Posted by: kathandroger | October 1, 2017

Germany south and north.

Our summer season has almost finished, so we have just taken a week off to visit our neighbouring country. My elder son has produced, with some help from his German wife, my seventh grandchild and the third male. IMG_0944They live in the Black Forest, not in a little tree house, but in a lovely town called Kirchzarten, near Freiburg. Now it just so happens that the wife, having missed out on her Paragliding course last year with a broken elbow, discovered that the town does a course locally, so she was duly enrolled and delighted to be elsewhere when the new baby had to be adored.

Paragliding, or more accurately Parapenting, is a way of flying around suspended under a big plastic bag. The bag has lots of strings attached to it for control, and launching the thing involves running down a steep hillside and jumping off into the air. The thermals from the heating hillside provide an updraft , and pulling some of the strings means that terra firma can be regained rather than being elevated into the stratosphere.IMG_0016 The girl did well! She pulled all the right strings and was soon an expert, having performed 17 flights in three days and thus attaining, after a written examination, the first stage of the pilots’ licence. In no time I reckon she will be jumping off our roof here to do the shopping in Descartes.

Having spent a few lovely days with the expanding family, in a very beautiful region of Germany, we drove northwards to Kaths’ penfriend of very many years. Annette and her husband are farmers and they have diversified their farm to include not just very many pigs, but also to produce heat from food and other waste, by biological digestion.IMG_0959 The heat is used to provide domestic heating for surrounding buildings and also for electricity which is sold to the state. All very technical and forward looking, and it seems to be a great success, judging by the fleet of Mercedes in the farmyard! We visited an old castle, now a posh hotel, about a kilometre away, heated by underground pipes from the farm. Apparently the owner had moaned about his heating being inadequate, and Einhart, our host, offered to install a system for him. Now that is enterprise, and typical of the Germans. I can only wonder at the cost of laying underground insulated piping, over a kilometre, to relay and then recuperate the water. Apparently the local banks are very obliging! All the family are involved in running the farm, even granddad, now in his eighties, and the regime seems to be run on very disciplined lines. We briefly discussed (in English-they all speak it very well, much to my embarrassment) the French and their frequent strikes. The work ethic seems to be different in Germany, and our host was hoping for more strikes as the Germans could grab any gaps in the market! But fun was still part of the life there; the Octoberfest, the annual beer drinking festival, was in full swing, and the younger members of the family, all attired in Leiderhosen, duly attended. But the difference was that they were all present for the family breakfast the next day, albeit looking slightly worse for wear! It would not have been like that in my day.

We traversed Germany from the  south, through the Black Forest and along the Rhine to the industrial north. It is a very beautiful country, slightly overpopulated for me,and they eat too much stodgy food, but we left in no doubt why the economy of the state is so healthy. Hard work and application, with still time to play hard. France and UK needs to take heed!

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