Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Heading South...

Am off very early tomorrow for my classes in Croatia (here some of my team on a break, photo taken last year but it should be similar this year, hopefully!), will be incommunicado until the end of the month.

Preparations are the usual panic... one of my key staff announced she will be coming but only to be on holiday, that is, she won't work, so I am desperately trying to work out how we are going to get the assignments done without her... another student is flying in to Trieste and wants to be picked up, but even though that is only about 30 miles from us, there are two borders and four languages and many tiny roads to get there, I have at this point no idea how we are going to arrange this...

Most students at the beginning of the week are complaining that they don't have enough assignments, but by the end of the week that they have too many.

Anyhow my head is reeling with last-minute desperation, wish me luck!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Heather in Cologne

At the Christopher Street Day parade I met up with the well-spoken Heather and her boyfriend who are off to Bergen today... it is always intriguing to meet interesting bloggers in the flesh, and we had a nice chat before I had to leave. Quite a colorful crowd in Cologne, they are estimating a half a million people. Then went to help a friend repair her bed, this is her cat:

Then this morning a rather disturbing phone call from my ex, who has worked for several years for the National Health System in London as a secretary; she types up the patient reports and the research papers for the doctors in 2 hospitals in central London... she reports that to save money, the typing is sent to India. That is, the audio dictations from the doctors are mailed to India, typed up there, and sent back to London for checking. This seems to me to be quite dangerous, because there is no longer any direct contact between the doctors and the secretaries. The number of doctors is being cut, the trainee positions have been eliminated, research grants have been curtailed. And why? Because the service is being privatised and outsourced, the only new jobs being created are for more levels of burocracy.

It is appalling, and quite depressing to see the decline of what was one of the best public health systems in the world.

I can only hope the same thing doesn't happen in Germany.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 06, 2007

More island pictures

If this were america, this would be a dandelion. But it isn't America, and so I have no idea...anyone out there know? Pretty though.

This bench at the north end of the island is one of several benches created by local artists, they all have some surprises.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Socialist Roads

All over the island are traces of East German military occupation. I admire these roads, made by laying down preformed trapezoidal reinforced concrete slabs. Each piece is 2 meters across and about 20cm thick; and they last apparently much longer than conventionally paved roads. They were used by the German and Russian army units all during the Cold War. Anyhow they are in perfect condition now after 40 years, albeit not so comfy to ride on on a bicycle.

I like these roads but the Ossie is too forcibly reminded of her childhood under Russian domination.

Of course now Germany is being again dominated by Russia though its control of gas and oil. There are no rich American tourists throwing their money around here, it is the Russian businessmen, often ruthless and thuggy.
Posted by Picasa

A Week on the Island

What is it about holidays, that you need a week to relax after them? I will be posting, at odd intervals, pictures and thoughts about the week I spent on Hiddensee Island with the Ossie, my East German girlfriend.

There was only one day that the clouds lifted enough that we could see the sunset.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 01, 2007

On holiday on the island

The Ossie cavorting in the Baltic Sea

This is where we are, took these pictures yesterday. Weather hasn't been SO great, we had a hurricane here on Wednesday (120mph winds) and no electricity. Still, it hasn't been all bad.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?