It has been a turbulent year-end for the Klopp family in the Interior of BC. One of our sons had to call off their visit. Just a few days before Christmas, he and his wife had come down with severe flu. I drove into the nearby town to buy a few extra groceries for the other son and family’s visit. The road was extremely treacherous. I had to navigate our car on the narrow tracks left behind by the vehicles before me. On the way home, I drove on a stretch of slush to avoid an oncoming vehicle. You probably guessed. Attempting to return to the tracks, I landed in the ditch and was stuck in one metre of deep snow. The insurance company wanted to declare a write-off. But in the end, it turned out that the damage was repairable. Some good Samaritans gave me and the groceries a ride home. I am so grateful that I was able to come home uninjured. After the accident, things were looking up, and we had a wonderful Christmas with our other son, wife and granddaughter. One of the highlights was the singing of German Christmas songs and playing the ukulele with our youngest son. Below is a brief excerpt of our mini-concert. We played Ihr Kinderlein Kommet.
After a hot day, it feels good to walk along the beach near the Fauquier-Needles ferry landing. By the way, the ferry ride whether by car, truck, or as a foot passenger is free as all BC inland ferries are considered part of the provincial highway system. On the south side of the terminal, you see a large log boom that contains the lumber that the logging trucks haul out of the nearby forests. When enough logs have been collected, tugboats drag them south to Castlegar to the wood processing plants. I put the photos together into a video-slideshow. Enjoy.
The first year of high school was a big adjustment for us. We had to get used to a variety of teachers and teaching styles. Learning a new language was fun but also very difficult. We had to memorize many English words, their difficult pronunciations and their idiosyncratic spellings. To this day, the infamous “th” is still a challenge for me sometimes. Spelling rules are relatively consistent in German, but exceptions to the rule are common in English. Memorization of words and phrases seemed to be the best solution.
Although school ended at 1:15 p.m., we had little free time because of heavy homework for each subject. In the afternoon, my brother and I would sit at our only table in the small room of the “House of Rocky Docky” and study. His homework was utterly different from mine. We hardly talked to each other, immersed in a different world. My father worked in the Krupp dental laboratory and would not return until supper. My mother had her battles to fight. She was constantly on the go trying to fight for my father’s right to receive a government pension from the police force he had worked for until Germany was divided.
Most people in Germany did not have phone service when I grew up. It was difficult for my mother to talk to government officials and other essential contact persons involved in her struggle to get justice for my father. It was a difficult and stressful undertaking for my mother and very exhausting. She had to travel by bus or train to government offices in other cities to get an appointment. She had to write letters and fill out lengthy forms, which often landed in the wrong departments or were filed away unread. There was an overload of administrative work for the government officials to accommodate all the refugee claims from the east.
We finally had some sunshine, and the clouds above the Arrow Lake and the nearby mountains were imposing. To create a video I took 70 still pictures. I used a tripod for my camera and connected it with a new device called Shutter-Boss II. This amazing tool allows you to set the number of shots, the interval between the shots, the start time and many other controls. All you have to do is turn on the camera and focus on the object you want to photograph. Later at home, I ran the images through my video editor and increased its speed to make the clouds dramatically move across the blue sky. Enjoy.
Two Hundred Forty Photos Turned into a Hibiscus Flower Video
Each time a hibiscus flower opens up, it is a marvel to observe how over just a matter of a few hours it unfolds its spectacular petals. This video was created from 240 photos that I shot with the help of a device that connects to my Sony camera and controls the number of shots and the interval between the shots. The pictures were taken one minute apart. The session lasted several hours. Enjoy.
The driver jumped out of the cab, opened the truck ramp, and started unloading the luggage and helping us jump out. Dazed and bewildered, numb from the cold and very hungry, we all stood speechless for a moment. “Take your belongings and follow me,” the driver told us.
He led us around the extremely long building to a courtyard with a row of several outhouses. “You can go there in a minute,” he told us, “but let me show you your quarters first. This old building used to be a pub and a bowling alley,” he continued, “now it has been converted into an emergency shelter for people like you. I’ll introduce you to the manager of this establishment.” He laughed and pointed to a man who had just stepped out of the entrance to receive us.
We were the first ones to be led to our room. We had to go through a long hall with several big sinks, laundry tubs and a wash line with a few rags drying. There were brooms, mops, pails, garbage cans and other equipment stored along the walls. The evening light coming in through oversized windows could hardly soften the drabness of this dingy hall.