4 months on…no change

So, I probably could have written something before now, but it would probably have just been a rant on the state of healthcare in Germany and my personal feelings about it.  However, let’s do it a little differently.

I have been pretty busy, as usual.  In fairness I would say that I have arguably been busier than usual if I am completely honest.

Yes my knee is still screwed, no the police haven’t done anything, no I can’t change that…so, we move on.

In terms of the knee, for the last week or so I have been unable to use any pain relief due to being given a Cortisone course.  The idea being that the tablets will help reduce the swelling under my kneecap and allow me to get the movement I need.  However, if (when) this doesn’t work, I have to spend a week in Hospital with a constant drip of cortisone directly to the knee and “Extreme Physiotherapy”.  That last bit is a direct quote from the doc..so imagine my joy.  Still, at least there is finally a plan for treatment on the table.

So, for the last week or so I have been suffering from the various side-effects of the drug. Which has made daily life interesting, in an “are you fucking kidding me?!?” kind of way.

A couple of months ago my middle brother got married and the whole family came together.  It was a superb weekend and everyone had a great time.  A few stand-out moments for me:

  • Someone pointed out that it was funny I was on the “kids” table.  My response…read the names, sitting at a table with all of my kids was the best thing I could have hoped for.
  • K & L wanting me to be involved and asking me to be a human megaphone for announcements through the day
  • Getting to have my first proper drink with 2 of my kids, as they are now old enough.  Oh, and having them buy their old man a drink or 2.
  • My Mum fretting that we were massively outnumbered and my Dad working out just who we had and then sitting back and stating “It may only be 17, but WHAT a 17…I would take on the world with this group”
  • All of the speeches from our side of the family revolving around stories about alcohol…My fave being “Dad taught us a major life lesson…when you are having a skinful, make your last one a Malibu.  Because, when you inevitably throw up, it will taste like coconut”
  • Everyone laughing at that, especially us 3 brothers…as it is a true story.  Also, Z turns to me and say..”Yeah, Granddad told me that too”.

I will be going back in May for the wedding of P & S, so I fully expect another blinding weekend.

During the last 4 months, I haven’t been able to train..so I managed to gain about 12kg.  To counter this, I got a Hand Exercise Bike…and, despite looking like a demented hamster when I use it, in the last week I have managed to shed 4 of the 12 that I gained.    I am starting to believe that I really should be as small as I now am.  The slightest bit of exercise and I drop kilos like lepers lose body parts.  The other, not considered, upside is that I am now doing a massive upper body workout every day…Who knows, I may end up ripped…but with tiny tiny legs.

I built, or more accurately helped to build, a Gaming Community.  We are over 100 members strong already and are now looking into bringing more games on board and taking this thing as big as possible.  For me, it was a nice way to reuse a dormant domain that has too much meaning associated with it to let slide.  WolfLAN is back and we have a totally custom website that one of our members built for us.  It. Is. Awesome.

If you play Overwatch or like to Role Play some AD&D, look us up.  We are a very active community.  YouTube videos are being made, streams are being twitched, laughs are being had.  We have even managed to reconnect with a few old WolfLAN’ers from back in the day.

On top of all that, I still manage to be very busy with IT for people outside of work.  Upgrades, repairs, troubleshooting, websites, phones…if it’s IT related, I am probably helping someone.

I’ll be honest, it’s no wonder I haven’t written anything for a while.  I will try and rectify that from now on :)

Here’s the thing.  Despite the problems I have with the knee, which really limits my mobility and what I can achieve in a day, my life is still awesome.  I am still Mr Positivity and am enjoying life.  I don’t feel the need to make any big changes.  My life is full and varied.  My friendships are very important to me, my family is important to me, my hobbies are important to me.  I wouldn’t change where I am (figuratively and literally) for the world.   I guess the only improvement I could conceivably make, right now, would be a relationship.  Assuming I find the right woman, of course :)

Also, Deutsche Bahn can fuck off…although I suspect I will write more about that later.

It's Christmas Time…

a christmas warp
Photo by Chewy Chua
… and there’s no need to be afraid.

Or so wrote the inimitable, and not at all tramp like, harpy marrying, ridiculous child naming, humanitarian and all around do-gooder..Bob Geldof

Now yes, I realise that it isn’t Christmas time yet…despite what the shops and TV adverts are telling us.  However, I have now confirmed my Chrimble plans fully.

I will be spending Christmas Day doing…well…I don’t actually know, beyond calling the kids.  The reason?  Well, I am having a German Christmas this year with the W’s…and Germans celebrate their Christmas day on our Christmas Eve.  It’s pretty much the same as ours, big family thing, lots of food and pressies to open…just done the evening before.

It’s more of a family affair than I am used to though, with pretty much the whole W clan arriving to Oma W’s apartment for fun and frivolity.  In our family, and I think this is true of a lot of British families, we do Christmas day with the kids and immediate family…and Boxing day is when we start going around visiting other family members etc.  I am looking forward to it.

Then, a few days later, we are off to Blighty, where I will be having all four of my kids for once, and I am ecstatic about that.  My family will get to meet CW and I know they are looking forward to it…especially the kids.  After talking to Brandon yesterday, he plans to make a special hot chocolate for her…just incase she is feeling sick from the English beer and too much Devils Food Cake :-)

It is also fairly unique for me, in that I will be doing “Christmas 2  – This time it’s personal” for the first time that I can remember.  Normally, I make sure that the kids presents are wherever the kids are on Christmas day.  I prefer it that way and have never really liked the “2 Christmas Days” thing…

This time though, I will have all 4 of my kids together, and I intend to enjoy it properly…so just this once, I will be doing a 2nd Christmas day…and I love the idea of watching them open everything..I know it’s a little selfish, but I want that.  There is another reason though…and that is that I am not quite as organised as I normally am…by now, in a normal year, over half of the presents would already be at my Mums place for wrapping and sending on…as of right now, I haven’t actually bought anything and intend to start a marathon online shop-a-thon shortly.

Yeah yeah, I know…bad Dad, but still..I am pretty confident in getting everything I need in time.

I know we will all have a great time…even my Mum and Dad, who are likely as not stressing about having a houseful of people…yeah see, you thought your house was big Mum….We will see just *how* big it really is

mwaha muahahahaahaaaaa

Or something

What are your plans for Christmas then?

Yomping through the Brecons

DSCF0074.JPGSome years ago my Dad decided that we really needed to go for a hike around the Brecon Beacons and I am not quite sure why, but I didn’t try and get out of it.

In fact, Dad managed to rope in my brothers to it aswell and off we jolly well went.   Not content with wandering through the natural beauty of the Brecons like any normal group of people, Dad decided that we needed to take the “road less travelled”..so to speak.

Geared up with hiking boots and all the necessary accoutrements (backpacks, waterproofs etc) we set off.   A small amount of very simple rock climbing, stone hopping across streams…a picnic at the top of a climb and everything was pretty good.   Dare I say downright enjoyable.   Sod it, I do dare :-)   It was enjoyable.

With the exception of Dad, all of us slipped and fell knee high into a stream or two and it never ceased to raise a laugh when someone did.   It was a pretty good boys day out…Kev and Paul even dove from a pretty high cliff into a lake.

We climbed up a small waterfall and when we got to the top, discovered that we would need to cross a stream to get where we were heading.   This meant navigating our way around the ledge of the waterfall…which was pretty slippery.   Dad showed us that we should get our feet set and then fall onto the main waterfall with our arms outstretched.   Then move sideways, always keeping our hands on the waterfall.

Dad went first to show us how it was done….then me, then Kev and finally it was Pauls turn.   Paul, being the youngest was also, unfortunately, the smallest.   As he stretched out his hands and fell forward, he was submerged beneath the falling water…all   I remember, through the laughing and almost falling into the water myself, was hearing *blubblubdaadblubhelpblubglugblugbglubdaad*

Dad stepped into the water properly, waded across and lifted Paul out of the water with one hand.   We got to the other side and collapsed into hysterics, with Paul alternating between angrily complaining and whining.   That’s when we noticed what appeared to be a school trip taking place and the teacher heading over towards us.   I assumed that he was going to have a go at us for setting a bad example or something equally banal.

We try and calm down in readiness for the impending telling-off, Dad is washing his face in the stream…and the rest of us are drying and eating.   When the teacher arrives, he leads with “Do you know what you are doing?”.   He doesn’t seem particularly angry, but still…he is a teacher and this is very possibly his normal anger tone.   My Dad explains that he is a quite an experienced hiker and that, while he apologises for setting a bad example to the teachers class, he does in fact know what he is doing…thanks so very much.

To which the teacher replies…”Ok, so you know that rats piss in this stream?   Just upstream from here as a matter of fact….enjoy your hike”.   With that he smiles, turns and walks away while we start immediately trying to vomit out any water we all might have swallowed, whilst simultaneously laughing at the previously aquatic Paul.

We never did go hiking with Dad again…I am not entirely sure Mum trusted him after that…and we ran out of ant-bacterial mouthwash about 4 seconds after getting home.

Good times…

The birds and the bees

Be Careful Now...It probably isn’t as prevelant as it once was, but in bygone days quite a lot of guys had to undergo a rite of passage…normally with their father.   There were a number of these rites…first beer, first live sporting event and so on.   None of these things though, could prepare you for “The Talk”.

Obviously these days, most kids/teens are more aware of STDs and how to put a condom on a banana than their parents are, mainly due to school lessons…but it wasn’t always the case.   I was unfortunately caught in that time when kids were becoming more aware, but parents weren’t.   A bit like when the government switched from O-Level to GCSE in schools…only somewhat more embarrassing.

Picture the scene; A 16 year old Laughing Wolf arrives home at sometime before noon…having been out the entire night at his girlfriends place.   Dad is in the kitchen as I grab something to eat and drink…small talk ensues.   Football is discussed, schoolwork is discussed, would I take my brothers with me on Sunday to blah blah.   I remember feeling a little confused…sure, Dad and I regularly nattered about little and nothing, but there seemed to be some sort of unspoken uneasiness.   I couldn’t quite place it, nor could I work out why Dad was refusing to make eye contact with me.

I took my food into the living room, sat down and put the TV on.   A few minutes went by and Dad came in, sat next to me and said “I think it is about time we had a talk son”.

I, of course, shit myself was curious as to what he wanted to discuss.   I racked my brain, searching for what indiscretion had transpired…that I could have been caught for.   Maybe he had noticed the missing Apple Korn bottle, found my stash of smokes at the bottom of the garden…that my tape deck had been broken for months and I had wired up a walkman to the stereo to hide it.

Dad turned the TV off and looked distinctly nervous.   He ummed and aahed for a few moments, and I remember thinking that I was in serious trouble…Dad is never lost for words you see, so his discomfort was instantly passed onto me and I didn’t know what to make of it.   He put his hand on my shoulder and started to say the almost timeless “Son, there comes a time in…” and was cut off.   At the moment he began to speak, Mum walked into the living room..sized up the situation, realised what was going on and said “I wouldn’t worry about it Gordon, I have just been putting his washing away and saw a load of condoms in his drawer”.

The realisation of what Dad wanted to talk to me about hit me…the relief in Dads face was visible.   He patted my shoulder and said “Good we had this talk son” and he was gone.   I couldn’t believe it…my Dad, for just a few seconds, was a walking talking clich??.   I put my uneaten food in the kitchen, and legged it outside for a smoke.

You see, I have never been to war…but I really felt like I dodged a bullet there.   That said, as I sit here now, I kind of wonder what he was going to say…after all, it could come in handy in the future.

Did any of you dodge this bullet, or were you forced to endure the torture that is “The Talk”?

Cruel to be kind

Oh my God I look Cute!!Firstly, apologies for the password protected post.   Maybe I will open it up in the future, but right now…that one is for me.

Anyhoo, I was chatting to DS yesterday and was reminded (I forget how) about something that happened a few years ago.

I was walking through a shopping center (mall to you non Brits) when I noticed, some way in front of me, a parent caring for a child in a pushchair…as I got closer I could see that the child was in some distress and was coughing a lot.   Obviously, as a parent myself I was concerned for the little mite, and was even a little relieved when I got close and saw that he had calmed down and was no longer in clear distress.

However, I noticed something…something far more insidious and I recognised it immediately as the possible cause of the poor childs coughing fit.   It was an allergic reaction, and it was so obvious to me that I had to mention it to the father.   I guess that, as a parent, you can’t always notice the dangers around your child, especially from something so innocuous.

So, being the kind hearted parent and good citizen that I am, I leant in close to the father and mentioned..”I think I see what caused your son to choke, I am pretty sure it is an allergic reaction”.   The father looks up at me, somewhat quizzically now, but not dismissive of this strangers advice.   “What is it?” says he.

I take a deep breath, almost a sigh really and point my finger in the direction of the child…pointing directly to a mark on the childs chest.   So obvious now that I come to think of it, I almost felt sorry that this father was so clearly blinded by the love for his child and the distress that he had felt.   He followed my gaze to the offending mark and that’s when he realised and I saw a look of understanding….it was the Manchester United crest on the childs shirt.   A glimmer of recognition flashed across his face and he turns to see me nodding sympathetically.

“That’s close to child cruelty right there” says I, “You are lucky I don’t report you to child services mate” as I back away from the loving fathers swinging fist.   Such a strangely angry reaction for such a random act of kindness from a stranger.

As I rapidly accelerate away, I think to myself:

“There is just no helping some people”

We apologise for the delay

Commercial airplane climbing after take off in the sunset.So, like I said, my Dad was here recently and as usual he was full of stories, some I have heard (but still enjoy hearing), others were new.   Like the story about my Dad coming to Germany for work last week.

My Dad does a lot of travelling and always has his eye on making life going through airports a little easier.   A while ago, he saw a new bag…unusual, one he had never seen before…interesting markings and colours.   It was also perfect in that it had the right number of pouches and pockets, was the right size for staying a week or even just for a night or two.   In short, the perfect bag…   It would be easy to spot and easy to grab from the luggage belt.   I am sure you already know where this is going, but nevertheless I will continue on to the bitter end.

So Dad flys in to Hannover Airport, but gets caught up on the plane and is quite late getting off.   He gets to the luggage belt and spies his bag travelling around and around.   He heads straight for it and instantly recognises that there is something not quite right.   The bag seems a little travel weary and weather beaten for such a new and recent purchase.   Still, he is tired and thinks it could be his fatigued eyes playing tricks…that is, until he picks up the bag.   Straight away it is clear that this isn’t Dads bag, it is far too light and old…undeterred, he opens a couple of pockets to be 200% certain and then heads to the baggage department to explain the predicament.   Armed with a reference number and a sense of confusion about how someone could pick up a bag, so clearly brand new and weighing half a ton more than his own bag…but still, he heads to the hotel.   Of course, at this point he is in the clothes he travelled in, hasn’t shaved and has a meeting to attend.   It is reasonably fortunate that Dad was travelling with clients, so was in trousers and a shirt anyway, but still…he had planned on showering, changing and shaving before the meeting.   He attends meeting #1 feeling like crap, but gets through it..when an ad-hoc meeting #2 takes place.   Somehow he gets through this one too and heads to his room….fully aware that noone has called from the airline.   Still, he is tired and needs sleep.

Always an early riser, Dad is up from around 6am and there is no news on the bag…Dad decides to wait until a very respectable…and dare I say reserved…time of 8am before calling the airport.   Feeling quite chipper, he speaks to the airport, gives them the reference number and waits….when the woman comes back on the phone she tells Dad that the number he has given her doesn’t exist in the system.   This goes back and forth until the supervisor comes on the line.   She confirms that it isn’t in the system, and Dad begins to explode…on the verge of nuclear meltdown you might say.   Just at the point of explosion, the supervisor explains why that reference is not in the system anymore.   Apparently they delivered the case the night before and noone from the hotel had called to let him know.   Dad now has 30 minutes before a meeting, but can’t face putting the clothes on from yesterday…so he heads down in a hotel bathrobe, grabs the bag…heads to his room, phones the meeting and tells them they will have to wait.   My Dad…classy.

Dad being classy reminds me of an old story.   Before the tragic events known as 9/11 to most of the free world, security was always a concern.   My Dad was working at the British Embassy in Berlin and was working with the Air Attache.   When you take this position, you also agree to monitor security with anything to do with flying whenever possible.   It isn’t like he was on a mission to do this, but he had sworn an oath to be vigilant and aware when flying.   Dad is in Stansted Airport returning to Germany and it is a usual busy day at the airport.   Check-in is uneventful and Dad is heading through to the departure gate..waiting his turn in line to walk through the metal detectors.   The guy in front of him is holding a MacDonalds bag and drink.   As this guy is about to walk through the detectors, he leans to the side of the detector and places his bag and drink on top of the X-Ray machine….walks through the detector and gets frisked.   Once that finishes he leans around the detector again and grabs his stuff and wanders on his merry way.   Dad isn’t looking for a confrontation with Stansted security, but decides that he can’t let it go, so he calls the Air Attache and lets him know what happened.

The next day Stansted Airport undergoes a “routine security review” by the department of British transport.   Many flights were delayed, many people were inconvenienced and my Dad was back in Berlin inhaling fine German beer with a smile on his face.

See, classy.

You’re welcome :-)

Like a kid again…

Peek-a-BooJust a short, sentimental post today, as I am out for a birthday party later and will not be in any fit state to write anything tomorrow…unless something happens of course.   SP was out last night, rumour has it he may be out tonight too…rest assured I will be taking my notebook, just in case.

So my Dad visited for the last couple of days…and except for not going outside and playing catch, I was like a kid for the whole time.   Admittedly, I would be a kid drinking copious amounts of beer with his Dad…and he was never that kind of Dad. We even went to the cinema…to watch James Bond.   What am I?   12?

We had a some great chats and I managed to get a little bit of blog-fodder too.   Dad has some great stories and I can honestly say that I am very lucky to be able to chat with him like I can.   We take the piss out of each other…admittedly he is better at it than I am, seeing as he taught me my sarcastic ways (even though he refuses to claim it).   We can drink together, tell dodgy jokes and we share a love of sport (mainly football).

We talked for hours, never ran out of conversation.   I was able to admit to certain regrets I have about my behaviour as a teen..which, Dad being Dad, completely dismissed.   I think he quite likes the confident Son he saw before him, the group of friends I have and the life I am living.   He gave me some great advice about the future, words of encouragement and a frickin hangover.   I rarely get to just go out for a bevvy with my Dad, so this couple of days were superb.   Thanks Dad :-)

While I remember, a few things from last night:-

I managed to cockblock LM on a highly skilled walk-by cockblocking.   It’s amazing what a giant Uncle Fester clone, giving you a hug and stroking your face can do..I may also have called him bigboy….sorry LM

I beat Z in an arm wrestle (admittedly, he had just arm wrestled a monster like 5 minutes before…but still, I am totally claiming it)

I also beat PM immediately afterwards with my considerably more girly left arm.

My lasting memory though was from the lovely PS.   She gave a genius raise to what little kudos I have these days.   As she walks past, I say hello…she turns, looks at me dead in the eye, calls me a bastard and slaps me.   I am laughing now, but it was a proper slap.   She turns away, walks two paces…turns around and tells me that the sex was amazing though.   Some of the looks I got were well worth the pain…thanks PS :-)

More ramblings when I sober up enough to type…

Cake or death….

Not even close....but you get the ideaSo it looks like there is a possibility I will be in England for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my folks.   It goes without saying that I will do my damndest to get to see the kids at the same time, and I am sure I will manage to achieve it.   That said, it will be Christmas with the parents, and I am the son that lives furthest away….

Now, being the oldest of 3 boys means that certain expectations are placed on you to be responsible, level headed and able to look after yourself (and your brothers).   Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t spoiled and went without….far far from it.   I have mentioned before that I had a great childhood and wouldn’t change it for the world.   However, I didn’t always get the option for certain things..the options were normally delivered to the younger brethren before me.   Where the hell am I going with this??   Oh yeah, eldest son..far away…got it.

As it is now a rarity to see me, I am pretty much a shoe in to get the option of a special thing to be prepared.   This is guaranteed to be my Mums very special and never matched…Devils Food Cake.   It should be said that, despite my ample girth (and my belly ;-) ) I am not really a chocolate lover.   However, when you have tried some of my Mums Devils Food Cake, you could easily become a chocaholic…instantly…followed rapidly by a chocolate induced coma…with possible drowning by double cream.

It is one of “those” recipes… in that it is a closely guarded secret, has changed over time and consists of a plastic wallet with random pieces of paper..it sort of resembles a kidnappers ransom note starter pack and would probably have reduced the guys that cracked the Enigma device to tears trying to recreate it.   I was given the recipe, once…and subsequently lost it in the great hard disk crash of ’01.   Subsequent attempts to gain access have been futile, so I am left with the rare occasion when I can ask for this creation of the gods to be made for me.   Serious pleasure is all I am saying.

All of my 35 years on this planet will count for nothing when I regress into a mewling babe whislt simultaneously begging my Mum to make me this cake… I may ask for two to be made…specifically so I can have one with “Daves…keep off” iced on.

Now, I just need to work on getting Mum to make me a chilli and a lasagne, and I may weep a little.   It’s pretty pathetic really, but I am just about to embark on a new diet…and it is one of those 4 days on 3 days off things…I worked out my optimum start day to ensure that the 3 off falls outside of 2 events.   The first is the visit of my Dad next month, and the second being Christmas at my folks place.   The logistics of doing this should really be added to my CV…creative accounting, time management…political lies…it has it all, but all things considered…I will be drinking with my Dad quite merrily next month without feeling even the least bit guilty and then eating my bodyweight in Devils Food Cake at Christmas guilt free too.

Don’t get me wrong, I know all of you (well most of you….some of you at least) believe that your Mums cooking is better than anybody elses Mums cooking and you will never be swayed by any argument that anyone would care to make.   This is fine, but there is a difference…you are all wrong!   It’s a subtle difference I know, but an important one nevertheless.

I am quite looking forward to it now :-)

What is you favourite (albeit inferior to mine) Mums cooking that you would regress to your childhood for?

Qualified pilots do not intelligent men make…

HarrierWhen I lived in Germany as a kid, we lived at RAF Gutersloh.   It was a bloody huge base and often ran joint exercises between the differing allied armed forces.   Sometimes they were ground based and more often than not they were aerial dogfights.

During one of these huge aerial exercises, pilots from the UK, US, Russia and a number of other air forces were involved in huge dogfights and things were going pretty well.   Some fantastic manoeuvers were taking place over the base on occasion.   It was a hell of a spectacle.

Now obviously, I wasn’t there during the pilots rest times, but the officers mess was reportedly full of Top Gun’esque testosterone filled tomfoolery, when bets started being made.

Now to explain, a barrel roll occurs when an object (usually an airplane or roller coaster) makes a complete rotation on its longitudinal axis while following a helical path, approximately maintaining its original direction. The G-force is kept positive (but not constant) on the object throughout the maneuver, commonly not more than 2-3 G, and no less than 0.5 G. (Thanks Wikipedia).

So the pilots were in the officers mess, presumably drinking expensive whiskey and smoking cuban cigars or something, when some bright spark challenged the others to perform a barrel roll on takeoff.   This means that they would literally wait until they were slightly beyond wing clearance from the ground, and roll.

So the following day, the Russian MIG pilots head off and perform their role…thereby laying down the gauntlet to the rest….the bet was well and truly on.   Next up, the US air force do their thing..no problem.   Followed by the RAF Tornado pilots….all good.

When up to the runway steps the mighty Harrier Jump Jet.   An aircraft designed for vertical takeoff and short runways.   It has short, stubby wings by comparison to the rest and is not really designed for manoeuverability as flexibility.   So the little aircraft that could…..couldn’t and the pilot, upon reaching takeoff speed, gets up just high enough to clear his wings and begins the roll.   Cut to 5 seconds later and 40 million pounds of high quality aircraft becomes about 50 quid for the scrap merchant to tow it away.

You have to wonder what was going through the pilots head…I mean other than almost the runway.   Just to add to the end of this, the pilot walked away unscathed.   Noone really knew how, but he was one very lucky guy.   He was discharged from the Air Force with terrible rapidity, but still pretty lucky all things considered.

Ahh yes, being a kid on and around RAF bases was fun at times…sure, you had to be pretty disciplined in case your Dad ended up in shit because of you, but it was where we got to fine tune our (already) dry sense of humour.   It was where checking under your car for bombs was a regular and somewhat exciting time…where armed guards would greet you whenever you entered the base.   It’s funny what you become blase about really.   I never saw any danger in any of this stuff, I even used to help Dad check under the car each morning.

I say it’s funny what you become blase about as I was responsible for at least 2 bomb alerts when I was at school.   The first was completely accidental…the 2nd not so.

For my first bomb alert, I was due to stay at a friends for the weekend, and for some reason felt the need to take my alarm clock with me along with my clothes etc.   As I wasn’t really thinking, I left my bag under one of the workbenches in the woodwork class.   Alarm clock…ticking…unattended bag.   All the hallmarks of a panic situation.   Not so for the guys and gals of the bomb squad though as they brought my bag out and blew it up in the school field.   I bloody liked that clock too…it was a Liverpool one :-(

Now the second time I was involved in a bomb alert was not quite so much of an accident.   We were trying to think of ways to bunk off school….whilst actually being at school.   In a normal school this would pose a number of logistical issues, but at a forces school, opportunities were abound.   I essentially recreated my accidental bomb alert…only with an alarm clock and bag that I didn’t really care for very much.   After a little coaxing, we persuaded someone to mention the trigger phrase to one of the teachers.

“Whose bag is that Sir?   It has been there all morning”

Cue school evacuation to the playground and the bomb disposal guys and gals turning up at a hell of a rate.   We were all trying to stifle sniggers as the robot brought the bag out.   It’s not like you see in tBomb robothe films or TV shows..the robot moves terribly slow and it took almost 35 minutes to bring the bag to the safe zone where it was “safely exploded”.   It then took 2 hours to completely sweep the school for any other devices.

I think we left for home about 20 minutes after we were given the all clear to re-enter the school.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone acting like a moron and doing this stuff, but it was the norm for this sort of stuff to happen, and being young and foolish…well, it all seemed like a big laugh.   I like to think that I wouldn’t do anything like this in todays climate and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t.

That said, bomb disposal robots and controlled explosions are way cool.


One? Theres bloody hundreds of 'em

A worried wife calls her husband who is driving home, to warn him about a news report of a lunatic driving on the wrong side of the road.   “A lunatic??!?!?!!” He says “There are bloody hundreds of ’em”

One of the problems with coming from England is that we drive on the left, in right hand drive cars.   Generally this isn’t an issue, but can cause problems from time to time.

I was in the car with my Dad many years ago, when I asked him if it had been difficult to get used to driving on the right.   He was in the process of explaining about how it becomes normal pretty quickly and that you get used to it etc, when we realised that Dad had pulled across a junction onto the left hand side of a dual carriageway.   A quick change of underwear later and we are back on the correct side of the road.   At the time, we had been in Germany around 3 years, so this sort of thing shouldn’t happen.

Similar things have happened to me recently.   Especially when borrowing my friends English spec car (right hand drive) and driving around Frankfurt.   Now that I can almost understand, however I have noticed and irresistable urge to do the same thing when driving large rental vans.

Maybe it is ingrained in the British psychy.   Like having vinegar with Fish and Chips, mint sauce with lamb, drinking tea, being bad at sports we helped invent, personal space and queueing.   Germans have absolutely no concept of personal space and think nothing of getting uncomfortably close to you when it is completely unnecessary.   Case in point is public transport over here.   If you are sat down on a train that has hundreds of empty seats, you still get people that will get on and sit next to you.   Same with queueing…now I know that this can be considered a British pastime, but if you leave more than 5 centimeters gap between you and the person in front of you, a German will get straight in there.   You certainly couldn’t pull the “Queue Gag” that we used to do in the UK.

Get 2 or 3 of your friends and walk up to a featureless wall and form a small queue.   After a while, start looking around and at your watch like something is due to happen or that something is late.   After a while, members of the general public will queue behind you.   When the queue is at a decent size, walk away and don’t look back.   If you circle around, you will normally see that the queue stays there for quite a while.   I know that this could be construed as an Urban Myth about Brits…but I have done it…..more than once.   The current record we have is 14 people joining the queue and the queue stayed in place for 15 minutes after we left.   If you are in the UK, try it – It’s so much more satisfying than the old look up in the sky gag.

So, whilst I can’t do that in Germany, I have to appease myself with mocking Germans general destruction of the English language.   Don’t get me wrong, my understanding of the German language is bordering on homicidal – But that shouldn’t stop me from having fun at their expense….not on my blog anyway.

Things I have heard today:

I have been here since four years.
We need to change the enWIREment settings
We have too many furnitures here
It can be happen that ……

My favourites:

I had wisitors for the veekend
The system is going life next week
It is paining me
I can borrow to you that

Now I have to go an make sure that I never attempt to speak German in public….or?