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September 1st 2011

Hello everyone, I am back - I think! Seem to have been everywhere, lately, the US, Suffolk, Germany. I have just returned from Cologne, “Land of my Father” and it has been a fascinating experience. As I seem to have been away from this blog, for a while, here’s two in one.

SUFFOLK, back from!

There is nowhere in the world like the English countryside, it is stunning and full of familiar sounds and sights. Just spent a couple of days in Eye with my close friend Jenni Hopkins and her companion David. We didn’t really site see as I have done all that with her, but shopped, walked and ate. Oh how we ate....David’s passion in life is cooking and he is very good. He shops, prepares and wastes nothing, which is admirable and his cooking is delicious. Plus he likes a glass or two and so did we! I have to prepare myself as much as possible, as I know the weight will come spending time in Suffolk. We also visited close friend Chrissie, who is Matt Damon’s make-up artist and runs around the world with him, barely drawing breath. Think she is at the Venice Film Festival with him this week. Both Jenni and I have known her for many years from the business and we seem to manage to get together every few months and eat, talk and catch up, before we all disappear in different directions. And so the the eternal question? City or Country?  I grew up in the City and loved it, museums, theatres, shopping, streets full of interesting people. Not quite so much fun now, more people, too many?  No manners, no charm, but still the buildings, history, etc appeal.      Television is everywhere, so we had the news in Suffolk, of course. I am glad the Libyan people seem to have got their freedom, from the tyranny of a very strange and dangerous man. May they be happy and achieve their a life of dignity and justice. 

GERMANY back from!

I went to Germany just as a bit of adventure and to learn a bit more about my German side. I had no expectations, which is the best way to go, too much anticipation can kill the real experience. I had been invited to go to see the last house that my Grandfather had lived in before leaving Germany.  My new friends Lothar and Werner had found me through this web site, asked if I was related to Emil Meirowsky, because they were living in his house. Grandfather had been evicted from his own very large residence by the local Nazi Gauleiter and his friends, as they wanted it and similar houses. The next home, which he rented before leaving was much smaller, but lovely. Lothar and Werner have put his picture and some of his words on the wall of the little courtyard entryway.

I cant write about all I saw and learned about that terrible time in Germany’s history in a blog, maybe I will find a different way. But it hit home in a very personal way. Grandfather had been one of the leading Doctor Professors in Dermatology in the world and held a very admired position, socially and professionally in Cologne and like so many others was suddenly nothing and nobody. The point being that he had come from very humble stock and built his way purely on his ability and was suddenly stripped of everything he had earned purely through his own talent and efforts. I will write about this more later. My hosts in Cologne were a very recently retired Doctor of Languages and a Financial lawyer. They are a charming couple and could not have treated me better, had I been visiting royalty, catering and hosting quite large party at their house, site seeing, walks in the lovely City park and so on. Fortunately for me they spoke fluent beautiful English, as I speak not one word of German. My father had turned his back on Germany for many years after leaving and so I was never taught. It is annoying as there really is nothing better than growing up knowing more than one language. Still.... his wishes! Cologne is quite small, very clean and full of lovely Romanesque churches. The Cathedral is massive, magnificent, but I prefer the smaller churches. The whole place was bombed to smithereens during the War, although the Allies obligingly managed to miss quite a bit of the Cathedral, apparently on General Eisenhower’s orders. How you could precision bomb in the Second World War is beyond me!

On my last day Lothar took me to the old Gestapo headquarters, now a museum..... no holds barred. It is both amazing and horrifying. Lothar explained that for a time after the War, the Germans did not speak much of the terrible things that happened and rather buried their heads in the sand. Eventually they pulled themselves together and have faced the horror, full on. There are monuments, museums and the history everywhere. It’s amazing and for me made it so much more credible and not just a story I heard about my family, while I was growing know, there was this dear old man and woman, my Grandparents who had come from a nasty past in another country and that was it.

Well, I can go on and on and I will for myself and others, who might want to read it in a different way.



All content copyright Jane Merrow