Archive for the ‘Languages & Communications’ Category

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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Every Tuesday between 10.30 and 12.30, a German speaking children’s group (Kindergruppe) meets at the Martin-Luther-Kirche in Shieldfield, Newcastle. The German speaking parents and their children (between 0 and 4 years) meet to play, sing, do crafts etc and celebrate together birthdays, carnival, Easter, Christmas and organise trips together.

If you would like further information, please contact Angela Rau-Pokorny directly: Tel. 07769 731 259 or email angelarau@hotmail.com.

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

I hope you all had a great start to the snow free New Year and are enjoying the slightly warmer temperatures. We have now got another date for the Stammtisch at the Mansion House, which will be held on Monday, 21 March, starting at 6.30pm. Gunther will prepare a warming Linseneintopf mit Bockwurst (lentil stew) at a cost of £7.95 per person and the leader of Newcastle City Council, David Faulkner will also join us for a talk about the Ruhr Capital of Culture (Gelsenkirchen, Newcastle’s twin city in Germany was part of the celebrations last year). As usual, just let me know if you’re coming and payment will be again at the door.

We are also currently planning a German wine tasting evening later in the year, but more as soon as we’ve got this organised. If you have suggestions for future events/themes, please let me know – it would be great to get your ideas!

The Stammtisch also received an invitation from Newcastle City Council to the Holocaust Memorial Commemorative Event “Untold Stories”, which takes place on Sunday, 30 January from 3pm at the Journal Tyne Theatre at Westgate Road. There will be a commemorative performance, including keynote speeches from; Youk Chang, Professor Roberta Greene and Peter Kurer and a celebration of ‘The Galloping Stone’ an anthology of writing by clients, staff and volunteers from the Medical Foundation for the Care of the Victims of Torture, by Gillian Allnut and others from New Writing North. The programme will also feature classical and contemporary musical performances from Katie Doherty as well as a solo performance from Bradley Creswick leader of the Northern Sinfonia and a performance by Hotspur Children’s Choir. For further information about the event and to order your ticket – please visit: http://www.hmd.org.uk/events/find/north-east/11733newcastle-holocaust-memorial-commemorative-event-untold-stories.

The Lit & Phil also holds some events to commemorate the Holocaust and if you don’t know this landmark building next to the Central Station, go and check it out. It’s open to non-members and you will be impressed by this little oasis in bustling Newcastle. The Literary & Philosophical Society dates back to 1793 and some of the North East’s leading thinkers, inventors and business people have been amongst its members. The current building was opened in 1825 and today houses over 150,000 books and an extensive music library. To find out more about the society, the library and forthcoming events, visit www.litandphil.org.uk.

That a dog is for life and not just for Christmas, we all know. But last year the shelters were full of unwanted four-legged companions and many unfortunately had to be put down. If one of your new year resolutions is to keep fit, why not check out some of the local animal shelters (such as Brysons – www.brysons.org.uk) to get a suitable partner. And if you’re worried if you can take your dog to a pub for a well-deserved pint, there’s a great website that tells you where you both can go to – www.doggiepubs.org.uk.

And if you’re New Year resolution is to learn a new language – another Stammtisch member sent me this link to this free award-winning online language learning community: http://www.busuu.com/. If anybody has been on it and has some feedback, please post this here on our blog.

And if you’re a fluent German speaker, you might even want to head over there – apparently the German economy is doing rather well – with a 2010 growth of 3.6%. And the Handelsblatt recently reported that there are even 40,000 open ‘Hilfsarbeiter’ (un-/lower skilled labour) positions, which is surprising as we still have almost 3 million people unemployed. If you want to know what are Germany’s top 10 most sought after positions – Stern carried Adecco’s Stellenindex 2010. Click here for further details.

And if you want to know what Germans find entertaining – then just get ‘Hummeldumm’ – this is the title of one of Germany’s top selling books in 2010. I picked it up while on holiday last year and had a few giggles If anybody wants to borrow it, let me know. The author Tommy Jaud (a fellow Franconian) had already previous bestsellers with Vollidiot, Resturlaub and Millionaer. My personal favourite Resturlaub is currently being made into a movie – as I’ve just seen on Tommy Jaud’s homepage – http://www.tommyjaud.de/tommyjaud/home. Maybe when it’s out, we can persuade the Tyneside Cinema to do a special viewing for us.

Anyway, that’s it from me for today – if you can’t wait till 21 March for our next Stammtisch – let me know and I’ll ask the pub over the road here in Tynemouth if they’ll do us a very nice Schnitzel with Pommes.
Have a very enjoyable and successful 2011!

Warm regards


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Dear Stammtisch Friends

In just over six weeks, it will be Christmas again and we have of course planned another Christmas Dinner (Weihnachtsessen). The Mansion House will look after us this year on Monday, 6 December and on the menu will be Christmas goose and dumplings (Weihnachtsgans und Kloesse). The overall cost will be £20 for a three course dinner.

The evening will start at 7pm with a Glühwein reception, followed by dinner at 7.45pm. You will need to book in advance this time directly with the Mansion House (Tel: 0191 281 0863), where you can pay either by debit card or cheque (credit card payment will incur a 2.5% surcharge). Please note that places will be limited, so if you want to join us, let them know asap.

If you can’t wait until December, why not come along to the annual Christmas Bazaar at St James United Reformed Church on Saturday, 27 November from 11am to 2pm, which is organised by the Pfarramt Schottland/Nordostengland. Or if you want to travel a bit further for some Glühwein, Bratwürste or Plätzchen – in Edinburgh they have a fabulous traditional German Christmas Market which starts this year on Thursday, 25 November all the way through to 24 December. Visit www.edinburghschristmas.com for further information. West Brewery in Glasgow also keep it festive with their special Weihnachtsbierwww.westbeer.com.

Last year Newcastle’s Christmas market featured in a recent service reisen clip from Hessen TV (HR), which I received through Stammtisch member Michael Waugh. It’s all about travelling from Amsterdam to Newcastle, with a special focus on our regional capital and Northumberland.

Back in Germany, you may know that they like to use a lot of English in German advertisements. Stern Online recently let you do a test to find out how well Germans actually understand these slogans. If you want to find out how good your ‘Werbe-Englisch’ really is, have a go yourself.

And if you think your English or German skills need to improve, why don’t you check out language learning materials from Spotlight Verlag. Spotlight, Spot On and Business Spotlight provide interesting news and feature articles from English speaking countries, while Deutsch perfekt covers Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Interesting articles about Spain and Latin America are in Ecos, France is featured in Écoute and for Italian lovers it has to be Adesso. www.spotlight-verlag.de publishes a monthly magazine for each language, accompanying CDs, exercise/grammar booklets and has online resources.

German language skills might just come in handy for those who might think that employment opportunities are better on the continent. Last month Germany’s unemployment figures fell just below 3 million (well, there are also a lot of people retiring….), but future skills shortages seem to become a real issue. So it might soon be again ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’…..

But then again, wouldn’t it be nice to work in the comfort of your own home on a cold, windy day like today with no travel involved at all? Or enjoy more sunny hours in your garden or on the beach in our lovely region? Sensée is the UK’s leading homeworking specialist and last month the company started its first homeworking agent hub here in the North East. They are currently recruiting for inbound customer service for a major UK retailer, offering full-time positions for homebased agents. If you know somebody who might be interested, the website provides further details on current vacancies. All that’s required is a suitable workspace, PC, landline and broadband access.

See you soon at the Christmas Dinner on 6 December.

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Now that autumn has well and truly arrived, we can celebrate the Oktoberfest! This year it’s a pretty significant date, as the Wies’n celebrates its 200th anniversary.

For those of you who can’t make it to Munich – one of the North East’s pubs has embraced our Bavarian festivities and maybe you want to join us on Thursday, 14 October from 6pm onwards at the Brandling Villa in Gosforth. Please let me know who wants to come so that we can reserve a table. On their beer menu you can find many local beers, but also Erdinger Dunkel, Köstritzer Schwarzbier and Schneider Weisse. The food bar will offer typical Oktoberfest dishes such as Hendl (grilled chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Brezel (Pretzels), Knödel (potato dumplings), Bratwurst and Currywurst. For further information on the Brandling Villa, its Oktoberfest (14 – 16 October), directions and the menu, click here.

The Hilton in Gateshead, who hosted last year’s Oktoberfest, have a typical menu again up until 7 October. There you can get dishes such as Kartoffelsuppe (potato soup), Aufschnittsplatte (selection of meats/chees), Matjesfilet Hausfrauenart (herring with apples and cream), Schweineschnitzel mit Kartoffelsalat (pork cutlet and potatoe salad), Hähnchen “Cordon Bleu” mit Bratkartoffeln und roten Zwiebeln (chicken cordon bleu with roast potatoes and onions) sowie Bratwurst und Sauerkraut (grilled sausage and sauerkraut). And if you still have space for desert, there’s a choice of Zwetschenkuchen (plum cake), Apfeltorte (apple gateau) and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (blackforest gateau).

And if that has not satisfied your appetite, you can always head north to Glasgow, where the WEST Brewery and Bar run an Oktoberfest all through the month. They are even brewing their very own OktoberWEST and have the WEST Oompah Band playing live every Friday from 7.30pm onwards – www.westbeer.com.

Being a typical Munich event, I thought maybe you want to brush up on your language skills? The Oktoberfest site provides you with a lot of information about the event, the history and also the language: http://www.oktoberfest.de/de/navitem/Gaudi/. The online dictionary can also be downloaded as an app and you might also check out the Stern video about the best apps for the Wies’n.

If you want to work on your pronunciation, you might want also to listen to a real Bavarian band – the Spider Murphy Gang, who in the 80s were super successful. Another great programme promoting the Bavarian language was the 10-part series Monaco Franze, which played in Munich. If you can remember this fab programme and are feeling nostalgic, there are quite a few clips on YouTube and there’s even a very entertaining fan page on Facebook. Here’s one where Monaco Franze shows you how to drive a civil servant around the bend – click here.

Civil servants and food leads to another story that recently made the news in Germany – and hopefully both the Hilton and the Brandling Villa take note as it’s all about Schnitzels. A restaurant owner got into trouble with the tax man as he sold disproportionately large Schnitzels to his very hungry guests in Saxony. To read the full story on Reuters, click here.

However, some civil servants do have a sense of humour and Swiss Bundesrat Merz showed this when delivering a speech on a new EU law re a specific Swiss meat and ‘slightly’ lost his composure in the process. His ‘speech’ has now become a YouTube hit – click here.

Anyway, I hope you’re all in good spirits and we see many of you at our October meeting on 14th at the Brandling Villa.



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