Thursday, January 31, 2019

February 2019 Things

My week started well. On Monday I met Barbara for another German session. She corrects my text and then we do dictation. I like that and learning more about writing German. I then dashed to meet my Kowalke Gang. There were five of us to enjoy a tasty, long and lazy lunch. Lots of talking and a glass or two of something nice to help digest the food.

On Tuesday I closed down completely. No appointments, no meetings and even no telephone calls. Two days just for me. I cooked, read, did homework, dozed off after lunch, watched TV during the day, which is something I usually never do. I must do this more often! Today I visited the AWO for a chat and lots of tea with biscuits. Tomorrow I shall go to Kerstin's Keep-Fit-For-Oldies session, then into town to meet Stefan and my Photoshop Gang.

Who has a birthday in February? My oldest and best friend Alan starts the month with his 76th birthday on the 3rd. I'm sure he will celebrate with Lynne in 'Cas' with lots of friends. He shares the day with Imre who will be 64. He told me it would be a low key celebration. Back in Berlin, Jens W. will be 49 on the 4th and sure to celebrate at the family house near Muggelsee. Dr. Inge P. will be 71 on the 18th and may celebrate with her husband in St. Petersburg. Eleonora hits 60 on the 22nd. Moving to London we find Adrian B. celebrating his 59th with Tanya on the 25th. Over in Australia, Peter B. will be relaxing in the sun as he celebrates his 39th birthday.  Happy Birthday to each and all. Have a wonderful day mo matter where you are!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Imre Photos

Imre came to visit yesterday. It was great to see him again and listen to his adventures. He spent Christmas and New Year in Manilla with his lady. He brought his 2 'smartphones' and iPad containing over a thousand photos! Yes, you read correctly. I repeat: more than ONE THOUSAND photos! Many of them were snap, snap shots and repeated the same content.

He looked the same as ever and proudly told me he had lost weight. I said, "Good, now lets go to a restaurant for lunch." We went to my local 'Traditional German Menu' restaurant and found it full of families celebrating birthdays. We got the last table for two. Imre ordered 'Eisbein' which in English is described as 'knuckle of pork'. You eat it with potatoes and white cabbage = very traditional. I ordered a fish dish with salad and a glass of cool white wine. Mmmmh...very tasty!

I listened to him talking about his recent adventures, including last weekend when he was in Hungary visiting friends and going to a rock concert - he has a vast collection of rock music. We munched away as he talked and I listened. We returned to my place and started on the massive task of selecting what to see from the over 1 thousand photos. I could see he enjoyed re-living the time with his lady in Manilla. He plans to move there next year when he retires.

Here is a photo of him showing the postcard he sent. It is also in my last post. I like getting postcards and sharing the views on the front and reading the text on the back. Here is one from Hannelore and Peter from their home in a village just north of Nice in the south of France. They just wanted to thank me for my Christmas card and share some news. The postcard has colours in stark contrast to the snow that recently settled over Berlin and turned everything white. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Clock it

The last post ended with Peter saying how the day would end. It ended with lots more chat, more wine for me and another pot of tea for Peter. He had been celebrating at a pop concert in Potsdam in the night before he knocked on my door so was in a rather 'fragile' state = lots of tea and less booze!

On Monday I met Barbara for a German writing and dictation session. She had also written more poems which she gave me to read as homework. No problem there. My sister P. has a talent for writing poetry and is in a poetry group in Cambridge. Unfortunately I do not have that talent.

On Tuesday I went to my AWO to see a short play called Zeit = Time. It was performed by five Oldies from a group supported by the German national trade union association. There was little dialogue but the message was clear = getting older and time. We had Kaffee und Kuchen after and I had the chance to chat to the lady who organizes the group.

Tomorrow I am meeting Diana for our second Spanish session, and I am looking forward to that. I did my homework last weekend so I am now prepared. On Friday I am going to Kerstin's Oldie Gang, then to Stefan's Photoshop Gang and in the evening to the local teacher association monthly meeting in a pub-restaurant in Berlin-Mitte. I shall meet teacher Paul there before he closes down in Berlin and retires to Ireland in a few weeks.

Two photos to close with. One is of a postcard sent by Imre when he was visiting his Lady in Manilla over Christmas. He got back safely and then went to Hungary last weekend to attend a rock concert (yes, at his age!) and meet friends. We had a long telephone chat and he told me about the many islands that make up the Philippines. His postcard shows only two but he said they were worth a holiday visit.

The other image is of an (ex-) clock. I dropped it sometime ago and broke the glass. That meant I could hear the loud ticking. I decided to buy a new one and then wondered what was behind all the plastic covers at the back of the clock. A large screwdriver and hammer soon revealed that there was not a lot apart from the battery holder and connection to the bits showing the time. Keep smiling!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Sir Peter in Karlshorst

Hello readers, hello world, hello brothers and sisters, my name is Sir Peter Earl of LongLegs and I am at John's place in Berlin Karlshorst. 

I am a friend of Jan, we know each other from school, and that is how it came about that I am also a friend of John. 

So after I have introduced myself, you might ask yourself what has happened that John does not write his blog post himself today. 

John invited me to come to Karlshorst and after a quick G&T we went to a nice Italian restaurant close to his flat. After that we bought a wall clock, red as well as white wine in a local supermarket called "Penny".
Back in John's kitchen we had some "Kaffee and Kuchen"and took a look at some pictures John has taken during the day (you can see one of them on the left ;-).

Now, I took over John's computer and write this blog post while he washes the dishes and cleans the kitchen. How this story ends...mmmhh...that is a good question....but I think John will answer it when he returns from the bathroom or at least after a good glas of red wine :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Don't Mention

Don't mention B--x-t!! I watched the debate and vote yesterday evening in a direct relay from the House of Commons. I was attending Berlin Labour Party AGM. One member had a 'Tablet' which allowed us to see/listen.

Members are part of the 1.3 million UK citizens who live in the 27 countries excluding the UK. There was some talk about what they had done to prepare for Brexit. Most had applied for German citizenship. I read that over 100,000 UK citizens had applied for Irish nationality. Wow!

That meeting was in contrast to one I had been to in the afternoon. It was the monthly 'Kaffee und Kuchen' meeting with my SPD Oldies. The deputy mayor attended as a guest and gave a speech. Between sips of coffee, some Oldies talked about the vote. There was general regret about the leave decision and some even said they hoped the UK would stay in the EU.

I recently picked up some new vocabulary. I was sent an interview with an Australian politician who used the word "Mansplaining" to the male politician she was in discussion. It is apparently negative.On the 1st January, I listened to BBC-4 News and an interview with a woman. She used the words "to breadcrumb something". The announcer immediately commented to his listeners that they had just heard a new verb! I sometimes can't believe what I hear.

I got this nice card from Heike. She was on another cruise and landed in Gibraltar where she sent me the card with greetings for the New Year. Thanks Heike! I wonder what will happen given the Brexit situation and demands that Gibraltar be returned to Spain. Watch this space!!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Mug Gang

It's cold, gray and wet in Berlin. The south of the country is experiencing large snowstorms. It is clearly winter. I move around in a thick winter coat and leather boots, but I notice some young people still wear light summer sport shoes. Must be something to do with age!

I had a relatively quiet week which ended with meeting my Muggelsee Gang yesterday evening. I took tram 27 into Köpenick and got out in front of the Town Hall. Köpenick is a district south-east of the one I live in and it has a large lake called Muggelsee. It had a training centre on the north shore 25 years ago and that is where I met this gang.

We meet every few months and do different things, such a bicycle rides, depending on the weather. The January meeting is always in a restaurant and so after meeting them outside the Town Hall we walked around the corner to a Mexican restaurant. Yes, you read correctly! We like to try different things and the restaurant has a good reputation.  Here you can see the gang settling around the table.

I also include a photo of Uli. He is very active in supporting The Gang, by organising outings and events, including going to concerts to see his talented daughters playing in orchestras, and he regularly reads this blog! At the moment he has a hip problem but we all hope he will be fit soon so he can organise more meetings and events. Thanks for all your hard work, Uli !

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Sweet Spain

As I write, Jan and his extended family are on their various ways home after spending a happy Christmas and New Year in the north of Spain. Now here is the Spanish connection. I recently met Johanna and she had been given a selection of sweets made in Spain.

She asked me to give them to the children in The Family. I shall do just that when we next meet. Meanwhile I was curious to understand the words on the packets. Settle down for lesson 1 in Sweet Spain!

The first was easy. Sin gluten means without gluten. Calidad Suprema means highest quality. Turron means nougat and Cacahuete means peanut of groundnut. My favourite word in the package is Blando. This means soft or mushy or flabby. Great word! Con Almendras is with almonds and Azucares Anadidos means with added sugar. Now you can enroll in a Spanish class. Viel Spaß!

I've had a quiet last few days as we all settle into life after the New Year feasts and firework explosions. The weather is okay but in the south there have been heavy snowfalls and rail-road transport problems. I have a relatively restful week waiting for me so I have time to read more and do more grammar work. Have a relaxing week.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

January 2019 Things

I left 2018 with music in my head and entered 2019 with a glass of sekt in my hand as I watched fireworks from my balcony. I met my Kowalke-Gang at a local station and we travelled to the Gethsemanekirche. I had never been to the building before but was impressed by its architecture - and size. It's big.

We settled into our seats to enjoy a concert called 'Timeless' given by the 'Lautten Compagney'.  They are an established company of professional musicians, and have won lots of prizes and appeared in many countries. Between musical sections, an actress called Katharina Thalbach read out texts by Hans-M. Enzensberger providing links to musical themes.

Music was from Tarquinio Merula and Philip Glass. At first glance you will roll your eyes and ask what is timeless about them? Merula (1595-1665) was an Italian composer/organist/violist of the early Baroque era, mainly active in Cremona and stylistically part of the Venetian school. He is considered to be one of the most progressive Italian composers of the early 17th Century, especially by applying newly developed techniques to sacred music.

Philip Glass (b.1937) is an American composer of what is often described as 'minimal music'. Glass says it is, "music with repetitive structures'. He has written lots of music covering all possible styles. Even so, he has his critics. The key problem when listening to his music is 'repetitive'. I usually turn it off when it comes on my radio! And yet the musicians selected and played music from both of them that was timeless. Sometimes you were not sure which century of music you were listening to. Well done all for creating and performing such a programme.

From there we went to Martina's flat for a delicious supper. A nice selection of food and drinks to end the evening and prepare for the new year. We missed Colin and Gerald but you can see from one photo that we raised a glass to toast their very good health for the new year.

Who has a birthday in January 2019? My wonderful Emma starts us off with her 2nd birthday on the 10th.  Hannelore D. near Nice will celebrate her 76th on the 13th with Peter. Harald P. in Berlin will be 54 on the 21st and Dr. Peter Sch. will be 35 on the 24th and celebrate in Potsdam. Paul B. over in New Zealand will be 34 on the 27th and celebrate with his family there. My great-niece Scarlett will be 11 years old on the 29th and celebrate with her family in West Yorkshire. Returning to Berlin we find Frau Fox celebrating her 78th on the 31st of the month.
Happy Birthday no matter where you are :-))