Wednesday, July 31, 2013

August 2013 things

I hope August will be as interesting as July has been! Many things are returning to my diary dates. Activites to help the SPD in the election in September are clear to read. Teaching the oldies on a Thursday afternoon is also there, as is the Oldie Breakfast each Thursday morning.

My doc has allowed me to resume stretching and movement with Kerstin's Senior Group next Friday morning. Things are slowly returning to normal! There are even two meetings with Stefan and my Photoshop Gang in August.

One is at Familie Schröder's Garden House for coffee-cakes and later a 'Grillen' session. A week later we are meeting for a picnic in Britzer Garden, and take photos of the flowers etc. to use in the next series of meetings. Looking forward to all that and seeing their smiling faces again.

Also looking forward to seeing Marcel in Berlin. He arrives with his parents to take a German exam 24 August. His study place at the TU Berlin is riding on this. Fingers crossed! I'm looking forward to seeing the family again and with Marga who has got to know his parents much better this year.

Who has a birthday in August?
Christian will celebrate his 19th in Dublin tomorrow. He shares 1st August with Shirley in St. Augustine who will be a little over 70! Happy memories of my birthday with her and friends in 2012. Here is a nice photo of Judy, Modesta and Shirley taken the evening before my return to Berlin. How I miss the pool and beach :-)

Beatrix hits 40 on 6th August in Köpenick, Jerome will be 19 and celebrate with his family in Marzahn on the 8th.
Peter and Andre celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary on the 9th in Alt-LB. I went to their wedding and can't believe it was so long ago. Nicole with celebrate being 68 on the 21st in a good old French style  - I hope. Jürgen will be 69 on the 24th, Angelika from the Kömische-Oper Orchestra will be 61 on the 25th.
 My sister Pauline will celebrate her 69th birthday with family in Cherry Hinton on the 26th. Dieter will also be 69, but on the 27th. He shares this day with my dear Birgit who died on 27th August 2004.

 Finally, my one and only Jan will be 30 on the 28th August. I hope he manages to make it to Berlin for it would be nice to celebrate such an important birthday with him and his lovely sister Andrea - not to mention his Arancha. Jan shares his day with Bernhard P. who will be 53. I guess he will be somewhere in the world organising part of the next Olympics!
 Wherever you are and whoever you are with -- Have a wonderful day and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EACH AND ALL!


After talking to Hannelore I cycled to my photocopying shop, then to the Post Office and a supermarket. A drama had taken place on my front garden in my absence!

As I cycled home, I noticed lots of my neighbours standing around in groups and looking at a helicopter. In front was a large red fire-engine and nearby were two police cars with officers.

Sitting on my low front lawn fence were four men from the fire-engine. I asked them what was happening and in a good thick Berlin accent one told me there was an emergency. I could see that for myself so I asked him what about.

He told me he didn't know exactly but they had received an emergency call that an ADAC helicopter had to make a landing in my front garden. He then asked me who I was. I answered in likewise Berlinisch short form that I only lived here, he was sitting on my fence and the drama was taking place in my front garden!

He just smiled and decided to say nothing else. Together we watched the drama unfold. The ADAC is the national emergency service for motorists in trouble, and for picking up accident victims and transferring them to hospitals for emergency operations.

Nothing happened for a while then two men appeared from centre stage right and walked towards the helicopter. They wore the usual emergency uniform and colours and carried what looked like emergency breathing equipment.

They boarded the helicopter. The police and fire engine crews returned to their vehicles and started their motors. The helicopter engine roared louder until it slowly rose into the sky. I took this shot exactly at that time.

As the usual sleepy quiet returned to my front garden, I still didn't know what the drama had been about, but it was interesting while it lasted :-)  What a strange morning I had!

Get well

Get well very soon, Peter!  I got a call mid-morning and was delighted to hear Hannelore's voice. The usual pleasant introduction but something in her voice said all was not well!

She then told me Peter was in hospital. He had a heart attack earlier in the month and an operation. A tube was inserted into a vein leading to his heart. Standard procedure, but it became infected. Lots of treatment, pain and he is still there.

On her recent visit they decided I should be told so that I could try to cancel my flight. I told her about my thrombosis and that on docs orders I had not yet booked my flight. We agreed to keep in regular contact and still try to meet at their house in Claviers in the south of France in early September.

Hope to see you there Peter. Meanwhile, here are some flowers until I can personally present you with some!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day out

I had a day out today. I went to an S-Bahn station north of where I live and met Johanna. Can I hear my Silsdeners asking who she is? She lives not too far from my place, is a long time friend of Jutta and Gerald and hosted my 1st Birthday Party. See recent posts!

We had arranged this at my 1st Birthday Party and Ursula joined us later. She was also at my party. You can see both in the photopraph. We went to the east of Berlin to one of my favourite areas. I have shown photos about it earlier on my blog.

The last time I went there was last July when Marcel was in town. He liked the area and so did my two fellow cyclists. We stopped the bicycle tour at the top of a lake. Time for lunch. We sat outside with a view onto the northern part of the water.

Much later we mounted our trusty bikes and headed back towards Berlin. We got to a town called Altlandsberg where the skies opened. We made for the nearest bus stop shelter and huddled against the storm.

We donned plastic capes and headed for the nearest S-Bahn station as the rain eased and blue skies slowly appeared again. We ignored this and just talked about the nice parts of the day as we returned to Berlin. We plan another bicycle trip next Wednesday. Watch this space :-)

Monday, July 29, 2013


With a sad heart and lots of hugs I left Cas-Vegas and headed towards Silsden once again. The end of my holiday was not far off.  Before leaving there was one more important thing to do. This was to visit Ilkley.

This town is the home of my mother and her family. It is also where the family grave is. It has now become something of a ritual that I take 'The Girls' to Betty's Tea Shop on The Grove which is the town's famous shopping street.

We all climbed into my car and off we went. I can hear you asking who 'The Girls' are. They are sister Frances, cousin Barbara and an old family friend called Rachel. I write this blog for Frances and Barbara. Barbara is very computer savvy and is an avid reader.

We decided to visit the family grave first and place some flowers there. We dutifully did this before keeping the memory of mother's family alive by going to Betty's. This was a ritual observed by grandmother, my mother and Barbara's mother, all our aunts and cousins. We took them with us again in spirit and talked about them as we sipped tea from china cups, and ate cakes served from silver plates. Nice!

Next day, goodbyes to all and into the car with Geoff's detailed plan of how to get to Liverpool airport. This time I did not get lost :-))) and dutifully returned the car and settled into waiting for my flight to Berlin.

It was a standard, even boring, flight home with only a short wait for my regional train to take me to my home station. The end of a very memorable visit to family and friends in England. Warm thanks to each and all for your time and generosity.

Fatherhood skills

Back in Cas-Vegas and in the family home, Lynne showed her mettle in the kitchen. I was just amazed at how food for 12 people arrived on the table and enjoyed listening to all chat and jokes between each and all.

Later I saw something different, but just as amazing. Peter has a four year old son called Jake. It was getting late and Jake was clearly tired, but would not give in. I think you all know the scene. Jake climbed onto Peter's lap and then said he wanted to hear a story.

Peter opened the book and slowly started to read. Jake settled further into father's chest. Peter told more of the story and you could see how tired Jake was. "Are you ready for bed now?"asked Papa. "Not yet", said Jake. The reading continued,

Suddenly, Peter put his hand into the puppet Mr Punch. In a high voice Mr Punch said, "Hello Jake, you are tired now, aren't you?" Putting his other hand into the puppet Mrs Judy, Peter then started a dialogue with Jake using the puppets.

Jake talked to the puppets all the time and seemed not to notice that Papa was doing all the voices. Finally after lots of persuasion from Punch and Judy, Jake said he was tired and ready for bed. Papa picked him up and gently took him to bed.

I saw the same fatherhood skills in the other sons with Jake and George, who is Paul's son. I talked to Alan and Lynne about where they had picked up such skills. We agreed that a man has such an ability or not. We decided on nature and biology as the source.


The old Roman town of Castleford is affectionately known as 'Cas Vegas' by the 'Bateson Lads and Lasses'. After helping my family to demolish the pork pies, I left next morning for said town. Alan and Lynne and families were waiting for me.

I got there on time and parked my car. There were lots of things to organise before we all got into three cars and headed out. Destination was Scarborough on the east coast of England. Why?

A good question. The three 'Bateson Lads' Daniel, Peter and Paul were in town from Australia and New Zealand. A long way! Yes, indeed but they were there for a special purpose. And prey tell us what that was!

They were all in England to attend the wedding of Paul to Rebecca in Gloucester in early July. Jan and Arancha were also there but I was not. I was booked to fly to Budapest. Daniel had the idea to have some 'special family time' in Scarborough because that was where they spent holiday when they were boys.

I was invited because I was in England at that time, I was their godfather and I would not be at the wedding. Sharing such a special time was more than a treat for me. Thanks Daniel for the great idea and driving me there.

We booked into our hotel just behind the huge Grand Hotel which dominates the seafront. Next stop was the most famous Fish 'n Chips restaurant in town. There I slipped slithers of tasty Atlantic Cod down my throat, in addition to thick cut chips sprinkled with traditional brown vinegar. Mmmmh..can taste it all again!

Wonderful memories of a very special time and with very special people. Here are a few photos to share with you.

Over the tops

With the smell of freshly baked pork pies filling the car, I drove 'over the tops' to Silsden. 

You can go  this way over the hills or take the valley road there. I had almost forgotten what it was like so I took the adventurous route. 

Lots of up and down hills then I came to Kildwick. It is a tiny farming village dominated by Kildwick Hall. I had forgotten how nice it looks on a sunny day, but then most things look nice on a sunny day! 

Here is a shot of the old house. I have no idea who lives there now. Probably one of the new rich robber bankers who invested his bonus here. 

As I drove over the hills and slowly descended into Silsden, I took a few more shots of the valley. Some of you still ask where I am from and what it is like.  Here you can see for yourself. 

I escaped when I was 16. I was one of the lucky ones! Most people say how pretty or attractive it is. Well, er...yes ... er...but not when you are 16 and your 'sap is rising'. Time to explore bigger places!

Missed Food

I did not drive straight to Silden from Cambriadge. I went to Skipton in search of pork pies and books. I always go to a bookshop which sells surplus stock. I got a shock. It was closed as were four other shops nearby!  I rushed to the butchers and found it was open.

I ordered some pork pies for they were still in the oven. With Fish'n Chips, these pork pies from the family butchers' in Skipton are the only two foods I dream about when at home in Berlin - and can't buy them! I miss nothing else about England.

On my return they were waiting for me. I bought a number to share with my family in Silsden. I did as usual. I walked over the road to the churchyard with seats offering a view over the main (market) street.

 So I sat there and sank my teeth into the crispy pie crust and into the still warm pork meat cooked in spices and chewed it further to savor the taste again....and again! Mmmmmh!

Here is a pic of some pork pies and one of me eating battered cod and chips in Scarborough where I later went. Just seeing the photos makes me want to taste them again!


Waving goodbye to Brighton I headed north then east then north again. Took me around London until I  found the road to Cambridge. I had already booked a small 'Pension' in the suburb of Cherry Hinton in the east of the city.

There lives my sister Pauline. I called her from my hotel and we agreed to meet at a pub-restaurant at the end of the road where she lives. I knew she was still recovering from a bad fall which included a broken wrist. She always was prone to falls and accidents. Nothing has changed!

She duly arrived and after greetings we settled down at a table for a meal - and a drink! We exchanged news, details of her family members, and their latest cruise. How strange that two couples in my family started going on cruises when the hit sixty. I wonder why I am not attracted to that kind of holiday?

Due to her falls/accidents she cannot get around as she used to and that is something else we talked about. I added the subject of communication via new(ish) technology such as the internet and e-mails, which they have,  rather that getting into the car and driving somewhere. I got a lukewarm response!

And so a pleasant evening ended and I headed back to my hotel. After a very 'hearty' (deftiges) breakfast, which was also the best I ate during that holiday, I jumped into the car and headed north via the A1. I missed the connection road but picked it up later and duly arrived back in Silsden :-)


I drove to Brighton from Hook through small winding roads flanked by trees, fields and the green of early summer in the south of England. I only got lost once so I was clearly making progress!

My target was Mike (see left photo) and Sylvia's large Georgian terrace house near to 7 Dials. Here is a pic with my little car outside the entrance.

I used to live in a flat opposite this house. The reason was to celebrate a number of people being together in London/Brighton for the first time in years.

We all met at Sussex University, graduated and went our separate ways but we always maintained contact. The internet and e-mails later made it easier to do so. Ian was over from Australia (photo above - right), Trish from Turkey und ich aus Deutschland!

We had a great reunion which started in a restaurant and ended at 2:00 am in the house. There was a lot of talking and a range of empty bottles next morning to testify to the splendid time had by all :-)

Next day I put Trish into the car and we paid an unplanned visit to the university. After that I took her to a village near Lewes and knocked on a door. Neil and Barbara got the nice surprise of seeing Trish for the first time in years. The beaming faces show it all!

Baby Girl

I hired a small black Vauxhall in Liverpool for my recent stay in England. Kissing the Audi goodbye, I drove  over the hills and far away only getting lost six times. I finally arrived in Silsden to stay with family.

A welcome plate of Fish'n Chips greeted me. Thanks Geoff! Having consumed that and a good nights sleep I drove to my bank to clarify a number of things. I also picked up some 'Dosh' to see me through the holiday.

Then I hit the road south. It was a long journey made bearable by music from BBC Radio 3. They were celebrating Wagner's 200 year anniversary, so Brünnhilde und Siegfried came down the M1 with me! My destination was Hook.

My nephew and family live there and I wanted to cuddle Bethany, the new addition to the family. I found the house after only getting lost three times. That was not bad given I had only been there once before, and that was two years ago.

It is always a pleasure to walk into their home for it is full of children and warmth. I got my cuddle wish as soon as I arrived. She just smiled at me and said nothing. More big smiles and my heart melted! Here is a photo of the 'Three Treasures'.

A very welcome meal washed down with a tasty glass of red ended an interesting day. Next morning I went with mum and baby to a farm shop where we had coffee before I set off on my travels again.


Once upon a time a really nice couple who live on The Wirral bought a dog. They liked it so much they bought another. That created a problem!

They couldn't hop onto cruise ships to the Bahamas, or other warm places, for they had to look after two dogs.  They found a solution: That was to buy a caravan so they could all go on holiday together.

And so it came to pass that they found a sleek and shiny 26 foot caravan with enough space for lots of dog toys and dog food. That created another problem!

Their car was not powerful enough to tow the new caravan with or without dogs in it. The looked for a solution. They bought a nice shiny Audi SUV with a nice powerful motor. And so the story ended happily for all.

Thanks Barry and Pam for being generous hosts again. I really like relaxing in the garden. Next time I shall make off with the Audi when you are playing with the dogs in the garden :-)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ist Birthday

I've just got back from celebrating my 1st Birthday!  I had a really great evening hosted by Johanna and Jutta. Yes, it is exactly one year ago that I got my German citizenship documents. I posted details on my blog then.

Jutta called me just after my return from Hungary asking if I was free this evening. I said yes and so the event was organised. Five friends came to celebrate with me.

 A light supper of salad, eggs, French cheeses and fresh strawberries were washed down with a light white wine followed by a stronger red.

Throw in some interesting conversations in German, some cross-talking and lots of laughter and you have the full picture.

Many thanks to J and J for throwing this supper party for me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Beer Sign

Just had a relaxing, sleepy afternoon in my garden. I tell myself that my doctor would approve of my being lazy and putting my legs up, even without those stockings! I feel much better and plan to repeat the treatment tomorrow!

Here is a photo of my garden in its full green summer glory. There is, however,  no swimming pool  a la Shirley in St. Augustine. You can see my green plastic table and chairs which I can move to follow the sun. There is also the communal table and benches which I move to for cool shade.

I can spread myself out and slip into memories of the beach at Balaton in Hungary before dozing off. Isn't it nice to just have time off and for oneself? You can even force yourself to drink a cold refreshing beer :-)

Another Sign

And yet another sign of life. Yesterday my doc said I was making good progress and I could go to Kerstin's training for Oldies this Friday morning. Sigh of relief! I also picked up my new elasticated stockings to add to my tablets and gel. You can see the lot in this pic.

I can have another pair of stockings in 6 months time courtesy of my Health Insurance. Actually it is not. I pay for all in monthly contributions but they make it appear I am getting a gift from them. Do you like the nice dark blue stockings? They go well with jeans and black trousers!

Weather still wonderful. Temperature hovering just over 30°C and with clear blue skies. I shall retire to the garden to read then doze under a tree. Hope all friends in Australia are keeping warm :-)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Sign

Time for me to show a sign of life! Since my return from Hungary one week ago, the weather has been superb! Classic summer days of sun, blue sky and some people complaining that at 30°C it is too hot - we always get them don't we?

Health has dominated my return. A thrombosis in my right leg started when I was in Hungary. Ilonka took me to a community hospital for treatment. I was told I was lucky that it was not in a deep vein! Even so, it was painful and expanding in the vein.

I got tablets and gel and told to report to a surgeon at a hospital for further checks. I went to one in Miscolc and after seeing the queue decided to follow up treatment in Berlin. I went to my doc who confirmed everything the Hungarian doc had said.

More tablets and a prescription to get some compression stockings made. They should be ready tomorrow. All training and any physical activity was banned until my doc gave me clearance, which should be tomorrow morning. Watch this space.

Last week I was lazy and enjoyed it. I finished my book in German and started another yesterday. I also had visitors on Friday for coffee, cakes and supper in the garden. Marga visited yesterday and we had a super day being lazy in the garden. Today I'm visiting some 'Oldies' for lunch and a slow walk along a lake.

Here are a couple of photos showing me in more 'active' mood in Hungary :-)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

20 thousand

When I logged on to write that I had safely returned from Hungary I noted that I had 20132 page views. When I left for Hungary it was 19943. I didn't think it would cross 20 thousand in my absence.

Congratulations to all of you for this landmark figure! It is encouraging to know that you clearly like what I post by returning to read more. That said, there is a joke with Jan and Marcel that they only look at the pictures and don't read the text!

To celebrate I shall share a photo taken recently. Hope it makes you smile :-) and don't forget to come back to this blog and even leave a comment. It is easy to do so try it.

Back in Berlin

Hello all, I safely returned to Berlin yesterday evening.

I had an uneventful flight before catching my Regional Train, which takes 12 minutes to my local station. From take-off to opening my door took 2 hours and 25 minutes.

I had a wonderful time and it seems strange not to be on the move. I need time to adjust to being in one place and digest all the sights, sounds and experiences I have had.

 It will take a long time to work on all the photos I took in the UK and then in Hungary. I have 214 just from Hungary, so I shall have to be selective about what I post to my blog.

Here is one showing me on the move. I did not cycle back to Berlin but you have the idea of movement :-)

Monday, July 01, 2013

No Posts

Tomorrow I am flying to Hungary until 14 July. 

There will be no posts to this blog until 15 July. 

Have a happy healthy two weeks until I return.

July 2013 Things

I flew back to Berlin yesterday evening. A long day, late arrival and a late sleep-in this morning. Call from Ian to say he was also in Berlin and we agreed to meet in Alexander Platz. We did this, had lunch then walked to the orginal bit of Berlin near the river. Nice to see him in the city where he lived during the 90's and where he met Birgit.

July looks to be interesting. In addition to my flight tomorrow, I note the following. David died tragically young five years ago on the 3 July. I went to his funeral. My Acer laptop will be two years old on the 6th. Paul and Rebecca marry on Sunday 7 July in Gloucester. Jan and Arancha will be there. On 24 July I shall celebrate my first year as a German citizen with a small party in Berlin.

Who has a birthday in July? Laura Bolton in England will be 17 on 1st July = today! Jutta Müller will be 65 on the 2nd of July. Adele in the UK will be over 40 again on the 26th and ends the month of birthday celebrations. Have a wonderful day wherever you are. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!