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!

Entenbraten

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

Chillen

'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!

Training

Regular readers will know that each Friday I run to the No. 27 Tram and jump on it at 09.31. It is usually full of students going to the Technical College next to where I do my training. In addition, teachers often take lots of kids to a play area a bit further on so it is always full.

We do training exercises from 10.00 am to 11.30 am. Kerstin is the trainer and here is a photo of her leading the group. I usually meet a member of the group called Werner in the changing room. He is a hobby photographer and likes to play around with images. He also takes videos on family holidays which he lets me watch. In addition, he supports refugee families including my family.

On Friday he showed me two photo and said I could have them. I don't remember him taking them. I asked who it was behind the mask and he said it was me! I can't remember wearing such a thing. I suspect he used a photo changing programme to add the mask to my face. It's horrible but some friends said it was an improvement :-))

After training I met Imre and we went to 'ExpoLingua-Berlin'. It was the 32nd International Fair for Languages and Cultures. It was held in the Russian Federation Building on Friedrichstrasse. It provides information about learning 90 languages, offers 90 lectures and there were 150 stands/stalls. Lot of visitors and good atmosphere. No surprise that Imre was hungry. We stopped at a restaurant so he could sample some of the food on offer. It was pasta with meat balls. I just watched him chew!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Leaves

One week since my last post. How time flies. I told you before that I was in the Philharmonie last Saturday and on Sunday I went to a special meeting of Berlin Labour Party. It was about the election in the UK on the 13th December and how we in Berlin could participate and support members.

On Monday and Tuesday I had my usual meetings then on Wednesday evening I went to a meeting of my SPD. It is busy drawing up a declaration about building and development of the district in which I live. A 7 page document had earlier been sent to members so the meeting was to hear if they wanted any changes. A very interesting session.

On Wednesday I met my German teacher again to discuss and analyse a letter I had got. Later I went to a local restaurant to book a table for Sunday lunch. I got the last one. Friday had my usual meetings plus a visit from Johanna for 'tea and cakes' and a chat. Very nice.

Tomorrow I am going to a local restaurant to meet Jan and family including his mother for lunch. Then off to a church for a christening service for Andrea's little boy. Really looking forward to that. Berlin is settling into autumn as you can see from the leaves in my garden. I prefer Spring!

Saturday, November 09, 2019

30 years

There are celebrations all over Germany today to mark 30 years since 'The Fall of the Berlin Wall'. Actually it did not fall. Border guards allowed people from the east to cross believing permission came from the High Command of the East German government. A misunderstanding, but the wall eventually came down, and German reunification came a year later = 1990.

The German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, gave a speech at the Berlin Wall Memorial in Bernauer Strasse (where it was breached) in Berlin this afternoon.

 Chancellor Angela Merkel was there as were the heads of state from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He urged people to "fight for a peaceful and united Europe". I wonder how many Brexiters would agree!

There are lots of meetings, parades, parties and concerts taking place all over the country. There will be a big concert at Brandenburg Gate this evening. I shall be in the Philharmonie enjoying a concert. UPDATE: Sinfonie Orchester Berlin. Haydn - Symphony Nr. 93 / Mozart - Concert for three pianos / Beethoven - Egmont Overture op.84 followed by Symphony Nr. 5 op,67.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Week so far

It is a really nice day here. The sun is shining and sky is blue. I plan to go for a walk later. The Sunday concert I talked about in my last post was superb. The orchestra was made up of young people - music students, and they played with such confidence. Usual things on Monday and Tuesday and on Wednesday I went to a special meeting help by my housing association. Now to put on my shoes for the walk. Enjoy your day even if the sun is not shining!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Musical Weekend

As you know I often go to classical music concerts, but usually one concert a weekend. This weekend it is two! Yesterday I met my Kowalke Gang and set off for the Philharmonie. There was a concert in the Chamber Music Hall, which is the smaller of the two halls in the building. It was almost full and most were over 60 :-)

Programme was another Russian musical evening of Borodin: Overture to Prince Igor. Anton Arensky: Violin Concerto Op. 54 (1891) - violin played superbly by a lady called Kotowa Machida. The evening ended with Tschaikowsky: Symphony Nr. 5.

I was curious to know more about Arensky so did some hunting on the internet this morning. Arensky 1861 to 1906. He died of TB in St. Petersburg where his family had moved to when he was a boy. He studied music there and made a career as a 'romantic'classical musician, a pianist and professor of music. He wrote a lot of music and I plan to listen to more.

In a couple of hours I shall walk all of 5 minutes to my local protestant church to meet the Kowalke Gang again. We shall then listen to a famous piece of music. Yes, Mozart's Requiem. Looking forward to that. Hope you are enjoying your Sunday, with or without music!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

November 2019 Things

We end the month with blue skies and sunshine but it is cold - only 3°C on my balcony. Talking of the weather, I managed to take a shot of a rainbow on Tuesday evening hanging near my garden. We put the clocks back an hour last weekend so it gets dark earlier.

This afternoon I am going to the centre of Berlin to meet other AWO members for a social gathering. Just getting to know each other better over Kaffee und Kuchen. I'm going to two concerts over the weekend and my diary shows I have the usual meetings - events during November. Nothing special.

Who has a birthday in November? Daniel starts us off with his 23rd birthday on the 2nd. Jeff over in Amsterdam hits 64 on the 19th. Sarah in London will be 59 on the 22nd. Stephen S. in Berlin will be 62 on the 29th and so ends the list.  Happy Birthday no matter where you are :-)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

More Blah!

Learning a language is not easy, but why is speaking your native language so difficult sometimes? I have posted before about native Brits speaking rubbish so here is another post. Most taken from BBC Radio 4 news broadcasts and speakers were politicians, business representatives, show people and any others considered important enough to interview. Try the following:-

they are much more on it/ a club who/ he wasn't educated on the situation/ the result were/ companies have fell down quickly/ that will grow dramatic/ I entirely believe/ on the end of October/ is been prepared to be/ are you minded to go for it/ more drift is an aspiration/ use-u-alise/ put the idea into concrete/ they keep not putting it/ a loved-up selfie.

If you are learning English, please do not learn such rubbish. Now off to meet members of Berlin Labour Party in town. I wonder what I shall hear there!

Update: There were a number of young members at the meeting so no surprise that I heard, 'like' - 'er, like', 'yer 'n like', too often!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Rolling

I enjoyed meeting my Kowalke Gang last Friday evening. We started with a glass of cold sparkling wine before settling down for a trip around parts of Japan. The daughter of one of the gang went there recently with her friend. She is also a painter and good with a camera.

I have never been to Japan, so I found it interesting to listen to their experiences and enjoy the photos. All of it was positive. Their stories covered travelling, food, cleanliness, and many other topics and all reports were good. We then had supper together with more talk about Japan.

Earlier I had been with Kerstin and the Keep-Fit-Oldies. Two weeks ago she introduced us to a new training tool. It is a roller as you can see from the photo. She offered to order one for anyone interested. I put my hand up immediately and she delivered it yesterday. I now have to read all the instructions, find a free place on a wall and just practice. I think it will be good for my back. Now you can see that you can do Rolling without Rocking!

Latest statistics: The Guardian reported that 320,000 people are now homeless in Britain. Also that the number of Britons leaving for Europe is now at a 10 year high. Last year, 11,500 moved from UK to Germany. I wonder if it has anything to do with Brexit.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Another Week

Nearly a week since I last posted. Nothing special to report. It started with touring properties owned by my housing association. I was elected a 'representative' so I get invitations to such things. The tour is organised each year and designed to show we 'representatives' new extensions, flats, gardens, bicycle shelters etc built in the previous year. I find it very interesting and informative. I also like the meal in the hotel when it is all over!

On Sunday I went to the Philharmonie with part of my 'Kowalke Gang'. A concert of 4 pieces by Russian composers. A wonderful event! I didn't want it to stop. Superb playing by a pianist and a young man with his cello. I could hardly believe that he played half of the concerto with his eyes closed. I envy such musical talent.

Monday had all my usual meetings with something special in the evening. That was to sip a glass of sekt-sparkling wine with Marita, to celebrate her birthday. Lot of talking and catching up on news. Tuesday had my usual meetings. Wednesday afternoon I went to the monthly meeting of my local museum supporters group. We were told about plans to make changes to the building, install a new exhibition complete with 'new technology' for visitors - the smartphone is taking over everything!

This morning I had to go to an office to register some papers and tomorrow I hope to have a Photoshop session with Stefan after doing some 'Oldie' training with Kerstin. In the evening I shall meet most of my Kowalke Gang for a session of eating, drinking and looking at photographs taken in Japan. More of that later.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Autumn

Autumn has clearly arrived in Germany, although in Berlin we are enjoying sun and blue skies. As the evening arrives you note a drop in temperature. Since my last post I have had a 'normal' week. It started with Barbara on Monday morning. She is my German teacher and always starts our meetings with chatting about what she has doing since the last meeting.

This time I had prepared copies of a text with words marked that I did not know. She explained the use of the words and then we started on dictation, which I really like. I had problems with some words and was self critical. She said I should not be and just keep learning.

On Tuesday afternoon I went to the Abacus Hotel opposite Tierpark Zoo. I met the SPD Oldies. We settled into the meeting with coffee and cakes and then the boss of the hotel arrived to tell us all about working there. Very interesting meeting.

On Wednesday I went to the Berlin office of my health insurance company. I went for advice. I got a letter from the Pension and Health Insurance Service in the UK to say that they may stop payments to my German health insurance company from the 1st November. All to do with Brexit. An informative meeting which ended with advice to wait until a got a letter saying payments would stop. I am one of 180,000 UK seniors living in the EU living under such a threat. It is hardly reported.

I went shopping yesterday. I bought a new lamp for my desktop then went to Aldi and bought an 'Outdoor-Sweatjacke' with a hood for 17.99 Euro. I have jackets but without a hood so this is a welcome addition to my jackets. Tomorrow I shall be on a tour of properties owned by my housing association which will end with a nice meal in a hotel.

 On Sunday afternoon I am going to the Berlin Philharmonie with some of my Kowalke Gang for an afternoon of Russian classical music. Looking forward to that. Here are some photos of autumn taken from my balcony. The leaves are still dropping.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Wannsee

Yesterday was sunny, blue skies and 20°C. Ideal for a day out. I met Johanna and Putta at the local U-Station and headed for Alexander Platz. Another train and we got out at Berlin Wannsee station. We sipped a glass of something nice to get our legs into motion and then set out. Wannsee is in the southwest of Berlin and the westernmost locality of the city.

It has two lakes. Großer and Kleiner Wannsee located on the River Havel separated by the Wannsee Bridge. To the west is Glienicke Bridge which connects the area to Potsdam. Glienicke Palace and the Pfaueninsel are nearby. Wannsee lake is well known as the number-one bathing and recreational area for western Berlin. It has one of the longest beaches in the country and a popular nudist beach!

The area is linked to the House of Hohenzollern which provided the rulers as Elector of Brandenburg, King of Prussia and finally as Emperor of Germany. The area contains palaces they had built over many years. It contains the villa the painter Max Liebermann had built and is now a museum. There is also the Wannsee Villa where senior Nazi officials met in January 1942 to agree the 'Final Solution'. It is now a memorial to victims.

On arrival at the lake we started our walk along the south side. We found lots of mushrooms and noted other people picking them. Later we stopped for a picnic on the side of the lake. Nice food and conversation before we set off to reach our next goal. At the end we took a local bus back to the station for the train back to Berlin. A very interesting day out with so many things to see. 

Visitors

I recently had two visitors. Yes, 'The Boyz' arrived. Bro1 had earlier called to ask if he could use my laptop and printer. Of course I said yes. He had prepared an application letter with the help of his German teacher at school. It was for a 4 week training programme in mechanics and electronics. He did a similar course a year ago. This time it was for more advanced practice. I was impressed by the content of the application.

Meanwhile, Bro2 found another English course book and settled down to learn verbs and complete gap-fill exercises. I gave him two books when he last visited and he practices at home. I asked why he was so motivated to practice English. He said he had decided he wanted to study to be a pilot and realised he had to have good English. I smiled at this and just told him to keep practising.

When both had finished, they said they were hungry so we prepared some food and after that they settled down to watch a DVD. It was in English and a spy story with lots of action, which they like! Bro2 is 17 today and celebrating with his family. Happy Birthday to you, Bro2. He is now the tallest in the family and still growing!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Goodbye Glen

Bad News: Glen Capra is dead. At the end of 1979, I moved to Brighton and Sussex University as a 'mature student'. At first I lived on campus and really enjoyed the life style. I then moved to other places including College Street. During the 80's, I lived there and in India. I also got to know Glen. He and his family had moved into a flat in Oriental Place near to the seafront, where I had moved to after my last India project. Our link was music.

He was only 17 but already a master of the keyboard. I was surprised and jealous of his musical skills. I wanted to play like that! We got to know each other better and I began to pressure him to apply to study music at Sussex University. I finally succeeded and then I left for Germany and he met a young lady who I shall refer to as 'L'. He graduated with a MA in Composition and then studied for a Diploma in postgraduate performance studies at the Guildhall in London.

He started a successful career as a musician, accompanist, chamber player and composer. He travelled a lot both performing and as an examiner. In his last e-mail he listed 11 countries he had worked in during the previous year. He and 'L' got married and they had twin daughters - now adults. His marriage to 'L' broke down, but they still kept in touch.

On one of his travels he met a young women singer in Greece. They got married. A mistake for the marriage broke down after a short time. He returned to Brighton then returned to Greece. His new wife changed the locks and he went to stay with friends in the town. It was there that he committed suicide. All who knew him and valued him as a musician and person are still shocked. The family in Brighton have an urn with his ashes and will let me know when and where they will be placed.

Good News: On Sunday afternoon, Jan's sister gave birth to a boy. Both mother and son are well and father is more than happy. Congratulations! It is a pity that I cannot share this news with Glen.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Potsdamer Platz

Yesterday I met some of my Kowalke Gang and we headed into town. We left the U-Bahn at Potsdamer Platz and met the guide for a conducted tour of the area. It was cold and windy. The guide had a large collection of photographs of how the Platz was and notes about the history of the area.

Here is some information I collected to give you a brief overview of the area.

Potsdamer Platz (Potsdam Square) is an important public square and traffic intersection in the centre of Berlin Germany, lying about 1 km (1,100 yd) south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag (German Parliament Building), and close to the southeast corner of the Tiergarten park.
 
 It is named after the city of Potsdam, some 25 km (16 mi) to the south west, and marks the point where the old road from Potsdam passed through the city wall of Berlin at the Potsdam Gate. Within little over a century it changed from an intersection of rural thoroughfares into a busy traffic intersection – including trains, buses and the U and S Bahn network.

The heyday of Potsdamer Platz was in the 1920s and 1930s. By this time it had developed into the busiest traffic center in all of Europe, and the heart of Berlin's nightlife

 It was totally destroyed during World War II starting with air raids in November 1943. It was left desolate during the Cold War era when the Berlin Wall bisected its former location. Since German reunification, Potsdamer Platz has been the site of major redevelopment projects.


The photo on the right shows the roof of the Sony Centre. This houses a cinema which I visit for it shows films in original language. The area attracts a lot of tourists and you only have to walk around the area to hear many languages. At the end of the tour, we went to a local fish restaurant. Guess what we ate? A very nice start to the weekend. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

October 2019 Things

On Monday morning I bought some nice flowers and took them to my district graveyard. A short walk through the nearby garden houses and I arrived at one of the graveyard entrances. A few more steps and I arrived at Birgit's family grave. I have posted about her before.

I placed the flowers at the head of the grave as I wished her a happy 67th Birthday on behalf of myself and her family. As I looked at the gravestone and flowers I thought about the time we had spent together, her trips, humour and smile. Many things to reflect on.

I also gave special wishes from her sister Heike. I was deputising for her. Heike loves to cruise around the world. She was recently on a cruise to St. Petersburg. As she left the ship she stumbled and broke her left arm. She was treated in hospital then put onto a plane to Berlin.

 She then went into a hospital in the city of Brandenburg, where she lives, contacted me and asked if I would stand in for her. I was happy to do that, but it would have been better if she had been with me. Get well soon, Heike!

Who has a birthday in October 2019?
My nephew Andrew in Yorkshire will be 42 on the 5th,  another nephew called Warren will be 43 on the 12th and also celebrate in Yorkshire! Bro2 will be 17 on the 13th and I am sure I shall be invited to his party here in Berlin. My lovely sister Frances will be 73 on the 14th and celebrate in Yorkshire with son Warren and others. Back in Berlin, Falk will celebrate another birthday with his family on the 15th - his age is a secret! My  neighbour Marita will be 69 on the 21st and I am looking forward to a glass of sekt with her to celebrate the event. Dianne Bolton celebrates her 73rd with family in Yorkshire on the 27th. The little sister of The Boyz will be 11 on the 28th, and I am sure she will want to eat a large ice-cream to celebrate the event. Tanya in London ends the birthday month with her 55th on the 31st of October.
Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you live:-)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Wet Weekend

It's raining again! Yesterday I set off twice to enjoy the blue sky and sun. Each time I had to return as the sky opened and we had very heavy rain storms. I know the land needs lots of rain after two hot summers but I would still like to enjoy a weekend without rain!

Since my last post, I have had a number of meetings with Johanna, lunch on Thursday with Colin and a meeting with friend R. to sip a couple of G&T's and talk about a time to take my iMac pieces for re-cycling. We did that on Saturday morning so we shall meet next week to destroy the drive. Should be an interesting meeting and discovering what is inside the drive.

On Friday I went to my usual Kerstin 'Keep Fit for Oldies' session then got a message from Stefan saying the Photoshop meeting was cancelled. He said I was the only one to register for the session. Since the beginning of the year we have only met 9 times! That means 1 meeting a month and 3 meetings cancelled. I am thinking about finding another group.

Today is Berlin Marathon day. I have just checked Der Tagesspiegel webpage. The say it is. "colourful, wet and dramatic". They reported that 52,000 are running including 5,000 skaters and about 1 million people are lining the streets to cheer on the runners. All this with 14°C and rain. Running through rain seems not to bother those taking part. I am impressed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Cooler

It is cooler since last weekend. I now go out wearing a warm autumn-winter jacket and I have noticed the many people on public transport have stopped wearing shorts! The trees are turning brown and shedding their leaves. What a pity for I am a summer person and do not like the grey, cold days.

I met Barbara on Monday morning for a German lesson. We analysed a text I had brought with me to discuss the words I did not know. Barbara was critical of the writer and his use of  language. In the dictation section she said I was getting better. At last, something to smile about!

The rest of the week has no special events except meeting Colin tomorrow evening for a meal and a beer. He has a really full programme before he takes the flight back to Australia. I am also meeting a friend tomorrow to move the iMac pieces to an electrical recycling centre. After that, I shall make sure he enjoys at least one glass of beer as thanks for his help.

Friday starts with Kerstin and the Keep-Fit-Oldies and then I join Stafan and the Photoshop-Gang for a session. We do not have many now so each meeting is special. The weekend I have free so perhaps I shall take public transport and see the trees turning brown in the country around Berlin. I end with a photo of Bro2 for I really like it and I hope it will make you smile as you journey through the week.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Special Day

Yesterday was a special day. It started with going to an annual district SPD meeting. It started at 9.00 am with light refreshments and members greeting each other. The members had to discuss propositions for the state SPD programme submitted by the 5 sections making up the district party.

There was then a vote to accept each proposition - or not. Not easy to follow for they were spread over 78 pages! At least we could have a break for lunch, which was provided, before we went back to work. The sun shone in a clear blue sky as we continued our deliberations.

I returned home in time to change and pick up some presents for my next appointment. I jumped onto a tram and 30 minutes later got out at a stop near to the River Spree in Köpenick. A short walk and I arrived at the Schwimmclub Ostend. I joined other guests to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of Petra and Uli. Other members of my 'Müggelseegang' were there, as you can see in this photo. Uli and Petra are in the middle of the photo.

They and their daughters are members of the club and so could use the facility for a party. It started with a glass of sparkling wine when I arrived, which was later topped up. Lots of talking, jokes and laughter. What a wonderful atmosphere! There was a range of cakes and snacks with coffee before the grill was turned on.

Grilling sausages is very much part of German culture no matter which part of the country you are in. Falk is from one of the German states called Thuringia. It is famous for its 'thuringer bratwurst'. Falk was recently there and brought some back for the party. Here you can see them being grilled. They really are delicious. They are eaten with mustard and in a bread roll. Here you can see Falk about to bite into one.

Lots of games were played as the sun went down and it got cooler. And so the party guests slowly said their goodbyes and headed home. Like me, all with happy memories of a very special day.

iMac-Hits

Time to catch up on updates. The weather is changing into autumn cool, leaves are going brown and dropping to the ground but this weekend has blue skies and sun in the afternoon. Monday was as usual and started with a German lesson. I am still having problems with dictation = the link between hearing and writing. More of that with Barbara tomorrow.

The main event on Tuesday was a meeting of the SPD Oldies. Over coffee and cakes we listened to a report by the Berlin government senator for security. He is also our local MP and always nice to see him. After his speech, I distributed copies of photos taken on our last cruise on the local river and canals. The Oldies were both surprised and happy to be given such a copy.

From there I took the S-Bahn into town to attend a meeting of Berlin Labour Party. There was a guest speaker talking about rent rises and plans to limit them by the state government. This was followed by a general discussion about the Labour Party annual meeting taking place this weekend in Brighton. Wednesday and Thursday were quiet days. Then Friday brought a change.

I went to Kerstin's Training for Oldies in the morning, as usual, then did some shopping for food for my later visitors. I had got a call from Bro1 asking if he could use my computer and printer on Friday afternoon. I said yes and he rang the bell on time. Bro2 was also there and it was great to see them again and looking so well.

Bro1 opened my laptop and started work. It was to write an application for a 4 week training course. This is supported by his school and is not the first time. Bro2 asked for English books. He selected two to take away and use in addition to the lessons he has at school. I went into my bedroom and started to dismantle my iMac. No surprise for it was over 12 years old and many programmes had stopped working and the operating system no longer got updates.

Goodbye to my iMac. I was interested to find out how the computer parts worked behind the screen. As I started to dismantle it The Boyz came into the room and started to take over the work. They clearly enjoyed seeing what was behind the screen and the challenge of dismantling it - as you can see in this photo.

After that, they said they were hungry. No surprise there! Pizzas into the oven followed by chocolate pudding and they were happy. I was happy that they had helped me and I told them not to wait so long to visit again. Having said that, they told me they were now in a new sports group at school and had more homework and so had less time. I can understand that.