Yesterday (Thursday) was Ascension Day, which is also Father's Day in Germany. Father's Day is typically commemorated by guys going out and getting drunk; favourite activities include going on hikes (with a couple of crates of beer pulled along in a "Bollerwagen"), riding in a horse-drawn cart, or canoeing/kayaking.
In Wilhelmsburg Ward, as in Pinneberg, it's also traditional to have a ward excursion on that day, since it's a public holiday. This year, we decided to go canoeing and grilling. Those who didn't want to ride the canoes were invited to go directly to the place where we'd grill.
I went to Gerulats' in the morning and Heiko and Susanne took me along to the place where they rented boats (in Vierlande, near Bergedorf, on the Gose Elbe).
The plan was to canoe down the Gose Elbe to where it meets the Dove Elbe, then turn east for a little bit until we got to a tower, which would be where we'd stop and picnic.
We got an 11-seater and a 4-seater "Canadian" canoe; after a brief discussion, "the girls" (Patrizia, Bianca, Lara, and Giulia) took the 4-seater and the rest of us climbed into the 11-seater (which we had to drag into the water ourselves since it was too heavy for the two girls who worked there).
At first, we just kind of paddled in circles since we were trying to sort out whether to wait for Oliver (who was running late… not for the first time) and Christian and his girlfriend (who had originally planned to bring their own boat) or not.
In the end, Oliver showed up and we took him aboard, and we left; Christian and girlfriend, it later transpired, had gone off on their bikes (we saw them a couple of times further downriver), but they hadn't told us they were going.
It was a fair bit of fun, and the canoe was rather roomy. It took us about an hour to get to the designated spot. The others were nowhere to be seen; not surprising given that we were about an hour and a half early.
So we just kind of hung around and waited for the others to arrive. A couple of people went out on the canoe just for a little jaunt, then came back and some others left. I also climbed the tower, and a couple of the kids played with a ball they had fished out of the water near the shore.
Several of us also played "Länderkriegen", a game Oli explained to us, which involved a lot of running around and trying to hit each other with a small piece of wood and "conquering" land from other players (the borders were lines scratched into the sand). It was kind of fun, except for Oli who kept running to places where we couldn't hit him so he'd end up conquering lots of other countries and we could never get back at him.
Grilling was good, too, at least the meat; I didn't like the sausages Stella had brought along. But the potato salad was good! And that's saying something: I think this is the first potato salad Stella has made that I've liked.
At around four, we started off again in the canoes (this time with the boys—Jonathan, Oliver, David, and Sebastian—in the four-seater). Ow: as soon as I sat down, my butt remembered what it had felt like to sit on a wooden bench for an hour and paddle. But I survived. (My butt and legs still hurt, as do my shoulders.)
The boys took off and gained a lead which they maintained and, later on, increased, but that was OK. Oh, and we met Oliver Hilbig (a cow-orker of mine who currently works in Brunswick) and Florian Schmidt (an ex-cow-orker of mine; he was a trainee but the company didn't employ him when his traineeship ended because they had a hiring freeze at the time); they rented their canoes at the same time we did and returned them at the same time as well, so we met them at the boathouse both coming and going. It's a small world sometimes.
Gerulats returned to the picnic place to pick up the grill, but discovered they needn't have bothered: someone had taken out the coals and the aluminium foil which was underneath them, laid them tidily on the ground, and made off with the grill itself. At least it was an old grotty one so they weren't terribly disappointed.
Or, as Susanne said, it was "pekig"—a word I had never heard before but could glork from context. The dict.leo.org forums have an entry on the word, though, and Google found an entry on "siffig" which links to it—another word I hadn't heard before (though I had heard "versifft"). Apparently, it's a north German expression. (Susanne is from Bremen; I don't know whether it's restricted to that area.)
On the ride home, I was pretty tired due to the physical exertion which I was unaccustomed to. Stella and I watched Stuart Little 2 on DVD—in Swiss German. I was amused that it had a Swiss German sound track as I'd never seen that before on a DVD—perhaps because it's a children's film?
I didn't understand all that much ^^ but since we had watched it in German on Monday, we knew what was happening, and that helped.
Oh, incidentally, I thought one translation into (standard) German was very good: there's one point where the child Martha drops her oatmeal on the floor, and the mother asks the cat Snowbell to eat it up. Snowbell responds,
Oh, great, it's glop. Look what I'm reduced to. I'm a Handi-Wipe with hair.
The German translation said something like
Sie denken wohl, ich bin ein Snowbell-wisch-und-weg. which, I think, is a very good translation since it makes it into a funny sentence, with a reference to the product "Zewa wisch und weg" (a kind of absorbent paper tissue for the kitchen with the advertising slogan, "Da nimmt man Zewa wisch und weg – mit einem Wisch ist alles weg!"). Better than the Swiss German, which had something like "Lumpen mit Haaren", which translates the English but misses the joke, in my opinion.
Had a nice warm bath and then went to bed.