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Monday, 31 May 2010

Book Channel Update

The Book Channel has aired my interview and now has a special section in which the interview and the Synopsis of all four of the books following the career of Harry Nelson-Heron can be seen. Two are in print, the other two are looking for publishers.

Please check it out - the more hits I get the better! I have also posted the link as a permanent marker in the sidebar.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Trinity Sunday

A good service this morning, good sermon too - what I could interpret of it anyway - and good coffee and fellowship afterward. We've obviously started to be regarded as regulars since a number of people greeted us as they came in today and we had a lively conversation over coffee with two older members who speak good English. One of the more interesting things for me is that I am slowly recognising word shapes and forms and sounds - and am able to follow conversations for a large part without interpretation.

The similarities between the Old Catholic Mass and the Common Worship Anglican Rite is probably not accidental and it certainly helps me to follow the service. Taken with the generous welcome and the similarity between the Old Catholics and the Anglican beliefs on a range of things and matters, it is proving far easier than I expected to fit in. The organist said the same thing this morning - she's a Roman Catholic from Croatia!

All things considered we've certainly found a good place to worship.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Good news and hard work ...

The good news is that several files - one of them with some vital information for my writing - that I had mislaid in the move have been found. Inside a box, inside another box that I had examined several times in my search. Now I can concentrate on putting together the package I need to send to the publisher who expressed interest in my book based on the life of St Patrick.

The last few weeks have certainly been busy, changing countries always throws up any number of legal and bureaucratic tasks. So now I'm registered as a Briton living in Germany and today got my German Tax Number. I am also trying to sort out - or rather Mausi is - medical insurance, getting to grips with driving on the wrong side of the road and learning a new language. Today gave a couple of amusing instances of speaking German with an "English" accent, one being in the Apotheke when the Pharmacist couldn't get her head round the fact that I was speaking to her in German. As she said, "You don't expect an English person to speak German - your ears hear it, but your brain refuses to." At least we could all laugh about it - I've never been accused on speaking a language (other than English) with an "English" accent.

Back home, the Gazebo had to get its Spring oiling and that took almost all afternoon. Still, ended the day with our first BBQ on the lawn. In defiance of the looming clouds and the chilly wind. Barbequed lamb steak, pork loin steaks and a kebab accompanied by salad and garlic bread. Great to have the garden coming together and a great finish to a long, busy and yet fulfilling day

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Getting back to business

I must say the move has gone smoother than expected, largely thanks to Mausi's preparations. So far I have managed to lose only one thing, a set of three files which contain a vital business card I must find in order to contact someone about publishing my St Patrick book...

That said, everything else seems to be turning up in the appropriate place and box and we are down to the stuff I shoved into the garage to wait for the appropriate place to open up for it inside. Over the next week or so, that should be cleared away as well. Now I have to get down to some work-work. There are articles to be written and Chapters for a joint book I am cowriting with others.

And German lessons...

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Fitting in

We have explored the church options carefully. With me being Anglican and not yet having enough German to hold a sensible or intelligible conversation, this has been something of a voyage of discovery. We tried the "English Church" some time ago and had a rather unwelcoming experience to say the least. For a number of reasons we have also tried the Lutheran Church, not least being that Mausi is a confirmed member, but the worship there is almost exclusively non-Eucharistic. Having discussed this with my vicar before leaving the Abbey, we also decided to try the Old Catholic Church.

We're glad we did. They are totally unlike anything we expected. Our first experience of their worship and welcome has been confirmed by our subsequent visits. Todays service was not unlike the Abbey's 09.15 with a congregation of around 30 people including young children. The church is quite small - Victorian Gothic in style - with no chancel as such and a small sanctuary opening directly onto the nave. The Mass was sung and follows the format of Common Worship (Making it easy for me to follow the prayers at least!) Even the responses are becoming familiar now and having hymns today that I know in English and Latin also made following the service that little bit easier. As this is a our third visit we were stopped by the Pfarers (They have made a point of welcoming us before) and asked where we were from. There were a few jokes about "Englandische Kirch" and a big welcome for me in particular which I find encouraging.

It is nice to think we have found a little spiritual home here. Especially on this "Pfingster Sontag" - Pentecost to the English speaking part of the world.

Friday, 21 May 2010

The ultimate disgrace?

This cartoon found on Skipjack's blog says it all really.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Birthdays....

Today would have been my grandfather's 110th birthday. Henry Nelson Heron was born in Downpatrick, County Down on this day in 1899 and lived through some of the most traumatic and amazing events in human history. He walked behind the plough horses as a child, saw steam replace the horses and then internal combustion engines replace those. He saw the first tentative flying machines and the ultimate in supersonic flight. And he saw men walk on the moon.

He died in July 1977 and I remember him fondly.

"Harry" Nelson-Heron, the hero of my books, shares his name and I gave him the birthdate of 20 May 1789 in order to bring him into the stories at the same age at which the real Henry Nelson Heron joined up to fight in the First World War. HNH was just 16 when he was almost killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and not much over 17 when he was made a Sergeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

Nearly finished...


As these pictures show the study is now almost there. The furniture has to come back - a sofa bed and a desk - and my pictures have to find hanging space, but the decoration is done and the books are back. The desk will go against the wall beneath the slope where the brown chair is at present.


The book shelves took a bit of adjusting but the books are now reasonably sorted by subject and category so I should be abe to locate everything now. It's taken a while and there are still things to find homes for, but we are getting there slowly


The view from my study window which looks roughly south east toward Bleidenstadt. Behind the mountains is Wiesbaden and the Rhine. The study has turned into a very nice working space.

Tea in the library?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Settling in...

The work on the study has taken rather longer than we thought it would. The old wall paper took a lot of getting off and the carpet likewise. The new wall paper was easy, but the dado strip didn't want to adhere, so a change of glue was needed. The laminate flooring also gave a few problems, but in the end we've beaten it and got the decorating done. IKEA provided bookcases to house my books and video/DVD collection and bingo, we are finally almost done. Some pictures tell the story!



Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Cameron for PM, Clegg for Deputy?

Well, I didn't expect the LibDems to bury their anti-Conservative feelings, but then the thirst for power does, sometimes, make for strange bedfellows. I can't help wondering if the coalition government will prove to be the breakthrought the LibDems need to become a real force in UK politics. It was the wartime coalition that gave Labour both the opportunity to undermine the war effort and the Conservative government, allowing them to get into office in 1945, relegating the Liberal Party as it was then to third place for more than half a century.

I'd frankly rather see the LibDems become the "alternative" Party of government than have Labour ever ascend to power again in England, much less the UK. I hope Mr Clegg makes good use of his time in this partnership and I would urge both Mr Cameron and mr Clegg to open the books and reveal a=exactly what fraudulent activities Labour indulged in while bringing the UK economy to the present basket case it is.

I may have to revise some of my other predictions now as well.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Broon the Hoon, doon?

So Brown finally got the message, no one wants him. Not his Party, not the LibDems and certainly not the Conservatives. The gall of the man and his Party, determined to stay in power at any price, trying to form a coalition of LibDems, Sinn Fein (Who NEVER take their seats and refuse to swear the Oath of Office) and other fringe MPs who would, together, give them just 1 vote as a "majority."

We can but hope that Cameron and Clegg will convince their Paties respectively that they have to do a few deals in order to get rid of the malaise that Labour always brings when in power - spend, spend, spend. And when the Treasury is empty and the taxpayers won't pay more - borrow to the hilt.

How does anyone in their right mind think that the Party that took the country from being very nicely in the black, positive trade balances, strong Pound, and no debts, into the largest deficit since the Labour clowns of 1944 - 1951 with their nationailsation thievery and trying to spend their way out of the war deficit, will get us out of the current economic crisis? They created it! It was Brown and his Treasury morons who loosened the regulations allowing the banks to take risks. It was Brown who sold off the national Gold Reserve for half its value, it was Brown who increased borrowing to allow his Cabinet chums to expend the Civil Service and spend more in their budgets than was either necessary or wise.

Labour get us out of a recession? Give me a break - and take a reality check if you think they could.

The best thing that can happen now is a Conservative/LibDem Pact and coalition. That might just save the nation and the economy. It will be worth electoral reform and a voting system that actually counts the votes, not the seats.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Redecoration...

The redecoration of my study has taken some time - is taking some time - but we have, at last, got the preparation finished. The wallpaper proved tough to strip, but the carpet proved even tougher. I discovered that where, in the UK, we nailed the carpets to the floor using "nail strips" around the walls, in Germany they glue them down. And, with Teutonic thoroughness, I mean glue...

When you have a combination of heavy duty Evostik or equivalent, latex foam backed carpet and concrete, you have a marriage made in hell when it comes to removal. That said, having ripped the carpet away we hired a machine from a carpet shop and three quarters of an hour with a machine like a large power chisel has the floor stripped back to the glue. That will not shift under any persuasuion, so now I can lay the laminate flooring. The dust generated in the process was amazing and the waste latex fowm fills two large industrial garbage bags, but it is job done.

Now, if I can just stop the vibrations in my arms, I'll be able to start laying up the new wall paper and laminate from tomorrow.

And, in case you were wondering, no, we haven't been working on it today. Today is Sunday, in Germany you are not permitted to do this sort of thing on a Sunday. No lawn mowing, no DIY, no noisy gardening. Its a "day of rest" and they mean it. It is also Mother's Day. So we had a fabulous lunch at Mausi's Mother's home in Dietzenbach. Soup with tortellini, fresh asparagas (Frisch Spargel), boiled potatoes with herbs, a delicious sauce, sliced and chopped ham and followed by Creme Brullee. Afternoon Coffee was accompanied by a home-made Strawberry Tort and whipped cream ....

OK, tomorrow, it's back to work and I'll work off the extra girth over the coming weeks in the garden and the redecoration...

Friday, 7 May 2010

The worst of all systems, except for all the others ...

So the Great British Public have spoken, or at least those who could vote, or wanted to vote, have done so. It seems from the news here in Germany that, at some Polling Stations, long queues had formed just before closing and the officials in charge closed anyway, denying those still in the queue the right to vote. At others, those in the queue were allowed to vote. As usual it seems that the bureaucrats running these operations couldn't find their rearends with both hands and someone to guide them. There is also the farce of a Labour Controlled Borough having printed the wrong names on the ballot papers for the local election - invalidating the election!

Nick Clegg's personality cult has obviously swayed a large number of voters and the result is likely to be a LibDem/Labour coalition for the next few months - a disaster for Britain as a whole, for the Pound Sterling in particular and a wipe-out for the Armed Forces as these two parties are stuffed with "anti-military" peaceniks who always want to cut military spending so they can throw even more money at their lost causes.

Anyone who thinks the Conservatives will get into Number 10 even though they are now the majority Party in Parliament, doesn't understand the nature of the Labour Party, its Socialist ambitions or the depths of the deceit they will go to in order to cling to power. Watch this space and any given newspaper for their briefings against the Conservatives, the name calling and dirt slinging they will now employ in order to wreck any chance of the Conservatives taking control and straightening ut the mess Labour's 13 years of waste, bigotry, spin doctoring, social engineering and "tax and spend" policies have created. Only a complete fool, would believe that the party that has taken Britain from a wealthy, strong economic position to bankruptcy can now even contemplate arguining that they can bring it back from the brink.

Here are my predictions for the next few years -

1. A Lib/Lab coalition will attempt to govern for the next few years. Eventually they will have some irreconcilable difference over their spending plans or the Pound will collapse completely, leading to a "Vote of No Confindence" in the Commons and a snap General Election.

2. The Pound will continue to slide until the UK has no option but to apply to join the Euro. The application will be refused precisely because the UK economy will, at that point, have become as much a basket case as the Greek economy and for very much the same reasons.

3. The farce of Polling Stations turning people away and having the wrong ballot papers will get worse. Face it, the UK is rapidly becoming a Third World country, and this is now being openly said in the rest of Europe.

4. The Civil Service will run amuck and impose new "rules" and laws on the country while expanding even further. This will be made possible by the complete inability of Parliament to control these supposed "servants" of the State while Ministers bicker among themselves and desperately cling to the empires that feed their egos.

4. The English will eventually demand their own Parliament and an end to being ruled by Scottish and Welsh Labour MPs whose seats in Scotland and Wales are unaffected by most of the legislation they impose on the English. Blair was warned of this "West Lothian" question and ignored it, as most Labout MPs ignore the English anyway. (One supposedly "English" Labour Minister famously said "There is no such thing as an Englishman" claiming that, unlike the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish, there is no "nation" that can be called "English".) Certainly sixty plus years of socialism in schools, universities and the media has created divisions and boundaries between sections of the English population - and mass immigration from the Far East has created entire cities that are no longer "English".

5. The United Kingdom will fall apart.

Listening to the news and commentary here in Germany is not just interesting, it is giving a completely new perspective on the UK and the manner in which it is misgoverned. So much of the trash that is dished out as "Health and Safety" - and blamed on the EU - is complete garbage, it isn't even given consideration here, yet the Europeans, who take a more pragmatic and common sense approach, are probably safer than anyone in the UK.

The next few weeks are certainly going to be interesting in the UK as the Party machinery winds up into top gear and the three major parties try to form a government of sorts. Sadly, even if they succeeed I suspect this is merely one more step along the road to oblivion for a once proud people and nation.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Interview on The Book Channel

It's finally been released and can be viewed on YouTube through the link in the sidebar. That's right, I was interviewed at the London Book Fair by The Book Channel's team and the interviews are now available.

The clip is short - about four minutes worth - and I'd love to know what any of you who read this blog think of it. All feedback appreciated.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Settling...

Today we spent getting together the things we need to redecorate my study. Now I have to start by stripping the old carpet and wall paper. Then its paint the ceiling, mark up the dado line and make a start on repapering the room. I'm going for a two tone colour scheme which will pick up the new "apple wood" laminate flooring.

Once that is done we have to find bookcases, several of them so that two walls will be lined by books...

It was fun shopping for something for our home together and is the first step toward making it "ours". Its going to be hard work, but it will be worth every moment.

Madam Paddy Cat has settled in well too. She was not impressed at being taken to the Vet this evening though - the thermometer is not welcome! Once again she has a clean bill of health for her age, but her arthritis is obviously troubling her a little more than usual. At least she's made herself comfortable here at home.