Category Archives: books

Oooh! I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award!

Oooh! This is exciting!

The very lovely bloggeress who writes Life Lessons of a Military Wife has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Oh kindest of  military spouses, I gratefully accept. I would also like to thank my family, my cats, my agent and especially the entire German nation for inspiring me with their teutonic antics.

versatile blogger award

This is a great way for bloggers to acknowledge the other bloggers who inspire them, or who provide insight, wisdom, humour, light relief or just distraction from the great inanity which is the internet.

The rules of the award are that I get to tell you about 15 blogs which I read and enjoy – and these are the blogs which I nominate in my turn for the Versatile Blogger Award.  So… a big round of applause for:

  1. Jeffusions (Fabulous, fabulous writing)
  2. Letters Home (Ian always has an interesting story or perspective and you never leave his blog unmoved)
  3. Lizzy’s Literary Life (A superb source of reading inspiration)
  4. Snooker in Berlin (Great anecdotes and photos of weird stuff from the capital)
  5. Deutschland über Elvis (A sideways glance at life in Germany by the Honourable Husband)
  6. Ruth’s Reflections (A delightful ragbag of snippets about life in Christchurch, recovering from earthquakes)
  7. Click Clack Gorilla (Tales from the coolest Waggonplatz in Germany )
  8. Heisse Scheisse (If you thought expat life in Germany couldn’t get any worse…)
  9. Heidelbergerin (… then try this for more trials and tribulations of life in Germany…)
  10. Heather in Europe (…or even this, for even more funny expat culture shock)
  11. What’s for lunch honey? (Sheer food porn. Every time I read this blog, I put another inch on my hips.)
  12. Yum Yum Café (Saves me trawling around the internet for cool clips to share with my friends- Yumyum finds the best stuff)
  13. Shedworking (I work from a garden office which featured in the Shedworking book – and I’m always envious because everyone else has much cooler sheds than me – aspirational stuff).
  14. How to write better (Suze is a writer herself and shares great tips… which I always wish I could remember when I’m writing myself)
  15. 1001 Nights (I’m so glad someone’s ploughing through the 1001 tales and summarizing them for me, because I’d never get around to it otherwise)

And now, I will tell you seven things about me.

  1. I work in a pig sty. OK – a former pig sty. It’s now been converted into a rather cool office.
  2. I recently visited the former independent state of Moresnet
  3. I can speak Dutch
  4. I make my own wine with my home grown grapes
  5. I also grow rhubarb, figs and aubergines – plus quite a lot of other things
  6. I have been interviewed on German TV
  7. I wrote a book , the success of which inspired me to take up blogging. I’m glad about writing both the book and the blog, because I’ve made lots of new friends in the process.


Filed under books, Life in Germany

The ultimate slogan fail?

This week a radical Islamic group, the Salafisten, are handing out free copies of the Koran translated into German on the streets of German cities. From their publicity poster, I suspect they are not targeting English speakers though.

Lies! in German means read!   Expat Brits probably won’t be tempted….


Filed under About Germany, books, Life in Germany

Commenting on royalty and representing the Germans to the French

It’s been a hectic week in Planet Germany. Not only has the Rhineland been turned upside down with Karneval, but the fame of Planet Germany has been spreading.

This week I was asked by Christoph Driessen of dpa why the Germans love the British monarchy so much. Of course that one is easy. The British monarchy is in fact descended almost entirely from German nobility. In a sense, the Germans have merely outsourced its royals to Britain.  As German children grow up and transition from reading about princesses in Grimms Märchen to reading about them in Bunte and Gala, the British Royals take centre stage in the German psyche.

I suspect the Swabians were behind sending the German Royals to Britain though. You see, as Germany gears up excitedly for the royal wedding, it is now the British taxpayer who will foot the bill for the celebrations. Germans everywhere are hoping for a profligate affair – especially the Schwaben.

Mr. Driessen’s article can be found here (in German).

German royalty

I rather fancy moving to Britain darling, what do you think?

Apart from my new-found status as German Royal watcher, I am also now a cultural ambassador to the French apparently. The auswärtiges Amt is featuring Planet Germany on its website at the moment as a fine example of expats loving life in Germany.

I shall await with interest the response of the French to my (British) views on the Germans –  these being three nations that have never been known to see eye to eye on many cultural matters.

Entente Cordiale

Entente Cordiale?


Filed under About Germany, books, german history, Life in Germany

Win a FREE copy of Planet Germany

Great news for all regular Planet Germany readers! Young Germany is giving away a FREE copy of my book . If you haven’t already read it, it’s a great opportunity to pick up a copy for nothing. Swabians… take note!


Filed under books

Planet Germany as a university set text

I was alerted this week to a small ad on the Leipzig University notice board. It was from a Russian student and she was looking to buy a second hand copy of Planet Germany.

I emailed her and found out that she needed the book because it was a set text for her univerity English course. She was looking to buy it second hand (and for this she apologised to me profusely) because as a student without a grant or scholarship, she cannot afford all the course books she needs.

Of course I was delighted to learn that Planet Germany is being pored over now by students of English. I hope it turns out to be one of the course books which genuinely gives delight, rather than loathing and last-minute pre-exam panics (what was that quote about the cat and the enema again?)

Of course, I sent a copy to the Russian student – and I hope she manages to sail through her exam with a top grade now!


Filed under About Germany, books, children in germany, german education, German language, Life in Germany

And the winner is….

Yay! We have a winner in our free book giveaway!

Before I announce the winner though, I have to declare that there may have been some untoward machinations in the background. Only a couple of days into the contest, I noticed somebody had placed a dead mouse under the kitchen table. A steward’s enquiry found that one of the other cats was behind this dastardly trick. I subsequently banned all felines from entering the contest.

Next, I should point out that the decision was somewhat delayed, because you just can’t get the judges these days. On Sunday, when I wanted to get the cat to perform the prize draw… he was nowhere to be found. Of course, my first thought was that someone was attempting to nobble the competition and had journeyed all the way to Meerbusch to bribe him. I assumed he’d be down at Fressnapf being treated to all kinds of premium cat food.

But then he strolled in on Monday and settled down on the radiator for a 24 hour snooze and declined to take the contest seriously.

Eventually today, I was forced to resort to sneaky tactics. I put all the names of the competition entrants on the floor in random order and let him pick the winner. By judicious positioning of a kitty-snack on each one, I finally aroused his interest in the entire event. (I bet Simon Cowell isn’t this difficult!)

So after due deliberation… he selected…*drumroll*  Suze!

Suze – could you email me the delivery address for your prize and I’ll whack it in the post for you!

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Filed under books, cats

Oooh! Another exciting new book about Germany!

I see that Ich werde ein Berliner has published a book too! Sadly it’s not available in English yet… but for those who follow the highly entertaining blog, if you can manage the German it’s going to be a cracking read. I’m ordering my copy today! Can’t wait!

On the subject of ex pat blogs, today is the last chance to vote for your favourite... so if you’re an affectionado of expat musings in Germany, do pop along and click for one of the finalists….


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Filed under About Germany, books, Life in Germany