tger greenhaddock: January 2006

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Freenet are shit

Freenet are shit, and that's a fact. We ordered internet DSL with them early last August and to date we are still waiting. We have sent mails to Freenet requesting an update on the situation, and we are always told that T-Com are dragging their heels over some technical aspect. I work in the Telecoms industry and I can smell bullshit a mile off. But we thought we would give them the benefit of the doubt.

Last month we confronted a Freenet promotion stand in Marburg and were told that quite often ordering via the internet didn't always work out so well. We were given a form to fill in, and the address of a man responsible for Freenet in our area to send the form to. We were promised that we would have DSL within 2 weeks. We didn't take that too seriously, and quite rightly so. It's way over the 2 week mark and we haven't heard a dicky bird from Freenet.

Yesterday Mrs H sent them another email, to which they replied that they are still awaiting a reply from T-Com to find out if DSL is available in our area. Unbelievable, after 6 months they have done jackshit. My neighbours have DSL so it is available. To my surprise Mrs H replied with an email saying that if we don't have a working solution within 3 weeks they can ram their signed contract right up their arse. Most excellent. I personally would have added that we know where they live, and that the horses head is in the post.

So without making a claim to have crystal balls (I know I do not, as I've seen the ultra sound pictures), I think I can safely predict that in 3 weeks nothing will have happened. We will then order DSL from T-Com. This of course means I will probably be writing another post in 6 months titled 'T-Com are shit'

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Monday, January 30, 2006

My Perfect Partner

I've been tagged by Bob Gentry with a meme called My Perfect Partner.

So here goes.........My Perfect Partner should

  1. be my best friend (I believe relationships should be based on friendship)
  2. be intelligent, witty and amusing (A sense of humour is essential)
  3. be a caring and loving person
  4. be forgiving (I am a complete arse sometimes!)
  5. love children and be a good parent
  6. like football (soccer) and cricket
  7. be a competant scuba diver
  8. be interested in natural history and gardening
  9. enjoy good food and wine
  10. turn into a 6 pack of beer at midnight (only kidding, but I couldn't resist it)

Incidently, I am of course already married to my perfect partner!

As for tagging other people, I nominate Ms Mac, Leon's Life & Expat Traveller

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The little dragon

It’s Saturday night and I am back at work. Today the outside temperature in Marburg broke into the plus numbers. It was a gloriously sunny day and the snow and ice are starting to melt. This was good for the soul.

Mrs H and the Juniorette were in town today to do some shopping. The Juniorette was after a book called ‘Der kleine Drache Kokosnuss und der schwarze Ritter’ by Ingo Siegner. Imagine their surprise when in the bookshop they found that the author of the book was there to sign copies. Apparently this week is Children’s Literature week in Marburg and there are many authors in town, doing signings and promoting their books.

So the Juniorette left the bookshop with a signed copy of ‘The little dragon coconut and the black knight’. Ingo Siegner who hails from near Hanover had quite a lot of time for the Juniorette and told her the outline of the plot for his next Little Dragon book. He even did a personalised illustration of the dragon in the book for her.

Luck seems to follow the Juniorette. When she enters a competition she normally wins a prize. She’s also been in the local paper heaps of time, for one reason or another. An old favourite saying of mine has always been “Think lucky, be lucky” – this definitely seems to apply to the Juniorette. I think it’s time for her to choose my lottery ticket numbers!

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The force was not with me

Mrs H and I went to the Fitness studio again yesterday. We didn’t have much time and thought we would just go some of the machines for 30 mins. Well after 5 mins on the cross trainer I was buggered. We are beginning to realise how out of shape we really are. In the end I decided to focus on the calories burned, and quit the cross trainer after burning 100 cal. I did the same on the cycling machine. I have no idea how much 200 cal is, but it’s got to be a double cheeseburger at least. I felt quite faint for periods of the afternoon, so the best course of action was to watch some Star Wars with the Juniorette. She so wants a light saber! :)

Today it’s snowing again and I need to get outside to chop some wood for the wood burner. Motivation seems to be a problem here again. I think I’ll drink tea for a while longer. It’s forecast to stop snowing this afternoon. I can chop wood then.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Colder than a Witches Tit

If you pardon the expression. But it is bloody cold here in Marburg at the moment, and I am sure it is a lot colder in other parts of Germany. It was - 10 deg Celsius when the Juniorette set off for school this morning. I felt quite sorry for her as I lay in my nice warm bed. I was so comfortable I fell back to sleep for an hour or so. I love it when I have my days off shift. :)

The Juniorette had quite a full weekend. She played in a football tournament on Saturday, and Mrs H. reports that she played very well. The team came second overall. On Sunday Mrs H. took the Juniorette ice-skating for the first time. She really loved it and was apparently quite good at it as well. The temporary ice rink at the Marburg Botanical Gardens is being dismantled next week, but will be there again next year. I then intend to visit as I have not been ice skating in years.

It has of course been seriously cold in Russia, and I saw a news report that Moscow zookeepers have been giving Vodka to the Elephants to keep them warm. This strikes me as very unwise and definitely can not be good for the Elephants. Our cleaning lady mentioned to Mrs H. yesterday that she didn't think it was that cold in Marburg. Mind you she used to live in Siberia, so I guess Marburg must feel like the Costa Brava to her! :)

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bad Mood

The last few days I have been in a bad mood, but I can't figure out what I am pissed off about - and that just pisses me off more. Most people seem to like a mystery. I don't - my mind wont rest until the mystery is solved.

Maybe it's the weather. But maybe not!

By now most people will have seen that the whale that swam up the river Thames to London has died. It died during the rescue operation to return it to the open sea. I must admit I am not surprised. There are many incidents of whales beaching every year worldwide, and the common factors for me always seem to be that the whales are either injured or ill, and have a death wish. To me it appears that a lot of whales in these situations are just going somewhere to die. Sad I know, but I think that was what this whale was trying to do. It is also possible that it was an Arsenal supporter, which would explain both its prescence in London and its death wish :)

On a more positive note, the seeds that I ordered from the Organic Gardening Catalogue arrived yesterday. I must say I am really impressed by their speed of service.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I am back at work after my days off. My time off flew by as usual, with not a lot actually happening. We ordered some new furniture, (wardrobe and a couple of chest of draws). Plus I ordered online the seeds for the plants I want to grow in the garden this year. The weather lately has been total crap. Overcast, freezing rain, snow, fog and rain.

Spring can not come quick enough this year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Can I lie down now please!

Today Mrs H and I visited the fitness studio for our first fitness session. It was a lot of fun, but very knackering. As I type this all I want to do is have a lie down. The trainer was a friendly lad, who could speak both English and German. He made us go on lots of fitness machines which seemed to be designed to cause pain for my finely tuned beer drinking muscles. But the worst for me was the plain old sit ups. My belly (main beer muscle!) really didn’t want to play. The session and resulting chat lasted about an hour and a half, and we’ve now signed up for a year’s membership. I probably was suffering from a diminished oxygen supply to my brain at the time of signing.

Apparently we are returning to the sweat shop later this week. To be honest I was pretty tired when we arrived there toady after walking up all the stairs. The gym is on the top floor. I guess they do it that way to weed out the weaklings. There’s German efficiency for you!

Tonight I am going to relax. The beer is cooling in the fridge and I have the DVD series of England winning the Ashes last summer against the Australians to watch. It’s a cricket thing. It’s so much easier to watch other people do sport!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

French Victory

A old school mate from North Devon sent me the following in a mail. I know many of you have probably seen this before, as have I, but it still makes me laugh! :)

1 - Go to

2 - Type in "French military victories", without the quotes

3 - Instead of hitting "Search" ... hit ..."I'm feeling Lucky"

4- Tell your friends before the people at Google fix it under protest of the French Government.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A new sign

I mentioned last year that the Juniorette won a competition to design a road sign. The sign shows that our road is a place where children are allowed to play and car drivers must take extra care, She drew the picture almost a year ago, and now (as shown ) it has been turned into a road sign. She is very proud of this, but I suspect in a few years time she may be embarrassed by it. I on the other hand will always be proud of her achievement.

The Juniorette returned to school earlier this week after the Christmas break. She has been becoming more tired every morning as the week has gone on. She leaves the house at 07:30 for the 15min walk to school. It can not be fun when it has been minus temperatures every morning this week. But a cold brisk walk first thing can only but help build her immune system.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

All things medical

Over the last 24 hours I have been wearing a blood pressure monitor. This consists of an inflatable cuff attached to my upper arm and a box containing the compressor, battery, and electronics strapped to my belly. The two are joined by a pipe. During the day the cuff inflated every 15mins to read my blood pressure, and during the night it inflated every 30 mins. It was cumbersome and a bit impractical at times, but the good news that my blood pressure is now borderline and I won’t have to take any meds for it. Just do sport. This morning I returned to the surgery to have the contraption removed. Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room the cuff inflated 3 times. It makes quite a noise, but in the stillness of the waiting room it seemed a lot louder. Not one of the other waiting patients looked at me, even when I laughed. I became the invisible Englishman.

I gave more blood which will be checked to see if my thyroid meds are at the right level, and to see if my cholesterol levels are still high. I had a nice chat with the doctor who informed once again that I have to do more sport. I start at the fitness studio next week. Earlier this week I received my results of my sperm-o-gram. Good news once again, the little swimmers are at Olympic strength. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

For a clean house just add Ouzo

This last weekend we had house guests from Bremen staying with us. It was a jolly nice time and we had a lot of fun. On the Saturday evening we went out to eat at our local restaurant. The food was good as always, and we enjoyed a couple of beers and schnapps. Watered and fed we returned home to chat, sup a couple more beers, and finish off the ouzo that we acquired in Crete last summer.

Apparently it was the ouzo that did it.

Mrs H was woken up at 5am by some strange noises. Mrs Bremen was just about to start hoovering the house. Prior to this she had already done 2 loads of washing (our clothes!). This behaviour can not be normal, and later when I woke and Mrs H explained to me what had happened, I found it both bizarre and amusing. I also realised we could ditch our normal cleaning lady and invite our Bremen visitors more often! – Ouzo doesn’t cost that much!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

They walk amongst us

A few days ago at work a German co-worker received a parcel at work. He was very excited. He was even more excited when he opened the package. I wandered over to have a look as I was naturally inquisitive as to what all the fuss was about. Co-worker proudly presented a signed photo of Dolly Buster, a former German porn actress (with unfeasibly large breasts). Then with great care and awe he removed a pair of beige high heeled shoes from the package. Shoes once worn by Dolly Buster. You could almost read co-workers mind “Did she wear these shoes whilst working?”

I really do wonder about the people I work with sometimes.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Favourite Photos

Here are my favourite photos from our Christmas visit to the UK (Click photos to enlarge)

The Juniorette and I on Woolacombe beach. It is windy, snowing and very cold. She does not look amused!
(In the background you can just about see some surfers in the water)

My Nana from Wales. She is 81 this year and intends to visit us in Marburg this summer. She is a top lady.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Almost fit to drop

Yesterday Mrs Haddock and I took another step closer to joining the fitness studio. We went and bought the sports clothes that we apparently need. Personally I saw nothing wrong in a pair of shorts and an old Mötorhead T-shirt. In was a long and arduous process, and the super slim shop assistant seemed to take great delight in informing me that each pair of training shoes that I wanted to try on were for women. Perhaps I have feminine feet? - Anyways what are the differences between Men & Women’s feet?

Eventually we were kitted out with super breathable shirts, space age tracksuit leggings, and go faster training shoes. We also discovered that size wise all the items were designed to be snug fitting. The self esteem to be gained from bulging at the seams can only consolidate our desire to shed a bit of weight. Still, I had a nagging feeling as we left the shop that we had been had. Well at least when we finally get to visiting the fitness studio not only will I feel like a right plonker, but now I get to look like one as well.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Exploding cats, Christmas, and the journey from hell

The Haddock family are safely back in Marburg after spending Christmas with my family in Ilfracombe, Devon in England. It was a memorable trip and a lovely Christmas.

We dropped the cats off at the Cat Hotel prior to driving to Calais to catch the ferry to England. Whilst in transit to the Cat Hotel our tomcat Mickey had explosive diarrhoea. The car reeked, and the cat wasn’t happy in his travel box. With windows down we arrived at the cat Hotel feeling a bit sick to say the least. Worse was to come, and for me it happened in slow motion. The tomcat was let out of his box. He was soaking wet with shit……and then he shook himself……It went everywhere. The Haddock family had to return home to change clothes. We stank to high heaven. Fortunately the rest of the journey was without mishap.

Christmas was really nice. I enjoyed being back in my home town seeing my family. We eat a lot, drank a bit and had a great time. The Juniorette loved being with her English cousins and has learned a new subset of slang. The highlights of her pressies from Santa were her digital camera and her microscope. The microscope is the dogs – you can hook it up to a computer. We haven’t done so yet, but will in a few days. Expect some cellular pictures soon.

The day before we drove back we had a walk on Woolacombe beach to watch the surfers. It was snowing. This is very unusual for North Devon. I suppose it should have given us a hint as to what to expect on the trip back to the Fatherland. We encountered snow on the journey back to Dover. This wasn’t too bad for us but the rest of the English drivers seemed to have a few problems at times. The ferry crossing was with Gale Force winds, so the crossing was a bit lumpy, but again no problem. What was a problem was France. It was sheet ice as the snail munching swine were not salting/gritting the roads. We were stuck in a very slow moving and slippy traffic jam for hours. It was raining and it was freezing. As we crossed the border into Belgium the roads suddenly became clear, for a while. Then we encountered snow and ice. It seemed all of northern Europe had experienced a big dump of snow.

We had our moments getting home, especially over the hills of the Sauerland, but after 12 hours we finally made it back to Marburg from Calais. Total journey time from Ilfracombe was over 20 hours. But the real hero of our little adventure was the Juniorette who did not moan or complain once on our journey. She really showed signs of the Dunkirk spirit – Perhaps next time we should sail from there.