The best foundation

When I first met my lovely husband I wrote to my parents in England to tell them about him. I wrote, “…and he loves visiting open-air museums as much as I do!” Over the last 28 years we have certainly visited hundreds of such museums, in different parts of Germany but also in many different…

Choosing to know

Sometimes I can’t sleep for regrets. I am so sorry for all the stupid, wrong, thoughtless, unkind things I have done: to my family, my friends, my students, well the world, really, and would give anything to be able to start again, and get things if not right, then better second time around. I always…

Down by the Water

I was born, like so many others, in Hemel Hempstead. It’s just north of London, and the part my parents lived in had been newly built post-WW2 to house all those new young families moving out of London. It’s quite tricky to be far from the sea in Great Britain, but my parents had managed…

The poster on my wall

Pop groups and film stars came and went on the walls of my room as a teenager, but there was one constant figure: King Charles II. Charles Stuart. Sigh. After I wrote about the cardigan, balaclava and co recently, good old Charles popped into my mind again. My, but he had a tricky life! He…

Paul Ehrlich & Co

I have never understood why Germany describes itself as the ‘Land of Poets and Thinkers’ (Dichter und Denker). I suppose it’s because of Goethe and Schiller and Freud and Kant and so on, but I always think hmmn, but what about Bach and Handel and Beethoven – shouldn’t it be ‘Land of Composers’? And, since…

The Cardigan

I used to hate cardigans, and I don’t know why. Maybe it was connected to the dreaded twinset, which I still hate. No idea what this clip is about (and Senta Berger is very beautiful), but it shows the twinset to perfection: Let’s say I cannot imagine Emma Peel ever wore a twinset. Now I…

The Street Where you Live

German is a language with awfully l o n g words. It’s because you can clip words together, like LEGO bricks, e.g. Automobil (car) Hersteller (manufacturer) = Automobilhersteller. There’s a very famous word, Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän  which is the longest word ever published in German, and not one (as it deals with the river Donau, the Danube),…

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus

My family was Welsh. Sort of. The really Welsh part, my father, had been born in Australia when his genuinely Welsh parents decided to emigrate. The relatives who lived in Wales (my mother’s family) were very careful to tell everyone they were actually from Bristol, and had moved to south Wales because my grandfather got…

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake…

We’ve been talking about pancakes here at home this week. Pancakes did not play a large part in my British life, except on Pancake day. Pancake Day is the day before Ash Wednesday, and legend tells us it was traditionally a way of using up all those delicious eggs and creamy milk, before the start…

Anyone who had a heart…

I always loved watching TV and my weekly highlight was ‘Juke Box Jury’, which was on BBC 1 on Saturday evenings. Newly-released singles were played and a jury made up of celebrities awarded points, forecasting which song would be a hit. At that time, the BBC did not archive their programmes, but two episodes of…

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