Street Jewelry

Oz, a character in the hit 1980s comedy drama, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, once observed:

These German bricks lack the panache of British bricks.

I’ve thought the same on a number of occasions, when looking at Gewrman postboxes.  One of the distinguishing features of German postboxes seems to be grafitti, something I have rarely seen on Royal Mail postboxes.

Therefore, I was most impressed some days ago, when strolling through the scenic village of Kaiserswerth, to see two posboxes that were grafitti-free.  Praise be to the people and visitors to Kaiserswerth.

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Klemensplatz

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Kaiserswerth post office

Have a presentable day, won’t you!

Comedy Dystopia

Praise be to www.meetup.com !  This week I went to a creative writers evening in a city centre cafe.  Friendly people, well-organised, and a very enjoyable “Stimmung” (atmosphere).  Lots of envelopes packed full of prompts, ideas for a story.

Here’s the prompt I selected.

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This presented a challenge for me.

  • I’m not a woman.
  • I’m not very experienced at writing “He said… she said… tears rolling down to her chin…” prose.

Then I thought of SJ, an ex-girlfriend of mine from decades ago and a diatribe of a voicemail she left me when our relationship ended, full of invective and sarcasm.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Bingo!  I had my material to respond to this prompt.  Thirty minutes later I read out my piece.  It gets a laugh.  And another one.  And another.  Phew, the people are either very polite, or they got the dark humour and digs at the Family Values Member of Parliament.

The expression, comedy dystopia, was then coined by one of the other attendees.

I like that expression.

1984 as a satirical comedy?

The Trial as a musical?

Feel free to stick any ideas or complete manuscripts into your nearest postbox.

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Drop us a line or two!

Have a dystopic 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…

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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!

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!