You are browsing archive : 2017

Coming Visit to the 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. 

Association Bottle Stall, Airth Highland Games

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.

Sad news

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.

Odenwald Booklet

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."

Visit to the Kelpies

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.’

Top of the Town Quiz

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. 

Members join the Parade

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. 

Evening Sail Forth and Clyde Canal

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. 

Canal trip Seagull Trust Tuesday 9 May 2017

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. 

Election of Office Bearers and Committee

April 15 2017

Office Bearers

Chair               Walter Simms            

Vice-Chair      Gray Allan                   

Secretary        Anne Simms                

Treasurer        Charlie Tibbles  


Executive Committee

Walter Simms and Gray Allan are automatically on the Executive Committee - everyone else was elected

Andy Christie             

Joe Detlaff                 

 Lynda Kenna            

Emma Gillanders       

Kathryn Grainger      

Christine Webster     

Anne Simms               

Charlie Tibbles          

Andy Christie steps down as Chair of OA

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. 

Report on Meeting Tuesday 14 March 2017

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 :-

Chairman Andy Christie gave a vote of thanks to Kayleigh for  the interesting and well illustrated talk. which was enhanced by personal anecdotes. 

Report on Meeting Tuesday 14 February 2017

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 - 

Meeting Tuesday 14 February

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. 

2017 Annual Association Dinner

January 13 2017

Annual dinner

Instead of a formal meeting of the Association, members met at the Cladhan Hotel and enjoyed a relaxed social evening for the Annual Dinner.

2016 Festive Visit to Odenwald

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.