tger greenhaddock: November 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A cure for insomnia

Last night Mrs Haddock invented a new drink. Gluhwine with a tot of ouzo in it. Little did she realise at the time that she had also stumbled apon the cure for insomnia. I spent most of today horizontal in a deep slumber.

Not to be out done I am working on a formula for instant weight loss, and is loosely based around drinking 10 pints of real ale. It will be marketed at people who have tried the weight watchers program and failed. I thought the following slogan would be appropriate.
If the bottom has fallen out of your world, then drink real ale, and the world will fall out of your bottom
Sounds like a winner to me! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Whilst I was sleeping

Whilst I have been sleeping during the day, (I was working nightshifts over the weekend), the Haddock Girls (Mrs & Juniorette) have been very busy. Sunday was the first advent, so the house has been decorated with all the Christmas trimmings. But this year we have decided not to have a tree as our two cats Mickey and Minnie would undoubtedly wreck it.

The Haddock Girls have visited the Christmas Market already, and the Juniorette picked up a dancing, saxophone playing Santa to add to the decorations. She is really proud of it as she bought it from her saved up pocket money. The Juniorette also had rides on the carousel and the big wheel (which isn't that big). Amongst all this they even found time to go sledging whilst I was snoring.

Mrs Haddock has been super efficient this year and has virtually completed all Xmas shopping. I even plan to send Xmas cards this year (as I plan every year!) - but this year I actually intend to do it!

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Found this whilst surfing earlier, and it took me a couple of seconds to realise what it was. I think I have met quite a few people in my life who are like this! :)

This was found over at Online Magazine

It's the weekend, I am working nights and it's just started snowing again. In fact the forcast for the next couple of days in this region of Germany is for more snow. Looks like I will have to dust off my sledge ready for my days off.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A snowman called Thorsten

This was the view from our patio when I returned home (late) from night shift this morning. My train was an hour late because of the snow. The low depression responsible for the snow and countless road accidents in Germany is called Thorsten.

As a result of the snow fall the kiddies Christmas party from the local football club was cancelled. The Juniorette didn't seem to mind. She spent most of the afternoon outside with one of her football mates building snowmen and larking around in the snow.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hogwarts School Report

Last night Mrs Haddock and I went out to the Cinema to watch the new Harry Potter movie - The goblet of fire. Our local Cineplex in Marburg normally shows all the big movies in English as well as dubbed German. This is probably as Marburg is a University town with a very high percentage of students most of whom can speak English very well. Hence I was probably the oldest Potter groupie in the audience.

I wont bother to review the movie as most people will have read the book or perhaps seen the film by now, but in the Haddock's view this is the best film so far and has quite a lot of humour in it, mainly subtle and more to a British taste. The actors are improving with age.

Today Mrs Haddock and I went to school to have a little chat with the Juniorettes teacher. It was a progress report that all the parents have been having over the last week or so. The Juniorettes teacher also happens to be the School Headmistress as well. She informed us that the Juniorette is settling in and performing well. Basically nothing bad to report (unlike when I was at school!)

I spoke English, my wife spoke German and the Headmistress switched between languages depending on who she was addressing. At some point I noticed the Juniorettes face at the window, and later discovered she had been eavesdropping at the door as well. Top marks for improvisation! - as a kid I would have done the same. Apparently she was worried what might have been said about her. She need not have worried as everything that was said was positive and nice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Two birds with one stone

I had another physio appointment yesterday. My therapist, Miss C, only speaks German, so I have to talk German for the full session. It's a bit like taking a German course at the same time.

She told me yesterday that she is still undergoing training in the dark art of physio therapy and she hopes to one day to study the liver. It's apparently quite an advanced art, but when perfected allows the therapist to manipulate the liver so that it processes alcohol faster, thus making hangovers less potent and quicker to evaporate.

Naturally I requested that I be first in the queue to experience this type of physio when she qualifies.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

At the arse end of the world

It is 20 years ago this month that I left the Falkland Islands to return to the UK. I had been working in Port Stanley for a year as a satcom tech for the company responsible for providing the islands international telecommunications services. Even though I didn't realise it at the time, the year I spent down south changed me in many ways, and shaped to a certain extent the person I am today.

Port Stanley was quite a rough place at times and had the feel of a frontier town about it. The British Forces were still based in the Stanley and the brawls that broke out in the pubs sometimes had to be witnessed to be believed. It was like the wild west. I quickly learnt to drink by the door incase a hasty exit was needed!

Drinking heavily in the Falklands was a way of life for many in those days. Some of the islanders seemed immune to the effects of rum. I have never seen so much hard liquor consumed by men and women. To combat the endless hangovers it was best to have other interests in life other than drinking. Fortunately I have always liked birdwatching and together with a new camera I had acquired when working in Hong Kong, I tried to devote a lot of my time, when the weather allowed, to photographing the birdlife on the islands. I still drank like a fish though!

During my year on the islands I made many trips to out lying settlements. At one of these I learnt how to slaughter sheep. Every Friday sheep were butchered to feed the people and sheepdogs for the following week. It was like a different world. But it taught me a bit about the cycle of life & death, and how little thought goes into where our food comes from. When I sat there in Port Stephens tucking into some mutton I knew exactly where it had come from, and it wasn't plastic wrapped from a supermarket.

But perhaps the most enduring impression of the Falklands that I will always carry with me is of the ruggedness and beauty of the place. I once at sat in a 10,000 strong colony of Rockhopper Penguins and watched the sun go down over the southern ocean. I was totally accepted by the penguins, the sunset was too beautiful for words, and I felt totally at one with the world. It's funny, but I knew at the time I would never feel like that again.

Over 3 years after leaving the Falklands, I was offered a chance to return to my old job in Port Stanley, but this time for a stint of 2 years. I declined. I very much enjoyed my one year there, but I was sure my liver would have never survive the abuse for a further 2 years :)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hose pipe ban?

credit -

I saw the above whilst surfing yesterday and it cracked me up. Call it British toilet humour or whatever, but it's very funny to me.

I had physio again this week and it really does seem to be sorting out my sciatic nerve problem. However it does completely wreck me. All I do is lie there and get pushed around and prodded. I feel fine, and then a few hours later I feel like I have been a human punch bag. Mrs H. says it affects my general mood as well. The weird thing is that sometimes after physio I feel ok, or even elated. It's like a lottery. So on a physio day I try and leave the rest of the day unplanned. More physio next week.

We had the builders in again on Wednesday to install a railing around the outside cellar steps. This should now stop any small children from falling into the stairwell, and stop their parents from suing us. I personally looked apon our 'danger zone' as a Darwinian trap, thus aiding the evolution of the human race :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The sleeper express

I started my current cycle of early shifts today. This means that the alarm clock goes of at 4am and then I stumble out of bed and get myself ready to go to work, whilst desperately trying to stay awake.

I then drive to the train station, and board the Frankfurt bound train at 05:12 if its on time. After applying the mp3 player I normally drift off into a deep slumber. I am way past the point of worrying about snoring or talking in my sleep - I do both!

I normally awake a few times to check where we are, and this morning we appeared a couple of times to be in the middle of nowhere with no forward motion. Apparently a train in front of us had broken down. So I got to work an hour later than usual, which isn't bad as it seems as it means more sleep and less work.

I recieved my new annual train ticket this week, and slowly it's dawning on me that there is a correlation between price and service. The more the price goes up the worse the service gets.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Schwarzwald Weekend

Last weekend the Haddock family travelled down south to Schwarzenberg in Baden-Würtenberg to celebrate the 80th birthday of my father-in-law.
We all stayed at the Hotel Sackmann, which is a family run wellness hotel. The hotel was very nice and the food was superb, but the thing that really struck me was the service. It was outstanding. Definitely the best resturant sevice I have ever seen in Germany (not too hard to achieve I know!), but it was possibly some of the best service I have encountered anywhere on my travels.
The menu was varied and was of high quality. I indulged in venison, goose and lamb. For breakfast I pigged out on eggs & bacon (I don't get the chance that often). The chef is apparently quite famous in the region and has written cook books and produced a video.
Between meals we spent our time in the swimming pool and hotel sauna. The Juniorette had lots of fun with her cousins, and during the main celebration on Saturday they all performed a play for their grandfather. The Juniorette did a dance for him dressed as a princess.
We all had a very nice time and it was great to see all the family together again. But a weekend of gourmet food, fine wine, swimming and visiting the sauna leaves one feeling pretty exhausted. I couldn't do this 7 days a week!
It was a very enjoyable weekend, and I am looking forward to the next one in 10 years time!

The birthday boy

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Same shit, different place

Welcome to the new home of Greenhaddock

My old site is closing down, so I have decided to move to Blogger. Looks like I have a lot of work to transfer all my old posts, and I am fairly certain I will lose all comments. But such is life.

Monday, November 14, 2005

They have to be fooking kidding!

We have returned from our weekend in the Black Forest and Mrs H. has just returned from a shopping trip into town. She returned with some bank statements , and boy were we surprised!
We applied for the second round of world cup 2006 tickets which are being drawn this month (we failed to secure any in the first round). The lucky participants will find out in May when they have been successful in the second round.

So imagine our surprise when FIFA have booked €565 off our account. Apparently they keep the money until May, and give you back the money if you don't get tickets you applied for. What a rip off. I can only guess how much money they make in interest from holding everyones money for 6 month.

I just hope we don't tickets for all the games we applied for. I like football.......but I am not fanatical about it. (Note to self - never let Mrs Haddock order tickets online again.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blending in with the Black Forest

Tomorrow the Haddock family are heading south to the Black Forest to celebrate my father-in-laws 80th birthday. The whole family will be staying in a hotel for the weekend, which will be great for the Juniorette as she will get to run wild with her cousins which she doesn't get to do that often

My father-in-law is a great guy and I get on really well with him. His English is very good, he has a very good sense of humour, and loves English tea. I suspect he picked all this up when he was a POW held by the British. He said they were very nice to him, unlike the French who he also had a brief stay with at the end of the war.

This weekend will all be about relaxation and celebration in the company of my German in-laws. I am sure we will all have a really nice time and will enjoy some great cuisine and no doubt some very fine wine.

I suspect I will be the only English person at the hotel. So I guess I will try and blend in with the German majority in a similar vein to the photo above.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Too Knackered to blog

Well I'm back at work and now have time to do blog related stuff. I never found the energy or the time in my days off to do so.

Saturday was a crappy shift at work. The train home was late and full of very noisy and annoying Eintracht Frankfurt fans. So on returning home and feasting at the Haddock banquet table, I decided to track down and consume all Prosecco that I could find in the cellar. Jolly good fun, but then Sunday was a nothing day. Nothing happened. I didn't want anything to happen. But I did find out what was good for a hangover.......apparently it's drinking heavily the night before!

Mrs Haddock had a day off from work on Monday, so we filled the day with various exciting tasks as shopping and cleaning the house.

Tuesday brought glorious weather, which meant a day in the garden in a T-shirt doing various tasks that I wasn't going to do until spring. I built a rockery.......minus the plants! - it's just rocks at the moment. I nicked then from the local farmers field. I suppose I'm doing him a favour really. Then I mowed the lawn again, and did a general tidy up. I was too knackered to blog.

Today's Wednesday and I got up at 6am this morning. Ideal preparation for a night shift me thinks. So I am still knackered but able to blog - sort of!

PS - I saw 4 species of Butterfly yesterday.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Normal for November?

Well work today has been a real contrast to the last couple of days. It's been really busy, which has severely curtailed the amount of blog surfing that I have been able to do today.

I have noticed a few USA based blogs this week mentioning how late Autumn is this year, and how roses and Lily's were still in bloom. Well the same is happening here in Germany. This week I have still seen butterflies, most trees have not lost many leaves, some are still very green, and some garden flowers are in bloom. It is's supposed to be cold.

Who says climate change is a myth......I still have to mow the lawn in November!

Friday, November 04, 2005

How to get paid for blogging

Last week this blog was lovingly reviewed by the bitches over at I talk too much. I was rather pleased with the 3 smack rating I obtained. I thought it would be rather less. Some sites really get ripped apart in the reviews. But I find it's all a bit of harmless fun.

After reading about shag maps over at Inactualfact I was lead to link that allows you to show on a map all the countries that you have visited. Some ones that I have visited like Bermuda, Ascension Island, Guam, Truk Islands, St. Helena, and Barbados don't really show up well on the world map. But what does show up is the fact that I still have a lot of travelling to do.

Click to create your own map

I still need to travel a lot in Europe

On health issues, I've managed to fend off the Bronchitis so far, and I am back at work at the moment. My lungs are still a bit wheezy, but they are not getting worse. Many thanks for everyones well wishes. As you can see I am using my time wisely here at work. I guess this is be the only way I will ever get paid for blogging.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I have not been to work for the last couple of days as I have not been feeling too well. It looks like I am on the edge of getting Bronchitis. I am taking the medication that my doctor would normally prescibe, apart from the antibiotics, and I am also taking some herbal remedies to boost my immune system. If my immune system fails me and the Bronchitis does take hold then I'll be down to the quack like a rocket for the antibiotics. Perhaps he will prescribe me these as well.

On the fish front, another Platy died this week in the aquarium of death. But on a more positive note one of the shrimps was sighted yesterday. The Juniorette copes a lot easier with fish deaths now - she's seen a few. So at least she is learning about the mortality of life.