November 25 2018
The speakers at our meeting on Tuesday 13th November were OA members Kathryn Grainger and Neil Clark. Invited to the Falkland Islands to provide live music and meet up with Neil's pupils there who are learning to play bagpipes online, the trip proved to be an uplifting and moving experience, well worth the long journey from RAF Brize Norton. Kathryn and Neil shared their music in schools, ran a series of music workshops, and performed at two ceilidhs, as well as visiting some of the memorial sites for soldiers who died during the Falklands Conflict, several of them Neil’s comrades. Despite their hectic event programme, there was time for sightseeing and appreciating the wild life, including a variety of species of really cute penguins. Neil even managed to fit in one of his marathons! The slideshow included photos of magnificent white beaches and stunning blue seas, very reminiscent of our Outer Hebrides landscapes, and a poignant shot of Neil playing the pipes on Tumbledown Mountain. The Falklands War is still part of the islanders’ lives; for instance, there are still minefields to be de-mined 36 years later. We all learned a lot from this most interesting and enjoyable talk.
November 11 2018
Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 13th November at 7 p.m. in the Committee Suite, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk, FK1 5RS, when two of our members, Neil Clark and Kathryn Grainger, will be talking about their trip to the Falkland Islands. There will be the usual refreshments and a fundraising raffle (donations of prizes welcome).
October 07 2018
The first meeting of the new session will be an Open Evening in Room A, the Committee Suite, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk, FK1 5RS, on Wednesday 10th October at 7 p.m. Please note change of day - the room was not available for the Tuesday. There will be photos from the recent trip to the Odenwald, German style refreshments, a fundraising raffle, and news about all the events coming up in 2018- 2019. There are some bottles left over from Airth Games so no need to bring raffle prizes! New members and interested parties are always welcome. Bis bald!
September 19 2018
A report of proceedings at the recent Twinning Conference is reproduced below
Report on Twinning Conference held on Wednesday, 22nd August 2018
in the Municipal Buildings, Falkirk
Odenwald Association (Falkirk area/Odenwald region, Germany) – Walter Simms (Chair), Gray Allan (Vice-Chair), Anne Simms (Secretary), Charles Tibbles – Treasurer), Andy Christie (former Chair), Isabella Allan, Lynda Kenna (Executive Committee member), Greg McCarra, Sylvia Koenig-Erich, Christine Webster
Falkirk District Twinning Association (Falkirk/Créteil) – Elaine Mitchell
Haddington Twinning Association (Haddington/Aubigny sur Nère – Andrew Wilson (Treasurer), Marine Baron (student from Aubigny), Ailsa Wrinn (student from Haddington)
Bathgate/Cran-Gevrier Twinning Association– Christine Calder (Chair), Lorna Kerwin (Secretary)
Linlithgow Twinning Association (Linlithgow/Guyancourt) – Gaynor Parry (Chair), Ian Donaldson (past Chair and Founder of the Association), Heather Laing (Committee member)
West Lothian Twinning Association (West Lothian/Hochsauerland) – Jim Clark, Edgar Liddle (Treasurer)
Walter Simms welcomed everyone to the Conference, explaining that the idea of local twinning organisations coming together in some way originated from the OA’s own discussions about promotion and publicity, and the recent referendum decision to leave the EU. He then handed over to John Swan who had agreed to facilitate the meeting.
John outlined the aims for the evening which were to share best practice, improve effectiveness, and look to the future of twinning post-Brexit, by concentrating discussions on the challenges of Membership, Funding, and Promotion. He then invited each group to tell the meeting about their organisation.
A representative from each group gave a short history of their organisation, then told the meeting about their twinned town or region, four of them in France and two in Germany. The groups differed in the way they were funded, some having a lot of Council support, some relying on fundraising, some having social events, and some mainly coming together for business meetings. Exchange visits have included Burns Suppers, disabled clubs, pipe bands, and a range of sports. Each group faced the same challenges of recruiting new members and acquiring funding. However, it was clear that all the groups are made up of people with a passion for twinning, a love of their particular town or region, and a determination to keep their links going for as long as possible.
The delegates split into four groups to discuss the topics for the evening.
Topic 1 – Ideas for Recruiting New Members
Use social media, website, Facebook, Twitter
Hold social events e.g. film nights, bingo and quiz nights
Man a stall at a local event or in local shopping centre
Promote your organisation to both young and older people – schools, dance groups, music groups, sports groups, church groups
Facilitate language exchanges e.g. for 5th/6th year pupils
Promote short visits to your twinning town/region
Encourage people to act as hosts here – they may then feel inspired to visit the town, and join the organisation
Exploit the “Outlander’ connection to increase interest in your twinning partner area
Topic 2 - Increasing Funding
Council support – either a fixed amount or a grant for a specific project
Corporate sponsorship e,g, with Tesco or a local business. If someone works for BP, they will match the funds you raise
Fundraising events – concerts, bingo and quiz nights, film night
Raffles, scratch cards, ‘100 club’ lottery, tombola
EU funding – will it dry up?
Lottery funding – usually for something specific, stringent criteria to meet
fundingscotland.com – information about 1200 funds which support Scottish projects
Erasmus+ - aimed at schools, further and higher education, adult education, youth and sports organisations – could be useful for specific project
Topic 3 – Promoting your Organisation
Use social media, website, Facebook, Twitter, blog – keep it up to date with regular posts, tweets, etc.
Promotional materials – banners, business cards, leaflets, T shirts
Make use of local radio, newspapers
Hold fundraising events (banners and leaflets handy for these)
Have a stand at local events, take part in local festivals
Forge links with other local groups
Use your local library for exhibitions, posters and leaflets, encourage them to have a section on the town’s twinning areas
Take an empty shop unit for a week or even a month
Talk to groups, schools
Hold conversation classes
Word of mouth – talk to colleagues, family, friends
Article in Council newspaper, or ask Council PR/Marketing for help
Sharing Best Practice
John Swan invited each organisation to think of things that they did particularly well.
West Lothian Twinning Association teamed up with Bathgate/Cran-Gevrier
Successful running of social evenings including quiz nights
Outreach to under-21 groups (future-proofing)
Turning formal exchanges into personal friendships
Linlithgow Twinning Association
Home hosting to fully experience French/Scottish family life
No membership fees and open to everyone to join
Strong link with Linlithgow Folk Festival
Social media including Facebook page
Strong link with Airth Highland Games – mutually beneficial
Regular meetings and social events
Good promotional materials – OA share website with FDTA
Good relationship and regular communication with sister organisation in the Odenwald
Haddington Twinning Association and FDTA
A wide variety of exchanges - schools, pipe band, gardening
Sharing celebrations in Aubigny – Burns Suppers, Fêtes Franco-Ecossaises
Bringing French culture to Haddington – pétanque pitch
Most attendees thought that the session had been useful. Andy Christie of the OA suggested holding another conference, posibly hosted by another group. Again, most people agreed in principle, though no date was set.
August 26 2018
The Odenwald Association hosted a conference for local twinning groups in the Municipal Buildings, Falkirk on Wednesday, 22nd August. Representatives from six groups (including the OA) came together to discuss challenges and share strategies to improve recruitment, funding, and promotion. It was interesting to find out how each group operates, and very encouraging to discover how passionate everyone is about twinning, even after years of voluntary service to their organisation. The conference concluded that it is even more important now, in the light of Brexit, to maintain close links with our European friends.
A full report of the event will be published in due course. Meanwhile, you can read some coverage of the event from the Falkirk Herald here https://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/news/brexit-won-t-spoil-our-twinning-friendships-1-4789693
April 04 2018
The Association's AGM will be held on Tuesday, 10th April at 7.00 p.m. in the Committee Suite, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk, FK1 5RS.
Instead of bringing prizes for a raffle, you are requested to bring along contributions for the Bottle Stall at Airth Highland Games in May - any sort of bottle is acceptable, alcohol, soft drinks, shampoo, bath foam, etc.
You are welcome to join us.
March 17 2018
At our meeting of Tuesday, 13th March, Elaine Mitchell, Chairperson of Falkirk District Twinning Association, (FDTA) and former Secretary of the Odenwald Association, came along with three other members of the FDTA, Councillor Pat Reid, Ian Burt, and Laura McEwan, to talk to us about the twinning link with Créteil, a large town to the south-east of Paris. The Métro takes only 40 minutes to get from Créteil into the centre of Paris, and Eurodisney is not far away, which proves especially popular with the high school pupils.
Elaine gave us a short overview of the town, with its 95,000 inhabitants of mixed ethnicity, and showed photos of the old town and the newer, very modern buildings. Other photos showed exchange visits to Falkirk and Créteil.
Pat then told us about the history of the twinning link, which began in the early 1980’s, and was intended from the start to involve the ordinary people from both communities, as well as more official representatives. Since then, there have been all sorts of exchanges with disabled groups, sports teams, dancers, musicians, schools, and even two marriages!
Ian shared some amusing personal anecdotes with us and emphasised the benefits of twinning for all concerned, e.g. friendships and language development, for adults and children alike.
Laura, Modern Languages teacher at Graeme High, told us how her twinning experiences began as an exchange student, and all about the five visits she has since led to Créteil, for occasions like the popular Fête de Juin. She is hoping for even stronger links in the future as a result of the new initiative between the Scottish Parliament and the Institut Français.
The Wee Tree Theatre will be heading over there soon, and a staff member from Denny Library will be visiting the new Médiathèque. During questions from the floor, Councillor Spears took the opportunity to point out that twinning organisations like ours are in a good position to promote Falkirk as a tourist destination, and that tourism brings quite a lot of money into the area.
Our Chairman, Walter, thanked Elaine and the team for a most interesting and insightful talk. Members then enjoyed a mix of French and German snacks, including crusty baguette with garlic cheese, and madeleine cakes.
March 11 2018
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 13th March at 7.00 p.m. in Room A, the Committee Suite, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk FK1 5RS.
Our speakers will be Elaine Michell and other members of the Falkirk District Twinning Association (FDTA), who will talk about their twinning link with Créteil in France. There will be refreshments and a fund-raising raffle.
We look forward to a good turn out of members for this talk about Falkirk's other Twinning partnership.
February 14 2018
Christine Bell gave us a very informative, emotive and uplifting talk about the charitable project Cycling Without Age.
Cycling Without Age, Falkirk, grew out of another organisation, Communities Along the Carron, which was set up originally to clear a short stretch of the River Carron of litter in 2008. With encouragement from Falkirk Council, the group began to tidy up along the whole river, and now works to educate the local community, especially schoolchildren, about the dangerous effects of litter on wildlife, and by involving them in projects like bridge improvements and re-stocking the river with fish, teaches them to respect their environment.
After receiving funding for a special project, and wishing to include older residents in the river improvements, the group heard about Cycling Without Age which had been set up in Copenhagen in 2012 by Ole Kassow to take elderly care home residents out and about on a trishaw. From this small beginning has blossomed a movement which now operates in 37 countries. Christine and her team liked what they found out about it and decided to set up a similar project in Falkirk. Residents at Carrondale Care Home agreed to act as ‘guinea pigs’ for an initial trial which proved to be a great success. One young volunteer in particular , Fraser, was instrumental in setting up the scheme and received a lot of valuable media attention as well as a Pride of Britain Award.
With involvement from the Scottish Government, the Falkirk team are now helping other towns in Scotland to set up their own programmes, some of which should be up and running by April 2018. They can help with insurance, risk assessments, buying and maintaining the bikes which come from Copenhagen and cost about £7,000.
The Falkirk branch now has about 40 volunteers, some of whom have never volunteered before. Christine’s talk, which she illustrated with slides and videos, emphasised the benefits for passengers and volunteers alike, the opportunity to get out into the fresh air and feel the “wind in your hair”, stimulating company, sharing stories and songs, and feeling part of the community once more.
There is always room for more volunteers. Anyone interested should contact
January 23 2018
The next meeting of the Association will be on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 at 7.00 p.m.
We are delighted to have Christine Bell from "Falkirk Cycling Without Age", to give a talk on this exciting new initiative.
Please note that the venue, for this meeting only, will be, The Tolbooth Tavern, Tolbooth Street, Falkirk FK1 1NL. (Beside The Steeple)
January 10 2018
Instead of a formal meeting, 17 members of the Association enjoyed the Annual Dinner held in The Cladhan Hotel, Falkirk. The combination of good food and good company ensured an enjoyable evening and successful start to the New Year for the Association.
See Gallery http://www.falkirktwinning.org/odenwald/gallery
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, 13th February. More details later.
December 19 2017
The Odenwald Association members send Seasonal Greetings to our Sister organisation, Schottland Vereinigung, and to all our friends in the Odenwald.
"Happy Christmas to You and Yours."
OA members will meet next at the Annual Dinner on Tuesday, 9th January 2018 at The Cladhan Hotel.
November 19 2017
On Saturday, 18th November, the Odenwald Association and the Falkirk District Twinning Association took part in ‘Language Lost and Found’, an educational event highlighting the benefits of learning a new language. The programme included a Gaelic Bookbug session for small children, entertainment from Falkirk Junior Gaelic choir and representatives from the traditional music group from Camelon Education Centre. Members spent an enjoyable day promoting the work of the Association to potential new members. Thanks to everyone who gave up their time to help out.
See photos in Gallery Event by clicking here.
Secretary, OA, Anne Simms.
November 16 2017
We were privileged to have Jens-Peter Voss, German Consul General, as our speaker on Tuesday 14th November. The audience included local councillors and representatives from the West Lothian Twinning Association. Mr. Voss began by telling us about the work of the Consulate in Edinburgh, which is one of only two in the UK, the other being in London. There are also several honorary consuls in Glasgow, Lerwick, and other towns, who help to look after the interests of the 25,000 German citizens who live in Scotland and the 15,000 who live in the North of England.
A large part of the work of the Consulate is dealing with passport and visa administration, but the team also deals with promoting German interests in trade, industry, education (especially the German language), political delegations, as well as being involved in organisations like the German-speaking Reformist Church in Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the HALO Trust.
Herr Voss then spoke about the implications of Brexit for organisations such as ours. He pointed out that many twinning organisations (including ours) began before Britain joined the EEC, and that 28% of the current twinning groups are with countries outside the EU. He agreed that the future is uncertain, particularly with regards to funding opportunities, but he felt sure that, whatever happens, we will remain friends and partners.
The members and guests then enjoyed some seasonal German refreshments, including stollen, lebkuchen and baumkuchen. As Mr. Voss was leaving, Councillor Pat Reid presented him with a copy of ‘Scotland’s Shrine: the Scottish National War Memorial’.
November 07 2017
Following this year's annual International BSA motorcycle rally in Ijhorst in Holland, we headed for Germany on our trusty BSA. We were accompanied with friends from Australia and California also on their BSA motorcycles. First stop en route was a visit to our friends Jutta and Vroni in Babenhausen. Jutta and Vroni lived with me in Falkirk in 1997 whilst they undertook a three month student placement in Development Services at Falkirk Council. On arrival, we were treated to a wonderful traditional Hessen meal at Vroni's house as we laughed and reminisced about the great times we had enjoyed together in Scotland over 20 years ago!
We also took in various sights of the beautiful city of Darmstadt including the Kunstlerkolonie Museum and various houses designed by the artist Olbricht, the architectural wonders of the Hundertwasser building and of course we partook of a few cool beers in a bustling bierkeller in the city square!
On our onward journey the following day, we enjoyed a coffee stop in Michelstadt and sampled the sweet delights of the Conditorei at Café Leyhausen am Rathaus. We spent a further couple of days in Germany, firstly visiting the NSU motorcycle museum in Neckarsulm. There were amazing motorbikes and cars from various eras on display. We then moved on to Sinsheim and the spectacular Auto and Technik museum where several full size airplanes sit perched on the roof of the museum, including a Concorde and a Tupelo, its Russian counterpart. The two museums are fantastic, not only a must-see for transport enthusiasts, but also for those of us interested in popular culture over the years. After several amazing days in Germany we headed for France on the next leg of our European BSA adventure.
See Gallery of photos, click here
October 22 2017
Franziska, Secretary for SLV has sent a link to their website which has a report in German on the recent visit by members of the Odenwald Association.
This was reported on this website ...click on link here
October 12 2017
The OA kicked off the new session with a "Kürbisfest", a Pumpkin celebration as is enjoyed in the Odenwaldkreis. Members were invited to bring along their carved pumpkins to be entered into a competition. Members also contributed Pumpkin themed refreshments including Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Risotto and other savouries flavoured with the luscious pulp.
While members mingled and tasted, they were able to enjoy a slideshow which Walter compiled from members' photographs showing most of the events over the summer and, what an eventful time it's been, including; participating in a canal cruise; Tryst parade in Falkirk; a team in The Top of the Town Quiz; a group tour of The Kelpies; a bottle stall at Airth Highland Games; private visits to friends in the Odenwald, representatives at the Schottische Nacht in Erbach Schloss Hof and a group visit to the Odenwald in September. A busy and enjoyable schedule.
Provost Cllr Tom Coleman attended the meeting and chose the winners of the competition who received a small prize. It was a great night. Viele Späße!
Follow the link to the website for future Dates and details of meetings and events.
Link to the Gallery for Pumpkin entries.
October 02 2017
The first meeting of the new session will be held in the Committee Suite, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk, FK1 5RS, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, 10th October. The theme for the evening will be a Kürbis Fest (pumpkin festival), with pumpkin-based refreshments and a pumpkin carving competition (bring along your already-carved pumpkin). As usual, there will also be a fundraising raffle - all contributions of prizes will be gratefully received. New members are always welcome.
Let's hope a pumpkin this size doesn't appear!
September 27 2017
Odenwald Association (OA) members have returned from another fun filled trip to our twinning area, the Odenwaldkreis, with 2 couples staying in homes of friends and 4 others staying in Michelstadt at the familiar Michelstädter Hof. While an outline programme had been agreed with Schottland Vereinigung members, there were common experiences for the whole group and some unique experiences, visits and sightseeing, shared with friends, so this is only one of the stories.
We started with SLV friends Hanne and Susanne taking us on a guided walk around Michelstadt when Hanne shared some of her amazing historical knowledge with amusing anecdotes and Susanne contributed facts and stories with equal enthusiasm. Susanne managed to organise a visit inside the iconic and historic 1484 Rathaus, a wonderful backdrop for the 5 weddings there that day.
A visit to the Brudergrund followed for some but Andy and I were taken by our friend Ulrike to visit Schloss Reichenberg where a community, known as the Reichenberg Fellowship, bought the castle and converted it into an international meeting and conference centre with a palace café where the kuchen was mouth watering! The castle is being renovated but the small St Michael’s chapel with modern, softly coloured stained glass, is a gem. The views from the castle over the town below are outstanding.
A day using trains, buses and trams took us to the city of Darmstadt and the famous artists area of the Mathildenhöhe, to see the magnificent Art Nouveau buildings such as, The Wedding Tower and the brilliant gold and brightly coloured Russian Chapel. Through gardens, walkways, statues and the tranquil water basin, this unique area was created by a group of ‘Jugendstil’, Art Nouveau artists who lived and worked there. While our small group enjoyed this visit accompanied by Franziska and young Killian, a visit was made to the Eisenbahn (railway) museum by three enthusiasts and Anne, all meeting up later at the busy market place in Darmstadt.
Schottland Vereinigung (SLV) organised an evening at the restaurant Daumsmühle, in a beautiful rural setting. Here was an opportunity to meet dear friends and SLV and OA members shared an evening of superb food, musical entertainment by Scots and Germans and our group appreciated the excellent hospitality provided by our SLV hosts.
A highlight of this visit for the group was a visit to Gross-Umstadt for their Winzerfest, the annual wine festival and parade of floats. Community groups who participate, decide on a theme and dress in appropriate costumes. Some of these costumes and floats are extraordinary in imagination and creativity. This year, 80 groups were participating. Our members were spectators this year so were seeing it from the other side, having participated in the parade two years ago. It was a real spectacle. With each of us having a special glass in a holder around our neck, we were able to imbibe (or not) in the offered wine being distributed freely by the parade participants. A good time was had by all.
Trying to fit everything in, it was great to catch up with a visit with old friends at their home for kaffee und kuchen.
On a free evening, we were invited for a meal in Gammelbach at the Grūnen Baum restaurant. We admired the lush rural landscape on the way and sitting over a traditional meal with friends, chatting, laughing, learning more about each other, developing our language skills and deepening bonds, we realised that, for us, this is the heart of twinning and partnership. It is a commitment developed over time; it is respect for our differences; a willingness to make it work and the satisfaction that in many instances, these exchanges have developed into deep rooted friendships. What's not to like about twinning?
Part of the group flew home but with our travelling companions, travelling by car and ferry, we had another day to enjoy. A drive to Hirschhorn, to see the magnificent views from the castle, followed by a meal at the Alte Deutsche Stube and a gentle stroll through the old town was like stepping back in time. Ancient Fachwerk (half timber buildings) are being sensitively restored to preserve the look and tradition. A tranquil way to end our very full and thoroughly enjoyable visit to our twinning partner area.
Click the link to view the Gallery. 2017 Twinning visit to Odenwald.
September 07 2017
Next week a small group of members of the Odenwald Association are travelling to the Odenwald on a twinning visit, some staying with friends and some in hotel accommodation in Michelstadt. A programme is being finalised by our hosts but a highlight will be a visit to Gross Umstadt for the annual Winzerfest parade which some members experienced 2 years ago.
A social evening at Restaurant Daumsmühle in Mossautal has been arranged to meet with our friends in our sister organisation, Schottland Vereinigung. More information will follow as arrangements are finalised.
July 31 2017
Report on Airth Highland Games
As in previous years, the Odenwald Association members ran a bottle stall at Airth Highland Games on 22 July 2017. Over weeks, donations of bottles were received and stored, waiting to be ticketed for the big day. Manned by members and despite the rain, our Bottle Stall made £345.20, a very respectable amount and a good boost for our funds. Thanks are due to everyone who donated bottles, collected them and ferried them for ticketing.
A great deal of work and time commitment goes into the preparation for the day and thanks go to all involved with folding the tickets for sale and ticketing all the bottles beforehand.
Special thanks to all who arrived early on the day with tables, bunting and various items and equipment for decorating the stall to produce a stall festooned in flags, providing a splash of colour on a grey day.
Thank you to all of you who came along on the day and bought tickets. For those who didn't win a bottle, there was a sweet treat to make them leave with a smile. It was a pleasant surprise for some of our members to meet visitors to the Games from the Odenwald and to have a chat in German about our twinning.
Once again, as well as the bottle stall, members volunteered to man the entrance gates, providing support for Airth Games Committee and maintaining the links between the Associations. By all accounts, a good day was had by all.
June 25 2017
It is with great sadness that Members received the news of the passing of Josef Dettlaff at 93 years of age. An active member of the Association for many years, Joe's infirmity in recent years curtailed his visits to the Odenwald but he had many friends in the Odenwald who will also mourn his passing.
Joe was a devoted father and grandfather who loved company and being part of the close community of Airth where, in his full tartan regalia, he was proud to march in the parade at Airth Highland Games; in 2005 accompanying Horst Schnur, previous Landrat in the Odenwald when he officiated as Chieftan of the Games.
Joe will be remembered in many different ways by individual members who knew him, but consistently for his sense of fun, his readiness to laugh and his quiet determination. He was a real gentleman and we sorely mourn his passing.
Photo shows Joe, front, with Association friends enjoying Schottishe Nacht at Erbach Schloss.
June 22 2017
I am sharing this link from Odenwald Akademie who have produced a 100 page booklet on the Odenwald. Whether you just admire the photos or want to practise your German, take a look inside.
"Our beautiful Odenwald has produced a page turner! You can take a look online. We would like to introduce you to your friend."
June 14 2017
Fifteen Odenwald Association members and friends enjoyed a guided tour of the Kelpies, recommended by our February speaker, Helix volunteer Keith Jones. Our guide, Ceira, spoke about the creation of the Helix park and how sculptor Andy Scott was inspired to design the Kelpies, before taking us inside one of the massive structures. Once we got our breath back from seeing the huge interior, she told us about the construction of these magnificent equine sculptures which are based on both the mythological water spirit, and on the Clydesdale horses which were once a common sight along Falkirk’s canals. Ceira told us that, as the construction work is guaranteed for one hundred years, visitors to Falkirk will be able to enjoy the Kelpies for many years to come.’
May 15 2017
The Odenwald Association involvement in Tryst Festival continued on Monday evening 15 May when a Team took part in this Annual Quiz. The representatives, Jean, Terry, Donna and Andy did themselves proud finishing joint 5th out of over 20 teams. It was a fun evening.
Thanks to Falkirk District Arts and Civil Council for its organisation.
May 14 2017
To mark the beginning of events for the Tryst Festival in Falkirk, community groups were invited to join in the Parade from the Town Hall, Falkirk to the High Street where groups of entertainers were performing to a cheery audience who turned out, despite the rain.
Carrying the Odenwald Association banner and sporting Erbach umbrellas, members gave out promotional leaflets to the crowd and enthused about the joys of twinning, the beauties of the Odenwald area and what great fun it is to take part in twinning activities. What are you waiting for? Join us and see for yourself.
More photos, in the Gallery menu under Tryst.
May 11 2017
On Tuesday evening, members had beautiful weather for their evening cruise along the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Seagull Trust, a charity which provides canal trips and holidays for the disabled and their families.
In calm waters with beautiful reflections, Charlie, Walter, Greg and Andy entertained the group with songs as they gently sailed along serenading not only the members but the wildlife of swans, ducks, ducklings, moorhens and even a fox on the banking! Many thanks to Captain Steve who told us about the history of the canals and a little bit about the Seagull Trust and the boat we were on, named, "the Woodenspoon".
For one member, Emma, the highlight of the evening was being allowed to 'captain' and steer the boat along a stretch, for which she received a certificate as proof. "Well Done Emma."
Everyone agreed that this was a lovely way to bring the 2016 - 2017 session to a close.
See photos of the trip in the Galleries menu under 2017 Canal Sail.
May 08 2017
Tomorrow night, Tuesday 9 May is a social evening in the form of a Canal trip along the Union Canal on a barge operated by The Seagull Trust.
Directions are as folows;
It is off Gartcows Road, FK1 5PT, where the road widens, and there is a small sign for the Seagull Trust. You go up a steepish lane ;which looks like a wide path, through the tunnel under the canal, follow the lane round, go over the canal bridge and turn right into the car park. I think we should try to get there at 6.45 so we are ready to sail at 7.
Don’t forget to bring your own refreshments.
It is anticipated that some musical entertainment will be provided by members.
Anyone who hasn’t already paid, please have £10 cash ready.
There are a few spare places in case anyone wants to bring a friend, but please contact Secretary Anne Simms first to reserve a place.
April 15 2017
Chair Walter Simms
Vice-Chair Gray Allan
Secretary Anne Simms
Treasurer Charlie Tibbles
Walter Simms and Gray Allan are automatically on the Executive Committee - everyone else was elected
April 12 2017
At last night's AGM, Andy Christie stood down as Chair of the Odenwald Association. Presenting Andy with a gift from the Association members, Gray Allan commented on how he’s known Andy for several years, and has always been impressed by his energy and commitment, especially since he took over as Chair from the late Peter Lamont. He reminded the members on how hard Andy has worked, leading the Association through several milestones, including the 40th Anniversary celebrations, and that his contacts and relationships with people in the Council and other bodies have improved the standing of the Odenwald Association. Andy replied that his time as Chair has been both a pleasure and a challenge, but that twinning is all about making friends and having fun, which he hopes to continue to do. He wished Walter well and urged the Executive Committee to be as helpful to the new chair as they had been to him. Andy was happy to pose for this photo with his gift of a bottle of 12 year old Balvenie whisky and a crystal 'guid size dram' glass.
March 15 2017
Kayleigh Boardman, who is well known to many of our members as a dancer with the Jenkins School of Highland Dancing, came along to give a talk on her month-long volunteer placement with the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi. Malawi is a very friendly place to visit, in fact it is known as ’the warm heart of Africa' , but it is an extremely poor country, which leads to many instances of wildlife crime such as poaching and selling baby animals as pets. The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust is an animal welfare and conservation charity which also carries out research, and an education programme aimed at preventing crime in the future. Kayleigh is a qualified Veterinary Nurse but she also found her Highland Dancing skills in demand, teaching steps to some of the other volunteers and being filmed as part of an advertisement video. The Trust relies heavily on volunteers and Kayleigh is now one of seven ‘companions’ who give talks to other potential helpers. Her enthusiasm must bring in quite a few new volunteers. Her own experience was a mix of hard work in sweltering heat, sometimes primitive living conditions, interspersed with once-in-a-lifetime moments as she worked at the centre and travelled round Malawi on her days off with the other volunteers who have become good friends.
If anyone wishes to find out more about the the Trust, they can access their website :-
February 18 2017
We were delighted to welcome Keith Jones, a presentation volunteer with the Helix park who gave an interesting and informative illustrated talk about the regeneration of this area of Falkirk. Keith gave some history of the area in recent decades which led to the planning of the Helix Project. This involved consultation with local community groups and organisations and a range of agencies.
The Helix has been even more successful than its creators could have hoped for, winning awards including Environmental, Tourism and Structural, attracting visitors from the local area and from all corners of the globe. It is a place for everyone to enjoy with play areas for the children, walks, wildlife, the iconic Kelpies, volunteering opportunities, and prestigious events. Because of the habitat, a group is working in the park to establish beekeeping.
The world reknowned Kelpies are also attracting visitors from cruise ships docking in Leith and Rosyth and the informative guided tours which allow people to go inside these magnificent structures are extremely popular. These iconic images are even being used by Italian car manufacturer Ferrari in promotional material! An attractive glass fronted Visitor Centre, Cafe and Gift Shop is proving to be a very popular addition with a magnificent view of the Kelpies and canal basin.
Keith ended by answering questions raised by members before the vote of thanks given by Gray Allan.
For more information on The Helix, see website - http://www.thehelix.co.uk
February 13 2017
Just a quick reminder about this Tuesday’s meeting of The Odenwald Association (14 February 2017). The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in Room A, the Committee Suite, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk, and the speaker will be Keith Jones, a volunteer at the Helix, who will bring us up to date with the latest developments there.
You are welcome to join us.
January 13 2017
Instead of a formal meeting of the Association, members met at the Cladhan Hotel and enjoyed a relaxed social evening for the Annual Dinner.
January 10 2017
Martina and her partner, Thomas, invited Walter and me to stay with them in Gross-Zimmern for the last weekend in November, when the Christmas markets spring up in every town in Germany.
Unfortunately, the Lufthansa pilots chose that week to go on strike so we had to fly out with British Airways via London Heathrow. Martina collected us from Frankfurt Airport, then we had time for a quick cup of tea before going to the Hotel Dornrös’chen in Annelsbach. Martina had been invited to join some Odenwald chefs for a Swiss Cheese Fondue Night, and had managed to get us invited too. This turned out to be a wonderful evening with lovely food and great company. The dessert of ice cream with Toblerone sauce, and the Apfelwein brewed on the premises will live in my memory for a long time.
The next morning we went along to the Vinum Autmundis winery in Gross-Umstadt which had a fantastic selection of Christmas gifts as well as the tempting array of wines. We were wishing we’d taken a bigger suitcase! Lothar Eckmayer joined us in the afternoon for a trip to Mainz and the Gutenberg Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of items detailing the history of printing around the world, including of course several of the original Gutenberg Bibles. After that, we wandered around the Christmas market and sampled some of the Glühwein.
On the Sunday, Werner Geidel collected us from Martina’s and took us to the Heimatmuseum in Bad König which only opens on a Sunday morning. The museum contains objects relating to the many industries that Bad König once supported including pottery, pipe making, cigar making, weaving (one of the looms belonged to Werner’s grandfather), and bee-keeping. There was also an exhibition of mousetraps from all over the world collected by a former volunteer, and information about famous sons of the area, the polar explorer Carl Weybrecht and the painter, Georg Vetter. Gertrude had prepared a lunch of soup and Apfelkuche, after which we visited the Christmas market in Michelstadt, sampled more Glühwein, and managed to have a quick drink in the Rathaus Brauhaus.
We finished off the day with a meal in the Berghof, a family-run farmhouse restaurant near Bad König that only opens at the weekend. We were joined by Martina and Thomas, Hanne Stuckert, the Fritsches, Lothar, Barbara and Ulrike for another evening of good food and lively conversation.
Our return flights were on Tuesday so on Monday morning Martina printed off our boarding passes then drove us to the Baumann Lebkuchenbäckerei in Beerfurth, the oldest one (1785) in the Odenwald, where visitors can see the lebkuchen being made then purchase some in the shop. We were then going to go to Amorbach but received a text telling us that our flight was cancelled due to the strike and the only option was the afternoon flight that day, so it was a quick dash back to Martina’s to have lunch and pack. It was rather an abrupt end to our stay but the memories of meeting up with friends, enjoying lovely meals, and visiting a wealth of interesting places during this magical season will live longer than the minor inconveniences of travel.
For more photos click on link here 2016 Festive Visit to Odenwald
Article Anne Simms.
October 23 2016
Please note dates of Association meetings and activities planned for the coming months. These will appear on the website as they are due under the menu item, 'Dates'.
Association meetings are held in The Municipal Buildings, West Bridge Street, Falkirk FK1 5RS
November 8 Talk - Kayleigh Boardman, A Veterinary Nurse in Africa. 7.00 pm Municipal Buildings, Falkirk
December No meeting
January 10 Annual Dinner, Cladhan Hotel, Kemper Avenue, Falkirk (meet 7.00 pm for Dinner 7.30 pm)
February 14 Talk - Latest Developments, The Helix Project
March 14 Talk - Créteil, Falkirk District Twinning Association's French Partnership
April 11 Annual General Meeting, 7.00 Municipal Buildings, Falkirk
May 9 Possible Canal Trip - to be confirmed pending numbers wishing to attend
October 21 2016
Walter Simms (vice-Chair) welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the session, and extended a special welcome to Sylvia, who had heard about the Association at Hanne Stuckert’s Limes talk at Falkirk Library during Big Roman Week. Anne Simms (Secretary) then reported on all the happenings over the summer, including the Airth Highland Games and Big Roman Week, and Christine Gannon reported on the very successful visit by the two German students on work experience in July. The programme for this new session was discussed, and a suggestion that the last meeting of the session should be a canal trip met with universal approval. There are two possibilities for a visit to the Odenwald in 2017, either Schottische Nacht in August or the Gross Umstadt Winzerfest in September, and members are encouraged to express a preference. The meeting concluded with a fund-raising raffle and German style refreshments.
September 22 2016
As part of Big Roman Week in Falkirk, a festival co-ordinated by The Friends of Kinneil charity, Hanne Stuckert, M.A., Provincial Roman Archeologist and Education officer in Museum Schloss Fechenbach in Germany, was invited by Falkirk Council, to give a series of talks about the Romans in mainland Europe. Hanne, who was raised in the Odenwald, our twining partner area, is well known to many of our members who were privileged to visit Dieburg Museum on a twinning visit in 2015 when Hanne was the Guide and the acquaintances were further cemented when Hanne and many friends from the Odenwald attended the Association's 40th Anniversary celebrations in October.
During a hectic programme, Hanne participated in the Community Conference on The Antonine Wall, gave illustrated talks on 'The Limes, The Roman Frontier in Germany' at Bonnybridge Library and Falkirk Library. Hanne joined in the fun at The Family Event, Big Roman Day at Kinneil House and an Italian night at The Corbie Inn with some of The Friends of Kinneil .
Hanne visited the beautifully refurbished Hippodrome Cinema in Bo'ness to see, 'Roman Holiday' sampled some real Scottish hospitality when Odenwald Association members arranged to take her to see Blackness Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Culross and The Celts exhibition in Edinburgh. Members also had the opportunity to meet Hanne at a meal at The Cladhan Hotel, Falkirk. With a visit to Stirling Folk Club and viewing a French film at the Barony Theatre in Bo'ness, Hanne experienced a great cross section of entertainment and culture.
Hanne was overwhelmed by the hospitality and friendship shown to her by members who also arranged for her transport to and from the airport. Hanne's first contact with Falkirk was through the twinning link and this is the epitome of the essence of twinning. Links are developed through a shared interest and friendships flourish with the continuation and maintenance of these links. This way, the twinning is strengthened and grows.
If you are interested in being part of the twinning, you are welcome to attend a meeting of the Association to find out more. The first meeting of the session will be held on Tuesday 11 October, at 7.00 p.m. in The Municipal Buildings, West Bridge Street, Falkirk. FK1 5RS
August 28 2016
The Executive Committee is finalising the programme for the next session which starts on Tuesday, 11th October with our Open Evening. One or two things are happening before that.
Martina Emmerich is coming over for the Bloody Scotland crime-writing festival the weekend of 9th September. She will be busy attending events at the festival but members who wish to meet with Martina have been asked to contact our Secretary Anne Simms.
Big Roman Week takes place 17th - 25th September all over the Falkirk area. For anyone who does not know, this is a celebration of Falkirk’s Roman heritage which is organised by the Friends of Kinneil. It started out in Bo’ness but has expanded to include other areas. The programme of talks, walks, and other events can be viewed on their website :-
This year for the first time there will be a speaker coming over from the Odenwald to talk about the Limes, the Roman remains in that area. This is Hanne Stuckert, who some of you will have met in Germany (Hanne was the Guide at our visit to Dieburg Museum) and also when she came over for our 40th Anniversary celebrations. She will be giving three talks and attending other events as well. Friends of Kinneil are hoping that Odenwald Association members will be keen to come along to some of the free talks, and also meet up with Hanne for a meal or coffee. She will have some free time but we won’t know exactly how she will spend it until she arrives and we can discuss it. Members who would like to take this opportunity to meet Hanne, perhaps at The Cladhan for a meal, have been asked to contact our Secretary. At the moment, her schedule is looking something like this :-
Friday 16th - arrival at Edinburgh Airport - taken to the B and B in Bo'ness; dinner at the Corbie Inn
Saturday 17th - free time but she may attend the events at Kinneil Estate
Sunday 18th - conference at the Hippodrome/walk in the afternoon - evening could be spent at the Torphichen Inn or Sportsters Falkirk.
Monday 19th - talk at Bonnybridge Library - evening could be spent at Stirling Folk Club
Tuesday 20th - free time
Wednesday 21st - talk at Falkirk Library
Thursday 22nd - day free, evening at Italian dinner, Corbie Inn
Friday 23rd - morning free, return home in the afternoon
This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Limes, and hopefully, we can also promote the Association at some of the events. Members may wish to support the programme and Hanne's presentations. Full details of the programme will be made available when finalised.
July 24 2016
Saturday 23 July 2016, Odenwald Association members turned out to man the fund raising Bottle Stall at the 145th Airth Highland Games. Alongside the local pipe band, Highland Dancing competitions, children’s entertainment, craft stalls, foods, refreshment tents, and the sights and sounds of the fair, the park was transformed in the magnificent setting between the Ochil Hills and the River Forth.
Members lined up, proudly sporting Odenwald Association t-shirts, raring to go. If it came in a bottle, it was sure to be on this stall! All of the bottles were donated and over £400 was raised for Association funds. Thanks to everyone who worked on the stall and for all the donations. Prizes big and small were received with a smile and for those who didn't win a bottle, there was the opportunity to 'have a dip in the sweetie poke' so everyone left happy. Many thanks to Morrisons for their donation for our sweeties.
As in previous years, members helped out by manning the entrance gates to the Games. With over 2000 visitors it was a busy day! With the rain holding off, everyone had a great time. See photo of the line-up of members ready to sell tickets and find the first winners.
Thanks to Airth Highland Games Committee for their continuing support.
See website Gallery 2016 Airth Highland Games.
More Games photos will be added to give a flavour of the events.
July 15 2016
Following on previous years, The Odenwald Association will be holding a Bottle Stall at Airth Highland Games which will be held on Saturday, 23 July 2016 from 9.00-6.00 p.m. at North Green Park, The Wilderness, Airth. Members will be manning the stall stocked with bottle prizes, from Shampoo to Champagne, soft drinks to hard liquor. Something for everyone. And if you don't win a prize, you can have a dip in the sweetie poke!
Events start at 9.30 a.m. with the British Open Professional Highland Dancing Championships. Come and see the strong men, Tossing the Caber, or take part in the Tug o' War and find out who is able to lift and carry the famous 'Smiddy Stane'. Enjoy the sights and sounds from the fun fair, the tempting smells of the various food stalls and with over 30 trade stalls as well, you're sure to have a great day out. Perhaps you'll be carrying home a bottle or two from the Odenwald Association Bottle Stall!
If you are interested in learning more about our Association, just ask members at the stall or visit our website -
See also Airth Highland Games at- http://www.airthgames.co.uk
July 12 2016
Two students Denise and Saskia, from Beruflicheschule in the Odenwald were collected from the airport by members of the Odenwald Association and settled into their accommodation ready for their 3 weeks' work experience placements at Municipal Buildings, the Kelpies and Falkirk Library. Before starting work they were taken on a tour of the Trossachs by Christine and Joe. What a great start to their visit!
On Sunday, Walter and Anne took the two visiting German students out to St. Andrews for the day, making an unscheduled stop at Falkland due to a diversion. Despite the intermittent rain, we had a good time, looking at some of the older parts of the university, the castle, the abbey and the harbour, and one of the cafes that Wills and Kate used to frequent. We finished up on the ‘Chariots of Fire’ beach (the rain was pouring by this time) paddling in the sea and collecting shells.
April 25 2016
Tuesday 10 May will be our last meeting of this Session and we will be planning for Summer events and the programme for 2016-2017 session.
Upcoming events include the Falkirk Tryst Festival in May; supporting the Airth Highland Games in July; visit from members of Schottland Vereinigung and hopefully a visit by the Scottish group to the annual Winzerfest (a wine festival) in Gross-Umstadt in September. Members who attended last year are keen to participate again. Membership fees are now due and can be paid at the May session (£10 waged, £5 unwaged). If you are interested in becoming a member or finding out more about the Odenwald Association, please come along to the meeting which is held in the Council Chambers, Municipal Buildings, Falkirk, at 7.00 p.m. We would be delighted to welcome you!
April 13 2016
At the AGM on Tuesday 12th April 2016 the undernoted were elected as office bearers.
Chair Andy Christie
Vice Chair Walter Simms
Treasurer Charlie Tibbles
Secretary Anne Simms
Executive Committee - Office Bearers and
Joe Dettlaff; Gray Allan; Linda Kenna; Mark Allison; Emma Gillanders; Kathryn Grainger.
March 10 2016
As part of the programme for the year, the Meeting of 8 March was a social evening with a group of 9 members from the Odenwald Association visiting West Brewery in Glasgow to experience a German evening in Scotland! The Brewery is housed in the iconic Templeton Building which was previously a world famous carpet factory. The flamboyant design is said to have been based on the Doge's Palace in Venice.
The Brewery serves German cuisine alongside several beers brewed in the German tradition and made strictly following the German Purity Law. Their WEST beers, from Hefeweizen, a wheat beer, to red and amber beers, provided the ideal accompaniment to a variety of dishes including, Jagerschnitzel, Spätzle and a variety of popular Wurst. It was a most enjoyable night with the company declaring it was "Viel Spaß".
March 08 2016
Please remember that there will be no meeting of the Association in Municipal Buildings Falkirk 8th March as a social evening at the West Brewery in Glasgow has been arranged as part of the social programme.
Next meeting is the AGM 12 April, 2016 at 7.00 pm. Municipal Buildings, Falkirk.
March 02 2016
While in the Odenwald as entertainers for the Burns Supper, Falkirk music teachers Susanne Bell and Gareth Lloyd were invited to two schools as part of a music project to teach children through music and song a little about Scottish culture.
With Susanne playing accordion and tin whistle and Gareth on guitar, almost 60 children learned songs in English with actions and dance and they particularly enjoyed a Gaelic song about the love of porridge! In return the Odenwald children performed a song about potatoes! Everyone participating and watching had a great time.
The photo shows Susanne and Gareth at The Astrid Lindgren School with school pupils, staff, parent representatives, Councillor Oliver Grobeis, School Education Department Head, SLV and Odenwald Association members and a dear friend of the Odenwald Association, Horst Schnur, Odenwald Foundation.
February 14 2016
Bad König is an attractive Spa town in the Odenwald, Falkirk’s twinning partner area in Hessen, Germany. Bad König has an active camera club and members have compiled a photographic record of the town, “Then and Now”.
A selection of photos is presently being exhibited at Bo’ness Library, together with a display about The Odenwald and The Odenwald Association. The display can be viewed during Library opening times till March, see location and opening times below. As a bonus, there is plenty of free car parking in Bo’ness!
Bo’ness Library, Scotland’s Close, Bo’ness, EH51 0AH
Monday 10-8; Tuesday 10-5; Wednesday 10-4; Thursday 10-8; Friday 10-5
This is an opportunity to find out more about our twinning partnership and the activities of the Odenwald Association.
February 10 2016
Talk by Carl John, Scottish Railway Preservation Society and Management Development Board.
Association meeting - Tuesday 9 February 2016
Carl John, a working Councillor with West Lothian Council by day, revealed another side of his life which, from 1961 as a young ‘trainspotter taking numbers in a book”, he has matured into a fully-fledged geek or anorak (his words) regarding all things connected with stream trains.
Carl gave a brief background of railways from as early as 1919 from the unsuccessful attempts to nationalise the railways, to the modernisation plan of 1959 which came out of the controversial decisions of Dr. Beeching who, when the rest of the world was developing its railways, was responsible for getting rid of what was deemed to be non-profit making railways.
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society formed in 1961, got together in Edinburgh, leased the closed line of Murrayfield Station, started to receive donations acquiring stock from LNER, BR and some industrial railways. The National Coal Board also donated engines. With the acquisition of more items a lease was obtained for the depot here in Falkirk and the Bo’ness site was identified (now the main site by the harbour). It was in Bo’ness that a ‘loco shed’ was built with the help of the Young Offenders from HMYOI at Polmont. Over time, the track was extended to the present 8kms to Birkhill and a collection of freight, steam and diesel engines restored to working order.
Apart from the conservation of the engines, carriages etc. many people are unaware of the 1600 or so artefacts which are housed in the Museum of Scottish Railways beside Bo’ness Station. In a purpose built exhibition hall, display tracks show the variety of vehicles which carried essential goods from potatoes and fish to gunpowder and even an Army tank! Thanks to a variety of sources of funding a further extension is open to the public showing wagons ranging from 1862-1963. Included in the display is Scotland’s only Royal Saloon constructed in 1897 by the Great North of Scotland Railway and both Caledonian Railway coaches restored by the Scottish Region of British Railways in 1958. The Society’s emblem, No 419 Caledonian was one of the first locomotives acquired by SRPS and its overhaul was completed in 2000. The Society then purchased ‘Maude’ in 1966 which is presently in the Museum at Bo’ness This is railway heaven!
Such is the prestige of the SRPS, that the National Railway Museum York and North York Moors Railway sometimes borrow rolling stock!
So, what happens to these restored nostalgic beauties? Well, just consult the SRPS Railtours for a feast of travel in style. Tours range from The Fife Circle which is steam-hauled by 46233 Duchess of Sutherland, or the breath-taking scenery of a trip from Forth William & Mallaig, to Plockton & Kyle of Lochalsh. A popular run is the famous area of Grosmont (of Heartbeat country) & Whitby. For Beatles fans, the Liverpool tour is a must! Surely there is something for every taste here.
Highlights of the year are the Special Events which bring in hundreds of people, with most having a theme for children. What child could resist the “Easter Egg Specials” a “Day Out With Thomas” or the Santa Specials?
For the more mature train lover there is the special trip for “Father’s Day” the “Winter Diesel Gala”, a new and popular trip to experience “German Christmas markets in Lincoln” and the very popular, “Black Bun” special Trains. A truly unique taste of Scotland!
With 350 volunteers, which might seem a lot, there is always more and more work to be done from restoration and conservation to running the trains, with guards, firemen and drivers to timetabling, running the souvenir shop and organising trips. There is always room for more and the Society would welcome offers of help.
Chair Andy Christie thanked Carl for a most informative and interesting talk which was delivered showing his enthusiasm and passion for the preservation of our Scottish steam heritage.
Much more can be found on the SRPS website: www.srps.org.uk
January 28 2016
Come and Get Your Very Own T-shirt - while they are available!
At the meeting of the Association on Tuesday 9th February, there will be the option to buy Odenwald Association T-shirts, created especially for the Association, these unique, ultra-stylish, must have buys, only cost £10 each. Only sizes Large or Extra Large are left. Make sure you come along to the meeting if you want to obtain one!
The meeting will be held as usual in the Municipal Buildings, Falkirk at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 9th February. See Dates for Your Diary section of the website.
January 13 2016
Members of the Odenwald Association wish you all a happy, healthy 2016. We look forward to renewing old friendships, strengthening existing bonds and developing new links in our twinning partnership.
"Lang may yer lum reek". This is the traditional Scottish wish for the New Year -that your chimney (lum) in a house traditionally fueled with coal, would never be without smoke (reek) and therefore wishing for prosperity for the house.
December 08 2015
It was with great sadness that the Odenwald Association members heard of the sudden death of Sheila Simpson who was Secretary to the Association for many years and without doubt, the mainstay of the Association with the development of relationships, the maintenance of links with our sister organisation The Schottland Vereinigung and the many personal friendships made over the years. The undernoted tribute has been received from Gertud and Werner Geidel.
The Wonderful Contribution made by Sheila Simpson to the Falkirk-Odenwald Twinning
The news that Sheila Simpson has died has taken us completely by surprise. A few days before her death we spoke on the phone. She spoke of her illness, but was very cheerful as usual. Nothing gave us any indication that we would soon say goodbye for ever.
Sheila was the one who linked us to the Twinning in the Central region. Without Sheila we may have come to Scotland some time, but perhaps not to the Dunblane, Stirling, Falkirk area. We would not have all the wonderful friends we have now in Scotland.
We met Sheila for the first time during a visit she made to the Odenwald in 1998. We knew a family (Hans-Peter and Ruth Lismann) who had been to Scotland several times. We spoke to them to ask for tips for our trip to Scotland. Then all went very fast. The Lismanns invited us to a meeting of the Twinning association in Erbach and told us that their guest from Falkirk would help us. This guest was Sheila.
Sheila immediately invited us to stay at her house. She booked an Urquhart tour for us and arranged for us to be picked up at Edinburgh airport. Everything went very well .Because Sheila was going away for a few days she gave us her keys to stay at her house on our return from the trip. That was how our trust in one another began. From that time on Sheila stayed with us often when she came to the Odenwald. She also came at times other than the official Twinning visits. She also went by train from Bad-Koenig to visit other friends.
Sheila told us about her life and about day-to-day events in Dunblane. She told us about her reciprocal visits to the Odenwald, about many good meetings but also about many disappointments.
Our relationship was from the beginning a personal one. Yes, we were part of a Twinning group but that was less important. In the end a good twinning group can only work well as a result of personal friendships.
If it was not for Sheila we would not really be such fans of Scotland and we may not have become friends with Christine and Joe, and with the main members of the Odenwald association, and now with Fiona and Rod.
Sheila understood how to make close friends in the Odenwald and maintain long term friendships.
Gertud and Werner Geidel.
November 11 2015
At the Association meeting of Tuesday 10 November 2015, Christine Simm, a “stitcher” involved in the making of The Great Tapestry of Scotland, gave an informative and amusing talk illustrated with slides of her participation in the embroidery of one of the panels which make up the 160 panels of the Great Tapestry of Scotland. Christine, alongside her 2 fellow stitchers, Jean and Fiona, known as “The Whippitie Stouries” (a name taken from a Children’s Book), have stitched their way into Scotland’s history by creating one of the panels, “The Forth and Clyde Canal, Irish Navvies, Burke and Hare”.
The concept of the Tapestry was that of author Alexander McCall Smith and historian Alistair Moffat with Artist Andrew Crummy, whose art on the panels was then converted into embroidery magic by over a thousand stitchers from all over Scotland, led and co-ordinated by Dorie Wilkie, in one of the biggest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland. It is now said to be the longest Tapestry in the world!
The idea was to portray in the panels the history of Scotland and its people, the important events which have changed its history, not just through kings and queens, battles and heroes, but through the people who have shaped the nation, from its early settlers, its inventors and thinkers, educators and philanthropists and importantly, the ordinary unsung heroes who farm the land, fish our seas and have have been a constant in forming the backbone of the nation. All of these people and more are depicted in the stories on each unique panel.
The subject of the panel, no.63, on which Christine worked is titled, The Forth and Clyde Canal, Irish Navvies, Burke and Hare. On first thoughts this seemed like a gruesome subject, but on a positive note, the goal of the medics to whom they sold the bodies, was the furtherance of medical science! The panel also depicts the water of the canals and a barge carrying coal and the ladies decided that it was important to incorporate a heavy horse into the design to show its importance in the history of the Forth and Clyde canal.
This great insight into the story of the panels from someone who actually worked on one and helped on others, Christine was able to offer stories about little pieces of personal additions in some of the panels which the individual embroiderers have embedded into their work but without that ‘insider’ to point it out, the viewer is unaware.
All of the members of the Association present agreed that this inspiring talk made us want to go and view the Tapestry and for those who have already had that pleasure, they are determined to return to look for those hidden gems we now know about! It will certainly be on my To Do list.
To view the individual panels, for more information and locations of future exhibitions, see the website at:
October 29 2015
The final event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Odenwald Association was an evening of music, song and dance held in St. Francis Xavier Hall, Falkirk on Saturday 24 October 2015. Over 90 friends attended including guests from our partner area, the Odenwaldkreis and representatives of Falkirk Council. The excellent entertainment was provided by members of the Jenkins School of Highland Dancing and Falkirk Folk Club, "Carroncast" with a surprise performance from our friend Lothar, a piper with the Odenwald Pipes and Drums. Gifts were exchanged to mark the anniversary and 2 Gingerbread hearts marked "40" were received from our German partners, one to eat and one to keep as is the tradition in the Odenwald. During the second part of the evening the company enjoyed dancing to the music of local band, The Tonkerers. The evening finished with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne", a fitting end to an evening of partnership and friendships.
October 20 2015
To help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Association, a group of 13 members from our sister group in the Odenwald, the Schottland Vereinigung will be visiting Falkirk between Friday 23 - Tuesday 27 October. The group will visit the Association's exhibition in the Community Hub, Howgate, enjoy an evening of Scottish music and dance and take part in a varied programme organised by the members including The Kelpies, Callendar House, the Trossachs and the opportunity to 'have a wee dram' at Deanston Distillery.
October 20 2015
Because our friend Elfi in the Odenwald reads "The Falkirk Herald" she found out that Falkirk had a Parkinson's Branch. When a group from the Odenwald Association visited in September, Elfi contacted Andy, the Chairman of the Association to ask him to bring back to Falkirk a gift from Parkinson's in the Odenwald. The Odenwald group is celebrating 25 years and this small gesture from Elfi has developed into emails to and fro between the two groups.
Amongst the gifts that Elfi sent in her goodie bag, was a "Parkinsonlied" - Parkinson Song, which one of our members has translated. The tune which is used for this song was named and is available to hear on You Tube so, with the words printed out, our Falkirk branch will be able to follow along.
Who knows where or how a link might develop but as long as people are willing, all it takes is the first step.
October 16 2015
Photographs created by the Bad König Photographic club were exhibited in La Porte Precinct. A group of members from the Odenwald Association and Falkirk Camera Club attended the opening which was officiated by Grangemouth Councillor Robert Spears and Mary Jane from Falkirk Delivers who gave support for obtaining access to the vacant shop. The exhibition will run till Thursday 22 October. The display shows views of Bad König past and present and gives an insight into the development of this Spa town in the Odenwald.
October 16 2015
October 13 Open Evening
Ocober 16-22 Photographic Display in Grangemouth Shop, La Porte Precinct
October 24 40 Anniversary Celebrations
Display of Promotion material, Community Hub, Howgate Falkirk 10 a.m.-4.00 p.m.
Celebration Evening of Music, Song and Dance at St. Francis Xavier's Church Hall Falkirk - 7.30 p.m. till late
Tickets £10 including buffet. Contact Assoc members or through website for tickets.
November 10 Association Meeting -
Speaker - Christine Simm, "The Great Tapestry of Scotland" - 7.00 p.m.
December No Meeting
January 12 Annual Dinner at Hotel Cladhan or Park Hotel (to be finalised) - 7.00 p.m.
February 9 Association Meeting -
Speaker - SRPS (Scottish Railway Preservation Society) (to be confirmed) - 7.00 p.m.
March 8 Trip to the West Brewery, Templeton Building, Glasgow (details later)
April 12 Annual General Meeting - Municipal Buildings - 7.00 p.m.
May 10 Last meeting of the Session - Review of the year, planning for the Summer - 7.00 p.m.
October 16 2015
On Tuesday 13 October, the Association had its first meeting of the season when plans for the coming year were finalised including the programme for the Association's 40th Anniversary celebrations.
The format of the meetings is a business meeting followed by a social part, with German style nibbles and drinks on offer. If you or your group would be interested in finding out more about what we do, you would be most welcome to come along to a meeting. New faces are always welcome.
See the list of dates and upcoming events for your diary.
October 06 2015
A group of 11 members of the Association travelled to the Odenwald in September, some staying in the Michelstädterhof and others being hosted in homes of friends. Two new members were experiencing their first visit; all returned having had different experiences but unanimous that it was a fabulous and fun visit.
An invitation to participate in the annual Wine Festival in a neighbouring Kreis at Gross- Umstadt saw kilted and tartan clad members parading through the crowded streets and pouring wine to individuals in the crowd as is the tradition. Accompanied by a friend from our sister organisation, Schottland Vereinigung who is the Pipe Major with the Odenwald Pipes and Drums, our small delegation contributed in song as they were piped through the streets in a real carnival atmosphere.
In a busy programme there was still time to meet up with old friends, make new friends and to reaffirm the tenets of the partnership-friendship, cultural exchange and fun!
October 31 2014
After a busy Summer, the Odenwald Association will hold its first meeting of the new season on its regular second Tuesday of the month, 14 October, at 7.00 p.m. in Municipal Buildings, Falkirk. If you, your group, or oganisation is interested in Twinning or finding out more about the Odenwald region of Germany you will be most welcome to attend. The evening will start with a short business meeting to discuss the programme for the coming months and arrangements for a Christmas celebration meal. The evening will be a social event with drinks and nibbles provided. A DVD presentation of activities and attractions in the Odenwald will be used as a background to the evening.
August 31 2014
A group of 9 representatives of our sister twinning organisation in the Odenwald, The Schottland Vereinigung arrived on Friday 25 July to be met at Edinburgh airport by Association members who undertook the transfer to Powfoulis Hotel where they were welcomed by members and the programme for the visit discussed. On the following morning, the guests had a most enjoyable visit to Callendar House before being transported to Airth Highland Games and spent an enjoyable afternoon as guests of Airth Highland Games Committee and all that the games had to offer.
Sunday 27 July the group were hosted by members of the Odenwald Association and started their day at Falkirk's newest attraction, the 30 metre high Kelpies, the world's largest equine sculptures. Members then took their guests on visits ranging from The Forth Bridges to Inverary, meeting the individual interests of our visitors.
The group spent the next 5 days on a commercial tour of Royal Deeside, returning to the Powfoulis on Friday 1 August where members were hosted at dinner and heard stories of what had been an enjoyable trip to that historical area.
The following day the group travelled to Fife visiting Falkland, St. Andrews and Anstruther. There was great excitement for one young member who experienced the seaside for the first time! This was followed by an evening of Scottish entertainment and dancing with the programme provided entirely by Association members, musicians and singers 'Lads wi' Gear', 'Greg McCara' and performances by the Jenkins School of Highland Dancing. The group returned to the Odenwald the following day after spending time in Edinburgh.
The Odenwald Association wishes to thank Falkirk Council for its support of this visit and furthering the twinning partnership with the Odenwald area of Germany.
May 31 2014
Although it was a grey, cloudy day, a group of members set up and manned a bottle stall at this year's Bo'ness Victorian Fair, as a fundraising venture. It was hard work trying to persuade the public to participate as heavy showers of rain had everyone running for shelter over the course of the day. Still our intrepids persevered and slowly the bottles "from Shampoo to Champagne" as one caller advertised, began to disappear as winning tickets were pulled. Unlucky punters were invited to dip into a bag of chocs to sweeten the disappointment, so hopefully, everyone went home happy!
Heartfelt thanks to all those who donated bottles for the stall, to those who worked in the background, folding tickets etc. to those who worked on the day and those who supported the stall.