Monday, July 28, 2014

How long ago it was. It was in 2006 that I found myself welcoming guests to an Eid al Fitr event in the ballroom of a grand hotel in Mina al Salaam in Dubai. This year my greetings to friends in the Sandlands comes from far away. 

By a coincidence of timing, here in Munich wishes for a showering of 'the joys of life' are appropriate for the young people of Bavaria. Finally it's the start of the annual summer school break... six weeks of freedom!

At the same time, when I think of school holidays I can't help reflecting on the less joyous context in which the word now frequently is to be found.

For thousands of children (for example from Syria) who are refugees or internally displaced persons, for example, schooling is almost unavailable... they are being deprived of years of education.

Then there are schools (for example in Gaza) which appear to offer safety to Palestinians seeking shelter from Israeli military action. And recently in these schools children and adults have died.

Far too often... tragically... there is not much link between schools and the 'joys of life'.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekend video 1

I have always maintained that the best way to learn a foreign language is the pillow method, cohabiting with a partner whose mother tongue is the one you seek to master is a wonderful system.

In retrospect the girls who helped me to learn French and then German well matched the charms of the adorable Camille Rowe!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Neighbourhood watch

How unutterably sad, an old man who has nothing better than to snoop on the goings-on in the neighbourhood!

But when it comes to the refurbishment of my erstwhile favourite hangout I am observant.

Now I note that the sketch on the building site notice board does not seem to correspond with the reality. The archway I have indicated with #5, which used to be that of the café's main entrance has been enlarged to match the format of the trio of windows to the left. And the window #1 has also been chipped out to be the same larger shape. What the gap where arch #6 used to be means, I have no idea!

All this I find most mysterious and I shall be remaining vigilant. (Chunter, chunter!)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


At this time of year I enjoy my workplace in the corner very much. Even when the temperature outside hits thirty degrees the flat remains thanks to its orientation agreeably cool. The sun only encroaches briefly in the late afternoon. And then when it hits the screen of my laptop, making further work impossible, it means that it is time to head out for a refreshing beer.

It is also now heartening to see that serious construction work is under way and that the refurbishment of what used to be Café Schwabing is making progress. It remains to be seen, of course, what kind of establishment it will be when it re-opens. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Writing matters

Aromatic florabundance,
leaves and petals in the sun dance
for the pleasure of the eye while
perfumes waft, inspire, beguile.

Don't worry... I can explain. It has been over a week since my last blog post. It was a week during the course of which I finished the first draft of my latest manuscript. The fact that no more needed to be added to the narrative left me in a writing void, hence the penning of artless couplets. And I do love heavy perfumes, Oud particularly reminding me of the Sandlands as the Eid holiday approaches.

Okay, TheodoraLand! 115 thousand words, about 290 pages in my Word file. And now ahead of me the laborious editing phase. Soon it needs to be ready for uploading to a self-publishing platform. But this time it will not go to Amazon, to be lost among those 600 thousand works which are on offer with the brand-new Kindle subscription model.

This time I shall try my luck with Epubli, a German platform. It is claimed by the Berlin-based publisher that...

"Germany is one of the most important markets for books in English. More than 40 million people living in Germany are fluent English-speakers. They do not only adore British and American television series... they also love books by British and American writers in both original and translated versions!"

Worth a try, given that my new story is set exclusively in German speaking locations, Munich, Canton Thurgau and the province of South Tyrol. Is there perhaps also the irony that my tale got its impetus when the abandonment by the Hugendubel chain of Munich's best English-language bricks-and-mortar bookshop was announced for 2012?

It closed its doors in the beautiful old bulding where bookselling had commenced in 1893 not with a bang but with a whimper. 

However the storyteller in me opted for the loud detonation of a bomb on page one, on the last imagined day of Manduvel Bookshop's existence and much intrigue and mystery follows on the pages thereafter!

(Sorry about the rhyming couplets!)


Monday, July 14, 2014

Mia san mia

from Deutsche Welle...
"It's hard not to think simultaneously of Bayern Munich when thinking of Germany. In the 2014 World Cup final, six of Germany's starting eleven were Bayern players and there was a total of seven in the squad. That seventh, Mario Götze, came off the bench to win Germany the title. Bayern Munich's grip on the national team is so great that the 2014 triumph has been labeled as the Bayern Munich cup. Captain Philipp Lahm is perhaps the most intelligent player in the world, while Manuel Neuer is beyond doubt the best goalkeeper. Thomas Müller hunts space like no other and Bastian Schweinsteiger's heart beats the loudest in a team of pride. And with a similarly possession-heavy style and captain Lahm in midfield, Germany were even playing like their leading club."

This was celebrated by over 80 thousand fans on the main boulevard of our Schwabing neighbourhood until the wee hours!