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Saturday 1 May 2010

May Day, May Day!

May Day parades

I wanted to go out to watch the workers parading in the city today. I had hoped to get some shots of the banner-bearing groups as they made their way to the Kornmarkt where the annual MayDay Fest takes place.

Unfortunately I was otherwise disposed until it was too late for me to see the flags and the marchers. I did however make it for the last few minutes of the Fest, where I made my way straight to the book stall. I was hoping to find something to read by Maxim Gorki.

Gorki was the inspiration and later a friend to the children who lived, and were brought up, in Makarenko's Gorki Colony.

There were several books to choose from. One I bought because it had a lovely portrait of him on the cover, and an interesting inscription inside the front cover. It had been a birthday present to a worker at the Amptsgericht from his colleagues, in 1948. The second book was purchased because of its title, "Meine Universitäten".

The third book that I thought I would like to have, also because of the title, was Die Mutter, but I decided that enough is enough and bought only those that I already had in my hand. Just those two, I thought, would take an age for me to read as they are in German!

The Mother

I got chatting to the man minding the stall as I paid up. Actually he got talking to me, asking me what I did, where I was from etc. He went on to tell me that in his opinion Gorki's book "The Mother" is his best. He went on by giving me a very concise summary of the story.

My ears pricked up, and my soul too, when he said that the personality of the boy in the story changes dramatically after his aggressive and drunken father dies. This made it neccessary for him to go out to work in the local factory. The boy changes when he moves from the world of childhood into that of adults. What is more his mother notices this change and is astonished. The son goes on in turn to change his mother ("bring up" was the term used by my narrator. Her son's new interests and friends influence her and encourage her to learn to read so she can understand the literature that her son brings home about the upcoming revolution, and in turn she learns to communicate with him on a different level from before.

As you can imagine I was hooked and Gorki's Die Mutter is now in third place on my "to read" shelf, after Makarenko's Book for Parents and his Life and Work.

After that interesting chat the bookseller and his wife said that they would like to meet me again! I had actually thought the same but I do not think that I would have said anything. Never mind, as it was they who spoke up and we swapped telephone numbers, but not before they asked me if I lived in the city. It turns out that not only do we all live in Johannis, but we actually live in the same street, with just two blocks between us!

What a very small world we live in!

Talking about small things...

The reason for my being indisposed and missing the big red flags was something to do with very small things, and is the reason for the Mayday call!

The children in the Kindergarten are going down like flies. Not with the flu this time but with nits, and we are falling with them!

On Monday morning at nine o'clock, Nora the Nit-Nurse will be with us, going though our manes with a fine tooth-comb!

I did not know what nits were when I stood in line at junior school in the 1960s, waiting for the lady in the white coat to undo my plaits, fiddle with my hair and re-plait it again. I had no idea why some of the children where crying as they waited their turn and almost screamed when Nitty Nora actually touched their hair. I suspect now that these children had been through the experience before and had had to use that awful lotion that got dished out.

Things have changed

Not the nits, they have remained just as itchy and persistant as ever. It is the treatment that has changed. The lotion is now available over the counter and it does not smell at all, it does not sting the eyes an needs only a couple of applications to get rid of the little creatures.

Well, that would be the case if everyone does as directed and washes all the clothes, blankets cushions etc., at home and at school. Fingers crossed that they do.

So that is why I was busy this morning. I had to collect the lotion from a colleagu, as all the shops are shut. It is May Day, remember? Then I had to do the hair and what seemed like a hundred loads of washing before I hopped on the bike again in the drizzling rain, to fetch the Gorki books and make some new friends.

It has been quite a long, interesting day full of new experiences! Actually the nit experience is not new, I went through that once before in the school I worked at in England in the eighties.


Surprisingly, considering that I slept very late this morning, there has also been time today for some other conductor's in-between-bits.

I read this week's Guardian Weekly over a cup of coffee and a bowl of muesli. I at last got round to chopping up the Christmas tree that has been preventing me from sitting on my balcony into pieces small enough for the organic-material bin. I planted out, with fingers crossed that there will be no more frosty nights, a pot of basil, and I made three necklaces for my sister using the materials that I dug out of the Garden Shed. (The shed, by-the-way, is my name for my huge bathroom with its rows of plastic boxes filled with wonderful crafty stuff!).

As Zebedee used to say with a bong as he entered the screen:

"Time for bed!"


The picture heading this posting is an illustration that I spotted on the bookstall today on a book by Andor Gábor. I asked to photograph it with this posting in mind, but unfortunately I forgot to find out who the artist was.

The Magic Roundabout -

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