Skip to main content

While the Grand Duchess is away. . .

The Grand Duke will play! Sonja is off visiting an archive today, so after a lazy morning with plenty of coffee, a large breakfast, and several hours of German news and culture on the radio (auf Deutsch naturlich!), I've managed to pull myself together to head out and run a few errands. First off is our local internet cafe, but the real point of the trip is to find a card and flowers for the Grand Duchess since tomorrow (June 24th) is our third anniversary.

We already purchased a porcelain tea service for each other while we were in Bremen last week, but I want to have a few additional small things to brighten the apartment when Sonja returns home later this afternoon. Then, this evening, it's off to dinner with a few friends. Tomorrow, we'll pobably kick around Berlin, specifically the Kreuzburg area of the city where Sonja lived for about two years in the mid-90s when she was a graduate student, doing research for her doctoral dissertation. Thursday, I will visit Berliner Zinnfiguren at some point and maybe find some additional figures to splurge on. We'll see.

Yesterday, the Grand Duchess and I toured the city, including the former site of Checkpoint Charlie, Humboldt University, and the large hole in the ground where the East German Palace of the Republic once stood (the former site of the Royal Palace -- The Schloss). We also had a delightful late lunch on the top floor of the Ka De We department, in the former West Berlin. Sonja tells me that the changes in the city over the last ten years or so are hard to fathom. Indeed, there is much high-end shopping along with expensive restaurants, bars, clubs, and cafes in both halves of the once divided city. In the former eastern half of Berlin, most of the buildings have been refurbished or replaced, and many inhabitants of the city are very well dressed and display conspicous affluence even if Berlin has the reputation of being a largely working class city.

For me, it's hard to reconcile the city I am in now with the black and white images of the former East Berlin, which I saw periodically on TV and in news magazines as a child, teenager, and young adult. The changes are simply amazing. But, the Grand Duchess points out that they have come at a cost, and the city of Berlin is now broke, so doing anything else generates considerable discussion and debate among the citizens and city government.

Just a few days remain now before the two of us head home next week. There is still a lot I'd like to see, but time is always a problem, and some things will just have to wait until a future visit. Sonja is already aiming for two years from now (Summer 2011)! Apparently, there is some kind of big grant that she wants to apply for before too long since the cut-off point is 42 years of age. It's some kind of big stipend meant to assist younger female academics. I think she has a good chance given her record of generating funding for her research, but the Grand Duchess tells me that the competition for these grants is stiff, so we'll have to see how it goes. In any case, we'll be back here before too long one way or another, so if there is something I miss, I'll see it the next time around. Ok, I've got some flowers and a card to find. . . Bis später männer!

Comments

ColCampbell50 said…
Best wishes to the Grand Duchess and you on your anniversary!

Jim
Bluebear Jeff said…
May you have a most wonderful anniversary!


-- Jeff
Fitz-Badger said…
Happy anniversary!
Happy Anniversary to you both, and a safe journey when your time to return comes!
old-tidders said…
Best wishes on your anniversary

-- Allan

Popular posts from this blog

Post-Christmas Excitement by Post. . . and a Brief Review

Can't wait to retire to bed this evening with this new arrival!
Earlier this afternoon, Digby Smith's Armies of the Seven Years War arrived with the mail.  A quick glance through the book -- after wrestling it from its Amazon packaging -- shows it to be chock-a-block with information on the various combatants who partook in the conflict, their uniforms, standards, etc.  While I've been aware of Mr. Smith's book for a couple of years, I only got around to purchasing it with some of Mom and Step-Dad's Christmas gift on December 26th.  I cannot wait to examine it more closely later this evening, and might hit the sack right after supper with some fresh coffee and the book, leaving the Grand Duchess and the Young Master to their own devices for the remainder of evening.  Weeeeeell, maybe not quite that early. . .  but all bets are off by 9 or 10pm!



Thursday, January 4th

I just wrote my first review for Amazon.com on this book.  It reads:

A highly interesting title on the v…

Back in the Painting Saddle. . .

It's hard to beat the richness of oil-based metallics.  The Minden mounted colonel that I worked on yesterday evening.  He ought to look pretty good when finished.

I spent a pleasant hour or so last night, following The Young Master's bedtime, carefully teasing tiny bits of Winsor & Newton, or perhaps Grumbacher, gold and silver oils onto the mounted Austrian officer, who will oversee the composite battalion of Minden Austrian grenadiers.  They, of course, are the fellows in the foreground.

Those of you with longer memories might recall that these miniatures have been on the painting table since January.  Real life, however, has meant that progress has been at a standstill since late February.  I even put them away in a box for a couple of months to reduce dust and cat fur build-up!  

However, I managed to get my seat back into the painting chair last night, and here we are.  A steady hand, despite the usual after dinner infusion of strong dark roast coffee, meant only one m…

Stuart Asquith RIP. . .

 The now departed author and hobby personality playing a colonial game in 1978.  No hiding the width of neckties from that era!

Another one of the hobby greats, Stuart Asquith, passed away during the weekend.  While we never met (I am on the wrong side of the Atlantic), I was fortunate enough to exchange a couple of short emails with him 10 or 12 years ago when he was involved with a blog about all things Charge!

Said blog was managed by four or five UK hobbyists during the wave of enthusiasm that followed the 2006 Sittangbad and 2007 Mollwitz refights at Partizan in the U.K. just as hobby and imagination blogging took off in a big way.  Sadly, the blog disappeared pretty quickly, but it was a real blast interacting with Stu even if only briefly and in passing.  He was very personable and humble in his emails to me, expressing surprise that a stranger in the U.S. had an inkling of who he was.

Stu Asquith's writing years ago in Military Modeling, various books, and magazines like Prac…