Image of the week … Pieter

24th December 2021

It’s my first night in Bergwitz and I climb the creaky wooden steps to catch an early night. Around 10:30pm an insistent drill echoes the house. It’s the deafening bellow of a doorbell and whoever is ringing it is keen to enter. It chimes a further four times as I rub my eyes awake and search for the door.

I open it to find a rosy cheeked fellow grinning from ear to ear. His eyes are creased into watermelon pips; a handlebar moustache dances just below thick round spectacles. He greets me hyperbolically, waving his arms around and muttering in German as he passes me to enter the house. 

His wife Kirstin who I met earlier (the owner of the house) is equally cheery and explains her husband needs to collect something from one of the rooms. Pieter’s drunken state is equal to my sleep induced haze. I gently explain I’m not really in the most social mood, pointing to my Pj’s and say my goodnights. 

Over the course of the next few weeks each morning Pieter and I exchange exaggerated friendly windscreen wiper waves through the kitchen window. 

When colliding in the garden a series of awkward small mime interactions pursue– each time, both failing at charades and surrendering to a shoulder shrug and a smile.

Melodramatic classical music with interludes of softly spoke German narration fill the car as Pieter slaloms his way past vehicles and races like a rude boy down the narrow country roads. When stuck behind a group of cautious drivers I feel his tense frustration as his moustache twitches and his foot hovers impatiently over the accelerator 

He lets out a deep sigh that still sounds German and raises his hand in deep frustration. I can feel him calculating the safety of over taking all seven vehicles ahead of us 

Strange as we are running on time

By this point it is week four and I have discovered that Pieter plays violin and cello in a quirky Irish /Scottish fusion folk band. 

In the first few days Jan took us to the Heide spa with traditional saunas and as I walked past one of the windows, I felt compelled to shoot someone there. It was like looking into a painting

After many weeks and a lockdown, we managed to get access. And so, my friends it all came together – Pieter, naked, in the sauna, playing the violin- despite absolutely no ability for us to understand a word each other says.