Me and My Friends

I spent a lot of my childhood summer holidays in the little village of Warbeyen, on the German Lower Rhineland. For some reason, I didn't visit there for about 6 years, but finally, in September 2005, I returned there. It was nice to see my friend Bianca again, with her son Dustin and their pet dog Perle.

Gerry, Bianca, Dustin, Perle, September 2005

And here's one of them, without me, but with Bianca's daughter Anna.

Anna, Bianca, Dustin, Perle, September 2005

Anna is 11, and goes to a very strict convent school. She also has to wear a brace at night, which she hates. She decided it wasn't ugly enough one evening though, so she put on her grandfather's glasses and pulled a particularly horrible face to boot!

Anna's horrible face, September 2005

At the same time, I was looking pretty, having just been to Church with Anna and having decided to bring a bit of London class to this little Rhenish village.

Gerry in tie, September 2005

My friend Berni is the chairman of the local Heimatverein, and they had their 'thank you' party for volunteers when I was over there. I was invited along, and I learned about some very important old German traditions.

Traditions!, September 2005

Klara and Jürgen taught me a lot about those German traditions. Before I could take the photo, tradition said we had to make the circle of shot bottles full, as well as drinking lots of beer. So, you understand, the photo looked perfectly sharp and in focus at the time. Then we drank more shots and ate more sausage.

Klara and Jürgen, September 2005

Of course, when I was there, I made sure to visit my high speed morse code pals - like Bernd, DJ5BR. Who's that ugly mug on the computer screen?

Bernd in shack, September 2005

Ah, the photo Bernd had taken a moment before. Aren't digital cameras wonderful?

Gerry in DJ5BR's, September 2005

Anne and Berni are like a second set of parents to me. They were sad to see me off at Düsseldorf Airport. Pity about the stupid plastic giraffe.

Bernie and Anne at Düsseldorf, September 2005

Then I went off to Berlin, where I continued to indulge my narcissistic tendencies outside the Reichstag.

At the Reichstag, September 2005

This was en route to Riga, where I met up with my friend John. We grew up in the same part of Belfast, and we're still in touch even though we're a long way apart these days.

John in Riga, September 2005

We were sitting at Riga's most expensive tea shop in the lovely band of parks that seperates the Old City from the Inter-war part of Riga. Just after John took this photo of me, we abandoned the over priced Earl Grey and hit the pub for some cheap beer!

Gerry in Riga, September 2005

Later on, I met John's lovely Latvian girlfriend Ilina.

John and Ilina, September 2005

Another fun thing that autumn was my friend Charlie's birthday party. Charlie was one of the first friends I made in London, and he's still one of my closest ones.

Gerry and Charlie, November 2005

Claire is a friend I met through Charlie, and she was there too. She certainly knows how to pose for a photo!

Claire, November 2005

Paul is another old, old, friend from Belfast. We went to the same secondary school and I used to play Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons in his house every Friday after school. Paul now lives in London too, and although he isn't a ham, he climbs up on my roof to help me put aerials up. That's friendship, especially when the roof is 30 metres above the ground! Despite appearances, he likes his beer too, our Paul.

Paul, Ocotber 2005

Duncan is another ham friend, and his callsign is M0KGK. We met through the realops mailing list, and as we only work a few miles from each other, we sometimes meet up for a beer after work. Here we are at the Kempton Park Radio Rally.

G0RTN and M0KGK, November 2005

At home at Christmas, I had a drink or three with friends GI3OBO and GI0PCU at 'OBO's house.

GI3OBO and GI0PCU, December 2005

Then a monster New Year's Party at GI0PCU's - from left to right, Susan (GI0SSA's YL), Keith GI0SSA, Alan GI0PCU, Davey GI3OBO and Nicky EI9JP.

GI0SSA's YL, GI0SSA, GI0PCU, GI3OBO and EI9JP, January 2006

None of this wild partying stopped Nicky, EI9JP, and I running a big pileup the next day using GI0PCU's 40m four-square. Nicky is rapidly becoming a fearsomely good CW contest/DXpedition operator, having only started using the mode seriously in early 2005.

GI0RTN and EI9JP run the pileups

Of course, not everything in life revolves around amateur radio. Honest. My friend Chris comes with me to Kensington Gardens, and helps me set up my wildlife photographs.

Crhis, November 2005

As I said, I have a narcissism thing going on, so I like taking self-portraits of myself looking terribly grand. Pity my landlord has several strangely angled mirrors in my living room which don't help in taking pictures.

Gerry, November 2005

I also like taking self-portraits which are downright strange!

Gerry in Shadow, November 2005

Last updated 23 Janaury 2006.

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