tger greenhaddock: February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I want to be in Rio

It’s been a busy last couple of days. Yesterday Mrs H and I went to the gym again, followed by the sauna. It was the first time we had tried the sauna at the gym, and we were impressed. There are 4 saunas, 100°c, 90°c, 75°c and 55°c, of which we tried the 2 lowest temp ones. There is also a swimming pool, solarium, massage, steam room, a couple of whirlpools, snack bar and a nice relaxing area. We will be using this facility a lot more often.

In the afternoon was the Marburg Karneval parade, so we went down town with some friends to watch it. After 12 years of not going to Karneval, I finally relented and went (I’m not counting when I went to Rio many years ago for the Carnival). The Juniorette was dressed as a cowgirl, shouted Helau at every opportunity, and came home with a massive bag of sweets. All I can say is that I had a totally different experience when I was in Brazil.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Eins, Zwei, Polizei

This morning on the train to work I got to see the new German Police uniforms. The Polizei work the same shift times as I do, so my trains to Frankfurt always have a lot of cops travelling on them. The new uniforms are a dark blue which give them a more sinister look compared to the old green uniform, which I thought was quite friendly.

I think the move to change uniforms is wrong, as I think the attitudes of the general public to the Police will slowly change with this new sinister look – and not for the good. But I guess we should be thankful they didn’t go for the black uniform which were used by the SS.

Compared to the picture opposite, the uniforms I saw this morning were a lot darker. All Police Officers in Hessen will have the new uniform by 2008.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

The beginning

The Juniorette and I have been playing the computer game ‘Roller Coaster Tycoon 2’ on and off lately. We generally play together, but occasionally she plays on her own (which is good because she has to boot her computer and learn to read English to play the game).

A few days ago we were playing it on my PC together. Usually we take it in turns to play whilst the other comes up with clever ideas for a better strategy. Whilst I was playing the mouse started acting up. It was an intermittent fault which was rather annoying. I had assumed it was a dirty mouse, and I was starting to get a bit angry as I would have to stop playing and clean the mouse. This was when I noticed that the Juniorette was operating the arrow keys. She looked at me, smiled and then said “I wondered when you would notice it was me”. This girl is going to be trouble when she is older.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Late showing

We popped back into the T-Com office earlier this week to find out how are DSL application was coming along. We were told some bullshit about new equipment having to be installed, but that we would still receive our DSL connection by end of March. To which I replied, “don’t you mean May?” but I guess they missed the irony. T-Com are still acting like British Telecom did 20 years ago. Sad really.

Yesterday I went to the gym on my own. So far I have always been with Mrs H. but yesterday she was working, so I was on my lonesome. Anyway I found the training a bit easier today and didn't feel so beat afterwards.

Last night Werder Bremen beat Juventus 3-2 in a Champions League match at the Wesser Stadium. Apparently it was a really exciting game with Werder scoring in injury time to win. But what was a major bummer, is that German TV didn’t show the game. The evening before they did show the Bayern Munich game. As always, it’s the Bayern game that gets televised. As a side note one of the Juniorette’s friends was one of the kids that accompanies the teams out onto the pitch before the game starts last night. If the game had been on the TV and she saw her friend, she would have probably died of envy!

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Bad Papa!

We spent the weekend in the Odenwald celebrating Mrs H’s birthday with her parents and sisters. We went out to a local restaurant, and ate some very nice food, and drank some rather nice wine. Mrs H is of course abstaining. I was not. Anyway the wine continued to flow into the evening, and it turned into a late one chatting with my in laws. I think I might have been drunk.

I certainly still felt that way the next morning. We had to leave early the next morning as the Juniorette had a football tournament to attend. I slept in the car for the journey back to Marburg, whereupon Mrs H made a tactical decision to drop me off at home as I looked terrible and smelt like a brewery. The Juniorette was a bit pissed off as I had promised to go watch her play football. But she got her own back at the tournament by telling all the other parents that her Papa was still drunk from the night before. Ah well, there goes my reputation.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I am currently on nightshift and I am knackered. I didn’t get much sleep today as we have the builders in again, and they tend to make a lot of noise, even when the job they are doing should not be that noisy. That is the way it is with builders. I am not annoyed though, as the plaster work that was done today was done well, and the work rate was very good – only one break in a full 8 hour period of work. For a builder that is phenomenal. Normally they are on breaks more than they are actually working!

By the end of the week all the plastering and putz work (think the English term is Artex) will be done in the office, main bathroom, and the inside cellar steps. If all goes well the granite will arrive for the cellar steps next week. To top it off we had a phone call today saying that the new furniture we ordered will be delivered next week as well. So it’s a busy time at the Haddock ranch.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

A big scare

It has been a couple of stressful weeks in the Haddock household. Mrs H spent most of last week visiting doctors and having scans. It was discovered in a routine blood test that she had elevated levels of enzymes that indicated a problem with her liver. After various scans the doctors found tumours growing on her liver. These have subsequently been showed to be non cancerous and are termed FNH.

It was a very worrying time for all of us, and it seems the next step is to monitor the FNH to see if they get any bigger. Researching on the internet helped us immensely, as doctors do not always impart the required knowledge that allows one to sleep soundly at night. Dr Google told us that FNH is not life threatening, lots of people have FNH and don’t know it, and that there is no course of treatment for FNH.

For FNH there doesn’t seem to be a recommendation to curb alcohol intake, even so, Mrs H has decided to live her life more liver friendly. She has stopped drinking alcohol. I am cutting down on the alcohol as well. Hopefully then, with less beer, a better diet and more physical excercise we can become fitter and healthier in 2006.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Involuntary movement

Last evening I was sat on the train on the way home from work. I happened to be sat in one of the seats near the sliding doors which separate the carriages. Sitting here is a royal pain in the arse, as you constantly have to shut the door after people who have just walked through the door and not shut it.

Most Germans sat in these seats get annoyed at having to shut the door but never say anything to the offender. I normally do not say anything either, but last evening a lad in his twenties walked through twice without shutting the door. Without thinking about it I poked him in the stomach, probably a bit harder than what I should’ve done. He looked shocked and said something to me sharply in German which I didn’t understand as I was listening to music on my MP3 player. I replied in English and in a firm tone, “Shut that door Please”. Immediately he shut the door, lowered his head, and then walked off. I naturally thanked him in English. A result.

At this point I realised that all the other German passengers were looking at me. Some in amusement I suspect, and hopefully some with respect, for challenging the mannerless lout. Of course it could have just been because I had shouted loudly as I was wearing headphones, and they thought they had an English nutter on the train.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Just a thought

I am not a political animal, but after seeing countless re-runs on CNN here at work about the current Danish Cartoon saga, a certain thought struck me. Various Islamic groups around the world are calling for a mass boycott of Danish products. I would have thought that this would be highly unsuccessful considering that probably the biggest exports from Denmark are Beer and Bacon.

These products are not exactly big sellers in the Islamic world.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The thin ice of life

The scandal around Marburg this last week has been that of the Rail Track thieves. Apparently a large section of a disused line was stolen. This is no easy feat. You can’t exactly just fit it into your pocket and then walk off. This was organised crime in the true sense of the word. The ‘gang’ were disguised as Deutche Bahn workers and had informed the local council that work would be taking place. So from right under the noses of everyone they stole the track. Who would have thought that there was so much money in scrap?

On a much sadder note a 7 year old boy drowned in the Lahn River. He had been playing on the frozen ice and fell through into the river. His body was recovered a day later. Some friends of ours know the family well. They are devastated.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Busy days off

The weekend is over for me as I am back at work again. I had a busy time during my 4 days off. Mrs H and I visited a bathroom studio to order a shower cubicle for the main bathroom. This was a major result as normally in Germany you have order the fittings, and then find another firm to come and install them. This firm does the lot.

We also lucked in with the Natural Stone firm that we visited. They also provide a full service. We plan to have the cellar steps (The Bunker as I like to refer to it) tiled with granite. I think slowly the recession in Germany is starting to force some companies to become a bit more user friendly. Whilst we were ordering the new shower cubicle our cleaning lady broke the one in our guest bathroom. Weird! – I wonder what the odds are of that happening?

On the fitness front we have been to the gym and been for a couple of brisk walks in the last few days. So far we have the short flat walk (20 mins) and the long hilly walk (50 mins). Yesterday during the long walk we saw a group of 6 deer. Since the peak before last Christmas, my blood pressure is slowly returning to normal, and I have managed to shed a couple of kilos. So it’s still all on track for a new lean, mean Haddock machine.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

A done deal

After out visit to the gym today, Mrs H and I went to the Marburg T-Com office and ordered DSL from the former incumbent state provider (don’t you just love Telecom speak). Within a week they will contact us to inform us if DSL is possible at our home (it bloody well better be!). We felt good about this.

By coincidence whilst we were engaged with T-Com, Freenet were busy sending an email stating that our second application for Freenet DSL has been turned down as we already had an order in the system from last August. So to bury the hatchet once and for all I sent the following reply.

Dear Freenet

Please cancel ALL outstanding orders we have for DSL.

The reason for this is that the service you provide is terrible. I ordered DSL over 6 months ago, and to date you have done NOTHING. You have not even contacted T-Com to see if DSL is available at my address.

We have now ordered DSL with T-Com

As we like to say in England


Best Regards

Hopefully they will get the point, and that will be the end of that.
Apologies to anyone offended by the language used above, but some things can only be said this way.

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