THE square in front of the book shop was full of windmills. Different colours, shapes and sizes to fit every conceivable windmill-taste.

The windmill is to the German garden as the gnome to the British, although at least there were not yet any fishing windmills. Despite the slight breeze they were motionless, except for a few rotating with uncanny regularity driven by their electric motors.

From being a source of energy the windmill has been converted into a means of wasting it.

In one corner elaborate electrical preparations with microphone, wires, speakers and amplifiers were taking place, promising enough watts for an ox-roast.

The beer seller was already busy as the tables and seats filled with a waiting audience. Men blew on mikes and counted eins, zwei, drei.

This was a folk event, and an old lady in some traditional fishwife's costume was shelling and selling shrimps, her worn fingers quick with years of practise, but still proud to show her skill to some young girls, and laughing at their amateur attempts.

Then on tripped the "Jolly Sailor Boys", a group neatly got up in some cross between ethnic fishervolk and sailor suits, to perform a species of nautical barbershop, more or less accompanied by an accordion and lukewarm applause from the crowd.

The beer however was cold and cheap and a necessary anaesthetic. I slipped off round the corner only to collapse laughing in front of the pet store at the sight of a hamster caged in a miniature Wild West Saloon. I can almost swear that he was wearing a Deputy's badge and gun.


IN the Indian Village, Joseph bought a head-dress and feather from the Indian Chief. Crow perhaps, I thought, the feather that is, for the closest the Indian had approached the prairies was probably Hamburg (or Homburg?). But even there they say How!

Later on that same day at the wild-life park we watched the peacock displaying his wares to a bored peahen who had so obviously seen it all before. We were more impressed, and Joseph gained his second feather; a peacock's, its eye yellow-green and brown and blue-green and a deepest indigo and magic.


THE Wild West Train had just dieseled out as we stepped across its track into the Fairy Tale Wood and along the pointlessly sinuous path through the densely planted firs.

Pausing at a series of small sheds, children fought to press buttons to illuminate the tableaux, start the tinny music and jerk the occasional puppet into unconvincing action.

Babes in the Wood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and all their cronies waited woodenly to be slightly animated for our benefit.


Photograph © Peter Marshall 1985

Photograph © Peter Marshall 1985

Photograph © Peter Marshall 1985

Photograph © Peter Marshall 1985

 German Indications

  Photographs and text by Peter Marshall

photography and writing are necessarily
fiction-creating enterprises
Any resemblances in this work to actual people places or events
are simply resemblances

Eventually we managed to escape, fingers unpricked, unkissed by frogs and unenchanted, just in time to rush up the hill past the chair lift to nowhere, the shooting gallery and the side-shows to an afternoon snack included in our excursion ticket,

As we tucked into our few thousand calories of cream cakes and coffee, hundreds of pairs of dead eyes watched us from the doleful brown and khaki walls, the horns and antlers of the hunters' grisly hauls.

Perhaps here we were nearer to what the woods were really about. No fairy tale, but what was once an activity essential for survival turned by progress and civilisation into a cruel, unnecessary sport.




All pictures and text © Peter Marshall, 1985, 1997