Monthly Archives: September 2010

The sound booth has landed!

Our business is expanding now from the pig-sty into the barn… where the new sound booth has been installed. Well almost installed. We’re still short of a couple of connecting cables, so that the computer can be outside of the booth and the screen inside. Apparently this cuts out any residual hum from the computer. I’m an ignorant fool, obviously, because I asked why, given that most people listen to the sound files on a computer, whether there isn’t an automatic hum from the listener’s device anyway… Ah well. I shall withdraw and leave that bit to the experts…

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Filed under books

How many German stereotypes can you mention in 50 seconds?


Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany

An opinionated German baker

Our town has many bakeries… but there’s one I always visit with trepidation. Not, I hasten to add, because of the quality of the bread. No… the bread is amongst the finest you will find in all Germany. The reason for my hesitation is because the lady behind the counter is a German woman of robust opinions, forcefully expressed. To the extent that you often reel out of the shop wondering quite what hit you.

The bakery lady today was being forthright on the subject of underwear.

The reason, according to baker-lady-wisdom, for the ill health of much of the German nation… including incontinence, bowel cancer, kidney disease and other illnesses I dare not mention on a family-friendly blog… is that too many people nowadays wear underwear that is too skimpy. “A sensible German….” and she fixed me here with a steely gaze while deftly picking out my Brötchen with a pair of steel tongs…”… has stout drawers which reach from just below the breast to the upper thighs, made of pure cotton and are of tangibly good quality fabric. Preferably with guaranteed thermal qualities.” Her fingers scrunched up the top of the bag with a white-knuckle motion which meant no dissent was possible.

“Some people today wear items which consist of a couple of scraps of lace held together with string…” Her fingers jabbed at the till in a way which seemed to pierce my eye-sockets. “Some women….” and she sucked in her breath here, in a way which suggested that “women” might be too kind a term… ” shave their armpits and legs… and even..” there was a pause for the full shamelessness and horror to sink in… “down there…”

I handed over my 10 Euro  note and considered abandoning my change and fleeing from the shop….

“They will die an early death. And it will be entirely their own fault….” she concluded, counting the coins into my quaking palm. “And our health insurance should not have to cover it… they brought it on themselves…” was her parting shot as I grabbed my rolls and fled.


Filed under About Germany, food, Life in Germany

My apple trees have gone mad this year!

No sooner are we over the courgette glut than the apple glut starts…

We have three apple trees. Two James Grieves and one Cox. In particular the Cox has decided that we need to eat about 1000 apples within the next month or so.

This morning I went out and picked a huge pot full. But there are still hundreds left on the tree.

I anyone has any good apple recipes… this is the time to post them! Please!


Filed under food, Life in Germany

My daughter’s cat…

…really does seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to Hitler some days… worrying…


Filed under cats

I’m producing a series of audiobooks

Given how many public readings I’ve been giving recently, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I branched out into the world of performing audiobooks.

I haven’t recorded Planet Germany yet (though watch this space…) but I have just launched the first two English language classic literature tapes for children.

Click on the images for more details:

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Filed under books, children in germany, german education

Teatime and Cellos in Düsseldorf

Just a quick alert for anyone in Düsseldorf on October 3rd. I will be appearing at Teatime and Cellos on Planet Germany.

The event is organised by Rhinebuzz. It will be an afternoon of fabulous classical music interspersed with me reading funny passages from Planet Germany . It starts at 5 p.m. (that’s 17.00 if you’re German) and will be at  Kwadrat, Blücherstrasse 51, Düsseldorf.

I really hope to meet some of my regular readers there!


Filed under About Germany, books, comedy, german art, German language, Life in Germany

Don’t take your child to school by car in Germany

School started again in Northrhine Westphalia this week – and as usual the local papers are exhorting parents not to drive their children to school by car.

Doing the school run by car exposes children to multiple dangers in Germany it seems. Not only will your child miss out on vital daily exercise, which would be incurred by walking or cycling, but also their social development will be impaired. Making your way to school independently is a first key step in developing independence and responsibility.

But more than this, the sheer volume of traffic around the school gates when parents insist on using the car, means that other children are endangered by having to negotiate busy roads and distracted drivers.

How different this is from the UK where many primary school children are not allowed to cycle to school or even make the journey on their own because of parental fears of abduction or bullying.


Filed under About Germany, children in germany, Life in Germany