Sunday, May 31, 2009

Events in June 09

Events in June 09

My iMac will be 2 years old on 6th June --- Happy Birthday iMac :-)) The big thing for me in June 09 is flying to Boston over Madrid on 4th June. My iMac will have to celebrate without me! Looking forward to seeing Jan and hitting the road in his SUV to also take in a bit of Canada. Hope to get some interesting pics to share with you. His mother and sister have just been to see him, so it is now my turn before he returns to Berlin in July.

My parents shared the same birthday - 19th June. Vadda would have been 96 und Mudda 90 on that day were they both alive. Wonder where I shall be in the States to raise a glass to them? Teresa in Berlin will be celebrating on the 23rd June and Hermann his 72nd on the 25th June, which is my first day back in Berlin. Happy Birthday to all and each!

Views of La Var

Views of La Var

We had great weather except for the first morning so spent each day touring the area. They had been to most of the places before but still enjoying seeing the breathtaking sights again.

We went to the Canyon der Verdon, north of where they live, which is the largest gorge in Europe. The river which runs through it flows into the Lac de Sainte-Croix.

Other tours took in La Motte, Le Muy, Figanieres, Callas, Bargemon - where I had a short summer haircut! - Draguignan, Chateaudouble, Monfenat, Ampus and Moustiers Sainte-Marie, from which these photos were taken.

Happy memories!

Claviers in La Var

Claviers in La Var

I had a fabulous time with Hannelore and Peter at their house in Claviers. This is in the Departemont called La Var, which is one of six covering Provence. I can now see why they left Berlin exactly a year ago. What a beautiful place to live in. They both started their working life as French teachers so their French is perfect - and that helps!

We went on excursions each day and met their friends in Claviers. The style and pace of life is very different from that in a big city like Berlin. The food, cooking and meals were excellent - not to mention the wines which they buy direct from a local producer.

The photos here will include Claviers which is built on the side of a hilltop. Their house is in the middle with a wonderful view onto the valley below. You can see Hannelore and Peter after lunch where we celebrated their first year there. There are some of me, including one where I am selling a bottle of wine. Actually it is a joke for the shop owner posed as the customer and had a great laugh.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Going to France

Flying to France early tomorrow
Off to Nice to spend a week with Hannelore and Peter. It is exactly one year since they left Berlin to retire to their house in a village of 700 people to the south-west of Nice, not too far from the coast.

I hope to post to this blog on my return, but my diary looks very full already. If not, then I'll post from the USA, or on my return on 1 July.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Herren Tag - Wet but happy

We ended Herren Tag wet but happy

From the 'real' picnic, under a giant tree which kept us dry, we cycled in a thunderstorm and finally reached a 'Gaststätte', near to Bernau, run by a friend of Larissa's so we got good service and a discount.

Here you can see photos of us looking very wet and rather tired. We cheered up as the beers arrived and some of us added a few rounds of 'Schnapps' in the traditional way.

I end with pictures of Larissa, Nina and Petra with glasses of beer and one of Harald sinking a Schnapps with a Gummi-Bärchen.

There is one of me also sinking a traditional little bottle of Schnapps, which Andrew also tasted two years ago when he discovered the delights of Herren Tag. A great day and we were all happy even if wet!

Join us next year Andrew with Adele and Scarlett!

Herren Tag Picnic

We had a very nice picnic on the way

While it was still warm and sunny, we stopped for a pre-picnic and it was good that we did for the 'picnic' was on the side of a lake and in a thunderstorm!

We sheltered under a very large tree and kept dry as we had the 'real' picnic and looked for patches of blue sky.

Later we stopped at a lake side restaurant and had our first freshly pulled beer. Mmmmh!

Herren Tag - 1

Herren Tag - Mai 2009

Yesterday, 21st May, was a public holiday called Herren Tag in Germany and Austria. It was also my cousin Barbara's birthday this year so I hope she had as much fun as I did. This year I did not got to Strausberg in the east of Berlin but joined my Mugglesee Gang on a day out.

I met this 'gang' when I took my second teaching contract in Berlin many years ago. We have always kept in contact and so I was happy to join them for a cycle tour and picnic. Our goal was the north-west of Berlin to a town called Oranienburg. It is famous for its mansion/Schloss/palace built for a princess from Orange in the Netherlands who married a Prussian King. It is also famous for its garden which attracts many thousands of people each year.

The tour was organised by Waldemar and Nina, so thanks to them for their work. My first photograph was in the S-Bahn when we were on the way to meet the rest of the gang. We arrived a Oraniengurg station so took a pic to show the style of architecture of the town and the people gathering there for the holiday. We met Larrisa's husband who had driven her there in their new Mini Clubman. You can see this meeting in a pic. I also took a couple of pics of the Schloss as we started our journey. Our end station was was the town of Bernau where I used to work!

News of Scarlett

More pictures of my Great-Niece, Scarlett

'Vadda' Andrew sent me latest news about his life in Yorkshire and the latest pics of Scarlett. She is very photogenic - I think she must get this from both Andrew and Adele - as you can see from the photos. I like the one of her with her grandfather. He has a way of losing years and being almost a child to play with her. You can see how happy she is.

Sorry that you missed Herren Tag this year, Andrew. It was nice to exchange e-mails about this but perhaps you can join in next year for I know you really like this special holiday in Germany. Just enjoy the photos and story in my next post and think about the happy time you had. Na, prost!!

Another Bateson

Another Bateson joined the gang

Yes, Jake Bateson popped into the world just before my birthday but in Melbourne - the capital city of the State of Victoria, Australia. Rebecca, his mother, did all the work but was assisted by 'Vadda' Peter by hand holding and brow mopping.

Peter said Jake had the Bateson nose and legs. I don't know what he means by the nose but the legs are famous for not being quite straight. In Silsden many years ago we said that such a person 'couldn't stop a pig in a ginnel'. Welcome Jake - I think you will become a famous athlete with those legs!

Grandparents Alan and Lynne in Castleford forwarded the first news and pics followed by some direct from 'Vadda' Peter once he had got over the shock of being a father. Jake is their first child. Congratulations to all, but of course Rebecca deserves the big red rose.

Henry Hu Lynch

I have another Great-Nephew

Great to be adding to the list of Great-Nephews and Nieces. My youngest sister's eldest son - and his wife of course :-) - did their bit and Leanne duly delivered Henry Hu Lynch at 02.45 on Saturday 18 April. He weighted in at a standard 7lbs and 3oz.

The interesting thing about little Henry Hu is that he tricked everyone about his birth. Leanne and Jefferson went to the hospital earlier in the day thinking the birth was about to take place - then nothing! They were sent home.

Henry Hu decided to make his appearance in the night and very quickly so that Mum and Dad delivered him on the bathroom floor of friends where they were staying to attend a wedding. Nice! The fact that 'Mudda' is a medical doctor specialising in baby health just might have helped Henry Hu to arrive safely. Good work, Leanne!

The photographs are great and I really like the ones where his big sister, Evie Mei is looking at him with so much love and curiosity - a charming mixture! What do you think?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Then and now

I wasn't sure I had been to Alanya
I really wasn't sure but the rock with the fortress on top somehow looked familiar. I remember lying on my back and wondering why so many planes were flying over my head to the south. It was the Turkish invasion of Cyprus - in August 1975, but I had no idea at the time.

Last week I told Hans that I wasn't sure if I had been there before. He just grunted and asked if he could have another beer. Being kind, I allowed it this time and decided to check my records when I got home. I have just done this.

I found this antique photograph in my records and realised I had been in Alanya. You can't hide that big rock jutting into the bay. What a surpise for me. How the east bay has changed. When I was there in August 1975, my hotel was about the only one on the long east bay and now it is completely built up and my hotel doesn't exist any more. Signs of tourist advances on this very attractive coast?

I contrast the old photo with one taken only one week ago when I was in the inner fortress on top of the rock, you can see in the old photograph. How strange! And to see in what way I have changed ...... and not changed! Now I can see the difference. I had a beard then and more hair on my head - and my body hair was not gray!!

Birthday presents

Choice of presents says something about the person

Yes, we buy/give the birthday presents we do based on our knowledge of the persons tastes, likes and dislikes. Some of you know me well. I got many cards and some interesting presents.

Wine, cognac chocolate, a book, a jersey sweater, ticket to the opera, Planet Earth CDs, and all of Beethoven's quartets. Nice! Thanks to all for making this birthday such a pleasant one.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Views from the old castle

Views from the old castle

I shall now add ten photos taken when I explored the old castle on top of the hill that juts into the sea at Alanya. I include a ruin of an old Byzantine church in the fortress area, and of my sun-glasses, my Turkish-English tourist phrase book I got from Trish and Cemal in 2006, my camera and a glass of Turkish tea.

How I love the taste of that tea and how I miss it!! What a super day that was.