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!