Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Special Gift from a Special Person

As you might know meanwhile that we are sponsoring several children in need in Armenia. We always enjoy getting news from them, either by reports from the charity Diaconia or by their own letters which are of course translated from Armenian to German. Sometimes we are even getting gifts from them like self-made pictures or needlework. These gifts are always a special treasure to us.

Today we received such a very special gift which we were very surprised and delighted about – a beadwork picture made by one of “our” girls, Astghik (propably with the help of her mother).

Astghik is the latest of our sponsored children (only since 2011) and the only one we don’t know personally. She is 15 years old and apart from “just” living in deep poverty has to cope with various disabilities and chronic illnesses. This can be tough enough in wealthy countries, but in a country like Armenia, where even healthy people are often struggling with finding a way to earn their living, disabled and chronically ill people hardly ever get a chance. Welfare payments for those unemployed or unable to work are by far not enough for even the most basic needs, let alone for any medical treatment which has to be paid for in full by the patients or their relatives. As long as our sponsorship lasts, Astghik will get basic medical treatment for free, as well as food, clothing and school supplies.

We pray that in the future even when the sponsorship ends she will be able to live a life in dignity and not end up in devastating conditions like far too many people in Armenia!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Routemaster Conductor

Have you ever met a person who you still remember after many years, even though you hardly ever communicated with them?

In 1987/88 I attended a secretarial course at Pitman College in London. The building (nowadays occupied by St. Giles College) was situated in Southampton Row, opposite of Russell Square. I had basically two options to get from West Norwood (near Crystal Palace), where my temporary home was, to the college. One was by rail and tube, the other one by a direct bus service which came past the closest bus stop to my home and dropped me off right in front of the college building. Very often this bus was an old Routemaster – instead of buttons to press when you wanted to get off you had to pull a thin rope which ended in the driver’s cabin and had a little bell at its end. I liked this bus! And I liked the bus conductor who was in the old bus on this early morning tour, and who always had a friendly smile for the tired passengers heading for work. He reminded me of pictures of Santa Claus with his friendly face and white beard and also his body shape. Instead of a bus conductor’s cap he wore a giant turban on his head, because he was a Sikh. The turban was blue, matching the colour of his uniform. In front of his quite huge belly he had one of these old ticket machines which had to be operated entirely by hand. He didn’t need it very often as most people travelling on the bus at that time of day were regular passengers heading for work, school or college. I had my one month Travelcard (it was long before the introduction of the Oystercard) with me, so all he ever said to me was his quiet and polite “Thank you” when I showed it to him as required.

I have come across so many people in London in that year, but this elderly bus conductor (actually, I found it impossible to estimate his age) is one of a few stuck in my mind until this day. I don’t know if he is still alive (probably not), but he would certainly be surprised that someone in Germany still remembers him after all those years :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Our London Trip 2013 Day 10 – Queens Road in Walthamstow and Leaving London

On this day we had to leave our beloved London, but before we took a little stroll down Queens Road in Walthamstow. We also visited the cemetery with its many old graves. Unfortunately, many of the graves had partly sunken into the ground.

We arrived at Heathrow Airport several hours before our flight, so I had time to take this little video ;)

After the security check we also had time for a very good lunch at Huxleys Restaurant. We had ordered steak and chicken breast, but we had difficulty cutting the meat – as this restaurant is within the security area they are not allowed to give out “real” knives, so the knives we got were very small and not very sharp. We didn’t remain hungry, though, it just took a little longer ;)

Afterwards we had to wait for a rather long time, before they announced the gate for our plane, so we were stuck among the shops ;)

The last thing we did in London was standing (or rather sitting) in a queue – very British ;)

Goodbye, London – see you again next year, God willing! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Our London Trip 2013 Day 9 – Platform 9 ¾ and Hyde Park

Actually, we had not planned to go to Platform 9 ¾ as we had been there last year already. All we wanted is to use the public toilet close to it, but when we arrived there this event was taking place, so of course we watched for a while and took some photos.

Afterwards we took a long walk through Hyde Park and fed the animals with biscuits. We also came across a bench with this sign on it:

From the internet we learned that Anuban Bell and her friend had been killed by a lightning. They died, because they were wearing underwired bras.

As it was Sunday, our day ended with a church service in Belmont Hall in Harrow.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Our London Trip 2013 Day 8 – Jane Austen’s House and Regent’s Park

On this day we travelled to Chawton to visit Jane Austen’s House Museum. Last time we had been there, in April 2010, there had not been very many flowers blooming in the garden, because it had been too early in the year, but now, at the beginning of June, the garden was very colourful.

As the weather was beautiful I was able to wear my Regency dress and spencer. At the House it was also possible to try on some dresses and accessories, so I completed my outfit with a bonnet :)

After our visit in the House we had tea in Cassandra’s Cup, a lovely tea room just across the street.

When we returned to London it was only late afternoon, so we decided to take a little stroll in Regent’s Park again.