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

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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.

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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.

Football

Decidedly colder than Rio...

Brazil

Ball skills with a touch of Samba?

brazil

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!

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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…

Rhein

Still a little hazy first thing as the sun comes up

Rhein

Looking downstream towards the new bridge

Rhein

The barges are out early

Rhein

Sheep grazing with the new bridge in the background

Rhein

One of the many tributories which flow into the Rhine

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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.)

Karneval

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!

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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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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….

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