An organ grinder's holiday in England
Report by Klaus Unger
First time I met Bernd and Elisabeth Rosenthal in 1999 in Hereford, the last organ festival with Geoff Alford.  Since that time we stayed in touch and this year we decided to go together to England.  Fred and Pat Walker invited us to make her home to a base of a nearly 3 weeks holiday with sightseeing and organ grinding. 15th of May I started in Michelbach and arrived in the afternoon at Bernd and. Elisabeth's home in Polch/Koblenz - coffee in the garden was ready.

In the evening Bernd came home from work  They had to load their car and I had to mow their lawn.

Next day we had a nice journey across Hoek van Holland, with the catamaran to Harwich and in the darkness we arrived in Sibsey, Pat and Fred's home.

In the following days we made excursions in the region: Boston, Hunstanton and also looked and heard in Thursford to Robert Wolfe in the Wurlitzer Show. We visited garden centres and I finally got my signboard for my large garden pond "No Fishing" and we met David and Kathy in Sandringham, but the weather became worse.  After the nice evening meals prepared by Pat the evenings we spend in Fred's museum or in the lounge with beer and whisky - and the heating had to be switched on.

20th of May we went together with Fred and Dennis to Derby Organ Festival - and the sun was shining again!  A well-prepared organisation managed by Peter and Freda Truman waited for us. The Lady Mayor came around and had a small chat to every organ player; and she talked to me in German.

Very nice was it, that I played together with Margaret, Fred and Cyril.  After a meeting in the town hall with buffet and raffle we went to our lodging.  The evening I spend with Margaret, Fred and Cyril in a pub with "one" beer. After a little dispute with the lodge owner - Peter, you know it, but it was my fault, not yours - I started alone to North Wingfield in Chesterfield.  Twice before I had nice holidays there in a B&B, which owns to a very friendly lady and I wanted to see her again. I spent a few days there, visited the tram museum in Crich and the Midland Railway Museum near Riddings.

On my deperture she wanted that I only should pay the bed and the breakfast.  But every day I got their coffee in the afternoon and well-prepared meals in the evening.   Thank you again, Doris.  Back again to Fred and Pat and then after a few days with a short visit with "food"(!) at Peter and Freda we came to Nuneaton.  A fresh mowed Camping-Place - the grass in my car I took home with me - a walk with heavy rain in the "sleeping" Nuneaton in the evening and an "automatic toilet" (only 10 minutes time to sit there!), was our first impression.

The next morning started with an airless tyre at Margaret's car. After a 1 hours drive for 500m direct way (am I really so stupid?) I arrived at the meeting place at the last moment. But then started a nice interesting day.  Nuneaton had a well-prepared festival-day.  I played together with a very friendly couple - sorry I. forgot the name - When the sun was shining we played on the street, when it was raining we went under a roof. So we changed the place five, six or seven times!  But a lot of people visited the festival and looked at us but it was very windy. The umbrella of Bernd went up to the third floor. So we had our fun.

The Lady Mayor Diana was very interested at our grinding, visited us at the beginning and several times during the afternoon. Then we had a meeting in the town hall with a delicious buffet and a raffle and souvenir photo from.... sorry the names!!!! Diana was very grateful and astonished when we gave her our collection for a social society. She allowed us to look at her official chamber and gave me a kiss(!) for good-bye!

Back to Fred and Pat we wanted to go next morning to Carrington Steam Rally. But in the news we heard that it was cancelled because of the heavy rain. So we made a trip to Millgate Museum of Entertainment and near by to a large garden centre, owned by Reinhold, a German and friend of Fred. When Reinhold heard about the cancelling of Carrington he invited us to play next day in his garden centre. So Fred, Dennis, Bernd, Elisabeth and I started next morning with three organs and Elisabeth's accordion to Reinhold. We had a nice interesting day with all meals and under roof. Reinhold gave us many presents for our gardens at home and we had to pmmise to come again once a time.

Now I wanted to continue my holiday with a trip to Scotland, but because the weather was so bad - only the second time in ten years holidays in GB - I decided to go back to Germany together with Bernd and Elisabeth.

We finished our visit at Fred and Pat with an excellent meal in a pretty guesthouse.

We all three decided to get the ferry in Harwich 1 6.05 pm, 1 8.50 in Hoek and then four or five hours to Polch.  I don't know why we all three didn't look at the timetable.  The ferry started at 19.20!  So we had time enough to make a walk at the beach, to change my last money in chutneys and to buy in antique shop a sewing machine for 2 (two) pounds - really!

From Hoek to Polch we drove in the night without resting and made early in the morning a jump in our beds. Before I went home I spent two days in Polch.  Bernd and Elisabeth showed me their region, and the weather was pretty again!  So we had a nice holiday again in England this year and I look forward to next year.

Thank you to all my friends, especially to Peter and Freda for the organisation and last not least to Pat and Fred to their excellent hospitality.