I haven’t heard that for ages!

There was a singer in the 1960s by the name of Marty Wilde.  He had a daughter, who nowadays presents gardening programmes.  Germans who visit Schley might be interested.  Back in the 1980s, however, Kim Wilde was much more famous for hits like this Knaller from 1981.

Have a Wilde day, won’t you!

 

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In peace – goodwill

In war – determination.

In defeat – defiance.

In victory – magnanimity.

In peace – goodwill.

Wise words from Winston Churchill.

During World War II and even up till 1948, many German prisoners of war (PW) were kept in the United Kingdom and proved to be most useful as a labour force, especially on farms, auf dem Lande.

All the PW’s would be dropped off at their place of work at 0700 every morning.  They would have head back to their PW camp, a converted manor house, in the evening.  Their rations for the day: a tin of corned beef, barely edible for a dog, let alone a man working in the fields.

One such PW worked on my great-grandad’s farm in the Yorkshire Dales.  I forget his name (It’s mentioned in a recent letter from my 80-year-old uncle A from Bedale.)  Let’s call him Ralph.

When his employer’s family found out that Ralph:

  1. Was not a Nazi, just another conscript, doing his job
  2. Was a motor mechanic
  3. He was a good “grafter,” full of Teutonic efficiency
  4. Had food rations thatwere not fit for purpose
  5. Was an all-round nice guy

the family pretty much adopted him.

They invited him to join them as honoured guest for lunchtime every day, including Sunday roast with gallons of gravy and Yorkshire pudding.

Finally, when Ralph was sent back to Germany in 1948, home addresses were exchanged.  Every Christmastime Christmas cards would be exchanged between t’Dales and Hamburg, Ralph’s home.

In 1964 my Uncle A was posted to the BAOR, British Army of the Rhine.  He then visited Ralph in Hamburg and had a few beers with him, also meeting his wife and children.

Uncle A and Ralph kept in contact for years even when Uncle A was posted to Northern Ireland.  Eventually the Christmas cards stopped.  Ralph had passed away.  The final correspondence was a condolence card sent to Ralph’s family some time in the 1960’s.

Aus Feind wird Freund.

Have a friendly day, won’t you!

hands people friends communication

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

Please call the church warden on…

The vicar is away for several weeks’ holidays.  That means anyone phoning the vicarage with queries is asked to phone me as church warden.  I don’t mind.  Happy to help.  Variety is the spice of life, and I get a wide variety of calls.

First call of the hols – yesterday

Unknown mobile, a lady’s voice:

Hallo.  Do you spik Englisch or Cherman?

G in G:

Würden Sie lieber auf Deutsch reden?

WE speak in German.  The caller is one of the local undertakers.  An English lady has recently died.  As she’s not Catholic, the local Catholic priest won’t bury her.  Can the Anglican priest come to … Cemetery this Friday and bury her ashes in an urn?

G in G:

No.  He’s on holiday abroad this month.  How urgent is it?

Untertaker:

It’s not urgent.  Her ashes are in an urn.

A very practical, German answer.

I email the vicar and cc: the undertaker to assess next steps.

Today the untertaker writes back to advise the local Catholic priest will, after all, bury the English lady’s ashes.  Very kind of him.

floral design steel container

Photo by Othmar Vigl on Pexels.com

This afternoon I decide to sit in the library in the city centre in order to:

  1. Read the Torygraph
  2. Write my diary
  3. Think of some blog writing to plan for my avid readers thereof

Another phone call from an unknown mobile number.  It’s a semi-regular member of congregation.

Can the vicar countersign some passport and birth certificate documentation, please?

G in G:

No.  He’s on holiday this month.  What’s the situation?  Maybe I can help?

It turns out:

  • The fiance is a national of country X
  • but was born in country Y
  • and also has a passport of country Z

Fiancee is a German national, but has decided that she and fiance will get married in Caribbean country XX, which requires about 300 copies of doxs (countersigned by a doctor, teacher, priest or person of similar standing) in order for a marriage to take place there.  But if all else fails, they will marry in a German registry office to make it all legal.

G in G:

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright, I think I understand.  Where are you right now?

Semi-regular member of congregation (SMOC):

We’re at the airport.

G in G:

If you’d like to come to the library in the city centre, I can take a look and countersign.

SMOC’s fiance turns up thirty minutes later.  We sit in the library.  I have a brainwave.

Let’s jump in your car and head to the church.  We have a selection of rubber stamps there.  That’ll make everything look more official .

Twenty minutes later we reach the church office.  I grab the official rubber stamps and the ink pad.  I take a sheet of A4 paper from the photocopier.

Thump, thump!   Thump, thump!

For a moment, I felt like I was an immigration official at passport control.

I show the sample rubber stamps to SMOC and fiance.  They are happy.

I take the copies of passport and driving licence.  Fountain pen out, I write:

I certify…

I open the ink pad again.

Thump, thump!

Church rubber stamp next to my signature and at the bottom of the page.  Off you go!

person holding brown stamp

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Have a rubbery day, won’t you!

We got it licked…

We got it licked… but only partially.  Some of my stamps are self-adhesive.

In Germany, Deutsche Post postage rates increased on 1 July.  Were the new stamps for sale on that day?  After all, they had been telling everyone for months in advance about the new rates.  Teutonic efficiency, and all that…

No.  Nope.  Nein. Нет.

Not to worry.

British.  And less of your Johnny Foreigner nonsense!

I just took the Stückelung approach.  July 1st was also the day when new commemorative stamps came out.  Astronomy seems to be the current theme. My budget did not stretch to the 3.70€ Moon landing, however.

astro2

I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

  1. Stock up on stamps at the new rate, eg international postage starting at 1.10€ instead of 0.90€.
  2. Use the old stamps, and add some smaller-value stamps to plug the gap.
astro1

L-R: National postcard rate, international letter rate, national letter rate

If I’m going to have to pay more for postage, I may as well stick more stamps on my letters and postcards, especially as my Uncle A in Yorkshire is a born-again stamp collector.

stk1

Stamps with Stückelung: 9 stamps on an international letter – result!

stk2

A large letter: birthday card, albeit with “only” four stamps on – must try harder!

stk

Two large letters, with a nice array of postage stamps – es lebe die Stückelung!

Have a philatelic day, won’t you!

It is right to give thanks and praise…

It is indeed right.  It is our duty and our joy.

It certainly is.  What am I talking about?  Let us, as the psychiatrists say, go back to childhood.

When I was celebrating my birthday as army brat living in Germany, my mum would make me sit down at the kitchen table to write thank-you letters to my grandparents for my birthday money – even for the £1 note that my Grandma would send me.  And not just:

Thanks for the money you sent me.
Love,
Ginge in Germany

No, it had to be properly constructed – followed by a guaranteed ten-minute nagging session of my mother about how scruffy my handwriting was.   Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I hope you are well.  Thank you for the £1 birthday present.  It was a very nice surprise. 
I will use the money to buy a very nice book that I saw in the shop last week.  It is all about dinosaurs.  I think it will be very interesting.  It has lots of pictures of triceratops, which is my favourite dinosaur. 
Love,
Ginge in Germany

And actually, I do think writing such a letter and expressing gratitude is a very worthwhile exercise.

manners

Last year, one church council meeting just before the summer holidays started, we had a lengthy discussion about how to encourage members of congregation to give of their time to church, whether that be as:

  • Sidesperson
  • Catering staff
  • Intercessions
  • Readings
  • Cleaning
  • Maintenance
  • Sunday school helper
  • etc etc etc

I suggested a simple way: go back to childhood habits.   Send a handwritten thank you card to everyone who hase given of their time to church.  I’ve never been a backseat driver.  I rarely say:

Someone should do that.

I say:

I will do that.

The day after that meeting, I spent three hours in the church meeting room, fountain pen by my side, bottle of navy blue ink by my side, a pile of dm thank-you card (50 cents each – bargain!) on the table in front of me.  Oh yes, and a few sheets of postage stamps (non-self-adhesive), also on the table next to my church directory.

Card to:

  • Adrian Aardvark…
  • Billy and Sally Boyne…
  • Carol Cardomah…
  • Zachary Zilman

…finished.  (Time for a cup of tea.)

Total number of cards sent last year: 33.  I counted every single one of them.  Not bad, when you consider our congregation consists of about 90 people.

What was the reaction?  They loved it.  I had so many people coming up to me at the next service after the cards were sent, saying,

Hey, thank you so much for your card.  I wondered what it was when I came back off holiday!  Really nice to be appreciated.

This year I decided to do the same.  I just hope I haven’t missed anybody out.  On the way to my office I had to stop off that local post to ask the nice lady who works there for some nice, attractive stamps.

And here they are…

thanks2

thanks3

thanks4

thanks1

After several hours – the finished product!

It is good to show proper appreciation at least once a year to volunteer, who do so much for our church.  People appreciate being appreciated.  Say it with flowers a handwritten card!

This year: 37 cards sent.

Have an appreciative day, won’t you!