Mein Gott Das ist Kalt

The weather for the last week has not been great, lots of cloud and the evenings especially if sitting by the sea have been quite chilly. Okay I do know it is all relative and those of you in Europe or North America would laugh at my “quite chilly” but without a light sweater it is parky.

Judging by the sea temperature the weather apart from around Christmas has obviously been colder than normal as well. It’s not the English Channel but it is colder than the Med in say July.

The Paris resort boasts quite a large and very new swimming pool as well

Pool Paris Resort Phu Quoc

It provides a nice alternative from the sea especially when the jelly fish come visit for a few days.  So far we have been lucky but around the headland where most of the hotels are they are having an extended stay and only brave souls are venturing in.

However the pool which is topped up with fresh water everyday is even colder. Now don’t please take my word for this. We have at the moment quite a few new arrivals after the Christmas and New Year people have departed the island. Many of these come from what I still term East Germany and quite a few obviously first came to Vietnam when, under their former communist rulers it was one of the few places that they could visit . Otherwise they made do with a visit to the Baltic Sea off their north coast around the Frisian Islands.

The sea there wasn’t and isn’t in summer known for it’s warmth but on entering the pool here without exception I have heard them say ” Mein Gott das ist kalt”. My God this is cold and they are back on their bed chairs after a length at most.

The Frisian Islands was of course the setting for the book The Riddle of the Sands by Erskin Childers published in 1903.

I reread it the other day sitting on a bed chair almost as a precursor to what will be an avalanche of books about the First World War which will be hitting the bookshelves in 2014 the hundredth anniversary of the start of the War.

There is a fellow blogger I read occasionally who is busy working his way through the Guardian/ Observer’s best 100 novels ever list and The Riddle is number 37. The blogger didn’t like it as he felt it was more a sailing book with some intrigue and got bored by all the nautical stuff.

However to most critics it is a book that first bought awareness to the British public that Germany under the Kaisar presented a real threat to Great Britain.

The idea that a German Navy stronger than the British Navy could escort fleets of barges from ports along Germany’s North Sea coast and land troops along the east coast of England caused major concern when the book came out and outright panic in some towns on the coast. Childers use of accurate maps and copious plans plus the fact that he worked in government added such realism that he was called before parliament to answer questions.

His book almost single handedly convinced the public that Admiral Fisher’s campaign to build more Dreadnought battleships was right and soon public meetings were shouting the slogan ” we want eight and we won’t wait”. Churchill said that the building of the two new naval bases at Scapa Flow and Rosyth before the First world War was a direct result of the book and the invasion fear and indeed at the outbreak of hostilities Churchill then at the Admiralty told his aids to find Childers and employ him as an advisor.

No doubt over this next year the book will be turned into a TV series or such like.

The cloud has meant that we have seen some rather spectacular sunsets as we head out to the various bars along the beach for a sundowner. This is the view that greets us over the first beer

Sundowner Phu Quoc

Actually it wuld be rather nice to watch the sun go down from one of thesestrandkorbe

they are called strandkorbe and are a two person  beach chair made of wicker that are only found on the German North Sea coast. Very comfortable and of course provide great protection from the wind on three sides.

Carruthers ( that would have to be his surname wouldn’t it ?) the hero of The Riddle must have seen loads of them as he sailed around spying on the German Imperial Navy.

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