Wednesday, June 27, 2018

In Town

Ian is in town. He flew in from Sydney last Sunday via a stopover in Singapur. He is staying with friends in the centre-west of the city. Later he is going with them to Italy for a holiday. Birgit will join them later with friends from a number of countries. They are an international pair!

Ian called me and we agreed to meet yesterday at the International Clock in Alexander Platz. Most visitors use it as a meeting place. We walked around the corner to a nice restaurant-canteen. There I had lunch and caught up on Ian's news. He borrowed my spare mobile phone so he could call all the friends he has in Berlin to arrange meetings with them. We agreed to meet on Friday at 12.30 at a station near to where he is staying.

In a couple of hours I am meeting Johanna and we are going to an AWO Summer Party. I expect lots of food and snacks plus the dance group will give a performance. I shall then have to sneak off quietly so I can watch the 2nd half of the German-vs-South Korea football match! UPDATE: Germany lost 0:2. They are now out of the World Football Championship. Sad to see them go but I am not surprised given how they have played.

Tomorrow morning I am meeting Stefan so he can try to repair my printer. After that a visit to the hairdresser, then to a SPD local meeting and in the evening I shall watch the England-vs-Belgium match. Friday evening I shall be in the Philharmonie with my Kowalke Gang. Wonder what will happen this weekend? Enjoy yours!

Party Time

On Monday I went to the AWO as normal to meet my Monday Gang. They were in a very cheerful mood for it was our last meeting. There will be a long summer break and we meet again at the beginning of September.

 They immediately began to decorate the tables and added plates of food and bottles of sekt = sparkling wine. This created a very relaxed and happy atmosphere as you can see from the photo on the left.

Next day I met my Tuesday Gang at the AWO. They had the same idea and brought snacks, chocolates  and bottles of sekt. Lots of talking and laughter as we exchanged information about summer holiday plans.

They are all going to other countries and in fact three were missing for they are already visiting family and friends who do not live in Germany.

Thanks for a memorable time to all and I look forward to hearing about what happened in the
 summer holidays in September. They have to practice using the simple past tense in English to do that! A good way to practice.


I told you in an earlier post that I lost my signet ring while visiting Skipton last August. I was with Fran and Geoff in the family Ford. I was sitting in the back seat. I  then noticed the ring was missing. I looked on the floor and seats around me. Nothing - so we retraced our steps. I even recorded the loss with the local police. I was very disturbed at the loss for it had links to my mother and her mother.

And so time went by and Geoff was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. He died a couple of weeks ago and I reported that on my blog. Fran and family decided to return the Ford to the rental firm and sent it to a 'valet' car service company to be cleaned up. When they picked up the Ford they found a ring in a cup holder next to the driving wheel. Someone in the valet service had found it and placed it in the cup holder. Nice to know there are still some honest people around!

Fran rang me immediately. I was overjoyed and couldn't wait for Mr Postie to arrive with it. That happened last Monday as I was about to leave the house. That evening I opened the packet and saw the ex-lost ring. It looked exactly like it did on the day I lost it. It even smiled at me :-))

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Kloster Chorin

I went to Kloster Chorin with Johanna yesterday afternoon. My Silsdeners are probably asking what and where is it. Open map of Berlin. Find a railway station in the east called Lichtenberg. Jump onto the RE3 train heading north and enjoy the countryside. Go through Eberswalde and two stops later get out at Bahnhof Chorin. You can take a shuttle bus all of 5 minutes to the Kloster - Cloister or walk 1.8 km through the woods until you arrive there.

We went there to enjoy listening to Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.2. It is known as the 'Resurrection' symphony in all of 5 movements. It was played by the Brandenburg Staatsorchestra Frankfurt plus choir and lead singers. The acoustic in the Kloster is remarkable. You can read all about the history of the Kloster in a number of buildings with information in German and English!

It took Mahler from 1887 to 1894 to complete the symphony but then he was busy as a conductor and completing symphony No.1 plus writing symphonies 3 and 4. Busy and productive time! You will find shared themes and musical expressions in symphonies 2,3 and 4. I think that his symphonies 2 and 5 are probably best known and played more often in concert halls and on the radio. My favourite is still No.6!

Johanna and I walked back to the station. Some exercise after sitting so long. We found seats on the train and talked about the afternoon and music. I got home just before the start of the Germany-vs-Sweden football match. The whole country stopped moving to watch and see if the team would be out or move to the next level. After a good start they went to sleep then woke up again at the end to score 2.1. They have made it through to the next round.

And now I am going to get ready to watch the England-vs-Panama match. It starts in 45 minutes. Just enough time to grab something to eat and pour into a glass :-)UPDATE: England won 6:1. Amazing!

Friday, June 22, 2018


Well done, Daniel! We met this afternoon and as we settled down for green tea and strawberry cake he told me about his examination results. He took the Abitur exam which is the equivalent of 'A' Levels in the UK. His overall result was 2. He got 1 in mathematics and physics and a 2 in English. Remember that English is his 5th language. Congratulations Daniel!

He arrived with two bottles of sekt. One for the printer I got for him and the other to say thanks for helping him to get a 2 in English. All I did was guide and support him. He did all the hard work. He really works hard at all his subjects. He also got a prize for a Russian language test he recently took.

He wants a book he found in my storage box. It is Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche. It is an English translation and is his autobiography. It is pocket edition number 386 of five thousand copies printed in 1927. Must be worth a lot by now!

I got it when I went to university and shall read it again. I think I shall give it to Daniel when he returns from holiday. On Monday he is meeting 50 other students and heading for Greece for a nine day holiday. I told him to just relax, enjoy the sun, swim every day and sip something nice to keep cool. He has earned a nice holiday break.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ship Tour

Yesterday I went on a ship tour of the centre of Berlin. I did a similar tour last year about this time and posted a report on my blog. Like last year, it was organised by my local SPD Oldie Gang. I met a local member at 12.00 noon and we set off on the 30 minute walk to Rummelsburg Harbour to meet the rest of the gang and start the tour.

We found them relaxing in the garden next to the harbour. The river Spree flows through Berlin and forms lakes and links to smaller rivers until all flow into the River Havel and then to the north into the North Sea. I found the boat but wondered if it was the right one. See the photo top left. The boat was rather small and old and not in the best condition.

We talked to the tour company and they gave us a larger modern boat. Here is a photo of the top with lots of blue plastic seats. Lots of space for there were only 14 Oldies! We slowly settled into the lower deck with nice tables and seats. The more agile Oldies later moved to the blue plastic chair upper deck.

I spend most of the trip there. The tour lasted just over 4 hours and it was interesting to again see the centre of Berlin from the water. I think I shall post photos in my next posts. Nice to see if you have never been to Berlin.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Yes, I did shout "Oh...No!" as the German Football Team lost 1:0 to Mexico yesterday evening. The game started with speedy attacks on the German defences and continued to the end.

Some German forwards did take a lot of shots at the Mexican goal but with no success. The commentator made critical comments even during the first half.

There was a stunned silence everywhere as the game ended. This evening it is the English Team's turn. They play Tunisia at 8.00 pm local time. I hear they have a new younger team so it could be an interesting game to watch.

Meanwhile, I am putting together a reserve team.Yes I know they are penguins but as you can see they are forming a team and looking at their feet :-))    The Amadeus film was great. If you have not seen it try to find a DVD and enjoy what must now be a film classic.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

WM Füßball

SORRY --- I have lost the original post. Having problems with blogger to update. Not the first time but it does not happen so often

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Warning Signs

I got this postcard a couple of days ago. The message on the back contained news of another death in my circle of friends. I found myself returning to the words on the front of the postcard and thinking if they were appropriate to describe fascism.

They were written by Laurance W. Britt, who I think is American. The list is based on research of seven fascist regimes including Hitler's Nazi German and Mussolini's Italy. He adds that Trump's presidency pushes the USA further toward fascism. Wow --- but is that a statement!!

That started me thinking. Perhaps you could use the categories to analyse any country. I tried it with the UK and arrived at the following.

No.1 Not sure about this but nationalism is on the rise linked to the Brexit decision and it certainly was part of the leave campaign. Same goes with No.7. National security was/is part of the Brexit debate and played an important role in the decision.

No.10 applies and I consider it began with the move to Thatcher Conservatism at the end of 1979. If you read the British newspapers and listen to BBC News  you will agree that No.12 is correct. I think the word obsession is not too strong here.  Must try this list on other countries!

St. P. Again

I recently got a very interesting report from Dr. Inge about her recent time in St. Petersburg. My Silsdeners know it is very nice city in the north-west of Russia. Jump in the water and swim in a westerly direction for a bit and you will arrive in Finland! The city is named after a Russian Czar. Later it was known as Leningrad and now it has gone back to its original name.

I went there with Dr. Peter von LL to an academic conference a few years ago. I immediately fell in love with the city and found the people more than polite and helpful. I also enjoyed its university environment and location. I later helped Dr. Inge to complete some forms in English to enable her to teach again at the university.

Her recent visit was to prepare students for an examination and then to mark the papers. She also made contact with friends she has known for a long time. As a young women she studied at the university, speaks fluent Russian, loves the place and people and any chance to return. I can well understand that.

I look forward to hearing more about her recent visit when we meet for a Garden Party at her home. Date to be announced. Looking forward to that too. Now enjoy a few photos she sent me.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bros Visit

On Friday I got a call from Bro1. He wanted to visit yesterday. I agreed and he arrived with Bro2 in the afternoon as agreed. They looked well and healthy. We set off for my local supermarket to buy the food, snacks and drinks they needed to get them through the afternoon and watching a DVD.

They chose pizzas to begin with and as they ate we caught up on family news and events at school. We also talked about Ramadan and religion. They were able to make a difference between religion and social/community practice and pressures which had no foundation in religious belief. A very interesting discussion as they munched away.

They then reclined on the sofa and started a film called Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe  and directed by Ridley Scott. You probably saw it in the cinema as I did when it came out. They really liked it but we had to stop the DVD at various points so I could answer their questions such as what a crusade was, where is Nottingham and Sherwood Forest. We agreed to look for information in the internet when they next visit.

As they watched they slipped into 'cushion hugging' as usual and munching crisps and other snacks. They washed it all down with fruit juice and water. More discussion after the film ended then Papa called to ask when they were coming home. They left happy and smiling plus with 3 bags of clothes for mother and sister. Sure it made them happy as well :-))

Down Under

I recently got an e-mail from 'Down Under'. It was from Colin who lives in a nice town west of Sydney in Australia. The latter is sometimes called 'Oz' or even 'Ozland'. He recently bought a 'Wagon' as he calls it. It is a Mercedes van and he is busy making improvements so he can sleep in it, cook and store clothes. He uses it to go on loooooong tours! A bit like a luxury caravan.

I got greetings on the 1st June. He said it was the first day of winter. He added they had had the warmest and driest autumn on record. Wow, but that really says something about climate change. The north of Germany has been enjoying wonderful hot sunny days while many parts of the south have had rain, storms, flooding and even hail stones and snow in some places!

Last month Colin was in central Queensland. If you look at a map of Australia, you will see that it is a very large state north of New South Wales and it covers a large area from Brisbane to the northern most area called Cape York. It's big! Colin met friends and explored the state. He sent photos including two taken from 'his glider'. I know he has a nice boat but not that he had a glider. Nice!

He will soon set off again to explore the north of Queensland including the Gulf of Carpentaria starting at the town of Normanton on the coast. Have a great time Colin and tell us about it when you visit Berlin in mid-July. 

Monday, June 04, 2018

Grauer Star

Grauer Star is German for Katarakt or is it cataract in English? Last August I was in Silsden and had my eyes checked as usual. The optician said I needed stronger lenses, which I got, and that I was starting with cataract/s but it was not urgent.

I booked an appointment with a specialist eye doctor last January. The first available meeting with the doctor was this morning at 10.00 am! I believe it is just as bad in Brexitland. I had never had such checks before and found it very interesting. The bottom line is that I am starting with cataracts but I do not need an operation ----- yet! In September I have to book for another check-up next May. Sounds crazy but its true.

I then went to my family doctor to give him a report from a specialist doctor for Neurologie - neurology in English, who recently gave me an examination He was happy with the report for it showed no problems needing medical attention. The final sentence says, 'there is a possibility of Rhizarthrose' I have just checked this word and it means disease of the thumb/wrist or joint of the thumb and it is a common hand disorder.

 I think I already have it but it is not so bad. It could all be worse. Keep smiling and keep healthy :-))

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Nice Wine

Yesterday we had changes in the weather but I still kept to my appointments. The day started with cleaning my flat and shopping, then off to Mahlsdorf via the S-Bahn. It is a green suburb in the east of Berlin with some very nice houses and gardens.

I arrived at Eleonora's home on time. It was nice to see her again and we spent a lot of time looking at a video of Jan-Arancha's wedding and one of Emma starting to walk and talk. Wonderful images! Of course, we talked a lot about her visits to see the family in Spain and The Netherlands.

As I prepared to leave, she gave me some presents from Jan plus two large bottles of wine from her family vineyards in the north of Hungary. Happy memories of filling up bottles from the barrels many years ago. And so I set off for my next meeting.

That was a 10 minute walk away to reach Mathias and Sylvana's house. Mathias was celebrating his birthday with family and friends via some very nice food and drinks. Lots of interesting discussions and as the evening advanced I said my goodbyes and headed for the S-Bahn and the way back home. A nice day!

Friday, June 01, 2018

June 2018 Things

The month started with bad news. I got a call at midday today from Silsden. It was from little sister Frances. She told me that Geoff, her husband, had died yesterday at 3.00 pm in a hospice. He was diagnosed with a severe cancer only five weeks ago. The Docs said an operation was not possible and it was only a question of time before his life came to an end.

He was moved to a hospice and injections helped him to bear the pain. At the end of his life his sons and family were with him. Even sister Pauline drove up from Cambridge to be there and support our sister. It was nice to talk to each of them and pleased that they were together and doing different things to support Frances and each other.

I took this photo this morning on the way to my Oldie Keep Fit Gang. I think we could also say it shows the road of life. It's for Geoff who enjoyed all the twists and turns on his road and always with a laugh and smile. Thanks Geoff. He and Fran loved dogs and they always had a pair running around the house. Here is a photo of a dog I am sure they would have adopted. Woof, woof  :-)

And so ended a very mixed May 2018. Lots of good, and not so good, things but the weather played a role as we moved into hot summer days and the city and people took on a new appearance. One disadvantage of  having 30°+C is that people wear light summer clothes and you can see some really horrible and tasteless tattoos. Yuk!

Having a quick look at my diary I note the usual things for June except that on Monday I have my first appointment with a specialist eye doctor. I have been diagnosed with cataracts. I may later have to have an operation but lets see what the doctor has to say. On the 21st June I have my first meeting with an Orthopädic doctor. All new for me. It's all about not being 25 years old anymore!

Who has a birthday in June? Nicholas B. starts the month with a birthday on the 3rd. I'm sure he will have a grill party and a beer or two with Julie and family. They live not far away from Silsden! His daughter will be 21 on the 1st of July but that is for next months report! And that is it for birthdays. Happy Birthday Nicholas!

There are a number of interesting memorial days this month. On the 6th, my iMac will be all of 11 years old. On the 11th we shall be remembering Jürgen who died last year - in Jüterbog. On Thursday 14th I may see more of The Family for it is the end of Ramadam and so they can come to my place and drink fruit juice and munch crisps as per usual! On the 19th I shall be thinking about my father for he would have been 106 and my mother only 100 on that day! On the 25th, Oldie Hermann would have been 81. More memories than birthdays in June!