For The Duration ... living the day

Where members can come together in word and share thoughts.

As I write, I hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

As you would expect, we have been completely focussed on the developing coronavirus situation, monitoring and assessing the latest information and Government guidance, which has moved on again overnight.

With every decision we have made in the past few weeks, the health of our members, our committee, and wider society has been at the forefront of our thinking, and we are committed to doing the right thing.

In line with new Government guidance, we have taken the responsibility of cancelling our events, activities, outings, luncheons and coffee mornings.  With great sadness we have to accept that this will impact a great number of our members.

We have an incredibly dedicated committee who give a huge amount of energy and passion to make what we normally do possible. We are now all on an unknown journey with Coronavirus and we must do everything we can to mitigate the spread of the virus. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected and we hugely value the healthcare workers and those on the front line working to contain the virus and keep us safe.

The following section is dedicated to those who wish to share their thoughts with our members during this time of uncertainty.  Please feel free to contribute, as little or as much, anonymous or otherwise.  Your words will undoubtedly encourage and touch those who come to read them.

Please send your contributions on an email to

Best wishes, Sandra

Hi All,

We at the BWC can never be accused of not getting into the swing of things and being resilient, so I welcome you to our little Webpage Diary. We thought this could be a fun way to keep in touch with each other during this challenging time.

Firstly, I just wanted to check in with you all to make sure everyone was healthy and well. As we are all self-isolating, it’s very easy to feel alone and isolated if you don’t have family nearby to call on so don’t be a stranger and let us know how you are. We have a wonderful community within our Club so we must continue to pull together and keep everyone’s spirits up. We haven’t known life to be so uncertain since war time and I know that some of us remember this more than others! Of course, I am fortunate enough to only imagine the despair during that time from listening to my grandparents‘ accounts.

It’s extremely humbling that so many members are keeping in touch through telephone and email and that these long-lasting friendships are so evident. Everyone is encouraged to stay in contact during this time and I’m always available anytime for a chat.

What is everyone doing to keep themselves occupied during this time?

Just as all the madness broke, we had just returned from our holiday (in the nick of time) and the first few days of resting were very welcome. As hubby had a bit of a cold, he was advised not to go into work and we were extra careful due to the symptoms. You just never know.

We relaxed over the weekend and by the Monday, Mark was feeling 100% better. Over the first few days, we had very quickly grown bored of Netflix and snacking. Resisting the urge to eat every hour is remarkably difficult during quarantine! Even the daily G&T’s were losing their novelty! We couldn’t go on like this for the next three weeks….or possibly longer! Our isolation snacks were supposed to last us three weeks, not three days! At this rate, we would be watching re-runs of Little House on the Prairie and eating our way through the dusty old tins at the back of the pantry! So, we gave ourselves a stiff talking to, a sound thrashing and pulled ourselves together, venturing out into the sunshine. Our first outing for groceries involved a quick ‘supermarket sweep’ in the hunt for healthy fruit and vegetables, chicken, fish and lentils so we could focus on our usual healthy eating and not this constant grazing on yummy goodies during the day due to boredom. If we were going to survive, we would have to be quick and stealth like. Bear Grylls, eat your heart out!

The ‘smash and grab’ shopping wasn’t too bad and I managed to keep the allocated social distance between the other adventurers and myself for fear of catching this new and unknown lurgy. I have to admit though, as soon as you find out that touching certain surfaces, including your face, is something that you SHOULDN’T do, you discover just how much you DO IT! Why am I so touchy, feely with that packet of ham, that jar of olives or that extra-large bottle of Sekt? It’s not cashmere! Surely, I’m not the only person struggling with this? I had to consciously keep my hands on the (potentially infected) handle of my shopping cart, my elbows in and eyes front!

My trolley dash was pretty successful and I was able to slip in and out of the supermarket, not unnoticed (due to all those extra snacks) but as a self-confessed shopaholic, I set a personal best that day. Unfortunately, my concerted efforts to find flour, toilet-roll and pasta were unsuccessful, along with the rest of the world! Believe me, I understand the shortage of provisions and ingredients to add to basic recipes, but what’s the obsession with toilet roll?? Has the world gone completely mad! Those people who were talked into adding a useless bidet to their bathrooms have been living for this moment! I may even invest in bidet shares in the future! A new venture maybe? I’ll need to add risks of Armageddon, zombie apocalypse and coronavirus to my sales pitch…

On the bright side, all of our rainy days have arrived at once! We suddenly all have some extra time on our hands. My house has never been so tidy. I’m clearing out those cupboards and drawers that have been driving me mad all year and I’ve downloaded all those new books I’ve wanted to read but, on the downside, I may not have enough loo paper….

Seriously though, it feels very strange that life is so quiet and that my calendar is completely free for the next six weeks. Our Club normally has so many wonderful events happening that it has highlighted how much we do in BWC. We can either see this crisis as a complete waste of time or seize the opportunity to steer away from our everyday life and do something a bit different. We will try new ideas over the next few weeks, including this little blog, and we will try and keep you constantly updated with different things happening. We have a few things in store so watch this space! Ideas also welcome!

To start with, here are a few websites listed below in case anyone is having trouble with certain items of food and non-food items, I have added a list below.
Ad· – Food Delivery Near Me – Hungry? No problem
https://www.foodora.deOnline Essen bestellen – foodora ist jetzt

Let us know how you’re coping with all this by writing a little something and send to Sandra.

Thinking of you all at this time.



I was so inspired recently by emails from the Bridge playing fraternity of the BWC to one another in which life in isolation was described that I wondered whether others might also have interesting tales to tell?

As the news bulletins continue to report from around the world on the coronavirus, our world here seems thankfully far removed from the overburdened hospitals, overstretched staff and overwhelming numbers of infected and seriously ill people.

Many days ago, as a combined result of cancelled activities, events and permanent commitments plus a primeval desire to safeguard health and, hopefully, thereby prolong life, I went into self-imposed early lockdown.  Shopping for food is about the only time I venture out and then, without a mask, as I don’t own one.  I haven’t yet, however, come across anyone else wearing one either, so don’t feel too deprived.  It surprises me that the supermarkets are still so full of people and it gives a false sense of normality.  Panic buying has, so far, been avoided.  Potatoes are preferred to pasta and rice which has its advantages but they do need peeling.  I’ve been forbidden to buy loo rolls although they can’t be found anywhere anyway.  We have enough, apparently, the resident mathematician decrees.  Although by my calculations, not.  Someone is in for a surprise.

I’ve always been told that the food in our cellar would see us through any catastrophe.  What did I know that others didn’t?  Well, now’s the time to prove it and at the same time, eat up those many jars, tins and packets with expiry dates which beg belief.

There is a certain enjoyment to starting the day without the sound of an alarm clock.  No need to set one as there’s nothing to get up for.  With the local gym shut, I’m forced to look for alternatives.  Jogging has, sadly, never been my sport but today, inspired by the glorious sunshine, blue skies and surrounding woods and lake, I set off on a run.  This quickly turned into a fast walk with an intermittent „hint of a sprint“, rapidly followed by a much slower walk and, finally, timeout on a convenient bench before returning home, glowing with pride at my achievement.  I shall make a second attempt whilst the good weather holds, particularly now that I know where the bench is.

The fresh air theme continued once I returned as Mr E. had scarified the lawn.  A mountain of moss the size of Ben Nevis needed raking up.  The lawn was, in retrospect, only masquerading as such as there is now nothing but dirt (and even more moss) left.  What luck that we have time to do it all over again, and again and again…

Our youngest, back for Easter break from university, has been told not to return.  His final term, pinnacle of a four-year course, is now to be managed online.  College provosts gather, as in a conclave, to determine how.  Suggestions to students so far have been unacceptable. We learn a new language: DDH, deemed to have deserved honours, can be awarded when students either fail or are absent from the exams due to extenuating circumstances.  I guess these circumstances apply at present but it’s a let-down for the students.

Boredom and frustration at the turn of events, plus fulltime incarceration with the ancient ones has led to unusual ideas being floated over lunch.  Housework and garden maintenance, where real help would be appreciated, are shunned, obviously not cool enough.  Why spend so much time on the lawn or cleaning windows, we are seriously asked?  Cleaning windows, my present weakness, 51 down, just as many to go.  „I’m going to build a hen coop“, son declares.  We argue that we’d rather he didn’t, we’d rather not have the responsibility of hens.  At our age.  Besides, which ones?  A compromise is struck and I might get a bird house instead.  On the subject of DIY, Mr E. wonders if the redundant bread making machine can be turned into a ventilator.  He laughs.  Then becomes deadly serious and decides that the hoover would be much more appropriate.       I worry about them both.

More to come, I’m sure.  Stay tuned.

An email from Lilo to the Bridge ladies which was the initial inspiration for this diary

In normal times this would be my invitation for another of our wonderful bridge meetings but time are not normal anymore. Life has changed for each and every one of us. Our mobility has been limited to almost nothing, however, at the same time, the offer to help, not only by friends but by total strangers, is overwhelming. The economy will suffer considerable losses and maybe we will have to learn to be content with less than we are used to.

I got some lovely phone calls and emails from some of you – thank you very much, I really appreciate your concern. I am well and still fairly busy although my moving plans have practically come to a halt.

I am staying home except for short shopping trips twice a week and maybe short walks around the block – time for reading, listening to music and also TV.

My very best wishes to all of you, stay healthy, keep up positive spirits and keep in touch. I miss you and our bridge. Let’s hope that these difficult times may be over in the not too distant future.

Love, Lilo

Hello All Bridge and Mah Jongg Friends,

Actually, since yesterday lunchtime I should be sitting on our terrace on beautiful Formentera looking across the Mitjorn Bay towards the „Mola“ and the light house at the far end of it – only to be seen at night, though.  Fortunately, most of us are in a position where our daily routine is mainly restricted to giving up personal pleasantries.  We are still allowed to go out for walks, do some shopping, enjoying the spring sun. But I am not forgetting those of you who still have to work and are carrying a different bag of worries. And that is, I fear, the outlook we will all have for a while in our lives. There is hope and light at the end of the tunnel!

For me it is the first time in 15 years to experience a glorious spring in northern Europe again. Having a much-extended morning tea with the newspaper in bed, watching the birds and squirrels at the feeding places on the terrace flowers beds; taking up regular yoga sessions. If there are no mental exercises, at least one can have some physical ones! And, of course, there are the books, long neglected, the radio (try WDR 3) and TV (not much).

Thanks for all the shared news from you.

Lilo, I know your situation is very worrying, but there is little else one can do at the moment.

If anyone needs a Mah Jongg book, please let me know, I will send it to you.

Look after yourselves. Love, Susanne Xxx


Dear Lilo and lovely Bridge Buddies

As you say we are so used to meeting up for bridge therefore this self-isolation and social distancing is quite alien to us. And we have no idea how long it will last, though saying that, we do realize the necessity of doing this.

I miss my friends and hope that with all the unprecedented measures being taken we will soon return to normality. Although it seems likely to be a few months.

I have little Sibo for company. I have food for us both and adequate loo rolls. It is strange to see empty shelves in supermarkets but I think most people are being kind and helping one another.  It has been said it is like a war situation. During war you could visit family, friends and neighbours, there was tea and sympathy and a hug. I am definitely cwtchless right now. But there is a war spirit and we will get through. God willing all well and healthy.

Still I am fine and thankful I am fit and well. I have a warm home and a garden with flowers coming out. Yesterday I mowed the back lawn and did some weeding and tidying up. When the weather is warmer, I can sit out there. I plan to do the front lawn next week. I have so much time on my hands I can pace myself. There’s enough on the telly and I have plenty of books so I can’t complain. There was a time when retired people had no spare time and now, we all do.

It is a strange Mother’s Day in Britain. And Easter is likely to be the same.

Sorry about your move Lilo and no doubt, Ina, you will have to wait for new windows. But you’ve got your new kitchen Anita that’s great.

Wishing you all the very best and so very much looking forward to meeting up again

Keep calm and stay safe and well
Take very best care!
Love and a big cwtch
Joyce xx

Hello, My lovely Bridge friends,

Thinking of you all, at least we are having beautiful weather. Walking is great, for those of you who enjoy that. I have a jigsaw puzzle in progress on my bridge table, for when I get bored with gardening. Evenings I play a bit of bridge, on Bridge Base also CD’s have been at least taken out of hiding, with lots of good intentions.

I miss my grandchildren, sometimes I meet them on my walks, they keep their distance.  It’s all so strange.

I hope all is well, please don’t be alone, just pick up the phone if any of you are feeling lonely. A chat and a joke always helps.

Hugs for all,

Your fellow Bridgling  Jo.

Hello dear ladies,

I am sitting here and enjoying the view over the park and watching the trees blooming more and more every day.  I have been told to clear my bookshelves because I am getting new windows, I am sitting in a mess because it was quite tiring and dirty to pull all the books down on the floor and nobody is coming. The date for the new windows has been postponed from day to day and now I was promised yesterday that they would come tomorrow.  I told the General Manger that I would really like to cancel it since I am worried that they will not be able to fix everything as it was before, and if they ruin the wallpaper and paint?  I really don’t feel like repainting the apartment at my age.  He told me not to panic, we should wait and see what happens on Monday!

As far as bridge is concerned, why not have a nice foursome with just a cup of coffee?  If you go shopping, you have many more shoppers around you than at a little round of bridge?  It could be here at my place.

Lilo, I am sorry that your moving looks as if it will be postponed – sitting in a halfway cleared out apartment must really be frustrating!

Love to all of you


Oi dear Bridgelings,

My kitchen arrived.  It took them 12 hours to install it.  We waited 36 hours without touching it, only looking, as we did not know whether or not those mechanics were or not were infected with this terrible virus even without them knowing.  Now nearly all the pots and pans, cutlery and „china“ has found a new accommodation.  I am thrilled by my new kitchen.  As soon as we can gather again, you must play bridge at my home, I insist.

In the meantime, we go for walks with Dana, listen to music, read and watch TV.  The girls go shopping for us.  We are in good hands.

I hope you are all healthy and good humoured.



What a great idea from Alison to have this website BLOG!!

Coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill.   All the shops, bars, clubs, schools, museums and restaurants are closed; deserted streets everywhere.  Whether you’re working from home, or simply taking a back row with your hobbies and social activities, you’ll be spending a lot more time indoors for the next few weeks.

Let’s face it, half the books on your shelves have never been read.  Kept aside for a rainy day, perhaps.  Well, that rainy day has well and truly arrived!  It’s the perfect time to get down to discovering just what you have without even leaving your sofa.  I decided to „re-kindle“ my Kindle after several months – I had soooo many books downloaded from last year so I’m enjoying reading again – the trouble is that when I start reading, I can’t put the book down until its finished.

Having a good clear-out or spring cleaning could also be a good opportunity – but I haven’t got around to that yet 🙂

I have had a few offers from some people offering to get shopping or helping out if necessary – on the one hand its really wonderful to know that others care but it brings it home that I’m in the „older age group“ now.  But I can still pop out to the supermarket which is just five minutes away.

Anyway, what I would like to inform you all about is that our Vice Chairman, Catherine Roth had this brilliant idea to have a „Skype Pilates“ session with us.  So this morning four of us logged on to Skype and Catherine took the class with us online.  It was great.  I belong to the group of folk that need to be pushed into doing some kind of fitness – I don’t seem to be disciplined enough to do anything on my own, or if I do, it would only be for five minutes!!

She will do a class for us (the BWC ladies) in the morning at 10:30 and one in the evening at 18:30. She will put out a Round Robin for everyone to think about whether or not they would like to join in.

Do think about joining in…

Keep well and safe ladies.



My husband was devastated to learn that because of the virus, his golf club was to close!  He had fully expected that he would be able to play there on his own or with a friend keeping two metres apart (and no 19th hole!).  How were we to survive this travesty?  Well, the answer has been to go walking in the countryside surrounding our home. So far, we have clocked up over 30 kilometres – walking between 5 and 7 kms each day and enjoying this wonderful sunshine we’ve been having. Long may it continue as I’m not a great fan of housework (who is?) and I find I’m sleeping quite well and not lying awake thinking about our current situation.

So, I would suggest to anyone who is able to get out and about, avoiding people where possible, to try walking. It is good for physical and mental activity, boosts your vitamin D levels and brings a touch of colour to the cheeks!

We have a 5,000-piece jigsaw in the cellar. It was started about 2 1/2 years ago and there are still about 2,500 pieces to go. This is fine you would think, but, ….. the vast majority of pieces are brown! However, my husband is battling on. He has no real problem with the brown because he’s colour blind and goes by the shape of each piece. But he keeps hoping I will help. I just keep encouraging him along.

„A little bit of what you fancy does you good“, we are told and so I think we all need to be kind to ourselves during the coming weeks and treat ourselves occasionally – a kind of behaviour modification – „if I clean out the sock drawer,  I’m allowed to sit down for half an hour with a hot chocolate and the newspaper without feeling guilty“.  That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!

Yes, great idea Alison to get this blog going.

I am feeling thankful that I returned safely from my recent road trip to Portugal and back (some 5,800 kms) before the Pandemic started here. I am also feeling with all the travellers stuck in various countries around the world, no doubt dreaming of home.

Meanwhile, I am catching up on some chores, reading, listening to music and having a walk out in the sunshine each day. I have almost finished the May Newsletter’s Profile.  I’m also making sure I keep out of my husband’s way some of time, he is used to me being out and about and having the house to himself.

I am probably watching too many movies. I followed Alison’s recent tip and am watching „The Crown“. Addictive! And Pat has given me a few movie tips as well.

Plan for tomorrow – join Catherine’s Pilates class on Skype.  Stay well and happy everyone!

From John, husband (and much more besides) to Susanne, who has kindly submitted the following on his life as Comprador de comestibles and what hardships this presently entails

„Secretary“ is a short form of my function here.  My full title, rarely used, is „Secretary and general dogsbody to her nibs, Susanne“.

Since the tragic developments of Corona during the last week or so, the burden of secretarial duties has diminished considerably, as Bridge and Mah Jongg sessions have been put on ice. No more the stream of phone messages taken, written down and left on the dining room table for instant attention by her nibs on return from one or the other session at the tables. Past are also the succession of alarm signals of incoming e-mails on my PC from members of four different groups of Bridge and Mah Jongg ladies, requiring immediate reply by S.

My more menial duties as „chah wallah“, to prepare early morning tea (PG Tips bags) served with biscuits in bed, together with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, paper edition have been extended to also serve afternoon tea (PG Tips bags or Darjeeling First Flush finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, loose, drawn for 3 minutes and 15 – 30 seconds in 95 degree C hot water, not boiling water). These beverages are accompanied by either small cakes, crumpets or toasted slices of raison bread with sliced cheese, also prepared by the chah wallah, although he does not have a valid German licence for such work.

More recently I have been promoted to also act temporarily as „Comprador de comestibles“. This sounds better than „groceries buyer“, a function I was rarely trusted to perform without major doubt about my qualification.

I am therefore considering applying to my trade union for recognition of an enhanced title of „Secretary, chah-wallah and comprador de comestibles“ and cancellation of „general dogsbody“ as the latter can be performed by someone else, or not at all.

P.S.  Since the Bridge and Mah Jongg sessions no longer take place at our home, the pressure on our stock of toilet rolls has reduced noticeably. We can probably survive for over 40 days on current reduced levels of consumption.

Our social life in Bad Zwischenahn has come to an end in record time.  But at least the sun is shining and we can take our daily walk.  All in all, I believe we shall learn to manage this awesome crisis, but then again, I fear the economic consequences.  You may know the quotation by Schiller.  It is encouraging:

‚Das Alte stürzt, es ändert sich die Zeit. Und neues Leben blüht aus den Ruinen‘.

But how long will this take and what will happen in the meantime?

Keep busy and keep healthy
Greetings from Zwischenahn

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago we were out celebrating Karneval (well actually I wasn’t as I hate it but my husband and son were out every day enjoying it) and now we are in almost complete lockdown.

I am just so grateful to all the doctors and nurses who are working day and night to save the lives of so many thousands of people across the world who have been affected by the dreadful coronavirus.

They are my heroes.

Sadly, I can’t save lives but I can try to keep us fit and mobile.

You can’t go to your normal fitness classes so the fitness classes will come to you – via Skype.

The classes are low-impact (which means we do not jump around) and are based on pilates excercises. Absolutely everyone is welcome.

The times of the classes are:
Tuesdays            10:00 – 11:00
Wednesdays      18:00 – 19:00
Thursdays          10:00 – 11:00

These can be changed if necessary.

You have to have Skype and use my Skype name Live:croth_59

So come along and give it a try.

The worst thing that can happen is:

1.     My skype doesn’t work
2.     Your skype doesn’t work

The best thing that can happen is:

1.       We stay fit
2.       We have fun
3.       We get to see each other on our screens

Send me an email or write to me via Skype if you are interested.
Let’s try and stay healthy everyone


Catherine x

Catherine’s pilates class done via group skype.  For more details, see Catherine’s entry just above.


Recent meeting of the Book Club via group skype

Hi Everyone, „Leisure“ is a poem by Welsh poet W. H. Davies, published in 1911.
It is a favourite of mine and I sincerely hope that the „Secretary, chah-wallah and comprador de comestibles“ will soon get the chance to enjoy some of this leisure among his many duties.
„What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.“
        Stay well and healthy everyone. Cheers, Anna

From John, brother of Sandra.  Thoughts from across the channel

Remember when Corona was a drink?

I don’t know if any of you are the youngest in your family, but I’m the youngest in mine.  So, a throwaway comment on Whatsapp has led to a command from my older sister – Sandra the Elder – to contribute to a site that, even as I write, I haven’t heard of.  As John the Younger, when you get a command from above, you don’t question, you don’t even let out a faint whimper, you just do as you’re told.  I was tempted to have a look and see what was being written, but where’s the fun in that?  There’s no point your sister bigging you up, saying you can write, if you don’t stick to your own style, so here’s mine.

The topic given for writing is a real wow!  Coronavirus and being at home – yeeahh!  Not of my choosing, but as I understand it, it seems quite topical at the moment?  In a nutshell what does it mean for me?  I work as a computer teacher in a lovely school in Bristol.  Well, I did work in a lovely school in Bristol, but now I’m working from home.  Said school has now closed and we’re all engaged in the wonderful sport of home educating, more of that later.  At home with me is my wonderful and long suffering wife of many summers, my twenty-one year old son, my eighteen year old daughter, whose school she has loved and adored for the past nine years which has had to close without all of the end of school nonsense that would have taken place, and my fifteen and half year old dog who is baffled as to why we’re all here disturbing his sleep.

This virus has thrown up many unanswered questions.  The biggest of all has to be ‘Why loo rolls?’  I get people stockpiling beans, pasta, tomatoes, soap, Lindor chocolates and wine, but I just don’t get loo rolls.  I’ve been at home, distance educating for the past week and I’m pleased to report that I have not built up the equivalent of the Great Wall of China in loo rolls in our downstairs toilet yet.  Triple ply, comfy variety at Chez Matthews has remained what could best be described as normal.  I wonder if anyone reading this is looking at their stash, thinking 125 loo rolls just isn’t enough.  Or despite knowing there’s a great game of Jenga loo rolls to be had at home, if you saw them in Aldi, you wouldn’t be able to resist a cheeky 9 pack?  After all, 134 loo rolls still isn’t enough really, is it?  I just don’t get it?

I always thought ‘working from home’ was the equivalent of a day off, away from the office, when you can get on with the important things in life at the company’s expense, such as gardening, golfing or sitting at a pavement café with a double mocha expresso latte.  Does anyone still remember the day when you could go to a café?  They seem so distant now, but I digress.  What I have found this week is that working from home has been much harder than working at work.  Sat at a computer for hours answering countless emails is not my idea of fun. I get bombarded with questions from students who I know are erudite and sociable, but what happens when they send a text?  It’s all non-descript, monosyllabic nonsense.  The best ones are the emails saying they can’t use their email. Reread that statement and think about it. . . . . . .

Then you get the students who, being students, don’t want to work and see a technology failure as the real ‘Get out of Jail free’ card.  Emails along the lines of „the school’s system wouldn’t let me logon on so I can’t do the work“.  I love these emails.  I’m one of those really sad people who doesn’t mind trawling through computer logs to prove that they’re lying.  Small victories in life keep me going.  I enjoyed sending an email last night to a student with the following:

“I suspect I know why you haven’t attempted to do any work?  It’s simple.  You haven’t tried to log on! The records on our system show the first time you attempted to log on was yesterday, Thursday 26th at 10:59 and gave up trying at 11:09. You were supposed to logon and work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday…etc”

Like I say, small victories, but I do like the idea of him opening the email with a howl of dismay, knowing his little game is over, very rewarding.

At home, I thought we’d all get on each other’s nerves with constant bickering as we’re all in such close proximity to each other, but I was wrong. I forgot that self-isolation, although a new and trendy term, has been around for years in this house.  My children have been self-isolating in their rooms since they hit their teens, only emerging like a Swiss Cuckoo bird when the magic word ‘food’ is shouted from the bottom of the stairs and then disappearing back into the rooms until the magic word is shouted again.  However, I do find the best way to have a family gathering to talk about things affecting us all is very simple.  Turn the internet router off.  Then count, one, two, three . . . .  I find I never get beyond ten before all my clan are downstairs talking to me.  It’s far more effective than ‘food’, as they’ve learnt not to be too quick off the mark as, inevitably, there’s some unbelievably hard task associated with the ‚food‘ call which I then ask them to do.  A teenager would much rather eat lukewarm food than empty a dishwasher, but the internet router gets pretty much an instant response every time.  It’s scary, but I think for this generation they’d much rather go without oxygen than the web.

As part of the government edict, we’re allowed to exercise once a day away from the house.  It is good to report that on the whole we’re dutifully, almost germanically so, following instructions but giving it a bit of British twist.  My neighbour reported that, instead of walking his dog around the block, he now walks him for some six miles.  He’s discovered places he never knew existed. I’ve enjoyed running to extend my period of escape, but at great personal cost to my lungs and long-suffering knees as I’ve increased my distance.  The problem with running now is there are so many more people out and about, also taking exercise.  I’m not sure if it’s just me but sometimes I feel like Moses parting the waves.  I only have to wheeze and gasp my way toward fellow exercisers and they just move out of the way, giving me a wide berth.  I could take it all very personally.

Only yesterday, I realised that we’re starting to lose our sense of humour when running toward two elderly people.  Firstly, they showed an amazing turn of speed getting out of my way.  Who knew anyone could shuffle that fast?  Both were wearing very fetching colourful headscarves over their faces.  My comment of „you’ll never get into the bank looking like that“ didn’t go down too well.  In fact, you can see the tumbleweed blowing across the humour tundra as I type. Ho hum, at least I thought it was witty.

Well, those are my incisive thoughts for the first week.  If Sandra provides a modicum of positive feedback, I might be allowed back.



We have mastered the first week of quarantine rather well, i.e. we lived through it like it was a never-ending week-end.  The routine remained almost as described last week.  The weather has been kind and we took daily long walks in the afternoon, roaming around the old trails which we took in the past with our various dogs.  Miles were not counted, but we noticed it took us much longer than we remembered.

The bird- und squirrel feeding places are still very popular and we will soon be running out of seeds and nuts.  I do hope „Fressnapf“ is still open for stocking up.  We have ordered a book on local birds (alas, not through our local book shop) as we are so frustrated knowing so little about them, particularly as they are now our only close companions.  The squirrels are a delight as well.  They quite often turn up in pairs, tumbling through the trees and shrubs, sitting on top of the bird house, cracking nuts and munching apple slices.  Wait till we give them all names!

Unfortunately, the winter returned today and watching the snowflakes hurtling diagonally past the windows one of the Special MJ hands called „Driven Snow“ (p. 33) came to my mind.  How appropriate.  Must try it next time.  The potted Italian „ginestre“ on the terrace is starting to bloom, hopefully the coming frost will not destroy its beauty.  The acer we planted outside the dining room window after the last storm, when one of the boring fir trees came down, is already showing its lime green new leaves.  Also a new experience.

Have a good week.

Best wishes, Susanne Xxx

Dear Bridglings, Mahjongers, friends and members of the club,

So pleased to hear that you are all well and mastering this crisis.

It’s been so nice to read all your emails with all your hints and tips of things to do.  I have a list, too, but haven’t done much yet.

You do all sound busy.  It’s amazing how quickly everyone has organised things to keep everyone happy and active.  Perhaps it is a bit of a relief not to have to worry what you look like – unless you are skyping everyone!

A friend emailed me recently and said that, for the last week, she has worn neither makeup nor bra!  She went on to say how liberating it was!  On regarding myself in the mirror recently, I wondered whether anyone else is in danger of succumbing to a little self-neglect?  Really should wash my hair today, on the other hand – is anyone coming?  Am I going out?  Will my husband notice?  Negative answer to all three questions.

But then, there’s my mother.  „You must never let yourself go“ she always said and to this day, at 95, lives up to it.  Always dressed and tidy, as she puts it, before coming downstairs, never sits at the breakfast table in her dressing gown.  So, with her voice ringing in my ears, I make the effort and wash my hair.  But, secretly, I hope the hairdressers will open soon, I’m beginning to look like an old English Sheep Dog.

Pat suggested we could all put on our own performance of „Hair“ if this goes on much longer!

Best wishes to everyone and let’s hope we can get back to normal soon.

Meanwhile, take care.




We’d heard about it in the news,
listened to all the different views,

It came upon us without warning,
on the 16th of March in the morning,

It was drastic restrictions we had to obey,
not knowing how long they were here to stay.

Schools and nurseries were closed down,
Church services prohibited in every town.

Border controls, no tourists allowed,
No booking hotels, or gathering in a crowd.

Public facilities must close, playgrounds were blocked.
Restaurants were restricted, lots of businesses were stopped.

As I’m writing this poem, nearly two weeks have gone by.
The death toll is rising, listening to the news makes me cry.

For all those involved,  frontline workers and relations.
It’s a worrying situation for the entire population.

In many countries, the resources are lacking.
This corona pandemic is really nerve-racking.

What we value in life we begin to realise,
such as food, warmth and clear blue skies.

I find it easy, marooned at home,
complying with rules, I am not alone.

From what I read in your letters, you are all coping well,
I think we ladies are so lucky, time will tell.

How lucky you are, Susanne
to have such a funny Chah Wallah.

And Sandra, the hen coop could be fun
fresh eggs daily, if they escape, a free run:-)

Two weeks have brought a lot of change.
Our club has had to rearrange .

Virtual fitness, book club via skype.
Idea for this blog and lots of great type

So much had been achieved in such a short time.
And now you are getting this little rhyme.

So if we carry on in this way,

in two months‘ time we can hopefully say

‘Goodbye Corona’, from the club

or we join the BWC Virtual Pub!


Margaret xx

Hi everyone,

Right now, we are all in a time where we are investing more time at home. So now is the time to translate our ideas or resolutions into reality. Whether it`s reading a book given to us some time ago or baking cakes!

If anyone is looking for an idea for an easy Easter cake, check out the April newsletter which hopefully will be at our doorstep soon. If you can`t find the main ingredient which is Advocaat in the shops, let me know and I tell you how to make your own. Which is even more yummy!

I think we all have a problem finding baker’s yeast in the shops nowadays. It`s always out of stock and nobody knows why or when it will be back on the shelves again. So why not make your own instead!  And if making yeast doesn`t sound too appealing to you, the thought of enjoying brioche and yeast buns with your loved ones at Easter should do the trick.

I found a recipe for making yeast which I would like to share with you. I have no idea how it will turn out; I only started the process myself this morning. It takes less than 3 min and only three ingredients to make!  With eight days to set until the baker`s yeast is done; we are right on time for Easter brunch!  So, let`s start today!

It would be fun if we could share our experience with this “experiment” and, who knows, if after making our own we will ever need to buy baker`s yeast again!

You will need:

500 ml still mineral water (deficient in lime!!)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 non sulfurized date (or fig or apricot, basically any not sulfurized fruit with is high in sugar)


Fill 500 ml mineral water in glass jar with lid

Add brown sugar (alternatively honey)

Put fruit in jar and close the lid

Shake jar so everything is mixed well

Store jar at room temperature for a min. of eight days but make sure to shake jar twice on a daily basis. During this time the content will ferment. Shaking the jar twice daily does prevent mould formation. The glass jar can be opened daily to pass off the gases. The yeast is ready for use when after opening the jar a light fermented smell is noticed. Store the glass jar after eight days in the fridge.

How to use the self-prepared baker’s yeast water for your recipe:

For baking, replace the water of your recipe with your self-made yeast water. Important is that the dough has to rest longer than usual to expand. The best thing is to prepare the dough 24 hours before and store it in the fridge to rest.

How to increase the yeast water

After using some of the yeast water simply refill the glass jar with lukewarm water, add the sugar and exchange the dry fruit. Don`t forget to open the jar daily and shake it twice daily!

Happy to hear from you!  In the meantime, look after yourself and stay healthy!






Still life – Covid 19 Survival Kit


The British Women's Club warmly invite you to our monthly luncheon


To take place at

Radisson Blu Hotel

Karl-Arnold-Platz 5, 40474 Düsseldorf

on Tuesday, 12th May 2020 at 11.30 am




Please register under




Chairman’s Welcome

We are a friendly club of approximately 140 British and Commonwealth ladies living and working in Düsseldorf.  Our club also includes a small percentage of  other nationalities including German ladies.  We come from all backgrounds and walks of life, but what we do have in common is a sense of community and fun.  We pride ourselves on being an all-inclusive community and we encourage women of all ages to share life together for our mutual benefit and to ensure that the club, founded in 1946, continues to thrive and meet the needs of English-speaking women.

We believe that we are an important link with home for our members now living in Germany and we are also a life-line to adjusting to life here in Düsseldorf for newcomers.  We can provide members with help and practical advice on situations such as finding schools, where to shop, best restaurants and general survival skills (e.g. finding a doctor and form-filling if your German isn’t good enough) and help you to settle in and make friends here in Düsseldorf.

This website gives a comprehensive overview of the club and its activities, but for more information or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!  The committee and I look forward to meeting you soon at one of our regular events.

The British Women’s Club Chairman

Alison Benedickter


A section where the members can come together in word, share thoughts and lift the spirit.


Home of the British Women's Club Düsseldorf e.V.

Our Club

Each month you will receive a comprehensive newsletter informing you of all forthcoming events, regular activities as well as important information including contact details such as the British Consulate General in Düsseldorf, the International Library, English speaking doctors/therapists, religious bodies and education establishments. You will meet women from all walks of life, enjoy diverse activities and excursions as well as visits to museums, theatres and restaurants.

British Women's Club Activities



Mah Jongg










Bridge Club


Book Club


Coffee Mornings


Become part of a great community!   Join our club.

Event Calendar

This month’s events

outings, excursions, museum and art gallery visits, organised walks, guided tours, luncheons and others.  all details to be found in the newsletter.

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No Events

Past Events

A selection of written accounts by our members of recent and past outings, excursions and social gathering.

More past events?

Christmas Cards

The BWC donates each year to one British and one German charity chosen by our members.  By far the most successful and popular fundraiser of the Club is the annual Christmas card.



Pack of six cards with envelopes (21 x 10 cm)

The original paintings for our Christmas cards are kindly donated for use to the Club by local artist, Frau Edith Hackspiel.  These cards are available with either Christmas greetings or left blank to use for any occasion.

All proceeds go to the British Women’s Club chosen charities:

The Honeypot Children’s Charity in Great Britain.

Pro Kids in Duisburg in Germany.

British Women's Club nominated charities 2020

Whilst we are predominantly a social and a community club, we also undertake charity work.  Below are our two nominated charities for 2020.

  • The Honeypot Children's Charity

    The charity’s vision is for every child to make the most of their one chance at childhood.
    Since 1996, Honeypot has been working to enhance the lives of vulnerable children and young carers aged 5-12 years by providing respite breaks and on-going outreach support. They give young carers a break from demanding and stressful responsibilities at home and provide a safe, nurturing environment where children at risk can develop their full potential. Most of the children are young carers who juggle school and growing up with performing a surrogate role at home. Many care for a chronically or terminally ill loved one or have a parent with drug, alcohol or mental health problems.
    Honeypot also works with vulnerable children from homes with extreme social, financial or emotional challenges. They are also often victims of abuse and neglect, and many will be on the Child Protection Register.
    Honeypot offers respite breaks for children throughout the school holidays and every weekend at various facilities in the New Forest, Hampshire and Pen y Bryn in mid-Wales. Here the staff engage with them in a wide range of activities such as swimming in our onsite pools, riding bikes and go karts, trampolining, building dens in the forest and going on bug hunts, looking after the Honeypot pets, arts and crafts, pyjama parties, bedtime stories and trips to the beach or a local theme park.

  • Pro Kids in Duisburg

    The Pro Kids in Duisburg is a street work café that was founded in 2003 by the Diakonie Duisburg for teenagers and young adults who live mainly on or around the street, having critical living conditions, addictions or social deficits. Pro Kids provides a drug and violence free, safe environment, the very opposite from the street they are used to. These young people are treated with respect in an accepting, encouraging and friendly way which is the main requirement in building a trustworthy contact between them, staff members and volunteers. For more information, please go to

Do you buy online?  The BWC is now part of the Amazon partner programme in Germany and the UK. Any purchase you make via the BWC website will earn the club a percentage of the sale (up to 5%) which will then go to our charities. Simply click on the Amazon logo which will take you directly to the relevant Amazon website.