Sunday Column (139)

Hey-ho,

Now a full summary of what happened over the last 10 days. We were in Germany for a week, driving over there in our “beast“. Of course we are back in time for Halloween of course 🙂

Firstly, we drove the whole way over: the garage said that the journey should be safe and we arrived in Detmold (my home town) in good time and with two well behaved boys. Actually, we managed to get there quicker than anticipated, with only one break on the main land.

We also did some shopping. Winter clothing for Colin: a new jacket and trousers. I got an autobiography of Ben Becker: a German actor and singer I admire. Colin got some more toys, and Jen got some kitchen toys. The joys. We didn’t get much for Rohan though but maybe next time. He instead got more cuddles than ever from Oma & Opa, and to be honest from almost anyone he met.

I visited my old school teacher who is now the principal of my old secondary school. It was an enjoyable two hours chatting about life, teachers, working hours, differences of cultures and general chit chat. I really enjoyed it and was glad he took his time, as this helped me to link back to my school days. Thank you. It is interesting to reflect on school life “from the other side” 😉 Also, as he lived abroad before, he could understand my thoughts about the fatherland and I recommended him to have a look for articles about Germany I wrote on here.

On Saturday we had a family reunion. Oma, or Ur-Oma, was there (she is now 91 years old) and most of the family from both my mum’s and my dad’s side. It was fantastic. Good chats, catch ups and I realised how important family actually is for me. It is good to see that most members of our family decided to have kids, to live a “normal” life and things are like they have been for generations. Of course everyone is an individual: different views about the virus Colin had, about kids leaving to play versus being supervised, extra food (or treats) to spoil the kids or just giving them what is being served. Different attitudes, ways and stages in life. But underlying there is a familiarity in the family. A “looking back” or “looking up” and admiration to Ur-Oma or grandparents in general who were the enablers, rich or poor, for a great big family and future for us and generations to come.

I never thought that I felt that way. Even just staying with my parents in Detmold, I realised how important Oma & Opa are for Colin & Rohan. For me to have 5 minutes to myself, for my wife to have a proper lie in, and for the kids of course to be spoilt. And Oma & Opa loved it too. Every minute of it. Meeting them for the first time in their own home. I believe we need to see them more often there. Family is great!

Sunday saw the reunion with one of my two oldest and closest friends. One who I met not short of 20 years ago in a holiday in Tuscany. The other one from high school who I shared a lot of memories with. Again, every day in Germany was like closing a chapter. Seeing someone and enjoying time with them. Talking about the old times, evaluating what one still shares after so many years. That is fantastic. It is like opening a book, reading the history in it, then closing the book and moving on. I don’t mistake that with “saying good bye”. It is moving on: more like opening a new chapter, a new book, and writing a new piece of history, the future. I guess I am all grown up now, the “Detmold Stories” are closed. They are the past.

On my list of things I want to do before I die, a Reinhard Mey Concert has been quite high up in the list for many years. So over a year ago, I got two tickets to see him in Bielefeld. Finally on Monday I went. Originally I wanted to go with a friend but he couldn’t come due to work commitments, hence I took my mum who truly enjoyed the evening.

Reinhard Mey is a German song writer/singer and I love his lyrics. Cynic yet pushy for a better Germany, a fairer place for everyone. He is coming up for 70 years old but his social commitments are still strong: he donated the evenings’ income to a local charity for disabled people: Bethel. He sang old and new songs, and some which I have listened to for over 20 years.

I loved it. I loved it because it took me back to a Germany I know, a Germany I identify with. Reinhard is my parents’ age and has similar views. He just expresses them differently. And he is right. He uses German sayings to critically examining the current state of politics and society. A very enjoyable evening, finding more closure with my Germany.

Regarding the list of things I want to do, whilst never really put in writing, I think going to visit Tibet and Lhasa as well as visiting the vine yards in South America are on the list; also, I would like to do something big for charity, e.g. making a sustainable difference. I am confident I pick that up in a later post at some point:-)

Tuesday we went to the local market in Detmold, then met a friend for lunch and another one in the evening. Quite a busy day. Colin and Rohan (and Daddy of course) had a cold with a cough and a slight temperature. The boys were sick too and gave us some worries. We took them to the doctor to get them checked out on Wednesday. Not being insured, or only through the European Union, costs you a small fortune for medications abroad. The joys.

But we got over it and spend another nice family day in Detmold with Oma and Opa before we drove back to Beckenham on Thursday. Again, only one stop but I needed to have a shut eye. The illness, the days in Germany made me tired, and I was glad that Jen took over to drive in the UK. Maybe flying is the easier option, we shall see.

Once home we had a nice take away, bottle of wine, nice shower….just good to be back home. The cats were waiting too.

That sums up most of my week. With both boys still being sick and me suffering from man flu, the weekend was quiet. Relaxing, trying to get fit and making plans for November. I don’t believe November is already here.

Have a good one.

Best wishes,
Volker

PS: If you haven’t seen it on Twitter, Ocado managed to properly piss me off on Friday. They called me 20 minutes after the delivery slot was due, then couldn’t deliver at times convenient for me. I believe after what we went through this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We will try Tescos again and of course Waitrose.