tger greenhaddock: Ascension Day

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascension Day

Today it is Ascension Day, the day when Christ allegedly ascended to heaven. In Germany it is known as Christi Himmelfahrt and is a public holiday. It is also the day that Germans celebrate Fathers day, where groups of men go into the woods and drink copious amounts of beer. I am stuck here in work. It’s not so bad really as shift workers here in Germany are paid a tax free allowance, which is quite generous on a public holiday. I also haven’t drunk any alcohol in over 4 months so I won’t be missing the beer either. I’ve not quit drinking, it’s that I just can’t be bothered with it at the moment.

The best place to be celebrating Ascension Day would of course be Ascension Island which is situated just south of the equator in the Atlantic Ocean. It was named after the recorded date of its discovery. I spent 3 years working there in the 1980’s at a Satellite Earth Station which handled the Island’s international telecommunications and NASA circuits for the islands shuttle tracking station. I had good time. I did a lot of scuba diving, played a lot of golf (quite badly), fished as often as I could and drank rather a lot of beer.

It wasn’t all plain sailing as the island was rather small and quite often the small town mentality prevailed. I had my moments on the island, including crashing the company car whilst heavily under the influence, which later ended up with me spending the night in jail after assaulting the Chief of Police. Not something I’m proud of but it happened. Incidentally I learned my lesson and I have not driven a car after drinking since. But at the time on the island it was ok to do so unless you had an accident. Weird I know but that’s how it was. Time I think now for a nice cup of tea!

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Blogger Paula the Surf Mom said...

You beat up the Police chief?

I liked Ascension Island it had some pretty good surfing but it is certainly a 'company island' and the only good place to hang out is the Volcano Club

May 17, 2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Maribeth said...

I sure don't miss the days when I was drinking at all. I quit 6 years ago when I was put on medication that simply doesn't allow me to drive.
I've become quite the tea lady!

May 17, 2007 1:25 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

I love hearing about traditions in other countries. Interesting stuff.

May 17, 2007 6:15 PM  
Blogger Franx Budi said...

I Love your blog..Sir

May 17, 2007 6:40 PM  
Blogger Mike B said...

I lived on Terceira in the Azores, so I know what you're saying. It was a little bigger than Ascension, but not much. We used to say that once you got on "The Rock" you never got off it, but oddly enough I've always looked back very kindly on my island time. Didn't assault any local police however, but the memories are good nonetheless.

May 17, 2007 11:36 PM  
Anonymous sir jorge said...

wow, you've taught me something new today, I never heard of this day.

May 18, 2007 12:06 AM  
Blogger Haddock said...

Paula - I only punched him! :) Yeah it is a Company run island which was quite restrictive at times. I had some good times at the Volcano club, even if I was banned from there for a little while :)

Maribeth - I've done enough drinking over the years. It just doesn't appeal to me anymore :)

Anthony - Thanks for stopping by. Ascension was was quite an intersting place - but not for too long! :)

Franx budi - Thanks for your kind words :)

Mikeb - Nice to see you again. I have always fancied a trip to do some diving and fishing in the Azores. Incidently Ascension was referred to as 'The Rock' as well. I have fond memories of the place but my 3.5 year stint felt a bit too long at times! :)

Sir Jorge - I am glad to have been of service! :)

May 18, 2007 8:58 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

3 years on Ascension! Wow - how did you cope?

May 18, 2007 11:34 AM  
Blogger ROGUE GUNNER said...

Thanks for dropping by my Blog. I was stationed in Dortmund Northern Germany. I preferred the beauty of Southern Germany and Bavaria, the beer wasn’t to bad either.


May 18, 2007 3:51 PM  
Blogger Ex-Shammickite said...

Haddock: Yes I knew both Kay and Ron Woods, I remember him playing football for Shammick, their shirts were pale blue and dark red.
I went to school with their son David.
You're right.... small world!

May 19, 2007 4:17 AM  
Blogger christina said...

And you seem like such a mild-mannered guy. :-)

May 19, 2007 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Yeah, that's what I was thinking... mild-mannered. Now I'm thinking 'still waters...' :)

What is up with this go into the woods and get drunk Father's Day tradition anyway! Wonder if there's something weird I was supposed to do on Mother's Day and I missed it...

Respect for punching the police chief, you wild thang you! :D

May 20, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

Here in Denmark we also celebrated Kristi Himmelfart. Himmel"fart" must be rather funny when you are German/English... I hope you enjoyed the holidays.

I looked at a map of Australia and found something named Shark Bay... The closest city was named something similar to Carnivore...

May 22, 2007 12:44 PM  
Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Ahhh, the young years! I'm impressed that you whacked the chief of police. Thank goodness we get wiser as we get older. ;)

May 22, 2007 6:29 PM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

I'll drink to that!

May 23, 2007 1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Haddock, I have been directed to your blog by forces beyond my control and I discovered this:

the day when Christ allegedly ascended to heaven

Allegedly, what do you mean allegedly, it is stated quite clearly in the bible that our Lord God ascended to heaven, so please stop pedalling your pseudo socialist babble and stick to amusing stories about vegetables.

May 23, 2007 9:16 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

That's some story. I must admit you surprised me with that! Tea is good.

May 23, 2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger Haddock said...

Jeremy Jacobs - With lots of beer! :)

Rogue Gunner - The beer is certainly good here in Germany! :)

Ex-Shammickite - My dad mentioned that David took over ownership of the beaches from his dad :)

Christina - You've got to watch out for the quiet mild mannered ones! :)

Lisa - or Murky waters! :)

Nan - Any word with Fahrt in it makes me laugh! :)

CS - I'm still waiting on the wiser bit! Its good to get the reckless years over and done with when one is young! :)

Martin - Cheers! :)

Nonnie Mouse - I know where you live! :)

L.L.Barkat - Life without surprises would be dull! :)

May 24, 2007 12:48 AM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

interesting post! I forgot about this day, wishing we had it off also!

May 30, 2007 9:57 PM  

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