 12 noon to toast each other and to wish all good health and more training in the new year.

The tables were full of food in addition to more sekt bottles. Lots of talking as each tucked into the range of home made traditional dishes. Mmmmh..very tasty! I had to leave at 3.00 pm for another meeting so I said my goodbyes and set off to Lichtenburg by tram and U-Bahn.

I arrived at the Lichtenburg Museum a little late but in time to hear the welcome speech by the Director. Then it was time to tuck into afternoon coffee and cakes followed by a range of traditional snacks and drinks including local beers. I chatted with a couple of people I know before I had to put on my coat and head for the bus to take me home.

When I arrived I found Daniel waiting in the entrance. We had arranged to meet but he arrived early. No problem. I made tea and sliced some Stollen Cake as we caught up on news. His studies at the University are going well and he only spoke English with me - and with no mistakes! This morning at 8.00 am he got onto a plane in Berlin and flew to Moldova. Two hours flight to the capital city.

He is spending a couple of weeks with his grandparents and plans to just relax and switch into his first language! He will also be spending some time with his girlfriend. I hope they have a wonderful time with each other for they deserve it. He brought me some presents. Both the bonbons and liquor come from Moldova. What a nice surprise!

I'm going to share them with my Kowalke Gang when we meet on the 24th December. Everything tastes better when you share with such nice people :-) Here is a photo of presents I got earlier in the week!

Berlin Dom Concert

On Monday I went to Berlin Cathedral (Dom) for a concert. Most of my Kowalke Gang were there with friends so there were 12 people. It was for me a very special concert. How many of you have been to a Swedish choir concert? I hadn't so was looking forward to the event. We got tickets for seats in the 9th row so were fairly close to the choir. Nearly every seat was taken.

The topic was 'Lucia - The Swedish Queen of Lights' and given by Stockholms Musikgymnasiums Kammerkör conducted by Helene Stureborg. There were no musical instruments - only the choir made up of young musical talented people.

 It was interesting to listen to how they moved through many ranges of music and volume with such confidence. They also sang in Swedish, German and English. If you get the chance then go to see/listen to them.

On Tuesday afternoon I went to the Christmas Party given by my SPD Oldies. A mixture of speeches, comments, jokes, food, coffee and sparkling wine. A very entertaining few hours and a nice way to relax and end the day.

Sunday lunch

Imre rang the doorbell at 12.45 pm on Sunday, as agreed. He came to my place on  Bicycle No.1. He left the other 2 at home. He also brought 3 smartphones and 2 cameras! He relaxed in the kitchen and started to sip orange juice. He likes all fruit juices. We caught up on news as he sipped. He spoke mostly about his lady-friend, family birthdays and his job.

We left for the Czech Restaurant a few streets away. It had been reserved for a family event so we could not stay. We decided to go to an Italian restaurant at the end of the road. We had been there before so knew the menu and service. Imre wanted to sit at a window seat and so it was agreed. He then confessed to having cooked a large pan of food and eaten some of it for breakfast, therefore, he only wanted to eat a salad.

Even so I wondered if he would still try to eat from my plate. I ordered tagliatelle with small pieces of chicken breast and vegetables. He ordered a salad and started to eat. He looked at my dish then suddenly his fork picked up some chicken and he ate it. No surprise there! Later we returned to my place where we had coffee and more chat. He is working over Christmas so we decided to meet again when he had a free day and he would call me to arrange that. Always interesting to meet him and listen to his news- Looking forward to more of that in the New Year.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Bear Day

Last Wednesday evening, as the Brits were preparing to vote, I went to my local SPD meeting. It was held in an Italian restaurant in our local shopping centre. There was no official business for we had gathered for a Christmas party.

 In this photo you can see about half of the members in attendance. Lots of political talk including a number of comments about the UK election and Brexit. There have recently been some changes at the top of the SPD, so there were lots of comments about that.

A few days before then, Hertha had her first birthday. I can hear you asking who Hertha is. She is a bear. Here you can see here trying to bite into a large fruit ice, and being helped by her mother on the right of the photo.

They live in Tierpark which is a zoo opposite the shopping centre and restaurant where I met the local SPD members. She is the biggest attraction in the zoo, particularly for families with young children. They love to visit and wave at her. 

Guess who is coming to visit tomorrow ... Yes, Imre! He called and suggested we meet for lunch at the local Czech restaurant. He likes it. I wonder how much of my food he will eat?

Friday, December 13, 2019


Wherever you live your national radio and tv stations will have given you details of the election in the UK yesterday.  I was not surprised at the result but am very disappointed. Five years of a conservative government led by Boris Johnson. How could the ex-labour voters have switched support and voted for such a party and leader?

 The conservatives have a majority of 80 now, they got 44% of the vote and an additional 66 seats. The Labour Party got the worse result since 1935. They got 32% of the vote, lost 42 seats and ended with 203 seats.

Perhaps Brexit is the best that can happen by the end of January 2020. Goodbye Brexitland!

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Rixdorf Christmas Market

I met friends and The Boyz yesterday and we took the Ringbahn to Station Sonnenallee. We walked about 1 klm and arrived in Alt Rixdorf for the Weihnachtsmarkt = Christmas Market. There are many at the moment in different parts of Berlin. I told The Boyz to come with us for they had not been to one. They readily agreed.

The market area was absolutely full. This market is only on 3 days and the stalls are provided by lots of social / voluntary associations both advertising their activities and selling things. In addition, there are lots of stalls selling food, snacks and hot mulled wine -with or without alcohol. We drank some without.

The Rixdorf Market is also famous for showing a stall with donkeys, as they used to live many years ago. It also has a 'Schmiede' where some smiths heat metal then form all kinds of things which are later sold. It also has a man on an organ playing traditional Christmas music. You can see some of these in the photos.

I talked to the boys about going to the Spandau Christmas Market with their parents and sister next Saturday. They liked the idea and said they would talk to them about it and call me in the week. I hope we can all go there for I have heard it is the largest such market in Berlin and it would be nice to experience it with the family.

Now to get some lunch then start to write Christmas cards. I'm late this year. At 4.30 pm I shall leave home and walk to my local protestant church. There I shall meet the Kowalke Gang and settle down to enjoy J.S.Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium Kantaten I-III.    Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!


This is very popular and part of German food culture in the Christmas season. It means roast duck. Look at this photo of 'Donald Duck' I took yesterday. My Kowalke Gang met at 1.00 pm for lunch.

Nice to see them again and we started with a glass of sekt which I had brought with me. A semi-dry sparkling wine from Spain and one of my favourites.

Then the food was placed on the table. In addition to Donald, we had potatoes, and a dish made from potatoes and flour, red cabbage, apple sauce and lots of tasty gravy. As desert we enjoyed a mixed fruit salad. Lots of talking covering many topics and so the afternoon went by.

I then said my goodbyes and headed off for the tram to take me to Karlshorst S-Bahn. I missed both by less than a minute so arrived late at my destination. This was the station Ostkreuz on the Ring-Bahn. My friends and The Boyz were waiting for me and so we set off to visit a Weihnachtsmarkt.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Mixed week

Another mixed week is drawing to a close. It is getting much colder now with minus temperatures at night. My German teacher Barbara is still ill. Her cold has returned and she is taking stronger medicine. Stefan from the Photoshop gang sent out a message this morning saying the session this afternoon would be cancelled for he was ill - again. I have decided to stop attending that group from January.

I learnt a few things about how to operate my smartphone last Monday and next Tuesday I am going to a lesson at the AWO. It is called 'Smartphones for Seniors'! Last Wednesday I met Max and his lady for a late lunch cooked by him. Very tasty and he has a talent for cooking. This morning I went to Kerstin's Keep Fit Gang and found this little present on my training mat. We each got such a present - it is to do with Advent - and we started the session with a cool glass of sparkling wine :-)

On  the way home I stopped at Aldi and bought some wine glasses. They were on special offer. I need them over the holiday when I have guests for over the year a number of glasses have been broken, either in use or when washed. In a couple of hours I am meeting Jutta to go to a local church to hear the choir from Humbolt University give a concert of Christmas songs. The start of a nice weekend!

National News: Frau Merkel has just visited Auschwitz for the first time. She was with the Polish Prime Minister and other ministers. She announced a donation of €60 million to a fund which maintains the site. 1,1 million people were killed there - mainly Jews. Just over 2 million people visited it last year with the numbers rising. I visited it many years ago and will never forget it. When I think about what I saw I wonder just how evil people can be to each other.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

December 2019 Things

I've had a mixed week. It started with a call from Barbara, my German teacher, to say she had a bad cold and would have to cancel out meeting on Monday morning. Instead, I went to the AWO office opposite where she lives and had a chat with the new boss. I also paid my membership fee for 2020. On Wednesday afternoon I went to another AWO building. I had been invited to a party to thank all those who supported their activities.

On Thursday morning I went to my dentist. It was for a check up and to get a stamp on my health insurance papers. I have a health insurance card and it did not work in the dentists payment machine. The staff called the insurance company and they apologised, gave no explanation as to why it didn't work but sent the dentist a fax saying they would pay for my treatment. I was also told they would send me a new card. So far nothing has arrived!

After that, I went to Johanna's home for Kaffee und Kuchen, a chat and to go through some documents. On Friday I went to Kerstin's training session for Oldies, but not to Stefan's Photoshop course for he cancelled it again. I got an e-mail from Jan. It was about The Spiegel doing a report about the Berlin Labour Party.

A good report and linked to events in the UK. Yes, the General Election is only 2 weeks away. It also said that 16,000 Brits live and work in Berlin = more that I thought. Later I got a link from Holger in Bremen. It was to say that he had appeared in a film in Platt-Deutsch. He likes the language. I looked online at the advert for the film. I would like to see more. Just type 'Boot un Doot' into Google to see the advert and Holger!

Who has a birthday in December?
Michael Nixdorf in Berlin starts the month with his 55th birthday. Stefan who leads my Friday Photoshop Gang will be 59 on Saturday. Evie will be all of 11 on the 18th. Julie Bolton in Yorkshire will be 45 on the 20th. A day she shares with Thomas in Berlin who will be 59. Jonas, in Bremen, will be 23 on the 22nd. Broz2 hits 19 on the 24th of December. Over in the UK, Neil Dickinson will be 73 on the 28th and he shares the day with Stefan Schöneberg who will be 36. As usual, Ian Maxwell ends the month with his 60th birthday. This year he will celebrate in Singapore with a special lady. Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you are!    Here is a pork pie for each. Mmmmmh...tasty :-)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


'The Boyz' called me last Friday to ask if they could visit on Sunday afternoon. I said yes and asked if they wanted to do homework. They said they had to do chemistry homework. I asked what they wanted to do later and they said, "chillen". I said, "What?" They repeated, "chillen" then I remembered it is modern youth 'Dinglish' based on the English phrase 'to chill out'. How languages change!

They arrived and settled in. Homework done and then I heard the words I was waiting for, "Opa, we're hungry". No surprise there! As usual I stuck two pizza into the oven. They happily munched through those and then chocolate pudding before falling onto the sofa and putting a DVD into my machine. They picked an 'adventure' film about spies, the military and fighting in the Middle East involving the USA military. They consumed bags of crisps and a large bottle of Coca-Cola as they followed the action. Yes, this is all part of 'chillen'.

Later I said I wanted photos to add to the family collection.. They do not have a camera. In fact where they live they do not have radio, tv, internet, use of a computer. They were all recently moved to another complex housing refugees but in the middle-north of the city. So, I got the camera out and took some photos. The Boyz wanted to take some themselves and in different poses. I agreed and now share two photos of the shots they took of each other. Both looking very serious. I enjoyed my time with them for they always make me laugh as they 'chillen'.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

25 Years ELTABB

It is 25 years since I co-founded ELTAB = English Language Teachers' Association, Berlin-Brandenburg. Kristie D. brought the idea to Berlin from Frankfurt-am-Main where she lived, taught English and was active in the local teachers' association. A small group of teachers met her in my flat to talk about starting an association in Berlin and Brandenburg. That was at the end of 1993. In early 1994 we had completed all the paper-work with lawyers to set up the organisation.

Many new and old members met yesterday evening to celebrate 25 years. The meeting was in Berlin Aquarium, on Budapester Strasse near to railways station Zoologischer Garten. The current president is called Sarah Brown and she really is a talented person. I hope she stands for office again next year. I had never been to this Aquarium before. It is part of the complex making up Berlin Zoo in the west of the city and not to be confused with Tierpark in the east which is not far from where I live.

I wandered around the Aquarium and was amazed to see many kinds of fish staring at me as I slowly walked by. There were also other kinds of sea creatures but I kept staring at the fish. Here is a photo of three fish. They are very large and I was surprised to see they had almost no tail. We had a tasty vegetarian buffet and drinks for a modest price. There were also some speeches and word games. What else when you have language teachers together?  I was then thanked for my work and presented with a certificate.

I'm very proud of this and that we started ELTABB for it has given so many people opportunities for them to explore their skills and abilities apart from teaching English. I plan to attend the ELTABB Stammtisch on Saturday 7th December, in the Altstadt in Spandau from 6.00 pm. I hope to take my 'Family' with me so they can learn a little more about German culture and enjoy the food and drinks on offer. See you there if you are in Berlin!