Category Archives: cats

The war on string…

… may be unwinnable…

cat germany

cat germany

cat germany


Filed under cats, Life in Germany

Snowscape in Germany

Yet another load of snow has dumped over our region overnight. In the last couple of weeks I have acquired an Umlaut. I used to say: “Ooooh! Snow!” Now it’s more of a: “Öööööh Snow!”

I can tell that I am becoming German though, because this morning, I found myself outside with a shovel clearing paths between all the various doors on our farmhouse. What on earth has got into me?

Here are a few pictures of our latest snowscape.

Planet Germany

View up the lane

Digging the paths

(Minimal) Germanic snow shovelling has taken place.

It's cold up the garden

Probably where Santa lives...

Strangely enough, I can’t seem to interest the cats in this natural beauty at all!

Wake me when it's spring....


Filed under About Germany, cats, Life in Germany


…I shall be staying at home.


Filed under About Germany, cats, 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

Little Book of Heroes – prize giveaway

My publisher contacted me the other week with some questions about reaching out to English speaking book lovers in Germany. Of course initially I was suspicious. Exactly what were they trying to flog now?

As it turned out, I shouldn’t have worried. My publisher had sponsored a poetry competition among the children of the British Armed Forces on the subject of heroes. Kids from age 6 to young teens submitted their poems… most of them extremely personal and written about their Dads (and a few Mums) in the army. The profits from sales of the book will be donated to Help for Heroes.

My publisher even kindly sent me a copy of the book.

When I got it I was blown away. First of all… the poems in the book are very very good. And extremely moving. OK – lets face it. If you read it, you’re going to be blubbing into your bedtime cocoa. The poems in this book are poignant in the extreme – and a sharp reminder that when soldiers go to war, their whole family suffers. The burden of pain and fear which these children bear with such stoicism (most of the time) is amazing.

Anyway… I have a pristine copy of this book. Not blubbed-on or tear-splashed or snotted-over. And I’m giving it away to one lucky reader of Planet Germany. To enter the draw, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post. That’s it. Simplicity itself!

Next Sunday I will put all the names in a hat and my daughter’s cat (the one that looks like Hitler – cat, not daughter, I hasten to add…)  will be invited to select a winner.I will then email the winner to get the address to send the book to.

And now the small print: The feline’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into (the cat may even be illiterate for all I know). Any attempt to send us mice or other bribes through the mail will mean instant disqualification. The usual rules apply to comments – I will not approve comments which are spam, abusive, attack others etc. yada yada. Comments that don’t get approved don’t get entered in the draw. Basically… be nice.

And good luck!


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

An update from my dead cat

Regular readers of this blog will remember that one of my cats recently suffered a terrible fate under the wheels of my neighbour’s car. He was badly injured, underwent expensive surgery, but unfortunately did not pull through and is now a sadly lamented ex-cat.

You will also remember that my neighbour’s motoring insurance offered me €750 compensation for the cat, but declined to pick up the full medical bill (just more than double the sum) on the grounds that it exceeded the value of the dead cat. Moreover, aspersions were cast by the aforementioned insurer, regarding the cat’s own complicity in its demise. In short, there was weasling out of responsibility and mud-slinging.

My neighbour is a German lady of some resource though. She was not satisfied by her insurer’s stingy response. And as the possessor of that quintessential German necessity – a Rechtschutzversicherung (legal insurance) – she took them to task.

The upshot, readers, is that there has been significant dead cat inflation in Germany. Little more than a month ago a dead cat was deemed to be worth €750, all in. In the latest missive from the insurers, the dead cat is valued at €1500. I shall be rummaging through my attic for dead cats later!

The catch (there is always a catch when dealing with German bureaucracy), was that by way of revenge, the insurer sent me a completely nonsensical and difficult set of forms to fill in, in order to claim the rest of the money. (Please excuse the paw prints on the image below – one of my living cats was curious about the procedure and inspected the form rather too closely. )

As you will see, before paying me the remaining €750 the insurer was first keen to find out whether my dead cat was actually receiving funds from a private or state health insurance. They were also suspicious that he might have been claiming a state pension at the time of his demise… or possibly unemployment benefits or other social contributions.

Personally I abhor the insinuation that my deceased cat might have been a benefits cheat. He was an assiduous mouser in his day, and apart from a certain tendency to narcolepsy – which he never claimed benefits for – he was an honest, hardworking moggie. So there!


Filed under About Germany, cats, Life in Germany

My daughter’s cat…

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


Filed under cats