Random snippets from my brain

  • This morning I overheard a phone conversation in which someone was apparantly explaining the concept of changing trains. “I’ll be travelling for a while yet, I have to change trains now” *Pause while, presumably, the other person spoke”. “We’re just pulling into Mannheim now then I have to get out of the train, go to another platform then get on a different train”. He wasn’t even speaking to a child either (unless I missed the point where it became normal to address children as Mr. so-and-so). The mind really does boggle. Or at least mine does.
  • Currently wondering whether working at a place where I actually know how to use the coffee machine (and don’t feel guilty every time I dare to so much as think about leaving my seat) is a blessing or a curse? I think I may have overdoed on caffeine today, all in a desperate attempt to stay awake. (Sooo tired…)
  • Having spent the last two evenings  searching every clothes shop in Karlsruhe for something to wear over a dress at a wedding I’m invited to next month. I’ve come to the conclusion that the colour white is an endangered species this season. I even resorted to looking in United Colours of Benetton today – the first time I’ve been in there since I was about 12. Unsurprisingly I found nothing I liked.
  • Despite not finding the top I wanted, I have spent a small fortune over the last few days. A serious dent has been made in my wages already and November isn’t even here yet. Not good people!
  • The first assignment for my science course is due on 4th November. I haven’t written a single word of it yet. I guess I know what my plans are for this weekend…
  • Snippets is a fabulous word. I feel like I should use it more often.
  • That is all.

I do love a good bargain…

I bought a quilt today. I wasn’t intending to, but I happen to spot some as I was walking past Tchibo so I thought I’d pop in and have a look. When I discovered it was actually the size I was looking for I became very excited – I’ve been looking since the beginning of the month and so far only found ones that were too small. And they’re all stupidly expensive. I’m talking around 69 euros in the sale. What is that all about? It’s only a quilt, not an entire flipping bed! This one was only 40 euros full price. Then when I took it up to the counter I found out it was reduced, so I ended up oly paying 25 euros. Result! It also just so happens that “buy a quilt” is on my 101 things list, but I wasn’t even thinking about that at the time. Now I have I can cross it off though. One step closer to the finish line 😉
Now all that remains is to be a cover for my lovely new quilt and I’ll be all set for winter…

Science and Sunday dinner

I made a sort of Sunday dinner yesterday. Why “sort of” you ask? Well, there werre no Yorkshire puddings and the meat (pork steaks) was fried rather than roasted because I don’t trust my oven at all (there’s something wrong with the thermostat – no matter how high a setting you put it on it always claims to be at most 150°C. And I really don’t want to risk putting meat in an oven that I don’t actually know the temperature of…). We did have both roast and mashed potatoes though. And after my recent trip to England I have actual proper gravy granules. German “Bratensosse” is just not the same. Sure, it goes well enough with wild boar or Schnitzel but for a proper Sunday dinner you’ve gotta have English gravy!
We had a starter as well. I’m currently doing an Open University short course called Science Starts Here and this weekend I had to do an experiment which involved putting sliced potatoes in the oven and weighing them every hour to find out what percentage of a potato is water. The end result was something that looked a lot like those potato skins you get as a starter in restaurants so we covered them in salt and pepper and ate them. I also dipped mine in allioli (garlic sauce) which was dee-licious. While we were waiting for the main course to finish cooking I happened to mention to Jan what a shame it was I had no dessert to offer him. You see, one of the things on my 101 things list is to cook a three course meal for my boyfriend (3 times!) and as I had done all the work with dinner I thought if I had dessert I could let this count (even if the starter was originally a science experiment). Having had the thought I naturally couldn’t rest until I’d at least tried to carry it out, so I got onto Google and started looking up recipes that only use ingredients I actually had in the house. It being a Sunday in German I would have had no chance of getting anything that was missing – only the petrol stations and the tiny little shop at the train station are open. Luckily I found a recipe for golden syrup dumplings, so I made that. Mine looked nothing like the picture on the website but they tasted good and that’s all that matters, right?

We were going to go to the cinema after dinner to see the German film Der Weisse Band (The White Ribbon – read about it here) but Jan decided he was too tired, so we stayed home and watched two episodes of ER instead. We’re up to season 3 now. I love the old ones – Noah Wyle (Carter) looks so young!

I swear I used to have a life…

Shall I tell you what I did today?
I took a train to Mannheim, bought a tram ticket so I won’t have to waste time doing it on Monday morning… then I took the next train back. This is perfectly normal behaviour, right?
Oh, and last night – and please bear in mind that it was Friday – I was in bed by 8:30pm. Admittedly that was mostly because my living room is freezing (usually when I’m alone I end up playing on the Internet til 3am), but still… I’m fairly sure as an unmarried and unchildrened 26 year old I should have been out partying or something. Instead I was at home, alone, in bed with only a science text book for company.
I don’t suppose any of my readers feel like moving to Germany and befriending me for real?!

In which I am an idiot…

Let’s go back in time shall we. Back to the day Jan and I left for England, Friday, 9th October 2009…

Picture the scene, if you will.
Amazingly the boyfriend and I have both managed to be packed and ready to go with plenty of time to spare. We head off to the train station, arriving there early enough to have a meal before we leave, then we jump on our train to Frankfurt airport. So far, so good. But then, about five minutes before we reach our destination a thought occurs to me. I turn to Jan and say:
“We’ve got a problem. Or at least I’ve got a problem. I didn’t pack my passport”.
Yes, dear readers. It is true. Your eyes do not deceive you. On the day I was flying from Germany to England, via Amsterdam, for my Grandparents Golden wedding anniversary I didn’t think to take my passport out of my work bag and pack it in the handbag I was actually taking on the plane with me. I’m not even sure the word idiot covers it…

The first thing we did after getting off the train was rush to a ticket machine to see whether there was any possible way to get back to Karlsruhe, pick up the passport and then get back to Frankfurt without missing our flight. Naturally there was not. So we turned to thought number two – finding out whether we could make it in a taxi. “Run like mad” said Jan, and so we did. Or at least he did. I was unable to keep up with his long, long strides, then my bag decided staying on its wheels was overrated. Not wanting to slow down, I attempted to get it back onto its wheels while running… and then the inevitable happened. The stupid bag got under my feet somehow and I went flying across the airport floor. Luckily hardly anyone was around (only one man who asked if I was ok) so I wasn’t too embarrassed, but my knees hurt. A lot. It’s now a week later and I still have the bruises! So at this point I was not only passportless, but also limping and alone… I no longer had any idea where Jan was! Luckily I hadn’t broken my mobile phone during the fall, so I phoned him and found out he was down by the taxi rank, where the driver had told him there was no chance of making it to the passport on time… not on a Friday evening right around coming home from work time. So we took the shuttle bus over to terminal two and headed to the KLM desk. There we found out that there was no chance of changing flights… at least not in that price class. We could upgrade to business class, said the KLM lady, but only at an extra chage of 1000 euros! But then she had a brainwave: “the German border police sometimes give out replacement documents for Germans,” she said. “I’ve no idea whether it works for other nationalities but you can always give it a try…” And so we headed up the stairs to the German border police. We explained our story and the very nice policeman asked me what ID I did have on me, if not my passport. I gave him my (provisional!) driver’s licence, which he said was good, but he would need something else as well, did I have anything else with my date of birth and a picture on? Luckily my UWE student card has both of those things on it. I was saved! All that remained was to go and get some passport photos taken (10 euros it costs! Ten!). Then, for a fee of 25 euros, he made up an emergency travel document for me, valid until 14th October… or, in other words, long enough for me to fly to Englsnd, go to the party and fly back to Germany. Not exactly the best beginning to our trip, but all’s well that ends well as they say, and from that point on everything the rest of the journey was just fine…

Greetings from the Arctic

I am back from my weekend away and have much to tell you about. Unfortunately I can’t right now, for two reasons.
Number one is because I’m so tired my eyes hurt if I even think about looking at the screen. It’s only 8:15 pm but as soon as I’ve eaten my tea (which has finally finished cooking) I plan to go to bed. And what’s number two I hear you cry. Well, that would be the fact that my living room is so cold my hands are actually numb… and typing with gloves on is almost as crap as typing when you can’t feel your fingers. I’m planning on eating in the bedroom because it’s the only place that’s even vaguely warm!
And we’re currently only mid-way through October. I dread to think what the winter’s going to be like this year!

Why universe, why?

The boyfriend and I are flying to England tomorrow. Via Amsterdam. As in the Netherlands. Yes, you did read that right. No, I am not crazy. Well, I might be, but not for that reason. Unfortunately we have no choice. It was the cheapest option we could actually take (Ryanair have changed the times for their flights to Dublin) and thee is no direct flight from here to Newcastle. Apparantly I am the only person in the whole of south Germany who ever feels the need to go there…
And as is almost always the case when I decide to fly anywhere, the universe has decided to give me the wonderful gift of a cold to help me on my way.

On Saturday my throat started to hurt.
On Monday I was cold for most of the day.
On Tuesday my muscles were starting to ache.
Yesterday my left ear was sore.
Today both ears hurt and my head feels like it’s stuffed with wet cotton wool. The other symptoms are all still there too. And I fly tomorrow.
Woe is me. Woe, woe, woe.

The law of sod strikes again…