Sunday, July 31, 2011

August 2011

Tomorrow is the start of August and Shirley's birthday! I should have been celebrating with her family in St. Augustine but it wasn't possible. Hopefully next May to celebrate my birthday - nice idea!

I returned to Berlin at the start of July after a pleasant and interesting stay in England. I liked seeing family and friends again but find living on the island rather inward looking. When looking outward - it is only to the USA!

July was a mixed month of getting back into life in Berlin, including treatment for my back/neck. It is now much better but still not 100%. I think it is a matter of time. I can now join my Friday gang for training which helps my back/neck.

I have recently been asked to take on teaching at the institute, which I accepted! Nice students and look forward to teaching them in August. The extra money is also nice :-)

My diary for August is starting to fill up with teaching, training, concerts in Berlin and Brandenburg, workshops, my weekly German lessons and the occasional weekend trips when the weather is sunny! I also have to find time to prepare for something special in September.

Who has a birthday in August? Shirley starts the month with her birthday on the 1st followed by Beatrix celebrating her 38th on the 6th August. Nicole will be 66 on the 21st, Jürgen 67 on the 24th, Angelika 59 on the 25th, my sister Pauline will be 67 on the 26th followed by Dieter's 67th on the 27th. Jan will be 28 on the 28th. He shares this day with Bernhard who will be 51 and they end the birthdays in August.

Happy birthday to each and all. Have a wonderful day!


I recently went shopping with Marga. I bought some chopsticks and a can of dried peas. I wanted to practice how to use chopsticks.

Marga lived in Hong Kong, Singapore and other places in the 'East' for many years so can use chopsticks without even thinking or looking. I can't so we bought the essentials and she came round to help.

First she showed me where and why the lower stick goes, then the upper stick and also you have to move it forward or backward depending on what you want to pick up. Nice theory....then the practice.

At first I couldn't do anything....then slowly I managed to get hold of a pea. More tongue hanging out of mouth moments and then I was able to lift it .......but no, it fell to the ground.

Don't worry; said Marga. Try again. I did with the same result. More comforting from Marga and then I did it. I picked up a pea and put it in my mouth.

 I was so pleased I did it again and again. Marga took some photos to record this momentous event.

The big question is why I am practicing to eat with chopsticks! Answers on a postcard to ........

Topping a Lap

Some of you will know that one of my hobbies is destroying computers! I have posted pics of Jan and I working with hammers on these machines and with 'auch' comments from Sven in the comment box:-)

This time I decided to 'Top my Laptop' alone. A great feeling - try it! It was sad to force open the insides of my trusty Asus, which I have used for over 5 years. I posted its death on this blog earlier.

I replaced it with an Acer Aspire, which I am using to post to this blog. First time I have used it for writing the blog. The Acer has a 16:9 screen. I prefer the old square window of my Asus, but I am slowly getting to know the Acer.

I prepared for the event by getting my toolbox into the kitchen and finding the main tools I would need to end the Asus. I needed some time to remove lots of little screws so I could get into the machine. I quickly removed the screen from the main housing.

But the Asus fought back and I cut myself on some parts of the machine. You can see a photo of my hand bleeding and drops of blood on the table. 

Inside I found a treasure trove of circuits and welded on bits. I quickly found the mother board and removed it. This was then destroyed. I shall be taking all the remains to a local computer shop.

The owner has offered me €30,- for the bits and pieces of any value. The rest he will send to a special recycling centre. Bye bye Ausus!


A few days after I returned to Berlin, I got a ring on my door bell. It was a nice lady from Deutsche Post to deliver a small parcel. What a nice surprise!

Inside was a copy of, John Osborne: A Patriot For Us by John Heilpern. It is a biography of one of the most important English language writers in the post war period.

I then remembered my last day in England. I went to Ilkley with Fran, Barbara and Rachel. We wandered along The Grove and ended up in a bookshop. I said to Barbara that I would like this book but did not have the space/weight allowance in my bag. She did not know his name and asked me why I would like it. I told her why and she just smiled at me.

Later Fran and I walked to Betty's Tea Room and noticed that we had lost Barbara and Rachel. They later caught up with us and we had a superb strawberry cream tea at Betty's. I thought no more about it until I opened the packet.

All was clear. She went back and bought it while I wandered off in the direction of The Grove. Many thanks again Barbara for such a wonderful surprise gift to remind me of a very special afternoon in Ilkley. 

Here you can see it with two other books I bought and carried back to Berlin. I can recommend them all. The one you can see on the right I bought with Lynne. We are reading it together and commenting per e-mail and telephone calls.

Monday, July 11, 2011

July things

Posting late into July, but better late than never. I'm getting back into my routine plus sorting out my new Acer laptop. For some reason Windows 7 Service Pack 1 will not download and install. I wonder why. I notice that nothing has fundamentally changed at Microsoft since my defection to Apple!

I am allowed to train with my Oldie group each Friday. I have also joined three other Oldies who like to cycle about the place. My first tour with them is tomorrow. Dentist appointment today - trying to hang onto a tooth. So far okay. Went to a workshop about teaching Intercultural Competence yesterday. It was great and I learnt a few more things. Back to German lessons and did my homework this morning.

I am also applying for a visa to visit China in September. I have to sort out health insurance before I can complete the form. Just a matter of time before I join the queue at the embassy to get the important stamp on my passport. Let's see what happens.

Who has a birthday in July? Jutta had her 63rd on the 2nd and Adele will celebrate on the 26th. Happy Birthday to both.  There were a couple of other memories this month. The first was remembering David who died three years ago on the 3rd, and that Lew got his doctorate on the 14th in 2004. I was present at both events!

Saturday, July 09, 2011



I had a wonderful time in 'Blighty' and got back last Sunday. I should have returned on Saturday but I got my dates mixed up - and had to buy another ticket. I think it was a case of having another 'senior moment'.

Marga sent me an e-mail this morning asking me if I was okay for I had not posted to this blog for some time. That was the spur to post this report. I have been rather busy getting into my weekly pattern plus sorting out future travel plans - thanks Shirley for your understanding, visits to docs for back treatment and shopping.

Yes, I went shopping. I came back with some money for a new laptop. You may remember that my Asus died some time ago. Next to the electrical gadgets store is a departmental store. I wandered in and found a teapot I liked. I bought it then decided I should use the rest of the money for the original purpose.

I finally bought an Acer Aspire, but only after checking the competition and prices plus asking a few people for their experiences of this brand. So far I am happy with it, but it has taken time to set the thing up and burning programmes I used to get on disc!

I have also started work on the photos I took in 'Blighty'. There are 130 to work on so please give me time.  Now to show you my new 'classic' teapot!