I come from Coesfeld. Coesfeld is a town in
Westphalia. That is in the North West of Germany not far away from the Dutch border.
The countryside is hilly and very inviting to cyclists. Every road has a separate cycling lane.
Therefore it is not surprising that most people are on their bikes. My late father used to cycle until he was eighty years old.
We Northern Germans usually cycle on Holland bikes. These bikes are black and white. They are very handy for ladies as they had mud guards and you do not get your long skirt tangled up in the bike wheel.
Now some photos from my family in Germany. On the photo are my late mum and late dad, my children and me.
On the next photo you will see my nephew and my three children meeting up in London.
I have no other nephew in Germany. But I have a great nephew and a great niece in Coesfeld.
My father gave me two books about Coesfeld. In both books you could see photos that depicted how Coesfeld was build up and redeveloped again. When my father gave me these books they did not mean much to me.
We learnt about the war at school. Reading only post war literature and about the horrors of war was for a young person that I used to be most horrifying. And most certainly I was not proud to be German because of our history. I felt ashamed.
But in hindsight I realised why my father became a builder. He had this up and going spirit. He rolled up his sleeves and started to build things from scratch. And that is what he learnt as a child when Germany was in ruins. He had to help reshaping the country.
By giving me these two books he wanted to tell me why he was proud to be German. He was a child when the war started and a child when it ended.
But unlike some older Germans he was not involved in war crimes nor was his father. And in those times, when the people had to endure shortages, they learnt to work together as a team.
The photo is the title page of the book ‘Alte Ortskerne leben auf.’, which means ‘Old town centres revive’. And you can see why. Especially in the summer, people are eating out in the open air restaurants surrounding the market square or enjoying an ice cream in the Italian ice cream parlour. Coesfeld has a nice cobble stone market square. The meaning of Coesfeld is translated into English ‘cow field. And that is how the town started. There was one cow field and two roads that crossed. Trading started. People settled down.
Not surprisingly, the coats of arms is a cow. If you look at the picture more closely you will see that the cow is sticking out its tongue and licking its snout. It is hilarious.
Coesfeld is still an important place of worship and pilgrimage. Around this time of the year we have religious processions all over this town. When I was young I wanted to venture out. But now being older I am glad that I spent my childhood and youth in this wonderful town. Once a year we go over and visit my uncles and aunties, who are still alive, and my siblings and niece and nephews.