THE writing will always be on the wall for plague or pestilence in Oberammergau.

Pictorial depictions on the side of buildings chronicle the history of the Bavarian village.

Its inhabitants had reached out to God in 1633 with the pledge of a Passion Play in exchange for deliverance from the Black Death.

On this day back in 2019, six months out from the restaging of the planned Passionsspiele, there is no sense that history might repeat itself and that a new virus will push their play out to 2022.

Normal life proceeds at a gentle pace in the village in the valley below the 4403ft Kofel mountain in the region of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Normal life in Oberammergau even outside of the Passionsspiele is distinctively Bavarian which, of course, means lederhosen.

I’d like to think that the locals have got themselves especially togged out today for our coming!

However, our waitress tells us, as she planks our steins of lager down on our table, that the procession passing our way is to mark the 150th anniversary of their fire service.

There are fire engines through the ages and horse carriages, a brass band and a group of mums in lederhosen, wheeling modern prams and donning sunglasses to shield themselves from the rays.

I sup up my lager and tailgate the procession to get a feel for the village.

I take a detour to visit a church, a simple building but more striking for its basic interior with a solitary cross, small arched stained-glassed windows and a Bible on a chair inviting the visitor to read The Good News.

Well, when in Oberammergau!

I visit the Oberammergau Museum and take a selfie with Jesus of old (well you have to) and measure myself up for one of the robes on display.

I skim through the history on the boards of the Passionsspiele through the centuries, how it was paused during the Spanish Flu, was manipulated by the Nazis, but is now informed with other cultures and religions, embracing Islam in its cast and production.

The appointed hour draws near, though, when I must meet up again with my party, which I do by a fountain (above) in one of the village squares.

I check that I am ahead of time by the hands of the cuckoo clocks in the shops (they are everywhere), give myself a chance to admire the pewter steins and wood carving ornaments and pick myself up a carved staff for my walking adventure to come.

This being Oberammergau, it is no ordinary fountain, carved as it is with a priest brandishing a cross and a faithful flock of parishioners in tow… and a skeleton!

I cast a wistful look back towards the inn where the fire fighters’ procession has stopped off. And I promise that I will return for the Passion Play and, when I do, clink glasses with Jesus, John and Mary.