Monthly Archives: May 2016

In or Out?

My friend Rick has asked me how Germany would vote at the moment if there was a referendum on EU membership. The answer is easy. Germany would vote overwhelmingly to stay in. The answer is easy at the moment because we are not going to have a referendum. And this means that unlike Rick and the poor residents of Britain, we are not being subjected to a ridiculous media and political “bun-fight” (Rick’s words). Continue reading


We are well and truly into the barbecue season now. Not a day goes by without catching a whiff of burning meat from one of the neighbours’ garden. Or our garden. Worse still not a day goes by without me hearing an immensely irritating radio advert for a particularly repulsive type of grill-sausage called “Bratmaxe”. Continue reading


I am in Cologne today on business. The Germans call it Köln, but the locals call it Kölle. Like most German towns it was bombed heavily during the war, but they left the famous cathedral wih its impressive twin spires. It is said that the Allies left it standing because it was an excellent navigation aid. Turn left to bomb the industrial Ruhr valley, turn right to bomb the bridges and ports further down the Rhine. Continue reading


My friend, Alan, pointed out to me that he thought the German football league promotion and relegation system is fairer than the English system. Let me explain – the bottom two teams in the German first division go down, and the top two teams in the second division go up. Then third from bottom in the first division plays against the third from the top in the second division. Whoever wins that game gets to go (or stay) into the first division. That’s it. So if you’re in the top 2 you are definitely going up, and if you are third you get a chance. Nice and simple, nice and fair.  Continue reading


It is only a week since we were nearly freezing down in the Allgäu, but today the heat has well and truly arrived. The thermometer is nudging 30° C in Southern Germany – everyone is out in shorts and the unmistakeable whiff of barbecues fills the air. It’s also perfect “Freibad-Wetter”. (open-air-pool weather). As soon as the days get hot, thousands of Germans head off to the various pools in the area. Every town will have one – usually a couple of pools surrounded by a big grassy area. Some of them have long slides and all of them will have a kiosk serving sausages, chips and ice cream. Continue reading


The more observant readers will notice that I always sign off with “Bis morgen!”, which means “until tomorrow”, and then sometimes I don’t write anything on the next day. I have been guilty of that this week – very, very busy at work and even though I had the time to write (you always have the time) my brain was too tired. Sorry about that. Yesterday evening, though I began the recharging process. Watched the new Star Wars film with the kids and this morning I got up at the crack of dawn to play a round of golf. I was finished before 8:00 so I swung by the baker’s and bought some fresh pretzels and rolls. Continue reading


I am now onto blog post number 64, and I still haven’t really spoken about the war. I suppose it’s about time I had a go at tackling those unspoken questions. How did it happen? Do Germans feel guilty? Does it get spoken about, or covered up? Could it have happened somewhere else? Will it happen again? I used to be able to ask these questions with a little distance. But then I got married and we produced two half-German children so now the answers are more than just “a bit interesting” for me. Were they born with some pre-loaded holocaust guilt? Has some rubbed off on me after living here for half my life? Continue reading


Ariane is off work this week, due to the school holidays, so I have to ride in on my own. As I spend less time just trying to keep up, and can ride at my own slightly less sweaty speed, I also pay more attention to the surroundings. The cold and very rainy spell has passed and it has dried up quickly. Continue reading


A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the cold spell known as the Eisheiligen (read about it here). Well this year it really has come true. Today is officially the last of the 5 Ice Saints’ Days and they have been cold, wet and windy – coinciding nicely with the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend. We drove down to see a friend in the Allgäu. There was lots of snow on the mountains and the temperature was just above freezing in the valley. Continue reading


Oh dear Germany. Now you know what it feels like being an England football supporter during the World Cup. I watched the Eurovision Song Contest last night – up until the voting. What a surprise to wake up this morning and see Germany in last place! It all seems a bit harsh. OK, the German entrant “Jamie Lee” did dress up as a Pokemon and squeak her way through a rubbish song but silly costumes and bad songs were a common theme last night so I thought she might have at least made mid-table. Continue reading