Jamie and Hanna Bear in Hameln
I needed a change of tapestry as they say here, so I used the excuse of a memorial service in Bispingen to travel north for a few days. On Thursday 7th August therefore I set off with my two travel bears and visited my friends Sylvia and Terry Fawcett in Hameln, of Pied Piper fame. I was stationed here as the Joint Services Liaison Officer (JSLO) from 1994 till 1998. Hanna used to come and visit every other weekend, and as I look back I have to say we were very happy here. We both made some good and firm friends which the passing years have done nothing to diminish.
Before Hameln I was stationed in Verden on the Aller as the JSLO from 1991 till 1994. It was here that Hanna and I first appeared in public as a couple. We were happy and made some good friends here too, but not as many as we eventually did in Hameln. It was really thanks to Hanna though, that during my circumnavigation the friendships she and I formed there, did not break off. And so it is a simple matter to return.
The next day I went on to visit Bispingen and a dear School friend, where I changed for the memorial service of Anneliese Gabriel. Anneliese was of my mother's generation and someone who was kind to me as a child. I felt I had to go as this was the last link I still had with that generation and with people who knew me as a baby and a school boy. Duty done I moved on to stay in the Soldatenheim in Munster Lager.
The Soldatenheim Munster Lager
In Munster live Ulla and Volker two dear friends from my time when I was a Major in the Army stationed in Bergen-Hohne. We had not seen each other for some years and so had quite a bit of catching up to do before laying our weary heads down for a long nap.
The next day after breakfast I moved on again back to Hameln to have lunch with two other friends in the Museum’s Café. Karin and Heinz Berning are two people that Hanna liked very much because they were also very loyal. They share at least one thing in common for they never forget a friend's birthday.
A view of the bridge over the Weser where our lock now resides.
After a very pleasant couple of hours in the Café watching the world go by in the sun, I went to the new footbridge over the Weser to the Werder in the middle. Here I placed the lock I had given Hanna in April to commemorate our 25th anniversary of meeting. These “lovers” locks are a nice custom here for newly engaged couples. They have their names and the date of engagement engraved on the lock, fix it to a river bridge and then throw the keys in the river. This symbolises that they will remain together till the river dries up at least! After fixing our lock to the bridge I threw two keys into the river.
Looking out the bedroom window in Gut Helpensen.
I moved on then to stay with Cord and Irmela von Mengersen in Gut Helpensen for a couple of days. Hanna always enjoyed staying her for one truly is given the feeling that one is a member of the family and can come and go as one pleases. Hanna had a very special relationship with this couple and would try and stay with them at least once a year. She also had a nice relationship with one of their daughters and not just because they were both called Hanna.
I chilled out then for a couple of days, visited other friends of Hanna’s. Walked in the woods, sat by a pond and watched the fish jumping, sat with good company and watched the sun set and just tried to forget my grief, till it was time to move on and collect one of Hanna’s relatives from Malta, now living in England who was flying in for the funeral.
All my friends, but especially those in Helpensen made me aware, that though I am now alone, I need never fear loneliness for I will always find a welcome under their roof.