Left bed

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/

A jab

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.

March 2021 Things

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!

Another week

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.

Again

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.

Birthday

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.

Snow & Visit

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.

February 2021 Things

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!

Nothing new

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.

Trump-less

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.

Words

Jan 14 2021

Uli is an active member of the Muggelsee Gang and he sent me the following words taken from the newspaper called Tagesspiegel. He also wrote a short message – which I translate for you as: “Put this word in your collection of crazy German words.” The newspaper report was about a discussion/decision in the Berlin Senate. Here goes –

Fussgaengeranforderungslichtzeichenanlage – plant. There are 6 words if you include the word ‘plant’ which here means something is planned. What does it mean? I put the words into an online translator and got the following. Fussgaenger – pedestrians; anforderungs – requirement or request or demand or specification: licht – set of lights or traffic lights: anlage – system or installation: and all pushed together to make a new word. The German language is full of such creations particularly bureaucratic and legal German.

I then put it into another translator and got the following: pedestrian-requirement-light-sign-planned. Now you know. Thanks Uli!

Nothing New

Jan 10 2021

Hello Blog readers. I have nothing new to share with you. The same daily routine based on isolation and avoiding the risk of catching the coronavirus. It is now changing into different varieties some of which transfer quicker than the original. I am sure you know all about that from your local news reports.

The other international news is about Trump, the storming of the Capitol and speculation about his future. I was not surprised at this development for I told friends four years ago that he was mentally unstable. Other events are about adjusting to life after Brexit for both UK residents and those who live in the EU. I recently got a letter from the UK Embassy in Berlin with lots of useful advice. I’ll know of any changes that affect me by the end of this month. Stay healthy.

Concert

Jan 01 2021

I’m sitting next to my TV screen and listening/watching a concert. It is the traditional New Year’s Day one featuring the Vienna Philharmonia playing in their very nice concert hall. I was in this building twice. The first time to watch a Mozart opera and the second to see a mainly Beethoven concert. I really enjoyed both. There is no audience because of the coronavirus risk but we are sometimes taken into the gardens and palaces of the ex-Kaisers to watch dancers swirling around. The musicians are also clearly enjoying playing their instruments. As usual there is a lot of Johann Strauss music in addition to Liszt. The concert is relayed around the world- in 90 different countries – and is now a traditional part of starting a new year.

I saw in the New Year by falling asleep inspite of the bangs outside and whoooosh of rockets before exploding overhead. I also slept late and feel better for that. They are now playing The Blue Danube Walz by Johann Strauss Junior. Very famous piece of music and it means the concert is drawing to a close. I met my Ko-Gang yesterday evening and they said they would be watching the concert. We had a very tasty ‘end of year’ meal with wine and interesting conversation. Here is a photo of the dining table taken just before the food arrived. Hope you are enjoying the start of a new year and can relax for the rest of the day.

January 2021 Things

Dec 30 2020

I hope you had a happy and relaxing Christmas with family and friends. I did not meet as many people as normal nor travel in and around Berlin. All due to the Corona virus. It is still increasing here and many events over the New Year have been cancelled. The Boyz came to visit on Monday afternoon and practice their English. They cooked a meal then nodded off after. I left them alone to doze and when the woke they started practicing English as if there had not been a break. Always nice to see them. I’m meeting some of my Ko-Gang tomorrow for a New Year Eve Supper. Looking forward to that.

Who has a birthday in January 2021?

Hannelore in the south of France, near Nice, will be 78 on the 13th, Harald P. – one of my MuggGang – will be 56 on the 21st and Dr. Peter Schmidt will celebrate his 37th in Potsdam on the 24th.Paul B. over in New Zealand will be 36 on the 27th. My great neice Scarlett over in Yorkshire will be 13 on the 29th and Frau Fox here in Berlin ends the birthday month with her 80th on the 31st. Happy Birthday to each and Happy New Year to all my blog readers no matter where you live.

Merry Christmas

Dec 25 2020

Merry Christmas to all my readers. I hope you have enjoyed the day with family and friends, or are still enjoying it. As usual my day started with opening Christmas cards. It always makes me feel happy to read the texts and messages. This year I got 28 cards. You can see them in this photo.

I then got ready and went off to spend some time with Imre. He had cooked a large pan of vegetables, particularly cabbage leaves with a variety of meat. He also said he should lose some weight – but after Christmas! Here you can see him checking the pan of food and what I selected on my plate. Very tasty.

He does not drink but had bought me a bottle of Hungarian red wine. Very tasty and I still have some left for tomorrow.

We then settled into his living room and I listened to him talking about his plans now he is a pernsioner. And so the clock ticked the time away and it was time to leave. I have had a very pleasant relaxed day and hope you have too.

AWO

Dec 20 2020

AWO is short for Arbeiterwohlfahrt which means Workers‘ Welfare Association. I am a member and yesterday got their magazine covering activities during the year. On the front page was this picture of a little boy with his teddy bear. I have to smile every time I see it and so I decided to share with you so you could also smile

The AWO has strong historical and current links to the SPD. It was founded by Marie Juchacz (1879-1956) on 13. December 1919. She was an SPD activist, fighter for womens rights, promoting the welfare of the working class and advancing their social rights. It now employs 230,000 people, has 74,000 voluntary helpers and 318,000 members. It helps disabled people, children in nursery schools, psychiatric clinics and advice centers for migrants and refugees among other things.

It was founded after the end of WW1 which left many women to look after their families alone and work in factories to get the money to feed their children. It was banned in 1933 when Hitler came to power. It was created again in Hannover in 1946 but only in what became West Germany. It remained banned in the Soviet occupied zone and later in the DDR. With the fall of the wall it opened in Feb. 1990 after 57 years of being banned. Its HQ is now in Berlin.

Oldie Presents

Dec 18 2020

Another week almost over with no big changes to normal life. Germany went into ‘lockdown’ from Wednesday. Wearing a mask when you go onto the street is now mandatory. M any shops have had to close. Two nice  things happened during the week. On Tuesday the doorbell rang and someone from the local SPD stood in front of my door. He said he was visiting all the constituency ‘oldie’ members to give each a present. With that he handed me a large calender and a bag. He didn’t come into the flat and left when I had the presents. What a nice surprise that was.

In my post was a letter from some women in the local council social services for seniors department. They asked me to go to a community centre on Wednesday. They said I had been selected to receive a gift because of my age and periodic contact to their department. They said they were pleased to give me a bag with presents inside. It was covered so I could not see what was there. I then went to my bank and to Aldi before returning home. There, I opened the bag and was surprised to see a lot of cakes, chocolates, biscuits. You can see them in one of the photos.

We ‘Oldies’ who received such a bag can ‘pig out’ on the high sugar contents over Christmas – or share them with friends and family. I didn’t know that such gifts were given away to Oldies for Christmas. Perhaps I’ll get more for Christmas 2021!

 

Wurst

Dec 13 2020

I’ve had a quiet week. Nothing special and my only contact with people is when I go shopping, to the bank or post office. All wear face masks and keep a distance to others. More shops have security at the entrance and limit the number of people who can enter. The government announced yesterday much stronger measures from Wednesday until mid-January.  The number of infections and deaths per day is rising – as it is in the UK.

The other news dominating TV and radio is Brexit negotiations. Lots of ups and downs and speculation if an agreement can be reached. Reports today indicate a little softening of positions. Meanwhile the street parties and markets are closing and so the number of people buying wurst will decrease. Wurst means sausage and of course they are very popular here. Many people people buy them from market stalls when they go shopping and just wander through the streets munching on a wurst. Here is what they look like. A very populat wurst comes from the state of Thuringa. That is the only one I eat! All for now. Stay happy and healthy.

Reading

Dec 06 2020

I heard that people in the UK and in Germany are reading more as they stay at home to avoid coronavirus contact risks. I also heard that cases of the virus and deaths are still rising. My weekly routine has changed since summer. I no longer have contact to my ladies for the buildings have been closed until at least the start of next year – maybe until next Easter. My gym has been closed so no more meetings with Kerstin and the Friday Gang. I spend more time at home reading.

Here you can see a pile of books and magazines that make up my ‘To Read’ list. It is a mixture of novels and language books. Every night I settle into bed and open the book called ‘1001 Pitfalls in German’ which is well written and with clear explanations. I first read the book years ago and now I’m learning from it again. There is an interesting chapter about verbs and tenses. Even so, there is no clear explanation as to why German people do not use the simple past tense or when the stopped using it. I have asked many Germans why this is and I just get ‘I don’t know’ as an answer.

They use the simple present or the present perfect tense all the time. The book includes such sentences: ‘The German present tense is used in time expressions for actions that began in the past and continue into the present.’ ‘It is very often necessary to translate a German present perfect by using an English past.’ ‘The present perfect is the usual past tense in conversation’. I don’t need to give more examples. Instead, your will find that German grammer allows long words to be created, for example by sticking 5 or 6 words together and creating a word with 80 or more letters. A lot of these words appear in legal and business German. Have fun if you are now learning German and you will find a dictionary still useful.

December 2020 Things

Nov 30 2020

Tomorrow takes us into the last month of the year. Stronger measures are being introduced against the spread of the coronavirus. Some people here demonstrate on the street without masks or other protection. They say the rules and controls are against their basic human rights. I wonder if they would say the same if they got the virus?

Looking at my diary I see less activity than normal this month. Concerts and meetings have been cancelled and those remaining are on Zoom. This Friday will be a sad day. I am attending Gerald’s funeral in the local graveyard. He suffered a lot towards the end of his life but remained a clever and intelligent person. You will be missed, Gerald!

Who has a birthday in December?  Michael Nixdorf starts with his 56th birthday on the 5th. We used to work together in Marzahn but that was many years ago. Stefan Block hits 60 on the 7th. Stefan was the head of my Photoshop Group before becoming directer of the project. Evie will be 12 on the 18th. Turning into a young lady. Julie Bolton in Yorkshire will be 46 on the 20th. She shares the day with Thomas in Berlin who will be all of 60. Also in Berlin, Bro1 will be 20 on the 24th. What a Christmas Present he must have been! Moving to the 28th we find Neil Dickinson will be 74 and celebrating at home near Brighton. He shares the day with Stefan Schöneberg who will be 37 and sure to celebrate with his lady at their house north of Berlin. Finally, we go all the way to Sydney in Australia to wish Ian Maxwell a happy 61st on the 30th. Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you are!

Learning

Nov 29 2020

The doorbell rang early yesterday afternoon. It was another visit from The Boyz. First thing was hand washing then off to my local supermarket to buy food and drinks they would need later. I know them well enough by now that I will later hear the words, ‘Opa, I’m hungry – is there anything to eat?’ They are able to cook for themselves so I just let them get on with it. Yesterday it was fish in batter with a light salad.  They came to practice English.

Bro1 told me that he had French in his college as well as English and German. He said he had given a report in French which was well received by the teacher and fellow students. He said he needed more speaking practice in English. His brother nodded his head in agreement. Having said that, Bro1 said he had to do some written English homework so I put him into a seperate room and started talking to Bro2.

I noted that his confidence to speak English is growing and that he only had a problem with a few words. These were ‘nevertheless’ and the difference between ‘if’ and ‘when’. It took some time to understand the difference but he managed to use them correctly. By then it was time to eat. They enjoyed the fish! More language practice then it was time to pack the bags and head for home. This visit was different from their last one in that they were pushing themslves harder to learn English. I told them to relax but  they just smiled at me and said, ‘Later!’

A Visit

Nov 23 2020

The telephone rang and a familiar voice said, “Hello Opa, how are you?” Yes, it was Bro2 from The Boyz. He said we had not met in weeks and could they visit on Saturday. I told them it was no problem and asked if they had any college homework to do and needed help. He said not but Bro1 had and needed help. They arrived a little early and it was nice to see them again. They looked well and I noted Bro2 now had a beard, yes joined up under the chin. Bro1 has had a full beard for some time and it suits him.

We went to my local supermarket for them to buy food and drink. They chose cola and beer with no alcohol to drink and small chicken breasts to cook for late lunch. Bro2 wanted to practice his English and during the visit he only spoke English! I put him in front of the TV to watch/listen to BBC News reports then turned my attention to Bro1. His homework included writing pro-contra-neutral comments to various topics. He had written positive and negative ones at home but did not know how to write neutral ones.

I switched on the laptop for him to work with and withing a few minutes had found information about structures for setting out different forms of argument. We discussed this for some time and he said he could now write something. I told him to do that while I went to Bro2 and discussed what he was seeing/hearing in the BBC programmes. And so the afternoon went by with only a break for lunch prepared by Bro2. By early evening Bro1 said he had written his texts and sent them off to his college. Big smiles all round as they relaxed and felt they had acheived something in both text analysis and using English. They left with happy faces and I was happy that I had been able to help them.