Monday, December 31, 2018

Bach in Bernau

In my last post I told you I was going to a concert in Bernau. I met two nice ladies and off we went. We arrived at the St. Marienkirche near to the market place in Bernau. We found seats near the front and settled down, We heard J.S.Bach's Weihnachts(Christmas)Oratorium - Kantaten 4-6. It was wonderful to relax and let the music and voices fill the building.

I later wondered about the history of Bach, and the difference between Kantaten and Oratorium. Here is what I found - in a short form! There are 209 surviving cantatas written by Bach, There are more but it is not certain he wrote them. The earliest dates from 1707. Later he was appointed director of church music in Leipzig, in 1723, and it was there that he composed most. The last was written in 1745 and he usually wrote one a week. Busy Boy!!

Most cantatas were written for 4 soloists and four-part choir, within 6 structures including narrative. What is the relationship between the two? The answer is that his oratorios are expanded cantatas. His six-part Christmas-Oratorio was intended to be performed on six feast days of the Christmas season. Each part was composed as a cantata with an opening chorus and a closing chorale. Of the six, we heard 4,5 and 6.

At the end I was able to take a few photos of Angelika who plays viola. Here is one with a musician she has played with in quartets for many years. I have met him on many such occasions, mainly in summer concerts. A really nice evening and a perfect way to approach the end of a year.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Catching Up

Time to catch up with what has happened since my last post on Christmas Day. I had a really nice 25th and 26th. Very quiet two days with walks and cycling in my local park. Lots of families with small children and new toys, games and activities. I sometimes wondered if the parents were having more fun playing with the toys and being children again, than their own children!

On Thursday I went to meet The Family for lunch. Papa was waiting for me at the tram stop. A nice walk to the hotel/home where they have 2 rooms and access to a kitchen and washing machine. Mama had clearly taken a lot of trouble to cook what I can only describe as a 'feast'. Such a range of food. I couldn't eat it all - but The Boys did. No surprise there :-)) Letting the food settle was accompanied by interesting talks, exploring a number of languages, talking about future plans, lots of jokes and laughs.

The Boys left to meet friends and I went to an Aldi supermarket with Papa. I wanted to look at learning materials on offer. I ended up buying a book about learning German. I have now done 12 tests and was surprised at the mistakes I made. Back to my basic Grammar Book to brush up before I try more tests :-((

Tomorrow I am meeting two of my Ko-Gang ladies at Lichtenberg Railway station. Train to Bernau, which is a nice town north-west of Berlin, then a short walk to St. Marienkirche in the centre. Angelika is playing viola in Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium Kantaten I-V. Looking forward to that!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Cards 'n Presents

It is now Christmas Day. I slept into the day. I always read a book when I go  to bed and that puts me to sleep quickly. I woke-up late, at 10.30 am which is not normal for me. It is very quiet here, so  that perhaps played a role. I can even hear my neighbour's cat snoring!

One of the big pleasures of Christmas Day is to sit at my desk, after breakfast, and open my cards. This year I got 29. I love to read all the messages and news about the writer(s) and their family. As usual I got a full report from one of my nephews about his three children and what they all did in 2018. I always read such texts at least twice. Here you can see the cards.

I then opened presents. A bottle of GlenF., sekt, tea, Stollen-Cake, chocolates. I shall give the sweet things to 'The Family' children when I meet them on Thursday. I have been invited to have lunch with them. Looking forward to that.

Cooking anything is not easy for they live on the third floor of a 'Refugee Hotel' and the shared kitchen is on the ground floor. There is no lift so everything has to be carried up the steps.

My big wish for 2019 is that they find a flat. It is not easy now in Berlin. Investment funds are buying property, washing the windows and increasing the rents. Also a problem of land on which to built affordable flats. Have a happy rest of Christmas Day!
UPDATE: I recently heard this on BBC Radio 4: "Turkeys don't vote for Christmas"! Enjoy your lunch :-)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Modern Christmas

Only an hour to go before Christmas Day. I hope you have enjoyed/are enjoying your Christmas Eve. I spent the morning with my Kowalke Gang over a long breakfast. In the afternoon I visited friends for Kaffee und Kuchen and lots of interesting discussions.

This evening I settled down to watch TV. I skipped through many programmes and found only two which interested me. One was a Christmas concert of traditional songs and classical music. No surprise there. Suddenly my telephone rang.

It was sister Fran calling to wish me all the best. Very nice to talk to her. She will be enjoying tomorrow with her grandchildren like many other people.

I got this interesting Christmas postcard. It really makes me smile. I think it is a comment on modern living. Here I mean the switch from shopping on the high street to shopping online and taking delivery of parcels. In this postcard, Joseph is telling Mary that the 3 Kings are delivering presents via such companies. Merry Christmas and have a great day tomorrow!

Friday, December 21, 2018


I went to my usual Friday morning meeting with Kerstin and the 'Keep-Fit-Oldies'. I enjoyed all the movements and training and listening to other Oldies speaking in 'Berlinisch'. I arrived home just after noon and waited for the doorbell to ring.

The first was Daniel. I haven't seen him since he started studying Economics at Berlin Humboldt University last October. It was nice to see him again and looking very well. I thought he had grown even more but he said not and that I was shrinking with age :-(

Over 'Kaffee und Kuchen' he told me about life as a student at the university. He is studying for a BSc. over three years and already has plans for work after he graduates. Yes, you guessed correctly. He wants to move to Moscow and work there. No surprise given his Russian language skills.

Meanwhile, he is looking for money to buy a course book about economics written in English. I am still wondering why in English! I decided to give him a copy of The Lord of the Rings in one volume. If he can get through that then he deserves a medal. Watching the films is easier that reading the book, but then I did that years ago before the films were made.

His grandparents bought him a nice Christmas present. It is a Samsung smartphone. Daniel added a rod to it - I don't know the real name of such a thing - so he could take 'selfies' and send to family and friends. He told me my camera was out of date and I could throw it in the bin! There is such a thing as quality, even with cameras and photos, so I think I shall not throw it into a bin!

Then the doorbell rang again. It was the man from the bed company. If you remember I posted about getting a new bed, but the 'bedhead' was broken. A new one was ordered and installed today. Here you can see where I shall lay my head this evening and read a book until I nod off. Looking forward to that. Before then I shall turn on my TV to watch a football match between two German teams. Bayern is not playing but I shall still enjoy the match. Enjoy your evening!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Party Time

It's time for a party - or three! My week started with a party on Monday afternoon. Lots of snacks and glasses of sekt = sparkling wine. It is traditional to drink 'mulled wine' at this time of year, but I don't like it. There are lots of Christmas Markets in and around Berlin now. They offer a range of traditional food and drinks - the main one being mulled wine! You can also buy Christmas presents, decorations and toys.

On Tuesday I went to another party but this started at 12 noon. Even so, tasty snacks, chocolates and glasses of sekt! Here you can see that Gang in the photo top left. A very nice atmosphere with lots of smiles and laughs plus talking about Christmas plans. Mainly family visits and cooking traditional dishes.

I then went to another part of the district to join my SPD Oldies at a party. Here you can see a photo top right. It started at 3.00 pm with 'Kaffee und Kuchen' and lots of talking. There were also speeches and guests. It ended with snacks and glasses of wine or beer.

On Wednesday I met Kerstin's Keep-Fit Gang in the Fitness-Centre. It started at 12 noon and as usual they had prepared a wide range of hot and cold dishes. There was also a range of bottles of sekt! They talked about many things, but mainly about changes in Christmas celebrations since the fall of the Berlin Wall. They also talked about travel plans, family visits and the food they will eat over the festive season. Here you can see them in the photo bottom left.

 I left them to arrive at 'Museum Knoblauchhaus' at 4.00 pm. The building is in 'Nikolaiviertel', which is the oldest part of Berlin, and near to the Town Hall. I met a group who support the museum in the district where I live. We were taken on a guided tour of the Knoblauchhaus Museum. It carries the name of a family who lived there for over 170 years and carried out many changes of architectural interest. It is worth a visit the next time you come to Berlin.

Now to get ready for another party which starts later. Enjoy the parties you are going to, or hosting!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Imre Visit

As I told you in my last post, Imre rang the doorbell just before. He had cycled here so needed a few minutes to 'catch his breath'. He also told me about his Christmas and travel plans, plus problems with the gas heating system in his flat. The latter has been a problem for nearly two months now!

We put on warm clothes and set out for a restaurant. We went to the 'Böhmischer Garten' to discover it had been booked for a private party so we had to find another one. Imre was disappointed for he has heard about this restaurant but never eaten there. Another time for sure!

We went to another one to find it was closed. We went around the corner to the main road to find my favourite Italian restaurant open and happy to serve us. Nice meal and service as usual plus lots of talking from Imre. He had his 'tablet' with him so, between munching his food, he showed me photos etc of Manilla.

He also showed me a beginner book about how to learn the language spoken there. I am impressed that he should take such trouble. More chewing and talking then it was time to pay the bill. We did some shopping, including cakes and ate them at home later with fresh coffee. Nice! It is always interesting to see him. Have a Merry Christmas in Manilla, Imre!

Second Party

I went to my second Christmas Party on Wednesday evening. It was hosted by my local SPD and held at a bar-restaurant only two streets from where I live. Over 30 members turned out for the event and it was really nice to see so many smiles and laughs.

There was a tasty range of dishes set out as a buffet. My favourite was the tomato soup. Very tasty! Others went for a full plate direct from the kitchen, as you can see in one photo. We also had members of the 'young' section of the party. Pleased to be able to say that membership in this section is growing. We need more.

Unfortunately I had invitations to other meetings and events on that evening and at the same time. In the period before Christmas this happens to many people as meetings are squeezed into the first part of the month. Next morning I went to my local AWO for a late and lazy breakfast. This AWO plans to organise more meetings and events in the New Year. I shall certainly support that.

In a short time, Imre will be ringing my doorbell. He is flying to Manilla next Tuesday so he called to arrange a pre-Christmas meeting. He wants to go to a local 'Bömische' restaurant. I think he will like it. I wonder how the other guests will deal with his booming voice and loud laughter. Let's see:-)

As you know each post I write has a section for comments. In my last post it was hi-jacked by someone using a woman's name who wrote lots of things about medicines and links to other web-pages. This is not the first time this has happened but it was the worst.

 I decided to remove the use of 'Comment'. You can still go there and write something but it will not be uploaded to the blog. Sorry about this but I consider your internet safety to be more important. What a pity that selfish people who do such things do not think of other people!

Sunday, December 09, 2018

A Walk

Yesterday morning I went on a walk. I can hear some of you saying, "Na, und -what's special about that?" I went to the next area of the district where I live. It is called Friedrichsfelde. There are six such areas making up the district called Lichtenberg. My area is in the south.

The local SPD had prepared a walk through the area to show the interested public what new buildings were under construction and what was planned. My district is run by a political party called die Linke. It is the successor of the old DDR ruling party. The SPD is the second party in the local parliament and the deputy Mayor is called Birgit M. who is also the leader of the local SPD. She had organised the walk.

There is a growing demand for affordable flats all over Berlin now. The investment companies stepped in some time ago and rents increased. Many people could not pay so left - are are sill leaving -  the central districts for areas like mine. Local governments are under growing pressure to build more blocks of flats, local schools and local facilities. That was the background to the walk yesterday.

I was surprised at how many local people turned up and took part in the walk and discussions. I also noted that many of them were 'Oldies'! I had been asked by my local party head if I would attend and take photos. I agreed and took 14 photos which I have now forwarded for local distribution.

Here are a few for you to see something of local politics in Berlin which does not appear in your national or international news radio - TV programmes!

Friday, December 07, 2018

First Party

I went to my first Christmas Party last Wednesday afternoon. It was at the AWO building where I sometimes help people with English problems. The AWO Management invited active members and group leaders to a mixture of 'Thank You' and 'Christmas Party'. Of course the dancing group were present as they showed off their skills. See the photos.

The food on offer was really good ranging from dishes from various countries to traditional German cakes with the afternoon coffee! Actually, there was fruit juice, water, wine, beer and sekt on offer. I met some old friends and really enjoyed the afternoon.

On Wednesday evening I was on-line to participate in a Labour International meeting. The main topic was Brexit news and changes. A lot of worries about where it is going and impact. On Thursday I went to the building where I have my Photoshop meetings. It was to have lunch together and enjoy goose breast with spinach, red cabbage and potato. Very tasty and some nice discussions as we chewed our way through the meal.

I got a call from Holger in Bremen yesterday. He and Gabi had packed a box full of clothes-shoes for the daughter of The Family. It arrived this afternoon. Very generous of them. I contacted Papa to let him know and call me to arrange a pick up time. The daughter loves opening such a box and seeing the contents. Looking forward to seeing her happy smiles:-))  Busy weekend coming up including a concert at the Philharmonie on Sunday evening. More of that later. Have a nice weekend!

Monday, December 03, 2018

A Solution

The Bros came to visit yesterday afternoon. I asked them what their parents and sister would be doing while they were with me. They smiled and said, "Just relaxing or sleeping"! They immediately went into the bedroom to see the changes. I told them I wanted to make part of it into a work area and needed their help.

They carried the table into the room and then we went into the cellar where another part was. They put the pieces together and then moved the iMac onto the table. The problem was the long internet cable, but they taped that to walls and furniture to make sure no-one would fall over it. They then added the MacBook to the table and connected that.

They noted there was only one stool under the table. They found the solution immediately as you can see in the photo. Yes, Bro2 climbed onto the shoulders of Bro1, who sat on the stool, and off they went. I told them that when the family found a flat they would get the computers. Meanwhile, they will use this area and machines when they visit and need to go onto the internet. They smiled!

Then I heard the words. "Opa, I'm hungry": No surprise there. I prepared some food including pizzas and they settled down to a James Bond film. Sometimes I had to explain dialogue but they could follow most of the story by the action. Sad to see them leave, but I still smile when I think of their solution!

Sunday, December 02, 2018

December 2018 Things

My December started well yesterday. The high point was going to a concert at the Philharmonie with Johanna for an evening of Russian music given by the Sinfonie Orchester Berlin. The concert hall is well known for its acoustic and we sat just behind the brass and drum sections so that added a special tone. The concert was sold out and most of the audience were 'Oldies' :-))

The programme was as follows. Perhaps you know the music, if not treat yourself to a good listen!
We started with Borodin's Polowetzer Dances from his opera Prince Igor. This was followed by Tschaikowsky's Piano Concerto No.1 b-Moll op.23. You really have to see this played. Our player was a lady called Yukako Morikawa who played brilliantly. The whole of her body and mind moved through her fingers. Amazing interpretation. After the break we ended with Mussorgsky's Pictures from/at an Exhibition with orchestration by Ravel.

I went to bed late with the sounds still echoing in my head and woke late this morning. I have done my homework, ironed my clothes and prepared a few things for later in the week. In a few hours 'The Bros' will be arriving for an evening of DVDs and pizza! Looking at my calendar for December I note many of the usual things plus Christmas parties, meals, meetings. I am sure your diary looks the same for its that time of year.

Oh, look! A piglet has just escaped from a pan. Hurrah - at least it will not be roasted. Have a look at the vegetable counter the next time you go shopping. A lot of alternatives to Little Piggy!

Who has a birthday in December? Michael N. in Marzahn starts us off with his 54th on the 5th, Stefan Block, who leads our Photoshop Gang, will be all of 58 on the 7th, Julie Bolton will be 44 on the 20th and celebrate with family not too far from Silsden :-)) Jonas in Bremen hits 22 on the 22nd = a nice combination of figures. Back in Berlin, Bro2 will be 18 on the 24th = what a Christmas present that must have been! Neil Dickinson near Brighton will be 72 on the 28th and shares the day with Stefan 'Schoni' near Dresden who will be 35 on that day. As usual a very special friend called Ian Maxwell will share his 59th with Birgit at home in Sydney in Oz. Thanks Ian for your generosity towards the family.  Have a wonderful day no matter where you are and no matter how old:-)

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Headboard means," an upright board at the top end of a bed" and is a single countable noun. Screwdriver is also a single countable noun. It is not 2 words. See comment on my last post and the Oxford or Macmillan Dictionary if you wish.

I started with a cold yesterday and it got worse as I crawled into bed last night. I woke three times due to coughing and the need to clear my throat and nose. I finally managed to hit the land of nod and woke at 7.30 as my alarm went off. I got ready and waited for the delivery of the new bed.

At 9.30 the bell rang and a workman began to bring in parts of the single bed. He worked very efficiently and I noted he had clearly done all this before! He then opened the box containing the headboard and said, "Oh, no"! He pulled it out and I could then see it was broken!

He completed building the bed and rang his company. They said they would send a new one in 10 days. I think I can sleep in the bed without its headboard for that time. Sleep well tonight. Now where did I put my tissues and nose spray? Cough, cough!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bed Time

I spent most of the morning with a bed = das Bett. The day began with a visit to my dentist's, the local bakery and some shopping. Back home I vacuumed, then put my equipment box into the bedroom. I am taking delivery of a new bed tomorrow morning so had to dismantle the old one.

The old bed is a double and was given to me a few years ago when a friend moved to Prague. I decided I wanted to reduce the dominance of a double bed in my room. The new one is a single. I removed a mattress and a support board to get to the basic structure. To begin with I had to unscrew 8 screws which was not easy. Rusted to the metal. With my big screwdriver and other equipment I finally removed them.

Next was to remove the headboard from the rest of the wooden structure. Not an easy task but with a bit of pushing and muscle I succeeded. Here you can see all parts of the old bed resting on the walls. Next I made up a bed for tonight. It is a wooden support with a mattress on top.  Here you can see where I shall later be resting my head as I enter the land of nod. Sleep well :-))

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Yesterday was a really special day for me. I told you in my last post that I was expecting visitors. They were Jeff and his wife Ike. I met Jeff many years ago when he registered at Sussex Uni for his doctorate He comes from California, fell in love with a lady from The Netherlands and went to live in Amersfort. He re-married a few years ago and it was my first meeting with Ike. Speaks perfect English in addition to German and Dutch.

They arrived after breakfast and we soon started to catch up on news over coffee, tea and biscuits. They told me they had seen all the standard tourist sites in the centre of the city on Friday so were happy to go to other places. Off we went to the German-Russia Museum. I have posted about this before and regret that not many tourists know about it or visit the building. It was completed in 1937 as an Officers Mess in a complex designed for training officers for the then German military.

The complex was not destroyed by bombing so the Soviet military took it over. On the evening of the 8th May 1945, a number of senior military officers met in the large hall to sign a document for the unconditional surrender of German military forces, and so ended WWII. Jeff and Ike were very impressed with the museum presentation and said they were very glad to have seen it. Here you can see them in the hall where the signing took place.

We had a late lunch with more catching up on news and then to the S-Bahn for the short ride to Friedrichshagen in the east. We walked down Böttcherstrasse, which is full of interesting small shops, and reached Muggelsee, which is the largest lake in Berlin. By then it was dark, but they were happy to have taken the trip there, and said they would like to see it in summer. We then found a place to sip a glass of red wine/beer before taking the return trip.

They are now on the way to Tegel Airport for the flight back to Amsterdam. Looking forward to Spring and showing them more of Berlin. Hope you had a happy day and re now relaxing. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

More Wise Words

This afternoon I saw Stefan and my Photoshop Gang. It was to say goodbye to two members who are are longer able to travel there. One of them can now hardly walk. We had a happy time talking about all the things we had done. The couple promised to visit for special events and exhibitions so we shall see them again even if not regularly.

Jeff and his wife arrived from Amsterdam this afternoon. We shall be spending tomorrow looking at some of the sights Berlin has to offer. They are coming to my place after breakfast and I shall take them to the German-Russian Museum which is only 10 minutes walk away. Then off to other parts of Berlin, including the things all tourists see in the centre of the city.

I got some nice calls about my last post so here are a few more to make you smile and think! Here goes: In just two days, tomorrow will be yesterday / I plan on living forever. So far, so good / A day without sunshine is like night / If marriage were outlawed, only outlaws would have in-laws / It is frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions / The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment (Now that is a difficult one to think about!) / Age doesn't always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone / Life not only begins at forty, it also begins to show / You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stopped laughing. Have a nice weekend!  

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wise Words

I have just posted the latest spoken rubbish so will now share some Wise Words. They will certainly make you smile. Some more than others. Many are funny because of the word play and change of meaning even with the same word. Now settle down, get something into a glass and smile!

Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand / Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician / Remember, amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic / Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good / Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand / Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there / Politicians and diapers (Windeln) have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason / An optimist thinks that this is the best possible world. A pessimist fears that this is true. There will always be death and taxes; however, death doesn't get worse every year.

Even more rubbish

All going well so far this week. We are now wearing winter clothes, boots and hats/caps as we adjust to low temperatures after a long summer of high temperatures. I need some new boots but I have enough winter coats and jackets. I'm listening to the news on my radio and it is all about the latest events in Brexit. It dominates the UK news at the moment.

I also recorded more spoken rubbish as I moved into warm clothes. Here are the latest sayings via BBC Radio 4. I am still surprised that a lot of the rubbish is spoken by politicians and business people. Settle down and try to understand what someone was trying to say.

A window of time / a sealed situation / impact on their matrimonial status / even horizon / That is a concerned piece of information to hear / we have rectified the conditions / within the football family / democracy is not fit for purpose / we have outsourced legal thinking / for too long fashion has marked its own homework / we need to heal this country / it might have been he.

That's enough rubbish for the moment. Relax and smile.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Settling In

We are settling into Autumn here in Berlin. See the photo of the big tree in my back garden. Most leaves have fallen and you can see they have covered the picnic place and ground. Still not enough rain but temperatures now just above freezing. Nice to get information from friends in Australia and see photos of them emerging into summer.

Last week was full of the usual plus I went shopping in Alexander Platz with Johanna. Very nice time and I bought a new pair of glasses and a single bed. I have decided to make some changes to my bedroom and create more space. I have to wait for the glasses to be made and for the bed warehouse to organise delivery. I told you in an earlier post that I had an accident and broke the glass in my glasses.

I have been learning about "Saurer Regen". It means acid rain. I can hear you asking, 'Why?' The answer is, 'Bro2'. I got a call asking for help with his chemistry homework. He has another week to complete the task. I cheated by going onto Wikepedia and reading about the subject. Bro2 sat in the kitchen with my laptop and started the task of writing. He has to prepare an essay, do a Mindmap, list the sources and include details of the damage it does to the environment. He plans to return on Thursday after school to complete the task and print it out for the teacher. The things I learn from the Boyz!

Big Bro visited yesterday as well. His parents have bought some weights for the boys to build more muscle and help them with sport. Here is a photo of him pumping up the muscles in his arms and chest. Now to get ready for the rest of the day. Looking forward to meeting an old friend and his wife next weekend. More about that later.

UPDATE: Don't forget to watch football on TV this evening. The German team is playing against The Netherlands. Poor Jan won't know which one to cheer for :-))

Sunday, November 11, 2018


Last week was a good one with all the usual routines and surprisingly good weather for the time of year. Hope you had a good week. This weekend is dominated by a number of words such as remember, remembrance day, memory, memories, remembering. It is interesting that so many historical things happened in early November.

Normally I do not post about national or international events for you get these on your local TV or radio stations, depending on where you live. I make an exception now. Three things happened that changed the world in the last hundred years and many people are now actively remembering them in different countries and continents. An estimated 18 million people died in that war including 700,000 British soldiers.

Let's begin with today the 11th November. On that day in 1918 - exactly one hundred years ago - an Armistice was signed in the north of France that ended WW-1. I am sure you have seen reports in your local media. German TV and radio are full of reports both historical and actual. For example: lots of shots of the German Prime Minister with the French President at the Armistice site and then later with many EU-World leaders.

As I write they are attending a commemoration ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This morning at 11.00 am, there was the usual ceremony in London with guests including the German President. In the evening of the 9th - 19th November 1938 was the 'Kristallnacht' when 1,500 Synagogues and religious building were set on fire by the Nazi Government. 30,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps and so was the start of the mass murder of Jews in Europe. I have been to Auschwitz and shall never forget that visit. I go cold just thinking about it!

Moving to 9th November 1989, we remember the opening of the Berlin Wall. This led to German Reunification which formally took place on 3rd October 1990. This is now a national holiday. Three historical important things that happened between the 9th and 11th of November. What a weekend!

I wondered how to add photos to this post and decided to return to local images. The scaffolding was finally removed last Friday and so I bought some plants to put onto my balcony and make the view from my kitchen window nicer. I have prepared everything for next week so I can now relax with my book and doze off on the sofa. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

UPDATE: Today is also the Centenary of Polish National Independence Day. BBC Radio 3 dedicated the programme 'Through the Night' to Polish composers and music. Very nice. I have always enjoyed my visits/tours/holidays in Poland. I am happy to say that I am a fan of Poland and its people!

Sunday, November 04, 2018

More Rubbish

I'm not sleeping very well at the moment. I wonder if it has anything to do with the change to winter time and if anyone else has the same problem. Moving to something nicer, how about this. I saw it in a newspaper as a poster on a wall. "A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear". It made me smile when I read it. I'm not sure if the following will make you smile!

Here is some more spoken rubbish and collected from  BBC Radio 4 news interviews. I think I should title this: 'How NOT to learn/speak English!'  / the square is not a circle / I want to inquire of you / we have leverage to press ahead / people who is /you can't actualise your values / he is duke-ing it out / I'm completely, absolutely on board / to set a spending envelope / they fly to Africa to overwinter / the removal of agency / a huge big bucket of people / that these terrible things are not happening on our watches / positive and negative benefits for the organisation / it is less good / they have no-one to unpick their issues with. 

I think that's enough for today. Now read them again and note why I call it spoken rubbish. I'm off for lunch now, then a doze and get my papers in order for next week!

Thursday, November 01, 2018

November 2018 Things

November started here with some sunshine, blue sky with clouds and 14°C. Not a bad start but I notice people have switched into Autumn or Winter clothes. I wore a scarf last week for the first time since last Winter.

I had a good October some of which I shared with you via posts on this blog. A few things worried me and that was mainly to do with bad weather. For example: Worrying about Shirley and family in Florida under threat from Hurricane Michael. Fortunately they are all well and did not suffer the full force of the hurricane.

Looking  at my diary for November I see all the usual weekly appointments and meetings. I have another 2 meetings for treatment to my back/upper spine and a dental check up. My Photoshop meetings start tomorrow after a very long break. I wonder how much I have forgotten? Analogue connections for radio/TV will end in a couple of weeks. I am going to a meeting this evening to learn more about it, although I have a digital connection.

Who has a birthday in November? Daniel starts the month with his 22nd tomorrow. He is busy with university registration and funding at the moment but I am sure he will find time to celebrate. Jeff in Amsterdam will be 63 on the 19th. We met many years ago at uni. Sarah in London will be 58 on the 22nd. My old flatmate Stephen S. will be all of 61 on the 29th. I'm sure he'll call me the next time he is in Berlin so we can meet and enjoy a glass or two! Have a great day no matter where you are :-))

There are a few more things of note this month. On Saturday 3rd it will be the first anniversary of Hermann's funeral. I still miss not going to his place each Sunday for lunch and a slow walk. On the 9th, Alan and Lynne will take a plane to return to the UK after seeing family in NZ and Ozland. Have a safe journey. On Saturday 24th I'm meeting Jeff and his wife to show them a few local sights and enjoy lunch together. Looking forward to that! 

Friday, October 26, 2018

A Book

I bought a book today, after my movement and stretching course led by Kerstin. Last Wednesday afternoon I attended a meeting of the local museum support group. An ex-mayor was also present and recommended we all read a new book about the history of Karlshorst. He was a history teacher and has written a book about the SPD in Karlshorst. I decided to follow his advice.

Here you can see the title page. I would translate the words as, 'Noble Suburb and Site of History'. In the top right you can see the entrance to a large building. This was to host a very important event and one which put Karlshorst into world history.

Karlshorst translates as 'Karl's Nest' and is in the south of the borough of Lichtenberg in the east of Berlin. It was founded in 1895 as 'Carlshorst'. It was planned to be the garden town of Lichtenberg for only 500 families. It now has a population of 22 thousand! In 1901, a station was completed for the S-Bahn and trains from Berlin to Breslau (now Wroclaw in the west of Poland). It then developed as an affluent residential area.

In the mid-1930s, a large complex was built to train officers for the Wehrmacht. In the south of the complex an Officer's Mess was built with sleeping and dining facilities. Marshal Georgy Zhukov established his HQ there in April 1945. In the evening of 8th May 1945, senior military officers from different countries met there, including three representing the German military. They signed a document containing the unconditional surrender of German forces, which officially ended WWII in Europe. Here you can see the hall where the signing took place.

From 1945 to 1949, the buildings served as the HQ of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany. Russian soldiers left Karlshorst in 1994. It is now the home of the German-Russian Museum. Entrance is free! Pay a visit the next time you are in Berlin. It is worth it.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Birthday Boy

So, who had a birthday nearly two weeks ago? Okay, I'll make it easier for you. It was a 'he' and he was all of 16 on that day. I think some of you have got it right. It was Bro2 from my Family. He called earlier and wanted to visit just after his birthday. We agreed a day/time then he had something at school so we agreed another day and time - and then another one!

We finally met two days ago. He arrived with Bro1. Really nice to see them again after nearly 4 weeks. After our greetings, I gave Birthday Boy a card with a present inside. He was both surprised and very happy. I think you can see this in the photo. You may also notice that his moustache is clear to see.

Bro1 now has a full beard. Very nice and it suits him. Bro2 complained that he couldn't grow a beard but proudly showed me 4 hairs growing under his lower lip. I  told him to leave them alone and be patient. The beard just needs a bit more time. He smiled at hearing the words he wanted to hear :-)

I put food onto the table in front of the TV and they settled down to an evening of eating and watching a James Bond film on DVD. I noticed they chewed more and harder in the chase and fighting scenes! And so the evening went by and it was time for them to leave. A really pleasant time with lots of smiles, laughs and jokes. Looking forward to their next visit. I wonder what Bro2 will buy with the present I gave him?