tger greenhaddock: April 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mushrooms and loose Morels

The last few days have seen many strange mushrooms growing in our garden. They are very distinctive and after much researching on the internet I have come to the conclusion that they are from the Morel family of mushrooms - Morchella esculenta. Apparently they have a delicate flavor combined with a meaty texture. They can be grilled, sauteed or in sauces, and served with grilled or roasted food. There doesn't seem to be any confusion with potentially deadly fungi, but still I don't want to take the risk. I'm really interested in finding out about edible mushrooms, but I dont fancy poisoning the family. So I guess it's look but dont eat.

We have planted some Strawberries into the Juniorettes veggie bed- Senga Sengana. The plants look quite strong and should do well. Apparently they were first cultivated by a German in the 1950's. Good German Strawberries.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The local wood

The local council have decided to chop down our local wood and replant it with heather. It used to be like that many, many years ago, and this change is apparently happening for sound ecological reasons. Unfortunately nobody has yet to say what these reasons are. But is does seem that that if this wood is turned to heath land then the local council will be eligible for a cash sum from some governmental body.

Hmmm, maybe it’s my suspicious nature but I smell a rat here, and I would love to hear what the sound ecological reasons are for chopping down the wood. I really like trees (perhaps not to the extreme of hugging them), and it was one of the factors that led us to build our house here. The Juniorette is also very concerned about the wildlife that will be displaced, and has stated that she wants to speak to the Burgermeister about it. We have told her when his Sprechstunde is, so we now wait to see if she goes and sees him.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, April 24, 2006

Back to the garden

The weather the last few days has been rather pleasant, so I have been spending quite a bit of time in the garden, potting seedlings, mowing the grass and building a raised vegetable bed for the Juniorette (see photo). It’s nice to get out in the garden again but with all the sun and hard work I forgot how tiring it can be.

Today was the end of the Juniorettes Easter holiday and first day back at school. After school she held the first class of her English course (outside as the weather was so nice). The other kids remarked that they liked it so far and were looking forward to next week.

Mrs H and I attended the gym this morning. The first time for 3 weeks. It was surprisingly not to bad and not too tiring. Later after the garden work I helped out at the football training session for the G-Jugend team (4 – 7 year olds). The actual training wasn’t so bad, but trying to keep a bunch of hyped up kids under control was a nightmare. Glad I never became a school teacher!

Mrs H and I have been discussing where to go for our summer holidays. We thought perhaps Scandinavia, but so far we are undecided, although we have scratched Finland from the list.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bin Laden's son is a twat

I have just had a situation on the tram here in Frankfurt on the way to work. As normal when trying to get on a tram at the train station there is a bit of a queue, and ours was being held up because a person getting off the tram was saying goodbye to a friend, but in a really slow and protracted way. So I said ‘Some time this week would be good’, he replied aggressively but I didn’t understand him as I had Robbie Williams blaring away on my MP3 player. So I simply told him to FUCK OFF! – Normal course of action I thought.

It was at this point he decided to stay on the tram, and I realised that I had just told Osama bin Laden’s son to fuck off. That’s exactly who he looked like, but younger. He had the scraggy beard, Cat Stevens skull cap, and was wearing a big Islamic dress thing.

He looked at me angrily so I stared at him and smiled. He asked me if I was a clown. When I replied in English he gibbered on about New York and London, and then said that I don’t respect people and that I think that everyone is dumb. I replied that respect has to be earned, and that there are a lot of dumb people in the world. Fact. In the end he stayed on for 3 stops, and I had the definite feeling this jerk was trying to get me to rise to his bait. He seemed to believe he was arguing with the big white Satan. I refrained from saying a lot of things I wanted to say, which is probably good as they would have only inflamed the situation.

So if I get murdered in the near future, somebody please tell the cops to search for Bin Laden’s son in Frankfurt. He should be easy to spot, dressed as he is, plus when up close you can see that he has green teeth, and doesn’t believe in basic body hygiene.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Water and ice

Over the last weekend we took the Juniorette to the cinema to watch Ice Age 2. We really enjoyed the movie even though it probably wasn't as good as the first one, but still it was very entertaining. This time around the prehistoric squirrel gets a bigger role in the movie which is quite funny. It was a good all round family entertainment movie. The Juniorette really does like trips to the Kino.

Last week the Juniorette passed her silver swimming award. She had to swim 12 lengths of breaststroke and 4 lengths of backstroke within 25 minutes. She managed it in 16 mins. She also had to swim 10m underwater and dive for some rings in the deeper end of the pool. This was followed by a verbal test on the do's and don'ts of swimming. She was really proud of her achievement, and quite rightly so.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Monday, April 17, 2006

Lent is over

We spent Easter at home this year and for once I was actually off work for the whole of the holidays. I enjoy going to my in-laws for Easter but it was nice to spend Easter at home for once. Apart from eating chocolate and watching TV we did quite a few jobs around the house, one of which was to lay a laminate floor in the office. Mrs H and I achieved this quite quickly and were really proud of ourselves; however it started to go wrong with the skirting board and the join to the tiled hallway. I gave up in the end and turned to drink!

I gave up alcohol for lent (not for religious reasons), and of course Easter signifies the end of lent, so I felt fully justified in downing a couple of bottles of white wine. I must admit I didn’t really enjoy getting pissed, but it did wash away the frustration of the skirting board handiwork. So today I have a bit of a hangover, but I am sure after a bit more chocolate and a good brisk walk in the fresh air I’ll be right as ninepence.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Europa Park

On the Sunday of our Baden Baden trip we took a trip to Europa Park, Germany’s biggest leisure park. This was really exciting for the Juniorette as she is really into rides and rollercoasters. The scarier the better in her opinion. Mrs H and I both suffer from a fear of heights so visiting parks can be a challenge for us, as we found out in Florida nearly 2 years ago. Unfortunately the Juniorette is now older and bigger, and can therefore now ride bigger, higher & faster rides. As she can now read we cannot even tell her that the sign says she is too small/young for the ride.

We went on all rides except one – The Silver Star – as the blurb says, - a ride on the Silver Star is pure thrill: with a height of 73 metres, a high speed of up to 130 km/h and enormous centrifugal forces of up to 4 g, the ride offers a great combination of speed and weightlessness – and FEAR!

The other rides were nearly enough to scare Mrs H and I to turn to religion, with Mrs H bottling out on one attraction just before climbing into the ride car. But funnily enough overcoming ones fear is really satisfying, and even becomes enjoyable after a while. Having a 7 year old telling you to relax and not be frightened tends to put it all into perspective really.

The park was clean and well kept, and we were surprised that the prices of food and drinks were quite reasonable. The park is of such a size that you really do need a full day to see it all. There are lots of milder rides for small children and the older generation. Due to the weather variations in Germany a lot of attractions are undercover and all the queuing areas are covered also. We visited two shows which were very good. An ice skating show and a Gladiator stuntmen show. Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit the rest of the shows.

We had a really great time and were lucky with the weather, in the fact that it only rained lightly whilst we were there, and rained a lot heavier as we were leaving. The thing I liked about Europa Park was that I wasn’t constantly comparing it to the leisure parks in Florida. It really did stand on its own two feet, and I would heartily recommend a visit if you are in the area of Freiburg

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, April 10, 2006

Baden Baden

The Haddock family have just returned from a long weekend in Baden Baden. We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the break. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and after a nice relaxing walk in the woods we drove to Stuttgart to see the musical show Mama Mia at the Palladium theatre. It was a very funny show and we all enjoyed it very much especially as the music is by Abba. The Juniorette got a bit tearful at a sad bit, but she enjoyed it and really got into her first big show.

On the Saturday we ventured into France and visited Strasbourg (See picture above). The weather was glorious. We did a bit of shopping, visited the cathedral, and sat outside at a café away from the main tourist area. It was at this point that I realised Mrs H was quite good with the lingo. She says she’s out of practice but she miles ahead of where I would ever be in the linguistic stakes. It was a lovely day out and we saw quite a lot of storks and deer as we were driving to and from France.

Back over the border in Germany we encountered a very fast Porsche who seemed to think the Autobahn was his private race track. He was behind us, flashed his lights and pointed at his head, so I naturally gave him the English two fingered salute, with which he replied with the finger. The Porsche driver looked very wound up, I was laughing, and the Juniorette found the whole thing fascinating. I explained the English salute – It was performed by the English archers before battles with the French to show the Froggies that they still had their fingers, because captured archers had their two bow string pulling fingers cut off. She then proceeded to show two fingers to any French car she saw. A chip off the old block! – I didn’t explain the Finger though!

When we returned to Baden Baden we took the Merkur Bahn (Cable Railway) to the top of the Mount Merkur. There were fantastic views over the Black Forest and over the Rhine valley below. We went up into the observation tower for a better view. It was quite outstanding. It was also preparation, height wise, for our trip to Europa Park the following day.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, April 06, 2006

There's a new school in town

The Juniorette has decided to start an English course for children. Together with a friend she put up a notice at school announcing the course earlier this week. Later the same day we starting getting phone calls and the six places she had allocated for the course were soon filled. The Juniorette is taking this serious and sees it as a fun thing to do that will help her friends. Admirable stuff. Some parents who rang to find out about the course were also taking it serious but it another way. They wanted to know if course books were going to be provided. I can not believe this. We are talking about a 7 year old wanting to help her friends learn English, not a professional course……..ah well, that’s Germans for you.

As an experiment I planted out some Zucchini seedlings a few days ago to see if they would survive a frost. I can report that they didn’t. I guess I will have to wait until May to repeat the exercise, but hopefully with no frosts.

The missing parts for the new shower finally arrived, and the work was completed earlier today. Alas, a cover for one of the screws was missing which we didn’t notice until after the workmen had left. We informed the company concerned who didn’t sound too impressed. They’ll be even less impressed when we withhold payment until the missing screw cover is fitted. Now that’s my idea of customer service!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Monday, April 03, 2006

An away win

On Saturday the Haddock Family drove down to the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt to watch the Eintracht Frankfurt v Werder Bremen Bundesliga game. Before the match we met some friends we know from Marburg and a work colleague of mine, all of course Eintracht fans. Inside the Stadium we met up with, and sat with family members of ours, all of course Werder fans. Werder didn’t play so well in the first half, but improved considerably in the second half, resulting in a converted penalty from Miroslav Klose for Bremen to win the game. The referee was very wayward in his decisions and seemed to hand out yellow cards on a whim. The Juniorette even thought he was a Frankfurt supporter. We all had a really good time, even if I ended up with a sore throat and croaky voice from all the shouting I did – In English – It really is the best way to shout abuse at the referee!

We took delivery a few days ago of a 1/8th of a cow from a Bio farm. Fortunately it was a small cow and it was already chopped up correctly (technical term). I still remember the amount of work (and mess) it took to chop up half a cow when I was in the Falklands. Four blokes with knives and saws, with not much of an idea of what to do. We got the job done but the roasts and steaks were all shaped a bit funny. Fortunately the Bio beef was all pre-cut and I must say it does taste so much better than the normal stuff from the supermarkt

Technorati Tags: , , , ,