Monthly Archives: May 2016

Back to School

The school holidays have just started for the kids. But for me school has just started. My youngest daughter has decided she can’t put up with my German any more and gave me a grammar lesson this morning. It was the proper thing with a small test and then some homework. I did reasonably well – just one error. Continue reading

Steel Avalanche

No cycling for me this morning. I am going soft. The temperature has plunged, it has rained heavily all day but more importantly Ariane doesn’t work on Fridays so I had nobody to “encourage” me to cycle in. It’s also been a very long week with a few late nights at work, so I talked myself into driving instead. I’m glad I did – it was horrible all day. Continue reading


Before I get started, there is now a link on the right hand side of this blog (or at the bottom of the page if you are on a smartphone) where you can enter your e-mail address and then press follow. You will get an update every time I post something new.

No cycling for me today. I had to drive to Mannheim and give a sales presentation to 25 disinterested insurance employees who had just endured 2 hours of powerpoint slides before my slot. Still, I like a challenge and in the end it went well. It rained all morning, so I wasn’t too upset about missing the cycling either. Continue reading


Something very German happened on the cycle in to work yesterday. Just as we were approaching a nice downhill tarmac section in the forest, a small road-sweeping machine was coming the other way. The council had actually sent somebody out to sweep a path through the forest. Ariane was delighted, this would mean that stone chippings, leaves and twigs would no longer be on the path so she could increase her cornering speed even further. Continue reading


The ride into work this morning should have been a real pleasure. The sun was shining, it was a comfortable 15 degrees and the forest trails were all bone-dry so the bikes roll a little easier. I was really looking forward to it. I don’t know why, but Ariane seemed to have her racing legs on this morning and soon overtook me and set a hard pace. Continue reading

Shopping Trolley Dilemma

Summer has not only arrived, it’s unpacked a large suitcase and decided to hang around for a week. We are enjoying the fifth day of cloudless skies and high temperatures. It’s now so warm that we are going to the beach today. The beach in question is, in fact, “Sky Beach” in Stuttgart ( . It’s a rooftop bar, and every spring they transport a few tonnes of sand up there and along with cocktails and deckchairs manage to create a summer feeling in the middle of the city. We could have gone down to the open-air pool here in Schönaich, but considering that only two weeks ago I was scraping ice off the car windscreen in the morning we think the water will still be a little cold. Continue reading


Ariane has flown off to Dublin for a couple of days on a girls’ trip with her friend Corina – which makes me a so-called Strohwitwer (literally a straw-widower). We use this expression whenever the husband is left alone for a few days. Tomorrow is a bank holiday – Father’s Day over here – so I am hoping that I will be able to have lie in and then have breakfast made for me. In anticipation of the easy day tomorrow, I have allowed the kids to watch some TV this evening and cracked a couple of beers myself. I may even have a whisky when they’ve gone to bed. Continue reading

Politics and Religion

It’s common knowledge that if you want to have a pleasant evening with friends, don’t talk about politics or religion. Well last night Ariane and I went out for a drink with 5 of our co-workers (a minor celebration as our company broke even in April) and the subject quickly turned to politics and religion. The good news is that we still had a pleasant evening and even though we didn’t all see eye to eye, we had a really good open discussion. As most of the people at the table were a good 25 years younger than me I was really impressed at their attitudes. It was a little disarming and I couldn’t properly fill my traditional role of grumpy old man – they were all so reasonable and articulate. The young aren’t what they used to be. Continue reading


The working month of May began pleasantly. Ariane was feeling a little under the weather so specifically asked that we cycle slowly into work. I didn’t need asking twice. And so we set off at a leisurely pace along the forest trails. The sun was shining and the ground was drying out. The leaves and grass had that extra green appearance you get when the sun is shining after spring rain. You can almost sense nature saying “right, winter has finally buggered off and we are going on an all-out growing frenzy before it gets too hot.” Continue reading