tger greenhaddock: June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006

The new telly

Last week we returned the crappy Phillips plasma TV back to the Quelle shop and received a full refund. I had already decided on the TV to replace it (Panasonic TH-42PA50E) and we went to Mediamarkt to try and buy one. They only had a showroom one and weren’t prepared to drop the price. So I went home and bought one online and saved myself over €400. It arrived a few days later and we are very happy with it. Mediamarkt advertise themselves as being price competitive and their sales people as being knowledgeable. They are wrong on both counts. After a few hours visiting plasma forums online I knew more about Plasma TV’s than the salesperson we encountered will ever know. Anyway we learnt a few good lessons. If you buy something in Germany and are not happy with it – Take it back. Second for many purchases use shops for browsing and seeing goods up close, and then when you decide, buy the product online. There ends the shopping lesson for today.

Later today is the Germany v Argentina quarter final game in the World Cup. I am at work today so I will watch it here on the wall display. We have TV at work 24x7 but its normally tuned to news channels, but for the World Cup its tuned into football. Hopefully Germany will slaughter the Argies.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

It wasn't Agincourt

When we arrived in Köln last Friday for the France v Togo World Cup match we had a nice surprise from the Juniorette’s Godparents. They had managed to acquire tickets for the game via EBay as well. We got to the ground 3 hours early to really soak up the pre-match atmosphere. We had a lot of fun and the time really flew by. The Juniorette was really happy and was waving her French flag at every opportunity. The Köln stadium was superb; the fans are really close to the pitch. We were seated in the 10th row and had a really good view.

The game was exciting with France needing to win. It was great to see Henry, Silvestre, Barthez and Vieira in action for France. Togo played well and their fans were excellent. I suspect most were Germans dressed up as Togo fans, but it didn’t matter as they were in major party mood. The Juniorette was well impressed with how many times the Mexican wave went around the stadium, but for me the most impressive thing was the atmosphere. It was unbelievable! – the football weren’t bad either. In the end a 2-0 result was about right. France were the better team, but they are not team they were a few years ago.

For the record. I supported France in this match and wore a painted French flag on my face. I pray that this will not negate my right to British Citizenship and I sincerely hope the Queen will pardon me for my treacherous crimes. God Save the Queen!

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Friday, June 23, 2006

The ladybird cavalry

World Cup Fever has struck big time in our household and apart from watching football, grilling and drinking beer, life has sort of been on hold of late. Good times!
On the gardening front I am beginning to win the war against the aphids. I have read everywhere that you should try and attract ladybirds to the garden to eat them. All well and good if you know what attracts them, perhaps little neon signs or billboard stickers, but I suspect the answer is aphids! – So I hatched a ladybird kidnapping plot. We went into the fields hunting ladybirds to release in our garden. We were quite successful and in the captivity jar on the way home they started to mate. We released them on our apple tree, and I am now happy to report that the aphid invasion seems to be under control. Ladybird larvae have also been spotted and these little beasties also seem to have an appetite for the aphids as well.

Later today we travel to Köln to watch France v Togo. It’s great to be able to see a World Cup game live, and the Juniorette is very excited, not only because of the game, but also because we will stay overnight with her Godparents.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I think I'm turning Japanese

I really think so……and that believe it or not is almost a Thyroid joke, but more on that later. Firstly both England and Germany are through to the knockout stages of the World Cup as winners of their respective groups. This is bloody good news as it means we don’t play each other in the next round. On current form Germany would seriously tonk England. In the Sweden match England looked good in the first half, but were terrible in the second half. This is bad for my blood pressure but is of course great for shouting verbal abuse at the TV. Apparently the neighbours heard me shouting when England scored. I suspect Germany will go far as they improve with every game. I have always liked Klinsmann (shown above playing for Spurs in England) both as a manger and player, but what makes me laugh at the moment is that a few weeks before the World Cup started everyone was slagging him off. Now these same people are hailing him as the new messiah. If he walks on water, they may just be right.

I changed doctors recently as I felt my usual quacks diagnostic skills were not quite up to scratch. I was proved to be right. As you may know I have an under functioning Thyroid gland. My new doctor did more tests and it appears I am suffering from Auto Immune Thyroiditis. He has lowered by medication dose and changed it to a different brand .There doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it, so I just keep on taking the pills as usual. One of the common types of this condition is called Hashimoto – hence the joke. On a brighter note my latest blood test showed that my cholesterol and trig levels have returned to normal. Looks like the losing weight and becoming fitter is starting to pay off.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

England were lucky

After last nights 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago England are through to the knockout stages of the World Cup. But they were very lucky and didn’t play well. The team seems to lack the firepower up front and the desire to win. In a nut shell they were boring. The German team on the other hand have looked a lot more dynamic in their last game. They played faster, had more ideas and were very exciting to watch. But what seems weird to me is that Germany now plays as England used to do, and England plays like Germany used to. It must be the coaches. Klinsmann is a fan of English football and the Swede in charge of England seems to want the team to play a more European style of football.

The new Phillips 42 inch plasma TV that arrived on Wednesday is crap. The sound is good, the set looks good, but the picture quality is dire. So I visited a few plasma forums and discovered that I am not alone in my view of the Phillips 42PF7520D/10 plasma screen. So on Saturday we are going back to the shop and we are going to hand this dog back and acquire a Panasonic 37 inch (well that’s the plan anyway). To be honest the 42 inch screen looked too big, but I reckon the smaller screen will be perfect. Maybe England will play better on the new telly.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Football, Beer and BBQ's

The football World Cup 2006 is underway, there are clear skies and sunshine over Germany and the beer is flowing. Everywhere apparently. Even the thousands of England fans in Germany have been well behaved. Wonders will never cease. Form wise some of the stronger teams in the championship have not played so well (including England) whilst some of the so called weaker teams have played quite well indeed. So since the start of the championship its been footy, beer and grill heaven at the Haddock Ranch. The 42 inch Plasma TV arrives on Wednesday. I sucumbed to the temptation, and for that I must be punished. I choose death by beer.

The hot weather has caused an explosion of growth in the garden. Our first strawberries have ripened and the tomato's are in flower. Unfortunately all gardens in our area seem to have been invaded by a plague of aphids. Luckily ladybirds are now appearing and feeding on them. Hopefully Lacewings will appear soons as well as they also have an apetite for aphids. A few new butterflies have visited the garden, but I have only been able to possitively identify one so far - The Queen of Spain.

On Sunday we went out to lunch with friends and during a walk afterwards I managed to capture a picture of a very vibrantly coloured blue dragonfly which is shown above.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The local Wood - Update

Last Thursday in a follow up to a previous post the Juniorette and I went to see the Bürgermeister (BM). I was there purely in a moral support role and only said Hello & Goodbye to the BM. The reason for the visit was for the Juniorette to ask some questions regarding all the trees that have been chopped down close to where we live. For a 7 year old the Juniorette did very well and asked her questions clearly and concisely. The BM answered the questions very well indeed and didn’t talk down to her at all. In the end he was asking her what her hobbies were, how she liked school, etc, and said she could drop by his office again with further questions if she had any – A good politician.

So the good news is that the tree felling is now complete and the remaining trees will be allowed to mature. The area will be fenced in and will be grazed by goats. Heather and Ginster will be planted to try and return the habitat back to how it was in former times. This will add to the bio diversity of the area, and the more I think about it, the more I believe it is a good idea. Most important though was that the Juniorette was happy with the answers she received, and the BM has probably won himself a prospective voter for the future.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Eight years later

It’s been quite hectic the last few days, but there hasn’t been much to write home about. We took all out tax stuff to our Steuerberater for her to fill out our tax claim for last year. Very boring, but very essential. At the fitness studio we had a ‘Control Session’ to check that we were using the fitness machines correctly. We were and apparently that is not the norm. Mrs H and I were quite please about that. As the instructor said it’s not about looking good, being fast or how much weight you use. It’s about exercising your muscles effectively.

On the football front England dicked Jamaica 6-0 in preparation for the World Cup. This sort of result was expected, but what surprised me was how well they played. I of course banished any thoughts from my head of England doing well at the championships. I don’t need another false dawn. Closer to home, the Juniorette played in a tournament on Sunday and as I was not working so I could actually attend. Her team (see photo) came 5th out of 12 teams. She was playing with a cold, so she wasn’t playing at her best, but still managed to hit the post in one of the games.

And finally today is our wedding anniversary, but unfortunately I have to work night shift. So not for the first time we will celebrate our anniversary on a different date when I am not working. I guess it’s the event and not the date that’s really important.

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