(Written August 2013)

Much of my travel these days involves a monthly commute between Scotland and Bavaria, which is great, but limits my scope for travel elsewhere.

No great hardship, given the ground I’ve covered in the past!

It does give me wonderful insight into the local way of life. Local means not just Bavaria – a  diverse state in its own right. It also means the bit around Ingolstadt, on the edge of Franconia.

Neuburg an der Donau

Neuburg an der Donau

I’ve been aware of this on a few occasions over the last 2.5 years (since the commute began). Certain things bring it home – Christmas and Easter come to mind.

This weekend brought another – the annual winter firewood delivery.

Many homes here have a wood burning stove. Not the kind we see in Scotland – it’s an oven with a ceramic tile exterior.

a museum version

a museum version

In this house (probably typical) it’s built into the wall where the hall, living room and dining room meet. It heats the whole house, but those rooms in particular.

Oil fired central heating supplements it. In mid winter, both are needed.

So a supply of firewood is vital. To buy it in would cost at least €700 for the year.

The woman of this house has a better deal. In exchange for labour cutting up logs at the local recycling centre, she gets free firewood. The wood comes from domestic garden waste. The centre has to get rid of it somehow, so…

On Friday we were there at for 9am for 3 hours of manual labour, handing 1 meter logs to Pieter (the centre operator) to slice up on the circular saw into “stove sized” pieces. Noisy. Dusty. Hard work.

On Saturday, he delivered it to the house.



6 of us were roped into unloading & stacking it. Another 3 hours of manual labour. One of the work squad brought a bottle of gin, a bottle of tonic and a lemon, for G&Ts at the end. What a star, Angela! They were perfect.

That led to a barbecue on the terrace to thank & revive the workers.

This little ritual is going on all over these parts just now. Wood gets delivered, then stacked.

job done

job done

Beer gets consumed, and food too. Friends help each other, and have a laugh about it all.

recovery technique

recovery technique

Especially about the big lump of wood which flew in the wrong direction and took a nasty chunk out of my shin.

A wee footnote. One of Pieter’s hobbies is keeping a wee herd of Highland cattle. They’re in a field behind the recycling centre. I’ve even eaten one of them. Home from home.

© iain taylor 2013

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