Archive for the ‘Languages & Communications’ Category

I would like to invite you to our next Stammtisch to coincide with ‘Oktoberfest’ week held at the Broad Chare at Newcastle’s Quayside. I have reserved a table on Tuesday, 8 October from 7pmclick here for a link to the Broad Chare and food options on the day. Please let me know if you would like to join us as I need to give the Broad Chare numbers by the weekend.

This Friday – 4 October – there is also a joint UK-German concert in the St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle’s city centre. German Winds, which is led by Sven Hellinghausen, is visiting the North East and Scotland for a series of three concerts.

50 musicians are travelling over from Germany (they will even bring along three alpine horns) to perform with a further 30 musicians of the Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band. The evening programme will include a varied repertoire of music including Classical, Pop and Swing. Tickets cost £10/person, with the proceeds going to North Northumberland Hospice, which has wellbeing centres in Alnwick and Berwick.

Last month, Germany but also many other countries around the world celebrated 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt. Germany even issued a new stamp in his honour. If you do not know much about this explorer, polymath, scientist, adventurer, communications expert (actually hard to find a description for him), then I can recommend Andrea Wulf‘s book ‘Alexander von Humboldt & The Invention of Nature’/’Erfindung der Natur‘. And if you rather watch and follow his footsteps, there’s a new DW documentary on his travels in the Americas on YouTube. Another older documentary entitled ‘Natural Traveller‘ features Christopher Eccleston, with contributions for example from David Attenborough.

UK German Connections is currently inviting applications for Cultural Exchange Ambassadors. So if you are/know either a Language Assistant in Germany or the UK – then check out this website. This initiative aims to enhance Language Assistantship and for participants to gain valuable project management skills, to lead bicultural projects and create connections between UK & German schools. Deadline for applications is Thursday, 17 October 2019.

I wish you a good week and maybe see you at one of the forthcoming events!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

It’s all about crime fiction this weekend. From 3 – 5 May, Newcastle Noir will feature over 25 crime fiction related talks, panels, readings, film screenings and writing workshops. There are also over 80 authors from all over the world coming to Newcastle to tell us about their crime and noir work.

From Germany, there is a session on Saturday afternoon with Simone Buchholz, the winner of the German Crime Award 2019 (Deutscher Krimipreis) for ‘Mexikoring’. All the Newcastle Noir events will be hosted at the City Library in Newcastle.

On Brexit – click here for information on the latest FAQ update from the German Embassy – status 4 April 2019.

Until 22 May 2019, young researchers have time to apply for the prestigious “Green Talents – International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development” competition. This is hosted every year by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to promote the international exchange of innovative green ideas. The winners come from numerous countries and scientific disciplines and are recognised for their outstanding achievements in making our societies more sustainable. Selected by a jury of German experts, the award winners are granted unique access to the country’s research elite.

I recently read an interesting article about a Columbian student in Austria. Katherin Reina helps other students of German on Instagram with photos of images or activities using post-it notes. Check it out!

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

The German Embassy has just updated its FAQ section on Brexit and it is worthwhile checking this again when progress has been made. On the same website you will also find information videos as well as guidance from the EU Commission.

The ‘Bundesministerium fuer Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur‘ has also issued Brexit information based on the current status.

The Martin-Luther-Church in Newcastle will also host an information event for EU citizens on Thursday, 28 February from 7pm. If you would like to attend, please register here (limited places). Speakers will include representatives of the German Consulate in Edinburgh, an immigration lawyer from Derbyshire Law Centre and the CEO of Newcastle’s Citizens Advice Bureau.

The German Chamber of Commerce (DIHK) also issues a monthly Brexit newsletter for businesses – here is a link to the latest and previous editions.

German citizens in the UK will be able to participate in the forthcoming European Parliament Elections in Mayclick here for further information on how to register.

I have also been contacted to promote an information event for German speakers interested in training as Blue Badge Tourist Guides for North East England. This event will take place in Newcastle city centre on Monday 25 February between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

UK German Connections currently invites applications for the German Pupil Courses (deadline 1 March 2019). These are two-week courses in Germany for UK pupils studying German. There are three courses every summer for 12 pupils and one accompanying teacher each.

Comedian Henning Wehn is again in the region and added another date – 20 February – to his tour dates at the Whitley Bay Playhouse, with some tickets still being available.

And while on the lighter subjects – you may enjoy two of the stars of the Bafta winning ‘The Favourite’: Rachel Weisz & Emma Stone are having some fun with some British sayings, which may not be well-known by Americans (never mind non-English native speakers!).

Have a great week & see you soon!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

Just to keep you updated regarding any changes for German citizens following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. There is an FAQ section on the Consular Website for Germany, which you may find helpful, in particular while the UK and EU are in negotiations as it states the current situation. The EU has a similar website for EU citizens in general – click here.

Even though we hear just about the ‘divorce’ in the media, you may be interested to learn that the UK and Germany have just announced doubling of funding for a youth exchange initiative, the ‘UK-German Connection‘. Click here for the press release .

If you are a German national and would like to vote in September’s German elections, you need to make sure to register – click Bundeswahlleiter for further details.

Congratulations to the Lake District, which recently achieved Unesco World Heritage status. This will surely bring another boost of visitors to this beautiful part of the UK and make it even more well-known around the world. It shares this status with Waddensee, a nature reserve for which Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have responsibility for.

One of the best things about Munich, in my opinion, is its beer gardens. If you are visiting and you wonder where they are all located, check out the City of Munich’s ‘Biergartenfahrplan‘.

Holidays are always a great time to improve your language skills. Growing up in a country helps of course – Sandra Bullock is a prime example with her perfect Franconian accent. However, some native English speakers like Mark Twain, found it more frustrating and he ended up writing an essay about our ‘awful language. But author John le Carre just recently made a case for learning German in this Guardian article.

But if a drink helps too, you may want to head to Aldi for their gin (only available in the UK). It is apparently not a bad choice at all as it has been recognised as one of the best in the world. Maybe a tonic from Fentiman’s in Hexham may go well together?

Enjoy your summer holidays, lots of BBQs, ice creams and chilled drinks!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends!

I hope you are ready for the festive days and are enjoying quieter days at the end of 2016. There were a few messages that I thought I could still share, that may be of interest to you:

Following the tragic events in Berlin earlier this month, Newcastle City Council opened a book of condolence at the Customer Service Centre at the Civic Centre. This will be there until after Christmas.

2016 – 2017 is the 800th anniversary of the creation, by King John, of Newcastle’s Mayoralty, and of Newcastle’s Burgesses (Freemen). The city will continue to celebrate this with a number of events in 2017, including an exhibition in the City Library (until the end of January) and a major lecture and symposium on civic leadership at Northumbria University on 9 February. For more information on the anniversary and the events, click here.

We also have a request from Northumbria University for an Erasmus student work placement for a period of 4 months from early February 2017. Victoria, who is in the final lap of her applied Bachelor studies in Business Management with a major in Marketing from Belgium, is fluent in French and Dutch, but also has very good in English and some German skills. If you have an opportunity to offer Victoria work experience in a North East organisation between February and May next year, please get in touch with Richard Kotter (richard.kotter@northumbria.ac.uk), who will be able to provide you with more details.

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s public international broadcaster,  are also advertising their new journalism traineeship for English and German native speakers. They are looking for young people from all over the world, who are interested in a comprehensive, exceptional quality journalism programme with an international broadcaster. Candidates should have journalism experience or be passionate about switching to journalism from technology/IT, economics or the sciences. We are looking for open-minded people full of creative ideas.

The DW editorial traineeship is paid, with a gross starting salary of approx. 1,600 Euros per month. As full-time employees, DW trainees are automatically eligible for German public health insurance. As trainees move to Germany from abroad, they are assisted at every step of the visa process.The traineeship can lead to employment in one of the DW departments in Bonn or Berlin. Click here for further information.

Living overseas often means that unfortuntately we lose some of our native language ability. Earlier this year, I learnt that the 2015 ‘Word of the Year’ in Oberfranken was ‘Wischkästla‘ (Smartphone), which I had never heard before. The 2016 winner was a bit more familar – ‘a weng weng‘ (ein ein bisschen wenig) and other popular words were apparently ‘Herrgottsmuggala‘ (Marienkäfer) and ‘etzatla‘ (jetzt). So if you would like to expand your Bavarian vocabulary, a good source is this article in the
Süddeutsche Zeitung.

But if you are new to the British Isles and are still trying to work out what the locals are saying to you – Babbel’s ‘School of British Accents’ may help – here you can follow, for example, a German’s progress of learning Geordie.

Back to the Stammtisch – in the new year, I would like to explore your interest in walks around our region. We are planning to do one along the coast (Whitley Bay/St Mary’s Island) and another one in Hexham/Corbridge. But if you would like to show us your favourite area of the North East, why not become our expert guide for the day?

Anyhow, this is it now from the Stammtisch for 2016!

Have a lovely Christmas break and ‘einen guten Rutsch’ into the New Year.

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

We have another diary date for you for our next Stammtisch just after the Easter weekend on Sunday, 12 April. The Kaffeehaus Amadeus in Lanchester offered again to be our host for Kaffee & Kuchen between 3pm and 5pm. Could you please let me know if you’re coming by latest 9 April? Thanks!

I am currently searching for other venues in the North East where we could get German food – any recommendations that you may have would be much appreciated.

If you just fancy a drink and a bit of networking with people from all over the world, simply join the InterNations crowd on Wednesday, 25 March in the DatbAr in Newcastle from 6pm.

The travel and tourism world met earlier this month in Berlin. Over 10,000 exhibitors from 186 countries attracted 175,000 visitors to the ITB Berlin. So if you’re looking for holiday inspiration, next year’s event takes place between 9 and 13 March 2016.

Should your travels in 2015 take you to Germany, the German National Tourist Board compiled a list of the top 100 attractions voted for in 2014 and are now looking for your vote for 2015 – click here to particpate.

If you want to combine languages and holidays, why not explore the country while joining one of the many language schools. The University in Jena recently sent us information on their Summer School. If you’re not sure, which school – try the Langwhich website that gives you information on providers across the country.

And if you are already fluent and you’re looking for a career move, the website ‘Treffpunkt Fremdsprachen’ may also give you some ideas of jobs in Germany and abroad.

Nigel Wright Recruitment are currently working with a successful North East Manufacturing business to recruit a German speaking Export Sales Manager.  This is a newly created role within the business and creates an excellent opportunity for an experienced sales or key account manager to join a growing business.

The role will be focused on developing sales within Europe, mainly through Agents or the companies own sales offices.  The export sales manager will support agents in customer visits, train them on products and feed key market intelligence back into the UK based manufacturing site.

It is essential that candidates are:

  • Fluent in German and English.
    • Able to develop excellent relationships, both with agents and end customers.
    • Experienced in key account management.
    • Experienced in working within a manufacturing / industrial business.
    • Flexible in terms of regular European travel.

If you are interested in discussing this opportunity in further detail, please contact Elaine Tulip-Johnson on DL 0191 2690713 or at Elaine.tulip-johnson@nigelwright.com

A German company that has done extremely well exporting in many countries is Thomas Sabo. Established in 1984 in Lauf near Nuremberg, the jewellers now has 247 shops and 2,600 jewellery and retail partners worldwide. You may also be interested in a smaller German jewellery designer I recently came across in Saunders & Pughe in Corbridge. ManuSchmuck was founded by Hameln based Ilse & Horst Eber over 25 years ago and design sophisticated, modern silver and gold jewellery.

I look forward to seeing you again soon and until then enjoy the first spring days & the forthcoming Easter weekend.

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Unfortunately, we have no date yet for our next Stammtisch, which was meant to be a BBQ at the Mansion House. When the sun does make an appearance again in Geordieland for more than just a few hours, we’ll try and organise something quickly.

However, in absence of a Stammtisch, you may want to join one of the many events organised by Newcastle City Council while hosting the “Newcastles” from around the world. On Sunday, 22 July, from 11.15am onwards there is a service held at Newcastle Cathedral to celebrate Cities, Peace and Friendship, with songs from around the world being performed by the Crossings Choir.

On Tuesday, 24 July the visitors from the various Newcastles will party the night away aboard the ferry “Pride of the Tyne”. Tickets are £20 and there will be welcome drink, food and music from Hannabiell and Midnight Blue. You can order via Irene Hatton or call 0191 211 6826. Departure is at 7pm prompt from the Pitcher and Piano and you’ll return at 10.15pm.

Another interesting event will be held at the Mansion House in Jesmond on Wednesday, 25 July from 7.30pm. The POT LUCK PALADAR is part of the EAT Festival and you can either make a dish particular to one of the many countries of the world that have a “Newcastle” in them (check the website for details) for the shared table or just come along and enjoy the buffet of world dishes. There will also be live music in the garden, Geordie canapés and a fun quiz with your chance to win a great prize. Click here for details.

Maybe you can help with this request – a letter needs to be translated from German into English. Unfortunately I can’t help as I am having difficulty reading the old fashioned handwriting (1930s). So if there’s somebody in our group that would be able to do this for a fee, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the relevant person.

We also had a request from a PhD student at Newcastle University who is currently working on a research project about language use. Alina is looking for German native speakers (between the ages 18-35 & with high level of English) who are willing to take part in a language experiment.

The study lasts for approx. 55 min and involves judging a sequence of short video clips and completing a language and biographical questionnaire. Participants will be tested on an individual basis at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences and will receive £5 for their participation. The tests will take place June-August and if you are interested to take part, please e-mail alina.schartner@ncl.ac.uk.

Another request to the Stammtisch was if anybody has any experience/insights into four universities in Germany, where an international student wants to do his Masters in Electrical Engineering: TU Munich, TU Darmstadt, Brandenburg TU (Cottbus) and Otto-Von-Guericke University in Magdeburg. The gentleman is interested in reputation of these universities, how his degree would be valued, cost of living in the above cities and if there would be opportunities to get part-time jobs in his relevant field in these locations.

Apparently since the introduction of the higher university fees, British students are now heading towards Germany to study there. Click here for the full article, that was recently published on gmx in cooperation with Spiegel Online.

Our cycling expert Tanja Cooper has asked me to forward you some information about her forthcoming challenge. She will very soon embark on a 1000 mile cycle challenge across the UK, starting at Land’s End and finishing her journey 14 days later in John O’Groats.

Her aim is to raise £500 for RoadPeace, a charity that offers emotional and practical support to crash victim’s families. RoadPeace is trying to improve post crash response and is also tackling bad driving and aims to make our streets safer for everyone. You can support Tanja and donate at www.justgiving.com/Tanja-Nick-Lejog

So fingers crossed that we will be able to do a BBQ in 2012 and in the meantime, I hope you will all have a superb summer holiday and look forward to seeing you soon!

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Helau Stammtisch Friends!

As you’ve probably noticed, I have not been able to organise a Stammtisch night for next Monday, but hopefully we will have another one soon.


In the meantime, here are some other news about forthcoming visits and initiatives that might interest you.

The first of our region’s town twinning initiatives will be in March, when pupils and staff from Gelsenkirchen and Gladbeck will be in the area as part of Theatre Royal’s InterTWINed 2012, a drama festival for young people aged between 13 and 22 years. From 13 to 16 March, the People’s Theatre in Heaton will host their performances and those of other participating young people from Ireland, Poland, Estonia, Italy, Norway and of course Newcastle. Newcastle City Council is also currently looking for host families for the visiting young people and staff (from 11 to 18 March) – if you want to get involved, let me know as I have more information to send out. For more information on the festival, visit www.intertwined2012.co.uk.

There will be another German delegation to the area at the end of April and we will try and organise a joint event during that visit. And there will be a visit of the Madrigalchor from Gelsenkirchen in June, which is partnered with the Northern English Singers. Both choirs will perform at a joint concert on Saturday, 9 June from 7.30pm at the St James United Reform Church in Newcastle.

The Wear Valley Twinning Association is currently organising a trip to their German partner, the town of Bad Oeynhausen in North Rhine-Westphalia. The trip will take place from 6 to 14 September 2012 and cost is currently around £302 (the more participants, the more the cost will decrease). Included in the price are luxury coach travel, ferry, accommodation at local host families and a number of day tours, incl. one to Hannover and other social activities. If you want to find out more, email Denise Lee at dlee2405@virginmedia.com or call 07808 597 069.

You may be aware of the campaign “Cities Fit For Cycling”, which was launched by The Times. This public campaign and 8-point manifesto is calling for cities to be made fit for cyclists and needs as much support as possible. Click on the link to read more and take action: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/contact/ There are three ways you can take action and support The Times Cities fit for cycling campaign:

1. Pledge your support by signing the campaign’s list and tell your story of Britain’s roads.
2. Spread the word by tweeting your support.
3. Raise the issue of cycle safety with your local MP by emailing them directly. Do this before the 23rd February because this is when there will be a backbench business committee debate about this issue in Westerminster Hall.  http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/backbench-business-committee/news/mps-to-debate-cycling-saftery-in-cities/
On the job front – EURES have passed on another vacancy for a technical writer/translator in Roding, Landkreis Cham in Bavaria. The employer is the Mühlbauer AG and they are looking for somebody with good English, proficient knowledge of German and with an affinity to technical subjects. The tasks involve the creation of customer related manuals or text modules in English and German, to carry out translations and to co-ordinate translation projects with external agencies. Copies of certificates are required. The salary is between €2,000 and €3,000/month. If you want to find out more or want to apply for this position, contact Stefanie Soiber – stefanie.soiber@muehlbauer.de

Through the German business networking platform Xing, I’ve recently come across this portal that helps you find language holidays, on and off-line courses, forums about language learning, jobs with languages and so on: www.langwhich.com.

We have another food recommendation and this time it’s from Heike McFarlane. She wanted to recommend Falko (www.falko.co.uk), a German baker and master pastry chef based up in Edinburgh and Gullane. Heike thinks his bread and cakes are fantastic and there’s no better Christmas Stollen than Falko’s. His 22 staff had to learn German as all of the recipes for his handmade creations were all in German and he also has to important certain ingredients that are not available in Scotland. It’s not even just the Germans, that think Falko knows his breads – apparently the ‘Observer’ also announced in 2007 that Falko is the best baker on the island. Maybe we need to get a Stammtisch order in with the next person travelling north of the border?

And more Brez’n were discovered in the Waitrose in Jesmond. Please keep sending in your ‘German’ food discoveries to share them with our group!

I hope you all have a very enjoyable week and enjoy your pancakes and Krapfen on Tuesday!

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I have just found out Terry Laybourne and his team will run a ‘Oktoberfest’ at their gastro pub ‘The Broad Chare’ down at the Quayside from 10 October for one week. They have a fabulous menu on offer and on top of that will stock the award winning WEST Brewery beer, brewed in Glasgow according to the German Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law). I’d suggest that we meet next Tuesday at 6.30pm at the bar and then head upstairs for dinner from 7pm. Please let me know if you’re coming by the weekend so that Terry can plan table(s) and food accordingly.

Just to give you an idea what’s on offer: Gulaschsuppe (Classic goulash soup), Gemischter Salatteller (mixed Autumn salad plate), Wurstsalat (classic Baden style sausage salad on Bauernbrot), Matjes Hausfrauenart (marinated herring fillets with apples, onions, gherkins and Yoghurt), Eisbeinsülze (jellied ham knuckle), 2 Münchner Weißwürste mit süßem Senf (Munich style veal sausages flavoured with lemonzest and fresh herbs), Bratwurst auf Sauerkraut (grilled pork sausage with sauerkraut), 4 Wienerwürste mit Kartoffelsalat (Frankfurter style sausages with German potato salad), Schweinebraten mit Blaukraut und Reiberknödel (roast pork with red cabbage and potato dumplings), Gebratene Schweinshaxe, Sauerkraut und Kartoffelbrei (roasted pork knuckle with sauerkraut and potato puree), Eisbein mit Sauerkraut und Meerettich (poached ham knuckle with sauerkraut and horseradish), Jägerschnitzel (hunter’s pork escalope with wild mushrooms), Hasenpfeffer (jugged hare), Leberkäse mit hausgemachtem Kartoffelsalat (German meatloaf with potato salad), Münchner Sauerbraten mit Semmelknödel und Preiselbeeren (marinated braised beef from the Rheinland with bread dumplings and cranberries). And for desserts there is Apfelstrudel (apple strudel), Kaiserschmarrn (hot caramelised pancakes with sultanas and apple sauce), Dampfnudeln (sweet yeast dumpling with vanilla sauce) and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (proper Black Forest gateau).

If you want to get into the Oktoberfest mood – click here to see a short Stern video about this year’s Wies’n. And if you think you understood most, you’re maybe also ready to do Stern’s test ‘Bayerisch für Anfänger’. Being Bavarian, I thought I’d do very well, but was told that I must be a ‘Flachland Tiroler’.

I hope to see many of you next week at The Broad Chare – if you need any more information, please let me know!

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Our next Stammtisch is a German Wine Tasting evening on Tuesday, 21 June 2011 at the Mansion House. Stammtisch member Anne Thiele, who grew up on a Mosel winery and local wine merchant Heinz Dennhöfer have organised various wines for us and will guide us through the evening. Gunther has prepared a menu that will include salad, cheese, meats and breads followed by blackforest gateau. The cost for the dinner and wine tasting will be £15 per head and payable in advance at the Mansion House (call 0191 281 0863) – but as usual if you could let me know if you’re coming then we get an idea of numbers to ensure we have enough wine and food available! The evening will start as usual at 6.30pm.

Last year at the London International Wine Fair, German wines won a total of 21 gold medals, which meant that Germany was joint third with Italy behind France and Spain. In particular producers from the Franconian region were extremely successful and picked up 63 medals for their wines, including 14 Gold. To get you in the mood for our wine evening and find out a bit more about Germany’s wine regions and some of its products, check out the 3-Minute Wine School online.

It’s usually beer that Germany is famous for and therefore we thought we organise a small Beer Festival and BBQ before the summer holidays. Hosted again by the Mansion House on Thursday, 7 July we will also have a marquee just in case the Geordie weather doesn’t play ball. The ‘German’ beer will be travelling down from north of the border. The famous WEST restaurant and brewery, which is run by Franconian Petra Wetzel, will introduce their award winning beers to you, which are brewed according to the German purity law.

The Martin Luther Church in Newcastle will again hold an Organ Recital and this time it will feature the renowned organist Paul Ritchie. This will take place on Friday, 3 June 2011 at 7.30pm and Paul will play Albrechtsberger, Bach, Boyce, Bruhns, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, Seeger and Stanley. The Martin Luther Church is situated at Clarence Street/Copeland Terrace in Shieldfield and admission fee is £5, which includes interval drinks.

So what about the polite Brits and the rude Germans? If you’re trying to avoid communication issues, the BBC website might offer a bit of a clue. This week there was an article on direct and indirect communications comparing the Germans and the Brits. Click here for the full article.

And last, but note least here are the answers to the questions raised in our May newsletter: 1) Düsseldorf is the city known as ‘Klein-Tokio am Rhein’. 2) And the over 100 year old Schwebebahn in Wuppertal hit the headlines in 1950 when Circus Althoff did a publicity stunt that went spectacularly wrong. The circus director and head of transport seemed to think it was a good idea to take a 700kg two-year old elephant baby on the train. Tuffi the Elephant, quite understandably, didn’t agree and very quickly got off by jumping into the river Wupper from a height of 12m– luckily she escaped unhurt. The Berliner Zeitung had quite a nice article about this event, if you’re interested.

We hope we will see you soon at one of our next events and hopefully by then summer will have also arrived in Geordieland!!!

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