Category Archives: Community


I am always fascinated by creative people – mainly I think because I am so uncreative myself. I cannot knit, sew, bake or draw. Perhaps I can sing a little, but I have been doing precious little of that of late!

The little road I live on is slightly off the beaten track and perhaps for that reason it has attracted its fair share of creative people? I’ve just returned from visiting an elderly neighbour’s house where she has held an art exhibition as part of a local Arts Trail. I had no idea she was so prolific – all the walls in her house were covered with her paintings and she has even dedicated one room in her cottage as a  studio. I should have liked to have painted it (if I could…), a small, low-ceilinged room with an easel in the middle, a desk along the wall full of jars of brushes pointing upwards towards the works they had been used to create.

I almost missed her opening times as I have been absorbed in a work project all day – but it has reminded me that I want to learn to paint in watercolours before I get too old to hold a brush.

Miss Artist joins my other creative neighbours, Mrs Cupcake, Mr Graphic Designer and Mrs Children’s Author.


Gentle readers, you may already know that I am a night owl. This means that I find the act of getting up before the time of day ordained for me at the foundation of the world nigh on impossible.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), I have to get up at 6.45 am. I know for many of you this is considered late – but have mercy on me. I shall probably not sleep all night as I shall be consumed with worry that I will sleep through the alarm.

I wonder if all Wibblers could set your alarms for 6.45 GMT? The combined buzzing, ringing, singing, radios around the world might just penetrate my slumbers and tip me out of bed.  Please take into account that my computer is not behaving today and is VERY SLOW. So perhaps you’d better make it 6.35 am instead. And do not hit snooze. Thank you. Thank you very much.


Ooh. I am all of a-twitter and certainly a bit bewildered – or verwirrt. And definitely rather blinded by the sparkling shinyness of the new wibsite. I’ve put my sunglasses on to block the glare – but now I’m fumbling around in the darkness trying to work out what to do next. There are so many buttons to push and press and tweak and twiddle! It may take me a while to work it all out!

Thanks very much to the wibsite whizzes who have wrought this wondrous work in WordPress. [A good sentence for German speakers to practice pronouncing their English Ws!]  I’m just putting on my crampons and oxygen mask to help me get to make a few tentative steps towards the summit of technology.

I’m going out now….I may be some time.

Spreading the word

… not the Word, but the word. And to gather ideas, I am asking my gentle readers to give the following some consideration and to submit their thoughts in the little commenty box below.

The Ancient Roman City has a German Society, of which I am a member, nay, am on the committee. The purpose of the Society is to promote the German language and the culture of German-speaking countries. We do this by holding a monthly lecture in German. These lectures cover a wide variety of topics – some are somewhat (shall we say) ‘specialist’ and others have a wider appeal. We try to ensure the programme covers broadly the sciences, literature, art, social sciences so that we do not favour one particular stream of interest and so a there is a balance. Once a year we also have an Adventsabend which is more of a social event, with quizzes, carol singing, seasonal nibbles, Glühwein, etc. In the summer we have a pub lunch which is another social event and provides more of an opportunity to actually have an extended time to speak the language rather than just a quick chit-chat over coffee before the lecture.

Our members are native speakers of either English or German. The age range is mid-30s to 80+. Many of the native German speakers are older people.

Our problem is that although we have a small committed group of members we seem to find it difficult to attract and retain more people. Why is this? We’re not sure really. Some reasons could be that many of the meetings are held in the winter months and people may not feel like turning out in the dark and cold; the lecture subjects may not interest them enough; many people have busy lives and cannot commit themselves unconditionally (as it were).

Although there are quite a lot of younger (i.e under retirement age!) native German speakers in the area, hardly any come to the Society. Why is this? They probably don’t feel the need to connect with their own language/people because they enjoy immersing themselves in British culture (I’m speculating here!). Older people on the other hand seem to want to reconnect with their roots. Younger people don’t necessarily want to be “ambassadors” for their country; older people have been here too long to remember the detail of German everyday life (and some, as refugees from WW2, prefer not to remember those dark days).

In order to get any reasonable enjoyment out of the activities, members really need to have a level of German approximating A level – we don’t ask to see people’s qualifications (!) but in order to participate we suggest that they are at the stage of being able to hold a basic conversation. Their contribution doesn’t have to be grammatical but ideally they need to be able to get the gist of what is being talked about. One of our local universities offers German degrees – but we rarely see any under/post grads – and lots of secondary schools offer German to A level – but we never see any 6th formers.

To ensure the future of the Society, we really need to attract more people (of any age but a few younger ones would give the meetings a bit more zip). As you may have gathered, we are considering how this may be done.

Do any of you have any ideas? What would attract you to such a group? What would you hope the group would be able to offer? If you lived in, say Germany, would you be likely to join a monthly Anglo-American-Australian Society? If so, why? If not, why not?

All suggestions will be read with interest. There is a committee meeting in about 10 days’ time and it would be fab to be able to go with a few original suggestions! With thanks in advance 🙂

Thanks, guys :-)

for your expressions of support. Things have calmed down a bit now – the mountain is still there to climb but I am not being bombarded by falling boulders. (Exaggerate? Qui, MOI?).

I’m hoping that Monday tea time doesn’t come tooooooo quickly in one sense as I have got to cram a lot in before then. But I shall be jolly glad when it’s all over.

I have just translated this phrase which I thought I would share with you as it is rather appropriate in the circumstances: “Stressful situations: pressure of time, emotional stress, physical exhaustion, …”

Yep! I can tick all those boxes!

And hello to my first visitor from Pakistan! I apologise for the state of general melt down. Do drop by again when I hope you will find life here a bit less frenetic.

Chinese Whispers

In the comments on my Geblogstag post, Steve, of “30 going on 13” fame wrote the following:

“Speaking of the Olympics and translation… I didn’t catch the opening ceremony, but overheard a bit of it on a big screen round the corner from my office as I left work yesterday. Some important dignitary was introduced, and began speaking in Chinese; then a few seconds later, Huw Edwards, who was commentating on the ceremony, started telling us what the Chinese dignitary was saying. Which left me wondering…
a) Is Huw Edwards secretly very fluent in Chinese?
b) Does the BBC employ a very fast translator who can instantaneously prompt Huw with an English version of events? or
c) Do you think the BBC already knew what the Chinese fella was going to say?

I suspect it’s the last one, but I’d love it to be the first.”

Well, I suppose it could even be a combination of all three…. but I suspect that the authorities had already released a translation of the official opening speech (if that’s what it was). It is possible that the BBC had a simultaneous interpreter as in option (b) – there must be quite a party going on over there in Beijing for linguists at the moment.

I take my hat off to simultaneous interpreters. I honestly have no idea how they manage to listen to the speaker in one language and give the interpretation in another language and listen to the next sentence in the first language all at the same time.

I was once asked to (thankfully, informally) interpret a meeting which was held in German. There were half a dozen English speakers there. The German speaker launched off……with a subordinate clause [hold that in your head for later] and another [hold that as well] followed by the subject [great, now we can get going] auxillary verb [bit more progress] quick meander off into another clause [hold on to that…]. I was hanging on to all this information unable to use it for the time being when Bob the Aussie (for, gentle readers, it was he) interrupted my concentration with his impatient…”Come on, come on, what’s he saying?”. I had to tell him that I didn’t know. Not that I didn’t understand the German, for I did, but Bob, bless him, had just talked all over the main verb which I had been waiting for and which comes at the end of the sentence. And I’d missed the beginning of the next sentence… so we were somewhat handicapped….

To give non-German speakers an idea of the challenge… the sentence above in German would be something like: “Not that I the German not understand did, for I did, but Bob, bless him, all over the main verb for which I waiting had been and which at the end of the sentence comes just talked had.”

True pedants will know that “but” introduces a main clause in German and so this is not an *entirely* authentic example but it gives you the general idea.

Bob the Aussie was of German and Austrian parentage and should really better known have!


According to T&E’s blog, the Polish Trade Union Movement, Solidarinosc, was formed on this day in 1980. The power of that union ultimately resulted in enormous changes in Poland.

In reading a blog on a site which is not Wibble, I came across something which may be of interest to Wibblers. The links provided on Rachel’s post for 25 July will explain the situation.

Apologies for not being able to provide better links (I’m just such a dinosaur) but I thought the Wibblethorpe community might like to know.

John 3:19-20

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geblogstag

Well, yes. Many happy returns to my blog!
I can barely believe that I have been writing this blog for exactly a year. I can’t imagine what I have found to talk about – but there again – perhaps I can. Sort of.

I recently came across the diary I wrote the year I turned 16. It did not afford much space for the daily entry but I had obviously set myself the target of writing in it every day as my last entry read along the lines of “Phew. Managed to keep it up.”

I wish I had been disciplined enough to keep a diary over the years as one of the benefits of blogging is that it helps the ageing memory by providing a record of various events. I am sure my gentle readers will agree that none of the events have been earth shattering (which is possibly a good thing) and the benefits are probably only mine. It is a sad state of affairs that the most useful records to date have been of when I have been struck down by a cold. I apologise for the banality I inflict upon you – but undeterred – for the record – I am just getting over another corker. (Note to self: 31 July to date). I remember the last one as it prevented me from enjoying the first May bank holiday.

Thanks to Tractor Girl, Farli and Izzyana for declaring themselves in the post below. The reason for asking you to do so was ill thought out actually but in case you are curious: When I wrote yesterday’s post, I noticed I had had 2990 visitors to my blog over the year. Being someone who likes round numbers and a certain sort of harmony, I thought it would be nice if the number were rounded up to 3000 in celebration of my Geblogstag. I did not want to give the reason as I didn’t want People to click on the blog just for the purpose of rounding up the numbers. Unfair advantage and all that sort of thing. However, although you three declared yourselves, I know from my stats that another 5 visited privately. That’s ok. They may have stumbled across my witterings and not wished to associate themselves with the drivel. I can understand that.

So the total of visits for the year has been a tantalising 2998. I don’t know if that is good, bad or indifferent in the grand scheme of things. I am rather amazed anyone reads it at all!

Thank you to all my declared or undeclared readers – gentle ones all.

I’m off for a glass of red wine now. Prost!

Olympic Sport

Required: mental gymnastics to unravel impossibly long sentences combined with fleetness of finger to type the words out against the ticking of the clock; good stretching abilities to allow one hand to continue typing while the other tries to open the dictionary and select the correct page; a steady eye to fall on the requisite solution and keep the unfolding translation in view. Steady and steely nerves are also needed so as not to panic as the finishing line seems impossibly far ahead. You can imagine: the stakes are high and the race is on!! Years of training and dedication are put into play for a relatively short period – and the potential of accolades and glory.

Just a normal day in the office – translating a contract. Not any old contract. No, I am a part of the Olympic Games, gentle reader! I have translated a contract at break-neck speed for a company to be the official supplier of its product to its country’s national team at the Olympic Games. Not a moment to lose!

The Olympic Games to be held in London in 2012, that is.

Translation is not officially one of the sports involved. But frankly, I think it should be.

On the theme of fun and games, if you read this post before 7.30pm (BST) tomorrow, 9 August, would you be kind enough to put “I woz here” or some such comment in the comments box? All will be revealed very soon. Thanks 🙂

Counting down the words

Jack the Lass and Farli have been comparing notes on how to rack up the number of words required for their essays (writing chapter headings and bibliographies first seems to have the required psychological effect for getting over the terror of facing a blank page).

I am currently ploughing my way through a 2,000-word powerpoint presentation – which is mind-bendingly dull. In the absence of chapter headings and bibliographies, I have written the numbers of the slides down on a sheet of paper and each time I finish one it gets crossed off. Of the 46 I have crossed off 22 – so nearly half way through – which is good on the one hand – but not so good on the other as time is running out. It all has to be back with the client by lunchtime tomorrow and I’m currently doing about 3 slides an hour. It’s going to be a late night. It’d be alright if I had anything like a clue about what they are talking about. Something about fire protection measures, ignition points and combustion trials. Just up my Straße.

As an aside to the person who found me by googling “Translate Good Morning Mr Chambers in Indian”: Indian as a language does not exist. The official language of India is Hindi but there are other official languages depending on which State you (or Mr Chambers) are (is) in. Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujerati, etc. Hope this helps.