Feel Me Grip

Everybody may dream. I dream of moving to another place. With a bit more space, a room for sleeping only would be very nice. A bit more space, so that I can actually reach my books and do not have to move furniture before I can go through a shelf. And last but not least, a place away from screaming mother-of-the-year in the appartement below, a terrible dumb nuisance.
I mean, I lived out junkies, drunk Russians and party-happy students, sooner or later they all learned to be considerate of neighbours, the people in those flats around them ; this stupid bitch (excuses, but its justified) is resistant to any kind of complaints. Every time I am ready to go down there, another neighbour walks up to her door, either slams his fists against it or presses in the bell button, and depending on the daytime and the degree of noise & abuse tells her calmly or yells at her to shut the fuck up. Happened only this afternoon. Then it’s quiet for some (two ?) hours. Afterwards the yelling starts again. It is time to take action and to get her out of here.
So I dream & look at houses, around here, in other parts of Franconia, in Hohenlohe : farm houses, land houses, Aussiedlerhöfe (farms outside villages, in the middle of the land that belongs to them), forester’s houses, and of course houses of historical value, listed as landmarks (Denkmalliste). I am in no way able to afford one, forget about the cost to make a ruin habitable, but everybody is allowed to dream.
There are some specialised agents, and of course the list of sellable landmarks (Liste verkäuflicher Denkmäler), run by administrations.
Over time there are some places (advertisements) I like to visit again. I notice when prices are going down, when offers are changed ; some are sold easily and fast, others are like lead & nobody seemingly touches them. Some come with a lot of land (forest, meadows, fruit-groves), with Wasserrecht (water law – does this word exist ? –  especially old mills), some are in disrepair and nearly collapsing, others are neatly re-constructed and ready for moving in.
My favourites are an old factory for oat flakes – in fact it was built as a grain storage facility before WWI, so lots of space ; a converted farm-house in the area here ; and a kind of “Landhaus”, built seemingly in the seventies, in an area where normally building and housing is off-limits. The last two are basically inhabitable with little work, but come at a terrible price (the view, the location). The factory does not carry a tag, it is advertised as “günstig”, keen ; looking at it I counted the windows, more than seventy (!) ; replacing these alone would cost some hundred thousands of €. But one could plan and lay out a wonderful large garden, a park even … ach
It’s less the actual moving I dream of, what causes a lot of work and stress, but the idea of moving to another place, cutting some things off, while keeping some that are worth keeping. And of course going through the stuff : In fact I want to burn a lot of things, not only papers – my world is made from paper after all – but also some things. I do not want to take these to the dump or “recycling-place”, “where they can find a new owner” – GOd, what kind of speak is this ?
These are things I possess and I want to get rid of them and I want them to be destroyed : I want to burn them. Even when I have to use  a chain-saw, and I learned to handle such a machine – I want to use it on these things. This actual desk for example that I hate. It’s not the desk’s fault, it’s its history, what I connect with it, all that I want to get rid of – a nice fire would be good. Same goes for a lot of papers – a nice little or not so little bonfire.
Anyway, it’s not in sight. Soldiering on. And of course, when one learned to read, and write, and listen to music, one is never alone, but always part of a conversation, regardless whether the partners in this conversation are long gone and physically dead, or actually living in the same world.
Now, if I only could get rid of that epitome of ignorant brutishness that lives under me ; without using my bare hands, preferably … this would help, really.

Sunday Music

In the last week you learned everything about curtains here, were reminded of checking your spam-folder more often, and finally were shown the attraction of the village, ruinous remains of an 18th century investment that went terribly wrong. What more can you ask for ?
Sunday Music of course.
This week’s musical interlude is a poetic piece of chamber-music by the Piedmontese Leone SINIGAGLIA (Eng.) (1868-1944), performed by Quartetto Tamborini. SINIGAGLIA visited BRAHMS (1833-1897) in Vienna, worked with old DVORÁK (1841-1904) in Prague. He collected many popular songs of his beloved Piedmont and in 1909 published a suite Piemonte that TOSCANINI often put on his programs.
SINIGAGLIA was a respected mountaineer, notably in the Dolomites (Ger., Eng.) ; his book about these adventures, Climbing reminiscences of the Dolomites (1898), is called a classic.
I hope you like the music, perhaps a bit “sperrig”, cumbersome, at first, but worth to listen & relaxing imho. Let’s hope for an uneventful and peaceful week.

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The Roman Bridge

Photos finally added, sorry for the tardiness.

Die Römerbrücke – die natürlich keine ist. It is not a “Roman” bridge, simply because the Romans did not come to this area, at least they did not build something here. The very end of the Roman Empire, the limes Germanicus (Ger., Eng., there’s a map), consisted of the river Moenus from Seligenstadt to Miltenberg, then left the river and went South over land. Some scholars of the 19th century nursed the idea that the fortress here would be based on a Roman military installation, but there is no proof for this claim and modern archaeology dismisses this idea.

Roughly one kilometer from the centre of my village in North-Eastern direction the Römerbrücke stands. Here once run a trading road from Würzburg to Bamberg ; it was a part of the larger connection between the free, important & rich cities of the Reich Frankfurt am Main and Nürnberg, on a larger scale of the route from Paris to Prague. The road came up from the valley of the river Main & the city of  Würzburg and crossed the valley of a small creek called Haslach ; it climbed up from the muddy valley via the Roßsteige (horses’ steep) and then went over land to the Steigerwald, generally in Eastern direction.
This gradient was pretty steep, additional horses needed to be harnessed to the coaches, it must have been a drag.
The 18th century brought us new roads, standardised in a way, the new chaussee. The Herzog happily embraced this idea and built new roads in his dukedom : Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim (1708-1779) (Ger., Eng.) commissioned the bridge in 1764. In fact it is not a single bridge that was built, but a 220 meter long earthen dam (causeway ?) that includes a bridge construction spanning the Haslach and thus “flattens” the gradient of the commercially important trading route. It simply makes the whole thing more viable. The dam is up to eight meters high, the bridge itself nearly 19 meters broad, the road is four to five meters wide.
The German description is “einfeldrige Bruchsteinbogenbrücke” – sorry, I can not translate this.
The importance of these new chaussees, in German Kunststrassen, artificial roads, can not be rated highly enough. In fact it is the first time since the Romans that a kind of standardised road system is built on a European scale. These roads allow fast and reliable traffic for goods, persons, mail, and of course for the movement of troops. They demand and cause standardisation, because the “Chauseeordnung” describes what format and what weight cars and coaches can have that finally travel on them. These roads demand a lot of investment, not only in building and construction as in our bridge here, but also in maintainance – in regular distances Chaussehäuser were erected where the Chaussewärter, the keeper, was stationed. He had to take care of a certain stretch of the road, and sometimes had to collect the road-tax too.
The bridge, the whole construction, was finished after three years and was open for traffic in 1766. It was used only for three years : In 1769 the building was closed for traffic because the foundations settled in the muddy subfloor, the Haslach simply did not like that thing. Cracks opened & it was deemed to dangerous to have heavy coaches rolling over it.
The planning went on and in the following year the whole road was relocated & shifted from this place to the North (on the other bank of the Haslach-creek), it finally run through the next village – avoiding the steep gradient & the marshy area altogether. The bridge was not repaired, but in contrary used as stone quarry to build the new road. It became finally obsolete for long distant travel when in the middle of the 19th century the railway was built – to this day the line goes in some hundred meters distance. The coaches had finally served its times.
The bridge was of course still used locally, only in 1960 it was closed for pedestrians. There was a bit of argument over the decades between the local community and the Bavarian state. The village was always poor & in debts and did not want to carry the Baulast, the public easement (and the responsibility) for the disused construction. Finally the whole ensemble was put on the Denkmalliste, the list of landmarks, and today the community has to take care for maintainance & safety.
And why is it called a “Roman” bridge ? Two explanations are given in literature : One says it’s because the road finally leads up to the Römer (Ger., Eng.) in Frankfurt – ah bah, who cares for Frankfurt here anyway ? The other says that the whole thing looks so nice and romantic-ruinous in the moonlight, ach – so Roman, simply … ; …

Some pictures will follow tomorrow.

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It’s the day after tomorrow – I think übermorgen is a wonderful word. So I am writing from the future …
Here are some pictures of the featured building. The first gives an impression of the whole thing. We stand on the Southern side of the dam and look in Eastern direction.

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Standing on the Southern side of the dam looking in Eastern direction

Standing on the Southern side of the dam looking in Eastern direction

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Turning around and going in Western direction there is finally a possibility to walk on the dam if only for a short stretch. Then they have planted a lot of dense & thorny bushes, small trees and high grass hinder the careless trespasser.

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Standing on the dam looking in Easter direction. This is a second, smaller arch that is closed for any kind of traffic

Standing on the dam looking in Easter direction. This is a second, smaller arch that is closed for any kind of traffic

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Looking from the Northern side in Easter direction. The whole construction was cut free from woods and brushes lately ; I have read in the local that some preservation measures are necessary.

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Standing on the North side looking East

Standing on the North side looking East

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And finally we are under the bridge.

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Under the bridge. No Stonemason's mark, no coat of arms, no graffiti, no nothing - just stones. Very nice.

Under the bridge. No Stonemason’s mark, no coat of arms, no graffiti, no nothing – just stones. Very nice.

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And one last view : This friendly little apple tree is a gift from the French twin village in the Calvados. It’s still a long way until we’ll have Franconian Calva.

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Roman bridge and the promise of Franconian Calvados

Roman bridge and the promise of Franconian Calvados

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Daht’s all.

Would Someone Please Hand Me a Gun ?

Okay.
I did not smash something.

My venerated readers may remember that I mentioned some weeks ago that we are working on a transcription, a test for a larger project. We put some effort in it, the original source material was not that easy to read, and it is a pretty special subject.
Anyway we followed the instructions, produced two texts according to the edition rules, and wrote an offer, covering all necessary topics. Send it over per email to the man responsible.
Nothing.
Usually one gets a short note like “Thankx, we received it”. Other things happened, we kept it in mind, after all this would bring us over the winter.
It’s late October and this job should start now – so I phoned in today. A pretty sourly lady told me that I’m too late, the contract is already handed out, and no, never heard my name. But she would be so nice and check with the responsible bloke.
Hours later she phoned back. Never received that email. Aha – but it did not come back to me, so it was delivered. The address is correct, as checked in this conversation, date, time, title, attachments …

They did not check their bloody spam folder.

Since when do you use email ? I got my first email-address in the late eighties as a student. We used Pegasus-Mail back then, it is still around and running. Later spam showed up and the first clumsy filters were introduced.
Nowadays one gets a notification when something falls into this category – one just has to LOOK !
I send out plain-text-mails without links in them, that is what most spam filters check first, links to nice fake sites. The attachments were to their regulations, in the format they wished them to get.
Mr super professor – every bloke there has at least one academic title in front of his name & one behind – did not check this, wonder how many other offers the moron ignored by doing so. And of course the project is handed out now, gone.
I can accept a rejection, pointing out to a mistake, or a discussion about how I read and transcribe something. I can defend the price – but that someone is TOO DUMB to check his mail properly is not acceptable.
Avanti Dilettanti !
Schreien möcht’ man …