Category Archives: cats

The war on string…

… may be unwinnable…

cat germany

cat germany

cat germany

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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....

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Filed under About Germany, cats, Life in Germany

Today…

…I shall be staying at home.

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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!

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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!

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My daughter’s cat…

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

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How much is your dead cat worth?

First of all, I have sad news to report. A couple of weeks ago, our cat Rufus (who many of you will know from Planet Germany) was run over by one of my neighbours. He suffered  multiple pelvis fractures – and although he underwent an operation to pin the bones back together, he didn’t recover. Rufus, terroriser of rodents, shredder of soft furnishings, sunbather supreme is no more.

Now that I have become German, of course I knew better than to leave the matter there. After all, I had suffered a loss. Someone should be sued. More to the point, there was a small matter of a substantial four-figure vetinary bill to be paid. So after discussion with my neighbour, she reported the accident to her insurance company and I filed a claim. Yesterday I received a response from the insurance company.

For those who don’t read German….it explains that the insurers are willing to pay €750 compensation for the loss of the cat. However, they blame the behaviour of the cat himself, in lying down under the wheels of the insured vehicle, as the cause of the accident and therefore accept no liability. They are unwilling to cover medical expenses of the cat over and above this figure, as this would exceed the total value of the cat.

This raises a number of questions:

First of all… is €750 indeed the value of a cat in Germany? If so, I should never have had my female cat neutered! I could have made a small fortune from her offspring! How do they arrive at this sum? Does each cat have to be dead before I can claim it?

Second, are cats held legally, morally and financially liable for their actions in Germany (i.e. more liable than say, motorists…)? If a child had been run over, would the medical costs have been paid for (almost certainly)? Are cats therefore deemed to be more intelligent/responsible than children?

Third. Given that no financial support is forthcoming for medical treatment for the cat, what should I in fact have done? To fail to take the cat to the vet would have counted as animal neglect or animal cruelty in Germany – a criminal offence. Should I have risked jail by not treating the cat?  Or does the insurance company think I should have asked my neighbour to reverse back over the cat, just to make sure….

What would poor old Rufus have said to the insurers?

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My cat is an alien…

I think he may even have started to infiltrate the ginger one too.

If I don’t post for  a while, call in Sigourney Weaver!

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I have the perfect face for radio!

This is exciting! I was invited this week to be – get this – a special guest star on Graham Tappenden’s weekly News Quiz. Graham records a podcast of his quiz every other week under the name “Truly German” – though in picking me as his guest, I think he may have been thinking “Bungled German” … because I’m anything but a well integrated seamlessly teutonic citizen of this country. More of a wanabee Kraut. How sad is that?

Anyway… I rose to the challenge and tackled the most tricky and challenging questions I’ve ever come across about current events this week in Germany… which mysteriously didn’t include Müntefering’s crash landing or the Ansbach school attack… but rather less mainstream issues such as Meerbusch school toilets, a terrorist wearing a carrot bomb and footballers getting parking tickets. Not to mention a cat that excretes money.

Anyway… pour yourselves a mug of cocoa, or a glass of pils, sit yourselves down comfortably and listen to it here!

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Filed under books, cats, comedy, Life in Germany