Jun 11 2021
We have now moved from warm to hot here. I even had 32°C on my balcony yesterday. Now it is ‘only’ 30°c! The west and south of Germany have had bad storms while we in the north-east have been basking in sunshine. I’ve delayed booking flights to England at the moment. Lots of problems with new coronavirus strains in the UK, and decision by the German government to have all UK passengers arriving in Germany to spend 10 days in confinement in a hotel and having to pay for that. Perhapy I’ll have more luck in July.
I’ve recently been collecting more ‘modern’ English. It can also be called ‘verbal rubbish’ All came from interviews with people broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Some of them were even ministers! How about these – a window of time/ legs over time/ unwellness/ goodness/ hungriness/ a slip-back/ to downtalk/ to upskill someone/ to do an issue/ to be actioned/ a culture of watchfulness/ ridership. If you are learning English, please do not learn this rubbish! Thanks.
Jun 06 2021
During last week the weather got better and we had temperatures of up to 26°C = nice warm weather. I get sun on my balcony in the mornings so I like to relax there with a book. After that it is shower and into the shops in my local area. Everyone still wears a mask and I note some physical distance to each other when pushing the supermarket trolley. I watched the football match last Wednesday which ended in a draw at 1:1. The next one is tomorrow when Germany plays Latvia. Looking forward to that. I had 4 Zoom meetings last week with only 3 listed for next week. Nothing else important coming up next week so I hope the sun keeps shining so I can got out on a few more trips. Keep smiling!
May 31 2021
The sun is shining in a blue sky with no clouds and it is 22°C outside. At last a summer day has appeared but the forecast is for it to be cooler in the next few days. I spent an hour on my balcony in the sun this morning. I only get sun there until mid-day but it was nice to relax in the sun and read a new book. It is a history of the working class movements in Germany, focussed on changes in Berlin.
Tomorrow I shall be teaching a small group of ladies over 70, and all have had 2 anti-coronavirus jabs. I know all the ladies and it will be nice to see them again and listen to them talk about life since the coronavirus reached Berlin. I notice that the ‘Indian’ variation is spreading in the north of England. The German government has
placed a ‘lockdown’ on visiters from England and the news today is that the UK government is considering ending their plan to lift lockdowns from 20 June. This will really ‘screw up’ my plans to fly to England in mid-June. I shall have to wait to see what happens as we move into July.
I have many Zoom meetings this month starting with three this weekend. The big event this week for me is to watch Germany play Denmark at football on Wednesday evening. I think it is the last championship game for the German trainer. Of course you know I shall be cheering the German team!
Who has a birthday in June? Nicholas Bolton over in Yorkshire starts us off with his big day on the 3rd followed by Teresa Payerle in Berlin on the 23rd. And that is it for June! Happy Birthday to both.
There are a couple of other memorable days. Peter Hartstein who was in my Mugglesee Gand died on the 5th in 2014. Jürgen in Jüterbog died on the 11th in 2017. On the 19th my father would be 109 and my mother 103 – they shared the same birthday. Finally, Hermann would be celebrating his 84th on the 25th except for a heart attack that robbed us from celebrating his big day. You are dearly missed.
May 20 2021
I’ve just packed my birthday cards into a file. I enjoyed reading them again but felt sad as I packed them away. Some of them used ‘word play’ to create a joke and/or make the reader smile. Here is an example sent by Neil and Barbara from Sussex in the UK. The card reads ‘A-Gin Process’ and has two nice smiley glasses of G&T. This is a word play on ‘ageing process’! It really makes me smile so I am going to leave it on my desk for a bit longer!
Nothing special since my last post. How often have I written those words since coronavirus arrived. Again the main thing is contact via zoom. For example last weekend I had 3 such meetings and I had an interesting one yesterday evening. It was a Labour International meeting hosted by the Paris/NE France group with Clive Lewis as the main speaker/guest. He is a labour MP and was a candidate for leader of the party. I was impressed by his style of discussion and by the questions members put to him.
This evening at 6.oo pm I shall be tuning in for a LI meeting sponsored by the Italy and Malta members. The topic is ‘The local election results’. Should be interesting to hear what members have to say about that. Next Sunday I have two zoom meetings and so this is how we meet and talk to each other without being in the same room. Can’t wait until all the covid restrictions are ended but with the outbreak of new variants we have no idea when this will be. Keep smiling 🙂
May 14 2021
Why do male professional footballers spit so much when they play? I can’t remember seeing any female players spitting as they play. I ask this question because yesterday evening I watched Dortmund play Leipzig for the Champions Cup. As the camera moved in and out to the players all you could see was spitting after they had run to try to score a goal. I wonder if Dr. Freud has an explanation! Dortmund won 4:1.
Another quiet week with mixed weather and meetings via Zoom. I have another 4 scheduled for this weekend. In one of the meetings a young man from England spoke and every third word was ‘like’ in addition to ‘er’, ‘well, er like er`, ‘yer know er like er’. I wonder where his generation is taking the English language ….. like!
Let’s see what kind of Blah, Blah I heard on BBC Radio 4 news and interviews. Here goes: they’ll wokify it/ to build back better/ an overspend/ to speed each other out/ to action forward/ a slow uptick/ to bring a stepchange/ it made it more in your face/ to twin track someone/ to grow the workforce/ to work an issue/ is this low hanging fruit?/ a go to person/ a lack of cut through/ our roadmap to open up/ to operationalise.
If you are learning English please do not learn this rubbish. Have fun and stay healthy.
May 08 2021
I really enjoy receiving cards for Christmas or birthday. I also like posting cards to family and friends. Part of the fun is selecting a card that somehow connects to the person. I received 19 cards in the last few days with 7 arriving just this morning. Here you can see them. Any idea why I got them? I also got greetings via e-mail and this morning I got a lot of phone calls.
Early afternoon and the doorball rang. It was a delivery driver with a package for me. I opened it to find a nice bottle of wine smiling at me. I smiled back. It was a present from Harald P. from my Mugg-Gang. On the card was written – “Wine is sunlight held together by water. May this wine help to keep you in a sunny mood – at least for a day!” What nice words. Many thanks Harald.
May 06 2021
Strange weather here for the start of May. Cold and grey with gusts of wind and sometimes with heavy rainfall. Look at this photo of the sky I took last week – the trees have a lot more leaves now. The forecast is for warmer weather from next Sunday. Pity it is not today. I braved the weather earlier then quickly ran home when it started raining and the wind increased. I’ll try later for I have to go to the Post Office.
More demos in Berlin. Traditional ones for 1st May and others opposing the coronavirus lockdown measures. They seem to be increasing as more people tire of the measures. I get information from watching local TV news which regularly report on such demos. I had a couple of online Zoom meetings and I have invitations to attend another 6 during May. Nothing special for the rest of the week and next week = stay at home – keep warm and healthy and don’t go out without a mask. It must be the same where you live.
May 01 2021
The game yesterday evening was good but dominated by the Leipzig team most of the time. The Bremen team pushed back in the second half and scored a goal making 1:1 each. This took them into extra time and Leipzig scored the winning goal in the 120+1 minute. I wonder what the game this evening will be like.
Looking at my diary for May, I note there are no special events or meetings. Lockdown has been extended here and I note more people grumble about that and even hold demonstrations against the measures. There is a demo planned for this afternoon in the centre, but then that is traditional for it is May Day!
Who has a birthday in May? Max in Berlin will be 38 on the 2nd, Marcel Mester will be 27 on the 6th and I have lost track of where he is in the world. Someone called John in Berlin will be 78 on the 8th May – getting old! Over in Yorkshire my great-nephew Isaiah will be 13 on the 10th – congratulations on entering your teenage years. Over in Turkey, Trish will be 69 on the 13th and back in Berlin Heike D. will celebrate her big day with her family on the 16th. My wonderful cousin Barbara G. will be 76 on the 20th and Holger W. over in Bremen ends the month with his 57th on the 31st May. Have a great day no matter where you are!
Apr 30 2021
I recently met some of my Kowalke Gang and the conversation came round to glasses and colours. One of the gang is Jutta and she has a number of glasses from her husband who died a short time ago. A really intelligent and friendly person. We all miss him. She decided I should try on some of his glasses with different colours. So here are some photos she took with her Smartphone. She really knows how to use that machine. I still have to learn! A week later I went with Johanna to an optician in the next district. I picked a new pair and have to wait a couple of weeks before they are ready. Guess which colour I selected? Was it one of the colours in the photos or was it a different colour? The ones in the photos are blue, red and green – although the green ones are not so clear.
Football teams are well know for many things including the colour of their clothes when they play. I noted this yesterday evening when I clicked on my TV to see the start of the game between Paris SG and Manchester City. It was for a place leading to the champions title. I settled down to notice how dominant Paris SG were in the first half and as they left the field at half time, they were in the lead with 1:0. I was then surprised as the second half showed the Manchester team start to dominate the game and it ended with Paris SG – 1 and Manchester City 2. A good game and I noticed how many players are now covered in tatoos! I still wonder why.
This evening I shall be watching a game for a place in the half final of the German championship. It is between Werder Bremen and RB Leipzig, Guess which team I shall be cheering? Okay, I’ll tell you. It will be Bremen. I have happy memories of my time there. There is another match for a place in the half final on Saturday. It is between Borussia Dortmund and Holstein Kiel. I don’t have a favourite so I shall just watch the match and sip something from my glass. Haven’t decided yet which liquid to enjoy. Really looking forward to this evening and tomorrow. I have no idea what colour of clothes the teams will have, but I am sure there will be even more tatoos on show. Yuk! When I was a child we learnt that men (no women) with tatoos were either merchant seamen or criminals who had just left prison. How times have changed.
Apr 29 2021
In the back garden there are a number of large as well as schrubs and small trees. A very large tree grows near to the table and benches we use in summer for tea/coffee meetings – and a glass or two. All the trees are growing little leaves at the moment and some birds visit the garden to find twigs, then fly away to build nests.
A couple of crows built a nest and Lady Crow spends more time in it. Lord Crow flies about a lot finding food and bringing it back to the nest. I wonder how long it will be before he has to bring even more food to the nest to feed the chicks. From my balcony I can hear them chirping to each other but so far no baby chirps. Can’t be long now.
Nothing special so far this week. The painters are working on the stairways and make a lot of noise, mainly from a loud radio playing pop songs – in English!! – but they only speak to each other in ‘Berlinisch’.
Apr 25 2021
Nothing special since my last post. Mon.Tues.Wed stayed at home. This was partly a result of better weather and sunshine in the morning. I retired to my balcony with a book. Really nice to feel the sun on my skin again. I even took off my shirt and enjoyed sun on my upperbody. I only get the sun on my balcony until 1.00pm. If I want longer I have to move into the garden and try to fall asleep in the sun!
I started a new book. Here is a photo. I was given it some time ago. You can see the author’s name at the top and I translate the title as follows: “How was it really? Childhood and Youth in the 3rd Reich.” Although born with an aristocratic name, he lived with his parents, grandfather, and two uncles in a very small house in the south-east of Germany near to what is now the Czech border. He describes growing up in poverty and contrasts this with documents detailing the expansion of the then German state and preparations for war. It is really interesting how he contrasts the two. He also uses simple German so I can read his book without having to look in a dictionary.
On Thursday I met two nice ladies for lunch which this time only lasted for 4 hours! On Friday afternoon I met Johanna and we went to the next district to an opticians. You have to make an appointment now and only 2 people are allowed into the shop at any time – all because of corona virus. I have to wait for an e-mail telling me when to go there again for my new glasses. After that I went for a haircut at a barbers just opposite the optician. I got a nice short haircut – ideal for warmer weather. I met Johanna again yesterday afternoon for tea at my place then a gentle walk into a local park. Later this evening I have a meeting on Zoom. Next week I have no meetings so far. The sun is shining now so I’m off into the garden – with my book!
Apr 18 2021
I had my second anti-corona vaccine jab on Friday at 11.00am. Johanna went with me and it was nice to have her to talk to and hear her advice. We went there and back by taxi for this is provided by the Berlin government. Again I was surprised by how many ‘Oldies’ could only move with the help of sticks or wheel chairs or other aids. I have had no problems with the injection so far although I was tired yesterday and nodded off in the afternoon.
I checked my e-mails and found one from Ian. He is staying at his flat in Singapore at the moment. He sent a message wishing me all the best for my second jab and this photo of Tiger Beer, which I guess he drank after taking the shot. I am sure I drank this beer when I visited Singapore a few years ago. From there I flew to Sydney and stayed with him and Birgit at their house. Nice memories.
He also sends photos of interesting places in the area where he lives in Singapore. One was of a Sikh Temple or Gurdwara. Here is the shot. Ian and I share an interest in all things India. He had regular contacts to India as a child then as a teenager. Mine came when I was older. Looking at his local temple took me back to visiting The Golden Temple at Amritsar in the north-west of India. In fact I have visited it three times and always have memories of staring out over its little lake and noting the calm and peace. It is the preeminent spititual site of Sikhism.
Construction started in 1581 and it has an interesting history, including expansion and re-building. It is also next to Jallianwala Bagh (Garden) now famous for the massacre there in 1919. The Gov-General of Punjab was then Sir Michael O’Dwyer. He ordered the troops to the garden leading to the massacre. That is why I never used my name when I was there. If you get the chance, go to the Temple and enjoy its atmosphere. You can also get a free vegetarian lunch. Very nice!
Apr 12 2021
Daniel arrived yesterday afternoon looking fit and healthy. He does training at home for all the keep-fit gyms are closed here. He brought his laptop and papers he needed to write his CV in English. He needed two forms. First a CV in the form of a date table and the second as a text document. We worked from his CVs in German and my CVSs also in German and translated them. He certainly knows how to handle his laptop and the keyboard is in the Russian language – but then he likes speaking Russian. I wish I could!
We started work on writing the CV as a time table. He typed in the information with ease and then I printed it out. He was happy with the result so we started the CV as a text. Again smooth and easy input into his laptop and then read it out loud. Very good and showed off his talents and abilities.
Then he pulled something out of his rucksack and gave it to me. It was a bottle of Kvint, which is a kind of whiskey made in Moldova. I like it and if you get the chance, have a glass and enjoy its subtle blend of tastes. My bottle says it is Aged 10 Years and comes from the Tiraspol Winery and Distillery and aged in oak barrels which gives it a long-lasting and soft aftertaste. I’m sure there are not many such bottles in Berlin so I shall open it on a special occasion. Thanks Daniel!
Apr 10 2021
‘To eat or not to eat. That is the question’. I wondered if Shakespeare had ever said, or thought those words, as I made my way to Imre’s home yesterday. He had invited me for lunch and as I mentioned before he is a good cook and actually enjoys cooking. I arrived on time and settled at his dining table in the kitchen. He continued to stir the contents of a large pan while talking about many things. He also likes to talk. I asked him what was for lunch and he said it was a surprise as he laughted out lound.
Then a plate was put in front of me. It was meat cooked with rice and spices and then wrapped in cabbage leaves and cooked again. It was very tasty and filling so I declined another helping. Imre had more and enjoyed chewing on some meat ribs in addition to the cabbage. I sipped a glass of red wine as I finished off my plate. Very tasty! For pudding he ate slices of fruit.
We then moved into his living room and settled down to listen to him talk about his plans for the rest of the year and even for the next year. He also talked about how long he had lived in the district and the people he shared the building with. And so the afternoon went by and it was time for me to leave. He came to the S-Bahn station with me and there we said our goodbyes. We agreed to meet for a bicycle ride when the weather gets better. I wonder if he will bring stuffed cabbage as a picnic then!
Apr 04 2021
I got some calls from people wanting to know more about the books I mentioned in my last post. I did that then looked on my bookshelves and found two more I could have included. Here are some details. The first is: “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion”, by Jonathan Haidt. He is an academic at a USA university and has many posts on the internet. The second is:”What Do We Really Know? The Big Questions of Philosophy”, by Simon Blackburn. He is a Prof. at a number of USA universities and author of a number of books. Have fun reading them as well as the books from yesterdays post.
I can also recomend books and articles by two famous writers on the subject of God and Religion. The first is Richard Dawkins and the second is Christopher Hitchens. Perhaps you have heard of them.
Talking of words, I have a number from what I could say is ‘New Rubbish English’. All from BBC Radio 4 interviews. Here goes – the upfront/ the direction of travel/ to deliver a job/ to deplatform/ wiggleroom/ an opportunity cost/ a dosage issue/ a howling void/ aupplies are lumpy/ a thrombosis event/ a road map to freedom/ digging into a hobby/ massmarketised. Thats enough of rubbish for today. Enjoy your Easter Sunday with family and/or friends!
Apr 03 2021
I hope you are enjoying your Easter holiday and will continue to do so for the next two days. My break is marked by meeting nice people and eating breakfast or lunch with them plus lots of interesting discussions and sipping a glass of cool wine. I got a nice present early yesterday. My near neighbour Rene, arrived with a couple of ‘Easter cakes’ made by his wife. Very creative of her and they make me smile each time I see them staring at me when I open my fridge door! Many thanks to her.
Yesterday I was reminded that I was also a Pope. Those of you who know me well will be shocked to read those words. See the photo. I got it as a present when I had lunch with some nice prople yesterday. I had completely forgotten about that photograph. I think it was made by someone in my old Friday afternoon Photoshop course. The person who gave it to me said I was: Pope Johannes von Müller. Nice name! That made me think about religious belief and practice, much of which has been affected by the corona pandemic.
I quickly found 3 books on my shelf and can recommend everyone to read one or all of them. The first is called, A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Earlier she was a nun for seven years in a Roman Catholic order. Since 1982 she has been a freelance writer and broadcaster. The Sunday Times said her book was, “Brilliantly lucid, splendidly readable…..dazzling”. The second book is called, “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason”. The author is Sam Harris and the front page carries a quote by Richard Dawkins in the Guardian, “Read Sam Harris and wake up”. The third book is, “Science and Religion: Are they compatible?” by Daniel C. Dennett and Alvin Plantinga. Well worth a read. There are many more books dealing with aspects of religion which you can find in your local bookshop or order online. Happy reading!
Apr 02 2021
Looking at my diary I note there is nothing new compared to March. Contact to people is mainly via Zoom. The number of Covid-19 cases is rising so Lockdown has been extended and there is discussion about people having a Covid Passport to show that tests were negative and they are allowed to travel. There is a lot of criticism on the basis that it is contrary to basic human rights. Meanwhile, the weather is slowly changing as Spring struggles to push back the end of Winter. I am looking forward to blue skies and sunshine.
Who has a birthday in April? Uli from my Mugg-Gang will be 74 on the 6th and his wife Petra will celebrate her birthday two days later. Daniel B. over in Australia will be 43 on the 9th and Dennis in California will be 66 on the 11th and sure to celebrate with his wife and sons. Neal Deane will celebrate his 64th birthday on the 13th. He is also an author and I am looking forward to reading his next book. Over in West Yorkshire we find Matthew Bolton will be 23 on the 14th. My great-nephew Henri L. will celebrate his 11th birthday on the 18th with his parents and sisters in the south-west of England. Back in Berlin, my old business partner Mathias Gellrich will be 57 on the 19th. Near to Berlin, Peter L. will celebrate his 58th on the 22nd. Ending the month is Birgit F. who lives in my district and will celebrate her 57th year on the 24th April.
Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you live.
Mar 27 2021
Main event of the past week was having Jab No.1 yesterday afternoon. Our local government pays for a taxi to take you to the injection centre nearest to where you live, and then a taxi to take you home. I went with Johanna for she has more experience of the procedure. The taxi arrived on time and I was happy to settle into a back seat in a large Mercedes. Very comfortable! We got there early and joined a queue of ‘oldies’ as we shuffled into the building. First thing was to have all my paperwork checked then sit in a waiting room until called to a doctor. My doctor was very pleasant and efficient. I hardly noticed the jab entering my upper left arm. It was all over in a few minutes. Then we were asked to wait in a hall for at least 10 minutes. Into the taxi and got home with no pain or problems. My appointment for Jab-2 is on the morning of the 16th April.
Other things in the week was meeting Johanna to get help with form filling and other paperwork plus a couple of evenings watching the German football team on TV. Some new younger players in the team but they played well and won both games. In a short time I will be joining a Labour International meeting on Zoom. The topic is Brexit and the EU with two guest speakers. It should be interesting to hear their views and that of members who all live in the EU as they share their post-Brexit experiences. On Sunday I shall be joining the same organisation via Zoom again, but this time to take part in the AGM. Weather not good here but should get warmer over the next few days. Have a nice weekend.
Mar 23 2021
Another week has rolled by with no major changes here from my last posts. We had snow and winter weather and now it is forecast to change into Spring over the weekend. Big news is the meeting of Frau Merkel with heads of state governments yesterday evening to discuss what to do next against the carona virus threat. The number of people with the virus has increased a lot recently hence the meeting. They talked until 2.30am then press statements were issued. In short it is that Lockdown will be extended and more limits on people meeting plus shops closed including the Easter period.
Last Sunday Bro2 visited me for an English lesson. He only spoke English including periods of free speaking. He brought 8 pages of text I had given him at the end of his last visit. He had completed all and so I checked them as he talked and read new texts I had prepared for him. The focus was on pronunciation. As usual he said he was hungry after some time so I put a nice vegetable dish into the oven and he really enjoyed it. When he arrived he was wearing a cap. He took it of with the words, “Do you like my new haircut?” I did and said so. He smiled and said he thought I would say that. I liked the short cut on the sides which merged into his short beard. But, his girlfriend likes him with longer hair. I wonder what she will say when she sees him! Now to relax and do some German homework.
UPDATE: Frau Merkel has anounced that the decision about the Easter holiday period was wrong and has cancelled it. She has also apologised to the German people! The sun is shining so I am going for a walk.
Mar 15 2021
Last week was like many before it. Stay at home and limit contact to other people as much as possible. Same as usual now. I am having trouble with a local government office. They sent a letter and it took 8 days to get to me. Now I have replied and they still haven’t received my post. I talked to someome in their office this morning and she said there were delays due to all post having to go a central office and then distributed. She asked me to call her tomorrow morning. This is the second time this has happened with this department. A few Zoom meetings this week and two at the weekend plus lunch with some of my Ko-Gang. Looking forward to that. Hope your week is more exciting!
Mar 10 2021
No big changes in Berlin since my last post. Spring is struggling to emerge from the embrace of winter but we have had two days of sunshine and blue skies. More please! I decided to share with you the special offer for Aldi this Friday. Here is a photo of their advertisement and the marmalade and scones I bought this morning. I’m going back to Aldi on Friday for that is when they have a wider range of ‘British’ products for sale. They are even offering a bag of ‘Fish ‘n Chips’. When I read that my eyes really opened!
More Modern English to end this post: I really wonder where native speakers on the island are taking the language. All of them heard on BBC Radio 4. Try these —
To put the issue to bed/ wiggleroom/ a nation state actor/ overpromising/ to drive an effort/ a weather window/ to engage with business/ it is do-able/ in the coming future/ we haven’t got contact tracing/ to re-trigger the economy/ it needs calling out/ slow in activation/ to grow a shop/ to overpromise/ to distangle/ they can’t cut the mustard/ to nuance a decision/ to stall out/ localism/ to make a nobrainer/ a road map of hope/ a sling point/ an actionable idea/ the uplift/ up the work ladder/ to earn back/ we are on the same page/ to switch away/
Mar 07 2021
Nothing special happened since my last post. The weather has moved into winter cold and rain, but it is only a question of time before the trees bloom and we have more sun and blue skies. Looking forward to that for I am only a winter person when I am skiing down a slope. Nice memories of that.
The main event was getting a letter from Berlin government health department asking me to contact them to arrange when I could have jab No.1 then jab No.2. I called them and a very helpful man explained all the details and we agreed for jabs on 26th March and 16th April. Then Johanna arrived and helped me to read and understand all the papers I received. I later got a confirmation of the appointments. At the moment I am waiting for Bro2 to arrive. He wants to have an English lesson.
Feb 28 2021
As we move into another month the weather here is changing. We have more sun and the days are slowly getting longer. More please! I note I have 8 meetings with different groups in March and all via Zoom. Like many people here I am waiting for a letter telling me when and where to go for an anti-corona jab.
From TV and radio programmes and news I can hear more and more criticisms about how giving people the vaccine has so far been organised, and many are tired of the ‘lockdown’. Hopefully it will be better in March.
Who has a birthday in March? Colin in Australia starts us off with his big day on the 19th. Back in Berlin, Dr G. Porsch will celebrate on the 22nd followed by Dr. B.Wittek on the 28th. Johanna ends the month with her birthday on the 31st March. Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you are!
Feb 15 2021
Another week has rolled by. Nothing special to report. It was a week of lowering temperatures and then heavy snow. That kept many people indoors in addition to avoiding contact and corona risk. It is still cold, the snow is still on the ground but the forecast is for it to get warmer as this week rolls on. Last week I went to an optician for a check. As a result I have to see an eye doctor at the end of March. I took part in 3 workshops/meetings online via Zoom. That’s it. I hope you had a good week and remain healthy.
Feb 08 2021
It’s snowing again. The north of Germany is covered by snow storms and it is cold. On my balcony it is -9°C and it is forecast to get down to -13°C over the next few days. Looks like the weather this week will be dominated by snow and minus temperatures. On the radio, I heard that it is very similar in the UK and The Netherlands has had a very heavy storm. Other parts of north Europe are also suffering. Perfect weather for down-hill skiing but due to coronavirus that is now almost impossible.
I had a nice meeting with some of my Ko Gang on Saturday for a very tasty lunch with smooth dry white wine. Plus lots of talking. It is surprising how many topics we can cover. Sunday afternoon I tuned into an International Labour Party meeting via Zoom. I enjoyed seeing people from many counties giving their opinions about some interesting topics. Tomorrow evening there is the Berlin Labour Party AGM, again via Zoom. Should be interesting.
UPDATE: Tuesday – it is still snowing and -9°C outside. The forecast for tomorrow is even more snow and -13°C.
Feb 04 2021
Imre was 66 yesterday and he invited me to visit. I readily accepted. He said come at 1pm so we can have lunch together. He even said he had bought a bottle of white dry wine for me to sip as we ate. He doesn’t drink any kind of alcoholic liquid – just fruit juice. I arrived on time and we greeted each other with the new antil-Covid elbow touching that has taken over from handshakes.
I sat at his kitchen table as he continued to cook the meal and talk. He was always a good talker and this time he told me all about his recent visit to Bayern (Bavaria). Then one of his phones rang and another friend called to wish him a happy birthday. He chatted on the phone with many people that afternoon and in Hungarian, German and English. He just switches between the languages depending on where the caller comes from and with no problem. I mentioned this to him and he just laughed and said he did it automatically.
The food was then ready. He had cooked slices of chicken breast in a tomato and vegetable sauce served on rice. Very tasty and went well with the wine he had bought. He is a good cook and enjoyed the food, so-much-so that he had 3 plate before he was full. Here is pic of him devouring plate No.3 ! More talking before the bell rang. It was his son who dropped in after work to wish his Papa all the best for his birthday. They both get on well together and he enjoyed relaxing at Imre’s home and joining in the talk – and with a beer! Yes, unlike his Papa he enjoys a beer or two. It was nice to chat with him and catch up on his news. Then they posed for a photo which you can see here.
And so the afternoon wore on and it was time to leave. I thanked Imre for letting me share his big day – and his cooking. I arrived home in the rain and settled down to watch a football match in the champions league on TV. I enjoyed the game which completed a memorable day for me. Hope you had a nice day too.
It’s snowing – again. Light snowstorms and minus temperatures dominate the weather here and since last week. Last Thursday there was a heavy snowfall which stayed on the ground for nearly a week. See the photo taken in my garden the day after. It stopped me from doing my usual walk around the garden to get a little exercise and a change from sitting at home all day.
The Berlin government advices people to stay at home as much as possible in order to avoid contact with other people and the risk of getting the Corona virus. It seems that the virus in now changing into other varieties. This means that scientists have to make changes to the anti-viruses developed so far. I’m sure this is the situation in the country where you live. There is a shortage of vaccine here so I have no idea when I shall get a letter telling me to go to a vaccine-centre for a jab. Watch this space!
I had visitors last Sunday. Yes, the Boyz rang the bell and gave me a surprise as I opened the door. Both had very short hair and Bro2 had shaved off his beard and moustache. I was only expecting Bro2 but it was nice to see the big brother as well. He did some homework as I started an English lesson with Bro2. This time it was reading from a text I had prepared. The focus was on new vocabulary and pronunciation. English is not phonetic so making the right sound is important for effective communication.
Later I heard the ‘magic words’ : ‘Opa I am hungry’. No surprise there! I had bought some pizzas and so they added grated cheese and put them in the oven. Lots of happy munching as they cleared their plates and followed up with a pudding. Then they wanted to relax by watching a DVD and that is how they completed their visit. Here is a photo of both with short hair.
Jan 29 2021
We close January with the biggest news stories about changes in the coronavirus and problems of producing enough ant-virus injections. This seems to be particularly the case here in Germany. I am sure your local news service reports this regularly so I won’t bore you with details. This weekend I am meeting a nice lady and then having a tasty lunch on Saturday. On Sunday Bro2 is coming to my place in the afternoon. He wants to learn more English. I have already got a page ready for him to read. I am working on pronunciation. Not easy for English is not phonetic.
Next Tuesday I am going to Imre’s home for lunch. Sure to be lots of talking and it is also his birthday. This year a very quiet one due to coronavirus rules about how many people can meet. Next week I have a SPD meeting via Zoom and next weekend a Labour Party meeting also over Zoom. A week later is the Berlin Labour Party AGM via Zoom and on Saturday 13th I shall be at the ELTABB AGM also via Zoom. I am still living under quarantine with no contact meetings and falling asleep while reading a number of books.
Who has a birthday in February? Imre starts the month with his 66th on the 3rd. He shares this day with my oldest and dearest friend – yes, its Alan in Casland who will be 78. I wish I could be there! Back in Berlin, Jens W. will be 51 on the 4th. My old boss and nice friend Dr. Inge Pardon will be 73 on the 18th. Eleonora T. will be 62 on the 22nd and over in London, Adrian Bridge will be 61 on the 25th. Peter Bateson in Australia ends the birthday month with his 41st on the 28th of February. HAPPY BIRTHDAY no matter where you are and stay healthy!
Jan 25 2021
Nothing new to report since my last post. The lockdown we have here is making a lot of people stay at home. I only go out to my local supermarket which is all of a 3 minute walk away! When not raining or snowing, I walk around the garden. I am sitting a lot more than I used to. I need movement to keep my legs happy. The nice thing so far this week will be on Wednesday. Johanna invited me for lunch but we are not allowed to meet others. Keep smiling.
Jan 20 2021
Special day today. Trump is leaving the White House and Biden is moving in. Time to celebrate. Adrian beat me to it. Here is a photo of him with a nice bottle of Gin. I shall join him with a G&T later this afternoon when I turn my TV on and see Trump getting into Airforce One and flying to his golf course in Florida. I still wonder how 70 million Americans could have voted for him in the recent election. That is nearly half of all who voted. I hope he is not able to stand again for election in 4 years. Another dose of Trump ….. ohhhhh nooo!
What have I been doing since my last post? Actually not a lot. In Germany we are in a tight lockdown and the government said yesterday it will extend to mid February. Just put BBC Radio on and heard that he is about to leave the White House for the plane. Later I shall switch to BBC World Service on my TV to catch up on the news. Back to my week – again nothing special to report. Johanna came over last Saturday to help me with paperwork. Later Bro2 arrived to relax and practice more English. It was nice to see him again and catch up on family news.
On Sunday I was invited to lunch and it was very tasty. Monday and Tuesday was spent at home with limited walks around the garden because of snow storms. Today I went to my bank and then did some shopping at Aldi. I like that shop. Nothing planned for the rest of the week except for two meetings at the weekend but using the Zoom platform. Hope you are coping with changes due to the coronavirus. I’m still waiting for a vaccination appointment. Alan sent me a note to say he is having the injection today. Hope all goes well. Have a nice rest of the week.