Thursday, August 31, 2017

September 2017 Things

I'm back in Berlin. My brother-in-law drove me to Leeds airport yesterday for the 10.20 flight to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. It was with KLM again and nothing went according to plan. Nothing new there! The plane left 1 hour and 20 minutes late with no explanation as to why!

My 15.30 flight from Schiphol to Berlin left 1 hour and 30 minutes late. Again, no surprise that there was no explanation, but some passengers did complain to KLM staff. I have decided to put this airline on my 'Never Again' list. Guess what I ate in Brexitland?  Yes, some of you are right. The best fish 'n chips you will find in West Yorkshire. How about these. Mmmmmhh  ... very tasty!

I enjoyed seeing family and friends in Brexitland but I did not enjoy the weather. Some of the locals went about in summer clothes. I dressed for autumn/winter and even put on the heating in the house. I  shall post about my adventures there next week. Meanwhile, I am packing my bag for a long weekend near Bremen with Holger and Gabi. More of that later.

Who has a birthday in September? Lynne in Casland starts us off with her 70th on the 1st September. The 6th is shared by Charlotte (26) Nevand (13) and Arancha (33). Andrea will celebrate her 32 birthday on the 8th. Nephew Stephen G. in Cambridge will be 47 on the 22nd, Robert G in Berlin will celebrate his 39th with his family on the 23rd. Sylvana in Berlin will celebrate her 57th with Mathias and family on the 25th. Stephen's father, Lew G. in Cambridge will celebrate another birthday with my sister P. on the 27th. My old camera friend Sylke in Berlin will be 47 on the 28th followed by my nephew Jefferson who hits 44 on the 29th and ends out birthday month. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EACH AND ALL NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE.....CHEERS!!

There are a few days in September of value to me. My dear Birgit G. died from a heart attack and her funeral took place on the 15th September 13 years ago. On the 16th my wonderful cousin Jean died, and I visited the family grave where her ashes are, only a few days ago. On the 30th is the anniversary of my father's death in 2004 aged 92. He shares that day with my dear Birgit who would have been 65. Special memories for me and still part of my life.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Another flight

My bag is almost packed and the taxi ordered to pick me up at 3.30 am (in the middle of the night). Yes, you read correctly! I have to get to Tegel Airport, which is not around the corner, then waste time with security checks and other periods of waiting in queues. I really do NOT like flying these days!

Guess where I am flying to? First to Amsterdam then to Leeds-Bradford. Fran, Geoff and Warren are picking me up at the airport and later I hope to enjoy a large plate of fish 'n chips with them. I shall be organising details of my stay when I arrive.

It will be interesting to find out how The Brexiters are dealing with their decision and the uncertainty that has followed. I wonder if I can get the owners of the Pork Pie shop in Skipton to move to Berlin and start production here. At least they have one customer!

Please note: I shall not be posting for the next couple of weeks. Enjoy your time with family and friends and I shall return with stories and photos in early September. Have fun!!

70th Anniversary

Today many Indians are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country. Pakistan celebrated yesterday. In 1947 there was West and East Pakistan, but the latter is now an independent country called Bangladesh. We should also not forget another country to the east which was then part of British India. It was later called Burma but that is another story.

BBC Radio 4 produced a number of programmes to celebrate the event. As most of you will know, that area played an important role in my life during the 1970s and 1980s. If you read the little 'blurb' top left of my blog you can note that the biggest mistake in my life was leaving India. I should never have got on that plane. My heart is still in the Hindi speaking parts of north India such as Hapur in Uttar Pradesh.

I enjoyed the programmes and learnt about the role that Cyril Radcliffe (1899-1977) played. He was the son of a British Army Captain and studied law at Oxford University. Appointed King's Counsel in 1935 and Director General of the Ministry of Information in 1941. He picked up a Knighthood in 1944 and returned to the Bar in 1945. A solid background in law and administration.

Then came a special appointment. Chairman of two boundary commissions to draw up the borders which created India and West-East Pakistan. He had never been to India before. He arrived on 8 July 1947 and had 5 weeks to carve up the Indian sub-continent. Bengal and Punjab were split in half, 14 million people moved over the new borders, an estimated 1 million were killed in the following violence and millions more injured. On hearing that news he declined his salary and returned to England. Some of the borders are still contested with thousands of armed soldiers facing each other.

Here are some nice flowers to mark a special anniversary and for the innocents who died.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Moving Home

In my last post I told you I started my holiday in Hungary at the grandparent's house overlooking Lake Balaton. I included a photo of the house from the side and one from the upper window with a view to the lake.

Later I went to Marcel's parents house north west of Budapest. You can see it above on the left. It is in a quiet rural area and you need a car to get there. There is a bus service but it is on the main road down a steep hill. Okay for walking down.....hard work walking up it!

The house is still being completed. It was designed as three flats on three floors and the main work is to complete kitchen and bathroom installations then furniture. It should be completed by the start of next year. Papa S. has a lot of work to do.

I also went to the current family home in the northern town of Miscolc. See above right. The parents are slowly moving furniture and things to the new house so the Miscolc house will be sold sometime next year. I have many happy memories of my time there with the family. I enjoyed dozing in the garden then saying goodbye to it on my final day as we set off for the airport and my return flight to Berlin.

In my last post I included photos of the family - except Opa! Here is a shot of him with an award be was given in gratitude for his social work and activities. Pity I did not take a shot of him offering me my breakfast 'medicine'. What happy memories I have of my time with the family in their homes.

Wonderful Time

I've just returned from a wonderful time in Hungary. It is called Ungarn in German and Magyar in the local language. No matter what you call it, you have to go there if you have not already done so. My first visit was with a lady called Sally in 1986. I had just returned from working on some projects in India when she announced we were going on holiday.

I readily agreed as we piled into her comfortable Peugot estate car and set off on a two month tour covering eight countries. From our later base in Vienna we decided to head for Lake Balaton in Hungary for a traditional holiday of sand, sun and beaches. I fell in love with Hungary immediately.

Many things happened later involving the country and getting to know more people. This included Marcel's family. I got an invitation to visit them last week and had another wonderful time. The high-point for me is staying with Oma und Opa (his grandparents) at their large comfortable house near the north shore of Lake Balaton at a place called Badacsony.

We had blue sky, sunshine and temperatures of 34 to 40°C. Berliners had rain, grey sky and 17°C. I had picked the right place! Sometimes I had to escape from the heat and sun by sitting under a tree in the shade and trying to doze off. I started my visit at the grandparents house on the Balaton.

It was really nice to see them again and settle into 'my' room before sitting in the sun and exploring the harbour and central area. Each morning Opa was waiting for me at the breakfast table with a bottle of his home-made brew and two glasses.

To the command of 'Medicine', we downed a glass, had a cough and then downed another glass. What a great way to start the day! The best medicine I have ever tasted!

I later spent some time at family houses in the north of Budapest and at Miscolc, but more of that later. Here are a few photos of family members and Opa/Oma's house near the lakeside.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

At last

At last we were able to relax in my garden for a lazy, long breakfast. It was our third attempt. Rain stopped play on the earlier plans but it held off yesterday.

A couple from my Kowalke-Gang turned up plus a guest who I met some time ago. Then Marita turned up and added to the range of conversation!

Very tasty food including a
salad eaten in many countries in South America. It was new for me but very tasty and it wasn't long before the dish was empty.

We started with a small glass of something special from Hungary. Mmmmmhh....and we ended with a glass of sekt produced in Spain. We plan to meet again early September when we are all back from holiday travel.

Please Note: I'm going to an airport tomorrow morning and shall NOT be posting to my blog for over a week. Now relax and enjoy the sun if you are lucky to live in a country where it shines :-))

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

August 2017 Things

Last month was a strange mixture of things ending, beginning and changes in  the weather. We are now enjoying hot and humid days in Berlin but they are expected to end shortly.

Members of The Family are well and the children are enjoying school holidays with friends. Ma and Pa are busy with German lessons and looking for an affordable flat. Not easy now!

I got a very clear and concise comment about a new word in my last post. Read it. Just click on comments - that's all. Thanks for the information.

Who has a birthday in August? Shirley in Florida starts us off with her 78th on the 1st August. She shares the day with Christian D in Berlin who will be 23 on that day. Beatrix D  will be 44 on the 6th.  Brother Jerome D. will be 22 on the 8th. French teacher Nicole will be 72 on the 21st and musical Angelika will be 65 on the 25th. Pity I cannot be at the big party near the shores of Muggelsee on that day. My sister Pauline in Cambridge will be 73 on the 26th. I hope to be there to celebrate. Dieter in Jüterbog will be 73 on the 27th. Two people share the 28th. Bernard P. will be 57 on that day and my wonderful 'son' Jan will be 34 then. His first birthday to share with his beautiful daughter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to each and all no matter where you are or how you celebrate your big day!