Category Archives: germany

Bad Urach & Schloss Lichtenstein

Residenzschloss, Bad UrachIMG_0358IMG_0359IMG_0360IMG_0361Residenzschloss, Bad Urach 6
Residenzschloss, Bad Urach 5Residenzschloss, Bad Urach 4Residenzschloss, Bad Urach 2Residenzschloss, Bad Urach 3Schloss Lichtenstein 11Schloss Lichtenstein 10
Schloss Lichtenstein 9Schloss Lichtenstein 8Schloss Lichtenstein 7Schloss Lichtenstein 6Schloss Lichtenstein 5Schloss Lichtenstein 4
Schloss Lichtenstein 3Schloss Lichtenstein 2Schloss Lichtenstein 1

Photos from today’s visit to Bad Urach & Schloss Lichtenstein in Baden-Wurttemburg.

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Cultural prejudice and booksellers’ responsibility

I’ve just returned from a trip to a bookshop in Gloucester. Browsing the history section, I noted that the shelves containing books on German history were dominated by books on the Second World War, the Nazis and the Holocaust. One of the very few books that had significant coverage of Germany before 1933 was itself a highly controversial account by A.J.P. Taylor notable for the extremes of opinion it contains. Moving to the section on Freemasonry, I noted the unusually large number (no doubt boosted by the success of The Da Vinci Code) of books there were dominated by books pandering to the Freemasonry-as-world-conspiracy mythology accompanied by dubious (by academic standards) pseudo-historical accounts of Freemasonry’s origins.

I moved on to the reference section in search of a Welsh dictionary to help me better understand the language of the neighbouring country, a language being taught in schools less than thirty miles from Gloucester, a language that is the descendant of the original British languages spoken throughout this island, long before English arrived and a language whose number of speakers is growing. No dictionary to be found, of course. Only a couple of Welsh course books among the huge array of Spanish, French, Italian….

The choices the shop’s management (or distant corporate HQ?) had made obviously reflect what they believe will sell; choices, one presumes, based on the perceived interests and prejudices of the local marketplace. What might that tell us then about the shop’s beliefs about the typical Gloucester book shopper when seeking information on these subjects? – that Germany has little history or culture of interest beyond the Nazi era – that Freemasonry is a sinister secret society bent on world domination or something equally dodgy – the indigenous language of England’s immediately neighbouring country doesn’t matter much.

A German musical coincidence

Last Friday K. and I went to a birthday party in Llanfoist, outside Abergavenny. The host had invited a recorder orchestra made up of mostly middle aged ladies from near Stuttgart who were performing in the area. They played some mediaeval-sounding numbers which were charming, but after the fourth one I went outside where little A. was complaining that she didn’t like it. Made me reflect on how the world would be if adults were as frank as children.

By chance, tonight, I’m singing barbershop songs with the Wye Valley Chorus to a group of Germans from Monmouth’s twin town in the Black Forest. I hope our performance we will be sehr gut.

Vanity, family and sign language

Been looking for suitable episodes for inclusion in this blog, but on a “quality is better than quantity” principle”, I’m restraining myself from adding lots that is uninteresting or unamusing. Added to that, since starting work again, I haven’t had many opportunities when at home to muse, cogitate and generally allow myself to be creative. So no stories or rants for the moment.

An update on what the family is up to: K is pretty much a full time housewife now. Little A is keeping her busy. Little A herself has a cold but still manages to be charming. K is teaching her sign language to help her communication skills. She can now sign “more” by patting the palm of one hand against the clenched fist of her other hand, after doing which, she copies our praise by clapping , grinning and saying “yaay!”. I wonder if she will follow every new sign that she acquires with applause. Never mind – it’s very entertaining.

Big A has done the first of her AS level exams. All very strange to me. What happened to waiting until the June of the Upper Sixth?

I was at a lodge meeting last weekend. Passed off reasonably well – a second degree ceremony. Nice to have some work to do. A bit disappointed that I didn’t get “Heimat” on DVD for Christmas. Compensated by wearing a Bavarian shirt to work today.

Mum is completing the sale of her house in Chiswick next Friday and moving to a temporary rented place just around the corner. It’ll be nice to have all my immediate family in the same neighbourhood. It also means that my ties to London are now weaker. It will now be the four-times-a-year lodge meetings that will bring me back, although I don’t know if visiting central Staines qualifies as going to London, unless, of course I stay overnight with friends.

Got a new mobile phone, a Sony Ericsson K700i. Very nice – loads of memory (40mb), camera, radio etc. I can synch it with my contacts and diary on my PC, download music to it to listen to while stuck in dentists’ waiting rooms (and unwilling to read dog eared editions of old golfing magazines).

That’s your lot.