top of page
  • Writer's pictureNigel

First Class グリーン車

Updated: May 13, 2023

2023 年 5 月 12 日

Last Saturday, 6th May, was one of the first gloriously warm late spring days in Hessen. 先週の土曜日、5月6日はヘッセン州で最初の暖かい春の日の一つでした。A day to be out in nature, far away from from your pc or TV.

A small group of us boarded a train going up the Rhine Valley, alighting at St. Goarhausen, from where we took the ferry across to St. Goar. 私たちは少人数のグループでライン渓谷を上る列車に乗り、ザンクト・ゴアールハウゼンで下車し、そこからフェリーでザンクト・ゴアールまで向かいました。The exact same spot where in March 1945, the American army attacked across the Rhine to dislodge the Wehrmacht front. I'm not celebrating war by showing the following photo. Quite the opposite. It is simply fact. A photo taken by a certain Gallagher,GI.......................1945年3月、全く同じ場所にいたアメリカ軍

Sounds familiar? Kherson, Bakhmut, Mariupol.......last Monday, 8th May, 78 years later, a ceremony was held in many parts of Germany to mark the end of the second world war. Chancellor Scholz spoke of the danger of taking democracy for granted. It must be cared for and nourished each and every day. 先週の月曜日、5月8日、78年が経ち、第二次世界大戦の終結を祝う式典がドイツ各地で開催された。


Today the Rhine flows peacefully past its quaint old castles and vineyards. Its long journey will eventually end in the huge port of Rotterdam. 今日のライン渓谷

Our hiking route was sometimes mountainous, sometimes easy and straight.....私たちのハイキングルートは、時には山が多く、時には簡単でまっすぐな道もありました。

I had scheduled it as 20km, but we never actually got that far.........予定では20kmだったけど、結局そこまで行けなかった…。

By the time we had reached Sankt Goarhausen and then crossed the river with the ferry, it was midday. With the alpine-like path hugging the west bank of the valley it took us longer than expected, and eventually we reached a farm high up on the hill (Boxberg), where we noticed a bus stop. So why not catch a bus back into town now and have an ice-cream? それで、今からバスに乗って町に戻って、アイスクリームを食べてみませんか? The snag was that the bus timetable was pretty scant. In effect you had to call a number an hour beforehand to get transport. A doom-laden moment?

But what was this? Lo and behold.......A modest Citröen drew up.....🚗....!!!!!. 小さなシトロエンが止まった. A decent, friendly local couple asked us if we needed a lift. I will not elaberate on how the four of us squeezed into the (two) seats in the back 😂. But this did not last long. The driver stopped at a house in the nearby village, where his wife got out. He then drove us all the way down the valley to St. Goar - depositing us near an ice-cream shop 🍦. He sort of assumed that we were on holiday in Germany - not surprising, as we each come from a different country.. So there ARE nice people around. とても素敵な人たちが存在する.....My faith in humanity took an uptick.✔

As it was the first weekend of the new Deutschland €49.00 ticket, (go anywhere in Germany for €49.00) the train home was packed. But the conductor allowed us to sit in 1st Class (we must look like nice people....🤣....) so here we are, for the obligatory selfie.......1等クラスでセルフィー


Last week I wrote about losing my bike......🚲.... 🤔. My neighbour has lent me hers, but it is a bit small. I have had some little rides with it nonetheless.....Here in the woods near Dreieich-Buchschlag.......近所の人が私に自転車を貸してくれました

Well, a friend of mine in Darmstadt has very generously offered me this one. It has a history. Her daughter and partner recently moved from Göttingen to London, and sent the bike on in a huge cardboard box. Said box never arrived in London. It got stopped at customs and was sent on to Darmstadt. So now what?....Well there is this guy called Nigel 😁 who urgently needs a bike......There are some nuts and bolts to be fixed - but it's looking good......ダルムシュタットの友だちがこの自転車をくれました

There is just one small snag. The bit that is in London is the key to this padlock..... Watch this space for future exciting developments........😄 .....鍵はロンドンにある!

Well, that was a Sunday morning in Darmstadt - unpacking a bike, admiring the garden,ダルムシュタットの庭

....including this little ladybird....てんとうむし.....

and admiring what the fertile fields of Darmstadt-Griesheim are producing....fresh herbs, salads.....フレッシュハーブ、サラダ……。



....and the packing cases waiting - looking rather like some new appartments in Rotterdam.....!.....ロッテルダムのアパートメントに似ている


This months' read with our book group is the extraordinary World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. 私たちのいない世界、I'm not really a fan of predictions of the future, but this book is very well researched. Weisman has interviewed civil engineers all over the world. Engineers who are responsible for example, for keeping the waterways under New York from clogging up, or who know about the housing standards in Istanbul. Or environmental scientists on both sides of the Korean DMZ who value the biodiversity of this unique habitat. He predicts how long it would take nature to reassert itself if the human species vanished tomorrow. Just looking around the corner from my house I wonder what this scene would look like in 50 years time........

Nature is always there in the background, ready to reclaim the land........自然は常に背景にあります

Even this path in Langen would not last forever without humans.......

The book.....本...(hon)...(the classic, simple Kanji that forms part of the name Japan "nihon")

And plastics are here for a long time.....I had to think of those cartridges which I use in my printer......


I have always loved playing the `Cello, but sadly now play very little😯. 私はいつもチェロを弾くのが大好きでしたが、悲しいことに今はほとんど弾いていません。So it was a tonic to hear Sylvia Demgenski and Leonie Maier play duets last Monday at the Schirn Gallery in Frankfurt. It was obvious to see that they love playing together - their performance crackled and fizzed with energy and⚡ fun. We heard a duet by Barrière (baroque virtuosity!) and a contemporary composer whose name I have forgotten because I didn't take the programme home. But the best bit for me was Piazzolla's Liberto Tango - wow! I was moving in my seat.... 🕺🏻...! Sylvia had cleverly arranged this for the two of them - each shining or accompanying alternatively, the crisp contact of bow and string pulling out the tango beat to the full. Great! Thank you Sylvia and Leonie! 1st Class. Rock on girls! .....



Many years ago, when I presented my test violin for my college diploma, Charles Beare, one of the examiners, and head of the illustrious violin dealers and restorers in London wrote: "Good work. Try for a little more elegance in the corners..."何年も前、私が大学の卒業証書としてテスト用のバイオリンを提出したとき、試験官の一人であり、ロンドンの著名なバイオリン販売業者および修復業者のトップであるチャールズ・ベア氏から次のようなコメントが返ってきた。 「よくやった。コーナーをもう少し優雅にしてみろよ…」 He was right. The corners of my violin were a little ill-proportioned and hardly elegant. Part of the training as a violin-maker is to educate your eye in the art of proportion; line; flow, and therefore elegance......and taste.

Returning home on Saturday from our hike I had to change trains in Frankfurt. Whilst waiting for my S-Bahn an image flashed up on the huge news feed monitor at the platform..📺... Had a Victorian Operetta finally reached the shores of Germany??!! The image was that of an elderly couple, wearing ridiculously oversized crowns and strained smiles. ばかばかしいほど大きな王冠をかぶり、緊張した笑みを浮かべた老夫婦。Why didn't anyone tell the lady that the crown she was wearing was simply too big for her head? I gawped in disbelief.

I had managed the whole day without them, but not any longer. This was an opera with an eye-watering budget of hundreds of millions of pounds. The cast was led by rich, tax-free, unelected people


One commentator wrote: (and I certainly cannot translate this into Japanese) It (The coronation) all seemed to embody the curious contradiction at the heart of the way the British deal with monarchy: on the one hand, an unseemly, frantic scrutiny of their royals’ bodies, on the other, an equally unseemly, frantic collusion in secrecy about those things that actually matter, such as royal privilege, wealth and finances. 💷.....Well put. In other words, as long as we can have a good party, who cares who pays.

The only fly in the ointment were some normal rational people who said they did not like it. They had been arrested......ah....was this the Russian Federation ??? or maybe Hong Kong??? was St. Martin's Lane, leading to Trafalgar square. Very disturbing 🙈🙉🙊...... Definitely not 1st Class.

Again, I use a quote.........Yasmine Ahmed, the UK director of Human Rights Watch :“The reports of people being arrested for peacefully protesting at the coronation are incredibly alarming. This is something you would expect to see in Moscow, not London. Peaceful protests allow individuals to hold those in power to account, something the UK government seems increasingly averse to.”

St. Martin's Lane is home to the London Coliseum, 🎵 where I often went to see the English National Opera 🎻. Presumably there was no need to have a production last Saturday. It was all on the streets outside. And this time it wasn't yellow umbrellas, it was yellow placards.


Thank you for reading ".......1st Class.........."


Feel free to share the blog with friends.




118 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

matt jordan
matt jordan
May 12, 2023

the coronation was a bizarre thing for sure. the most unexpected people seemed to be enthused by it. it had this atheist republican (small "r") singing praises to the lord and to the king (via handel's "coronation anthems" in the cathedral on the basis that any opportunity to sing handel be gratefully received!!

thanks for the reminder of the unsettling flatness of griesheim too.

bottom of page