Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 85

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Friday & Saturday May 1 & 2, 2009 (diary)

May Tree Procession, Altenahr, Germany May Day. My mind goes back to last year when I was in Germany. Huge May poles were pulled by tractors in procession through the streets to their destined village squares. In Boppard I watched their annual Mailauf, and stayed at Rhein Hotel Rebstock with its lovely Jugendstiehl (Art Nouveau, now called Art Deco) dining room.

The nights are warmer again, but pleasant. I have totally weaned myself off drinking coffee. I only drink Twining's Green tea with Lemon now. I like it. I did read somewhere (in Newsweek) that the tea loving former Earl Grey was at the time strongly against England's fight against Napoleon. Call me silly, but that is enough reason for me to never drink the tea named after him again (not that I drank it often anyway).

I have started reformatting my Contract Bridge Course. I originally wrote it on my Mac, but some of the text and demo hands formats are somewhat squeezed (requiring more space) when displayed on a PC. I will probably put the complete 24 lesson course online for free (instead of just the 10 beginners lessons now).
In the evening it is bridge with Freda at the Darwin Bridge Club. We end up winning. I also hear that Mairead and I won last night at Palmerston. She will be pleased.

Saturday more formatting, then to Casuarina for a sushi lunch and on to Nightcliff for a swim. After having completed my laps, Mary, who is lying on her banana chair sunning, spots me and joins me in the water. We float around for over an hour happily chatting away. Suddenly it is past 5 PM and Mary has to rush back home to cook. Her hubby likes to dine early.

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Sunday & Monday May 3 & 4, 2009 (diary)

Oil painting by Wivica Sunday I have a very quiet day. After watching the ABC "Insiders" program I contemplate having lunch at Stokes Hill Wharf, but seeing there is quite some wind I decide against it, eating some 2 minute noodles instead at home.
In the afternoon I watch International soccer on SBS. They have a very comprehensive afternoon program every Sunday.

There are three English teams (Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea) in the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League Cup, Barcelona being the only other European club left in the competition. So no matter what happens there will be at least one English team in the final.
The first semi final legs have been very tight indeed : Barcelona - Chelsea : 0-0, and Man United - Arsenal : 1-0. Both matches of a high standard attacking football.

In Australia the two dominant football codes are the NRL (National Rugby League) and the AFL (Australian Football League), but soccer has gained enormous interest and support in recent years, especially after the "Socceroos'" splendid performance at the previous World Championships in 2006. At schools around the country too, soccer is the very much preferred and most popular sport.
The NRL and AFL are deeply ingrained in the Australian culture, but through the steady flow of new migrants into the country, and the continuous improvement in quality of the National soccer A League, this is bound to slowly but gradually change in the long run.

Dinner with Wivica, April 2008 Monday it is my sister Wivica's birthday. Congratulations Wivica, I wish you many happy returns and a wonderful day today.
During our childhood I always felt rather sorry for her, because Wivica's birthday falls on the very day (May 4) that Holland remembers their dead from the Second World War, with at 6 PM each year a minute silence throughout the country. This made Wivica's birthday parties always a bit subdued. Now living in the South of Germany, it fortunately does not affect this happy day for her anymore.

It is a lovely sunny day again today. The wind has dropped to the level of a light pleasant breeze and I enjoy sitting outside on my veranda. I am still working on my Bridge Course upgrade, I have lunch at Palmerston and in the evening play bridge with Mairead at the Arafura Bridge Club.

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Tuesday May 5, 2009 (Just after WW2)

My Primary school in Gorssel Today Holland is celebrating Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation day) commemorating the day 64 years ago (May 5, 1945) when the Allied forces liberated all of The Netherlands from German occupation. Although my parents were on the loosing side of the war and found themselves both in a concentration camp for a few years (an experience they both always remembered very positive with respect to their own personal development), we were very happy too that the war was finally over.

I was barely 3 years old when the war started, so had no idea what peace and freedom meant, but found it absolutely wonderful when it arrived. No more frightening sounds of undulating sirens sounding the alarm, Allied bombing squadrons with their menacing hum flying overhead, bombs falling down and exploding.
Us children were fortunate to be spared the sight of blood and death, but the air raids in Germany were very scary. One night, a dozen of us crouched down in the cellar of my grand parents, bombs rained down on Wismar. One landed within 150 yards of us destroying the very church my parents had been married in, shaking our shelter, raining dust and dirt all over us. Surfacing outside the following morning all streets, squares, buildings were covered in fine red brick dust, many windows broken from the blasts, destruction and rubble everywhere.

My Primary school in Gorssel Peacetime at last was just incredible to us. The horrible siren sounds were replaced by the friendly sustained monotone hoot of the Milk Co-operative in Eefde sounding exactly at 12 noon. We could hear it in the classrooms of our primary school in Gorssel, 3 kms away (to the Co-op's north). Immediately we would cast meaningful looks at our teacher : lunch time recess, but were not allowed to close our books and rush out until the school bell had joined the Co-op with its happy sound.

I was the proud and much envied owner of my own bicycle just after the war. It had wooden blocks screwed to its pedals so that I could reach them with my feet and solid rubber strips around its wheel. Inflatable tires were not available then in Holland. I could race the 1.5 km home for lunch in no time and make the most of our 1.5 hour recess until school resumed again at half past one.
In due course most kids had there own bike, then it became my friend Otto van der Mei who was the envy of everybody. He owned a donkey and cart on which we occasionally were allowed to ride around the countryside.

Lawn at Martinshof There was not much for sale in the shops in the years just after the war. We made our own soccer ball from crumpled up newspapers, tightly bound together with lots of string into something resembling the shape of a round ball. We played on the Martinshof lawn or on the meadow across the road. But in the evening when the grass became wet with dew the paper ball did not last longer than a few days, so we just made another one. At one Christmas I got a leather ball filled with cork crumbs, it did not bounce up but still was a great improvement. Then finally we had the real thing a leather football with inflatable rubber ball inside and real soccer boots and shin pads. Those days in the early years after the war for us boys were just magic and I remember them with great sweet fondness.

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