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.

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Feuer und Flamme

So here we are walking home and enjoying a Kugel of Zitoneneis in a Waffel not a Becher from Eis Café Campo. The sun is shining and it is truly an inspiring spring afternoon. Dog walkers scolding dogs for doing what dogs do in springtime (not messing on the pavement – that’s apparently ok in these parts). The odd couple of youths hanging out, dribbling around shards of broken glass on the basketball court in the kleinen Wald on the way into the Zentrum. Children’s laughter like birdsong in the air. We’re wearing t-shirts for goodness sake, what could be better than that? Like I say, an inspiring afternoon.

Inspiring it would seem for…arson!

I know.

Low and behold there is smoke billowing on the breeze and not a single sausage in sight. Not even the faintest whiff of a Würstchen detectable. No plastic in there either, well nothing apparently toxic (if you’ve ever inadvertently melted plastic spoons in a saucepan because the sterilisation unit was kaput then you’ll now the toxic stench I’m referring to). It’s blowing down across the village over to the garden centre. As if that wasn’t drama enough there are flames wilding away in the forest and a group of surprisingly amiable folk observing from a safe distance on the path. What’s going on? Has anyone reported the incident?

Yes! Someone called 112.

The fire brigade is on its way. We have long since finished ice cream and waiting with baited breath for the shrill of sirens screaming from the Mili across the Dorf.

And there it is. A green and white police van pulls up in the village. And a young man sprints from the scene to greet the two uniformed officers and leads them to the action. One of them radios (but not for back-up – this is not Tatort) and they gently trot past the barrier and control the amassing crowd of what must be, let’s say around 12 people, back over the dog poop onto the lush green Wiese.

Sirens.

More Sirens.

Out comes Frau Müller and inspects the drama from her porch.

Then silence as majestic and luminous, shiny red, water-extinguishing beasts glide – one, two, three, four and a fifth! direkt an the children’s noses vorbei. Mara is with us today. A spontaneous playdate like no other. Drawing pictures and playing in the garden? Not today. Is her Mum going to be thrilled at the prospect of her hanging round the local streets watching the drama instead of painting her nails? Not likely. Because you don’t get drama of this calibre in Pesch. Keine Nagellackieren today Mara. Today there is a forest fire that must be dealt with at the end of our street and the Feuerwehr im Einsatz. Action a go-go.

The long neon hose is drawn out and connected to a Wasserhydrant. Feuerwehrmann Sam extending the hose along the road at super-speed. We watch it inflate like a feeding python and then as water gushes through the tops of the trees and rains down on that ring of fire stretching over metres through the forest.  No drug rings and helicopters this time – dafür a ring of fire and five engines from the brigade!

Phew. Excitement over for one day. And I wonder whether these guys happen to do kids’ birthday parties…