tger greenhaddock: September 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

New Kid on the block

Mrs Haddock attended a parent evening at the Juniorette's school earlier this week. It was announced that any interested parents were allowed to 'sit in' on a class to see how a class operates and how the children are taught. Apparently no parent has ever done this......unbelievable! yesterday I went to school.......I was that new kid on the block!

I walked to school with the Juniorette and her friends and attended her class for 90 mins. It was rather good fun. Most of the kids knew me from the 'English week' at the kindergarten, where Mrs Haddock & I taught the kids some English songs and nursery rhymes. I found the phonetic teaching methods for learning to read and write at the Juniorette's school quite effective, when compared to the parrot fashion way of learning that I endured when I was at school.

I really enjoyed the 'back to school experience' and the Head Mistress (whose English was very good) said I should attend again sometime......and I think I will.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Shiney Steve

When I was a kid war comics were all the rage. The British Tommy once again giving the dastardly Hun another bloody nose - it was all ripping stuff. But as you got older you grew out of all this boys own stuff, unless that is if you are serving in Her Majesties Armed Forces -particularly the Infantry. I was amazed during my times in the Falklands that so many Pongo's still read this stuff as adults.

An old friend in Blighty (Shiney Steve) mentioned a while back that he still had a war comic collection from when he was a kid, so he kindly sent me Red Cross parcel with the above enclosed. These are originals from the 1970's and all have stories about hard as nails sergeants and the like taking on machine gun nests single handed. It took me right back to my childhood.

I recommend a visit to Shiney's website, its rather humorous. Children under 18 should promise not to view the adult section. Have fun.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What do want to be when you grow up?

I rang my mum last night and during the conversation the topic came up of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I quickly realised she was talking about when I was a small boy, and not now. Lucky really, as I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up - really old would probably be the true answer.

My first vocational ambition as a small boy was to become a farmer, but that wore off when I realised I would never acquire the land to do so. In my teens I wanted to become a Veterinary surgeon, so much so that I took a Saturday job working at the local vets. It was good fun. I didn't mind the blood and guts, it was the castrations that did me in. After the cut the vet would throw the testicles into the waste bin, and my job was to hold the lid of the bin open, and pick up the unwanted bollocks when his aim was off. I used to feel quite queasy. When I realised that I would have to get a good grade in chemistry 'A' levels I knew my veterinary ambitions were over.

Later I wanted to fly very fast jet planes over exotic places in the world and drop bombs on them. Sadly I didn't get through the RAF flight officer selection process. They said I would be suited to a ground based commission, but my heart wasn't in it. Then by pure luck I stumbled into the world of Telecommunications which has seen me working and living in UK, Hong Kong, Falkland Islands, Ascension Island, and now Germany. I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up (and it's not a telecoms engineer either), and I don't think I ever will.

The Juniorette already realises that she should keep her options open on the career front, and those options are at present - 1. An astronaut gardener (Space people need to eat you know). - 2. A professional women's soccer player. - 3. A swimming teacher.

I just hope she doesn't become a telecoms engineer

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cancer Giggles

Yesterday I received in the post my signed copy of Cancer Giggles. This book has been written by a remarkable man, who is living and coping with having cancer, the only way he know hows - with humour.

It's a collection of stories taken from his blog Cancer Giggles. Take a trip there and have a read. It's remarkable stuff.

We have been officially into Autumn since the 21st, so I thought I would post a picture of the our Astor which is still in full bloom, and providing a welcome food source for lots of bees, hoverflies and butterflies.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Age of Aquarium

I have always liked fish...........a Haddock is a fish......... and I have always wanted an aquarium. Now I have one. Aldi had a complete set offer this week for a bargain price. Of course, by the time we had been to the pet shop and bought the stand (twice the price of the 'complete set offer'), gravel, plants, food, books and accessories, the word bargain had lost its meaning.

Anyways the tank is all set up, but we cant stock it with fish until the water becomes habitable which is in about 10 days time. Juniorette is very happy and is planning what fish we should have. The aquarium is a small one (54 liters), so it wont be able to hold the shoals that she is hoping for.

The above photo was taken just after the water was added. 24 hours later I am happy to report that the water has cleared considerably.

The builders have made big progress in the last couple of days. Today they started laying the Pflasterstein for the front path, and it looks good. Hopefully they will not make to much noise in the morning as I have just started nights.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Chilli Chutney

Last evening I made some more chilli chutney. I decided to up the stakes a bit and added 50% more chilli's - you know it makes sense!
Below is the recipe I use for this wondrous creation. I found it over at - all I did was convert the amounts to metric measurements

100g Chilli's (adjust for heat depending on what you have available) 4 large Peppers 500g tomatoes 400g onions 500g cooking or dessert apples 250g brown sugar 500ml vinegar 1 tsp black pepper, lightly cracked 1 tsp mustard seeds (or cumin) Chop it all up, throw into a pan and cook for about an hour and a half to two hours. Dead simple.

Below is what it looks like in the early stages of cooking.

Highly recommended with cold meat or fried egg sandwiches

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lucky Seven

Yesterday the Juniorette reached the grand old age of seven years. We had a nice relaxed morning whilst she opened her presents. Top of her list I guess was the boogie box, Werder Bremen soccer shirt, and a remote control off road truck.

Her guests for her 'Robber' party turned up shortly after noon for the 'Robber Feast' which after the Juniorettes wishes consisted of roast pork and salad (whatever happened to Jelly & ice-cream?). The feast was followed by various games during which I disappeared to lay a trail around the local woods to the 'Robber Liar' for the treasure hunt. Next up was the water bomb throwing contest which then resorted to the kids chasing me around the local playground throwing water bombs at me. Jolly good fun was had by all.

Juniorette when very young being reminded of her English Heritage.

After the party was finished and all the little 'Robber Kids' had gone home, the day was rounded off by the Haddock family ordering in for pizza. All in all a very good day, and an excellent one for the Juniorette to start her eighth year.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Gone with the wind

There is a tradition in Germany that occurs around this time of year. It is the consumption of Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Quiche) and Federweisser wine. This is a new wine which is green in colour, it is cloudy, and is still fermenting. This is not a good combination to have in ones stomach.

I think I discovered last night in bed how the hovercraft was invented, and I was very thankful that the Juniorettes football tournament was held outside today, and not in the sports hall. It is an insane combination of food and drink, and to make it a tradition is just plum crazy. I wont be participating in this tradition again next year.

I used to think brussel sprouts & baked beans was a nasty combination. How naive I was. This Teutonic creation could actually be the answer to our generations energy crisis. However tapping this source of "natural gas" may prove problematic.

Friday, September 16, 2005

School daze

The Juniorette has just finished her first full week of school, which turned out to be quite eventful. A boy in her class has been pulling her hair everyday, but he denied it every time when quizzed by the teacher. Finally the teacher caught him doing it (Lucky for him I have been training the Juniorette in the art of nose breaking)

Her denim jacket went missing from her coat peg, but was then handed in to her teacher a couple of days later.. I guess another kid took it by mistake.

And to top it all, she was punched in the face by a fourth year boy during a break. She didn't cry until back in her classroom as she didn't want the big boys see her cry. An older brother of one of her friends gave the offending puncher a bit of a bollocking.

The Juniorette is really happy with school, and after a start like that things can only get better.

Our first amphibian visitor to the garden

They say kids get really tired when they first start school, but the Juniorette has held up really well so far, and she has to. She had sport at school today, has football training this afternoon, and then after an hours break has swimming club. In the morning her football team are playing in a tournament. It makes me tired just thinking about it, and all I have to do is watch!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

All in a pickle

This evening I cooked my first batch of Chilli chutney.......and it tastes good. Mrs Haddock recommended that I go easy on the chilli's, I followed her advice, and quite rightly so. Any hotter and this chutney would be a pain, and not a pleasure.
The builders are working hard, but I reckon the car parking spot and front path will not be finished until the end of next week. Access to the house at the moment is somewhat limited.

photographed a new butterfly to the Haddock's garden a few days ago. It turns out it is a Small Copper butterfly. I've seen them before in the countryside and always wondered what they were.........and now I know.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Haircut by a Wanka

Incredible, but true. Yesterday I had my haircut by a Wanka......and I am not trying to be rude, the name of the hairdresser/barber was R. Wanka......this is probably a nice ordinary name in Germany, but imagine the stick you would get living in England with a name like that. Life would be hell. Imagine an official (Policeman, Customs etc) asking for your name, and you reply're going to get into deep trouble with a name like that!

The builders have finally turned up and have started to dig out where our car parking place will be. As builders go these are very good, but they do start very early in the morning, and earth moving machinery is not very quiet.

Monday, September 12, 2005

England win the Ashes

England regained the Ashes from Australia at the Oval today in yet another test match of changing fortunes. I love cricket and when at times today it looked like the Aussies were becoming dominant and there was a rising chance that England would lose, I must confess I started to feel a little unwell. England have waited so long to regain the ashes that to fall at the final hurdle would have been tragic.

Kevin Pietersen reaches his maiden century
© Getty Image

In the end England won mainly thanks to the valiant batting of Kevin Pietersen, and tonight I go to sleep a happy man. The Ashes are back home after a temporary break of 16 years and 29 days.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Here comes the rain again

Today the Haddock went on a trip to Panorama Park in the Sauerland. The weather did not look to good, but we decided to risk it anyway. Of course it started to rain after we had been their for half an hour, and we seemed to be the only people without rain-jackets or umbrellas. We got wet, very wet, but we carried on regardless and had a good time. Later on in the day the weather brightened up a bit, but not enough to dry us out.

On the German fun park scale, Panorama Park ranks about the same as Fort Fun, but is way short of Phantasia Land, which I suspect is probably the best fun park in Germany and seems to be modelled closely on the Florida Disney Parks.

It was too wet to take any pics at the park due to the wet weather, so included below is a picture of a Red Admiral butterfly sitting on an Astor plant which I took a few days ago.

The rain however is very good for the garden and my rain water tank. I put fertiliser on the lawn yesterday and a drop of rain is just what it needs. But more importantly it has been raining in London, preventing a full days play in the cricket. With the delays & stoppages due to rain it looks very much looks like draw is on the cards in the final ashes test, which would mean that England would finally regain the ashes from Australia after 16 years. This would make me very, very happy.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Suicide Plumber

Later today the Juniorette plays with her team in another soccer tournament. I will not be there to support her today as I am currently working my last night of this current shift cycle, and whilst she is playing I will be sleeping.

I found a good recipe for Chilli Chutney over at Downsizer and I intend to give it a go during my days off. As shown below we have no shortage of hot chilli's

My Brother sent me an SMS earlier. It made me's a silly joke but it made me laugh. English humour I guess.

Apparently President Bush has told the American people that he is blaming the New Orleans disaster on an Iraqi Suicide Plumber.

This of course is only humour and in no way distracts from the hardship and suffering felt by the victims of hurricane Katrina.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Indian Summer

For the last couple of days the daytime temperature in Marburg has been over 30 deg Celsius. This has given an extra boost to the tomatoes and peppers. But the lawn is looking a bit patchy. It has not rained for a couple of weeks, I have been watered the lawn but it is suffering from a red fungal infection called red thread. Damage should not be permanent and the lawn should rejuvenate.

The Tomatoes are still rocking

Today the 5th and final ashes cricket test between England and Australia started at the London Oval. England need to win or draw the test to successfully recapture the Ashes from the Aussies. After day one England probably have the slight advantage. For the latest reports and scorecard visit the CricInfo site

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Juniorette's big day

Yesterday was the first day of school for the Juniorette. It started with all the new school kids, parents, grandparents, friends etc going to church. We were joined by the kids from the Kindergarten as well. After a brief service it was off to school, where the kids from the older classes sang songs and performed theater to welcome the new kids to school. It was all done very well and every kid was made to feel special. All a bit different to when I started school many years ago in England during the middle ages.

Juniorette with her Werder Bremen Schultüte

After many photo opportunities the kids finally got to go to class for an hour. Juniorette really enjoyed this part, it is what she had been really waiting for. During class the parents socialised outside in the sunshine drinking coffee and eating cake. When class finished the proud students emerged holding sunflowers and were presented with their Schultüte, which are filled with small presents and sweets. The Juniorette was very happy and the Haddock parents very proud.

Later we went to local restaurant to celebrate, and then onto the Marburg botanical garden for a gentle stroll, to relax and unwind.

A new era begins.

Update 09:30 cet - I have just just picked up the local paper and was very surpised to see the Juniorette on the front page!......there was a short article about the start of the new school year in Marburg, and a photo in which the Juniorette featured (top row) .......Very Very Cool.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The pain lessens

Luckily today I had a physio appointment. She concentrated on sorting out my legs and back that were still aching from the football game on Saturday. I feel a lot better now, so much better that I was able to cut the grass and make some more paper brickettes. Tedious jobs but they have to get done.

The wine making kit that we ordered arrived today. All we have to do now is buy some plums, find some time, and then make some wine. It should be fun.

Yesterday was the Sommerfest of our local football club. The Juniorette played in a Mothers v Children match and scored a goal in the second half. She was very proud, and so was I.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the Juniorette. She is very excited and can not wait to be a school kid. She has a Werder Bremen Schultüten and I reckon she will the only girl with a football themed one. Barbie and horse Schultüten are going to big this year so I hear.

So it's an early night for the Haddocks tonight. It's a big day tomorrow.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

It's a game of three halves

Things were a bit different yesterday. Of the 15 persons who where scheduled to take part in the soccer match, only 7 turned up. We were also surprised to find something had been built slap bang in the middle of the football field. Fortunately it turned out to be an all weather astro turf 5-a-side pitch.
It dawned on us that 7 was never going to be enough for a good game of footy, but luckily a group of local lads turned up who fancied a game. During the warm up one of our players injured his leg and had to go to hospital, so we were down to 6 players. The young lads we were playing were in their teens and were fit, it looked like we were going to be slaughtered.
Then fate struck another fatal blow, another of our players got injured. He had to go to hospital as well. He has severely damaged an ankle and is signed off from work for 6 weeks (lucky bugger!). The heat took it's toll on us elder gentleman (some of us we more than twice the age of our opponents) and we had to change strategy. This involved not running too much, but letting the other team do so. It worked, we started scoring and the young lads got tired.

Juniorette and I celebrate another Haddock wonder goal

When both teams were really tired we had a half time. So it ended up a game of three halves (over 3 hours). During the latter end of the game we let the smaller kids play as well. The juniorette really enjoyed playing and she actually got to see her Papa score some goals.
Overall I think we won. Nobody remembered to keep score. But the main thing was that we had a lot of fun, and most of us survived without serious injury.
Today I have difficulty walking, but I guess that's the price I pay for putting a whole years quota of physical exercise into one afternoon. I guess I will have to spend today with my feet up recovering, safe in the knowledge that when the phone rings it wont be the call up to play for the English national team.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Roy of the Rovers

Tomorrow is my firms annual football match (Soccer). Last year it was played on a very hot day, and I developed some breathing difficulties, which resulted in me vomiting heavily (fortunately not on the field). After this incident I vowed I would train and become fit for this years game. I think I may have left it a little bit too late.

This morning the Comma butterflies that had been been eating our gooseberry bush as caterpillars emerged from their chrysalis's. The one shown above has newly emerged, and has his wings together.

Tonight we had friends around for the evening. We sat out on our patio, drank shandy, chatted and play Siedler (a German board game). Normally I would have drunk beer, but with tomorrows physical activity looming I want to be in peak condition

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Work load

Juniorette with one the the Mushrooms we picked last Saturday

Work has been really busy the last few days, thus not giving me ample time to bog properly (I just don't come here to work you know!). For a day shift I get up at 04:00 am, and I don't get home again until 20:30 pm. Its a long day and then I'm too knackered to post.

So today I thought a piccy of the light of my life would suffice.

Update 21:35 cet
The work load was even higher today as I had to keep a close eye on the German colleagues that I work with. This was due to the fact that today is the 66th Anniversary of a certain major event of the last century. So I am happy to report that I discovered no massing near borders, encountered no marching, and witnessed no attempts to invade Poland. Well done Germany!