A book by Australian writer Thomas Keneally, and made world-famous by Spielberg's movie.
It is the story of Oskar Schinder. In the shadow of Auschwitz, the flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womanizer, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them, he was a seviour. He risked his life to protect the beleaguered Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, he continually defied the SS, and he was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.
I do not usually like books, movies or indeed anything about wars, and that includes World War 2. Yes, yes I know... I am German so don't mention the war .... but sorry, I just simply don't enjoy anything about wars, or even I don't enjoy anything about history, whichever contry's it might be. Well, I had this book in my stash, never watched the Hollywood movie. the book is was not straightforward to get into, but it makes wonderful reading after I sort of 'thought' myself into it. I know that many people who have read the book and/or watched the movie have visited Schindler's factory in Cracow, and I hope I can go myself one day, especially as my family does not live far from the Polish border.
Here are some pictures of the beautiful late autumn in Kent. It is not yet too cold, temperatures are mostly around 10C. It gets dark around 4:30pm, so when I work later and then walk with Bonnie it is often already very dark. I kind of got used to it now, but as nice as it is when there is no-one around so Bonnie can have a free run, I do feel a bit scared when it's dark. Silly really, because when I walked her in the summer at 5pm, in sunshine, I never got scared walking alone. Just because its dark now shouldn't make a difference. The area is not huge anyway, and there is a main bus road within 'shouting distance' The building work keeps going on, by the way. A new school is going up. We had a look at some of the new properties, I so like the 'Town houses'. For those who are not familiar with this phrase, they are 3 storey houses. Love them, and the location is perfect as well, near where we are now, and on the edge of town. But financially, it is just too risky. Even if we could afford to double our mortgage, but with such a big house, all other costs rise as well. And already, last year my utility bill for gas/electricity has doubled! No, I'm not using more or wasting the stuff, it's just the increased prices. Crazy. So how much would I pay for such a big house! And... the children are growing up, give it another 5 years or so and Dan will probably be away to University, and Ims and Ruby are pretty close in age too, so then Nafees and me will be sitting on our own in a big house. And ... there were 4 bathroom/toilets. Gosh, is bad enough having to clean my house with 1 bathroom and 1 downstairs toilet. Imagine 4!
Spring Queen is needing the end, maybe another 2 or 3 rotation weeks, and than it will be the be only the beading left to do. No rush on it though, as I would really like to get it framed professionally, and need to save up for it. I'm not really good framing myself... yes, I do it on smaller pictures, and I find that my framing skills never do justice to the picture, and it is annoying me. So, especially for the big pieces, I'd rather save up for a professional finish.
And I finished the Glasgow Rose Cat picture. With hindsight, I should have stitched it on much smaller fabric size. This is 14ct Aida, and it comes out so big, the crosses are really big to me as well. I don't mind Aida too much, but in the future, I will probably only stitch on 16ct or 18ct, nothing bigger than that, for a neater and tidyer finish. This picture is rectangle, panel-size and it might be more suitable for a wall-hanging.
Despite the finish, I'm not going to add a new piece to my rotation (*sigh*), as this now leaves me with 5 pieces in my rotation, and that is more than enough. I need another finish before adding on another piece. The new one coming in then is going to be: Giraffe Mother and Child from Sunset. This is going to be for my daughter Ruby's room, she loves giraffes ever since seeing one at London Zoo when she was about 5 years old or so. The giraffe sticked out its long tongue, and Ruby was so impressed and couldn't stop talking abut it. I hope she still likes her room decorated with giraffe pictures, as nowadays she's got High School Musical and Hannah Montana on the wall....
Bonnie has made her home with me upstairs. Well, as I guessed before, I think the boys must have encouraged her to come upstairs, and now she follows me around whereever I go in the house. I'm so glad I've made 'my' area upstairs. I think the main point was that Nafees is forever hogging the TV downstairs. Even though I can only get the 5 national channels upstairs, I don't mind. And I told him, my christmas wish is a new satellite dish so that I can receive German TV upstairs. I've looked it up online, it will be about £275 including installation. That would be just wonderful.
I have now seriously started to write on my autobiography. I've got a great book which helps me to outline the chapters and do research. My main aim is to write for my children, tell them about my ancestors, and how/where I grew up. I don't want to do indepth geneology, but just go 2 generations back, talk about my grandparens (they have all passed away, so my children will never meet them), talk about my parents and how it was for me growing up in East Germany. I will try to avoid 'Ostalgie'. , which is a term used in Germany for nostalgic feeling for life in East Germany. I just want to try to tell my children and possible future grandchildren, or, indeed, anyone who would like to know how life was for me and my family. Obviously, this country (East Germany) does not exist any more now, so I just want to write my experiences.
I have come up with so far 11 different chapters and brainstorm on each of them before I can put subheadings onto each chapter,:
2. school/ early childhood
4. apprenticeship/1st job
5. Berlin / Bautransporte
6. Wall came down / Bauer
7. move to England / met Nafees
8. Danial / Imran / markets
9. back to Germany / Ruby
10. back to England / Walthamstow / Elmec
11. Met. Police / Dartford
And while brainstorming some facts about my maternal grandparents, I have already discovered some amazing stuff. My maternal grandma Helene was born in Poland in 1912, and came to Germany with her parents aged 1. They were parts of the so-called 'Schnitter' (= 'cutter') from Poland. These were seasonal workers from Poland who came to the German countryside every summer. The background is that in 1820, serfdom was ablished in Germany, and thus over the next few decades, agricultural workers bonded to the landowners were now free and moved away; big scale landowners suffered serious shortage of workers. Around 1870-1880, seasonal workers from Poland came to work on the fields, coming every year from spring to autumn. Some of those workers decided to stay in Germany, but apparently, it was not that easy and they were 'state-less'. The only possiblity of obtaining German nationality was to marry a fellow German. Again, this was not easy, and permission had to be obtained which was a long process, and often not granted. Now, this is were it gets interesting. Apparently, my grandmother was very secretive about her wedding date. And my mother eventually found out why: because my grandma officially married 2 days before my aunt Elfi was born. Well, having a child out of wedlock in 1931 was obviously very much frowned upon. But as my litle research into the polish 'Schnitter' shows, in her case it was due to the difficulties with the Polish paperwork and licence to get married to a German man.
An idea came to me today while walking Bonnie today : I will make a tree diary. Every week, I will take a picture of the same 2 trees and show them here, to show how they change throughout the season.Many of the trees and shrubs still have beautiful colours, but it is definetely thinning. I wish I would find time to update the garden a bit as well. was reading a gardening mag while walking with Bonnie. In this months' issue, there is a feature on a 'long thin garden' design, I love it! It starts out from a couple who move into a house, and the garden is basically just fences with lawn in the middle and one raised bed. It looks so pretty afterwards.
I have rearranged our bedroom, and created an area for my stitching. I took the old office chair from downstairs with the ripped fake leather and tried some soft furnishing... what I did is I took one of my leather jackets apart ;-)) and fixed it as a new chair cover. Hey presto, I've got a new chair, here upstairs in my brand new 'stitching corner'. I put our old TV in, I don't mind that I can watch only 5 channels. Great, I've got my own little area upstairs.
A pure love story by Irish author Niall Williams. I felt myself emerged in the beautiful discription of the Irish countryside, rough seas and cold winters.
The story starts when the 'hero' Nicholas Coughlan is 12 years old and his civil servant father gives up his career for his real passion, painting. He is unable to sell pictures, and inspiration is not always easy coming. He is leaving is wife for several months to go to the seaside to paint.Eventually, being lonely and penniless becomes too much for Nicholas' mother and she suicides. Now father and son are on their own. His father takes him to one of his 'painting trips' to the seaside, but many of the pictures painted get destroyed by cows as they return. Eventually, a fire in their house destroys all pictures and his father dies. Only one of his pictures survives which has been given some time ago as a price to a poet living on the West Coast. Nicholas sets out to track down the poet to ask him for that picture.
The second story evolves around the heroine, Isabel Gore. Isabel is the daughter of above said poet. She had to cope with her disabled brother. he had suffered a fit in Isabel's presence when both were young children, and is unable to speak or move to greatly ever since. Isabel gets send to a convent, and escapes the convent by entering into a marriage to a local rough, a tweed dealer whom she has no real feelings for.
Of course, this is a love story, and the paths of Nicholas and Isabel will cross as Nicholas tracks down Isabel's father as the person who had been given his late father's painting. but Isabel is married. Will they or won't they. Well, if you ever read romance novels you'll know.
Not a lot of cross stitch done the past 3 weeks. here is an update on the poodle, only about 100 stitches went into this for that week's rotation. than was the labrador, and I did even less on that. And last week it was supposed to be the Monet picture, well, I didn't work at all on it, this one will be with me for many more months to come.
This week is Spring queen, and I normally enjoy working on it. it's just that I am way to tired in the evening, after work and cooking dinner etc to even get the cross stitch out the bag. Sometimes it is easier to grab a book for relaxation in the evening, and I have been doing lots of reading.
Every week I promise myself that I'll try to write on my blog every day, and every week the same - I don't. Last week was half-term for the children, and this means for me that I did not need to pick Ruby up from school at 3, so I was working up to 4pm every day, getting home about 5 to 6pm. Than Bonnie walking, and it is already so dark, the clocks went back last weekend. Dan and Imran walked Bonnie some days, which, yes it is one task less for me, but I do enjoy my daily walks with Bonnie. Nature has something for me to see at every season. It's not as enjoyable in the dark though. And I walk past the new housing development every day. So far there are 300 houses/flats, and apparently up to 1500 are due to be build .... but I keep thinking that maybe they won't continue, now with the big downturn in the housing market. Out of the houses which are already there, quite a few are still standing empty.
On Saturday, it was just raining the whole day, heavy rain. I got so dripping wet when we walked. Dropped the boys off at Bluewater (they wanted to watch the new James Bond, but didn't get in, they were not believed that they are over 12;- how annoying for teenagers! )) Bluewater was sooo busy, I could hardly get parking. What credit crunch is all I can say! I just quickly dropped into WH Smith to get myself magazines (dogs, gardening, writers) and 2 books. Oh, and the car was due to MOT, on Friday - needed a new tyre, well, but it least it's ok now for another year. My car is now 7 years old, and has never ever given me any grief, it's the best car I ever had, small and perfect.
Today the weather was lovely and I had a long and relaxed walk with Bonnie. the fields are very wet everywhere, and many of the trees are now empy, though some are still very colourful. Ever now and again I still see an ink cap, but very few and between.
Bonnie has chewed another Sky remote control. Nafees had a stern word with her, and now she appears to be really scared of him, well, she watches him with caution. And the latest thing she does - she comes upstairs. That dog was never allowed upstairs with her previous owner, and we just kept it like that, she never even attempted because she didn't even know what it is. I guess the boys must have been tempting her upstairs during the half-term, and there she was yesterday, coming sheepishly upstairs. I sat in the boys room, watching X Factor, and she came in and just stretched herself out in front of us on the carpet. I didn't had the heart to tell her off and to tell her to go downstairs. I got a funny feeling I will live to regret this.