Saturday, April 24, 2010

May and things

May and things

My bag is packed, taxi ordered for tomorrow at 7.30am, confirmation from Tony that all is okay and Rita will pick me up at the airport. What next? Just enjoy the next few weeks I think is the best answer! I have been doing some reading about New Orleans and got to know its layout thanks to Google Maps. I have even seen their house - and with their car parked in the drive!

I've had a very interesting week. The high point was giving a workshop at the Institute on Wednesday about using a netbook and projector in the classroom for presentation and student practice. It went better than I though and I have received a number of phone calls from teachers asking for more information. Nice that they are following it up.

This morning I had a pleasant breakfast at Dr. Birgit's to celebrate her birthday. Excellent food and good company. I returned home to find a message on my answer machine from Jan in Spain. He was responding to an e-mail I had sent. Nice to hear his voice. Then I started packing, ironing and preparing the flat for it to sleep for nearly three weeks!

Now to birthdays in May: Max starts the month with his 27th on the 2nd May. Na ja, Max so alt schon! My dear godson Marcel, in the north of Hungary, will be 16 on the 3rd May. He has grown to be quite the young man now. There is a rather special birthday on the 8th May - someone will be 67 while he is in New Orleans. Can you work out who it is? Hans hits 59 on the 11th, Trish will open a bottle or three on the 13th in Turkey, Heike will be doing the same in Berlin on the 16th, Otto will be 79 on the 18th followed by Sylvia in Brighton who will celebrate her 54th with Mike on the 20th May. Cousin Barbara will be sampling some birthday cake on the 21st to celebrate her 65th! Wow -- you made the big one!! And she ends the birthday show for this month. Happy Birthday to each and all of you!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Helium and Hubble

Helium and Hubble

I regularly go to science and technology sites to see what is happening in the world of science. I need to do this to send anything new to a couple of students.

It also supports the atheist part of me by showing what really is, rather than the fantasy world most people build in their heads! My family included!!

I saw these wonderful views recently taken from  the Helium balloon sent up by an amateur and one from the Hubble telescope showing something that we didn't know before about the birth and expansion of the universe - it is the one above on the left.

I am cleaning out my files and folders before I leave for the USA, and found them so decided to share with you. What wonderful scientific times we live in. Unfortunately religion is still looking backwards and being used as an excuse for things like mass-murder.  Enjoy the simple wonder of science and the universe existing independently of the small creature called human being who scratch on its surface.

New Phone

Gotta new phone, John?

Yes, I have. I bought it yesterday. Why, for you already have two and no-one calls you? 
I know, but the story begins a couple of weeks ago. So, go on with the story - we are waiting for the reason. 

I did some early spring cleaning and found a T-Mobile box without a phone, but with a chip and dated from June 2007. Then I remembered that my Alcatel had died on me and I had bought a new Samsung phone. 

So, what has that to do with the new phone?
Well, I had two chips and only the new phone. I put the old one into my new phone and forgot about the new chip. And the years went by until I found it a week or so ago.  

I then saw an advert for a Nokia 'clamshell phone' - I had to go back to the online dictionary again for help. I gave it 'Klapp-Handy' and got the equally stupid words ' clamshell phone'. I wonder who thinks up such words in the marketing departments!  It had nice big numbers so that when I press '1' I don't get about three other numbers from my fat-thick finger ends. 

I am now busy trying to work out how it works and adding telephone numbers. It also has Bluetooth (now I can link something to my iMac!), a camera and radio. I wonder if it can make tea :-)

Boo to you

Boo to you

Boo is the 'Kosename' for Scarlett used by her Ma and Pa. Her Pa is nephew Andrew. Actually, I had to look up this word in an online dictionary for I had forgotten the English word :-(

 I got 'pet name' and 'term of endearment', which sound nice to me!  Why am I forgetting words?

She is the 'apple of his eye' for Andrew and I follow family events over their Facebook account. I notice how quickly she is growing and Mudda und Vadda kindly sent me two photos of their treasure and allowed me to post to my blog. Never forget to ask permission before you post a photograph. I also do not post the full name of an underage person with a photograph.

So now we can smile as we see Boo feeding the chickens and happy in the comforting arms of her 'Mutti'. Wonderful - I only have to see them to break out in lots of smiles!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Schloß Golm

Easter Sunday at Gut Schloß Golm

Just got back from a day's excursion. It started with a call from Oldie Hermann. "Anything happening with Frau Boormann's Wander Gruppe", he asked. I replied, "Nix." So he suggested a day out to a place called Gut Schloß Golm which is west of Potsdam.  He had seen a report about it in the local TV. "Okay," I replied, "See you in an hour at Ostbahnhof." And so the day started.

Quick gallop to the S-Bahn and then to the Regional Train and a few hours later we arrived in Potsdam and I had a much needed coffee before entering a local bus. The service is each hour so off we went on the next part of the adventure. We arrived in Alt-Golm and then looked around. About twenty houses and a lot of cows. Then we saw a small sign to 'Schloß Golm'.

Off we set and walked down a long road through fields until we arrived at a sign for the Schloß. As directed, we turned right and arrived at a wonderful old Schloß facing a lake. We looked around the gardens and I climbed a small summer house to take some photos of the lake. We then entered the Schloß and what a surprise. Two dining rooms. The large one with the view to the lake was empty but our hosts quickly lit the candles and brought us to a suitable table.

We ordered Zanderfilet from the local river called The Havel, served with champagne-lemon sauce on a bed of white-kohl and potatoes. We ordered a dry Riesling to accompany this delight. When it arrived it looked like art on a plate and tasted even better. The idea of putting together this fish with white-kohl most people would think was a kind of madness. But, the champagne-lemon sauce was the brilliant discovery that binded the two. Mmmmh....what a taste. As you enter the Schloß you can see all the awards they have won for their dishes, and when you taste them you know why.

One of the two owners, Svetlana, Friefrau von dem Bottlenberg (that is an old aristocratic title for those who don't know the pre-1919 German system) came to our table to make sure everything was okay and so we got into conversation. As a result she gave us a booklet about the Schloß to read and free glasses of Champagne. Very nice!

What a wonderful Easter Sunday 2010. What did you do today?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Grill Fest

Friday Grill Fest

Yesterday I cycled round to Dr. Birgit's to give her a book instead of an easter egg, and was invited to a Grill Fest that evening organised by Hausmeisterin Petra!

I came back with a warm coat and some beers and had a really great evening. I have been to such events a few times so now know some of the other residents who regularly come to Grill Fests. 

Warren and Alex are coming over in mid-May and one of the things I have planned is a cycle tour with beer and grilled 'Wurst'. They must be from Thuringia for they are the best - as the ones yesterday were. These photos are a flavour of things to come in May!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April birthdays

April birthdays and things

I started this month with spring cleaning. Actually I started it at the end of March but by the start of April I had cleaned away all the dust and cobwebs that hang around on ceilings and walls, cleaned all the windows and even washed the kitchen and bathroom floors in addition to the usual cleaning.

Now looking into the new month, I note the following birthdays: Horst will be 76 on the 4th April. He is celebrating with his wife and family then so I am going to 'the non-family' party on the 5th!  Dennis hits 55 on the 11th and will be celebrating with his wife and twins in California. On the 13th, Neil will be 53, Ulli will be 63 and Marga will celebrate her 62nd special day. My business partner, Mathias, will be 46 on the 19th, Peter Legarth will be 46 on the 22nd. He is on the left hand side of my blog window - with his charming partner Andre. Dr. Birgit will celebrate her 46th on 24 April and Katrin Schulze will celebrate her 42nd with Stefan on the 28th April.

I shall not be in Berlin to celebrate Katrin's big day for on Sunday 25th April I am leaving Berlin for Frankfurt-am-Main to catch a plane to fly to the USA. After changing planes at someplace in the north, I fly south to arrive at New Orleans to spend nearly 3 weeks with Tony, Rita and their kids. During my stay there will be a jazz and a blues festival. I shall go to both for they will be new experiences to enjoy.

I arrive back in Berlin on 11th May. It is also Hans' 59th birthday! I shall then greet nephew Warren and friend Alex who will have flown in as I was flying over the Atlantic. All that is for my May 2010 report. Should be interesting.

I need a photo for this report. Just looked in the recent files and decided on a good one of me with food!