Tag Archives: Europe

Local people

11 o’clock, 11th day, 11th month. I am  sitting on a bench on a railway platform in Breisach on the French German border, waiting on a train to take us north to where the wind blows after half a decade living on the calm right bank of the Old Rhine.
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Vine time

I took a  break from walking beaches to take part in this year’s grape harvest. A Winzermeister from a nearby town invited me to help and I thought a little manual labour would do me no harm.  Continue reading

Wild English

In the three years I have spent mostly in Germany I have reached the dizzy level of a 2-year-old in my German language skills. But to be fair to toddlers I do have more screaming tantrums. What has been a surprise though is that I have started to lose track of the changes in English usage. Continue reading

Smack dab in the middle

A little to the south of Breisach and some 40 km north of the Swiss border two trees grow, one either side of the towpath that runs along the right bank of the old Rhine channel. These two trees form my portal between northern and southern Europe. This gateway is where the cool north and the warm south meet, the midpoint between machair and maquis. Continue reading

Hibernating fleas

Sunday morning early starts are over for the year. Last Sunday was the final pre-dawn break for the border two hours before the Shipping Forecast.

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Adopt a vortex

On 22nd October 2012 Dominic Jung from Wetter.net gave the German weather forecast in which he said: “Teilweise tanzen dann sogar im Alpenvorland die Schneeflocken bis ganz runter vom Himmel.“ I ran a Google translate of this forecast and the result was better than I could have imagined,

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A short walk across the Alps

In the summer of 1982 I took my first flight to Greece.  I was sitting in a starboard window seat reading a new travel guide, the first edition of the first Rough Guide by Mark Ellingham, when the clouds below cleared.
We were high over a confusion of jagged sharp crystals. The  Alps were scattered below us and far into the distant haze. Continue reading