Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas at Isenschnibbe

Christmas was wonderful at Isenschnibbe. A few days before, there would be a big party at the Manor House. Everyone on the estate would come.

We children never got to see our Christmas tree till Christmas Eve. We would go to church at the St Nikolai Church and sing carols, and have a lovely service with Pastor Franz.

Then when we came home, Mother would let us into the room where the Christmas tree was. It would be our first sight of the Christmas tree. It had lighted candles and lovely decorations. We had all sorts of fruit at Christmas we couldn't get at any other time of year, particularly during the war: satsumas, oranges, bananas. And we left shoes out for St Nicholas.

Mother, Father Gisi and I would sing carols in front of the tree. It was lovely.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Tree

Every Christmas we had a Christmas service in the St Nikolai Church.

It was lovely. Pastor Franz led the service, we sang carols, and we had a beautiful tree lit up with candles.

One year, there was a little girl there with her grandfather.

I can't see the tree, I can't see the tree, she said over and over. She was blind, so her grandfather helped her touch the leaves.

My mother was devastated. It was so sad.

Friday, 2 December 2011


When I was ten, I was given an accordion. My dad said, it's all very well learning the piano, but you can't take it out with you.

So we got a beautiful accordion decorated with green mother of pearl from the Manger's shop and I learnt how to play it. .

When the last potato was dug, we had Harvest Festival. There were lots of Polish women who worked on the estate, and they would dress up in their colourful clothes. It was lovely. Then we would process from the fields following someone holding the last stalk of corn, and we would make music on the way.

Then there would be a big party, in the room below the distillery (the estate had it's own brewery, and even a train line that came into the courtyard), and in the afternoon we had tea. In the evening there would be big feast for about two hundred people, and we hired two cooks who would cook the food in the Manor House and bring it over.

There would be proper musicians, but in between I would play the accordion. Once I went wrong and I was so embarrassed.

My dad was the hero of the day. Because he was the one who gave everyone their money.

Everyone enjoyed themselves. And I loved playing my accordion.

The accordion has been passed down first to my niece, and now to my eldest daughter, who is teaching herself to play. We are hoping she'll be able to play for Rosemarie in the hospice this weekend...