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.

The sun was shining, so I set up the breakfast table outside and got nearly everything ready before the girls appeared. Coffee and fresh rolls on a sunny morning, feeling a little smug because I’d already had some exercise, was a great way to start the day. We have a small “Terasse” (patio) behind the house which is partially covered and walled in on two sides. We used to have the traditional Bavarian”Eckbank” (corner bench) and “Bauerntisch” (farmer’s table) there. But a few years ago we (ie. Ariane) decided that we’d like a more relaxed atmosphere down there so we now have a sort of outdoor corner-sofa and a coffee table instead. I’m sitting there writing this.

I decided that now we had got rid of this old-fashioned furniture, we needed to change the name of our patio to “chill-out zone”. The Germans know the expression “chill-out” and even use it in one of their ugly hybrid words. If something is particularly relaxed or laid-back it might get described as “chillig”. But not in my house, hopefully. Anyway, a couple of years ago in order to christen the chill-out zone and pretend that we weren’t really over forty, I went out and bought some alco-pops at the local “Penny-Markt” (a down-market version of Aldi). My reasoning was that our chill-out zone made us seem cooler and younger. And young people drink alco-pops. I even downloaded a “chilled sounds” playlist to complete the picture.

The evening was a partial success. As usual I made sure the meat on the barbecue was really well done. I certainly killed any salmonella bacteria, along with most of the flavour. The alco-pops were sickly sweet but we did get tipsy quite quickly. Unfortunately I couldn’t really sit still for long because the chilled sounds music had a lot of waves or rippling water sounds on it and I kept having to get up for a pee. So between picking burnt bits of meat off the grill and going to the toilet I wasn’t really able to relax. At some stage later on, the kids went to sleep and I could put my feet up on the chill-out sofa and enjoy a small whisky. We switched the music back to proper songs and decided that it’s OK to act your age after all.

Now I’ve moved my chill-time to the morning. The girls are out shopping with Ariane, I have done my weekly run to the recycling center (big, satisfying load this week) and I have nearly finished my blog! In a minute I will be sitting back with a coffee and listening to the summer sounds – birdsong, a distant lawn-mower and every now and then some awful bass-y hip-hop eminating from a souped-up VW Golf with the windows down. My mind will be quiet and free – except for the niggling thought that my tax return has to be in by the end of May and I haven’t started…

Keep chillin’ und bis morgen!


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