Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Laura Dekker at Bürgerkulturzentrum Windeck - Part 2
Photo_Chr.-Lagemann_ S-Spillmann_Th-Weber

On October 6, 2013, Laura gave a presentation about her circumnavigation at Bürgerkulturzentrum Windeck “Kabelmetal” in Windeck-Schladern (Germany).

Please enjoy!

For the full text undivided in parts, maybe you will need to login to Blogger using your Google+ account:




Part 1: www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=589664867779434&set=a.129781350434457.34545.129715607107698

Early – too early – on Monday September 23, 2013, I called Mr Schadel, the event manager. We made an appointment for half past 11 for coffee/tea at his flat. With the BILD am Sonntag newspaper interview with Laura in my pocket I walked over to Mr Schadel’s flat. At first I had to tell about my relation to Laura. We talked about possible dates, the entrance fee, Laura’s honorarium and advertising the conference. We finally agreed on October 6 at 18.00 (Mr Schadel: “Not later than that. There’s ‘Tatort’ on TV at a quarter to eight and many want to watch it”) and 14 Euro entrance fee. For advertising because time was very short, I promised to strongly engage myself on the internet and in the production and distribution of the event bill. But first Mr Schadel had to ask the owners of the hall for permission which was but a mere formality. On September 24 the owners granted permission and we finally had the green light for the event.

Preparations 1

First there had to be a bill created for the event. Happily, the Delius Klasing publishing house agreed on the use of one of the photos from Laura’s book. I quickly created a simple and nice bill. Because of our small budget and lack of time big prints of the bills was out, and so they were to be done in A4 size and printed on Mr Schadel’s home laser printer.

On the morning of Sepember 26, I picked up the first prints that I immediately sent to my acquaintance in Siegen so he could distribute them. Also spokesman Mr Orthaus asked me to deliver a press release as soon as possible. So I quickly wrote a text about Laura and her presentation and created a PDF file that contained the bill, the press release, a journey description and a few links as well. I also sent that file to Laura’s father and asked him to make it available for downloading on Laura’s website.
As if that wasn't enough I had to travel to Hamburg to attend the official presentation of Laura’s book that same evening, which I really had not enough time for because of the preparation of our event.

Another problem was the sale of Laura’s book after her presentation at Bürgerkulturzentrum. Sadly, the publishing house could not provide books for sale on commission and I was snobbed when I asked at a bookstore in the neighboring village if they could organize the book sale. Eventually, I was lucky when I received a call from a small book store in the nearby district town of Waldbröl, whose owner spontaneously agreed to provide 25 books for our event. Her phone call came in only minutes before I went rushing to Hamburg for the book presentation at the Hamburger Segelclub.


In a nutshell: I was already late going and got stuck in a traffic jam not far from Hamburg and was an hour late for the book presentation. Luckily I had enough time for a chat with Laura’s boyfriend Daniel (he was born in the city of Bonn, about 40 kilometers from where I grew up) and with Laura who I had not met since March 2012 in Amsterdam. She was very happy with the preparations for our event the next week, and she also liked our bill. The Delius Klasing publishing house gave me a big box with several hundreds postcards promoting Laura’s book and a poster of “Ein Mädchen, ein Traum”. I still had to drive back home that very same night and at about 4 o’clock in the morning I was back in Windeck.

Preparations 2

In the morning of September 27, I picked up the second edition of bills for Laura’s event from Mr Schadel. Then it was all about “being on the knocker” (going door-to-door) to post the bills in as many stores and strategically favorable places in my village and the neighboring villages. Of course, many people had heard of Laura and probably had seen her on TV in the past weeks or had read the interview on BILD am Sonntag newspaper, so mostly I had positive reactions like “What?! SHE is coming here?!?! That‘s a doozie!!!“ at local hardware store. All in all I was sent away only two times. And I wrote plenty of mails to yacht clubs in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Hessen and Rheinland Pfalz, and to other places not too far from the venue. Of course, ‘Zeilmeisje’ on Facebook was also involved in the advertising.

That is how I filled my days until the event. I must say honestly, I was pretty upset with Laura’s father stubborn refusal to post the event’s bill and the PDF file on the homepage of Laura’s website. Instead just a rather small and easy to overlook link was placed there and it lead to Laura’s blog pages where the text rewritten by Laura’s father used extracts of my text and changed them without having consulted me. To my many remarks indicating that my text couldn’t be posted like that with so many mistakes, Laura’s father replied in a stroppy (curtly) way. For an unknown reason he seemed unable to understand the relation between advertising for the event with attendance at the event and income for Laura - well, I confess that I am powerless with people who are closed to all suggestions.

On October 1st I picked up the ordered books from the book store in Waldbröl. A few days prior to the event I saw that my press release had been printed in the Windeck municipality bulletin.

October 6, 2013

On Sunday morning October 6, everything was set. I had spent all Saturday in my kitchen preparing dinner for this day. My visitors arrived at half past 11 and we spent time chatting while waiting for Laura and Daniel to join us. Around noon the phone rang. The small screen on the phone displayed a number from Bonn - I knew Laura and Daniel had stayed there before during Laura’s stay in Germany - I had a bad feeling. I remembered that later in the afternoon at around 16.30 we had planned to meet with spokesman Jürgen Orthaus, who would also act as the moderator for the event at Kabelmetal hall of Bürgerkulturzentrum Windeck. I picked up the phone:



_This is Daniel, Laura’s boyfriend. How are you?

_ I’m fine... (No, please do NOT tell me that something went wrong and the event is not going to happen!).

_I wanted to tell you that we’ll be about one hour late and won’t have lunch, Laura is not feeling well, probably she has an upset stomach.

_OK, but you’ll come anyway, won’t you?

_Yes. See you later!

Well then OK, no venison and Crème brûlée for Laura and Daniel. Pity. So the remaining three of us had dinner without them. We three, that included Christoph, the sailor from Siegen who I had met for the first time at HISWA in Amsterdam in March 2012 after which we had stayed in touch for a year or so via mail, and his girlfriend Silke, and I of course.

14h00, 14h15, 14h30… I looked out the window in the street. At the very same moment an old white van with a Dutch (yellow) number plate and a well-known drawn fish on each side stopped in front of my house, the Guppy-mobile! A minute later I was greeting Laura and Daniel, Laura with a slightly pale face but definitely Laura nonetheless.

_I was asking myself if we were at the right place, but (pointing at Christoph’s car decorated with bills for the event and parked in front of my house) I was sure we were!, Laura said.

-To be continued-

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