Saturday. The kids both had friends staying over last night, so that meant a late and copious breakfast after my morning walk to the bakery. Rain had set in for the weekend but at least the hayfever has disappeared. After breakfast, it was time to get some work done – first recycling and then a few odd jobs around the house which could be put off no longer.
The Saturday ritual of going to the tip went surprisingly smoothly today. The layout is such that there are limited number of parking spots in the middle with all the different containers around the edges. It’s usually a bit of wait to get a parking spot and sometimes if I don’t have much rubbish, I park outside. Every now and then you’ll also get someone with a van or a trailer behind a tractor blocking everyone in so it can be a good move to park outside. But today the recycling gods smiled upon me and I got pole position right next to the cardboard and paper skips. I was all done in 2 minutes. As I pulled out, sure enough a large van full of mouldy wooden pallets appeared and I bet it blocked the place for ages. I escaped just in time and as pathetic as it seems, it felt like a small victory for me. Next stop – the giant DIY store, OBI.
I have already mentioned that Germans, and especially the Swabians, are excellent handymen. The DIY stores reflect this. My Dad loves visiting us so that he can go to OBI. The giant array of tools and useful bits and bobs is amazing. I only needed a clamp, some glue and a couple of washers but I can never resist having a walk around. There are hundreds of things which I don’t quite need but if I had unlimited space and a bit more money I’d love to buy. The “profi” tool section is particularly exciting (at least for people who think getting a good parking spot at the tip is quite something).
I came back with my bits and bobs and bodge-fixed a couple of dodgy doorframes and a leaky tap. Ariane and I also borrowed our neighbour’s high-pressure cleaner and blasted a bit of mold away outside the house. By lunchtime I had done the recycling run and fixed what needed to be fixed and even remembered to get a new battery for the TV remote. I felt pretty pleased with myself and as there was no pressure to “get some fresh air” with the kids there was time to read the news.
Turns out today is the 500th anniversary of the German beer purity law. Angela Merkel had been to Ingolstadt in Bavaria to mark the occasion. I had always thought that this was something Germany could really be proud of – after all, beer is much better without chemicals. Then I found out that the reason the law was created was not so that boozy Germans would be spared an even worse headache, but rather that the people didn’t waste valuable crops on brewing beer and use them for bread instead. Still, I like the law even if it was created for the wrong reasons.