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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Margaret マーガレット

Updated: Aug 4

2023 年 8 月 4 日

Sometimes I feel that our lives are like planets orbiting through space☄️ Other planets come near us and pass by, never to be seen again. Such it was for me when I first got to know the singer Margaret Peckham. At the time I was new to Frankfurt - and she had already a long performing career behind her in Germany.


It is now hard to fathom how it can be 11 years ago that she left us. On the 6th August 2012 in Frankfurt.

I had been singing 🎵 with her in the CTK choir in Frankfurt, and was surprised how someone with such an advanced professional voice could blend into a parish choir. When I first heard her, I told her that I didn't realize that our choir had a "Janet Baker" in the altos. She laughed in her modest fashion. After she died she had no husband or partner to keep her memory alive, so here I publish a recording of her on the anniversary of her death. Singing a song from the 16thc. John Dowland.........purity of voice and exquisite diction........I wish 😔 I had known her better..........🎧headphones are a very good idea here, so please don't rely on your laptop or phone loudspeakers here....

She came to my 50th birthday party 🎈 in Langen. And with Wolfgang Weiß on the piano she sang that simple, touching song from Vaughan-Williams "Linden Lea". If you listen to it now you may think it is a rather trite, sentimental Edwardian ballad. However, for me as an ex-pat, it struck deep into the memory bank. It is a song I heard my brother Bruce singing when he was studying at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

Here is Thomas Allen singing it

Like any good singer, Margaret found the drinks 🍺 soon she is chatting to Clive, an English neighbour from Langen....


Maybe they were listening to the other singers....Wolfgang and his girls.....


or later maybe delivering a pithy comment.......

彼らが誰と話し合っていたのかはわかりません 😅

At her memorial service we handed this out for her church community and friends:

She was also a fine singing teacher......some of you reading this blog will have had lessons with her.......



Last week I hinted at a place east of Frankfurt which I thought worth visiting. So I brought some friends with me this week to explore it.

Gelnhausen is beautiful. The town itself is about 40km east of Frankfurt. Our hiking trail first took us past the Kinzig river......


up some steep steps, and into a small park, where you could admire the view of the town below....


...or queen of the Spessart....


....climbing still further up the side of the hill we passed the site of an old quarry.....oak trees, with their powerful tentacle-like roots, have engulfed the walls of buildings.....


And peeping through the trees we could see the sandstone which has been supplying the buildings of Gelnhausen for over 900 years.

There always seem to be something to discover on these hikes, not least the wild flowers and insects by the wayside.....(* why do my Asian friends always shriek in horror at the sight of any flying or hopping creature? )

森の中で. 「なぜ私のアジア人の友達は虫を怖がるのですか?🤣」, this is not Johanneskraut....where are you Julia with your plant app?


This odd monolith was erected in honour of some local forester.....I hope we were not being disrespectful, posing for a selfie......


Unfortunately, we had to cut short our hike due to very persistent heavy rain ("Nigel, why did you not bring an umbrella? honestly!") (「ナイジェル、どうして傘を持ってこなかったの?!ほんとね」🙄)

But by the time we got back to the town the rain had ceased, and we found ourselves in a kind of classy flea/antique market in the centre.....this washing bowl with its Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) motif could be snapped up for a mere €38.00 ! but where would you put it at home? 


At another stand a vivacious old lady tried to sell us some "original Delft" plates......Original they were, yes, but I have been to Delft myself thank you very much and do not

need blue windmills and barges on my walls.....🤣

Gelnhausen has a long history. The main church (see photo further back) has no less than four towers , spanning both Romanesque and Gothic eras. But inside, apart from some lurid medieval saints behind the high altar and a delicate organ casing, I could find little of interest in the prevailing gloom....

教会は薄暗かった。 でも素敵なオルガンがありました!

However, outside there are hydrangeas and bells......big ones....


The three of us tried to push on one of the bells to see if we could move it. No way!

We continued our walk through the old medieval streets, and were soon standing in front of Gelnhausen's unique treasure - the ruins of the Imperial palace built in the 12thc. Now when I say "Imperial Palace" I expect you are thinking of something enormous and grand.


What we are talking about here is a sort of administrative centre on the edge of the Wetterau Imperial territory (which included Frankfurt). And the Imperial bit does not come from the Roman empire, but the empire which the Catholic church regarded as the successor to the Roman empire - the "Holy Roman Empire". And the guy in charge here must have had a red beard, because he was called Barbarossa. Even if he had had a red beard or not, this gold sculpture of him does not show would have made a good profile picture on early medieval Instagram though........皇帝、天皇

Barbarossa - that would be a good name for a barber's shop wouldn't it?

We paid our €3 and went in.......It is incredible to think that this palace was plundered for its stone as late as the early 19thc. The stone carvings on the sandstone pillars run riot with delicate acanthus patterns .....


A monkeys with her offspring?


....... almost manga-type fantasies......


The one wall of the palace still standing has lovely arches, none of which, if you look closely, have the same decoration.......


We climbed up the tower......passing some very graphic images.....


He's definitely the underdog here......


and an old medieval doorlock......


....... climbing some narrow steps......


......past iron grills.....

「幽霊はいるの 👻?」

and on to the roof top......

All in all, Gelnhausen is worth a day out just to see the town. We will return later in the year to finish our walk ..........⛈️ or 😎.


❗Thank you for reading "...Margaret.."


❗Feel free to share the blog with friends.


❗ And it would be nice to hear from you...!


Message in a bottle?.....found in a dark corner of my attic.....should I contact the Police?

(sorry about the pun)




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