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.