Thursday, 24 July 2008

Only In Germany . . .

A short, partly nostalgic trip last week to the Ruhrgebiet / Niederrhein, where I spent happy days as a subaltern in the heyday of the Cold War.

The Cold War has gone, but Germany changes little. Only in Germany . . .

. . . would they take the splendid 1930’s Officers’ Mess that was my home, declare it a listed building, and turn it into a conference centre

. . . would municipal allotments be turned over mostly to growing flowers in ornate little patches like this

. . . would an electricity pylon be placed in the grounds of a Wasserschloss

. . . would a little town like Zons (pop. 5,405) have a museum with a world-class collection of Art Nouveau glassware

. . . would the same little town host 8 marching bands and a dozen uniformed civilian ‘hunting’ societies (ahem), parading with swords, axes, rifles and cannon !

. . . and would a riverside dyke be called a Hochwassershutzanlage . . .

Happy days.


Photos © Nick Drew 2008; and, not for the first time, German spelling corrections courtesy of M.Wadsworth


Anonymous said...

Whoever owns this blog, I would like to say that he has a great idea of choosing a topic.

Sackerson said...

Sie haben mir beinah Heimweh gegeben.

Sackerson von Baerwacht

hatfield girl said...

The museums are astounding aren't they. The auctions are good too; there are the most beautiful bronzes, nothing grand but very fine, that can be afforded. I'm very fond of the small animals whose collective name I daren't try and spell. A particularly fine bronze snail stands between the bronze busts of Marx and Lenin on a sideboard at home as an expression of the pace of the advance of the Revolution.
In my next life I shall try to spend much of it in Germany.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"Hochwassershutzanlage", no "r".

S, wieso Heimweh? Du kannst doch jederzeit wieder hinfliegen um Dich dran zu errinern warum Du wieder weggezogen bist, sprich, weil es zwar hübsch aber dagegen stunk langweilig ist.

Nick Drew said...

Thanks, chaps, sorry it took me so many goes to get the damn' formatting right

thanks also for the sp, Mark - correction made and acknowledgement given, as before !

HG - aren't Marx and Lenin your tortoises ?!

Sackers - not so much Heimweh as unheimlich, wandering around the Mess again, I can tell you (which is odd, really, because it was home ...)

Old BE said...

Scheonen fotos!

Es tut mir leid, dass mein Deutsch nicht es nicht genug gut fur ein bessere Komment!

Old BE said...

With apologies to the German language on that one. To think I used to be semi-fluent!

Sackerson said...

Mark, ze past, it iss another country, nicht, and one cannot go zere.

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Nick Drew said...

well, thank you Anthony !

hatfield girl said...

The tortoises are Rosa and Lenin, ND. I have a carpet (one of a stock held by the GDR as state gifts to visiting heads of state), with Rosa woven into the centre panel, but no bronze; she was never important enough in the pantheon perhaps. There is also a fine set of papier mache masks of all Soviet leaders since Lenin with elastic at the back like on my school panamas, with which to liven up a dull evening.

idle said...

I didn't have you down for a soldier, Nick. When at RMAS, who with thereafter, etc?

Unsworth said...

France has some remarkable industrial museums - as has Switzerland. I remember walking round the Schlumpf collection at Mulhouse very shortly after it was discovered. Staggering numbers of Bugattis of phenomenal value. Then afterwards over the border at Basel, my favourite city, and on to the Transport museum at Lucerne.

What gets me is that, generally, they do look after their infrastructure and built environment. Walk around many of our ancient towns and cities - and weep.

Nick Drew said...

Unsworth - generally, they do look after ... - up to a point: also visited the amazing town of Hattingen which is in fantastic fettle: but (for example) Zons, the little town in the photos, is not everywhere in very good nick, museum and marching bands notwithstanding (the once-splendid windmill on the city wall is not at all happy)

and the last time I was in Hannover, the main municpal mall was in a shocking state of dereliction, whilst still open for business

Idle - not even this ?.

Anyhow: mid 1970's; RCT (at time of being in said Mess); followed by Green Slime

but you can put down the Gazette - I conduct ops here under a nom de guerre

Simon Fawthrop said...

I'm not going to drag up my megre German with so many expert readers.

I really enjoyed living in Germany (Celle) and find the Germans to be, by and large, great people. Most people I know who lived and worked there say the same.

So why do our tabloid press make out the we all hate Germany and the Germans?

Anonymous said...

Alles Gut auch fur mich! In meine meinung das wasschutz dinge ist eine bischen verruckt!!!

Anonymous said...


Ich konte perfektes Strassendeutsch undso fick euch alles mit dumb buchstabierung und so weitere!

Nick Drew said...

GS - yes, Celle (another military destination of mine) is wonderful, even if a bit close to one of the less comfortable manifestations.

Mutt - I expect your Italiano di Strada is pretty awesome too

Unsworth said...

@ ND

"I conduct ops here under a nom de guerre"

Oh! I thought that was mandatory.

RCT eh? Apparently the antidote has been found.

I was at Longmoor when it was formed.

See: for the current state of play.

Nick Drew said...

ah yes, Longmoor, the TC's course

I seem to recall a fine fellow called Brigadier Attack ! (sic)

lizanne_1 said...

Nick, could you expand on the comment you made on meeting the fine fellow Brigadier Attack?