tger greenhaddock: October 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

There's only one Werder Bremen!

The Haddock family has just spent the past weekend in Bremen visiting friends and going to watch Werder Bremen beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 (Match Report) at the Weser Stadium. It was a fantastic weekend, the weather was sunny with a temp of 23 deg C - perfect T-shirt weather.
We had a wonderful time with our friends, and we met their immediate family who were very warm and friendly. I really like people form North Germany. Bremen is a really nice city. The old centre has a really nice feel to it. The old church and Rathaus looked particularly good. The Juniorette obviously loved seeing the Bremen Stadtmusikanten

The Juniorette was very excited about the game and she enjoyed the atmosphere immensely. She was shouting and chanting, and having the time of her life. I myself ended up losing my voice a bit from the amount of shouting I did. Frankfurt scored first, but Werder equalised before half time. The second half was better with Werder scoring a further 3 times. It was football heaven!
We had seats that were quite close to the pitch and we had good views of the Bremen second half goals. Mrs Haddock went into photo mode and has discovered a new talent - sports photography (see below)

The Weser Stadium is situated within the city and has quite a few pubs nearby. This is probably one of the reasons why the city was not allowed to host any of the upcoming games in next years world cup. It's a shame because the atmosphere around the stadium was excellent.

After the game we stopped by the fan shop so the Juniorette could acquire some goodies. Mrs Haddock & I limited ourselves to just Werder scarves, but the Juniorette ended up with rather more. Later in Bremen I found a stand selling English fish & chips - It was bloody good, and they had proper Sarsons vinegar.

It was an excellent weekend and well worth the 800km round trip. For the return match next April in Frankfurt, we wont have to travel so far.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Am I dyslexic?

My mother who is in her early sixties has recently completed her degree from the Open University. During her studies it was discovered that she is mildly dyslexic. I wonder if this is genetic, because I have noticed that I spell certain words incorrectly when typing. I have all the letters, but they are in the wrong order. Thank God for spell checkers.

But perhaps the moment of realisation that I might be dyslexic occurred a couple of months ago when I was invited to a student Toga party in Marburg.........I turned up dressed as a goat!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's a cop out

Lately in Marburg I have noticed that some police cars (Polizei) have had their colour scheme changed from green to blue. This was mentioned at the blog meet on Saturday and it apparently it is not just the cars that are changing, but the uniforms as well. According to my work colleagues its to make the Polizei appear more friendly.

I travel to work on the same trains as the cops, and to be quite honest I do not find the German cops scary at all, even if they have guns. Some even wear bullet proof vests on the train. Green somehow doesn't strike terror into me, and besides green is a relaxing colour. On the other hand if I was on a train full of British bobbies I would probably be crapping my pants, just purely on the image they project. It's hard to feel the same fear when you see a German policeman with a mohawk haircut, an earring and he's 2 inches smaller than you

So this changing the colour scheme to be more friendly smacks more of money changing hands than anything else.......... I expect the friendly boot of the Polizei at the door anytime soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Juniorette's Autumn Holidays

The Juniorette has just finished two days of football training camp here in Marburg. She has had a wonderful time despite the wet weather and wants to sign up for the next one. She will have to wait a year though.

This is her first school holidays and she's been fortunate to have had a lot of activities to do. She spent 4 days last week with activities/events/fun & games organised by the local church. This included a trip to Frankfurt Zoo at the weekend which she really enjoyed. Then this Friday we are travelling up to Bremen to watch Werder Bremen hopefully beat Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. So she has been a busy girl. Life was never this exciting for me when I was a kid!

To top it off the Juniorette was in the Marburg newspaper (Oberhessische Presse) two days running last week. Once because she won a competition to design a road sign. The sign depicts a child friendly road, meaning that kids can play in the road and that motorists should take extra care. Secondly she was in photo showing some of the kids at the Kinderkirchentag (church organised fun & games stuff detailed above). I have never been in the newspaper and don't expect to really, but the Juniorette is only 7 years old and has been in four or five times already this today eh!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Whiney Expat Bloggers Meet

Yesterday was the first German whiney expat bloggers meet which was held in Marburg, Germany......fortunately this where I live, so I didn't have to travel far.
We met up at a cafe near the train station, with myself and J being the first to arrive. Inactualfact didn't show. He was the victim of Deutsche Bahn - the dastardly hun strikes again. Next to arrive was Mausi, closely followed by HeisseScheisse and Sparky. The group was also joined by Mrs Haddock.

After introductions, a good humoured chat and several teas, we set off for a walk around the old town, with a trip up to the schloss (castle). There is a good view over Marburg from the castle.
On the way up to the Marburg Schloss

After this strenuous hike we stopped for lunch at a Greek/German restaurant. Sparky devoured one and a half XXL schnitzels. A feat to be seen and believed. I have never seen a whole one eaten before. The meal was a lot of fun, with lots of funny stories told and good banter exchanged. Everyone was rather full afterwards so we retired to the Haddock Household to meet the Juniorette, drink tea and chat some more.

The day was very enjoyable but passed very quickly. Everyone got on really well with each other, and it was a pleasure to be able to put names to faces at last. The blog meet ended in the early evening, but the Deutsche Bahn still had a few cards to play as it severely disrupted the travel plans of both Mausi and J on the way home. Another couple of victims for the dastardly hun!

It was a quality day with some quality whining. To be repeated at some time in the future at a location near you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sleeping with the light on

I spent most of my time at work yesterday doing a CBT (computer based training course). It was almost like a real training course; it was boring and I kept on falling asleep. Of course had it been a real training course I would have had a massive hangover as well. The true challenge of a course (as any Telecoms Engineer will tell you) is trying to stay awake and absorb knowledge, whilst feeling hideous and trying not to throw up. Alas those days are gone. With my company's recent financial cutbacks the 'all expenses paid' trips to foreign climes for a course have stopped, and now we have to make do with CBT's and no beer. No fun.

But it does mean I don't have to sleep with the light on anymore. Life experience has taught me that when staying in a hotel always leave the light on in the bathroom in your room. The door to the hallway and the bathroom door in your room are normally VERY close to each other. In the middle of the night, half asleep and with a full bladder it is very easy to go through the wrong door. I have done this on two occasions. One with underpants and one without. The only way to get back into the room is to go to reception. It's an interesting journey.

Walking stark bollock naked to the reception desk of a hotel located at an international airport teeming with guests is not something I would want to repeat, but if dear reader the same fate should happen to you, I heartily recommend to hold your head high, smile, think of England and march proudly to the desk.

So on reflection, CBT's are not a lot of fun, but they are a lot safer!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Chicken Run

Yesterday the Haddock Girls carved a pumpkin into the typical Halloween face ready for the end of the month. Mrs Haddock. then made a pumpkin soup with the innards. This was a new experience for me as I have never had pumpkin soup before. I found it rather pleasant. This was followed by a feast of chicken legs and vegetables including the last of the zucchini from the garden. Very yummy.

With the current bird flu outbreak reaching Europe and the impending mass slaughter of poultry I wonder how long we will be able to have chicken leg feasts. But of course this will pale into insignificance if the bird flu mutates and crosses over to us homo sapians. The UK government recently stated that if a flu pandemic breaks it expects up to 53,000 deaths and up to 700,000 deaths in a worst case scenario. This is serious shit. But before it happens I'm going to pig out on chicken legs as much as I can. You know it makes sense - it's finger licking good!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bob Gentry Album Review

I recently purchased the Bob Gentry CD as a present for my darling wife Mrs Haddock, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Bob's CD is great, I would categorize the music as rock/pop and it kind of reminds me of a mix between Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams. I have only listened to the album a couple of times, and already it grows on me the more I hear it. At present there is a track called Goldie Hawn that I can't get out of my head. The lyrics are excellent. He is certainly a very talented singer/songwriter. The Juniorette has also given the CD a big thumbs up and likes dancing to it.

You can listen to Bobs songs here

........and keep up with goings on his life at his Blog/Journal site

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Haddock Aquarium of Death

I have been to Frankfurt for a couple of days to help occasional blogger Idlethoughts lay a laminate floor in his apartment. The work involved wasn't particularly strenuous but boy do I ache today. We finished the floor Friday morning and it looks bloody good. Whilst in Frankfurt we went out to an excellent Indian restaurant, where I had a Chicken Vindaloo. It was English strength, tasted very nice and brought the on a case of the hiccups. I now know why the word loo is in Vindaloo! :)
Last chilli's of summer

On returning to Marburg I had a few gardening duties to perform which included the seasons last harvest of chilli's (shown above). These were later transformed into another batch of Chilli Chutney. Early analysis indicates that this batch will have definite bite!

Another neon died in the aquarium yesterday. All fish that have died so far are from one particular pet shop. So we have a new plan. We will only buy fish from the place where we acquired the Otto's, and believe it or not, that is Obi (DIY shop). So yesterday we purchased a couple of Bumblebee Shrimps, two Platys and a pair of Dwarf Gouramies. So fingers are crossed, the bets are laid, and the wheel is spun in the Haddock Aquarium of Death. I believe the next few days will be crucial.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More football, less fish

I have had no time to blog for the last couple of days. My last night shift was mental. Didn't even have time to eat my sandwiches let alone write a blog article. Yesterday I was too full of beer to blog. It was my first day off, so it was effectively Friday for me. I watched football on the telly followed by a DVD and supped a few cold ones.

A few days ago we had a visit from the chimney sweep to clean the chimney. He seemed quite interested in the paper brickettes that I had made for the wood burner. He had all the gear on as they do here in Germany, and they have apparently stopped using little children to climb up the chimney to clean it. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing.

We had the bill from the builders for the work recently completed and it came in under budget - will wonders never cease.

Also in the past few days a couple of the neon fish died. We have checked the water and may be the nitrate content is a little high, so we have changed some of the water. I guess we now cross our fingers and hope the little buggers have not signed a suicide pact.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Football and Fish

Yesterday the England soccer team qualified to take part in the 2006 World Cup finals which will be held here in Germany. By all accounts they scraped a lucky 1-0 win over Austria. Beckham got sent off (perhaps unfairly), and England hung on with only ten men to win.

Germany lost 2-1 to Turkey in a friendly. They could have lost a lot heavier. Both Germany and England need to do something drastic to their teams before the finals. I personally recommend electro shock therapy. These players earn so much money nowadays and it seems that they cannot perform properly when they represent their country - cow prods are too good for them - grrrr!

On a more local scale, the Juniorette's G-Jugend soccer team came second in a tournament today, with the Juniorette scoring a goal, and having a caution for being too aggressive with her tackling. I have absolutely no idea where she got that idea from!

And lastly on a different scale (pun intended) one of our fish died today. One of the platy's has bitten the big one. The Juniorette was quite upset about it. It must run in the family. I once became emotional whilst Marlin fishing off the Atlantic island of Madeira many years ago.

The funeral for the Platy will be held tomorrow afternoon in the upstairs bathroom. The remaining platy's request no flowers to be sent.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sleeping like a dead crocodile

I used to sleep like a dead crocodile all the time. Getting out of bed in the morning/afternoon used to be the hardest thing I ever did some days. But not anymore. In the last few years, and in particular the last 6 months I wake up between 6:30 - 7:00 every morning during my days off. If like last night my sciatic nerve gives me a bit of trouble in the wee hours, resulting in sporadic sleep, then the following day I am a wreck. That is me today, and I have just started night shift - oh joy.

This morning the Juniorette's school along with all parents went on a walk (5km) to a picnic area in a nearby village. It was an enjoyable event and I think really promotes a sense of community amongst parents and the school. I guess that was the idea of the event anyway. I even had to speak a bit of German for while. It's not good to inflict that type of teutonic torture on a chap when he's tired - it's just not cricket.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The camera never lies

The builders have finally left, the driveway and front path are complete, and we are now waiting for the bill - the fun bit. For the last two days I have been slaving in the garden preparing the two new flower beds (weeding and removing stones) and planting a mixture of heather, astor & silberblatt. I re-seeded a patch of lawn that got totalled by the builders, and started a makeshift sandstone wall to hold back an earth bank. I am now knackered.

Found this whilst surfing the other day and it really made me laugh out loud. It's probably an old picture, and I was the last one to see it. To use a famous quote 'The camera never lies!'

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Home fires are burning

The Haddock wood burner

As the weather here in Marburg has become cooler, we have fired up the wood burner for the past couple of evenings. This is the one thing I like about the evenings drawing in - to light a fire and watch it. It's better than TV most of the time. Unfortunately over the summer months I didn't quite get round to chopping up the wood for the winter months, so over the next few days I will be wielding the axe and chainsaw in an effort to have a plentiful supply of wood for the next few months

I picked more tomatoes and strawberries from the garden today. There are still chilli's, bell peppers, and zucchini on the plants, and the weather is predicted to get a bit better for a few days. Hopefully this will force the zucchini on a bit quicker. Amazingly the strawberry plants are still in flower.

The house behind us is currently having PV Solar Panels fitted to the roof. This is something I would really like to have, but considering the costs involved and the other priority projects that we have earmarked, this will have to wait for a few years.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Happy Helmut Holiday

Today in Germany is Happy Helmut Holiday. I believe the Germans like to call it Unification Day, to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rejoining of the former communist east Germany with the capitalist west. The crowning moment for former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Kohl introduced a solidarity tax to help pay for the reunification. The tax was only supposed to run for a couple of years. It still gets deducted from my monthly paycheck. Never trust a politician.

There is still a rivalry between the East & West German people (now I'm being diplomatic) and during the last couple of years I have heard dissent from both Ossie's & Wessie's in the form that the wall should be rebuilt again! - Who would of thought that a few years ago.

Anyways today is HHH and I am working instead of having a day off and enjoying the crappy weather just like everyone else. But then tomorrow I start my 4 days off when the rest of Germany (apart from the 12% unemployed) return to work. So life isn't so bad after all.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Haddock Aquarium

We put our first fish into our Aquarium this week. We started with 4 little Otto's which are little sucker fish that eat algae. Once they had settled we added a shoal of Neon Tetras, and 3 Platys. Every fish has survived so far, which can only be a good sign. We intend to add a couple more fish next week, but we haven't decided on the variety yet.
The builders still have not finished the front path and drive. It's been 3 weeks so far, but they have promised to have it all finished next Tuesday. So it should be done by Thursday then.

It would be good to get back to normal and be able to park the cars by the house instead of in the local car park. It makes a big difference when it's raining.