Saturday, October 13, 2007

Is it really sad...

... To be so stressed and anxious about watching the rugby that I can't bear too so am sitting at my desk trying to pretend to write instead. But because I can't bear not knowing what's going on, I keep checking the internet at intervals, so I know we are a point adrift?

I think it probably is.

Luckily if England get through tonight to torture us further I will be away in Poland and likely to miss it.

I am going to Poland to celebrate the 40th birthday of a very good friend. Some months ago we met up with Lovely Friend (who has featured on this blog before) and suggested a day at The Sanctuary as a birthday present. Turns out that VGF has always wanted to go to Poland and visit Auschwitz, which cheerily is what we are doing. Having visited Buchenwald once (Spouse's German grandfather was imprisoned there by the Russians after the war - a little known fact is how many Germans died at Russian hands there. In the main these were ordinary folk, not Nazis, but that's another story) I have a feeling it is going to be an intense and probably quite difficult experience.

Spouse and I drove to Buchenwald from Wolfsburg not long after the Wall came down, and when the East German roads were still in their original parlous state. I can't remember how far we travelled but it took us about four hours longer then expected, so we arrived at Buchenwald at dusk, which was too late to actually go in the camp. It was incredibly spooky walking around the perimeter though, and without wishing to seem too fanciful, there was a pervasive sense of evil in the atmosphere. Just before we left we stumbled across a path going into a wooded area, where a stone slab had been erected in memory of the thousands of Germans who died in the period following the war. And as we looked into the wood, we were suddenly grimly aware of hundreds and hundreds of crosses. Of the five people who went into Buchenwald with Spouse's grandfather, only he and one other survived, and his health was shot to pieces.

Spouse and I were so shaken by the experience I remember we travelled in silence for about two hours, neither of us willing to speak about what we had seen. And yet, we really saw very little of the real horrors, because of course aside from what the Russians did, there were the cruelties inflicted by Ilsa Koch the so called Beast of Buchenwald.

It was a grim experience visiting the scene of such horror. But I think an important one too. If we are ever to learn the lessons of history, then we have to face what has happened in the past (something until recently the German people have, perhaps understandably been very reluctant to do).

So though I can't say I'm exactly looking forward to visiting Auschwitz, I am pleased to have the chance to go, as without VGF I probably never would have opted too.

And on a somewhat lighter note. I get a weekend away with three girlfriends. Something I have never ever done before.

Last time I went out with LF and VGF we got chatted up by some builders. There was one nearly young enough to be our son who took a shine to VGF. It was therefore somewhat embarrassing for her to meet him some weeks later with her husband (also a builder) and discover that they er - know each other.

At least if you chat up a Polish builder, VGF's husband (also known to this blog as pyromaniac builder) he won't know me.

Oh dear. Oh dear.

I think Krakow won't really be ready for us...

I have just been informed by no 2 that Johnny Wilkinson is the best (I agree) as he has taken us to 14 -9 and I am hoping that that will be enough. So the stress continues for another week, which coupled with the stress of Lewis Hamilton only being 4 points up in the Grand Prix, makes me very glad I'll be away.

PS From the cheering downstairs, I take it we won....

1 comment:

Political Umpire said...

You did. Well done. I've transferred my allegiance to England (was born here after all) though sneakily want the Argies to win, or at least make the final, because that will be one in the eye for their excluders from the 6 nations and tri nations.

Your travels will demand more history posts!