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posted by Rob alias Silver Linings on Wednesday 15th of June 2011 02:57:46 PM

(continued) Drinks? Of course, the laws in respect of drinking were different from those of the UK, and that was just as well; Ursel looked a few years older than her 17 years, but Klara at 13 could never pass for more than the bonnie child she was. No complaints there then, except that an unexpected drizzle would make a stroll short-lived. However, I took my trusted, well-worn nylon cagoule from my rucksack and unrolled it while the girls were taking their raincoats from the cupboard in the hall. Had I ever seen this type of rainwear before? I found it difficult to think that I hadn’t, given that I was always alert to the outerwear that women were wearing, but even if I had done so subconsciously, this close encounter was certainly a first. I was enthralled to see Ursel holding her dark grey mac open before sliding her bare arms into the sleeves and buttoning it up as Klara draped her darker grey rubber cape over her shoulders, thrusting her hands through the side slits. In the variable drizzle the four of us walked for about a mile through the semi rural neighbourhood. I was pleased that Alan spent most of his time talking to Klara in her own tongue, leaving Ursel to practice her English on me, while I was able to feast my eyes on her wonderful rainwear. When we arrived at the Bayerische Gasthof and she removed the dripping coat, and I took it to the coat-rack and hung it alongside my caggie, which gave me the opportunity to feel the fabric and inspect its fluted yoke. Drinks magically appeared and as I sank half of the stein in one swallow I was wondering how best to ask Ursel about it when she asked - “Do you like my new Klepper.” “Pardon? Klepper?” “My new coat. That is a Klepper. You don’t have in England?” “Not in Wales, anyway. It’s rubber, isn’t it?” “Gummi, ja, but it has . . . baumwolle . . . inside.” - Cotton said the dictionary. “How . . . ?” “Rubber, coaton, rubber!” – Trust the Brits to do it the other way around. – “here in Germany very many mens and womens have Klepper coats. The Fabrik (factory) is near to us.” And so it went on between more normal items of conversation; detachable hoods, ventilation, Klara’s cape which was one of her own cast-offs and a popular choice for children. Anyway, Ursel seemed very pleased with it and made having a new Klepper mac at her age sound like a Rite of Passage. I’d like to think that it was as just seeing it, even if it was a tad too large for her figure, pleased me as well. Before we got back home I even managed to give her a ‘cwtch’ (Welsh for cuddle, but who needs cuddles when you can cwtch!) in her mac and gave thanks for a wonderful evening. (to be continued)

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