Cycling this month.
This year continues with Klaus doing mega kilometres (he’s now on just about 11.000) and me doing significantly fewer.
My total for September was 352km and was almost all commutes except for a couple of longer rides. I used Humphrey for my work commute twice too, because of bad weather/need for large boot for shopping.
And here is where I went:
This month I put Humphrey up for sale in preparation for the arrival of Emily, Klaus’s Quattrovelo. We have had several enquiries but nothing firm yet.
This month I also ended up removing one of Millies front wheels to change a spoke. The spoke went ‘ping’ under heavy braking which was odd but I decided I’d tackle it myself as Jochen, the usual spoke-replacer, was unavailable. Klaus had gone out and I had a couple of hours before I had to leave for choir so I gave it a go.
It is a bit of a fiddly job as you have to undo some nuts with very little room but I managed it, replaced the poke and then fitted it all back together again.
I have decided life would be much easier if I had a shorter spanner so I will buy one and cut it down to size, I think, before the next spoke replacement.
A trip to Heidelberg
Klaus’s mother’s funeral took place on a Friday afternoon so as we had the day off work we decided to stay overnight in Heidelberg and do a bit of exploring.
I didn’t attend the funeral so as not to upset Klaus’s ex-wife so instead he dropped me off at Bensheim, a local town, and I wandered around a bit.
Bensheim is twinned with Amersham, and this twinning seemed to be pretty successful!
The plan was for me to take the train to Heidelberg and Klaus would join me later after the funeral.
It was lovely to be on a German train again – a reminder of all my bike tours and other visits over the last twenty years.
I arrived in Heidelberg and made my way to the hotel, which was situated right on the edge of the pedestrian zone in a narrow street.
Klaus was on his way to Heidelberg by car and had soon parked in a local car park and made his way on foot to the hotel.
After a bit of a relax we headed off to have a look around Heidelberg, including its famous bridge over the Neckar river.
Heidelberg has an impressive castle just a little way up the mountain.
That evening we enjoyed a lovely Italian meal and were joined by Klaus’s friend Martin for a good chinwag.
The next morning our plan was to visit the technical museum in Sinsheim but on the way we drove up to the Königsstuhl to have a look down on the town.
The Technical Museum in Sinsheim is the sister Museum to one in Speyer. What was interesting about the Sinsheim museum was its two rather impressive aircraft:
It also had a British plane outside with a rather suitable number plate for me:
The museum is great, with two large halls filled with different cars, planes, motorbikes and more.
It was interesting to be able to walk underneath Concorde, and also inside.
They also had the Tupolev T-144 (or Concordski)
Inside Concordski there was more room as it was wider. I liked this instrument panel!
And of course a big difference between the two, the canard.
It was interesting to see these two planes and it’s sad to think that we seem unable to make this technology cost effective now. It was also interesting to read how they managed to transport the planes here – mostly by barge.
It was lovely to see an Isetta in very good condition.
They actually had a lot of really valuable cars, and it looks as though some of them are still used.
We spent several hours looking around and then called in on Klaus’s father on our way home. An interesting weekend and a nice relaxing time as well, despite Klaus attending a funeral.
A trip to the UK
September is the month when I have my annual review at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London. This is following the humerus and elbow replacement I had almost 25 years ago.
We always combine this with a few days on holiday in the UK with my Mum, and did the same this time, travelling overnight on the Tuesday night so that we had a couple of free days in the UK. We were also celebrating my sister’s 50th birthday.
The hospital visit went well as usual. A week before I had visited the Deutsches Museum in Bonn with Gudula and Frank and they had an example there of an elbow replacement so it was interesting to see.
This time I saw a lady Registrar and she said that they would discharge me as I had no change in my arm over the last ten years and everything was looking good. This tied in with Brexit really, so I wasn’t too disappointed (it is encouraging to be checked regularly by such an expert team). She said that if I have any problems I can phone them and they will recommend a suitable orthopaedic department in Germany. So it is the end of an era.
Whilst in England I also visited my father’s grave in the local church. The issue of graves and how they are maintained has been in our thoughts recently following the death of Klaus’s mother. The way that Britain and Germany do this is very different.
In the UK you can buy a burial plot and once you are buried you put up a headstone and that is that. The grave can be tended by you or not, as you wish. The church will probably keep the graveyard mostly tidy but it’s a higgledy-piggledy place with graves everywhere.
In Germany the graveyard is tightly managed and if your headstone starts to lean even slightly you will have to pay a stonemason to re-set it. They have millimetre-accurate measuring devices in the cemeteries and they will condemn your headstone and send you the bill for it if you don’t do anything. But this is only for 25 years anyway, after that point you are dug up (unless you pay for longer). Graveyards are well tended (generally) and everything is flat and level.
For the Germans amongst my readers who have perhaps not seen a UK graveyard, here are a few photos from the graveyard where my father is buried. Some of these graves are over 200 years old, perhaps more as the stones are so covered in lichen I can no longer read the inscriptions!
And what if you are cremated? In the UK the relatives are given the urn with the ashes and can have them buried or can scatter them somewhere suitable if desired. In Germany scattering of ashes is never allowed, but the urn can be buried – in a graveyard, at great expense, and for 25 years again. Once the 25 years is up the urn is dug up and thrown away. You cannot take possession of the urn itself, it has to remain at the undertakers’ or another official place at great expense. I am starting to think of ways of getting myself repatriated on death so I can be buried in a lovely calm churchyard like this, or my ashes scattered in woodland or something!
Klaus and I had a day visiting my relatives, including seeing my niece’s new puppy, a cross between a Dachshund and a Miniature Schnauzer. He (‘Chip’) was really sweet but rather intelligent and full of energy. His face looked remarkably like Poppy’s but I guess he will end up a little shorter than her. And probably never meet her. We celebrated my sister’s 50th birthday with an all-you-can-eat curry buffet at her local tandoori. It turns out that you can eat-more-than-you-should in such circumstances.
On the Saturday that we were returning to England we had a trip to Aldeburgh and walked along the beach (after having a cream tea). I also visited the Aldeburgh lifeboat station.
We were very lucky with the weather on this trip, having sunshine every day. Klaus and I also took the opportunity for some shopping – he bought two suits and a jacket, I bought M&S undies as usual, and we restocked the teabag, curry paste and Cream Tea supplies for the next few months.
I shared a cream tea with my colleagues on Monday.
We’ll be back in England for Christmas so I will see how well my 1400 teabags have lasted.
We arrived home on Sunday morning to a nice sunrise at Hoek van Holland.
Cakes this month.