Asia, Australasia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Mothers-in-Law Day

It’s a problem worthy of United Nations arbitration so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that we honour both today with their own day, the United Nations Day and Mothers-in-Law Day.

With those esteemed institutions being deemed worthy of their own official day.

Now I wouldn’t for one minute begrudge Angela her day off today as she IS heading into Halloween, obviously her busiest time of the year.

In truth, I’ve always tried to keep a couple of steps ahead of Mother-in-Law, or Sir as she insists I call her.

The outlaw Angie

Mother and daughter: Angela and My Scary One, Sarah

And so we’d find ourselves living away from Chez Angela.

So she has needed to be a visitor to our billets on our adventures around these islands.

In Aberdeen, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Co. Wicklow in Ireland.

Greening it up: In Ireland

And that has allowed us the opportunity to show off the charms of some of our favourite places on these islands.

An inveterate traveller herself, she decamped to Australia with the family in her 20s.

And embarked on a round-the-world boat trip back to England.

Taking in New Zealand, Tahiti and the Panama Canal… and a lot of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean and all its choppiness.

Globetrotting Ma-in-Law

A horse a horse: My queendom for a horse

But she has also benefited from old Casey Jones (that’s the Father-in-Law).

And his love of train travel to span France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and much else of Western Europe.

One unexplored world and one I know she has long hoped to visit is the New World, the USA.

And it is my hope that we can get her out there to New York with her daughter, my very own Scary One.

And I know that she has got her own broom!

Have a Great Day Angela on this United Nations Day and Mothers-in-Law Day.

 

Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Father’s Day memories of mine

And for the day that’s in it… Father’s Day memories of mine.

It’s funny what you remember from your childhood days but the European Championships from 45 years ago springs to mind.

And not just because it was the first Euros I remember watching.

Czech this out

On the King Charles Bridge in Prague

Or that it gave rise to the Panenka when Antonin Panenka chipped Sepp Maier for the decisive penalty in sudden death.

The first occasion when a competition was settled thus, and probably the last time the Germans missed one!

Sport was our thing Dad and I.

As it is for generations of men and their sons, and always the go-to subject for me and The Son and Heir.

A different Europe

Dad and lad: And look at that fancy footwork

But what set the 1976 Championships between West Germany and Czechoslovakia apart was that it was Father’s Day.

The fact that neither of those countries exist any more shows you just how long ago it was.

A 10-year-old at the time, I was just exploring one of the other great passions in my life (girls were to come later) – history.

For the people of the lands of East Germany and Czechoslovakia it is a relief that those countries have been consigned to history.

But it is refreshing too that Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia still mark that period of their history.

A new Europe

Wunderbar: With Ingrid in Dresden

Which I have seen first hand in east, Dresden, and west Germany, Hamburg..

Where our host Ingrid reminded us that when we try to airbrush history we condemn ourselves to repeat it.

While in Prague Martina gave a US family, with brattish kids, a history lesson they’ll never forget in the Astronomical Clock.

Now you’re smarter than me (not hard) if you’ve worked out who will play in this year’s final.

And no, I don’t know if Germany and the Czech Republic could meet in the final.

They did in the last game of Euro 1996 when Germany got some revenge.

And now for Slovakia

With Katarina in Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic

They might, of course, meet Slovakia a pleasure still awaiting me.

Although I have enjoyed making a friend of Slovakian Katarina, who heads the Czech Tourism team in London.

We, my Dear Old Dad and I, loved spending two hours in the company of the Germans, Czechs and Slovaks 45 years ago.

When we munched on a quarter of midget gems (Scottish for bag of boiled sweets) which I’d bought him.

A treasure trove of memories

Life is just a bowl of cherries: Jim Snr

I made him find them in a treasure hunt around his usual places in the house.

So however you mark the day and I’m not expecting much, just a trip to the Caribbean, then savour them.

Just as I have with my Father’s Day memories of mine.

 

Countries, Culture, Europe

Danke Der Chancellor

I doubt whether there will be many of us  in the UK saying Thank You Chancellor for his budget this week, but in Germany they are very much saying Danke Der Chancellor in 2021.

This year Angela Merkel ought to be enjoying a lap of honour after 16 years as Chancellor but in typically understated style she is having none of it.

And she looked suitably embarrassed after a six-minute round of applause from her Christian Democrats party in Hamburg at her last conference as leader.

Hamburgers all round

It was perhaps fitting that the conference should be in Germany’s second city, Hamburg, as it was there in 1954 that she came blinking into the world.

Before being taken off to Templin in Brandenburg, 56 miles north of East Berlin because her father was taking up a pastoral position.

Nobody’s clothes horse, the image of Hleb in From Russia With Love always sticks in my mind.

She wouldn’t want to be compared to a Russian spy, of course, but wouldn’t care a jot about being pulled up over her outfit.

She once rasped at a journalist who had pointed out that she was wearing the same suit twice: ‘I am a government employee, not a model.’

From Angela With Love

Frau Merkel has had little truck with the Russians throughout her decade and a half in charge of the EU’s biggest country.

She remembers only too well the challenges of growing up in the old Communist-led East Germany which is evident to anyone who has visited.

Communist icons: On the walls in Dresden

And can see as I did in Dresden that the mark of the Communist era is still all around them.

Among Frau Merkel’s many successes, of course, have been the consolidation of the fledgling Unified Germany, her leadership during the Recession of the last decade and integrating immigrants.

Ich bin ein Hamburger

While she was happy to pass on the credit for World Cup victory for her beloved Germany national team to Joachim Loew.

Frau Merkel has also been praised for her handling of the Covid-19 crisis and while there have been obstacles since, and remember this is a country at the centre of Europe, they are emerging from the worst of it now.

 

Our friends at the German National Tourist Office are looking forward to a reboot, or a Das Reboot if you will, and they will revive their Beethoven 2020 250th Celebrations.

We’ll take Berlin

And they’ll be telling us all about it in the next couple of weeks when we’ll also have the pleasure of reacquainting the friends we met in Dublim from Visit Berlin.

All of which will be music to die Ohren of my own kleine Frau, born in Moenchengladbach, who has a hankering to visit Berlin herself when all this is over.

 

 

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, UK

Holiday Snaps – We’ll all be safer in Tobago

Life was so much simpler and safer in Tobago in December when I was standing in the Nylon Pool… and it is again.

After the Tobagonian island was granted a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Which means it is a standard-bearer for health and hygiene.

In fact judging by my own experiences out there you’re more likely to have your goat run away from you or fall out of your hammock.

Give me a call next time Boris

Everything in the garden is rosy

I could give you five minutes if you didn’t waffle and got to the point… Boris Johnson should make a special case for the Canaries and Balearic Islands.

So when will our politicians start following the best practices of our neighbours over localising quarantines?

The Canary Islands have had just 2,483 COVID-19 cases over the pandemic, while the Balearics have recorded just 2,290.

And have been proportionately below UK rates.

I just hope the rest of the world don’t think we’re all of us Europhobes in the UK.

And where else?

Of Corisican

And hard on their heels France, Germany, Greece were flagged up by scaremonger broadcasters.

A daily increase of 931 in France, 305 in Germany and 31 in Greece have spooked our communicators of information.

The two European superpowers are mainly mainland but Corsica is proudly independent if not politically so.

While France owes the Med island for giving them their biggest hero Napoleon.

There’s an island over there

There are a plethora of small islands too and St Patrick and the Cistercians had the right idea setting up a monastery in Saint Honorat, off Cannes.

And a scattering too of German islands in the Baltic too which you can spot in your Fjords cruise from Kiel. Oh,, they’re off to.

An island of my own… on Kythera

And Greece. Well, this is the best argument of all.

Six thousand islands. And while Greece has been ahead of the curve our politicians would surely be only too quick to shut tem down too.

And who would visit my honeymoon island Corfuhttp://www.visitgreece.gr/en/greek_islands/ionian_islands/corfu and my getaway island Kythera.

Stars of Ireland

And this garden too

Ireland has a galaxy of stars and in the 13 years I was there one shone brighter than any!!

But it also has beautiful uncluttered and unpolluted skies where the night sky lights up.

The Mountgreve Gardens in County Waterford is one such place. And they are hosting their first Star Gazing night in their 70 acres site on August 15.

Why then? Well why not?

But also because that’s the date of the most spectacular meteor shower of the year, the Perseid Meteor Showers.

Tickets are €12. The Harvest Shop will provide hot drinks and snacks.

The evening runs from 8.30pm-11.30pm and is for over 12s. Pre-book.