Where the Bloody Hell are we?

The recent events on the high sea, with border incursions by Australian Navy vessels, called assets, into Indonesian territory, led me to rethink as to what had happened at the outbreak of WW II on the 1. September 1939.

As we all know Adolf “the friend of all people” Hitler was deeply disturbed when he heard, that German tanks, oops, border control assets, were found out to have  inadvertently crossed into Polish territory. German units were only at the border training for the eventuality that Polish cavalry units could attack Germany.

The training exercise became  necessary as it was Germany’s intention to stop the flow of future asylum seeker boats that might come across the river Vistula.  While  Adolf „the Great“ bluntly reaffirmed  his policy it  immediately prompted a diplomatic response from Poland. 

The Führer said Germany was entitled to protect its borders and would continue to do so, irrespective of Polish concerns over territorial incursions and where they think their borders are.

The greatest warrior of all times, Hitler, has stressed that recent incursions by German assets inadvertently into Poland will not deter border protection measures in place already, because it is part of a long-term policy. The Polish government understands the German position.

Hitler stressed, that he had ordered German assets to go back to their German bases. But, he said, that was misconstrued by an unfriendly media and it was reported that he had  said, „Since 04:45 hour we are fighting back.“

Further, the „Bohemian Corporal“ Adolf Hitler announced that German tanks are now on the way to Warsaw to deliver an apology for the inadvertent border incursion.

With the apology will be given an assurance that German scientist are working on a German Positioning  System  (GPS) which will tell German assets where they are so, they would not accidentally end up in Moscow in a few more years.

As from now, the Führer said, he would not make any more announcements about border security operations, accidental or otherwise, as it would only confuse the enemy. The German Army High Command would give, from now on,  a written statement about the state of  border security every month. It must be understood that the border is in a constant flux depending on military operations.  Those arrangements  will be reviewed and the frequency of such announcements could be, if necessary,  further reduced.

After reviewing the historical evidence I came to the conclusion that the peace loving Führer stumbled into WW II because the army did not have accurate maps and they only stopped their march forward when they saw Moscow and realised they had made a mistake.

The Rest is history!

Death, the Stalker

We are getting on in years. Nothing new in that. But sometimes the aches and pains, so prevalent in advanced age, ebb to a bearable level and we feel on top of the world. Dying is as far away from our mind as the next galaxy.  We are getting comfortable.

Then, all of a sudden, we hear the news that the nice neighbour, who is always cheerful, who always has a kind word and a humorous  turn of phrase had a “massive” heart attack.  Why is it always massive? What is wrong with those heart attacks? Can’t they be weaklings?

The good neighbour had just been to the doctor for a prescription. Just a routine visit with a few pleasantries exchanged like it happened to us the other day when the doctor  said, “Mrs H. I want to keep you pain free till you’re ninety-five and then you can fall asleep.”

Nice chap this doctor. But if he said this to our always helpful neighbour he would have been surprised to hear on the evening news, that the very patient, he could have promised a long life, caused his car to crash into a tree because he had a “massive” heart attack.

What the doctor did not know, and could not know, was “Death” is independent from our wisdom and our doings.  At any given time he approaches our mortal body and helps to release the soul. At least that is what I learnt from reading the book “The Book Thief”, which has also been made into a film.

Here “Death” explains his doings and he seems quite a gentleman but not really understanding humans. Only when he meets a really good person he reflects on what it must be to be alive. The story is set in Germany during WWII , a horror scenario in itself.  A few times I got teary  during the film., because I recognised some of the scenarios. Normally, “Death” explains, he would go to the person in question but during war-time people are  in a hurry and they come running to him. Yes, we are a stupid lot and can’t wait our turn.

We will now go, a fifth time in eighteen months, to a funeral. Still, we are  waiting for the cause of death of our beloved late daughter Gaby who had a visit by “Death” in July 2012 releasing her beautiful soul from her not so well-functioning body.

We are still kicking and will be around for a while yet, still believing the doctor, until “Death” catches up with us, at a time, he reckons,  will be the right time.

Ivan the (not so) Terrible

At the end of the Second World War Ivan, a young Russian soldier, was happy to have survived the battle for Berlin. The Red Army had just conquered the city and his unit, a company of the 8th Guard Army, camped with their motor lorries on an area where a twice weekly market used to be held.

The fighting had stopped and Ivan and his comrades were no longer afraid of being killed. The soldiers gathered for impromptus parties, celebrating their victory. One soldier started to play popular folk tunes on his accordion and was soon surrounded by others clapping or singing. When he played Kalinka some even danced.

On the evening before, Ivan had received a letter from Natalya, his fiancée at home. They had promised each other to get married after the war and in the letter she dared to request a present he could bring from Germany. She had heard, that the Germans were all rich and surely, they would still be able to manage even if a victorious Russian soldier, would help himself, here and there, to a few war trophies.

When his comrades heard about it they could only agree and they explained to him that a set of silver cutlery would be just the thing. All Germans owned them, they assured him and it would be easy as pie to find such a set of cutlery. Natalya would love him even more for such a gift and they added, with smirks and loud laughter, that he should try out one of those German ‘Fräuleins’. Once he was home again in his village and married, they told him, all hanky panky would stop. They roared with laughter, slapped him on his back and sent him on his merry way.

“Go soon!” someone shouted after him as Ivan jumped off the motor lorry. He adjusted his tunic and put his cap, on a cheeky angle, on his shorn head. He felt encouraged by the crude jokes of his comrades but did not know were he could find such cutlery.

The street in which they camped was not as damaged by the war as he had seen in other suburbs. At times Ivan was involved in horrific house to house fighting. Burning buildings had collapsed onto the streets. After the battle it was the duty of his company to provide guard duties for the headquarters of the 8th Guard Army. Ivan was mighty proud to do this especially for the commander of the army, General Vasily Chuikov was leading the army since Stalingrad.

It was this General who had negotiated the surrender of all German forces in Berlin. Ivan was sure many lives of the heroic soldiers of the Red Army were thus saved.

He was happy that the fighting had ended and the prospect to see his beloved Natalya soon again filled him with heightened expectations. Only ten days earlier the fighting had been, at its peak and survival was not as assured.

He had survived. The howling of the Katyushas had stopped. It was quiet now in the city after the big upheaval of the battle. The trees that survived were in full blossom and fresh green made people forget the horror of the war. It was spring-time and nature seemed to want to compensate for the folly of what had done during that great conflict.

As Ivan walked in search for silver cutlery he notice that people walked the streets too. They had left the air raid shelters or their bombed out buildings to look for something. Something that had been in short supply lately, like peace or their neighbours. People wanted to know who had survived or they tried to organise some food or just a pile of precious water.

The street Ivan walked in was only built up on one side. On the other side were garden allotments and people with buckets went there to get water from a water pump. Ivan saw worn out human beings queuing at the pump. Women and old men were working the pump to fill up their buckets. The queue moved very slowly and Ivan could see that the emaciated people,with drawn faces from sleepless nights, did not have much energy left. He decided he could help them and he took over the handle and started to pump.

The queue moved much quicker and got shorter and shorter.

Thank you, thank you,” and even a “Spasiva !”, they said and looked surprised at Ivan who did this for them, the beaten German people. Ivan was strong, and liked showing off his strength, but after a while even his arms got tired and he remembered that he wanted to get some silver cutlery for Natalya.

He left the people at the pump and crossed the street. Soldiers sitting on tanks and motor lorries, with large red stars on their bonnets, made rude remarks to the women in the street. Those women were not inclined to hang around with them. Too many horror stories did the rounds of what the women had to endure during the last few days.

Ivan did not like the behaviour of his fellow soldiers and he was wondering what Natalya would say to him if he would behave badly towards the German women. He entered an apartment building, walked through a long hallway into a courtyard. A soldier, working as a cook with a field kitchen, was preparing a hot meal for the residents of the building. Most apartments had their windows blown out and he could see two women and a child in one of the ground floor apartments.

“They are an easy target,” he thought. It was clear to Ivan that he had to act firm and decisive if he wanted to be successful. But in fact he had a bad feeling in his belly. He knew he was not a thief. All his comrades had come back to the lorry with stolen goods to take home as war trophies. On the other hand, he believed he should bring something home for his beloved Natalya

from this crazy war, the Germans had started in the first place.

He used his fist to bang onto the first door in the hallway. An old woman with a headscarf, very much like his own Babushka back home, opened the door.

“Ja, bitte – Yes, please?” she asked and surprised Ivan with her politeness. Ivan did not understand her and didn’t want to either and pushed past her. Her perceived politeness only irritated him. He walked straight into the kitchen.

In the middle of the kitchen he saw a middle aged woman holding a young boy, like a protective shield, tightly against her body. Fear was written all over her face. The old woman followed Ivan into the kitchen. There was a moment of silence as they all looked at each other, gauging the situation. The woman with the boy was too frightened to do anything and the old woman looked too frail to look for trouble.

Ivan turned towards the kitchen cabinet and pulled, with a sudden, powerful movement, the top drawer out. One of hands disappeared in the drawer and began therein to shuffle the cutlery he saw. He could not discover any silver cutlery. His face flushed and his hands shaking he pulled out the next drawer – nothing. And another one – again nothing! Disappointed he hit the cabinet with his fist. Against his own inclination he had forced himself into stealing silverware. But there wasn’t any!

Gde serebrisijiWhere is the silver?” he screamed enraged. Nobody understood his words but Ivan assumed the two women would guess what he wanted.

Zavtra – I will be back tomorrow,” he said. He noticed the woman holding the child was even more frightened after his outburst. The boy, who reminded Ivan of his younger brother Kolya, looked at him with big wondering eyes.

Ivan, his hand gesticulating and his mouth twitching, looked at the Germans. He knew that he would not be able to go through the same act again and that realisation made him even more mad with himself. As his self confidence took a dive the old woman stepped up to Ivan and shoved him out of the way and hit the kitchen cabinet with her small fist. Her face had become red with rage. All her accumulated feelings of the last few weeks boiled over. The air raids, the fighting in the streets, all the fears she had gone through came together to the point where she felt, she had something to defend too. A wave of adrenaline swept out all fear from her tiny body.

Ivan knew the face from his own, no nonsense suffering Babushka and he realised immediately that there was a storm brewing. The bravery and boldness of the old woman made him take a step backwards. He thought, “I’m a hero of the glorious Red Army, I don’t need to take this.”

But more was to come. The old women screamed at him, “You dammed Russian, you think you can come here and steal from us. I have enough of your lot.”

Ivan stood frozen, not understanding the words, but the meaning, was clear to him. Babushka walked past him to the apartment door, opened it and screamed again, ”Out off here.– Go!” Her outstretched finger pointing the way.

Ivan walked out and was actually relieved. He had escaped the fury of the German Babushka. Fighting the German Army had been much easier. He could have been killed or become a Hero of the Soviet Union, but felt this encounter had ended in confusion and dishonour. Glory and honour could not have been won. He feared what his comrades would say to him.

He went back empty handed and prepared himself for guard duty, happy that he could avoid the corrosive remarks of his comrades for a few more hours. Standing in front of the Kommandantura on point duty he was able to see the building of his humiliation. After another night of celebrating the end of hostilities in Europe his mates were able, next morning, to squeeze the whole story out of him. They laughed uncontrollable about Ivan and his lost battle with the German Babushka.

“But she really was terribly cranky,” Ivan tried to justify himself.

“But this is the nature of all Babushkas, you should know that!” they told him. But this knowledge was no consolation for him.

On the next day he wrote a letter to his beloved Natalya:

“My Darling Natalyushka,

the Germans are not as rich as we think they are. They have suffered as much in this terrible war as we have. Europe is now free from the Nazi scourge. Hitler is dead. I’m healthy and haven’t even got a scratch on my body. When I get home we will get married straight away and make lots of babies. Comrade Stalin will be proud of us.

Your always loving,

Ivan.”

The weapons fell silent in Europe and both women were able to get their silver cutlery out of the hiding place. Some of it was later used to trade in for bread on the black market. But one spoon made it to Australia where the German boy later, with his own family, migrated to.

2014, here we come

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This morning, after the night before, we, Aunty Uta and I, ventured out to welcome the  new year.  We had stayed up to watch the fireworks from Sydney on TV. It is always a spectacle with the harbour and the bridge as background. We muted the TV set as we did not like the music which was not coordinated with the fire works at all.

We went down to the Lake Illawarra. Young parents with their children and or their dogs were already up.  The Sun was a bit shy this morning as if it was not sure what the new year would bring.

Ra is hiding, unsure of the year he created. Shameful?

Ra is hiding, unsure of the year he created. Shameful?

If I can fantasies about gods, no wonder  people in ancient times or even before, invented gods. The myths were essential to explain life.  They invented gods for all occasions.  Echnaton (Amenhotep IV) in ancient Egypt abolished all those sub-gods and established the supremacy  of the Sun God.  Nobody likes messing with the traditional religions of the day.  And since Echnaton was married to the most beautiful woman of all history, Nefertiti, people thought this “witch” put him up to it. Beauty in woman of power can be a handicap. Today they like to speak about “faceless men”, unelected advisers wheeling enormous power with ministers.  Nefertiti’s face was such, that it is still talked about today.

Walkers and runners had no problem with a shy Sun. They were happy that the sun shone with a reduced effort. All sorts of birds were out looking for nourishment.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

A solitary Magpie was looking for a morsel, in form of an insect perhaps. She took no interest  in a flock of “grazing”  Corellas ripping out roots of grass. There is plenty of grass around and they won’t starve.

Flock of Corellas

Flock of Corellas

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An Egret was staring into the water hoping a fish would swim right up to it’s beak. At the shore was a White-faced Heron looking for something more substantial, like a frog or a crab.

Egret and White-faced Heron.

Egret and White-faced Heron.

The White-faced Heron

The White-faced Heron

The people were rather friendly and all had a cheery “Hello” for us. It is like the scene in Goethe’s “Faust” were Faust exclaimed on his Easter walk, “Here is the people’s proper heaven; here high and low contented see! Here I am man – dare man to be !”

People feel they can do what they like and do not offend in what they do. We stop at a bench and  sit down for a moment of contemplation.

View across Koonawarra Bay

View across Koonawarra Bay

Aunty Uta likes taking pictures and soon is on her way.

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In the end I just take a picture of flowers growing along the path and we are on our way home for a cup of tea and the fireworks from Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. Something we have to see.

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We made it in time and celebrated the beginning of the new year for a second time.

The “same procedure as every year” 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR      –       FROHES NEUES JAHR

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