A good end to a tough week, as my friend Alan has joined us for dinner this evening. Alan is a Geordie, but has been living in Germany since 1988. We met over 20 years ago and manage to get away for a few weekends each year to indulge in our hobby/sport/passion of paragliding. This is our first outing in 2016 and for a change the weather looks excellent. This is not the norm. Usually any weekend we select puts the kiss of death on the weather. Our record was 1500km driving in three countries in a weekend for 15 minutes of flying – Continue reading
Things started well with another ice-cold but sunny ride into the office. I am still feeling a bit peaky and so I was huffing and puffing a bit but at least the last few kilometers are downhill so by the time I got to the office I looked better than I felt. I thought to impress my wife by whizzing through the tight chicane on the steepest bit but unfortunately there Continue reading
Last Sunday the states of Baden-Württemberg, Sachsen-Anhalt and Rheinland-Pfalz held elections for the state parliament. There are 16 states in Germany and their elections are usually out of sync with the national elections which are in turn out of sync with the local council elections. Somewhere in between the European elections take place but nobody really bothers to turn up for them (contrary to Telegraph columnists’ opinions, most Germans are fairly apathetic towards the EU). Continue reading
Well, as hoped, a hot bath and a cheap Nurofen capsule did the trick and after a very sound night’s sleep I am feeling fairly good today already. I’m glad I didn’t go downhill because otherwise I would have missed a meeting in Mannheim which went very well and will help our little firm this summer. I drove up to Mannheim and back – it’s only a little bit more than an hour and as the journey wasn’t long enough for me to really concentrate on listening to a podcast, I listened to the radio. Continue reading
I woke up with a scratchy throat and despite trying to tough it out and just not let myself get a cold… I have got a cold. I got through the working day all right, but this evening feel very empty so time for a hot bath and hopefully tomorrow I will be OK. Various bugs have been doing the rounds and we’ve not had a full house at work for weeks now (and there are only 12 of us). Still, it doesn’t feel too bad and probably a good night’s sleep will see me on the road to recovery. Continue reading
Normal service was resumed today. I was up before the kids and took a morning stroll to the bakers. It’s still cold here and looked like a classic “Hochnebel” day to me. Hochnebel means “high fog” and is used to describe an indistinct grey sky. You can’t actually make out any clouds forms, just a uniform dull and vaguely depressing grey sky. If you are near the mountains on a day like this you will often find that the peaks are in brilliant sunshine while the valleys are miserable under this grey layer. Hochnebel is the perfect word for it. Continue reading
Saturday. The day started well. I didn’t wake up until 7, Ariane made french toast for the kids, there was no need for me to go to the baker’s and I was glad to have a mini lie-in. After breakfast it was off to the recycling centre (not much stuff this week) and then to new shopping center in Böblingen to get some birthday presents and go to the supermarket. There was always a threat of cloud but for most of the morning the sun was out. I even toyed with the idea of having a cup of coffee on our terrace (it’s sheltered and faces south). Continue reading
Nice surprise this morning – my eldest daughter was already awake when I got up and came with me to the bakery at 6:30. The sky was clear, birds were already singing and there was no queue when we got there. All in all, a good start to the day.
We live in a suburb of Stuttgart – a town of about 10,000 residents in a pretty “steady” Continue reading
Good start to the day with the first truly dry and sunny cycle commute. It’s still freezing cold but it makes such a difference having the sun shining through the trees. The icy temperatures mean I am rosy-cheeked and wide awake when I get into the office. The first thing I do is turn on the coffee machine and look forward to that first cup – really feeling as if I’ve earned it.
I clearly remember the first time I tasted coffee. It was during a day sledging at Gott’s Park near Leeds. I was soaking wet, tired out and probably freezing cold but having too much fun to stop for long. Mum got out a hot flask of coffee – probably milky and with sugar – and I was so relieved to taste something warm that I enjoyed it. I was probably about 10. Back then in Yorkshire, all coffee was instant. Nescafe usually, or Nescafe Gold if you were posh. Continue reading
Up early today to beat the traffic and get to Munich in time for my meeting at 10am. I certainly beat the traffic and have arrived an hour and half early. Mind you, I had planned to be early for a couple of reasons. First off, you never know and it doesn’t take much to create an hour-long traffic jam. Secondly, I am visiting a large insurance company (the WWK “Wittwen und Waisen Kasse” – means Widows’ and Orphans’ Society) which has an excellent cafe in its expansive reception area. Not only do they serve real Italian coffee from a noisy machine with lots of dials, but it is served by a real Italian. Continue reading