Americans

Yesterday I woke up with hayfever and wished that it would stop. The fairy godmother must have been listening because my wish came true. I have only the mildest discomfort today – no sneezing and only faintly itchy eyes. I found out that hayfever symptoms recede when it rains for two days non-stop.

The bad weather has kept the family inside for most of the weekend. My attempts to motivate them were not succesful. I suggested the modern art gallery in Stuttgart. Nope. I thought that one of the girls might want to caddy for me on the golf course. In the rain. Nope. Even going to the cinema in Böblingen didn’t work. I would have pushed harder on the cinema, but I found out that the film they wanted was a “12” certificate so I would have had to go in with them. Sometimes they want to see films that I don’t mind seeing, but “The Huntsman and the Ice Queen” is just too much to ask.

Ariane and I did eventually go out for a walk in the drizzle. It was pretty grim. No wind to blow the cobwebs away but at least we got some fresh air. We walked along our favourite road in Schönaich – Kelterweg. It’s at the top of the village and there are some nice houses along there. It would be a lovely place to live. There are a couple of reasons why this isn’t likely to happen quickly. We can’t afford it and there are no houses for sale anyway.

We own a moderately sized end-terrace with a tiny garden. It’s a nice house and we are happy here. But… I would love to have a detached house with a bit more garden and a view. This isn’t so easy to find in Schönaich. In Germany a large proportion of houses are built to contain two or more flats. A true “Einfamilienhaus” (one family house) is not so easy to find. And if you can find them, they are expensive.

If you are lucky enough to own a detached house with a decent sized garden, you probably don’t want to sell it at the moment, either. There is a large American military base close by (we cycle past it on the way to work) and they pay comparitively high rents especially for detached houses with gardens. I am told that the US Government also covers all the heating and running costs so if the house is a little older, or poorly insulated (which would make it difficult to sell to a German buyer) it doesn’t matter. Uncle Sam will pick up the cost. This state of affairs has kept the price of larger, older houses very high around here.

I read that Donald Trump has been complaining about how much it costs to keep the US Military in various NATO countries around the world. He thinks that the “host” countries should pay more of the bill and if they don’t, then the US will pick up its skirt in a huff and get out quickly. I’ve suddenly become a Donald Trump supporter! If they did close the base nearby, then house prices would crash around here and I could afford to scale up. OK, so that might not be the best reason to put a maniac in the Whitehouse, but give me a break – it has been raining all day.

Bis morgen!

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