May 12 2022
I recently came back from my local hospital. The story begins with yesterday evening. I live in a flat owned by a housing cooperative called the EVM and it has a group of elected people called Vertrater = representative. I am one. There was a Versammlung (assembly) yesterday evening for the first time in 2 years – we had always met via Zoom. It was held in a big restaurant on the opposite side of the city. Rene, who is also a representative, picked me up in his car and we set off on the journey for an hour. Lots of talking and there were snacks and drinks to order. I only ordered two glasses of white wine. Then it was time to go.
I got home about 11.00pm and went into the bathroom to get ready for bed. Then I turned to my left and slipped hitting my head, arm, leg on the floor and side of the bath. I lay on my back and could not move! I couldn’t get to my phones to call for help. After trying to crawl to the phones I gave up and slept on the floor. I woke at 6.30 and tried to move. No success but I kept on trying and finally found I could move on my hands on the floor. I made it to my telephones and called the ambulance service. Two nice ambulance men got into my room and helped me dress and then go into the ambulance. I was taken to my local hospital and the lengthy process of checking my medical history and health condition began. It ended with nothing new broken and being allowed home. What a day. I don’t want another like it!!
May 10 2022
Big thanks to all who sent me birthday cards, e-mails and telephone messages. Here you can see some of the cards. There was a very special present from Andrea and Marco that took me back many years. They sent a CD called Be Thou My Vision containing sacred music by John Rutter with the Cambridge Singers. The words are in English and really opened my eyes.
When I was 9/10 I sang in the local Church of England choir and in my school choir. I am not sure if we sang music by John Rutter but if not then by similar musicians and of course I was a boy soprano. My school music teacher was called Mr Skull and he introduced us to the voice of Kathleen Ferrier who I still adore! He also introduced us to Gustaf Mahler and Wagner. He knew my mother and that she played 2 musical instruments. The were also members of the local Labour Party!
Last week I had the same routine and meetings as the week before except that I went to a ‘Burgeramt’ in Adlershof (part of south east Berlin) with Johanna. I need a new passport and Personelausweis. we did all the paperwork and I have to go there again on the 20th June to pick up the new documents. I’mstill waiting for a response from the London passport office. Now 7 weeks and I have not heard a word from them. I had a couple of quiet days then set off on Sunday for a birthday lunch with Johanna, Jutta and Martina. Very nice but I drank too much. Johanna brought me home later.
I went with Imre to a local restaurant on Monday and yes, he ate half of my food – as usual! Later Thorsten arrived to do some work on my laptop and he and Imre got to know each other. In a short time I shall go across the road to have a glass of sekt with Marita. A late birthday sip!
Apr 30 2022
I’ve had a nice, quiet week. I am still reading the book about Edmund Burke and it is interesting to note how little I knew about his life and impact on politics that is still relevant in the UK. Last Monday I joined an SPD Lichtenberg meeting via WebEx. This was new to me for I have only used Zoom. On Wednesday I went to a Labour Party branch meeting in person! It was held in the Braugasthaus at Mehringdamm 80. Put the address in your diary and go there on your next visit to Berlin.
On Thursday morning I met Johanna and we went to a very large store selling different kinds of bicycles. We were looking at the electro-bikes. I tested one and noted how heavy it was. We got it’s weight from an assistant and then I realized I could not carry such a bike up and down the steps to my cellar. I’ll have to find a new home where I can just move from the road into a cellar!
Yesterday evening I went to the monthly eltabb Stammtisch held in a beer garden at Karl-Marx-Allee 93. Very nice and I can recommend you add it to your places to visit on your next trip to Berlin. In 45 minutes I shall be joining a Labour International Zoom meeting. The topic is ‘What do unions want from Lab
our? The guest speaker is Sarah Woolley who is the head of the Bakers’ Union. Finally I picked up some interesting information on the radio about the BBC. It broadcasts in 42 languages reaching 468 million people worldwide each week. I didn’t know that!!
Who has a birthday in May? Max starts the month with his 39th on the 2nd, over in Hungary Marcel will celebrate his 28th on the 6th May. Someone called John who lives in Berlin will be 79 on the 8th May. I wonder if I shall get an invitation for a glass of wine! Over in Silsden Isaiah will celebrate his 14th birthday with my father and my brother. Over in Turkey, Trish will be 70 on the 13th. back in Berlin, Heike Dix will celebrate her big day with her family on the 16th. Back to Silsden and my cousin Barbara who will be 77 on the 20th. She’s wonderful and I’m looking forward to seeing her as soon as possible. Over to Bremen and we find Holger celebrating his 58th with his family on the 31st. I’m sure they will grill for they have a nice big garden. Happy Birthday to one and all no matter where you are!
Apr 24 2022
Nearly another week has gone by since my last post. It was a relaxing period in which I started reading another book. It is’ Edmund Burke: The visionary who invented modern politics’, written by Jesse Norman who is a MP. There is a quote by Boris Johnson on the front page as follows – ‘Jesse Norman has brought back Burke in triumph – and not before time’. Thanks Boris – now you can go back to sorting out your problems! The weather is slowly looking more like Spring so I have been on longer walks in the last few days.
Last Wednesday, Thorsten arrived to help me with some lap-top problems and to practice a bit more on my LG Smartphone. He will be coming tomorrow to continue his good work. Last Thursday, Johanna dropped in for a cup of tea and a glass of ‘medicine’. I joined her. Yesterday I joined a Labour International meeting via Zoom. The topic was ‘Wealth, Power and Taxation’ led by John Trickett MP. He spoke very well and clearly and it was interesting to hear how he presented the topic. If you are interested then Google his name and read what he has to say While you are on the internet type in, ‘Irish Rebellion of 1798’ I got this information from the Edmund Burke book. The things I still have to learn – and not just about a Smartphone. Enjoy your Sunday.
Apr 19 2022
This time it is 9 days since I last posted. Hope you all enjoyed your Easter holiday. My week started on Tuesday at 3.00pm when I went to the Abacus Hotel opposite Tierpark (Z00) which is 3 stops on a tram from where I live. The reason was to attend the AGM of my local SPD branch. Very interesting and I noted some voices not happy with decisions made by SPD members of the central government, mainly a huge amount in taxes to finance a large increase in military expenditure. I’m sure you must have heard about this on your local news. After that, I went to Martina’s for supper. I joined Jutta and Dorothea who comes from the south of Poland. She was visiting a conference in Berlin and stayed a Martina’s. I have met her before and am always impressed with her ability to speak German and English. Amazing talent!
I relaxed with my books on Wednesday and Thursday, did some shopping and cleaned the flat. The big day was on Friday. It started with Easter Friday Breakfast at Jutta’s with other members of The Gang. I then got home at 1.00pm just in time for Eleonora to pick me up. We drove to her daughter’s home to enjoy the rest of the day talking, sipping Hungarian wine and playing with their two sons. The youngest is 6 months old and a real treasure. I really love him and being able to hold him. Papa cooked while I cuddled my little treasure. His parents don’t want any photos of the boys on the internet, which I accept and respect. What a nice day that was. Yesterday I went to Eleonor’s home. She had invited me for lunch and more chats. Her Spanish teacher was also there, name of Wolf and he also spoke really good English. A really relaxed and interesting afternoon.
Apr 10 2022
Another week has gone by since my last post – actually 10 days but a week sounds better 🙂 March ended with a nice breakfast at Johanna’s then 2 Zoom meetings on Saturday. Sunday was a lazy day with a gentle walk to keep me moving. Thorsten came on Monday and helped me with a laptop problem and how to use my ‘new’ Smartphone.
On Wednesday and Thursday there were more Zoom meetings. Next Tuesday is an SPD annual meeting in a nice hotel near to Tierpark. I have an invitation. The big day is next Friday – yes Easter Friday. I have been invited to breakfast at Jutta’s with the rest of the gang. Then rush back home where Eleonora will pick me up. We’ve been invited to Andrea’s home and I’m looking forward to cuddling their new little treasure.
I’ve started reading some more books. One is a German grammar book and the others are A Nietzsche Reader selected and translated by R.J. Hollingdale, and Kant by S.Körner. I recently found the last two books. I read them in my first year at university, but that is a long time ago and I have forgotten the contents. The weather is slowly moving into Spring and I can’t wait until the sun starts to shine and I can read on my balcony. Have a happy relaxing Sunday.
Mar 30 2022
After that, it was back to the computer for the Labour International AGM via Zoom. Again interesting and I noticed how many members had strong feelings about a number of subjects. Last Monday I went to the BVG office at Lichtenberg to buy my monthly travel pass. Then I called my lawyer’s secretary and we made an appointment to get advice from my lawyer on Thursday afternoon. My lawyer is ill at the moment hence the delays. On Tuesday I met my AWO gang then went to the Telecom shop.
My phones stopped working on Monday and I am lost without them. They said I had to come again and bring all the phone parts for them to check. I did that this morning and was told that one of them didn’t work but no explanation. Back to Tuesday evening when I joined a LI Open Branch Meeting via Zoom for a discussion about Ukraine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I shall go to Johanna’s for her birthday breakfast and share a few hours with some other nice ladies.
Who has a birthday in April? Uli starts the week with his 75th birthday on the 6th. Petra will share her big day with Uli on the 8th. Over in Australia, Daniel Bateson will be 44 on the 9th. On the 11th, Dennis in California will celebrate his 67th with his wife and sons. Back in Germany the famous writer Neil Deane will celebrate his 65th on the 13th. Back to England and Matthew Bolton will hit 24 on the 14th. Staying in England, we find that my great-nephew Henri Lynch will be 12 on the 18th. Back to Berlin and my old business partner Mathias Gellrich will be 58 on the 19th. On the 22nd, Peter Legarth will be 59 on the 22nd. Birgit Fedor ends the month with her 58th birthday on the 24th. Happy Birthday to each and all of you no matter where you are!
Mar 21 2022
It is 8 days since my last post and I have to say that I have had a nice week. It started on Monday with meeting Jörge for a smartphone session. I really have a lot to learn. I am still amazed when I walk along a street and 7/8 year olds walk along tapping their smartphones – and not always look where they are going! On Tuesday I met the usual groups of ‘oldies’ at the AWO and on Wednesday welcomed two new people to another AWO group who want to improve their English. In the afternoon I posted my old passport, two new photographs and an application form for a new passport to the passport office in London. We can no longer apply for a new one at the UK Embassy in Berlin. I also asked for payment details for I don’t have an international credit/debit card. Let’s see what happens.
I relaxed on Wednesday mainly by reading a book. On Thursday evening I joined a Zoom group for what we call a Virtuellen Vertretersammlung = an AGM of a housing cooperative called the EVM. I live in one of their flats and am an elected member of the central committee. A very interesting evening but I prefer to attend such a meeting in person rather than via a computer. I had a lazy day on Friday with some walks and more reading. On Sunday afternoon I joined a zoom meeting to attend the Labour International March General Committee meeting. 74 members from different countries were present and there were some interesting discussions in the Motions section.
After that, Thorsten arrived to correct some problems on my laptop. Nice to see him again and we had a good chat as we sipped a glass of ‘Red Medicine’ At the next meeting we are going to look at the layout of this blog for I have problems to move photos higher in the blog reports. The weather has also been slowly improving as we move into Spring. Can’t wait to sit on the balcony in the sunshine.
Mar 13 2022
I went to Berliner Philharmonie yesterday evening. I went with Johanna, her grandson and four nice ladies. The concert was almost sold out and I noticed that most of the audience were sixty or more! The concert was called ‘Südamerikanische Nacht’ which I am sure you can understand even if you don’t speak German. The star of the show was a lady called Lily Dahab who was born in Buenos Aires in Argentina. She later moved to Spain and then to Berlin. She is not only good looking but has a ‘one-in-a-million’ voice. I was surprised that I had not heard about her before, particularly with such a wonderful voice.
She can not only move up and down the musical scales but moves between full volume and almost whispered singing. She introduced her songs in Spanish, English and German and moved between traditional South American songs to jazz and swing music from the 1950’s. Her husband plays the piano to accompany her and there are another four musicians who support her and appear to be part of her regular backers. Absolutely wonderful and if you get the chance to visit one of her concerts then do so immediately. You will enjoy her musical range and talent.
The evening before I went to my local AWO for a book reading session. I went with Johanna and three other nice ladies. The stars were the authors Ellen Händler and Ute Mitsching-Viertel. They are now retired and mainly write about women and how their lives changed with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Later they wrote a book based on interviews with men as a contrast to changes affecting women. Really interesting to listen to their presentation and readings from their books. At the end, many women in the audience made comments about how their lives had changed. A very informative evening.
Mar 08 2022
Today is International Women’s Day. It is a public holiday in Germany and there will be lots of demonstrations demanding more protection for women and to reduce the pay gap between men and women. We can also note language here for we write ‘women’ but we say ‘wimmen/wimmin’. I hear many people on the radio who use the singular when they should have used the plural. We are having nice weather at the moment. Clear blue skies, but still cool, so that will also bring more women onto the streets
The centre of Berlin will be full today of people on demonstration, and around the Hauptbahnhof for that is where refugees from Ukraine arrive. Most are women and children. Charities organise the collection and distribution of clothes, food, medicine etc – as they do in other countries. Good work! Some people also offer rooms in their homes as well as food and clothes. My local AWO has just announced they are also to organise such collections and have appealed for donations and gifts.
You my remember in an earlier post I said that I had lunch at Imre’s home. He cooked Hungarian Gulash served with potatoes. He likes to cook – and to eat, as I mentioned before. Now I have a photo to share with you of Imre enjoying his plate of food. He later ate another full plate! I enjoyed my visit and look forward to the next.
Feb 27 2022
I’ve had a good week including putting my smartphone onto an internet connection via Aldi Talk. Now I have to learn how to use the machine. I had a couple of meetings with people at AWO then Johanna visited on Wednesday afternoon and we had Kaffee und Kuchen. On Thursday I met a small group of seniors and we went on a nice walk in Treptower Park. The last couple of days have been quiet and I have done a lot more reading. I got a call from Imre and he invited me to his home on Monday for lunch. I asked him what he was going to cook and he said, “It’s a surprise!” Nice to get such calls.
Who has a birthday next month? Colin in Australia starts us off with his birthday on the 19th. Back in Berlin, Dr. Günter Porsch will celebrate his big day on the 22nd. Over in Bernau, Dr. Bernd Wittek will celebrate with his family on the 28th. Back in Berlin, Johanna will celebrate her birthday with family and friends on the 31st. Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you are.
Feb 17 2022
It’s really windy here. We had rain and growing wind during the night. Now the rain has stopped but the wind has increased. On the radio I heard that it is really bad in the UK with more high winds tomorrow. I decided to stay at home and catch up on paperwork and reading. This evening there will be a football match on TV so I am looking forward to that. I recently heard a BBC Radio 4 interview with a Prof of Languages from the US. Very interesting and he talked about how English has changed and still is.
New English. Let me share some of this ‘modern English’ with you. Again all heard on BBC Radio 4 mainly from interviews with politicians and business people. Here goes: to make a vote / real time intelligence / beginning part of the year / switch out a president / to continue on / it is hugely modern / to ride out an outbreak /it’s tricky to see / history breaking cover / to be in lock step / it’s vital to grow the numbers / a window remains / we are upskilling.
Feb 13 2022
I’ve had a good week. It’s still cold but the sun is shining more and there have been more blue skies. I’ve also had some nice meetings. It started on Monday when I went to an AWO centre to meet a man who is offering to teach seniors how to use a smartphone. Jutta recently gave me her old one because she had bought a new one. I’m meeting him tomorrow then go to Aldi to look at the Aldi-Talk offers. Back at the AWO he will help me to install the chip and register my purchase. I went on Zoom on Tuesday evening for the online Labour Berlin AGM. Problem of getting enough members online to run the meeting.
I met Johanna on Thursday afternoon for Kaffee und Kuchen and a nice chat. On Friday Dr. Peter arrived for Kaffee und Kuchen. We had apple cake and caught up on news. Nice to see him again and he looked well. On Saturday I went online to attend a Zoom meeting. This time it was the ELTABB AGM. There are some very talented people active in this teacher’s association. I founded it with Krystie many years ago and am now the first Hon. Member!
I also got some interesting internet links from Ian, including a photograph. He lives in Singapur with his wife and they decided to go out for a meal. He was surprised to see a local restaurant offering Knödel with Hungarian Gulash and so ordered it. He said it was very tasty and shows how international Singapur is. Must try some the next time I go there!
Feb 05 2022
The main thing in the last week was going to two birthday meetings. The first was on Wednesday morning when I went to an AWO office. I am a member and also help any seniors who want to improve their English. On Wednesday I meet three seniors one of which is Michael. He is a beginner but gets lots of help from the other two members in the group. He is also active in local senior groups including leading a walking group each Monday. He has a leg problem and needs a walking stick but it doesn’t stop him from leading this group. Well done! After our English session a couple of people arrived and brought snacks and Sekt to celebrate his 60th Birthday. A really nice atmosphere. You can see how happy he was in this photo on the left.
On Thursday I went to Imre’s home to celebrate his 67th Birthday. I found him reflecting on getting older and talking about his future plans. He had previously prepared a very large pan of food. It was a kind of stew. He is a very good cook and likes cooking — and I would also say he likes eating! I had a small plateful for lunch and he ate two large plates. Later his son arrived and two old friends who come from Hungary. Interesting mix of languages. One of his friends only wanted to speak English with me and so he told me about his visits to the north of India to temples for he is a member of a very old Indian Hindu group. He liked talking about his experiences there and I enjoyed listening to him sharing his experiences. He is vegetarian and does not drink alcohol so I had to drink the white wine Imre had bought which came from Hungary. It was delicious and the first time I had seen/drunk this wine. A very nice day. Thanks to Michael and Imre!
Jan 30 2022
It’s still cold but we now have strong winds blowing through the north of Germany. Stay indoors and keep warm is the solution to this fact of nature. I watched a football match on TV last night and dozed off. I crawled into bed and slept until late this morning. I have read more and listened to music on my digital radio – including BBC Radio 4 news reports. I got a call from Imre this morning reminding me to go to his home on Thursday for lunch with a few other people. It’s his birthday so I expect to listen to a lot of Hungarian as we munch out way through his meal.
Who has a birthday in February 2022? My oldest and best friend Alan will be 79 on the 3rd and sure to celebrate with Lynne in Castleford. I wish I could be there. Back in Berlin, Jens Weise will be 52 on the 4th. On the 18th, Dr. Ingeborg Pardon will be 74 on the 18th. I’m looking forward to attending garden parties at her home during summer. Staying in Berlin, Eleonora will be 63 on the 22nd and over in London Adrian Bridge will celebrate his 62nd birthday on the 25th. Peter Bateson over in Australia will be 42 on the 28th and so ends our birthday month. Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you are.
Jan 29 2022
Nothing new to report since my last post. All rather quiet partly due to the cold and wet weather plus reducing contact to other people. You know why – it is called Coronavirus! I have a quiet weekend before me. I’m still doing a lot of reading and fortunately I can go for walks in the garden. Nice to get calls from family and friends. At least the virus has not stopped that! Have a relaxing weekend and stay healthy.
Jan 18 2022
No big changes since my last post. Still spending more time at home, mainly reading and going for a walk in the garden. Last Monday and Tuesday I had to stay and home and let people in to read my water meter and wait for them to turn the water on again. I had a couple of meetings via Zoom and on Thursday I visited a father and son I got to know in the ‘keep-fit-for-seniors’ Friday course. The father has been in hospital with leg problems. It was nice to see them again and catch up on news. On Sunday I was invited to lunch by Martina. Two other ‘Ko-Gang’ ladies were there and I enjoyed NOT being on my own! This week I only have one appointment tomorrow. A very quiet week. I want the weather to get warmer so I can go on longer walks and take public transport to nice places and villages around Berlin.
Jan 09 2022
I’ve had a quiet week which I can describe as ‘normal’ for this time of year. Nothing new or special to report. The main talking points were the weather and the anti-corona marches and demonstrations by those who will not wear a mask or have a vaccine. I’m waiting to be told where to go and when for my No.4. Perhaps in Spring.
I went for a walk with Johanna and we crossed a bridge over the railway lines and S-Bahn lines. Here is a photo of an approaching S-Bahn. It had just left my local station called Karlshorst. We walked further and saw a large construction site. Johanna said 5,000 flats were being built there. It is one of a number of such sites in Berlin. There is a growing shortages of flats and at prices people can afford. Back to walking and we saw a couple of play areas for children with lots of trees, lawns and gardens. Our walk ended at the main road and taking a tram to my local stop.
Next week I have some on-line meetings via Zoom and then to meet a couple on Wednesday morning who need help with a text in English. They have a problem to understand how the English speakers use the simple past tense. The German language has it but few German speakers use it. They use the present perfect tense. I am not the only person to wonder why they have thrown a tense out of the window! Have a relaxing rest of the day.
Jan 02 2022
Start of a new week, month and year. My wish is for the coronavirus to disappear. I’m tired of wearing a mask when I go out and having to get a negative test document before I can enter many places – such as the Philharmonie. The concert was really good with 4 musicians from Bratislava as the stars playing a mixture of music.
I was invited for lunch by Imre yesterday. Very tasty and this time he only ate 2 plates full but they were piled up with food! Lots of talking, then later he showed me a computer programme offering 100 languages to learn. We turned on Spanish and relaxed by repeating the basic words and getting the pronunciation right. Nothing special in my diary for this month – more of the usual meetings and events.
Who has a birthday in January? Emma starts the month with her 4th birthday on the 10th. She’ll be celebrating with her family in Den Haag. Hannelore Dost in the south of France will be 79 on the 13th. Back in Berlin, Harald Porsch will be 57 on th 21st – he’s a member of my Mugg-Gang. Over in Potsdam, Dr. Peter Schmidt will be 38 on the 24th followed by Paul Bateson over in New Zealand who will be 37 on the 27th and in England Scarlett O’D will 14 on the 29th. Back in Berlin Frau Fox will celebrate her 82nd birthday on the 31st of January and so ends our birthday month. Happy Birthday to all and each no matter where you are!
Dec 30 2021
I’ve just returned from having a Corona virus test. The result was negative. Pleased about that. I met Johanna at the test centre and her result was also negative. We needed the tests to get into the Berlin Philharmonie Hall for a concert tomorrow afternoon. It starts at 3.00pm and will be full of the traditional music played in concerts at the end of the year. I shall be there with 3 ladies from the Ko Gang. After, we are going to Martina’s home to enjoy supper together and sip a glass or two.
Yesterday evening Eleonora picked me up and drove to a church in the western area of the city. We met Andrea and her husband and their two little boys. We were invited to the Christening of the latest. His name is Benedict and he is wonderful. I was allowed to hold him and give him a cuddle. That really made my day. Looking forward to cuddling him again in the New Year.
That takes me to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year with good health as we enter another period of fighting the Corona virus. Have a great time with your family and friends and stay healthy in the New Year 🙂
Dec 26 2021
I woke late this morning, pulled the curtains back and was surprised to see clear blue sky and sunshine, No clouds but it was -10 °c on my balcony then. It is now -4° and all the snow in the garden has gone. Yesterday I started the day as usual with a light breakfast. I then opened my mail. Really nice to read all the messages and best wishes on the Christmas cards. I got 31 and you can see them in this photo. Many thanks to all who sent them.
I then got ready to travel to Imre’s home. It took nearly one hour yesterday because of reduced transport services. I rang the bell and was soon in his flat. He greeted me warmly and said how grateful he was that I had chosen to spend Christmas afternoon with him. He had already cooked a very large pan of food. You can see how large in this photo. He had bought me a bottle of chenin blanc so I started the meal with a glass and then came the food
He had cooked pieces of goose with lots of vegetables. He drank orange juice because he does not drink alcohol. This time he only ate two plates of food. My single smaller plate was enough. It was very tasty and he talked about cooking such food when he lived in Hungary.
We then moved into another room and there I saw his new large Apple desktop computer. He had also bought a book full of information about how to use such a computer. He opened the computer and showed me some of the things it could do. I was impressed and spent some time on it. Many years ago I had an Apple computer but this one had many new functions and programmes. For me the drawback is the cost. Such a computer is not cheap. After more talking I put on my coat and left for home. A very interesting time with an entertaining person.
Dec 24 2021
I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and stay healthy as you celebrate. The high point of last weekend was on Saturday when I was invited to lunch by Jan and his mother. Really nice to see him again and listening to him talk about being a father to two wonderful little girls. I had two physiotherapy appointments last week. I have just returned from having a long, lazy Christmas breakfast given by Jutta. Two other nice ladies were there and it was interesting listening to them talking about how they had celebrated Christmas when they were children.
Tomorrow I am going to Imre’s for what he calls ‘a Hungarian Christmas dinner’. Sounds interesting! He is a good cook and he likes to eat when he is with people. I wonder how much he will eat this time! On Boxing day I shall have ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ at the home of father Horst and son Thomas and their little dog. I got to know Horst in the Keep Fit sessions for older people some years ago. I think they just want another pair of ears to talk to = me!
Modern English: I shall close with a list of words/phrases I heard on BBC Radio 4. All came from interviews with politicians. a cleaner outcome / nett zero/ to step up to the plate / to increase up / a nailed on project / super destressed / a package of support / to hold the water line / a catch up fund / very profoundly significant / train people up.
PS: It’s snowing again. Here you can see the snow in part of my garden.
Dec 18 2021
Since my last post I have had a quiet time with nothing special to report. Three meetings/concert were cancelled due to Corona virus threat. The new one is spreading very quickly here – as it is in the UK and other EU countries. Jan is visiting me tomorrow afternoon which I am really looking forward to. He is in Berlin for a couple of days before returning home and then taking his family to Spain for Christmas. Also tomorrow afternoon I shall turn on Skype to talk to Andrew, who as some of you know is my nephew. I need to improve my ability to use Skype. Next week looks to also be quiet as we slip into the pre-Christmas period. Enjoy your weekend.
Dec 09 2021
It’s just started to snow again. It first snowed nearly a week ago then again last night. It was snowing earlier when I walked to my physiotherapy appointment. There was a break over lunchtime and then again the snow is turning everything white. I took these photos last week but the recent snow storms are much longer and heavier. It is also much colder with minus degrees at night and 2 or 3°C during the day.
Nothing special has happened since my last post. I spend more time alone because of the spread of the latest corona virus. Many people who have had two vaccinations have a code on their smartphone and show it whenever the want to enter many buildings. Mine is all on paper for an obvious reason!
Last Friday the ELTABB monthly meeting planned to take place in a Christmas Market was cancelled – for health/safety reasons. The SPD Lichtenberg Christmas meeting for elderly members, planned for next Tuesday in a local hotel, has also been cancelled, for the same reason. I am booked to go to a concert next Wednesday evening in Berlin Cathedral. I wonder if that will take place. I have no appointments this weekend so I shall find something to do when I am not reading. It all depends on the weather. Perhaps I’ll just get on a train and go somewhere. Let’s see!
Dec 02 2021
I went to the Berliner Philharmonie last Sunday afternoon. I went with Johanna and two other nice ladies. The concert started at 4.00pm and about 80% of the seats were taken by an audience most of which were older than 65. The cold but dry weather with sunshine perhaps played a part in bringing so many to the concert hall. Everyone was controlled at each entrance and had to show evidence that they had had anti-corona injections and passed an infection test. This is becoming part of normal life here now.
The Sinfonie Orchester Berlin played, and was directed by Radek Baboräk who also played the horn. He comes from the Czech Republic from a musical family and started playing the horn as a schoolboy. Later he moved to Germany and began to make a name as a skilled musician. There were 4 pieces of music to listen to and it started wit Jean Sibelius, Finlandia Op. 26. Then we heard Mozart’s Konzert für Horn and Orchester Nr. 4. Es.Dur KV495 followed by Peter Tschaikowsky: Romeo und Julia, Fantasie Ouvertür nach Shakespeare. Then it was time for a break and the concert ended with Tschaikowsky’s Symphonie Nr. 4 f-Moll Op. 36. Lots of clapping to show that the audience had enjoyed the concert then into the early evening and off home. A really nice way to spend an afternoon.
Nov 27 2021
I’ve been busy since Thursday showing Tony and Rita around parts of Berlin. They live in London and I met Tony many years ago when I went to university. He is now a lecturer at London University. I last saw them about five years ago when we went to Ian and Birgit’s chalet in Austria to enjoy a week of skiing. Tony had been to Berlin before but not Rita. They both settled very quickly into life here and even visited a friend from the US who lives in the west of the town with his family. On Thursday I met them at their hotel on Fischerinsel in the centre. We explored the area taking in the town hall and many other interesting buildings, statues and historical sights. We ended the day at my place for supper and agreed on a plan for next day.
We met and took the S-Bahn to Potsdam. Here we visited all the main sights in the old centre of the town including a number of palaces. They later met their friend and went back with him to have a festive evening with his family. Today I took them to Müggelsee to Berlin’s largest lake. They really liked it and now have a list of other places to visit on their visit to Berlin planned for next Spring.
Who has a birthday in December? Stephen Block starts us off with his 61st on the 7th in Berlin. Over in the UK, Evie will be 13 on the 18th. Over in Yorkshire, Julie Bolton will be 47 on the 29th and shares the day with Thomas from Berlin who will be 61. Also in Berlin, Broz-1 will be 21 on the 24th. On the 28th, near to Brighton, Neil Dickinson will be 75 and shares the day with Stefan Schöneberg who will celebrate his 38th with his new wife! Ian Maxwell over in Australia will be 62 on the 30th and ends this month of birthdays. Have a great day no matter where you are!
Nov 23 2021
I’ve had a normal week since my last post. Nothing of particular interest to report. You know I had a corona test nearly three months ago. I was near to the same test centre late morning and decided to go in. It only took about 20 minutes and I was pleased to receive a statement saying I tested negative — hooray! People are being urged to take more and regular tests. There has been a steep rise in the number of reported corona cases. The same is happening in the UK. On Thursday I’m meeting a couple from London at their hotel in the centre. They are here until Sunday so I shall help them to discover the many faces of Berlin. Looking forward to that.
Nov 14 2021
It’s been a relatively quiet week since I last posted. I have only gone out for fixed appointments or for shopping. Why? Because the number of covid cases has climbed to a record high. The same happened in the UK. Given the high number of people with injections against covid here, I really cannot understand why there was such an increase. I had a couple of visitors and enjoyed sipping a glass of something nice with them and catching up on news.
I went to the orthopädie clinic on Monday only to discover me health insurance card was no longer valid – although the date on the card said it was valid! I received a temporary card yesterday so I am going back to the clinic tomorrow. I also needed to replace another card at my local government office only to be told it was no longer possible in person. I had to send my documents by post. Still waiting for them to be returned to me. The big event for me today is to watch Germany play against Armenia at football, starting at 6.00pm local time. Guess which team I want to win! Enjoy your Sunday evening. Result: German team won 4:1
Nov 05 2021
It is the 5th November which means it is Bonfire Day in the UK. Lots of fireworks with the fires in the evening and toffees, grilled food and of course, all washed down with a beer, or two! The origin was a few hundred years ago when a man called Guy Fawkes and friends put gunpowder into the cellars under the Houses of Parliament to blow up the King and members of parliament. They were arrested by guards before they could light the gunpowder. They were later executed. Now it is a festival in the UK. Have fun and enjoy your sausages grilled in the bonfires!
Oct 30 2021
I recently listened to a BBC Radio 4 late evening news broadcast. The interviewer was a woman and she talked to two women. I was surprised to hear so much ‘modern’ English in their exchanges. Here are some of the things I heard –
wiggle room / an up tick / a backlog of issues / leveling up / an uplift / down the line / to partner up / to be best pleased / a step change / a pension dashboard. I really wonder where the English language is going when I hear such things.
Who has a birthday in November? Daniel in Berlin starts us off with his 25th on the 2nd November. Jeff over in The Netherlands will be 66 on the 19th. Sarah in London will be 61 on the 22nd followed by Stephen (Seitz) in Berlin who will be 64 on the 29th and so ends this birthday month. Happy Birthday to each and all no matter where you are!