No Escape From The Cupboard — Part 20


I am in room 14 of the Hotel Heidekoenig, on Bremer weg in Celle. It’s a nice room but is on the side of the building next to the big marquee, so I can’t get away from the noise of all the revelry.

We had the first event of the Regimental Reunion yesterday. It was a currywurst supper. Excellent. I enjoyed it very much.

I met up with quite a lot of old friends. Should definitely mention Keith Willers, Michael Treadwell, Trevor Meredith, Robert Elder, Nicholas Peavot, Ian Askham, Michael Sangster, Jock Wardlaw and others I am ashamed to admit having forgotten their names.

My original fears about this were that I would not fit in. In some respects, that is correct. These people, women and men, all seem to be happily and boisterously at ease with themselves. That is more than I can say for myself.

I was getting so stressed that I had to bail out of the festivities. I went for a walk into town to have a think about things.

I was amazed. Right there on the bridge over the river is the shop of Uebel. In case you don’t know, Uebel is/are famous luthiers. Half of the viola-da-gambas in the Bate Collection are by Uebel. I will have to get some photographs.

I wandered around the city-centre. Some things had changed and some things had remained the same. The ‘Nord-See’ seafood bar was still there, as was the Ratzkeller. Other things, I couldn’t place at all. Almost by accident, I stumbled into a great wine-fest. The place was completely heaving with people.

That was even more stressful than the reunion.

One change I did notice; There are more podgy teens around nowadays than there were when I was here in the 1970s. When I was here as a kid, all the German youth seemed to be skinny as rakes. As, indeed, was I. We have all become podgy together.

Caught a cab back to the Reunion. I am having trouble getting the hang of it. Sat chatting with a couple of people, then had to bail-out again.

Later today (it now being Saturday) we have to visit the site of the old barracks for a photo-op and interview with the local newspaper. There are about 160 of us. Veterans, wives, children. It will make a nice feature and I am looking forward to it very much.

I still feel stressed and nervous, but I also feel happy and excited. I tried to explain this to a couple of lads I was chatting with, but I think we were all a bit drunk. I should just keep my mouth shut and go with the flow.

One thing, I have mixed up my return dates. I am not flying back until next Tuesday. I have made arrangements for the gas-fitter to instal my new combi-boiler that morning.


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