PDchallenge: Writing


When I was a little girl I wrote stories about a girl called Manon and her friend, a squirrel, Nobody wanted to read the stories, so I quit writing stories.

When I was a very young woman, I dreamed about having six children,  a house at the sea  and making a living by writing children’s book. I never met a man who wanted six children with me and while I was at university children’s books didn’t appeal to me.

When I lived abroad I met a man who was a writer. I tried to write poems but found I didn’t have any talent for it.

All my life I have been keeping a diary. During a big change in my life I threw all diaries I had written between the age of 11 and 40 into a trash bin. Two years later I started writing diaries again.

The idea of being a writer appeals to me. I imagine myself getting up early in the morning, going on a walk with the dog, brewing some nice strong coffee and then sitting down at my computer writing some extremely intelligent, mind-shattering  article or chapter of some book while looking out into my garden. ‘After writing for some hours I am getting up to go to a yoga class or to prepare some nice, healthy meal, reading a bit, walking the dog and dropping in at a fried or working in the garden and then maybe writing a little bit more. Now and then  going into the city to talk to the editor or to give a lecture or interview.

No, I am not a writer, I just like the idea of leading a life as described above. I have no stories to tell and I am not an expert on anything. I am aware that most writers do not live as described above.  I am writing two blogs to please myself. The German blog helps me to clear my mind by expressing my thoughts on things that have been on my mind that week,  and this one helps me to focus on other things than the ones I deal with at work. I am happy when somebody reads and likes what I am writing, because like everybody else I like attention.  I like to read what other people are writing and it fascinates me to get a glimpse into other people’s life and reading is my true passion. I love reading stories others have written.







When the quiet is shattered

On Monday a house exploded in Itzehoe. 4 people died, 15 were injured, a 100 people had to leave their flats and spend the night with relatives or friends. Many of the houses around the explosion site will remain uninhabitable for weeks..

Until today it is not clear what caused the explosion. Most people assume that a defect in the gas heating led to the catastrophe, but nobody knows for sure and everybody is speculating.

Itzehoe is about 8 kilometers from where we live. It is the town we go to when we want a haircut or need to buy some clothes. It is not a town tourists will stop at, but there are a few nice spots and interesting buildings. It is a small town with maybe 33 000 inhabitants. There are many places like Itzehoe all over Germany. They are unremarkable, but peaceful. Their names usually don’t turn up in the headlines of the national papers or in the evening news.

The explosion happened in the old part of town, in an area that just recently had been restored. The houses there are from the end of the 19th century, a working class quarter with 4 or six flats in each house.  Some people who lost their home have lived there all their lives.

I have no emotional ties to Itzehoe. Most of my family is in Northern Saxony, my friends are living mainly in Hamburg or some other faraway places. I don’t know anybody affected by this disaster, but still, it has been on my mind every day. It makes me aware of how fragile our lives are. From one moment to the next the unthinkable can happen and does happen to some people.

Monday was a lovely, warm spring day, the kind that makes you fall in love with life and the world around you. The explosion happened at 9 o’clock. Most people had already left for work, mainly pensioners and housewives starting the day. There was no warning as they were doing what they did every day, when for some the life ended abruptly and others found themselves injured and without a home. And while they now struggle with their pain and  all kinds of problems , our lives continue and it will not be long before something else captures our attention and the memory of that terrible Monday will slowly fade from our consciousness.

For those of you who would like to get an idea about the area that was destroyed by the explosion I have includes a link to a video from the local newspaper:

Explosion in Itzehoe




When I was a child we had cow’s liver at least once a week. It was a very common (and cheap) food. We always had it with mashed potatoes and loads of fried onions and fried apple slices. I liked my liver just slightly rare in the middle, so that it would be soft and juicy. That was during the late 60ies and early 70ies. Like all things, food is subjected to fashion and in the early seventies chicken liver became the thing to eat. It was fried together with onions, garlic, red and green peppers and then left to stew in Sherry. It was served with white rice.

What you eat reflects your attitude and lifestyle, doesn’t it? When I became a young mother  I turned health conscious and experimented with vegetarian food, and whole food, followed by a phase of Asian cooking.  At the same time we had many food scares in Germany, the worst perhaps the fear of BSE or cow madness, and liver disappeared from the shops.

During the last months I have now and then seen liver at the butcher’s, but still, I feel uneasy about buying it. Liver is food of another era,  the same era in which we considered cow’s tongue in white wine sauce (almost free of fat and very tender meat), a delicacy, had whipped egg with sugar as a sweet and thought nothing of eating ‘Bregenwurst’, a sausage, that at that time  still contained  some brain of pigs.