Ups and Downs

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.


Perfect conditions above the Allgäu region of Bavaria.

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.

Bis später!

*for example “I could be handy, mending a fuse” or “doing the garden, digging the weeds” – as English as you can get.

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