Machmallauter

Here’s another hit from the mid-70’s.  BFBS Germany was always playing this hit during my time as pads brat. Surpringly enough it’s not played very often these days, even on the golden oldies hour.

Have a Windy City day, won’t you!

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“No School Tomorrow” 2

Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, coined the expression, “Alarm clock Britain,” the people who have to get up in the morning and go to work.  I’m part of Alarm Clock Germany.

It’s 20:00 on Monday evening.  It’s monthly church council meeting.  Budget time.  Our treasurer is taking us through the list of repairs planned for this financial year.  I sit back and listen.  I day dream.  I munch a biscuit.  I munch another biscuit…. and another.  In fact, nearly a pack gone.  I sip my tea.

The repairs list should really be nodded through.  It all has to be done.  The sooner, the better.

Billy butts in and asks about repairs to the vestry window.  Can we get a lower quote?

Billy butts in and asks about repairs to the church boiler.  Can that be delayed?

Billy butts in and asks about replacements to the chairs in church.  How old are the chairs?

I lose interest.  I check my mobile to see if there are any Whatsapp messages from Grasshopper.  I pick up my Lamy fountain pen and start to jot down my shopping list for my next visit to Aldi.  Others round the table seem to be doing similar.  The vicar sitting next to me takes the tea pot and pours himself another cup of tea.  He needs caffeine to keep him awake while Billy drones on about each individual item.

Finally we take a vote on repairs.  A nearly unanimous vote for the programme of repairs.  Billy is opposed.

The next agenda items are discussed at length, and rightly so.

Finally, at 22:05 we reach AOB: Any Other Business.  (Please, please, Mr Chairman, hopefully none, so we can all go home.)

Billy:

Yes, I want to ask why we are installing poles in the church car park?  Are they necessary?

Ginge in Germany:

With the greatest respect, do we really need to discuss this topic here and now, at 22:07 on a Monday evening.

Billy (hackles starting to rise):

Yes, we do.  This is an important health and safety issue.

All around the meeting room, eyes roll.  We have run out of biscuits.  The tea has all been drunk.  We all want to go home.

[Tedious dull technical discussion about trip hazards.  Billy utters his must-say expression: “At my last church in England, we…”]

I doodle a stick man, a pine tree and a cat face in my notebook.  I day dream of the last meal I had down my local curry house.

Billy stops speaking.  It’s now 22:20.

I interject:

Is that the end?  Some of us have school tomorrow.

Vicar:

Yes, I think so.  Shall we say The Grace?

We say The Grace and the meeting concludes.

Billy looks like he wants to carry on having a windbag, probably about the colour of the tea towels in the church hall kitchen.  Not at 22:23, thanks, mate…

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23:00 I climb into bed, tune in to BBC Radio 4 and set my alarm clock for 07:00 tomorrow.  Billy sends me a Whatsapp message about the trip hazards of small holes in the ground.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

Have a stimulating day, won’t you!

Do Your Homework First…

Evenin’ all! A slightly rhetorical question for you all.  What is “research” these days?  Let’s head to our local pub and meet our Kneipenprofessor.

person holding glass filled with liqour

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

Pub Expert:

I’ve been researching this topic.

Other person:

Oh, you mean you wrote a paper on the subject citing at least 10-15 reputable sources, summarising all the current thinking, stating your own hypothesis and then introducing the original work you did in the attempt to confirm or disprove this hypothesis before reaching a conclusion and giving further possible directions for study, after which you got it published in a reputable journal in the field and peer-reviewed?

Pub Expert:

Er, no, I looked at some websites that I agree with.

smartphone outside hiking technology

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This afternoon I was drinking coffee with fellow members of church, when Holocaust Memorial Day was mentioned.

As soon as I mentioned the day, Billy butted in:

Oh, that’s only about the Jews 1933-1945.

My blood pressure immediately doubled.  Billy has once again engaged mouth before brain.  Yet again…

Sharp intake of breath.

G in G:

No, it’s not.  It’s also about holocausts and genocides in ex-Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Tibet, Burma and many other conflicts.

Billy:

It is only about the Jews.  I’ve been researching this topic for twenty years.

G in G:

With respect [A British expression meaning, “I consider you to be a complete and total idiot”] I visited Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1978.  I also listened to a radio interview with the chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust this morning.

Billy:

Oh.

I am then reminded of the English barrister, F E Smith, and his famous exchange with a judge.

Judge: I’ve listened to you for an hour and I’m none the wiser.

Smith: None the wiser, perhaps, My Lord, but certainly better informed.

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This evening I decided to send out an email to the three people who were in that discussion.

****

Good evening all

Following on from this afternoon’s discussion in the Meeting Room concerning the purpose of Holocaust Memorial Day, I thought it prudent to share some important facts.

  1. The day is by no means only about the murder of German and European Jews under Nazism.  Please refer to the Memorial Day Trust’s link: https://www.hmd.org.uk/what-is-holocaust-memorial-day/
  2. As you can see, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust states explicitly: “Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. We promote and support Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) – the international day on 27 January to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the millions of people killed under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.”  (My emphasis in italics.)
  3. The key point to note here is that history repeats itself, with human beings being murdered for being the “wrong” ethnic background, not just for being Jewish, but also for being Roma, Hutu, Tutsi, Croat/Bosniak/Serb (in the former Yugoslavia conflicts of the early 1990s), Rohinga, Tibetan, Uighur, etc.
  4. On a very personal note, I myself visited Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1978.  Ever since then, I have studied genocide in conflicts.  Further, in the first half of the 90’s, my father worked for British Direct Aid in former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda (during and in the aftemath of both conflicts, albeit not at the peak of the former conflict).
  5. Former comrades of mine from the British Army’s Intelligence Corps have told me about carrying out war crime investigations and finding mass graves that contained multiple layers from more than one conflict: 1990’s civil war, Second World War, possibly more.
  6. In conclusion, this is why Holocaust Memorial Day exists: namely, to echo the sentiments of Remembrance Day – Lest we forget.  Sadly, and to our eternal shame before God, we humans forget history time and time again.

I’m sorry I feel it necessary to write a serious email this evening, but I do consider it essential to explain what this day is all about, and also why I feel so strongly about the subject.

Finally, let us all please pray for peace on God’s earth this week.

Yours in Christ,

Ginge in Germany

****

Have a well-informed day, won’t you!

woman in black long sleeved looking for books in library

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I love Masham

I love the Yorkshire Dales.  One of my favourite places is Masham.  (Note: pronounced “Mass ‘em,” not “Mash ‘em.”)  Here’s where it is in North Yorkshire.

So what’s there to see at Masham?

  • September sheep fair, where you can actually stroke a sheep on its head, when it’s in a sheep pen and wants to be stroked like a dog.
  • Bi-weekly market, to be found on the Market Square (funny, that). That’s Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Bargains and banter always guaranteed.  Masham market was where I first ate a delicious, crunchy Pink Lady apple.
  • Bordar House Café on the market square. I can heartily recommend their all-day breakfasts and omelettes.  Food p0rn par excellence!
  • St Mary’s church, a most impressive and fascinating building which has been there for years.
  • Two breweries (yes – two), namely Theakstons and Black Sheep breweries. Depending on wind direction, you can smell the malt up to seven (7) miles away, a treat for the olfactory nerves.

(For more information, click on www.visitmasham.com .)

Masham was regarded as The Bustling Metropolis in the mid-70’s, when our family used to fly over from our German garrison town and spend the summer in our Grandma’s Yorkshire Dales hamlet.  Wednesday mornings saw the once-weekly bus arrive at the village to take you to Masham market, the premier shopping experience.  Life was very quiet in the mid-70’s compared to nowadays.  In fact, the highlight of the day for us three pads brats was to sit by the village postbox and watch the postman open said object and throw the contents thereof into his sack.  This was pre-smartphone days.

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As for the postboxes in Masham, there are, I regret to say, no exciting ones there – just normal E II R ones.  Finally, Masham post office is where I bought my first scrapbook (hardback A4 writing book, back in November 2013.) How time flies, eh?

Have a “massive” day, won’t you!

The Back-Seat Driver: Part 94

The back-seat driver.  In German: der Co-Trainer. The armchair expert, Kneipenprofessor, who knows your job better than you do (because they saw this done in a movie or on YouTube).  The bane of my life, and quite possibly of yours, my dear reader.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then we’ll begin.  Time to write through gritted teeth.  I shall wear a smile.  Here it is for you.

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Let me outline the background of this article for you.  Our church treasurer is of Welsh origin, but quite Germanic in his view that:

Ordnung muss sein.

The treasurer noticed a week ago that we had two large boxes at the back of church.

  • One for used stamps to donate to charity.  In the UK, pretty much every small business had an A4 envelope full of such stamps, which the secretary or office junior would then take once in a while to the local charity shop.  (You get the idea.)
  • The other contained a whole load of spectacles, also to give to a Third World charity.

Both boxes have never been emptied in the near seven years that I have been attending this church.

Never, never, never, never.  In seven (7) years.  Never, never, never, never. 

Let’s cut to the chase.  Last week after seeing the two un-loved boxes one time too many, I undertook to take both boxes with me to the local charity shop.  After I had taken the box of spectacles to the shop this morning, I sent out a round-robin to church members via Whatsapp.

We have taken our collection of spectacles for the Third World to charity shop.  They are very happy.

Within minutes, messages of unbridled adulation flood into my inbox.

You are the finest human being I have ever met.

Truly you are a blessing in my life.

I am filled with endless gratitude to you for your sterling efforts and endless, selfless devotion to the work of the church, and indeed, to the human race.

And much, much more.

I tell a lie.  I get one message from the treasurer:

Cheers, mate.

Other than that one, I then receive a bombardment of Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells messages from Billy, our “in-house” back-seat driver and giver of unsolicited advice.  He was challenging my decision to discontinue the collecting of stamps and spectacles.  I explain that, members of the congregation are grown-up enough to take their donations directly to the charity.  (Well, actually, Billy probably isn’t.)  He then combines his Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells comments with passive aggressive comments concluding in, “But of course, you’re in charge, and you you know best, and you probably have your reasons for your decision.”  (Think of when a woman answers you with “Fine.”)

(Yes, Billy, I do have good reasons, and I’ve just spent ten minutes of my life explaining the rationale, context, whys and wherefores thereof.)

Message after message, after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message…

“Billy must be bored today,” I sigh to myself.

In the end, Billy has the last word and informs me he is “far too busy to discuss this matter until tomorrow.”  A reprieve. I anticipate the next chapter at about 02:20 when he gets up for a night-time loo break.  I say the words that every ex-HM Forces person, every pads brat utters at least once a month.

Bl00dy civvies.

I then get on with my jobs at church:

  • Shiftin’ and liftin’ fifty stacking chairs back into the church hall
  • Writing a thank you card to Grasshopper for some highly amusing videos about protein powder
  • Nibbling a couple of small mince pies left for me by our catering team
  • Advising the catering team how to bake mince pies because that’s how my last church used to make them  (Er no thanx, I’ll leave that to Billy to butt in)

Have an advisory day, won’t you!

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I Wouldn’t Give Tuppence for All of the Rest…

We English are a strange bunch.  We love understatement.

It’s not really my cup of tea.

(“I can’t stand it at all.”)

I’m not full of joy.

(“I need a ton of Prozac right now.”)

I got a little bit sunburnt today.

(“I have third-degree burns over 80% of my body.”)

Do you want to know if an English person likes you or not?  Try this very useful flowchart.

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Have you ever experienced a mishap?  For example, do you ever want sympathy when your pizza order has been delivered to the wrong address, and Pizzas’R’Us refuse to refund you?  Then don’t post the news on Facebook.  Your German neighbours will share their sympathy and outrage:

Das ist eine absolute Unverschämtheit!  Das geht gar nicht!  Was für eine Frechheit!

Your English friends and neighbours will just mock you and troll you for hours and hours. They will:

  • Tell you how they really enjoyed eating the pizza Hawaiian and Classico that arrived unexpectedly some thirty minutes ago
  • Post sarcastic comments about part-eaten pizzas
  • Post photos of part-eaten pizzas
  • Crack even more jokes at your expense when you react with anger

Cue joke:

Well, it’s Advent now, so here’s a seasonal joke for y’all.  Good King Wenceslas walks into Pizzas’R’Us and orders a pizza. 

“And how would you like your pizza?”

“Same as ever, please.  Deep pan, crisp and even.”

  • You will get no sympathy of your English neighbours.  None.  Zilch.  Not a drop.

You will have to either get angry, or just admit defeat and join in with the mocking.  The English are best!

Have an English day, won’t you!

Going for an Indian

I’ve been living in Germany for nearly seven years.  What do I miss from the UK?  A good curry house.  Let me qualify that.  Düsseldorf has a few curry houses.  But DUS is a big city, with about as many curry houses as a small town in England.  Indian cuisine is as exotic in Germany as Vietnamese is in England.

My favourite curry house in DUS?  Rajarbaar, literally the Court of the King.  Always great for Sunday buffet.  Always does a good lamb saag, and always does a delicious mango chicken (Schatz’ favourite).  The owner, Sahibji, is always hospitable and willing to put up with banter such as:

Congress zindabad!

(He’s a BJP supporter.)

DUS may not have the quantity, but it certainly has the quantity.

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Have curried day, won’t you!