No Escape From The Cupboard — Part 21


Day 2. I woke at about 4.00, as per usual. I am bereft of my home comforts. The hotel room is nice enough but there are no means of making a hot beverage. Plus, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, there are still people out in the marquee talking and laughing.

The Hotel wifi connection is dodgy, so all facebook activities are likely to be intermittent.

That’s okay. I am not supposed to transfer my normal domestic routine a thousand kilometres away. I am here for a Regimental Reunion. Although, to be fair, I am doing precious-little of that.

I finally got up, manipulated the shower so that it didn’t flay the skin off my body, got dressed and went out for a walk. It was daylight but hardly anyone about.

The walk into town takes about 30 mins. I took some pictures of the Uebel shop: (See previous blog. Bate Collection has many Uebel viols.)

Uebel store-front at 6am

I agree, they are not very satisfactory. Alas.

I found a bakery and stopped for a coffee. I was surprised at the number of people shopping there at this time of the morning. I had a bit of a wander around and then went back to the hotel. Breakfast wasn’t due for another hour.

Breakfast was one of those continental ones. cold cuts, cheese, etc. I don’t do carbs, so no cereal or bread rolls. It was actually a nice change from my normal poached eggs on watercress.

We were due to meet at the New Town Hall for a photoshoot at 11.00. However, I had a special mission. I had brought a painting of a Sergeant of the 77er Prussian Infantry Regiment to donate to the Garnisons Museum. I checked the website and found that they opened at 10. Perfect. I could run my errand and get to the photoshoot in good time. Provided I didn’t get lost.

I arrived at the Garnisons Museum just as they were opening. The bloke there knew of me. I had originally arranged to deliver the painting the previous Christmas, but had bailed out. He was a bit surprised to see me, but was very polite and welcoming. I handed the picture over and we compared it with the uniforms in the gallery. There were a couple of discrepancies, but nothing to worry about. The Museum Director arrived and we held a multi-lingual pow-wow. I managed to fire-up the Bate Collection Facebook page and played them the track from our recent CD. He was well pleased. I promised to send some copies.

From there, I wandered through the town to get to the next venue. I was distracted by the Bomanns Museum cafe. The young waitress, being half German/half Yorkshire, spoke an approximation of actual English with a weird combination of German and Yorkshire slang: “Eee, by Gott!”

After a refreshing double espresso, I wandered through the Franzosische Garten to find the Neues Rathaus. I got lost!! This was completely stupid. When I had served here, my legs could do this trip on auto-pilot, which is just as well considering how completely drunk I was when doing the return journey on many occasions.

In any event, I made it to the photo-shoot on time. Just.

We formed-up in a ragged mob and the photographers did that ‘poncing-around’ bit. I and a couple of others were perched, perilously, on a very wobbly bench. The tension was electric. The comments were crude and abusive. I laughed my head off.

After the main event

Once the photography was over, we didn’t really know what to do with ourselves. I started blowing bubbles and wandering around the grounds. They are unrecognisable from 40 years ago. No sign of any of the features of the old barracks.

Except, I found the window of the bunk I shared with my old mate Russ Lee.

My old bunk, 1st floor next to the lamp-post. Now a Social-Services office.

At length, we drifted away. It was probably too early for lunch, so I did a bit of window shopping. I had a bowl of pea-soup from a very popular stall in the market.

Strolled back to the hotel. At my age, this kind of relentless exercise takes its toll. I have plenty of stamina, but my ankles don’t much like it. I arrived back at 1pm definitely ready for a rest.

Still haven’t done much reunion-ing. I have to remedy that tonight.

I shall report back.

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