Following reports of last week’s Juncker/May dinner (see Monday’s blog), there has been renewed interest in Angela Merkel’s speech to the German Parliament (Bundestag) the day after. So I’ve translated it in full below. The bits I’ve highlighted in bold are particularly striking in relation to Brexit. But the speech – quite short by Merkel’s … More Merkel’s 27 April speech to the Bundestag: full translation
Last week I joined my piano teacher, Sebastian Stanley, at the beautiful Rosslyn Hill chapel in Hampstead to record some piano videos. The immediate purpose was to submit the recordings for an amateur piano competition, but I decided to put some of them together into a micro-recital for the blog. You can view this as … More Micro-recital for Europe
My EU-flag cushion is finished at last. I’ve spent the last couple of days frantically sewing it together, in a race against Parliament to ensure it’s ready by the time Theresa May triggers Article 50. Don’t ask me to explain why, but it makes me feel slightly better equipped to face the political chaos in … More Knitting for Europe (or Woolly Surds)
A number of today’s papers have carried parts of, or references to, Angela Merkel’s new year message. Given the vacuum in political leadership in the UK, I decided it was worth translating in full. For any cynics who may read this: I’m not blind to Germany’s faults. Indeed, I’ve got a blog in the pipeline … More Happy New Year – from Angela Merkel
I auditioned for a choir today. The last time I subjected myself to such an ordeal was in 1978, on arriving at university, so I wasn’t entirely comfortable at the prospect – involving singing scales, a pre-prepared extract from the Bach piece in the choir repertoire for this term, and some sight-reading and aural tests. … More A question of identity in a Bach chorale
My first encounter with the Polish community was around the age of 8 or 9, when I shared my primary-school desk (one of those old-fashioned affairs, big enough for two and with holes for ink-pots) with a Polish boy called Jon Mikes. Contact with people from central or eastern Europe was unusual then – the … More Solidarność! Why I went to Harlow on 3 September 2016.
The first time I learnt a fugue was around 40 years ago: the obligatory Bach, BWV 854, for my grade 8 piano exam. It’s not something I look back on with affection (as opposed, say, to learning German irregular verbs, which I enjoyed so much I did a PhD on them) and I hadn’t rushed … More Learning a fugue – aged 56¾
This is the second vote on Britain’s membership of Europe in my lifetime (and yes I know the Leave brigade will quibble that this isn’t about “Europe” the continent but the EEC/EU but the tenor of the debate shows it’s about something much deeper than that). I can’t pretend to recall the eve of the … More Referendum Eve