Archiv für Februar 2012

The Age of Enlightenment!


Doctor: ‘What’s your problem Mr Smith?’

Patient: ‘It’s my memory doctor, I’m always forgetting things.’

Doctor: ‘How long have you had this problem?’

Patient: ‘Which problem?’

As people live longer, more and more of them suffer from illnesses, that do not effect younger people. One magazine recommends us to drink lots of black tea. a glass of red wine every day, to eat red meat, including liver. Another article tells us that too much red meat, red wine, etc. is not good for our blood vessels. What are the oldies to do?

Which medical school of thought should we follow? Both agree that forty-five minutes quick walking is better than taking physical exercises in the home. Which line should we follow? Maybe, because we are all individuals, there is no one correct answer for everybody. there is an old English saying: ‘A little of what you fancy, does you good?’

I’m happy, that I managed to remember that old saying!

Nektar of the Gods


Recently, my family and I were sitting around the table, drinking coffee and conversing about this, that and the other. Somehow, the subject turned to cider (the alcoholic juice of apple). I went on to say how important cider was for farmers, in my childhood days. This was in the ‘West Country’ area of England.

During harvest time, farmers would employ casual workers. Not many of these men would have been interested unless the farmers had a constant supply of cider in the harvest fields. Then I told them about how cider was made. Most farmers in those day, had at least one orchard of apple trees. After the ’eating and cooking’ apples had been carefully picked from the trees, all the remainder would be used for cider.

My father also had an orchard of over seventy trees. In late autumn, we transported our sacks of apples to an uncle’s farm, and there the apples were crushed and the juice taken for further treatment, to finally become cider. This was an exciting, adventures time for the kids. Dark evenings, lit by oil lanterns, and every process carried out by hand operated farm equipment, and listening to the typical farm talk of the workers. We children would hide behind the cider-press and suck up the juice, through pieces of straw, while the man enjoyed the plentiful supply of mature cider from the previous year. During the following Christmas festivities, the ladies drank the new cider, which was a little sweeter, and less alcoholic, than the last year’s product, which the men drank. Children of this modern high-tech age would probably not find the foregoing very exciting, or adventurous.

But remember, that was all before the days of TV, mobile phones, i-pads, etc. and cider making was only one of many other non-high-tech enjoyment. As I said, at the beginning, our conversation was part of our coffee break. What a pity that it wasn’t over a glass of genuine, farmhouse cider, from the ‘old’ days.


casual workers -  not fully employed

orchard -   an area of fruit trees

foregoing -   going before

Square Pegs in Round Holes


Every day, here in the UK, we hear stories of the phenomenal sums of money that top bankers receive. Sometimes as a bonus, other times as a  pension. These large sums are then compared with the relatively small salaries of the average citizen.

Is the UK economy too lop-sided, in favour of financial services, as opposed to manufacturing industries? Yesterday, while I was listening to the BBC radio, I heard the same old stories of the above mentioned topics, being repeated with party propaganda from sides coming from their various ‘spin-doctors’. Then, separately, the subject of further education (university studies) came up. The public was invited to comment via email, etc. One lady said that she was one of a group of six who had studied and qualified as advanced engineers. But of those six graduates, she was the only one, to take employment as an engineer.

The other five of the group had taken employment in banking. This made me think that, no matter how much this country may need to revive manufacturing, to end the present imbalances in the economy the problem is being dealt with from the wrong angle. I asked myself, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Maybe we should adapt to the Chinese ‘State Capitalist’ way of running our economy!!


pension -   used for all grades of professions

top-sided -   out of balance

spin-doctor -   political party PR

revive -   bring back to life

The London Chain of Gold


As I promised in last week’s blog, I now continue the  subject of U.K. mayors, because, as with many things, London is different and requires some extra attention.

There are two Londons. There is Greater London, known as London Town, and there is the City of London. They are separate in many aspects, including administration.

So, believe it or not, we have two mayors. The mayor of Greater London has a lot of power over what happens in it. The Lord Mayor of the City has relatively little power. He could be seen more as a  representative of old London history.

Within the City, there are the so-called guilds. Historically, guilds were responsible for the good, rigid, regulations covering the production of craftsmen. The guild protected the customer, not the craftsman. Most of this power of the guild has diminished. Only a few proficiency examinations of crafts exist today. An example is the ‘City and Guilds’ examination for dental technicians. However, in the City, there are still many representative establishments of the individual guilds. Today, they are occupied by very rich merchants. Every year, one of these merchants is elected to the office of Lord Mayor of London. His election is accompanied by much pageantry, such as the Lord Mayor’s show, which, to a German person, might look something like a carnival procession through the City streets. The Lord Mayor spends much of his time and energy maintaining good business relations with other countries.

Any time you, good reader, are in London, I recommend a visit to the Guild Hall. It is used for grand conferences, of grand businessmen and politicians. It may help you to feel like a grand person. No guarantees, of course.


rigid -   inflexible, unchangeable

diminished -   become less