Monday, 8 August 2022

The War of the Worlds - A Nation in Fear


 A Martian looking at Schönbrunn

On October the 30th, 1938, Radio broadcasts on the east coast of America were interrupted with an urgent news flash. The Martians had invaded the world. There had been no warning at all. And, as the news bulletins increased, it became clear that the Martians were advancing with speed on New York. And, no one could stop them. The police and military were helpless. The Martians had weapons and machinery - the likes of which had never been seen. The Martians kept coming and coming. Life in New York would soon be a thing of the past.

Then came the panic. Thousands of people tried to escape. Soon all major high-ways were blocked and all the trains full. New York was emptying fast. All over town was a feeling of fear; and time was running out quickly.

And then, all of a sudden, came the all-clear. The Martians had amazingly been defeated. Not by the army, but by millions of microbes. The panic was over and the people went back to their homes. There was relief. The danger had passed. New York breathed a sigh of relief.

But, in reality, there was never any danger at all. All that had happened was a radio play. The War of the Worlds. And Orson Welles was not only playing the lead, he was directing as well. And, Orson Welles was good at his job. His radio theatre company, The Mercury Radio Company on the Air, was very, very popular. And, so good was Orson Welles's adaption of H G Wells's novel, War of the Worlds, that many believed it. Radio, at the time, was a very powerful media and Orson Welles knew how to use it. All in all, Orson Welles directed and produced more than 29 radio plays. All adapted from novels.

Later, Orson Welles moved into film. His most famous parts being Citizen Kane and Harry Lime. But, Orson Welles was a radio man. He had a wonderful voice. The same as Oscar Werner and Richard Burton. But, it was The War of the Worlds that brought Orson Welles fame.

Panic and fear and a nation in fear.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Rebecca Hughes

 Paradise Back

One summer morning, Rebecca walked into her garden. It was a beautiful day. Sunshine, blue skies, colours and song. But, something was wrong. Paradise was hurting. No buzzing to be heard. 12 bees were all Rebecca could find. A tragedy. Something had to be done.

So shocked was Rebecca that she set about becoming a bee keeper. She would bring back the bees.

Rebecca started reading books, going on courses, watching videos, and, most importantly, getting to know other liked minded people. Rebecca found no shortage of help. Bee keepers are passionate people.

And, then, one day, came Rebecca's first hive and her very first swarm. This was a very special day. Friends in their thousands moved into her garden. And, these thousands of friends very quickly took over.

And, now, all these years later, there's a very big buzz in the air. And, the bees are happy as well. Rebecca has turned a very large part of her garden into a bed of wild flower beauty. Wild flowers make wonderful honey.

And, Rebecca has not only honey, she has wax and propolis, too. All wonderful natural gifts. Gifts that give light, heal, and keep hunger away. And, what could be better than a nice honey sandwich and a nice glass of mead?

And, at the end of each day, Rebecca goes into her garden and says thank you. Her very many very little friends do a wonderful job. Paradise is no longer hurting. Rebecca has brought back the bees. The days of only 12 bees are long, long ago.

Rebecca Hughes – Paradise Back.

Listen to this article in YouTube

Opera - Kyrenia Opera


The City of Veszprem in Hungary

The City of Veszprem and  Zsuzsi

If you go down to Veszprem in Hungary, you will find a city of pasts. An historic past with a castle – and a socialist past with its social housing developments. Veszprem is ancient and modern and cultural and fun. Veszprem is well worth a visit.

And, whilst visiting Veszprem last summer, I discovered a statue just off the main square. A statue of a woman. And, this woman could have been anyone. But, this is a statue of Zsuzsi  in stone. And, Zsuzsi was, and still is, someone quite special. She's loved by the people of Veszprem. And, funnily enough, Zsuzsi  comes from a time that was not loved at all. The socialist era.

The clearing up was fast at the end of the socialist time. The hammers and sickles and the Lenins and Stalin's soon disappeared. Hungary was Hungary again. But, Zsuzsi was not cleared away. This small part of the past had to stay. Zsuzsi was very important.

 Zsuzsi was not only a woman, she was more. All through the communist days, the people of Veszprem saw Suszi as a symbol of hope. And, sure enough, the dark days of oppression did come to  an end. And there Suszi stood. True to the hearts of the people who loved her.

But, some people had believed that Zsuzsi  should leave Veszprem as well. She, after-all, was a socialist figure. And so, the council decided that Suszi should be broken up, too, Just like the Lenins and Stalins. But, the people said no in a very loud way. Suszi should stay. They would not let her go. And, so, the council gave way. And, that's why Suzi's still there. In the hearts of the people in the heart of the city of Veszprem.

The city of Veszprem has many different pasts.  But, Zsuzsi'  eternal.  Zsuzsi is hope.

Veszprem. A small town in Hungary that's well worth a visit.


Wednesday, 22 June 2022

A Patchwork Present

A Patchwork Present

Christmas is coming and Lucy Abel is at home in Vienna and knitting a patch. And, this little patch has a long way to go. It fact, it's going to Canada. But, when it gets there it won't be alone. There will be other patches, too, and they will be coming from China, Africa, the USA, Great Britain and France. And, all to become part of a patchwork present for little Sarah Abel.

When little Sarah Abel was born 5 years ago, Lucy Abel had an idea. Why not make a patchwork blanket for her new little granddaughter? It would be perfect for Christmas. And, Lucy Abel's daughter in law agreed without question. What a brilliant idea! But, then together they had a brilliant idea! Why not ask other friends and relatives to join in with the present as well! Everyone who wanted could knit a patch and send it to Canada, too. And, not only once, but also year after year, and all to be part of an on-going ever growing blanket of colourful patches. And now, 5 years later, 27 more little patches will be making their way from far away places to Canada.

And, there's another interesting side to this story as well. These patches don't only look nice when all sewn together, they keep family and friends together and in contact as well. And, because each little patch arrives with a card, the Abels in Canada have lots of nice Christmas cards to admire and hang up - and all from all over the world.
Lucy Abel had an idea. And now, people all over the world are doing the same. Everyone's knitting a patch. And, little Sarah Abel in Canada is keeping warm in the winter in a blanket that grows every Christmas.

Lucy Abel, a lady who not only thinks of today, but the future as well, and next year, she'll be knitting again. Happy Christmas, Lucy Abel.

Peter Rosegger and Old Kramer Teresa - A Mountain Childhood Story

Peter Rosegger and Old Kramer Teresa - A Mountain Childhood Story 

People enjoy looking forward to things that are special. Birthdays, Christmas, and other meaningful days. And, these moments of joy always involve other people. People who are special. And, in his book, *As I was still a Forest Farmer's Son, Peter Rosegger, the Austrian author, thinks kindly back to old Kramer Teresa. She was a very kind old lady and her visits to the Rosseger's farm in the mountains of Austria were moments that were never forgotten.

Old Kramer Teresa came twice a year. Once in the winter and again in the spring. Old Kramer Teresa came selling her goods. And, she carried on her back a kind of chest of drawers in the form of a ruck-sack. And, this chest of drawers on her back was a pack of surprises. And, arriving at the Rosseger's farm house, Old Kramer-Thresel would unpack her wares on the old kitchen table. The children's eyes then opened wide with delight. It was the same every time. This was a moment that didn't come often.

There were sweets to suck and enjoy, mouth-organs to play, brightly painted wooden spoons, tobacco to smoke, pocket knives for carving, small wooden horses on wheels, toy soldiers in colourful uniforms, and, many other things as well. Something for everyone. And, because each boy and girl had kept their promises to behave and be good, the rewards were not long in coming. Each child was given a gift of their very own choice. And, the children were happy and joyful.

And, everyone else was happy as well. Then, after a fine simple meal of sausage and bread, Teresa Kramer went on her way. Into the freshness of green in the spring, and, into the snow and the ice in the winter. And, as Old Kramer Teresa waved happily goodbye the waiting began once again.

Peter Rosegger was born in 1843 and died in 1918. In his book, “As I was still a Forest Farmer's Son”, Peter Rosegger describes his childhood in the mountains of Austria, His book is packed full of interesting stories and is a must for everyone interested in Austrian history.

Moments of magic always involve other people. People who are special. And, in those days, Teresa Kramer was a very special person in the mountains of Austria. A lady who called twice a year with her bag of surprises.

Peter Rosegger - As I was still a Forest Farmer's Son. A book that's well worth the read.

Peter Rosegger and Teresa Kramer – Growing up in the mountains of Austria

*German title – Als ich noch der Waldbauernbub war – Peter Rosegger.


mouth-organs – Mundharmonika -
tobacco pipes – Tabakpfeife -
pocket knives , Taschenmesser -
buttons – Kopfe -
brightly painted wooden spoons - bunt bemalte Holzlöffel -
small wooden horses on wheels - kleine Holzpferde auf Rädern -
toy soldiers in colourful uniforms - Spielzeugsoldaten in bunten Uniformen

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Black and White Shooting


Frohnleichnam Vienna 2014

Essay – Why I Like Black and White!
Some shadeless reflections!

Black and White photos, it is argued by those who love colour, show none of the colourful realities of life, and, are therefore unreal! But, (and this is a different topic altogether!) are any photos real? I believe not. They are simply frozen moments in time as captured by camera. And, as far as I'm concerned, colour, and black and white both provide for magnificent pictures. As to which is the best is a matter of personal taste. I prefer black and white, and my reasons are simple.

To begin with, black and white photography totally emphasises the main subject of the picture by freeing it from the chains of clashing surroundings. Colour can only do this by eliminating all except the foreground, which, of course destroys the background as well. A sharp picture in all aspects is very important for me.

Secondly, black and white is more-or-less timeless! There are non of the colours of temporary fashion, and, there are non of the exaggerated shades of badly matched tones, and everyone and everything looks regal and great. Black and white photography, no matter how old, is always fresh, and that's how photography should be.

My third and biggest reason for liking black and white is its total lack of aggression. There are no fighting reds, vicious oranges or poisonous greens, etc, which can make for unpleasant feelings. Black and white, no matter which subject, (including war, etc) is balanced and peaceful. Clashing, due to its span of pure white to deep black is impossible, and, maybe, this pureness of expression and peace is life as I really want it!

Of course, colour does play a very important role in certain types of photography. However, when it comes to street photography, portraits and life as it comes; black and white is the best - and it is for me!

naj – May

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Andrew J. Roberts - Time


All the Time in the World

Collecting Time

Time is something that never stops still. Sometimes it crawls and sometimes it races. But, for Andrew J. Roberts, time is a wonderful hobby. His collection of clocks is the finest I've seen.

In his collection, which numbers almost 1000, Andrew J. Roberts has many interesting chronometers. He has grandfather clocks, grandmother clocks, mantelpiece clocks, kitchen clocks, and many other fascinating clocks from all over the world. And, all together, they're worth a small fortune. But, Andrew J. Roberts's favourite time keeping device has neither hands nor a digital display. Andrew J. Roberts's favourite time keeping device is something he couldn't do with out. It's an egg-timer. An hourglass from Egypt with Saharian sand.

When Andrew J. Roberts moved into his very first house, his granny was the first to come calling. And, being a sensible woman, the egg-timer was the present she gave him. And, Andrew J. Roberts found it easy to use. He soon got the hang of it. No winding up and no batteries to change. All very simple. Just a flick of the wrist, that's all. And, after 35 years, this wonderful very old device still keeps perfect time. And, thanks to advanced Egyptian technology, Andrew J. Roberts's soft boiled eggs are always delicious. Never too hard and never too soft. Just perfect.

Andrew J. Roberts is a collector of clocks. He has much time on his hands. But, most people say he has a bit of a tick! He gets wound up very quickly. Just like his clocks. But, just like his egg timer,
Andrew J. Roberts keeps perfect time. He never comes late. And, just like his eggs, he's neither too soft nor too hard. Just right for cracking. And, a pinch of salt is all that is needed.

And, do you have a tick, too? Do you collect stamps?

Collecting's a wonderful way of passing one's time. Just ask Andrew J. Roberts, he has time on his hands and, of course, on his walls. And, time never stands still.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Hansi and His Party


One day, Hansi Seiler, a good friend of mine, decided to move. He'd had enough of the view and fancied a change. And, then, after some looking, Hansi Seiler found a nice flat in a nice part of town, Vienna's 3rd district.

And so, Hansi Seiler moved flat. And, 3 months later decided to have a house-warming party. A select dinner for close drinking friends and his mother. And, the invitations went out.
Now, dinner parties involve organization. Hansi made lists, borrowed chairs from his brother, and the Gasthaus where he went everyday lent him the glasses and plates. And, then the great day arrived.

Hansi got up and went shopping, and his afternoon was spent making salads, peeling potatoes, putting beer and wine in the bath tub to cool, and generally doing what had to be done. And, then at 8 on the dot, we arrived.

But, there was no smell of cooking and no drink to say welcome. Hansi told us to keep our coats on. We were all going out! Why, we all wanted to know!

The reason was simple. The time had arrived for Hansi to put the meat in the oven and the rice on to cook. So far – so good. But, then came the surprise. It was then, 3 months after moving in, that Hansi discovered his stove didn't work. A tragedy?

Not really. Hansi gave the food to his mother to freeze and off we all went to the Gasthaus. And there we stayed and had fun for the rest of the evening. Full circle again! There are places one can't get away from.

But, of course, Hansi bought a new stove and was happy. But, Hansi still hasn't used it. Cooking was never for Him. But, who knows? Celebrations can sometimes come out of the blue, and, maybe, one day, Hansi will need his new stove. But, there will be a difference. Hansi's stove definitely works! But, will he know how? Which knob for this and which knob for that? And, the oven?

The Gasthaus will always be better. We are, after all, creatures of habit!

Hansi Seiler, a man of good heart who moved flat and tried to cook a nice meal. But, never again. The Gasthaus will always be better!

Hansi and his party - An evening that was never meant to be!

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Andrew J. Roberts


Andrew J Roberts was a man I knew well. He was very successful. A one man show. Self employed with an obsession for money. The more money the better. And, Andrew had plenty of money. He was a very rich man.

Now, Andrew and family lived in a very small village in the middle of England. The village of Beehigh. Jane, his wife was a teacher, and Emma their daughter went to the primary school in the village. And, Beehigh had an event that everyone went to. Its annual sale. A flea market. And, one year, in a moment of great inspiration, Andrew had an idea. Toys! He would rent out a table and sell beautiful toys at the Beehigh annual sale. And, it worked.

Andrew was busy selling toys on his stand. Business was great. Far better than expected. Then, just before 12, Sally, one of Andrew's assistants, took over and Andrew went over the road to the pub. The Queen's Head. A great place for meals. Shortly afterwards, Jane and Emma arrived. A family lunch. But, Emma wasn't hungry. The solution was simple. Pocket money. Enough to spend on one or two things at the annual Beehigh sale. While Andrew and Jane were enjoying their lunch, Emma was having fun spending money. And, it was Andrew's toys that Emma found first.

A toy soldier in his very smart red and blue uniform caught Emma's eye. It would look perfect standing guard on her father's very full desk. A wonderful present. This little toy soldier wasn't very cheap, but, nevertheless, Emma bought it. She could afford it, her father had given her plenty of money. Then, just to be fair, a plastic flower for her mother. Then, hiding her secret, Emma went back to the pub. Jane and Andrew were finishing lunch. A little later, Jane and Emma went home and Andrew went back to selling his toys.

Andrew was tired. He'd had a very good day. He'd made a nice little pile. Emma was happy as well. She told Andrew to close his eyes and hold out his hands. Andrew opened his eyes. There was the little toy soldier. An irony! Andrew had bought the little toy soldier, had sold it, and, got it back as present – and – in a very funny way, had got back his money in a round about way!

But, Andrew was happy. Little Emma was thinking of him when she purchsed the little toy soldier. She had known what he liked. And now, all these years later, the little toy soldier is still there and still smiling where Emma had put him. Money well spent that came back as a soldier.

Andrew J. Roberts. He not only made very much money, he made luck as well.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Jan De Cock - A Life Behind Bars

Listen to this interesting discussion.  Jan De Cock of Belgium.  His prison work and his efforts at helping people across the world.  And, very often, from the inside out.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Alexandra Lainz


Please click here to listen on YouTube - with full text

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This story goes back a very long way. It's all about Alexandra Lanz.  This is her story.

Alexandra was fourteen. She was, as usual, at school. About mid-morning she began feeling unwell. She got worse, and all of a sudden  collapsed. Her liver had completely stopped working. Her condition was critical. She was taken to hospital. She was to stay there for 5 very long years.

Alexandra's stay in hospital was pain, suffering and despair. And, worst of all, time that never moved forward. Her youth was draining away; there was nothing she could do. She was stuck where she was. But, where there is life there is hope. And, where there is hope there is faith. And, Alexandra had both in great plenty. She knew she'd recover one day.

Then, one day, a light came on at the end of the tunnel. A liver transplant was agreed. The first ever in Vienna. The operation was a total success. And, from that moment on, Alexandra's life began coming back. But, it was during her operation that Alexandra Lanz experienced something not only unique, but very special, too. An out-of-body experience.

Alexandra was floating gently above and watching the surgeons below. And, this out-of-body experience was the most wonderful thing Alexandra had ever experienced. It was powerful and soft. She knew the worst was behind her. Her hope had not been in vain.

And, coming back to life meant other challenges, too. Alexandra had lost 5 years of school. There was much to catch up on. But, her hard work paid off. Alexandra finished her schooling and went on to medicine. And, then she met Harry and married.

But, another miracle was waiting for her.

After her liver transplant, Alexandra was told that becoming a mother would never be possible. Again, Alexandra never lost hope. Then the impossible happened. Alexandra became the first ever liver transplantee to give birth. A wonderful son.

In her darkest of times, Alexandra discovered there was a life after life, and, now she knew, too, there was a life before death. And now, with husband and two healthy sons, she's living every minute to its full. Life is the sweetest of all.

Alexandra Lanz. She lost a few years, but never lost hope. Stronger then ever, she came back again. Dreams can sometimes come true, but faith can even move mountains. Alexandra Lanz – a woman of faith and great courage. A woman who never gave up.

Alexandra Lanz - Life is the sweetest of all.

The Church in Retz

Simply translate into English and scroll down for suggested solutions.

 Gestern war ein toller Tag.   

Wir hatten sehr viel Spaß.  

Es war Michis Geburtstagsfeier. 

Michi wohnt in Retz.  

Sie hat ihr Fest in einem Heurigen gefeiert.  

Die Windmühle in Retz. 

Die Windmühle ist 20 Minuten zu Fuß von Michi's Haus entfernt.  

Michi hat 80 Gäste eingeladen.  

Viele sind mit dem Auto und viele mit dem Zug gekommen. 

Wir haben den 10.15 Uhr Zug vom Wiener Hauptbahnhof genommen.  

Wir hatten eine sehr angenehme Reise.  

Wir wurden mit dem Bus vom Bahnhof abgeholt.  

Das Essen auf der Party war fantastisch.  

Der Wein war auch sehr gut.  

Michi hat eine sehr schöne Rede gehalten.   

Sie hat sogar mich erwähnt.  

Nach dem Fest haben wir einen Spaziergang durch Retz gemacht.  

Wir sind kurz nach 19 Uhr wieder in Wien angekommen.

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Very Hard Quiz

Do Italians come from Spain or Canada?

Is New Zealand to the north or the east of America?

Which country is known as Le Grand Nation?

Was Walt Disney a teacher or a film producer?

Who is the head of state of Canada?   The Pope or the Queen?

Does Radio Vatican come from England or Australia?

Who is the bishop of London?

Which special day was celebrated on March the 8th?  World Dog Day or World Goldfish Day?

Is the capital of Egypt Cairo or Beirut?

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Suggested Solutions   -  Yesterday was a brilliant day.   We had very much fun.  It was Michi's birthday party. Michi lives in Retz.  She held her party in a Heuriger.  The Windmill in Retz. The windmill is 20 minutes walk from Michi's.  Michi had invited 80 guests.  Many drove and many came by train.  we took the 10.15 from Vienna's Hauptbahnhof.  We had a very pleasant journey.  We were  picked up by bus from the station.  The food at the party was fantastic.  The wine was very good, too.  Michi held a very nice speech.   She even mentioned me.  After the party we took a walk through Retz.  We got back to Vienna just after 7. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

The NYMR - The Train That Comes In From The Sea

In the north of England is a train that comes in from the coast. It's the NYMR and it runs from Whitby to Pickering. And, its first whistle blew a long time ago!

In 1836, the NYMR's first horse drawn train left Whitby for Pickering. A journey of beauty. There were the rises and falls of the dales, the pastel shades of the moors, rivers on their ways to the sea. villages sitting in hollows, and farms that dotted the horizon. And, all at horse drawn speed. But, 10 years later came change. Steam.

The NYMR was modernized and its one single track became two. And, the NYMR thrived.   For the next 100 years, It provided the villages and towns along its route with all that was needed for life.

But, then came the 1950s. The roads took-over. Lorries and cars were convenient and cheaper. The LYMR slid into decline. And, in 1965, its last whistle blew. The line fell asleep.

But, it didn't stay sleeping for ever! In 1973, the line reopened as a fully working museum. Once again, one could travel through beauty. And all thanks to the army of hard working enthusiasts who gave up their time to achieve this. But, the NYMR isn't only a museum. It has, once again, become an essential part of every day northern English life.

And, just like then, the NYMR is still being driven by the magic of steam.

The line that comes in from the coast is still there - and under full steam - and waiting for you! The North Yorkshire Moor's Railway. The NYMR.

For more details,

 Talk 49 World

Klicken Sie hier, um tolle Interviews, Kurzgeschichten, Diskussionen und mehr auf Talk 49 zu hören - auf Englisch und Deutsch. - Click here to listen to great interviews, short stories, discussions, and more on Talk 49 - English and German.


age – Zeitalter
blew – (blow/blew/blown) – blasen
dale – Tal
dotted – punktet
fall - Hang
hollows – die Tiefen
lorries (lorry) – LKW
moor – Heide
motion – Bewegung
rises – Erhebungen
savagely – mit Gewalt
slid – (slide/slid/slid) rutschen
steam - Dampf
thrived – (thrive/thrived/thrived) – blühen
whistle - Pfeife

Sunday, 24 April 2022

A Shimmering Guest


There was always someone behind me. Following me from morning till night. But, whenever I turned round to look, he was gone. He was always quicker than me. Our home was his home. And, he and I got on very well.

My mother, too, felt his presence. He was always watching her cooking. Standing behind her. Maybe, he was laughing at her. My mother's cooking was never any good.

And, then, one night it happened. I have never forgotten it. I was at home all alone and in bed. It was about 2 in the morning. The middle of the small hours. Suddenly, I woke up. There was something very strong in my room. Standing at the bottom of my bed was a soft shimmering form. I sat up. I looked. This shimmering form had the guise of a monk. It was sparkling and looking at me. A very deep very black void was where his face should have been. I felt amazingly good. At last, I had seen him. Our ghost. For a couple of seconds, I said nothing. I then said hello. I waited. Enchanted. The ghost lingered a while. Then, very slowly he faded away. He was gone. I stayed awake for a very long time. Thinking. Wondering if the ghost would ever come again. I hoped so. I liked him.

But, I never saw the ghost again. He never came back. But, he was always present in our thinking. Then, one day, my aunty came calling. A nice occasion. And, over dinner, she told us her story. About 3 years before on a previous visit, My aunty was standing in our front garden. All of a sudden, a very strong feeling made her look up. There was the ghost. In my bedroom window. A shimmering form. A monk. My aunty had seen him as well. She, too, had been enchanted.

Ghosts are real. My aunty saw him, I saw him, and my mother definately felt him. Seeing my ghost did make a difference. I now know that ghosts do exist. I have seen. I can believe. That which was following me, as it turned out, was very much more than a feeling. My ghost from a long time before.

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Listen here to this story on YouTube

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Klicken Sie hier, um tolle Interviews, Kurzgeschichten, Diskussionen und mehr auf Talk 49 zu hören - auf Englisch und Deutsch. - Click here to listen to great interviews, short stories, discussions, and more on Talk 49 - English and German.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Lucy Abel - A Bus and a Test

 Click here for English Warm-ups - A good fun translation exercise.

It was the middle of winter a long time ago. The world was covered in snow and the world was at war. Lucy Abel who was 11 and her little sister of 8 had been evacuated from their home in Vienna to the far north of Austria.  The Waldviertel. A very big forested region.  And  life  in the Waldviertel was fine. Enough to eat and far away from the bombs. But, there was only one thing. The school bus.

The school bus left early each day. Every morning at a quarter past six. Far too early. But, there was a later bus at a quarter past seven. And so, one morning, Lucy Abel decided to  go to school on the quarter past seven bus. A very good idea. It was, after all, the middle of winter and the snow was very, very deep.

Lucy went to the bus stop at just after seven. And, then came the bus. It was right on time. And, then came the shock. Lucy, the driver explained, was only allowed to take the official school bus. The one that had already left. Lucy went as white as the snow. She thought of her maths exam. It was to start at 11 o' clock. Lucy started walking. School was14 kilometres away. Lucy only had 4 very short hours, Lucy walked fast to keep warm. And, Lucy arrived just in time for the test.

Lucy relaxed. But, not for long. The air-raid siren went off. Enemy bombers were coming. There was no time to spare. Speed was essential. The children gathered their belongings and ran into the forest.  There they waited for a very long time.

Then came the all-clear. Nearly three hours had passed. The children and teachers went back to the school.  But, now, sadly or happily, no time for the test. The exam was postponed. The children were   given a slice of warm bread and a bowl of hot soup. Then, home on the bus they all went.

Rules are rules, and in Austria rules really are rules. From that day on, Lucy always got up for the official school bus, and never again did she have to walk through the forest to school. And, ironically, the enemy bombers never came back again. But, this isn't the end of this story. The maths exam was held the next day. And, Lucy Abel passed with an  A.  The best mark of all.

It was winter a long time ago when Lucy Abel walked through the forest to school. A war time adventure she's never forgotten.

Very Hard Quiz

Where does the President of Austria work?

Who invented dynamite?

Was Bill Clinton president of the United States or prime minister of Australia?

Is Amsterdam the capital of Bulgaria or Spain?

In which African country is Harari?

Who is the president of Russia?

Who is the British prime minister?

How long does it take to fly from Vienna to London?

If it is Sunday in Vienna, which day is it in England?

What are the Russians doing at the moment?

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Thursday, 31 March 2022

Changes - The Cycle of Life

Translate into English - Scroll down for suggested solutions.


Meine Frau lernt gerade Autofahren.  

Das ist etwas, was sie schon immer tun wollte.  

Sie macht sehr gute Fortschritte.  

Zu Beginn hatte sie ein oder zwei Probleme.  

Links abbiegen, rechts abbiegen und geradeaus fahren. 

Und das Anhalten an roten Ampeln war gar nicht so einfach.  

Meine Frau hat schnell gelernt, einzuparken.  

Aber nicht ohne Probleme.  

Sie krachte immer wieder in die Autos vor und hinter ihr. 

Auch Gregors Frau lernte das Autofahren.  

Eines Tages krachte sie gegen einen Baum.  

Es war nicht ihre Schuld.  

Der Baum lief mitten auf der Straße entlang!

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Changes are part of everyday life. And, as Martin Glossauer discovered, the Tour de France, was and still is the perfect example of change. He was watching a film.

 The film Martin Glossauer was watching was made just after the Second World War. It was all about the Tour de France. And, Martin Glossauer noticed three interesting changes. Helmets, smoking, and wine. Nobody was wearing a helmet. The race was just as dangerous then as it is now. Then came the smoking. Most of the cyclists were not only smoking during the breaks, but, whilst cycling as well! And, refreshments have completely changed, too. The favourite refresher was a glass of red wine. During the cycling and resting as well. Then, Martin Glossauer started to think. There had been other changes, too.

There were no seat belts in cars when Martin Glossauer was young. And, very few motor-cyclists wore helmets. These were things that nobody thought of. And, smoking, too was widely accepted. Nowhere was free from the smell of old smoke. Buses, trains, aeroplanes, offices, cinemas, and homes. Everywhere was the same.

And, one last drink for the road was a common farewell. And, more often than not, one last drink became more.

We have seen many changes. Many positive things. So, remember the now, it won't last for ever. Things disappear all the time and are quickly forgotten. And, as Martin Glossauer believes, personal diaries are the best way of saving the past. Our presents will then be kept for the future. But, personal diaries are vanishing, too.

Changes are part of everyday life. Things come and go, and others remain and change with the times. And, as Martin Glossauer discovered whilst watching a film, the Tour d. France was and still is the perfect example of change. Go get a note book and start writing things down. We might be remembered, not completely forgotten. The future will say a very big thank you.

Changes - Simple - 

One day, Martin Glossauer was watching a film.  An interesting film.  A film about the Tour de France. And, this was a film that showed  many changes.

In this interesting film, which was shot just after the end of the Second World War, Martin Glossauer learned about some interesting changes. The first big change was helmets. None of the cyclists in the Tour de France were wearing helmets!  The second big change was the wine. While taking breaks, the riders had wine not water. And, the third and last change that Martin Glossauer saw were the cigarettes.  The cyclists were smoking during the race.  This would never happen now!

Then, Martin Glossauer remembered other changes as well.  When he was young, there were no seat belts in cars, and no motor cyclists wore helmets.  Smoking, too, was very, very common. Most people did it. In those days, smoking was allowed on busses,  trains, planes, and in cinemas and theatres as well. Smoking was a very big part of everyday life.

Changes are part of our lives. Who knows what changes the future will bring!

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Very Hard Quiz

Where does the Prime minister of Austria work?

Who invented hammers?

Was Brunno Kreisky president of the United States or prime minister of Australia?

Is Sofia the capital of Bulgaria or Spain?

In which African country is Cape Town?

Who is the president of Japan?

Who is the British prime minister?

How long does it take to fly from Vienna to Los Angeles?

If it is Sunday in Vienna, which day is it in America?

What do Chinese people enjoy having for lunch?

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Suggested Solutions for Translation Exercise 

My wife is learning to drive.  It's something she has always wanted to do.  She is making very good progress.  She had one or two problems to begin with.  Turn left, turn right, and go straight ahead. And, stopping at  red lights was not easy at all.  My wife quickly learned to park.  But, not without problems.  She kept crashing into the cars in front and behind. Gregor's wife also learned to drive.  One day, she crashed into a tree.  It wasn't her fault.  The tree was walking along in the middle of the road!

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Saluting Giraffes

To Warm-up with before we start -


In the Stadtpark in Vienna

Saluting Giraffes

This summer, whilst taking an evening tour of Vienna's zoo in Schönbrunn, I got to know something of interest. A story of three very old African ladies. 3 stunning giraffes. And, briefly, this is their story.

Down at the zoo in Schönbrunn in Vienna, the old giraffe house was falling to pieces. A new one was urgently needed. Something much bigger and better. Comfort and luxury for the tallest animals on earth. But, what about the giraffes that were there? A new temporary home was urgently needed.

The solution was easy. It was over the fence in the barracks next door. And all very close.

The army, having lots of spare space on their ground, very nicely offered to put up a new temporary home for the soon to be homeless giraffes. An enclosure. New quarters for three very tall ladies with very long legs. And, there the giraffes were very, very happy.

And, down in the zoo the building began. A new home for giraffes; the ladies wouldn't have to stay long in the barracks. But, the building took longer than planned. In fact, very much longer than expected. Good things take very much time and Rome, too, wasn't built in a day.

And, then, one day it was finished. The new giraffe house. Shining and bright and luxury pure. A comfortable home for giraffes.

But, there was one little problem. A challenge. The giraffes had grown old in the barracks. They were now three very old ladies and too frail to go back to the zoo. What was to be done? No problem. This is a story with a very happy ending.

Four young giraffes came up on the train from Trieste. And, these four young giraffes from Trieste soon settled wonderfully in in their new home in the zoo in Vienna at Schönbrunn. Austrian food is much better than Italian! And, not far away, just over the hill, our three dear old ladies still sleep very well in their permanent temporary military quarters. And, belonging to the army, these three very old giraffes have military ranks. The highest of all. All three are generals. Three General Giraffes. So, salutes at sun-up and salutes at sundown. And, of course, long leather boots and a little red beret to wear on parade.

Life is full of surprises. And, saluting giraffes is very unusual.

Saluting Giraffes – A true summer story written  by Nigel A. JAMES

Very Hard Quiz

If it takes two hours to fly from Vienna to Dublin, how long does it take to fly there and back?

Was the stone age before the bronze age?

Was Shakespeare French, German, or Italian?

Was Goethe a cook in a Chinese  restaurant or a captain of a ship?

What is an astronaut?

What is a Cosmonaut?

Who was the first man in space?

What is the moon made of?

The War of the Worlds - A Nation in Fear

   A Martian looking at Schönbrunn On October the 30th, 1938, Radio  broadcasts  on the east coast of America were interrupted with an urgen...