Happy World Book Day!

So to deal with the issue of listlessness, here is my favourite books list on World Book Day 2016.

  • 1984, by George Orwell.  The only book I’ve read cover to cover four times.
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Solzhenitsyn.  I’ve read that book three times.
  • Gulag Archipelago, again by Solzhenitsyn.  It took me about three years to read it, mainly on the loo in my flat in Bracknell, but well worth reading.
  • Anything in the Dummies series of books.  (Well, almost anything.)
  • The Bumper Book of Government Waste, by Lee Rotherham.  Very entertaining and informative.
  • The Penguin Russian Course, by JJL Fennell.  It was *the* must-have book till the mid-90’s.
  • The Berlin Wall, by Frederick Taylor.  I bought that at Newcastle Airport while awaiting my flight to Düsseldorf.  Three hours later, I was still reading the book at the passport control queue on arrival in Germany.

Have a literary day, won’t you!

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Sunray down – not long now

So, the latest sitrep on Sunray (from A1 source, for those of you familar with G2 terminology) does not make pleasant reading.

His house:

  • Stinks of stale urine
  • Has empty bottles of whisky everywhere
  • Has empty packets of Benson & Hedges lying everwhere

Sunray:

  • Is dirty, unkempt and unwashed
    • Hard to believe that we are talking about an ex-22-year SNCO of the British Army
  • Has been banned from three pharmacies in his area due to his “anger management issues”
    • Losing his temper like a two-year-old not getting his favourite sweets in the supermarket because the shop assistant took ten minutes to process his prescription:
      • Find his tablets
      • Count them
      • Get them checked out by the dispenser and pharmacist
      • Hand them over to him

Am I beyond caring?  No.

Am I beyond worrying?  Yes.  I can do no more to help him.  Yes, I could:

  • Fly over on the next available flight from Düsseldorf to Teesside
  • Sit with him 24/7 (“I’m a lonely old man.”)
  • Keep him company, listen to “all his war stories” (insert barracks name, rank and unit to create a Sunray war story, eg:

    At Osnabrück in 1964 this WO2 in the Green Jackets…

and still achieve nothing.  Instead, I’d be employed as his gopher (“go for this, go for that”) all hours of the day to nip down to the shop and get his daily fix of intoxicating liquor.

His catchphrase the morning after the night before is:

I am NEVER, EVER drinking again.

One day, probably within weeks, not months, he’ll stick to that promise.  When he dies.

Meanwhile, life goes on for the rest of planet Earth, including his offspring.

Have a sober day, won’t you!

WF – WTF????

So, all in all, a most enjoyable trip to Wolfenbüttel last weekend, visiting childhood, pads brat haunts in the days when the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) (“Besatzungsarmee”) were resident at BFPO 33.

More later as I warm up into reminisce mode.  But first of all, switch on rant mode.  Stand by for the next bit to sound like a clip from That’s Life.

After settling in at our hotel, I asked reception to order me a taxi to Danziger Strasse, where our family’s old pad was.  The miserable, sullen taxi driver from Altstadt Alt-Twat Taxis (turned up ten minutes later, barking orders at someone on his mobile.  He drove me and the Lovely Doctor C to said destination.  €20.  The journey seemed a bit longer than the last time I visited WF in April 2001, but I was aware of the road closure.  Maybe that was the reason.  Anyway I was more interested in visting the old married quarters, strolling round the old barracks, enjoying the glorious sunshine, etc.

Return journey – somewhat shorter, fare: €7.40.  The Lovely Dr C and I were amazed.  We told the taxi driver what we had paid on the outbound leg, €13 more than “on the flip-flop” (early 80’s CB radio-speak).  He, too, was stunned.  So, too was the taxi driver who drove us back from the cocktail bar that evening.  Who needs the internet when you have taxi drivers?  I’m sure tongues will be wagging back at the office.  Guess who I told about the incident?

  • A whole regiment of online 16th/5th Lancers
  • The driver who took us back to Braunschweig on the Sunday morning, who apologised most profusely for the Alt-Twat Taxis’ driver’s action
  • The cocktail stand owner, who is going to tell a group of 40 old soldiers (who come every year to WF for a reunion)
  • Last, but by no means, οὐ µή (ou ), least, hotel reception, who immediately placed Alt-Twat Taxis on a black list.

Herr Taxifahrer, you may have fleeced me of €13, but the last laugh is on you, my friend.

(To quote Esther Rantzen, “Cyril…”)

We’re Protestant, we’re Proud…

Actually, relieved might be the more appropriate adjective, rather than those words from Billy’s Boys.  Today I attended the Roman Catholic first communion of the son of the Lovely Doctor’s cousin.  Does that make him a first cousin once removed?  Irrelevant…  Nice church, big.  Far bigger than my own Anglican church in DUS.  But, boy, was that service/mass long.  Nearly two hours long.  And standing room only.  Not my cup of tea.  But I’m glad I went.  Interesting to see how the other half live, how the other half worship.

  • Did the mass “add value”?  (A bit of business jargon there.)
  • How many of the first communicants and their families will worship there again (at least, in the near future)?
  • Given that the attention span of most children and even most adults is finite, why allow it to last so long?

It all seems to me, a practising low-church Anglican, a bit odd (British understatement) to make a child’s first exposure to church such a long, drawn-out, not exactly “user-friendly” event.  Roll on the next Anglican “espresso” service at Marktkirche next Sunday, to last, tops, one hour.

Meanwhile, enjoy this excellent clip by Dara.  Prod hymns may be lengthy, but that is as nothing compared to Catholic services. 🙂

 

Shocked, but surprised… nonetheless, shaken and more than a little bit stirred

So, last night I climbed into bed, grabbed my Kindle to put internet radio on and catch The Westminster Hour on Radio 4.  I decided to check my Hotmail for any late emails.

A mail from the church warden.  Due to ill-health, Stephen, our chaplain at Christ Church Duesseldorf is retiring in April.  Double-take time.  I re-read the mail.  Yes, I did read correctly.  It all makes sense now, and early retirement will be the best thing for Stephen and his longevity.

How do I avoid this article sounding like an obituary?

I remember:

  • Stephen’s caring and encouraging email to me at Christmas 2007, after I’d lost my job.  He reminded me of the story of Joseph, sold into slavery by his own brothers, yet through his faith, ended up being the Pharoah’s right-hand man.
  • December 2011 – telling him joyfully that he was going to have a new member of his congregation – Ginge is back in town!
  • His personal finance tips
  • His tea, sympathy and listening ear during the hard times of late 2012

What now?  The show must go on.  It will go on.  Anglicanism is resilient.

  • We must find a new chaplain.  Folks, it’s a great posting, it really is.
  • We must find locum chaplains during the interregnum.  Let us hope and pray it is less than the eight months that Abingdon had.
  • We the laity and church council must apply our wisdom to stay strong and grow stronger.

We will grow stronger.

  • We have our church plant in Essen at the Marktkirche.  We show the locals what tea and biscuit ministry is all about.
  • We have a very healthy young people’s ministry.

Thank you, Stephen, for you have been a real blessing to Christ Church Düsseldorf.

“New Year, New Me”

So, a copy and paste from last year?  Yes, probably.  But to quote from the grafitti in the men’s toilets,

“Man without target hits nothing.”

This year’s resolutions…

1. To lose weight.  Got to be done.  “The same procedure as every year,” to quote from Dinner for One.  Who wants to live forever?  Well, who wants to die early?  Not me.

2. Pay off the overdraft.  Making good progress, I am pleased to say.

3. Build up savings.  Germans are big savers, and I think it is a commendable habit to be a saver.  I still have my Postbank Sparbuch.  This week I’ll pay a few € into my account.

4. Travel.  I think it is over two years since I called in on my folks.  Oh well.  Maybe this year.  However, my main destinations are:

  1. Wolfenbuettel to take the Lovely Doctor along and show her old stomping grounds, the old pad and the barracks
  2. Berda in the Netherlands and attend the redheads jamboree.  Got to be done.  I promise to bring my personal favourite brunette along. 🙂
  3. The UK, even if only for a flying visit.  London, maybe even Yorkshire (God’s Country)

5. Job security.  Oh please, God, I know I’m a sinner, but would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a moderately well-off man.

6. Address book clean-up.  A purge is always cathartic.  Ditto Facebook.  Ditto Linkedin.

7. Take part in the stand-up comedy course.  (Joking aside, it should help with developing general public speaking skills.)

8. Keep a daily diary.  So far, so good this year.  A5 seems to be the right size for me.

9. Join a chess club in the warmer, lighter months.

10. Can we do it?  Yes, we can.  Will we do it?  We can but try.

Bullsh1t?  Well in army-speak bullsh1t is about putting in that extra bit of extra to achieve the highest standards.

Beaten my personal best: 45 mins today

Many thanks to Kevin’s friend for sending me: http://www.spamscamscam.com/  Classic.

Today I had an early morning wind-up while supping Earl Grey in the kitchen.

Here’s the conversation.  Enjoy.

[09:11:30] gay man: Hello! Please add me to your Contact list.
[09:11:44] Ginge in Germany: But why?
[09:11:49] Ginge in Germany: Do I know you?
[09:11:54] Ginge in Germany: Are you a good man.
[09:11:55] Ginge in Germany: ?
[09:12:15] gay man: yes i am
[09:13:02] Ginge in Germany: Very good.
[09:13:05] Ginge in Germany: Nice to meet you.
[09:13:12] Ginge in Germany: How are you?
[09:13:13] gay man: same here
[09:13:24] gay man: am good thank you
[09:13:29] gay man: how are you
[09:15:09] Ginge in Germany: Wonderful thanks.
[09:15:17] Ginge in Germany: I feel very blessed today.
[09:15:21] gay man: alright
[09:15:31] gay man: thats good to hear
[09:15:36] Ginge in Germany: I feel in my heart that I need a new partner in my life.
[09:15:49] gay man: okay me too
[09:16:02] gay man: so what do you say
[09:16:11] Ginge in Germany: I need two partners.
[09:16:14] Ginge in Germany: One for love.
[09:16:21] Ginge in Germany: One for investment business.
[09:16:29] gay man: we chart cam to cam build trust
[09:16:46] Ginge in Germany: Yes.
[09:16:48] Ginge in Germany: Maybe.
[09:16:49] gay man: what do you wanna invest Gold ?
[09:16:58] Ginge in Germany: Gold or oil maybe?
[09:17:06] gay man: cocoa farm
[09:17:20] Ginge in Germany: My partner died last year in a most dreadful car crash
[09:17:31] Ginge in Germany: He left me US$600 000 in his will.
[09:17:39] Ginge in Germany: Now I wish to invest money to his glory.
[09:17:58] gay man: good for you
[09:18:29] Ginge in Germany: Thank you, my friend.
[09:18:40] Ginge in Germany: I feel like I have known you for decades.
[09:18:40] gay man: you are well come
[09:18:49] Ginge in Germany: Strange, but I feel that instinctively.
[09:18:54] Ginge in Germany: I do not know why.
[09:18:59] gay man: good to hear that
[09:19:21] gay man: so how do we start something…
[09:19:46] gay man: we exchange numbers chart on wasap and talk on phone
[09:20:24] Ginge in Germany: I do not have wasup.
[09:20:34] Ginge in Germany: But I shall be happy of we talk on the phone.
[09:20:44] gay man: okay
[09:20:46] Ginge in Germany: Maybe in 20 minutes, my friend?
[09:20:59] Ginge in Germany: I have most important conference call before then.
[09:21:21] Ginge in Germany: I feel excited at the thought of investing money to celebrate Steve’s life.
[09:22:01] gay man: +233262380313
[09:22:13] gay man: thats my number
[09:22:30] Ginge in Germany: Very many thanks.
[09:22:38] Ginge in Germany: Are you a religious man?
[09:22:45] gay man: you are well come
[09:22:49] gay man: sure
[09:22:59] Ginge in Germany: How wonderful.
[09:23:01] Ginge in Germany: Me too.
[09:23:08] gay man: you can call me to have yours
[09:23:39] Ginge in Germany: What faith are you, my friend?
[09:23:39] gay man: i mean your number
[09:23:42] Ginge in Germany: I see.
[09:24:00] gay man: christian
[09:24:22] Ginge in Germany: I am happy to know that.
[09:24:30] Ginge in Germany: What denomination?
[09:24:34] Ginge in Germany: Catholic?
[09:24:40] gay man: you are very well come
[09:24:50] gay man: C.C.C
[09:25:26] gay man: Chritian Charismatic Church
[09:25:47] *** Missed call from gay man. ***
[09:25:55] Ginge in Germany: That is very good.
[09:26:00] Ginge in Germany: I cannot talk right now.
[09:26:09] Ginge in Germany: My boss is standing near me.
[09:26:17] gay man: it okay
[09:26:17] Ginge in Germany: But I assure you, I will call you.
[09:26:29] Ginge in Germany: We must discuss business matters.
[09:26:37] Ginge in Germany: Do you attend church every Sunday?
[09:26:38] gay man: can have your number to be aware of it..
[09:26:47] gay man: yes
[09:26:52] Ginge in Germany: You will see it when I phone you my friend.
[09:26:59] Ginge in Germany: Please do not worry.
[09:27:10] gay man: you have not added me
[09:27:14] gay man: okay
[09:27:21] Ginge in Germany: I will add you in ten minutes.
[09:27:36] Ginge in Germany: I am now going to a conference call, team meeting with colleagues.
[09:27:49] Ginge in Germany: Please pray that the call will be productive, I beg you.
[09:28:30] gay man: dont worry my friend we will do bussines
[09:28:35] Ginge in Germany: Thank you, brither.
[09:28:38] Ginge in Germany: brother.
[09:28:55] Ginge in Germany: I need ten minutes, then I will assuredly phone you.
[09:29:02] Ginge in Germany: Thank you so much.
[09:29:12] gay man: Gold,, cocoa,, oil ,,anything am with you.
[09:29:20] gay man: you are well come
[09:29:44] gay man: am waiting for ten minutes
[09:31:05] Ginge in Germany: You are a true entrepreneur.
[09:31:13] Ginge in Germany: It is good to know you.
[09:31:28] gay man: you are well come
[09:31:48] Ginge in Germany: If you are ever in Germany, we must meet up.
[09:32:03] Ginge in Germany: I will treat you to a beer.
[09:32:19] gay man: thanx
[09:33:12] gay man: a.costive@yahoo.com thats my email
[09:33:21] Ginge in Germany: Thank you.
[09:33:27] Ginge in Germany: Very kind of you.
[09:33:33] gay man: dont mention
[09:33:38] Ginge in Germany: What is your favourite hymn at church?
[09:33:47] Ginge in Germany: I love He Who Would Valiant Be.
[09:34:00] gay man: me too
[09:35:23] Ginge in Germany: What are your other favourite hymns?
[09:35:48] gay man: pls hold on on phone
[09:35:50] Ginge in Germany: I am still sitting in the conference call, listening to my manager.
[09:35:55] Ginge in Germany: OK, I will.
[09:40:03] Ginge in Germany: I am still in my conference call.
[09:40:14] Ginge in Germany: Sorry it is taking a long time.
[09:40:51] Ginge in Germany: Hello, my friend. Are you still there?
[09:40:57] Ginge in Germany: Please do not abandon me.
[09:41:05] gay man: yes am here
[09:41:12] Ginge in Germany: Thank you.
[09:41:15] gay man: okay am here
[09:41:21] gay man: you are well come
[09:41:25] Ginge in Germany: I feel lonely after losing my partner.
[09:41:27] Ginge in Germany: Sorry.
[09:41:37] gay man: it okay am here
[09:41:58] gay man: do you have a web cam
[09:43:39] Ginge in Germany: I do.
[09:43:50] Ginge in Germany: But I can only use it after this conference call.
[09:43:54] Ginge in Germany: Please forgive me.
[09:44:25] gay man: it okay my friend
[09:44:29] gay man: i just ask
[09:44:38] Ginge in Germany: Sorry, I am nervous.
[09:44:53] Ginge in Germany: I do not want to spoil our business relationship.
[09:45:04] gay man: yes
[09:46:11] Ginge in Germany: You are a good person.
[09:46:13] gay man: when will you finish your confrence call
[09:46:21] gay man: i mean what time
[09:46:22] Ginge in Germany: 5 mins.
[09:46:27] Ginge in Germany: In five mins.
[09:46:30] gay man: it almost tem minutes
[09:46:35] gay man: okay
[09:46:36] Ginge in Germany: It is concluding now.
[09:46:41] Ginge in Germany: Boss talks and talks.
[09:46:45] Ginge in Germany: Like all bosses.
[09:46:52] gay man: okay
[09:46:53] Ginge in Germany: Forgive me, brother, please.
[09:47:00] gay man: okay..
[09:47:01] Ginge in Germany: I am sorry to have offended you.
[09:47:23] gay man: no no no
[09:47:28] gay man: am okay
[09:48:48] Ginge in Germany: I feel like crying when I upset good people.
[09:48:53] Ginge in Germany: Sorry sorry sorry.
[09:49:27] gay man: no it okay
[09:50:34] Ginge in Germany: Thank you.
[09:50:44] Ginge in Germany: OK my conference call has finished.
[09:50:45] gay man: you are well come
[09:50:57] Ginge in Germany: I will go to a quiet area of the office and call from there.
[09:50:57] gay man: good to hear that
[09:51:09] gay man: so you can call me now huh..
[09:51:19] Ginge in Germany: Are you at home or a place where we can take in STRICTEST CONFIDENCEß
[09:51:22] gay man: alright..
[09:51:22] Ginge in Germany: ?
[09:51:36] gay man: yes
[09:51:41] gay man: am in my room
[09:51:42] Ginge in Germany: Good.
[09:51:49] Ginge in Germany: Nobody must know about our deal.
[09:52:04] Ginge in Germany: My colleagues msut not know that I have lots of money.
[09:52:15] gay man: okay
[09:53:37] Ginge in Germany: Do you promise that to me?
[09:53:53] Ginge in Germany: My colleagues will beat me if they know I am a rich man.
[09:53:55] gay man: accross my heart my brother
[09:54:07] Ginge in Germany: Thugs last week robbed me in my local park.
[09:54:19] Ginge in Germany: I was carrying $800 in my wallet.
[09:54:27] Ginge in Germany: They are evil men.
[09:54:29] Ginge in Germany: Evil.
[09:54:30] Ginge in Germany: Evil.
[09:54:45] gay man: hmm you have to take care of your self
[09:54:49] Ginge in Germany: I try.
[09:54:57] Ginge in Germany: But at night I walk through the park, crying.
[09:55:02] Ginge in Germany: Nobody helps.
[09:55:07] Ginge in Germany: Except you, my brother.
[09:55:38] gay man: alright brother go and lets make the call
[09:55:44] gay man: for safty
[09:55:52] Ginge in Germany: Of course.
[09:56:02] Ginge in Germany: Can I tell you a secret?
[09:56:04] gay man: okay am waiting
[09:56:08] Ginge in Germany: This is important.
[09:56:17] gay man: yes anything my friend
[09:56:21] Ginge in Germany: Good.
[09:56:36] Ginge in Germany: You hav truly humbled me with your goodwill and caring nature.
[09:56:54] gay man: thank you
[09:57:19] Ginge in Germany: Thank YOU, and may you be forever blessed with happiness and prosperity.
[09:57:26] Ginge in Germany: Now for my secret.
[09:57:26] gay man: please give me 5 mins
[09:57:29] Ginge in Germany: OK.
[09:57:32] gay man: you too
[09:57:39] Ginge in Germany: I must tell you my secret right now.
[09:57:45] Ginge in Germany: It is important to me.
[09:57:53] gay man: yes give me 5 mins
[09:58:23] gay man: some one is at the door
[09:58:32] Ginge in Germany: 1. My name is Darren. 2. I am 17. 3. I am jobless. 4. I live with my parents. 5. I just wanted to waste your time. 6. Have a nice day, my friend.