Friday letters (the train strike edition)

Good morning! I am currently working from home for the second day in a row thanks to the German train drivers’ strike. Surely you must have heard about it? It even made BBC news! For those that haven’t, a brief summary: goods train drivers have been on strike since Wednesday, those on passenger services since 2 a.m. yesterday. The strike will continue until 4 a.m. Monday, which has meant those who commute had to find alternative ways to get to work… or been forced to use holiday days (not exactly a fun prospect this close to Christmas!). Luckily I have an employer who set up a remote server and allows us to work from home for a few days when such things happen.
Other than that, this week has been fairly uneventful. We got back from Paris on Sunday to find bright sunshine and temperatures of 22°C… which then promptly changed to around 13°C and rain the next morning. I cannot keep up with these constant about faces! I’ve been working hard again and managed to add some more overtime to my tally – soon I’ll have enough to take a day off! And when I haven’t been working I’ve managed to complete another few Christmas-themed cross stitch pictures for cards and read the first two books for the winter reading challenge. I’d be halfway through the third by now if I hadn’t been denied my commute yesterday and this morning! Also, it was pub quiz on Tuesday and my team managed to come second with a mere 53 points! The questions were really difficult this month!
And now, letters.

letter box

Dear GDL/Deutsche Bahn. I really hope you agree on something soon, because after a four-day strike I’m a little worried about what the next step might be. Striking for an entire week? No trains right when people want to head home for Christmas? The possibilities are endless (and scary!).

Dear Christmas markets. I can’t believe you will be starting in a mere two weeks! It’s only just started to feel like autumn… I can’t possibly get my head around the idea of winter! I am looking forward to the Glühwein though.

Dear Welcome to Night Vale. I’m glad your live show was just as amazing as I had been anticipating! Please come back to Europe soon.

Dear self. Stop spending money on things you don’t need!! Christmas is really not far away and many, many gifts need to be purchased!

Dear stomach. After weekes of seeming just fine, you hurt again yesterday after I ate some sheep’s cheese. Please don’t let your problem be with sheep’s/goat’s cheese. I love that stuff!

And now here are some links:

Lucy went to see the poppy exhibition at the Tower of London and took some great pictures. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t go so I’m having to live through all the bloggers who did make it.

This recipe for Chorizo, Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Mediterranean Vegetables and mozzarella looks amazing! Just the thought of it is making me feel hungry.

This article about learning to speak German and having to send verbs to the end of a sentence amused me greatly. So many times I’ve joked that by the time you get to the verb you’ve already forgotten what it was you were trying to say!

I love my job, but sometimes the unexpected overtime and requests from customers to “just quickly translate this tiny file (which isn’t really tiny at all) by the end of today” can get tiring. This post on 5 things translators do better is the perfect antidote to a long and frustrating work day!

I thought I had more links for you but I can’t actually remember any more/find where I’ve saved them so that’s just going to have to do. Have a great weekend everyone!

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

Advertisements

Trivia Tuesday #5

I do plan to write about the rest of my weekend trip, but I won’t have time to sort out the photos for my next post before going to the quiz tonight, so for today you’ll have to make do with some more Tuesday trivia. Here are today’s 10 random facts.

Television in Question Marks.
Photo : Wikipedia
  1. The Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch was originally orange. He became green in Season 2.
  2. Sir Cliff Richard (birth name Harry Rodger Webb) will release his 100th album on 11 November 2013. He is is the only artist to have had at least one UK top five album in each of the last seven decades (1950s-2010s).

    Shredder as seen in the opening credits.
    Mr. Banks, is that you? (Photo: Wikipedia)
  3. James Avery, who plays Will Smith’s uncle (Philip Banks) on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, was also the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series.
  4. Botanically speaking, a strawberry is not a berry… but a banana is.
  5. Depending on the species, a jellyfish is between 95 and 98% water.
  6. A group of hyenas is known as a Cackle – very appropriate!
  7. Kazahkstan is the largest landlocked country by area. At 2,727,300 square kilometres (1,053,000 sq miles), its territory is larger than Western Europe!
  8. The Michelin Man has a name… it’s Bibendum, or Bib for short.
  9. Tina Turner’s real name is Annie Mae Bullock.
  10. The Visitors album by Abba was the first CD to be produced, in 1982

Trivia Tuesday

Português: Logotipo para trivia.
Trivia! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s quiz night tonight, so I decided it was high time for another Trivia Tuesday.  I still live in hope that some day one of these posts might even be of use for the quiz 😉 Here are some random facts I’ve discovered over the past few weeks and thought were interesting enough to share…

  • The first web cam watched a coffee pot. The Trojan Room Coffee Pot was created to save employees at The Cambridge University from having to make pointless trips to the coffee machine.
  • Speaking of coffee… Central and South America produce approximately two thirds of the world’s coffee supply. The only US state in which coffee is grown commercially is Hawaii.
  • From coffee to tea… The first tea bags were hand-sewn silk bags. They were originally intended hold samples of loose tea, which was meant to be removed from the bags, but customers found it easier to brew the tea with the tea still enclosed in the porous bags.
  • The highest capital city in the world is Quito, Ecuador. The lowest is Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • The term checkmate comes from the Persian phrase shāh māt, meaning “the king is helpless/defeated”.
  • Almonds are a member of the peach family (they belong to the genus Prunus, which also includes plums, cherries and apricots. Almonds and peaches are classified in the sub-genus Amygdalus).
  • Only female ducks quack. In general, ducks make a wide range of calls, including cooing, hooting and grunting, but the males never quack.
  • One million seconds is roughly eleven and a half days (11.5741 days, to be precise).
  • Albert Brooks, the actor who voiced Marlin the clownfish in Finding Nemo, was born Albert Einstein. He changed his surname to avoid confusion with the famous physicist.
  • The Hundred Years’ War lasted 116 years, from 1337–1453. The Seven Years’ War lasted nine years, from 1754 to 1763, but the main period of fighting was in the seven years between 1756 and 1763.

And that was this month’s ten facts. I hope you enjoyed them! Wish us luck with the quiz…

Tomorrow, I shall bid farewell to my wisdom teeth…

A random post today… a bit of everything, but nothing much really. Just snippets.

♠ We came fifth in the pub quiz last night. I thought we’d done pretty well, but others were better. All four who were above us were teams who have won before though.

tired and sleepy
tired and sleepy (Photo credit: fena_wen)

♠ Exhausted again today. And this time I can’t even blame my tooth – that’s been mostly okay the past few days. Except when I eat. Or yawn. Instead I was kept awake by nightmares… except that’s not really the word, because I wasn’t asleep. Every time I started to drift off, a scary thought would cross my mind, and I would have to open my eyes and reassure myself I was in my bedroom, at home. It probably didn’t help that Jan was away last night. I can’t even remember what the thoughts were now, but they must have been pretty scary…

♠ Speaking of the tooth of evilness… the appointment yesterday went well. X-rays were taken… the minute someone tells me to stand still, all I want to do is fidget! But I managed to control myself. After the x-rays, I spent ages waiting before being summoned to a room to wait some more on the dentist’s chair. Apparantly this is normal here?? (Says Jan). I saw the x-rays, and the source of the pain (one wisdom tooth is literally sideways and is pressing right into the tooth next to it. No wonder it hurts!). Bottom two wisdom teeth coming out tomorrow morning. Apparantly my top ones simply don’t exist!

♠ Jan’s choir is performing at a festival in the west of town on Sunday. Whether I will be well enough to go remains to be seen… the doctor said it should usually take three days to recover, which in theory means Saturday. I’ll find out, I suppose…

♠ I bought a new jumper the other day and now can’t wait for it to get properly cold so I can wear it. Not like me to ask for cold weather, but somehow I’m looking forward to autumn this year. Weird.

That’s all… like I said, a bit of everything but mostly nothing. Hopefully inspiration will return once the tooth is gone and sleep returns!

Charlie goes quizzing…

Just because we’re back from Ireland now doesn’t mean Charlie the Horse is allowed to go into retirement! Last night, he made an appearance at the pub quiz. Here he is just chilling at the pub:

A horse walks into a bar...
A horse walks into a bar…

I must say, he doesn’t make much of a good luck charm! We only came 5th.

As soon as Charlie came out, so did the smartphones! People from another team were taking photos and one woman gave the horse head a stroke on her way to the loo. People obviously think he’s some kind of tourist attraction 😉

Jan had originally said he wanted to leave relatively early as he goes away today until Friday and still needed to pack. But then we got talking to the quizmaster and his son, and Jan ordered another drink… so once again we were there until closing time. It was 2 a.m. when I got to bed and I had to be up at 6! If you’d seen me this morning, you might have thought I was still drunk… which would be quite a feat seeing as I wasn’t particularly drunk last night. Actually, I just lack coordination at the best of times, and this morning I was too tired to concentrate – hence why I hurt my arm walking into the doorhandle. Because it’s not like I’ve lived in my flat for 3 years now or anything…

Out again tonight… the quizmaster (also a musician) and his son are playing at the pub. I feel another late night coming on…

Two more days!

busybeeJust two more working days to get through before we go to Ireland… we fly Friday night, so I’ll be heading to the airport straight from work. And let me tell you I cannot wait. I am sooo in need of a holiday!

So, last night was quiz night. We didn’t win anything… the questions were hard this time. At least we thought so. The winning team managed to get 82 points, out of a possible 100! We weren’t the only ones to do badly… none of the usual suspects got a prize, which was quite cool actually. It’s nice to hear some new names being announced. And I now know that Karlsruhe is the 21st largest city in Germany.

Despite not winning a prize, it took us ages to leave! At one point I told my boyfriend “It’s quarter to one”, whereupon he promptly downed his whiskey (not quite was I was asking for…) but still continued chatting! It’s bad enough getting up at 6 a.m. on normal days, but after 4 hours sleep it’s just that bit more difficult. And at work today we had two hours of Excel training… I’m still not sure how I managed to stay awake!

No early night for me tonight either. Jan’s choir is practicing at our place tomorrow, which means I need to get pretty much all the packing done today. I will also be cleaning the kitchen and finishing translating his sister’s CV. Oh, and I also have some birthday cards to write. And we need to eat as well, of course, so add cooking to the agenda. Busy!!

That’s all from me today. Kind of a boring post today, but I did get to use the word “whereupon”, so it’s practically literature!

I’m going to Ireland!

So, now that I’ve finished boring you with ten million posts about Berlin, let me tell you about my next trip…

At the pub quiz two weeks ago, my team came second. Usually, the prize for second place is a pitcher filled with whichever draught drink you desire, but this time was different. The prize was a voucher for a “Lonely Planet” travel guide of your choice. Somebody had the brilliant idea that we could claim our Lonely Planet and then use it for a quiz team holiday. So we left the quiz on Tuesday agreeing that everyone would think about where they would like to go.

Irish flag
Irish flag (Photo credit: RedKoala1)

Two days later, after a couple of discussions with Jan, I had a brain wave. We’d one the pub quiz in an Irish pub, so why not go to… Ireland! I’ve been wanting to go there for a while anyway, to see something more than just Dublin, and it seemed appropriate. Jan thought some people might have already been, but I decided to suggest it to the group anyway. It turned out that nobody had been to Ireland (other than Jan and I, and we’ve only done Dublin… plus I lived in Northern Ireland for 2 years) and everybody thought it was a brilliant idea. I, my friends, am a genius! (Well, not really… I just had the voice of Simba from the Lion King in my head when I typed that…)

We will be going in June, if we ever manage to get everyone to agree on flights! And it’s looking like our main destinations will be Dublin, Kilkenny, Galway and possibly Belfast (Dublin is a must… we have to fly there). Those are just bases for sleeping and storing luggage… there will also be daytrips of course. So now I need your help. Would should we definitely, 100% do in Ireland? Any suggestions for good (and cheap!) places to eat/drink/sleep in any of the four places metioned? Anything that doesn’t appear in any tourist guide but is worth visiting? Our quizmaster is from Kilkenny, so we’re hoping he’ll be able to help with that, but I’m sure some of my readers must have been to Ireland (Tina.. I know you have!)

Here, have a photo I took the last time I was in Dublin… in 2007:

Dublin Cathedral

And now it’s over to you. The comments box is open. GO!!