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 Sounds and Smells of Deutschland

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Stephen Lock
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Places Served : Father -- Canadian Army. Served Hemer, Soest, and Wetter
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   23/6/2009, 20:31

Apropos to absolutely nothing at all, but stemming somewhat off a thread regarding favourite postings wherein the early morning aroma of fresh baked broetchen was mentioned, along with the aroma of beer, cigars and wood polish in local pubs/gasthofs, I got a "memory whiff" of barracks.

Now, I never lived in barracks, being an Army Brat, but certainly spent time on base and, when the Canadians were pulling out of the old Brigade Area in Westphalia (Iserlohn/Hemer/Deilinghofen, Werl, Unna, and Soest/Korbecke/Bad Sassendorf) was on a work detail stripping down the various bunks etc in various barracks around Iserlohn and Hemer.

Growing up Army, my dad's kit always had a particular odor to it. Not an unpleasant one, but quite distinctive. To me, it smelled like spinach (and of course the kit was all dark green...things like an oiled poncho, pup tent, etc).

There was also a disticnctive smell...and by that I don't mean "stink"...to most of the barracks. A fair underlay of cologne lingering but also more...I suspect the scent of the wax used on the dark green (?) linoleum, the smell of starch in the sheets used on the cots, etc. Somewhat antiseptic but that wasn't really it...not sweet, exactly, but not pungent either.

Different locations on base had different scents. Clearly the motor pool had the smell of oil and grease and cigarette smoke, the office my dad worked out of the scent of cologne, cigarettes, coffee, and heat (the sun used to bake through those windows) and the scent of men who've woreked in that environment all day (again, not "stink"...personal hygiene was a priority), but distinctive.

The smell of wool used in uniforms (my Dad's 'blues' smelled different than his day-to-day uniform). Back in the days when Canadian soldiers wore a kaki uniform complete with belted jacked and shirt and tie, that had a distinctive smell to it as well.

Boot wax

brass polish

the list goes on....
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Teabag
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   26/6/2009, 21:11

Cigars really, but I get a whiff of the clothing store smell (camphor?) and I am right back in the early seventies.

That yellow gunk we used to put on floors and bumper to death was another one but my nose can't currently remember it properly.
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recce83
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   27/6/2009, 17:55

[quote="Teabag"]Cigars really, but I get a whiff of the clothing store smell (camphor?) and I am right back in the early seventies.

That's it...the countless years (hundreds?) of cigar smoke that permeated the half-timbered older gasthofs. The camphor smell of mothballs also stays with us; however that was common in QM stores the world over.

And, on a less delicate note, lest we forget the aroma that assaulted the nostrils of any poor sod who got stuck behind one of those horse-drawn farm honey wagons on a narrow road, or the corresponding stench of newly-fertilized fields. It was enough to make the victim want to stop at the next water hole for a quick drop of relief.
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Hardrations
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Number of posts : 1026
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   28/6/2009, 23:29

Not only to be stuck be hind the honey wagon recce, but to be setting up a radio relay or radio re-bro site on a high point and have the farmer spreading his lovely well aged manure (animal/human) around your site. Then there was the incidents of vehicles being written off after having a run in with said honey wagon.

PS: Do you remember Charlely Chamberlyn's (Don Messer and his Down Easteners) son in the battalion or Dennis Underwood who remustered to RCEME also Piper John Huggins?.
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Teabag
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Registration date : 2008-10-30

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   28/6/2009, 23:45

Hardrations wrote:
Not only to be stuck be hind the honey wagon recce, but to be setting up a radio relay or radio re-bro site on a high point and have the farmer spreading his lovely well aged manure (animal/human) around your site. Then there was the incidents of vehicles being written off after having a run in with said honey wagon.

PS: Do you remember Charlely Chamberlyn's (Don Messer and his Down Easteners) son in the battalion or Dennis Underwood who remustered to RCEME also Piper John Huggins?.

Was your callsign 98? Loved rebro because you were away from it all and more or less in charge of yourself. (Apart from two YOS who just had to outdo each other and make our lives miserable).

I'm a bit loved up at the moment because my first grandchild has just been born. Had to share that. She is beautiful but aren't they all?
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Stephen Lock
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Places Served : Father -- Canadian Army. Served Hemer, Soest, and Wetter
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   29/6/2009, 03:03

hahahahahaha....I was waiting for someone to mention "honey wagons". Talk about a term not fitting the object LOL

And the manure on the fields...gawd, what was that stuff? Certainly not healthy cow manure, that's for sure. I can pretty much tolerate cow and horse manure. But that stuff? More like pig manure....yech!!! Copious amounts of it too. Natural farming and all that. Gag....

yes, the lingering smell of cigar smoke permeating the rafters of older gasthofs, for sure.

Camphor...hmmmm....yeah, I remember that too.

The aroma of the white foam on a good head of beer...the aroma of the beer itself. I miss that.

The smell of damp stone down some winding, narrow, rain-soaked 'gasse' in pick-your-old-German-town (Soest!). Mossy, stoney...yeah, "stoney" describes it.

Patchouli oil...real popular in 1970! I still get pulled back, fast, when I catch a whiff of that off some old hippy chick LOL
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Gwynno
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   29/6/2009, 23:52

Not so much smells of Germany per se, but the entrance to a certain NAAFI store managed by one of our own Mr W had its own sweet odour - Paprika Crisps, sweaty housewives, soiled nappies and stale coco cola (lol).

But now you mention it yeah stinky cigars, coffee, sickly cream cakes and mmm yes freshly baked broetchen.

For me most Barracks buildings smelt of dampness, boot polish and brasso.

Can't remember Honey Wagons - not for transporting bees then ?
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Hardrations
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   30/6/2009, 03:46

A German butcher store. The (metzgerei probably wrong spelling) smell of fresh smoked wurst, bacon, spiced cold cuts, etc. We're fortunate here in Winnipeg to have many of these. My wife being German loves to go to them and of course get served in German.

The smell of fresh baked bread and buns early in the morning to go and buy oven fresh wasser brotchen (water buns) fresh in that morning, stale the next. Again we are fortunate in having a new Germany Bakery (The Crusty Bun) who make real wasser brotchen and true German baked goods that taste not of sugar and to much sweetness( A North American thing) but of fruit or flavourings, minimal sugar is added to enhance the taste. Again being served in German if you so choose.

We also have one decent German Gasthof. That serves the real properly cooked/served German menu. A schnitzel that will take you back to Germany just by it's taste.
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ciphers
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Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
Registration date : 2008-06-30

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   30/6/2009, 03:50

For me the most memorable smell is the aroma of wet brown paper as the hot iron was applied to it as we pressed our battle dress EVERY night .... that and guard room coke fires and the smell of cold fried bread, congealed eggs and compo bacon ... how did we survive ..

Len (Ciphers
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graham wright
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Number of posts : 114
Age : 62
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Cap Badge : naafi and efi/raoc
Places Served : baor, sardinia, saudi, benbecula and colly
Registration date : 2009-02-08

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   30/6/2009, 14:28

gwynno,the reason you remember the smell of the entrance to the naafi in hemer was you were always hanging round the candy bar flirting with little ann.those toilets next to the candy bar were always getting blocked with bloody soiled nappies.many a time i had my arm down those pans...graham.
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Stephen Lock
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Places Served : Father -- Canadian Army. Served Hemer, Soest, and Wetter
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   30/6/2009, 20:42

Gwynno...no, "honey wagons" were not for transporting bees LOL

If you ever drove through any number of small villages, you definitely either saw a honey wagon sitting in a field or got caught behind one on some long twisting road...

They were grubby silver/grey cylinders, usually capped on the top with a hatch, and a spout coming out the back end (or sides?). Looked rather like a septic tank, which is basically what they were anyway.

Often the tank itself would be perched on an old wooden wagon being drawn by two slow-poke old nags (horses, not farmers' wives!) with the farmer perched up on the seat, dressed in his heavy wool jacket, "Wellies" and cap, usually smoking a pipe or cigar...likely, I'm thinking now, to ward off the "aroma" of the contents of his cargo.

Whoever coined the term "honey wagon" had a delicious sense of irony going on :-)
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Stephen Lock
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Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   30/6/2009, 20:50

Hardrations mentioned the smell of German butcher shops...yes!

There was a distinct, and not wholly unpleasant, smell to the cuts of ham hanging off the rafters, left there to "cure"...meaning, basically, the outer rind was left to rot, then that would be cut away and underneath would be this delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, meat.

I also recall, after reading Hardrations post, of the smell one found in various Konditorei...strong, Arabica coffee, the sweet smell of tortes and honey-covered crusts, baked goods in general, again the wax used to polish the wood throughout, just cannot find anything comparable here.

When we lived out 'on the economy' many of the places we lived in were heated by coke or oil stoves...I absolutely recall the pungent smokey oil smell of those.

That reminds me of the smell of chimneys on a cold winter's day, the smell of peat wafting out over the rooftops mixing in with the smell of melting snow on stone and cobblestone.
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Hardrations
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Number of posts : 1026
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Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   1/7/2009, 02:42

Stephen Lock wrote:
a term not fitting the object LOL

And the manure on the fields...gawd, what was that stuff? Certainly not healthy cow manure, that's for sure. I can pretty much tolerate cow and horse manure. But that stuff? More like pig manure....yech!!! Copious amounts of it too. Natural farming and all that. Gag....


We always joked in the mess hall, that was the reason the potatoes were yellow in colour. Incidentaly in 1967 it came out on orders that you could safely purchase local German milk. They'd been feeding that to us in the mess hall all the time I had been there since 64. So I guess the concern was more for the dependents than the single personel. I know MLS/CANEX always stocked Danish milk. The Americans actualy had dairy herds down south Garmish way.
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donald
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   1/7/2009, 15:32

I think many of you will be surprised to know that the main contents of the "honey wagons"was organic,rotten tops of beets etc,stinks vile,if the winds wrong you get the full benefit.I do remember moving our leaguer area because of "jauch"(its German name)as the boys were threatening to mutiny!It must not be spread at very wet times as it runs off into the streams and rivers with disastrous results to the fish and other water life.So if having a picnik in ye old Deutschland do sniff the air first!
-----
Don
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Stephen Lock
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   5/7/2009, 21:34

[quote="Hardrations] We always joked in the mess hall, that was the reason the potatoes were yellow in colour. Incidentaly in 1967 it came out on orders that you could safely purchase local German milk. They'd been feeding that to us in the mess hall all the time I had been there since 64. So I guess the concern was more for the dependents than the single personel. I know MLS/CANEX always stocked Danish milk. The Americans actualy had dairy herds down south Garmish way.[/quote]

Thank you for once again stimulating a dormant memory...during both our tours my mom ensured we never bought or consumed German milk products (as they only sterilized, not pasteurized), although I do recall during our 2nd tour (69-72) occassionally drinking German milk. As I recall, it had a rather insipid texture and flavour to it, and slightly blue in colour...white, yes, but with a blue-ish wash through it. Not terribly appetizing.

Danish milk...yes, I had totally forgot about purchasing Danish milk. What was the brand?

That the Americans had their own dairy herds doesn't surprise me in the least....The American troops were not known, and still are not known, for their willingness to at all "assimilate" anything from local population. Always were highly isolationist with huge bases, American dollars only, Howard Johnson hotels on base (with its distincitive faux-Colonial facade), flying in meat, etc from the USA etc. We always thought them a bit odd LOL
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dandc
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Places Served : tidworth, fallingbostle, detmold, hongkong, minden
Registration date : 2009-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   7/7/2009, 14:58

it is not a so much a single smell or a particular sound that reminds me of my times in germany,it could be anything at any time, the smurfs candyfloss at a fairground,stale beer when you pass a pub early morning,and best of all hot apple pie covered in cream.
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Stephen Lock
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   7/7/2009, 21:22

Thanks, dandc...I agree, it doesn't have to be anything specific.

You mention the smell of candyfloss at a fairground...yes! Whenever i catch that sugary scent on a breeze I am immediately transported back to wandering around Kirmes in Soest or across the Moehne Dam when it had rows of kiosks along the promenade (apparently those are no longer).

Other seemingly unrelated scents:

The smell of impending rain as storm clouds gather over my head.

The smell of damp earth and leaves after a good rain.

The warm smell of wild vegetation under a hot summer sun.

The smell of hay being harvested.

Diesel oil.

Fresh baked bread/buns.

Certain soaps -- the names of which I cannot now recall but recognize as soon as I catch the scent. One was a soap available on the German market, a green soap (also available in blue, if I recall) with white streaks through it....oh,I remember! It was called Fa. The product was available in Canada for a time but I have not seen it recently.
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bob
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   8/7/2009, 19:37

The first place I lived after I got married was a private hiring above a bakery. The smell of baking bread first thing in the morning.........................hmmmm.
I remember Fa soap and Badedas Bubble bath/ shower gel Got myself some two years ago when I went back for a visit. Keep it well hidden and use it now and then.
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graham wright
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   8/7/2009, 21:44

the smell of zenf on a hot frikkadelle..mmmm...graham..
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dandc
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Registration date : 2009-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   8/7/2009, 22:03

my first hiring was on a farm in the village of krelingen just outside fally, yes you guessed the bedroom was next to the byre, summer was a bummer that year [1969]
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donald
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Registration date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   9/7/2009, 15:35

I think these memories work both ways.I was in UK last month,the fiSo hats off to UK drivers!rst time for many years,and passing a fish and chip shop was just impossible for me.I also enjoyed driving on the motorways,much more civil drivers,hardly got overtaken in the 2500km I drove.Here if they buy a car that does 250km per hour,then thats what its gonna do on the Autobahn.So hats off to UK drivers!
------
Don
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donald
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Registration date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   9/7/2009, 15:37

My last must have got caught in a flash of lightening or something????
------
Don
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Hardrations
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Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
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Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   10/7/2009, 00:21

I just remembered a sound that reminds me of Germany. It's the sound of window shutters being rolled up or down. Odd that, seeing as I have those on my house here in Winnipeg. Best things going for some body doing mid-nights. Also help keep the house cool in summer and heat in during the winter.
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Stephen Lock
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Places Served : Father -- Canadian Army. Served Hemer, Soest, and Wetter
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   10/7/2009, 01:22

We have a few houses here in Calgary (also Canada for the rest of you bunch :->) that have those rollies...I am still surprised there aren't more homes built with them as they are an excellent idea...keep a room nice and dark, great for privacy, great for security, and as Hardrations mentions, great for insulation. In some parts of Canada the summers can be brutally hot (and of course our winters are Siberian!).

Speaking of sounds...church bells. Now, most cities and towns here have nowhere near the concentration of churches German cities and towns do, so any pealing that occurs is but a tepid copy of what I remember being downtown in Soest at around 6pm when all 7 churches in the city, mostly Catholic but a few Lutheran as well, would start tolling (for vespers at the Catholic churches and whatever the Lutheran version of Evensong is).

I remember driving through some city with my parents on one of our weekend jaunts enroute to our hotel and being downtown when all the bells started tolling. My mom rolled down her window and the entire interior of the car was filled with the sound of big bronze bells. Fantastic.

During our 2nd tour, we lived for awhile in a very small village near the Sorpesee called Mellen. We lived in two dinky rooms upstairs (a kitchen and one bedroom. I slept on a horsehair divan in the kitchen). Outside our kitchen window was the house's backyard/small orchard, and right smack next to that was the village church.

The first night we were there we were all feeling kind of down; this place was a dump! Suddenly the bells tolled the hour -- Bong, bong, bong, bong.....BONG!!! 1 'bong' for each quarter hour and then a different 'bong' for the actual hour. It startled the hell out of us, first off, but we started laughing. The months we lived there (4 or something; I forget) we were treated to those damn bells going off every freakin' 15 minutes!! After a few days, frighteningly enough, we didn't even notice.

As an aside, on the other side of us, just out the front door and below my parents' bedroom window, was the local gasthof.

Mom, who was quite the one for a turn of phrase (dad was pretty quiet, all in all), used to comment that our little abode was smack dab in the middle of sin and salvation.
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PostSubject: Re: Sounds and Smells of Deutschland   18/7/2009, 10:07

Never heard of "wasser " brotchen, but kase brotchen, now you are talking.

What about the smell of the imbiss downstairs in Karstadt in Munster or bratties etc anywhere.

Come to think it ,of that perfume smell as you went into Karstadts.

On the subject of those roller blinds. I had them in a hiring in Wolbeck in Munster. Tried cleaning them for march-out. What a disaster and a waste of a Sunday when I could have been at the "Kafe und Kuchen " in the Konditorie
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