Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


13 Comments

Friday letters

Well people, it’s Friday again and I was almost very late for work this morning! I always set my alarm for 5:45, take my pill then reset the alarm to 6 a.m. I did that as usual this morning, but for some reason the 6 a.m. alarm either didn’t go off or we both slept through it. I woke up at 6:55, checked the time then jumped out of bed in a panic. I have to leave at 7:20 to catch my train, and I actually did! I was showered, dressed, teeth brushed and bag packed in 25 minutes. Phew! Luckily today wasn’t a hair washing day :-) Now it’s lunch time, and also time for Friday letters.

Postkasten

Dear alarm. Why?? That is all.

Dear new work customer. Thank you for giving me something to translate this week that was actually interesting! I feel like I’ve mostly been translating the same things for months, so it made a nice change to learn somthing new.

Dear weather. You’ve been glorious all week, then this morning it was raining. Please bring back the sunshine for the weekend (and most especially for Sunday when my boyfriend’s choir are performing at an outdoor festival!)

Dear boyfriend. You’ve been working so hard again this week! So I’m planning on making you a surprise while you’re at your all-day choir practice on Saturday. (Don’t worry readers, Jan never reads my blog so he won’t know he has a surprise coming until he receives it).

Dear cross stitch. I can’t wait to have you up on the kitchen wall! Just need to iron on the interfacing and frame you now :-)

Dear Scotland. I’m glad to see you’ve decided to stay with the UK. I just hope the politicians can now work something out that will make both sides happy – and also that if any Scots are upset about the outcome, they don’t decide to come rampaging into England. The area I’m from will literally be on the front line if that happens! Time to rebuild our castles? ;-) (Also, I do wonder whether many more people would have voted Yes if it hadn’t meant being stuck with Alex Salmond as their leader?)

That’s all. I need to eat and get back to work now. Have a great weekend everyone!

 I’m linking up with Kate again for Daily Diaries.


6 Comments

Peony in Love by Lisa See

I read this book ages ago as part of the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge. This one was for the category “Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe”, which earned me 15 points. I chose to read this book having previously read Snowflower and the Secret Fan by the same author, which I found absolutely fascinating!

The plot:
Peony, the sheltered daughter of a wealthy Chinese family, is betrothed to a man she’s never met and is obsessed with a play called “The Peony Pavillion”. For her 16th birthday, her father plans to host a performance of said play. To maintain proper standards, women have to watch from behind a screen, but through the cracks, Peony manages to catch sight of an elegant, handsome man who she immediately falls in love with. Thus begins Peony’s story of love, desire and destiny.

My review:
First of all, I need to say something that some may consider to be a spoiler. However, it is important for me to mention it for the rest of my review to make sense: The majority of the story is told by Peony after she’s already dead. I don’t know about anyone eles, but I would have liked to know that before starting to read. I was expecting a book that would allow me to learn more about Chinese customs, history and belief, instead what I got was basically a ghost story. If I’d wanted to read a ghost story, I would have chosen a ghost story to read!! I also didn’t really like the character of Peony. I know she was supposed to be young (and therefore naive), but her love-sick ramblings just annoyed me. Even after she’d been dead for years and we were given the impression that she’d matured in some way (at least she’d managed to start thinking for herself) she reminded me of a love-struck teenager. And yes, I know she was supposed to be 16, but if the story hadn’t made that clear I would have guessed more like 13! Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was beautifully written… this one felt amateurish and clichéd. I did learn a little about Chinese death rituals and their beliefs about the after life, which was interesting, but honestly that couldn’t make up for the incredibly boring, sickly love story. Very disappointing! I might still give this author another chance, but if I’d read Peony first she would have gone straight to my “do not read” list!


33 Comments

A photo an hour: 13 September 2014

On Saturday, Janey from Is That You Darling? hosted the September edition of her monthly A Photo an Hour linkup. I was quite excited to take part this time as I had actual plans for the day. For once a photo an hour post that wouldn’t consist solely of me drinking endless cups of tea and maybe going food shopping! Naturally, I was in ;-) So here’s my day at the Wurstmarkt wine festival recorded in one photo per hour.

9 a.m. (I actually got up at 8:30 but forgot it was photo an hour day until after I’d showered). Deciding what to wear is difficult in the current changeable weather conditions!

clothing

10 a.m. Breakfast time! Tea is definitely needed.

Tea and toast

11 a.m. On the train with our tickets (actually, I have a Bahncard 100 so this isn’t my ticket)

Ticket

12 noon. Waiting for our second train to leave. Here’s a terrible picture of Neustadt train station.

Neustadt Weinstraße

1 p.m. Made it! Now to have a walk around and see what food’s on offer.

Wurstmarkt

2 p.m. Food eaten (wild boar Bratwurst and wild boar Saumagen with potato salad – yum!), now for my first glass of wine. Mindful of the long day of wine drinking ahead of us, I went for Schorle (spritzer).

Weinschorle

3 p.m. Selecting my next wine – in the Weindorf area, they have proper menus (and table decorations – notice the plant under the menu)

Wine list

4 p.m. Still drinking Weinschorle in the same tent, so to avoid taking the same photo again (it was a different wine, but it looked the same!) I went with a a selfie in my friend’s sock monkey hat.

Sock monkey selfie

5 p.m. Time to try some different wines in the slightly less posh area – no cushions on the seats here!

Wurstmarkt 2014

6 p.m. Entertainment! A mini “marching band” was playing next to the wine hut thingy we were in.

Wurstmarkt

7 p.m. On to another hut for some different wines. Hmm, what to choose?

Wine list

8 p.m. Moooore wine! Going down nicely ;-)

Wine

9 p.m. Off back to the train station. We came across this fountain on the way.

Fountain

10 p.m. We had to change trains twice on the way home, this photo was taken on train number 2.

Train

10:20 p.m. Bonus photo! We changed trains for the second time in Winden, where we were reunited with the model geese we discovered there last year. Here I am getting reacquainted with my goosey friend ;-)

Goose

11 p.m. We arrived back in Karlsruhe to find this going on at the train station. I have no idea what it was all about! (I’ve blurred out some faces because German privacy laws are strict and I’m paranoid about being punished.)

dancers

And that’s my final photo. By midnight, Jan and I were already tucked up in bed with our glasses of water, a fun day having been had by all. The Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim is the world’s largest wine festival. In 2014, it’s on for one final weekend – from 18-21 September. If you’re in the area, get yourself down there. You won’t regret it!

You can see what the other participants in the linkup got up to on this day by going to Jane’s blog post.


20 Comments

35 before 35: Item exchange

I have decided to exchange the “Vist Ukraine” item on my 35 before 35 list. While I do still want to go there, I’m thinking it may not be the best idea right now! And since I don’t know if/when the situation will improve, I’m removing it from the list as a precaution.

I wanted to replace the item with one that is at least vaguely similar, so as of now the first item on my 35 before 35 list will be “Visit Belfast and see whether I recognise anything”. For those who don’t know, I lived in a place caled Holywood close to Belfast for two years as a child (dad/step-dad were posted there with the army) and we used to visit Belfast for things like shopping. We left when I was 7, so it would be interesting to see whether I recognise anything. (I’m ptetty sure I would recognise things on my actual estate, but as it’s an army barracks I wouldn’t actually be allowed in! So Belfast is the best I can do).

To see all the items on my 35 before 35 list (including what I’ve already completed), click here.


11 Comments

Friday letters

The weekend has (almost) arrived and with it the incredibly crappy weather. Not that it’s been particularly nice for most of the week, but at least the rain had seemed to be holding off… until today. I hope this isn’t the way it’s going to be now until winter sets in! After a mostly crappy summer, it would be nice to at least have a somewhat sunny autumn! Oh well, here are some letters.

Eye'm watching you...

Dear godson. Happy birthday for tomorrow. I can’t believe you’re already turning two! Time goes so fast.

Dear rain. If you think you’re going to prevent me from going to the wine festival tomorrow you’ve got another thing coming! I have a waterproof jacket, and there are tents. So there!

Dear red pandas. You never fail to make me smile, no matter how tired I am or how heavily it’s raining. You rock!

Dear certain customer. Please stop with all the express jobs! I’m tired of interrupting whatever I’m currently doing because you’ve sent something that needs to be worked on right this second. I mean, we did sign up for this and it’s okay occasionally, but the last two weeks have been extreme. Give me time to breathe occasionally.

Dear coffee seller on the train. Is it really necessary to advertise your wares quite so loudly? Some of us are actually trying to get in a few extra minutes sleep on the morning commute and being startled by you yelling practically in our ears is not fun!

Wow, lots of complaining this time! I blame lack of sleep. I’ll try to be more cheerful next Friday ;-) In the meantime, have a great wekend everyone!


14 Comments

A day in the Black Forest

After a day in Strasbourg and a day in Basel, on the Friday of my brother’s visit, we decided to just relax. After a lie in, we made crumpets for brunch, went out for a round of mini golf then, in the evening, my friend came over and we watched How to Train Your Dragon as I hadn’t seen it before and said friend had asked me to go to the cinema with her the following week to see the second one. Saturday was back to day trips! Having been to two different countries, I thought it was about time to see some of the local(ish) area, so we headed off into the Schwarzwald. Our first stop was Neuenbürg, or rather the castle above the town.

Black Forest

Looking down from Neunbürg castle

When we arrived, the castle museum in the main building wasn’t open yet, so we went and had a look at the ruins of the “Hinterburg” (literally “back or behind castle), an older building that was presumably used before the present-day castle was built. My photos of it are terrible! Sorry about that…

Once we’d finished exploring the ruins, we decided to head for the restaurant for a coffee while we waited for the museum to open. Once we were brought menus, we decided that, actually, we might as well have lunch since it was already after 12. We each chose to have a Pfanno – a speciality of the restaurant that’s somewhere between a pancake, a pizza and an omlette. It has too much egg to really be a pancake, and it tastes a lot like an omlette, but itthe savoury ones looked kind of like a pizza with the toppings. I went for the tuna version while my brother went for a sweet version with apple and cinnamon. Jan had the Elsass style one (not pictured), which basically had traditional Flammkuchen style topping – bacon, onions and creme fraiche. They were tasty, but very filling! I couldn’t actually finish mine.

By the time we’d finished eating the museum was open and it was also starting to rain (the only time we had bad weather throughout my brother’s stay!), so inside was a good place to be! The museum begins with a retelling of a fairycalled “Das kalte Herz” (The Cold Heart). To go with the stories, there are wood carvings and light sillhouettes of the various characters. My brother was given a set of headphones so he could listen to the story in English. It was kind of a weird thing to find in a castle museum, but somehow cute.

The remainder of the museum had general stuff about the castle and local area. At the end was an exhibition of architects collected from people living in the town, including old games. I took the following picture because the sign amused me:

Schloss Neunbürg

All the things in that particular display case had to do with the railway. For those who don’t read German, the sign says “No smoking and no spitting on the floor.” Hahaha.

By the time we left the castle, it was raining pretty heavily, so our original plan of a possible work in the woods was out. Instead, we headed to Hirsau in the Calw region because I had read there was an Abbey museum there. Museum = indoors! Unfortunately, there was no English information in the museum so I ended up translating things for my brother! The first 2 floors were about the church that the museum is located in and the abbey/life of the monks, then there was a floor with information about Hirsau and the surrounding area, including an album of old photos. Once we’d finished with the museum, it had stopped raining and we were able to head over to the ruins of the abbey itself.

Outside the little chapel (the Lady Chapel), there was a tonne of rose petals on the ground. Since there was no rose bush to be seen, I can only assume somebody had married in the chapel that day and had rose petals strewn on them. What a gorgeous setting to get married! Shame about the awful weather.

I had seen on Facebook that The Seán Treacy Band, who have been mentioned on this blog before, were playing in a village called Schömberg, also not far from Calw, so we decided to finish our day by going to see them perform. The village was having its Glückswoche (happiness/luck week) and there was a mini festival going on. We ate spiralled potatoes on sticks, sausages (my brother) and pork steaks (me), had a few drinks and watched the first half of the band’s performance before heading back to Karlsruhe for the night.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 501 other followers