Travelling North

On our way to Oldenburg, we stop off at a friend’s house in Zons. This is a trip down memory lane; I’ve known Lotte since my teenage years when we used to hang out together in Spiekeroog, a beautiful, car-free island in the north of Germany, inflicting inventive pranks on unsuspecting adults. We were quite an unruly bunch, but I still think that our ideas were quite unique. For example, I remember lying in wait with invisible fishing line on either side of the road, catching groups of holidaymakers, wrapping them in a big loop of string 10 or so people at a time and demanding a song for their release. Sometimes we got a song, more often than not a stream of invective or even the odd slap in the face. They were trophies to be counted at the end of the holidays – who got the most slaps? Somehow us girls could never truly compete with the boys on this front. They seemed to collect the punishment for all of us.

We used to be slightly scared but totally fascinated by an old woman who lived next door, who would come out to speak to us in the evenings. She had far advanced Alzheimer’s, and we would spend the time chatting to her about the same topic, round and round, checking out how quickly she would forget what we just had said. It seems cruel, but really, she had fun with us and we laughed a lot together – we really connected. I think she waited for us every evening; we may well have been the highlight of the day for her. One year, we arrived in Spiekeroog to find out she had died and it left a real hole in our sunny summer evenings.

Lotte and I haven’t seen each other since my children were 2 and 4 years old. Now mine are grown up and hers are teenagers. They live in a beautiful and very old house in Zons, an ancient toll town just outside of Köln. We spent the evening chatting and sharing food.


More photos of their beautiful house on flikr


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