Switzerland, UK, Switzerland 1961-1965
My dream to go to London to learn English was put on hold when I had to divert to Switzerland to join the “Basler Lagerhaus & Speditions Gesellschaft”. But the excitement of going to a foreign country was great and I looked forward to doing my part in the new company….
…The ﬁrst opportunity to leave this “hospitable” place was taken and I moved into a small apartment belonging to the company to be shared with another German guy, Hans, for the time I stayed in Basel…….
….Hans was a likable fellow but quite often went over the top. The building next door was pulled down and before we knew it we had plenty of refugees in our apartment. Mice everywhere and it was almost a nightly sport to hunt them down. One evening I came home to ﬁnd a washing line in the kitchen which had already some 8 or 10 mice hanging neatly held on by washing pegs. Sitting in the lounge room we could hear easily when the mousetrap went click. Getting back to the kitchen we would ﬁnd another creature trapped and quite dead which was duly strung up. One piece of cheese was all it needed and the bounty that night was incredible…
My first car…… Brakes on those old cars where very old-fashioned and when they got hot you almost needed an anchor to stop the car as they would not function very well anymore. On a few occasion I was running downhill unchecked but found a ﬂat car park long enough to stop the car and let the brakes cool down before taking the next chance to continue downhill…..
.. London was quite a treat for a young fellow, plenty of pubs to be frequented even though I had to be careful not to sing too loudly with the locals as they would spot me as a “Kraut” almost immediately. “Prospect of Whitby” was one of the favourites, right on the Thames in an area which at that time was in the middle of the docks. Another pub was “The Waterman”. I ventured there only twice with some local friends. It was a rough part of town, wharf workers-only territory; these guys were actually introducing a type of Karaoke London style. Anybody who thought he could sing or had enough beer to be encouraged went on the stage and started bellowing out some naughty song to the great amusement to the crowd. I certainly did not open my mouth there; watching was exciting enough…..