Monday, August 6, 2012

Sailing on the Schwielowsee

What a remarkable day. I have a lot of things to do tonight so I can't be particularly 'poetic' when describing what I did but I still want to jot down my account of the day's events. I woke up in the morning worrying about my father's health, only to be whisked away by him to the lake-front house of one of his friends. The sun was beaming on the rolling, navy blue Schwielowsee and the Old Tablers' yachts and boats. After having kaffee, pflaumen kuche and mohn kuche on the bank of this Havel lake we set off on an hour long circumnavigation of the lake, where for the first time, I had the opportunity to steer a boat. In the process I navigated around yachts, speed boats, dinghies and managed to pass through narrow passes and follow waterways. We were shown the sights of the lake by George, the owner of the boat and were informed that the largest resort there was built by a former member of the Stasi! Our last port of call was the island of Werder, known for its church, windmill and restaurants that line the lakefront and serve the freshest of fish. I am not a big fan of fish but even I had to concede that the baked fish served to us was delicious.

In any case, after downing a double espresso, we made our return voyage to the mainland where in the distance we saw the sun slowly disappearing behind the forest. I still couldn't believe that I had spent the day steering a beautiful boat, resplendent with a mature teak hull and a gleaming white bow.

Another notable feature of my day was that I came across some great e-books on law on the Project Guthenburg website. One of them, entitled "Briefless Ballads and Legal Lyrics" (Second Series) by James Williams contained, as you would imagine, some wonderfully witty poems on the law and the legal profession. I admit that some of the classical references went over my head, so I'm sharing some of the more intellectually pedestrian but nevertheless touching and humorous ones:

The Squire's Daughter

We crawled about the nurseryIn tenderest years in tether,At six we waded in the seaAnd caught our colds together.
At ten we practised playing atA kind of heathen cricket,A croquet mallet was the bat,The Squire's old hat the wicket.
At twelve, the cricket waxing slow,With home-made bow and arrowWe took to shooting—once I knowI all but hit a sparrow.[22]
She took birds' nests from easy trees,I climbed the oaks and ashes,'Twas deadly work for hands and knees,Deplorable for sashes.
At hide and seek one summer dayWe played in merry laughter,'Twas then she hid her heart away,I never found it after.
So time slipped by until my call,For out of the professionsI chose the Bar as best of all,And joined the Loamshire Sessions.
The reason for it was that thereHer father, short and pursy,Doled out scant justice in the chairAnd even scanter mercy.[23]
As Holofernes lost his headTo Judith of Bethulia,So I fell victim, but insteadOf Judith it was Julia.
My speech left juries in the dark,Of Julia I was thinking,And once I heard a coarse remarkAbout a fellow drinking.
I practised verse in leisure timeBoth in and out of season,It was indubitably rhyme,Occasionally reason.
I lacked the cheek to tell my woes,Had not concealment fed onMy damask cheek, but left my noseWith twice its share of red on?[24]
Too horrible was this suspense,At last, in desperationI went to Loamshire on pretenceOf death of a relation.
The Squire was beaming; "Julia's goneTo London for a visit,But with a wedding coming onThat's not surprising, is it?
"Old friends like you will think, no doubt,That she is young to marry,But ever since she first came out,She's been engaged to Harry."

No comments: