Post-It Notes: Call for partners…

…ist jemand da?

Look at all this empty space.

A counter with a dedicated and friendly Deutsche Post employee processing packages at his own pace.

Does life get any more exciting than this!

Waiting in the post office queue. Watching the world go by. I make that common Thursday-morning shopping mistake – the Wochenmarkt is out in the Zentrum and so is half of the Bocklemünd und Mengenicher population.

The Schlange is practically out of the door. Moving steadily across the scuffed tiled floor, passed the once white, woodchip Tapete.

Empty walls where there once stood shelves full of folders, and paper and pens and glue-sticks. A dream if you love foraging for stationery supplies.

And now? Not a shelf in sight. Komplett empty. I could probably hear an echo if I shouted loudly enough.

Hallo Hallo Hallo Hallo Hallo

Ist anybody da…anybody da…anybody da…da….

Apparently not (aside from the queue of course). And why not?

Why doesn’t anybody want to come into Görlinger (pronounced Girl-in-ga) Zentrum and set up shop with the post office? You only have to apply and on acceptance complete a week-long training to expand your retail expertise…

And there are thousands of people in the village! A community to serve…elderly folk and families who need relevant amenities…

How about a children’s shoe shop with professional consultation to get the right size booties for your infants?

Or an organic supermarket with GM-free, fair-trade produce?

Or a family business, like a gift shop to replace the Schreibwarengeschäft and Firma Althaus?

How about an Alarmanlage provider? You know, the type of shop that would help you secure your apartment from burglaries? (Come on, that is a super Idee.)

Or why rent it to one of the local clubs like DJK, so they have a direct presence and space is being put to good use?

Surely I am not the only one who would prefer to see business flourish here instead of empty shop windows?

Surely nicht.

How about ein Bisschen decoration then? Get the local kids from the Kunterbunt Grundschule to design postage stamps and the top 10 get exhibited on the bare walls of the post office? An artist’s dream! (I cannot take credit for that idea, but it is a great one!)

I’m wondering who’s in charge hier…the local branch manager? The Bundesgesetz? The Deutsche Post? Is it an issue for our local councillor?

Fragen über Fragen, and who is there to answer them all…

What would you like to see fill the empty walls of the Post Office?

Two more people in front of me and then it’s finally my turn. On the plus side ‘Hunde müssen draussen warten’ and zum Glück there is room to park my bike in the corner of the shop. Bonus.

Spielplatz Schande…Playground Blues

Have any of you been to the playground on the Ecke Kurt-Weill-Weg? You know the one with the two huge hills that are perfect for sledging down on the one sacred day of annual snowfall in Bocklahoma? Where Birgit found a discarded black String-Tanga next to the kids’ scooters by the bench?

Well it was a bit of a Baustelle for a while. They pulled out the graffiti-ed climbing frame at the back and the huge blue spinning disc- Drehscheibe of death as we affectionately call it – that launches you into Weltall if you have one kid running on it schnell enough.

For ages there was a fence and some gravel, and the promise of something shiny and paedogogisch sinnvoll to replace the old climbing frame. But…Big Bad Blue is back. That’s right. They dug up half the playground, left it bare for what seemed like an eternity (am I even allowed to write that without asking Calvin Klein?) for the children, and they put back old Big Bad Blue.

Is it part of a conspiracy to make parks and playgrounds less attractive in Cologne so people don’t use them? (Not that much of a conspiracy, as it did make the radio news.) Get rid of swings and climbing frames so people don’t loiter and use the playground as a boozing Zwischenstop on the way nach Hause?

I don’t know about y’all, but were you expecting something a little more pizzazz? Perhaps the Drehscheibe with a new customised paint job would have been a good start? Did Stadt Köln dept. of parks and recreation do their rounds, smell the weedy ambience of the teenagers kiffen im Gebüsch and think: Yes! Let’s put the old roundabout back in place because the youth in the Bock are so doped up they won’t even notice. Let the kids suffer because some young people and boozers have nowhere else to drink alcohol in public… sounds like a plan. Chuckle, chuckle, chortle.

Well we noticed. And you are just lucky that the sober kids love that danger disc and getting sand and gravel in their hair and jumping off but not clearing the edge in time to avoid getting some spinning child’s trainer straight in the face. Yeah. Love it they do.

It appears some locals took pity and dropped off a supermarket Einkaufs trolley! Yay!


Putz putz wieder putz…munter

You know sometimes you see old mattresses and sodden sofas and bed springs and broken drawers from an old chest of drawers and a skanky old toilet seat just piled up on the edge of the Wald? And it’s not even AWB Spermüll collection day? That is the Putz Munterers at work.

On those two days a year when all the dedicated preservers of wholesome living get out and collect litter in the Bock. They meet up at 10am on a Saturday morning in Springtime and forage through the forests for rubbish anyone has dumped, pile it together ready for the AWB to get rid of.

And thank the Universe they do!

The schools start on the Friday. Lots of little first and second years, out with bin-bags, learning to respect the environment. In small groups picking up syringes and disused mobile phones from the outskirts of the playground: NEIN! LASS DAS! DA IST NOCH BIER IN DER FLASCHE! You hear one scream across the lush green Wiese. How do you know that little Jona? Oh, because Daddy drinks Bier and that is EXACTLY what he says when your Mum is taking the empties back to TrinkGut…

I see two of the Putz Munter team as I cycle back from the post office on a Saturday morning, ready for my shift down at the Kindergarten Trödelmarkt. Two ladies busily filling Müllsäcke with extendable litter grabbers.

How is it going? Many people helping out this year? Apparently not. No one can be bothered.

I ponder this statement for a moment. Why am I not out surrendering my Saturday morning for the good of the nation -er village? I should be. I reassure my conscience with that perfect excuse: Yes, you are helping at the boot sale for the Kindergarten and have a party to organise and work to do. And I often get fed-up with tidying up after other people…

Moment mal, it’s not like the Putz Munter volunteers don’t have other ways to spend their weekend either…I mean, they have families and friends and shopping to do and still find three hours to de-litter the forest.

Sorry. I can’t help this time, I offer weakly. But am hugely grateful for your Einsatz and dedication. Is there vielleicht another day in the year?

No. Why should we plan another day in the year to tidy up other people’s Müll? The best thing would be if people just used the Mülleimer and stopped dumping their rubbish in the forest. And there it is. Laid bare by the sack-wielding lady in the red coat.

She makes a very valid Punkt.

for more details on the Putz Munter events in the Bock:



Fairytales can come true if you believe…

Strangers at the door. Unannounced. Unexpected. I get the feeling it happens noch häufiger hier in Bocklehoma than anywhere else (other than perhaps in the Coggeshall Triangle where curious goings on are said to happen and if you have ever been to a boot sale in and around Coggeshall, I know, you know, what I’m talking about).

The bell rings. It’s one of those loud ones which sings its shrill song through the Haus on every floor and brings you out in a rash after 19hoo because you’re in the middle of the kids’ bedtime routine.

Who could it be? Surely the Postbote with a parcel for the Müllers? Maybe that eBay parcel is early? A lost old lady looking for Kutschgasse and urgently needing the toilet at a rather inconvenient 7.45 in the A.M. (it happened)? Zeugen Jehova’s leaving a Kopie of the Wachtturm on Das Wort Gottes? How about that lady that comes around in Frühling und Herbst collecting for the poor hungrige animals that are in the Zirkus up on Ollenhauerring? Or the man offering a hand-written Zettel requesting money for a sick child?

No. Not today. None of the above.

Today there is a nice lady beside an unmarked white van selling Obst and vegetables from a nearby Bauernhof. She smiles sweetly and wears a bandana pulling her soft curls back from her ruddy-sun weathered cheeks. Her eyes are friendly and in her hand she holds a frischen Apfel. And a knife.

Would I like to try some? I briefly wonder if it’s organic. Then politely decline.

Perhaps I should be making a few enquiries of my own, for example…  So you’ve tried it first then, from the green side? The not-poisoned half? And now I can try a piece from the red half? Just out of interest…

Niemals could I lay claim to being the fairest im Lande and I don’t have an entire seven dwarves to tidy up after, nor do I have blue birds that help me hang out the Wäsche…

No apples thanks. (Smile) Thanks, anyway. (Smile – not a smiley, just a sweet smile).

Here’s a coincidental Wiki Link to Coggeshall in case you are interested: