Left bed

August 2021 Things

Jul 31 2021

Still confusion about conditions for flying to the UK and flying back. I thought I had understood the regulations then I heard of more changes in the news yesterday evening. I am going to my local travel agency nest week to see what the current conditions are. I also need to talk to family and friends to see if they will be at home in August. No point in flying there to find them all gone away on holiday. Still enjoying the sun on my balcony in a morning while reading another book. My diary for August shows many of the same things for July. I shall take more trips out into the countryside and shall go on a short bike ride to test myself after having two falls. Just need to clean the bike. In a few hours I shall be going to Johanna’s to meet some of the Ko-Gang and have a meal and chat together. Looking forward to that!

Who has a birthday in August? Shirley in Florida starts us off with her 82nd on the 1 August. I have happy memories of staying there a few years ago and we still keep in contact. Martina from my Ko-Gang will be 73 on the 19th and sure to celebrate with her family. Angelika in Berlin will be 69 on the 25th followed by my sister, Pauline in Cambridge who will be 77 on the 26th. Friend Dieter over in Jüterbog will also be 77 but on the 27th. The month ends with my wonderful Jan who will be 38 on the 28th and celebrate with his family at their new house on the Netherland coast. Happy Birthday no matter where you are!

Surprise

Jul 25 2021

I’ve had a quiet week, including sitting on the balcony reading my book. It ended in a nice surprise yesterday. The story begins with Martina from my Ko-Gang asking me to go  to her place for a meal. She cooks very well so I immediately said, ‘Yes’. We agreed that I go to her nice, big, flat yesterday at 5.00pm. I arrived on time and there was Jutta who also greeted me and joined in the meal. She is also from my Ko-Gang and has a talent with images and computers.

As we settled around the dining table, Martina gave each a glass of sekt as Jutta placed a wrapped paper in my hands and they said, “Congratulations dear John!” I opened the paper and then understood. Here you can see the document produced by Jutta. It celebrates 9 years to the day when I got my German citizenship. Yes, it was on Tuesday 24th July 2012 at 1.00pm that I was asked to step forward and receive the document from the Mayor of Lichtenberg = the district in which I live.

If you go down the photos on the left side of my blog you will find a photo of me with the Mayor and the document in my hand and a BIG smile on my face! What a day that was and one I shall never forget. I was surprised that Jutta and Martina had remembered and planned the happy meeting yesterday. Many thanks to both of you.

Quiet

Jul 18 2021

I’ve had a quiet week. Spent a lot of time in ‘isolation’, as usual, and enjoying the morning sun on my balcony while reading my current book. The weather here was generally warm and sunny. Very different from the storms that caused much damage and more than 150 deaths in the west of Germany. Frau Merkel is visiting the area today. The German President was there yesterday. Back in Berlin, there were a couple of changes. On Tuesday evening there was a meeting of Labour Berlin in the garden of a restaurant in the centre. Members had to sit distanced from each other and wear a mask, but it was the first such meeting in a long time. The same happened on Wednesday evening when SPD members of the local party met in person, in a garden and with distance and masks. Again, it was the first time in ages that we met in person and not via Zoom. Now back to the rest of this quiet Sunday. Where did I put my book?

A Concert

Jul 11 2021

I’ve enjoyed the last few days, mixed weather including. I planned for my Ko-Gang to relax in the garden on Friday evening but had to cancel due to rain. Instead, we met at Johanna’s place for a pleasant evening of food, good wine and nice conversation. She had a visitor from Poland who spoke very good German and it was interesting to listen to her opinion about different things. When I first came to Berlin I spent a lot of time travelling through Poland and have happy memories of my time there and of the people.

Yesterday I went to a concert with two of my Ko-Gang. It was in the Pierre Boulez Hall of the Barenboim-Said Academy. I’ve been there before and posted to my blog. This time we had to sit apart from each other and when not sitting, we had to wear a mask. The event was called,’Akademiekonzert zum Semesterabschluss’. Basically it is a concert given by young musicians who have completed their music courses and got their degrees. It was really good and I could only marvel at the talent of the young musicians. I hope they all now find a position in an orchestra and bring their musical skills to more people. They played music by Dvorak, Beethoven, Misek and Mozart.

Today we have warm weather and blue skies in Berlin. A young family is having a party in the garden to celebrate their daughters 4th birthday. Nice listening to the kids as they play and enjoy the day. I don’t think they will be watching TV this evening. Footie Final: Yes, many people are bracing themselves for the final of the European Football Championship this evening. It is England vs Italy from Wembley. I shall be watching and hope that the English team win. Enjoy the game! UPDATE: In case you don’t know the result it was Italy 3 and England 2. The game went into penalties. I still think the English team played well!

A Book

Jul 04 2021

I opened my door yesterday and found a package on my mat. I opened it to discover a book. There was no indication of who had sent it, but I am sure I know who sent it – he lives in Singapore at the moment! It has 917 pages, lots of photos, diagrams and maps. I settled onto my balcony this morning to enjoy the sun and opened the book. I can hardly put it down. The opening sentences clearly reveal the approach of the author:

“This is a book about how Britain fought, endured and won a total war, what it cost (and to whom) and how the country emerged into a much changed world a very different place —  it combines military, political, economic and social history to help explain not only why events took the course they did, but how they were represented and understood at the time.”  I found it difficult to put it down so I could have lunch. I’m really looking forward to reading more.

More Footie : You probably know by now that the English football team won 4:0 against Ukraine in Rome yesterday. I was surprised at the result and am sure I am not the only person. The English team is playing better than expected at the beginning of the games. I hope they continue to win, starting with a game on Wednesday in Wembley against Denmark. I shall be watching!

July 2021 Things

Jun 30 2021

I am sure I was not the only person to get a shock yesterday evening. Yes, the football match between England and Germany. By the end of the first half there were no goals, but I felt Germany would score in the second half. Big mistake: England improved their game and ended with a 2:0 win. I think a lot of the English fans present at Wembley were also surprised, but they certainly cheered a lot. I read that 27 million Brits watched the game. A new record! The next game for England is on Saturday. I shall be watching.

Who has a birthday in July? Laura Bolton in Yorkshire starts us off with her 23rd birthday on the 1st July. Back in Berlin, Jutta Müller will celebrate her 73rd on Friday 2nd July. I have been invited to her Birthday Breakfast and am looking forward to that. Back to my family to find Krystle in Yorkshire celebrating her 36th with family on the 8th. And so ends the short list of birthdays in July. Happy Birthday to all no matter where you live!

Chorin

Jun 27 2021

I went to Chorin yesterday. It is an old town north-east of Berlin. I went with three of my Ko-Gang in a car. It was nice to see the countryside smiling at the sun and blue sky! It was also nice for me to just get out of Berlin and away from my routine. I have been there before and even posted reports and photos on this blog.

Why did I go there? Our destination was Kloster Chorin which hosts summer classical concerts. Yesterday was the opening concert. The building fell into ruin after 1550 and the advent of The Reformation. Just after 1900 it was re-built in parts with rooms for players and a large open room for the audience plus an adjoining garden area. We sat in the latter, in the sun. and enjoyed the music.

I noted that most of the audience were over 60 but they enjoyed just being there. There were small stalls for snacks, beer and wine and that added to the pleasure. We listened to Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin as the starter and then settled down for Ludwig van Beethoven: Sinfonie Nr.3 Es-Dur op. 55 ‘Eroica’. Both were well played by a local orchestra called, ‘Philharmonisches Orchester des Staatstheaters Cottbus’ conducted by Alexander Merzyn.

We then slowly moved to the car park and the ride back to Berlin. I arrived home just in time to watch a football match followed by another at 9pm. There are games this evening and tomorrow,  but the ‘Biggi’ is on Tuesday – as I am sure you know – when Germany plays England in Wembley. And so ended a very memorable and happy day. I would welcome more like it.

Little change

Jun 25 2021

There has been little change to my daily life since my last post. The weather is now cooler so I go out more often. I have also become a ‘watching football on TV’ freak. I am really enjoying the games and looking forward to the Germany-vs-England game next Tuesday evening in Wembley Stadium. I’m now teaching a small group of ‘seniors’ and starting another one next Wednesday. I had a visit from Johanna yesterday when she told me about her recent holiday on the Polish coast. I used to go there when I was exploring Poland and have happy memories of my time there. Tomorrow I am going to Chorin with some of my Ko-Gang to enjoy an afternoon of classical music in the open air. We plan to have a picnic in my garden but have to wait until all are back in Berlin and the weather hots up. Enjoy the game!

Footie

Jun 18 2021

If you live in the Berlin area and have nothing better to do at 9.00 pm, then switch your TV on and open the ZDF channel. You will be just in time to see the start of another football match. This time between England and Scotland. The game is being played in Wembley Stadium in London. I wonder who will win. Meanwhile, nip out to a shop and get some beers into the fridge ready for the start of the match. Happy Footie!

UPDATE: The result was a draw at 0-0. On the radio this morning I heard that 22 million people in the UK watched the match. Amazing! There was also a number of spits including some from the nose. Yuk!  I noted that it was raining during the match. Very different from the weather here. We’ve had 35-37°C during this week. Today I had 39°C on my balcony. Phew – warra scorcher!!

Hot

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.

Warm

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!

June 2021 Things

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.

Word play

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 🙂

Spit

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.

Cards

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.

Weather

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 2021 Things

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!

Colours

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.

Nest

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’.

Balcony

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!

Jab 2

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!

Kvint

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!

To eat or….

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!

More Words

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!

Easter 2021

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!

April 2021 Things

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.

Jab-1

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.

Another week

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.

Last week

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!

aldi

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/