I can’t think of anything good to say about being English in Germany yesterday. You try and put a brave face on it but you soon remember why the word Schadenfreude was invented here. Of course it took about 5 seconds for somebody to come up with the witty comments along the lines of “the second Brexit in a week.” It gets funnier each time I hear it. Which has been a lot. Ha ha. Continue reading
I was thinking of a scene in a film that I couldn’t quite place. In fact it might be in quite a few films. Two jumpy people, perhaps small-time criminals, are holding somebody at gunpoint and arguing. The argument escalates and suddenly, almost by accident, the gun goes off and kills the unwitting hostage. The small-time criminals’ life has suddenly become very serious. The camera pans to the one who wasn’t holding the gun as he gasps with wide-eyed incredulance “What have you done?”. Continue reading
It’s been an exciting week. On Wednesday it was my birthday. The girls all got up early and made an excellent breakfast for me. I then went to work and, in the German tradition, bought everyone breakfast there. I have written before that even grown-ups get excited about birthdays over here so I received lots of calls, texts, mails, facebook messages and even a card. (Thanks Mum)
I had noticed that the weather was perfect for flying (paragliders) on my birthday so at lunch-time I jumped in the car and drove down to the Breitenberg in Pfronten and went flying. The conditions were absolutely perfect and I floated around happily for a couple of hours. I then sped back in the car and was back before eight having a cold drink with Ariane on the patio. The sky was clear and it cooled down nicely as it got dark. A perfect day.
Thursday wasn’t quite so good. I had a meeting in Munich, but got caught for 2 hours in a traffic jam and eventually had to turn around and I discovered during the day that one of the IT programmes we use at work hadn’t been working quite as it should for the past week. As I am our IT „expert“ I tried to fix things but only made them worse. This meant that I spent most of the night making sure that we could at least work semi-productively the next day. At the same time we were migrating another bit of software to another server. That made things a bit more complicated. As if that weren’t enough, we had severe hailstorms in Northern Germany last night too which meant we were extremely busy at work today as well. The Germans do know about Murphy’s law and probably use the phrase more often than you hear back home in England these days. On Thursday and Friday Murphy was out to get me.
I was so busy on Friday that I didn’t have time to really speak to anyone. This was probably a relief because all anyone wanted to talk about was “Brexit” – as the surprise result had just come in. I kept my door shut and my head down all day at work and kept working. In the evening I rushed off to a friend’s birthday party. I had absolutely promised to go even though it was in Düsseldorf which is a three-hour train journey. I had planned to leave work at lunchtime and arrive at the party on time but the pressures of work meant that I eventually turned up after 11pm. The birthday boy was nevertheless delighted that I had made the effort and I ended up having a great time even though I was dog-tired.
Of course everyone wanted to know what I thought of Brexit. I gave my standard answer: I don’t think it’ll be as bad as the remainers have warned and I don’t think it will be as good as the leavers have promised. Most people were expecting either a passionate condemnation or a passionate defence of the result from me and were a bit disappointed with my apparent calm. This was good news, it meant we could get down to the business of talking about football and music instead like you’re supposed to do at a party. There was excellent live music – just one guy with a guitar singing an amazing range of songs from old jazz standards to German folk songs to French chansons to the Beatles to Metallica. He was brilliant. At one stage he played “Über den Wolken” which describes a pilot realising that the big problems he had on the ground seem so small now he’s flying “above the clouds”. After that he played “When I’m 64” which is about the most English song you can imagine*. I think most people can relate to the lyrics in both songs no matter where you were born. I could have turned those songs into a clever metaphor for harmony in Europe I suppose. But I was at a party so I just clapped and had another drink.
I even finished the night off with a great European tradition – wolfing down a “Döner Kebab” at 4:30 in the morning. I can report it was one of the best kebabs I have ever eaten. And like all great late-night kebabs I regretted it almost instantly and then again the next morning.
So that was my week. I will write about Brexit later and post it today – promise.
*for example “I could be handy, mending a fuse” or “doing the garden, digging the weeds” – as English as you can get.
The last few days have been so busy that I have not been able to write a post since Tuesday. Then along came the Brexit result and I am still trying to work out what I think about that. I am working on a mega-catch-up-post and normal service will be resumed by lunchtime. Sorry for keeping you waiting.
Another busy day, but with an early finish. The German football team played this evening at 6pm so we closed shop early an hour beforehand. I expect it is the same everywhere these days, but if the national football team are playing there’s not much point trying to get any work done. The country shuts down, the roads are quiet and for at least two hours before kick-off everyone stops working even if they are still at work. Continue reading
An easy day for me today. The girls went off to a behind-the-scenes tour of Tarzan, the musical so I had the morning off and went out beneath ominous skies to play a bit of golf with my favourite scorer – myself. According to my scorecard I did quite well. It turns out that the behind-the-scenes tour was so good that the girls have decided to buy tickets to the afternoon showing. Ariane wisely predicted that the last place I want to be on a Sunday is in a musical so has just called to tell me I have a day off. Continue reading
I had an early start this morning and snuck in a round of golf as the sun came up. It has stopped raining for a change but it is quite windy and feels like autumn. Nice to be up and about though. I woke up just as it was getting lighter and didn’t want to wake Ariane so I left the lights off and got dressed in the dark. I paid particular attention to the socks and felt my way to a pair of summer hiking socks – the fancy sort which are specially shaped for left and right feet. I couldn’t see if I had got them the right way round but they felt good so I had obviously guessed right. I went out, played a decent 9 holes, came back to find everyone still asleep so made myself a coffee and settled myself on the patio for some early blogging. Then I looked at my feet (see picture). Good marketing trick, that left and right feet business. Continue reading
Everything feels wrong today. I am not sure how I should behave. I can’t remember being in this situation before. So what happened to provoke this strange feeling? First, England won an important football match yesterday – in the last minute of extra time. Then after that Germany failed to win an important football match. This doesn’t usually happen and I am not equipped to deal with the situation. I am used to the exact opposite. All l could think of to say at work this morning was “If I had known I was going to get dull 0:0 draws and two weeks of continuous rain I could have stayed in England.” Continue reading
A wave of good sense washed over me yesterday evening as I slouched on the sofa, deciding whether I would watch the France game on TV or not. I decided against it and, instead, went to bed at 8:30 – the same time as the kids. This turned out to be a good idea because I had a good 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep which I apparently needed. I was awake sometime after 5 and read a little. When the alarm went off at 6, I volunteered to make breakfast, pack lunches and get the kids off to school. Continue reading
Lots of work, lots of rain and not much time to write this blog. But after two days break I thought it was about time to set pen to paper (or digit to key) again. Here is where I must confess to being a Game of Thrones fan. I normally don’t like “fantasy” films and have no desire to sit through, say, the Lord of the Rings or other such nonsense. My favourite films are all about real people in believable situations. So I have no idea why I like Game of Thrones – it is just high-quality nonsense. Continue reading