Tag Archives: meerbusch

A most exclusive German kiosk

One of Germany’s greatest institutions is the pavement kiosk.  Everyone in the neighbourhood stops off to pick up a newspaper, cigarettes, chocolate or ice cream.

But in the well-heeled end of Meererbusch where the wealthiest bankers, company directors and celebrities reside, the local Büdchen (kiosk) takes on a new twist.  Industrialists, financiers and wags do not just grab a quick Mars bar on their way to the station.  They do not pause for a tin of cola while walking their dog.

So the canny kiosk vendors of Meererbusch have had to take their offering upmarket.  Next time you jog the pavements of the leafy villa district, do remember to stop off for a quick snorter of restorative champagne en route.

Champagne kiosk

A packet of Lucky Strike and a bottle of your finest Sekt, Kumpel!

Or if, as a member of the super-rich elite, you feel a snack-attack coming on, do tarry for a spot of caviar, just to keep body and soul together.

Meerbusch kiosk

Merciful relief for those suffering a caviar-attack!

And of course, they do serve a rather acceptable cup of coffee to local residents, if it should happen to be the butler’s day off.

Meererbusch büdchen

Tobacconist to the super-wealthy

1 Comment

Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany

Attempting to watch the Germany team train

Oh dear oh dear.

This weekend, the German Women’s World Cup team are training a five minute walk away from us here in Meerbusch. The excitement in the town… indeed the whole region is palpable. There are Germany flags on cars, Germany flags on flagpoles, Germany shirts on kids and adults alike… scarcely a beer is downed in our local hostelries without an opinion being expressed about the future of Birgit Prinz in the team or the marital status of the Korean referee’s parents.

Today we wandered down to the training ground.

From what we could tell, every parking space in Meerbusch – possibly in the whole of the Niederrhein – was taken by fans, hoping for a glipse of the women footballers.  Even the team bus had been forced to drive into the ground and park in a zone outside the changing rooms which is normally closed to traffic. I should have rented out my driveway!

Parken verboten - except for the Germany bus, obviously

Getting near to the ground was tricky, due to the sheer number of fans who had turned up. The stand was packed to bursting…

Standing room only... no not even standing room....

It seems that around five times more people had turned up than expected, causing the local police to phone for assistance from the Kriminalpolizei, who had in turn ordered the DFB to lay on marshalls. These turned up in the form of a local security firm, whose key role seemed to be to turn away anyone else who showed up. In a very officious manner.

We managed to plead with one of the security goons, who wasn’t letting us in, to let us take one photo of the team training.

The Germany team in Büderich

“That’s two…” he snarled, as we cunningly flicked the camera shutter a second time.

A photo too far....

… and with that we were virtually frog-marched away.


Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany

The Women’s World Cup comes to Meerbusch

The Women’s World Cup is taking place in Germany right now – and this week our town is host to the Brazil team. They were out training yesterday, only a five minute walk from us – looking none-too-impressed about the cold wet German weather.


Decidedly colder than Rio...


Ball skills with a touch of Samba?


Team bus with this year's unfortunately politically incorrect slogan....

Next week we’ve got the German team training here…  and the weather’s due to brighten up. A coincidence? Or do the Germans control the weather too?  Conspiracy theories in the comments please!

Leave a comment

Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany

A very sunny morning down at the Rhine

Roll up ladies and gentlemen… for one day only a preview of Summer in Germany! 22°C and brilliant sunshine! Tomorrow will be back to chilly and rainy, so enjoy it now!

On a lovely day like today, the best place to be is down by the river. In Meerbusch we’re lucky – we are right next to the Rhine. Later on the banks will be packed with people having picnics and barbecues… but first thing in the morning it’s deserted, apart from the odd dog walker.

Here are some views from the fashionable side of the Rhine…


Still a little hazy first thing as the sun comes up


Looking downstream towards the new bridge


The barges are out early


Sheep grazing with the new bridge in the background


One of the many tributories which flow into the Rhine


Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany

Altweiberfastnacht in Germany

Today is Altweiberfastnacht.

At eleven minutes past eleven, the citizens of Meerbusch (especially the women) will be dressed in strange costumes and storming the town hall. They will emasculate the mayor (symbolically, I hasten to add, by cutting off his tie) and oust him from his seat of power. In his place they will install the Hoppeditz, the fool, who will preside over the town for the rest of Karneval.

For good measure, all other men will also have their ties cut off. (It’s a good day to wear the hideous floral item your auntie gave you for Christmas.)


The new town council

After this everyone will present themselves at the local hostelries where they will again set new records in beer consumption, while shouting “Helau!” a lot. Helau is the Karneval greeting in Düsseldorf (not to be confused with Alaaf! which is the greeting in the rival city of Köln).

Cheers and Helau everyone!


Filed under About Germany, German festivals, 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

The big freeze continues….

Following Monday’s snowfall it’s been exceptionally cold here. I don’t just mean freezing… I mean mindbogglingly cold. The sort of cold that makes icicles form on the end of your nose.

Not that this worries our cats, of course. They’re staying indoors draped over every radiator which is still valiently struggling to pump out heat into the arctic vault of our house.

Last night the temperature here fell to -19°c and the night before it was -23°c.  Welcome to Meerbusch, Siberia!

As a result the snow hasn’t melted one jot. Even putting salt down doesn’t help in this sort of weather – the salt water freezes too. The view up our road looks like this (that’s our car at the bottom – we haven’t even attempted to get it out).

Meanwhile, our pipes have frozen. Turning on taps in the bathroom produces… well, nothing at all actually. Zero. Zilch.

I’ve been exploring parts of the house which I’d previously abandoned to the spiders…. trying to track down where water pipes run… and work out whether they are likely to burst when the thaw finally comes.

Sadly… a very cold and dusty hour later, I have to say I’m none the wiser! Ho hum….


Filed under cats, Life in Germany

You know it’s a slow news day when…

the headline in the local paper advises you that there is no change to the date of a local festival.

Slow news day in Meerbusch Büderich

Slow news day in Meerbusch Büderich

I checked the other local papers… but nothing much is happening there either.

Ho hum….

1 Comment

Filed under German festivals, Life in Germany

Rubbish thieves!

Would you believe it! Our bin has been stolen!

Instead of a garden, we have a sort of bin-park at the front of the house. With lots of different coloured bins for throwing away different sorts of rubbish.

Two of them are grey – and those are the containers where you chuck anything that can’t be put in the other bins (so anything that isn’t packaging, garden waste, glass, paper, batteries or whatever….)

Well one of ours has been stolen. It’s gone, vanished, disparu! Pooof!

Without it, our household waste was too much for the remaining bin. So we had to go down to the local council office to buy one of their official big bin bags for € 2.50 and report our bin missing.

We were sent upstairs to the ominous sounding “Zimmer 19” where the Rubbish-Beamtinnen sit at their computers… presumably controlling the movement of refuse around Meerbusch.

One of them looked us up in her computer.

“So you have a 120 litre and an 80 litre grey bin,” she said.

“It’s the 80 litre one that’s gone missing.”

“I will put out an alert to the bin-collectors. They will search the whole of Meerbusch for it. If they don’t find it within three weeks, we will send you a new one.”

She typed something furiously into her computer – presumably an order for a highly trained squad of bin-theft detectives to go screeching onto the streets in their bin-lorries with blue flashing lights.

Anyway – just on the off-chance that the criminal gang who stole our bin hasn’t already melted it down into plastic ingots and smuggled it over the border to Poland or Russia… here’s a photo-fit impression of the missing bin. Distinguishing marks include a rather grubby lid and some festering cat litter inside….

Artist's impression of the missing bin


Filed under Life in Germany