tger greenhaddock: June 2005

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sick Day

I didn't go to work today as I had a bummer of a nights sleep. I was constantly awoken by my Sciatic nerve sending 220V down my left leg. So my planned visit to the doctors this week happened a day early.

I suppose like most people I don't like to see the doctor. But luckily mine speaks good English, and is a very nice chap. Most importantly, he is also very good at his job. Incidentally he was in the same stage show that the Juniorette performed in, at the Marburg Stadthalle earlier this year.

So after much prodding and questioning, I now have appointments to take X-rays of my hip and back tomorrow, and for my first session of physio on Friday. Who says being over 40 isn't fun.

It rained well this morning. A steady rain, not a monsoon downpour, the right sort of stuff for watering the garden, and filling up the rain water tank. We collected over 1000 ltrs which should see us ok for a while.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Stand up

A couple of news items caught my attention this morning. One is from the Bild Newspaper (the equivalent of the Sun Newspaper in England) - I don't read the Bild but a lot of people do that ride the Tram I use in Frankfurt. It concerns a study commissioned in UK into what British holiday makers are like. The Bild article was titled 'The brain of an English holiday maker' - unfortunately the online version is a bit short. The sad thing is, the conclusion is probably right.

The other story was from a much more reputable source - The BBC - and concerns the fact that comedy is becoming popular in Germany, and apparently German comedians are taking courses to learn to be funny. Personally I never thought you could learn to be funny......either you are you aren't......certainly the German comedy shows I have seen on TV are not very funny at all. Perhaps time will tell. But I doubt we will ever see a Teutonic Bill Hicks.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A pain in the arse

For a little while now I have been having a problem with my Sciatic Nerve. It usually only ever occurred in cold weather, but this year it's been open season. Now this nerve runs from your spine to your feet, and the pain that I have had feels like an electric shock running from my bum to my ankle. Lately the intensity of the pain has increased, to such an extent that it's interrupting my sleeping.

Mrs Haddock is insisting that I go to the doctors this week, so I thought I would do some research on the web. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen, but my self prognosis has come up with the Sciatic nerve problems are caused by Sacroiliitis. I base this loosely on the fact that my hip has been hurting for a while and that arthritis also runs in my family

Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of your Sacroiliac joint. That's the joint where your hip meets the spine. Inflammation caused by trauma or just plain arthritis can give you sciatica-like symptoms. Sometimes an injection of an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory medication can take away the pain.

So I'll see the Doc this week and suggest that I need to see a specialist. I don't want pain killers (not yet anyway), but it would be good if some type of physio therapy would alleviate the problem.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A song by somebody

It finally rained today. Not for long, but it was heavy downpour. This is just what the lawn needed, as it is starting to look a bit on the brown side. Also our rainwater tank is empty, so we are using normal mains water, to water the garden.

The Sage we planted a few weeks ago

The last couple of days have been very hot and humid, so in the evenings we have been eating out at local beer gardens. Sitting outside eating schnitzel and supping a couple of cold beers, was always going to be better than working in the kitchen at home.

But life in the heat goes on. The Juniorette had football training yesterday. It was 34 deg Celsius in the shade, still hotter stood on the touchlines, and just too hot for little kids to be running around. Training was abandoned after a while. The kids faces were like beetroots.

I hear thunder outside, I've seen a few flashes of lightening, so I guess......... here comes the rain again................

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Post Football

The football match last night in Frankfurt was fun. It's the first goalless game of the Confederations Cup, but there was plenty of incident and lots of excitement. We decided to support Greece in the end (we were surrounded by Greek supporters, so it seemed a good idea).

We arrived early at the stadium. I was pretty knackered as I had just finished night shifts, slept for the day, and then headed back to Frankfurt for the game. We had a good look around the stadium, and then spoke to an attendant who showed us where our seats were. We then settled down to the watch the pre-match warm up session of the players. All was going well, we got through the national anthems (Mexico's is really boring....they should seriously change it).......and then just as the match was about to start a family came up and said we were sitting in their seats. Un-fookin-glaublich.......well they were right, and we were wrong. The ever so helpful attendant had earlier showed us to the wrong seats.

So we legged it to the correct block where our seats were, got another attendant to show us the correct seats, only to discover these were taken. So after telling the other occupants (in English) that they were sitting in our seats (there was no room for argument) we got to sit back down and watch the game.

The Juniorette loved the atmosphere, and was enthusiastically shouting ' Hellas, Hellas' at the top of her lungs at every opportunity. The Stadium was terrific. It holds 48,000 people, and the attendance last night was 32,000. Access to and from there was easy, and we encountered no Stau on the way out.

Apart from the seating hassles, the Haddock Family had a really great night out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's too hot to..... do anything. It's been over 30 deg Celcius for a couple of days.....our outside thermometer read 34 deg in the shade today). But the high octane sunshine has done wonders for the garden. The Aubergine is flowering as are the Bell Peppers and Chilli's. The Tomato plants and the Raspberry bush have started to fruit, whilst the first of the blackcurrants has started to ripen. Also the strawberries are cropping nicely, even if the birds have taken a couple.

The Women's European Football Championship was won by Germany on Sunday. The Haddock household watched most of the championship games on TV, and were impressed by the quality of the football played, by the general attitude of the teams, and by the sheer excitement of the games. It makes some of the Bloke's games being played in the Confederations Cup here in Germany at present look pretty boring.

On Wednesday evening the Haddock squad will off to the Wald Stadion in Frankfurt to see Mexico play Greece in the ConFed Cup. To be honest I am not sure who we should support, but as we are going to Crete in a couple of weeks we will probably cheer for Greece........ besides I prefer Ouzo to Tequilla.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lisa Stansfield is still crap

I was wrong in yesterday's post. Lisa Stansfield was probably crap all those years ago at Knebworth, as she was certainly crap last night at Hessentag. Crap is most likely the wrong word.....miming is probably better. The songs sounded exactly the same (and I mean exactly!) as on her CD's......and I got really suspicious when she was talking, and suddenly a new song starts, and she is then singing and talking simultaneously. We went to get some food at this point.

The 'Special Guest' band were on next. They were good. A girlie vocalist, with a bunch of young grungy musician dudes - they rocked. The band members were German apart from the vocalist who sounded American. They were called something like Jay Lowe and have just released a single called Lullaby. I bumped into the rhythm guitarist by chance as he was walking through the crowd before Duran Duran were on. Had a good chat with him and he said they were really enjoying the open air gig.

Duran Duran were excellent. Better than expected. For some reason I thought Simon Le Bon was going to be Lardboy on stage, but he was physically fit and full of energy. The band looked relaxed and were clearly enjoying themselves. As the open air venue was at best only a quarter full, we had good views, and we really enjoyed ourselves. I had forgotten how many hits Duran Duran had during the 80's.

As the old saying goes, 2 out 3 aint bad, and to top the evening off our female cat Minnie (who was missing for 3 days) was waiting for us at home.

Update - The 'Special Guest' Band were Kaylou and the singer is Danish.

Friday, June 17, 2005

A new bush

Yesterday Mrs haddock and I went to the Caldern Garden Center just for a browse, and came away as per usual, with a couple of plants. A Blueberry bush (see photo below), a Curry plant (Helichrysum Italicum) and some Sage.
My brother informed me a couple of weeks ago that Blueberries were being classed as a superfood because of the ammount of vitamins they contain. This was news to me; I had only heard of Blueberry Pie before. Anyways, the bush has berries it so we shall see how super they are.

Tonight Mrs Haddock and I are going to Hessentag. A festival type of occassion that one town in Hessen hosts each year. We will be watching Duran Duran and Lisa Stansfield - An 80's experience. Incidently I saw Lisa Stansfield many years ago at Knebworth, but I slept through that performance. It wasn't that she was bad, it was just that I was very tired. The previous evening before had been a late one, and sometimes you just got to sleep.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


In approx a months time the Haddock family will be going on holiday to the island of Crete (Greece), and last night Crete suffered an earthquake (magnitude 4.9) - the epicenter was actually under the sea. Personally I think this quake was a good thing (nobody was hurt) as it will take the pressure of the fault line and allow the Haddock family to vacation in peace. That's the theory anyways.
A number of years ago I was on a training course in San Jose, California with some work colleagues from New York. We were in a resturant when all the tables, chairs etc started shaking. When the shaking stopped everyone looked a little pale. I immediately ordered more beer for our table, on the basis that if the BIG one hit next we might as well be smashed. The New York guys liked this Limey attitude and we had a great night..............If there were anymore quakes, I never noticed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Not tonight dear

Today there was a wierd article in the newspaper. A man is in court in Kassel for killing his wife. But what is really wierd is why he killed her. She demanded sex, and he did not want to. So strong was his desire NOT to have sex, that he cut off his own willy, and then killed her. Doctors later recovered his willy and sowed it back on. I think the lawyer will definately be pleading insanity here for his nutcase client.

On a more domestic theme, Mrs Haddock made some more plum jam today with added ginger, cloves and cinnamon. It tastes rather nice.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tick Season

It's that time of the year again when the ticks are about. It's not a huge problem in our area of Germany, but they are around and reading about Lyme's disease at this time of year is not good for one's well being. Both of our cats have picked up a couple in the last few weeks, and the Juniorettes best friend had one just under her eye last week which had to removed by a doctor.

The little beasties hang out on grass leaves and other vegetation and then attach themselves to passing animals including humans. They then proceed to burrow into the skin with their head, leaving the abdomen exposed, and feast on the hosts blood.

I had my first (and only) tick last year. I never noticed it. It was Mrs Haddock who spotted it on my lower leg. We finally removed it with tweezers, but it was a fiddly to do, and we weren't sure if we got all the head out. We now have a specialised tick removal tool.

The builders quote for the front path came today, and was higher than expected. A bit of a shock, but we will still get the work done by them. We have used them in the past, know the standard of their work, and besides, in the end it pays to go with quality rather than price.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Marathon Man

A couple of days ago I had a dentist appointment. Admittedly it was only for a check up and clean, but I absolutely hate going to the dentist, and I break out in sweats when I am there. Before any dental work is carried out I insist on injections. If my mouth aint numb, it aint happening. But I didn't used to be like this.......not until I experienced my first German dentist.......Herr Ferrari......and he wasn't that quick either!

This was during the first few months of my life in Germany, when I lived in Darmstadt, and I needed some emergency dental treatment (the cause of which is another story). My lower incisors had split exposing live nerve, which was very painful indeed, and when my tounge touched the nerve it caused me to make rather loud & angry noises.

So after the initial examination, with neither the nurse, or dentist being able to speak English, and myself only being able to order beer & pizza in German, the dentist proceeded to drill into my tooth and nerve without the numbness of an injection. I cannot describe the pain, it was the worst I have ever experienced (and I've broken bones a few times), and is something I never want to repeat. The rest of the 'dental operation' seems hazy now. Thus the kernel of my fear and loathing of dentists formed.

I didn't visit a dentist for several years after this experience, but the whole Haddock family now regularily visit a dentist in Giessen, who is very nice chap, speaks English, clearly explains all actions before they happen, and has the right attitude with the needle.

Friday, June 10, 2005


The hedges to the north and east of our house have been planted with Buxus Sempervirens (Common Box). These are slow growing, and will take years before they are 'hedge size', even for midgets. But they do need less trimming than other hedges (planning for old age here!). The plants are only about 20cm tall, but I plan to give them a trim soon to encourage more bushy growth.

The Juniorette has her Buxus bush (shown below) which she is attempting to sculpture into a Green Snail. It might take a few years to achieve, so I guess the snail theme is quite apt.

Topiary is the art of trimming and training shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A fragile feeling

I was a little fragile today to say the least, but aspirin and Ibuprofen helped ease things along somewhat. We had the builders around today to give a quote for the front path & driveway. Hopefully the work should start in August. This is the last of the major house projects to get done, but of course their are many minor ones yet to start.
We harvested the first of the Iceberg Lettuce from the garden today. It was crisp and tasty. So much fresher and better than the shop bought variety. Currently we have some more Iceberg lettuce seedlings (Great Lakes variety) in the propagator, awaiting transplantion into the flower/veggie bed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Wedding Anniversary

A couple of days ago was our wedding anniversary. Tonight the Haddock family went to the Alte Ritter Restaurant to celebrate the event. This year was particularly special for me as "I remembered" and mentioned the fact first, on the afore mentioned day.

The Juniorette acted like a little angle tonight, and the meal was exceptional. Spargel soup to start with, then venison with Celery flavoured mash potatoe, and seasonal veg, followed by lemon sorbet with strawberries and mint sauce. There were some definite contrasts here, but they worked rather well. The strawberries and mint sauce was a taste bud fest.

It's seven years since we celebrated after our wedding at the Alter Ritter, and it seemed poignant go there again this year as well. Not sure if my wine consumption was as much, or as fast as the first time around, but I feeling good at the mo, and feel a session coming on.

Apologies for the spelling/grammar, and the possible lack of a post tomorrow.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sporting Weekend

The Europeans Womens Football Championship started today with England beating Finland 3 - 2 in a very exciting game. The Haddock family are fans of womens footie, and reckon Germany will probably win the championship. Haddock Juniorette plays for the local G-Jugend side. She was the only girl player at first and took a lot of stick off the boys. She survived, and is now joined by four other girl players.

On the cricket front, England comfortably dispatched the Bangladesh side, to take the series 2 - 0.

Whilst weatherwise, we have been having some very heavy and stormy showers, which have played havoc with the Gooseberry bush. Much of the new growth branches have snapped, or become damaged, but luckily the Gooseberry fruits have actually survived. With this wet weather has come an increase in the slug population, but so far they have all been small ones and have not caused too much damage. Hopefully by eliminating them when they are small they wont have chance to lay eggs and make more of the blighters.

And finally, the cats are now bringing back mice as well as redstarts and blackbirds

Friday, June 03, 2005

More Cricket

England are currently playing their 2nd Test match of the current series against Bangladesh and are in a very commanding position at present. The game may not even survive a second day.

I have just recieved a Red Cross Parcel from the UK containing teabags and toothpaste. I find that nothing cleans my teeth better than Crest toothpaste, and I have yet to find it on sale in Germany, or to find any other german toothpaste that comes close to its cleaning and refreshing power. I know you can buy it in the USA and most other European countries. So what really gets my goat, is the notice on the box that says....... MADE IN GERMANY.

The teabags were the new Tetley drawstring bags - the non drip teabag. This is about as hi-tech as a teabag can get. I would like to descibe how it works, but it's too complicated.

But the real bummer here is that I almost find this tea too strong. We have been surviving on tea from Aldi South for the last few weeks, and I'm beginning to quite enjoy it.........hmmm, I wonder, am I going native?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

First Strawberry of Summer

Offically summer does not start until 21st June, but today the Haddock garden yielded its first Strawberry of the season. (see photo below). It was gleefully consumed by the Juniorette, who gave it the offical taste verdict of "yummy". If lucky, (or quick enough) the elder generation of Haddocks may get to try a couple of the juicy berries over the next few months.

There was an interesting article in the Guardian Newspaper the other day saying that British Gas in the UK, has announced plans to supply roof mounted mini wind turbines to customers to generate their own electricity. This is exactly what I would like to have on my roof, and the beauty of the system is that it feeds the generated power from the converter into your mains ring via a normal mains socket.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Phantasia Land

Yesterday the Haddock Family went on a trip to Phantasia Land, near Köln. This was our first visit and we were not too sure what to expect. We visited the Disney Parks in Florida last autumn, and were interested to see how Phantasia Land would compare. Mrs Haddock went to various German Parks as a child, and didn't have fond memories.

We were pleasantly surprised. Obviously someone had done their research, visited Disney, took a few notes and then built a park with a more European dimension.

They were rides for all ages, and enough attractions for the whole day, without busting a gut to fit it all in. Juniorette loved the rollercoasters, the rides that scared her parents, the 4D Cinema and the Parade. She wasn't big enough for a few of the more extreme rides, but personally, I was ok with that situation.

The board advertising one of the rides (see Photo above) really made me laugh, but I was amazed that nobody else in the park found the sign funny.

Would you let your children on a ride advertised as the Michael Jackson Thrill Ride..............I thought not...... The prosecution rests it case.