Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.
"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."
"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
For many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - 1782
English Translation by Edgar Alfred Bowring – 1853
The term “Erlkönig” to describe disguised prototype cars was first used on 19th July 1952 by a German motoring journalist who had spotted the prototype of a Mercedes-Benz 180 which emerged on the market in 1953. The journalist changed the first verse, starting with-:
“Who drives there so fast through rain and wind”
We get to see quite a few of these camouflaged cars, particularly from BMW. Not sure quite why except perhaps that our motorway from Munich to Lake Constance is comparatively quiet and I suspect has fewer speed restrictions. When last in Munich with the grandchildren in July we saw one or possibly two.
Back in the early 1990s, I worked closely with BMW and knew the product range which then consisted of the 3, 5, 7, 8 and sometimes Z series and there weren’t too many different models of each. Possibly around 10-15 in total. Nowadays BMW shows 46 models.
The car has a Munich registration number but gives no clue as to which model. Often reg. numbers eg “M-X-530” which would be a 3 litre X5 SUV, give a clue. Perhaps a 4 or even 8 Coupe? What we get to see on our roads are usually the upgrade/update models that are undergoing small modifications. The real fully new models are tested in the wilds of Lappland, Mojave desert and such places. In Scandinavia, there are whole towns that have specialised in looking after automobile manufacturers testing crews, including preparing roads on their frozen lakes.
I was just parking when the car appeared, on my way to get supplies from the building in the background - Our butcher “Fischbach”, for us the best butcher in town and around. Not the cheapest which was probably why my desired carpark place of choice was taken by the biggest, fattest, gleaming BMW X6 M50 (starting price around € or £ 100,000. Its black rear can just be seen at the nose of the camouflaged car’s nose. It’s the only parking space directly at Fischbach’s.
I was there primarily to get the dog food as Angie was out riding with Mrs MY and wouldn’t be back in time to do it herself as they close for the weekend at midday. I had on the way to Ottobeuren collected up Luna at the halfway point (extra). Also dropped off a bag of plastic at the recycling yard. They have a place set aside where anything considered to still be usable and useful is set aside for anyone to take – books, toys, vinyl & CD records, glasses, pots, kitchen items, decoration. As usual, I left with armfuls including three matching picture frames that I wanted to frame some of my photos. The prints in the frames particularly caught my eye. Back home, I opened them out and saw they were almost certainly previously in the possession of a Brit! One was of a Derbyshire scene by a well known Englishman and another an Italian scene from a well known Frenchman. Both had been cut outs from some old book or artistic English illustrated but sadly the name/date were not there. The third print was clearly also of UK origin, the title being “At Gravelotte”, of a wounded horse and seemingly dead cavalryman. Gravelotte was the biggest battle of the Franco-Prussian War, started by the French in July 1870. The battle was fought on 18th August 1870 with over 30,000 casualties. The Prussians won the battle and by 1871 the war. One of the consequences being the forming of the German State. (Yes, Germany has only existed since 1871)
This evening was the oldies “Let’s Schunkel” (swaying with locked arms, sitting on beer benches) night at the Village Fest. Last night had been the young one’s disco, entrance having to be closed as they reached the maximum allowed 650 people. We heard the thump-thump most of the night but it doesn’t worry me.
Tonight a brass band (extra) Lederhosen and Dirndl. I would have liked to go but for about 15 different reasons didn’t. Angie squeezed herself into her Dirndl with the words – “Balcony too small and Terrace too wide” – perhaps only Germans will understand that one. I drove her over to meet MrsMY, hubby & parents and then gave Luna a good evening walk around the site before returning home – (extra). I had planned a night of plentiful food and drink but it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t touch any alcohol as I said I would collect her. So that put paid to my night.
At 2:00 am the phone rang and I “ drove out there so late through the night dark and drear“ to collect three very well oiled bodies, pouring out MrsMY and hubby on the way home. I got to hear a bit about the typical going-ons at such village events. Angie and I, after 16 years of living here, are still considered to be “exotic”. Basically comes from our location, hidden and isolated property, a mystery for 90% of the population for more than five decades. Still, Angie was able to do some diplomatic work and most notable talk to the son of my (and many others) worst (only) enemy in the village. He apologised profusely for his father’s actions. I have never had a problem with the son and grandson, always showing a hand when passing them on the roads. But I have never met the son personally.