I would have left her with very little else to see. That’s what I told her anyway. I’d been recounting the tale of my recent trip to Berlin in reply to the queries of a woman I know called Sue. That’s what I’ll call her here, anyway. Mainly because that’s her given.

You see, back in March I took my oldest grandson Geo to the German capital for a boys’ long weekend. He’s fourteen and has a deep fascination for twentieth century European history, meat-based diets, wheat beer and interesting European females. Not necessarily in that order. We spent a couple of days visiting various sites, museums and memorials, at some of which he bought a chunk of the Berlin Wall, a set of Russian tank commander’s goggles, a Soviet fur hat and, naturally, a gas mask, which involved a rather tense stand-off during our purchase negotiations. We (he) saved ourselves 40 Euros on the deal, so the verbal abuse we (I) suffered was worthwhile. He wanted the gas mark for “my vlogs, innit Grandad”. I didn’t ask him to elaborate. Geo discovered Curry Wurst and Berliner Kindl, both to his delight, Schnapps, mostly to mine, and he was both impressed and embarrassed at his grandfather’s ability to flirt with a German waitress in her native language. He’s also developed a recent interest in photography, and made some pretty damned good images while we were there.

So there we are. I was telling Sue about our adventures and she said she’d like to come with me next time I go. Joking, like. And I replied, equally in jest, that it would be a wasted trip if she wanted to do any sightseeing because she wouldn’t see anything other than the two items I mentioned in the title above. She had that sort of eye-narrowing look appearing on her face and I realised I’d overstepped the mark a little bit.

She said “we’ll make that a date then shall we?” Ooh er. I don’t know how I’ll get that one past the protective bosom of my family, I’m sure…Best not try.

Not a lot else has happened that you want to hear about, really.

You may remember Granny Gollum who once upon a time featured in these pages with vicious regularity. For many years she and her family were barred from entering my shop, after a period of sustained nastiness. Well I still see them about in town, and decided it would add much credit to my Karma balance if I did something nice for once. So I thought I’d bring her back from Berlin a jar of the Senf (Mittelscharf) mustard for which I know she has a particular fondness. But I forgot. I was meant to bring a few jars home for us too. I forgot that as well. So I went straight onto Amazon the morning after we got home and ordered a load, along with some other delightful continental condiments and sauces.

Two hours after I placed the order, the house phone rang. It was an Amazon seller, asking if I was the person who’d ordered a selection of German and Dutch foodstuffs. I admitted that I was, and he said that if I was going to be in for the morning he’d drop it off at my house. He lives less than four miles from my hovel! He came around and we had a lovely chat and exchanged emails, phone numbers etc and I promised to place endless more orders with him. Exciting and serendipitous stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

It’s spring. Walking to work this morning was like making my way through an avian orgy. Wood pigeons, Herring gulls and cancer doves were all shagging on roof tops, walls and the handrail above the underpass leading to the swimming pool. Feathers, beaks and sperm everywhere. They have no shame, but are blessed with a wonderful sense of balance. Probably a good way to go through life.




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