Category Archives: Germany

We should all learn German, especially the boys…

Skiing – yes, its that time of year! But there’s a problem…

Love the mountains...

Love a good mountain view

What is it with boys and learning languages? Why is it so hard? And why don’t they commit? Honestly, just basic German can be so useful, and yet the Brit boys forget their der, die, das and eins, zwei, drei  with catastrophic consequences….

That's the way to do it...

That’s the way to do it…


You need to picture the scene. Nine Brit boys on a long weekend skiing in Val Gardena – may be Italy, but German is the lingua franca, c’est la vie… The aim is as many miles on the piste for as few Euros as poss, so home cooking is the order of the day.

the boys favoured orange this year

the boys favoured orange this year


On the first shopping trip many, many, bottles of beer are bought for later consumption. Only for a fatal word on the label to be ignored: alkoholfrei… I mean I ask you, basic German or what!?! And spaghetti carbonara is a good dish for many hungry mouths, but the final pasta becomes slightly stodgy after overlong boiling and a realisation that it is senza glutine… (Italian, I know…)

the most pointless products in the world

the most pointless products in the world


Thank heavens for Wein, Weib und Gesang...

Thank heavens for Wein, Weib und Gesang…


Alohol free beer means speed limits can be ignored on the slope!

Alohol free beer means speed limits can be ignored on the slope!

But maybe the finest scene is reserved for the Bäckerei, where 18 rolls need to be bought for the following day’s packed lunch on the slopes. The boys can’t count to 18 in German – eins to zehn is all they can manage , so they asked the young lady behind the counter for neun rolls which she duly picks out, puts in a bag and hands over. At which point the boys add: “und neun…”, so she, perplexed, turns around and has to pick out another 9 rolls and put them in a second bag… She must have thought they were Idioten….

The view is spectacular

Spectacular views!


Looks like someone had  a serious tumble!

Looks like someone had a serious tumble!


I wonder if the girls’ trip is anything like this…? Let’s face it, unwahrscheinlich… 


Rain, Pah! Water off a Brit’s back!!!

Some things you can control, some things you can’t.  The rain is of the latter persuasion. And OMG, central Europe has been in the deluge this week! We had 4 days in Southern Bavaria & Austria, and the sun did not shine… not once. (Apparently London basked in lovely weather…)

Salzburg almost goes under

Salzburg almost goes under

What can you do? We were there to celebrate: grandparents reaching 70, and granddaughter reaching 6! So sod the rain, carry on celebrating…

Nobody can resist a cake with candles...

Nobody can resist a cake with candles…

Now just so you know, that is no ordinary cake. That is none other that proper Sachertorte from the Cafe Sacher in Salzburg (almost flooded, basement being pumped out as we had coffee and cake – we didn’t stop…)

Water up above… Head below ground! the Salt Mines in Berchtesgaden are amazing – just dig the snazzy suits we had to wear, and the zoominess of the slide to get into the huge subterranean cavern! (And check out the GPs leaning back to get full speed on – eternal children…!)

I came here as a kid. Loved it then, love it now.

I came here as a kid. Loved it then, love it now.

In the 96 hours we were there it stopped raining for maybe 3 hours. So that’s when I ran around like a madman trying to take some outside shots before the next deluge hit.

The Obersee (2 mins later obscured by a storm)

The Obersee (2 mins later obscured by a storm)

the view from our hotel

the view from our hotel – of the Thumsee (you can see the rain clouds coming…)

tried to crop out the clouds, but even so they force themselves into my pic!

tried to crop out the clouds, but even so they force themselves into my pic!

(A recommendation – we stayed in the Hotel Seeblick, the friendliest, most kid & GP friendly, most delicious food, most wonderful views, most unbelievable good value for money hotel that I’ve stayed in…., ever!

Now I know I’m a Brit, and by definition mood obsessed by the weather. 4 days rain was not what I had anticipated. But the area around Bad Reichenhall and Berchtesgaden is just SOOOOOO nice, that I forgive the rain,     just.

If you get the chance, go. And I wish you a sunny holiday!

the slightly bedraggled party

the slightly bedraggled party

Where do we come from, and where are we going?

Why do we photograph? For many reasons of course, but first amongst those is to freeze time. 1/60th second, remembered for ever. Passed on to the future. And that’s why getting your hands on the family stash of photographs is so overwhelming. You look back from the present to the past, and wonder about the future.

My parent's wedding day

Photos allow us to tell stories. Part of my father’s story is here. It must have been complicated in the early 60s… My parents were both foreign students in France. He English, she German. Having fallen in love he had to go to Germany to woo her.  They spent much time zooming around on a velociped.

A croggy

Entente cordiale led to a wedding. Church ceremony in Cadolzburg, Franconia; Civil wedding in Sheen, London.

no 5 star hotels to get ready in those days

Onlookers at the Church: Guck' mal, der Englaender!

The happy couple

My Mum knew nothing of English wedding etiquette. So she wore a black suit to the civil ceremony. Looked pretty smart to my eyes!

Sheen, London

Grandparents on both sides

Of course! Honeymoon and nuptials:

3 days in Bournemouth

And a new life in the Shropshire hills

It seems my parents did a lot of camping...

And then the inevitable (well at least it is from my point of view…) is kids:

I think I'm laying down the law here...

And now my Dad lays down the law himself

A father and son moment, probably camping...

Blimey, that's me!

And then the past moves into the present. It’s my turn. Father becomes Grandfather, son becomes father.

The leap in the generations

Love, laughter, happiness. An ordinary story, but also a sliver of history, told through photos. Not bad for a 1/60th of a second. Keep your photos, and share them.

My father

My daughter.

2011 – a personal review

This blog is one year old, so I thought I would do a quick review of the last 12 months, in 12 pictures. If you want to read the blog page that lies behind the picture, just click on the caption and it will take you there. Magic!

Dec/Jan, Venice in the cold:

Feb: Blackberry photos of BMW dream machines

Mar: Sailing off Mersea Island

Apr: Spring has sprung

May: Bluebell woods

Jun: The Royal Wedding

Jul: Cars!

 Aug: memories of York

Sep: kids gossiping on holiday in Italy



Oct: Italy’s sexy statues



Nov: New York, New York!

Dec: London night scenes

Desire and Lust in Munich!

Well, I hope the title got your attention, but this is a very particular passion, focusing on the pleasure to be had from the motorcar, and in particular, a racing BMW.

BMW is of course based in Munich, where there is a museum. And this museum is a fleshpot mecca for anyone who lusts after the streamlined beauty of the motorcar. It’s a while since I’ve gone weak at the knees, but this is the place where physical beauty overrides the senses… There’s one room with hanging earphones so you can listen to the different sounds of M engines over the years. Awesome.

BMW started right back at the early part of the last century. The logo refers of course to the spinning blades of the propellers in the first BMW airplanes, swiftly followed by motobikes and then cars. Spikey wheels on glorious chrome metal power steeds. A heady mix… And BMW has always been effortlessly stylish. A sign of the times is the 30s, 50s and the noughties…

BMW 5 series, 1954

BMW 335, 1939

Early BMW motorbike

These are the blades from one of the very first jet engines, late in the war, in 1944.

Jet engine, Arada, 1944

But looking at some of the developments for cars of the future, and my breath is taken away. I just love the sleek lines and the aggressive stance of the 2001 Gina. The car skin is soft and pliable, a stretched taught fabric. Even stationary it looks like it’s racing at more than 100 mph.

Oh God, it's just beautiful...

It’s looking into the future, but with a siren call to the present and the past. Beautiful….

The eye of the future

(A note to any photographers visiting the site – all these were taken with a Blackberry, not bad for a poxy little handheld thing..!)