35 Before 35: Progress report 5

The last time I reported on where I’m at with my 35 before 35 list was my birthday last year! You can read that post here if you’re interested. With precisely two months until my next birthday (33! Yikes!), I thought it was about time I updated you all on my progress. Not that I’ve managed to cross much off entirely, but I’ve at least made some progress on the reading front. Here’s what I’ve done since 13th August 2015:

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

I had to go all the way back to the progress report before last to see where I was up to before! I had previously read six non-fiction books, now I’m up to 12. I had actually read Swiss Watching by Diccon Bewes, Victorian London by Liza Picard and Dear Fatty by Dawn French last time I updated, but apparently forgot to include them in my progress report. Since then I’ve read Everything You Wanted to Know About Rugby But Were Afraid to Ask by Iain Macintosh (which I actually bought for Jan) and Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine by Anna Reid.

 

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

I had read 20 last time, now I’m up to 21. I read Apfelrosenzeit by Anneke Mohn. It was okay but not brilliant.

Number 18: Bake 10 different types of biscuits

Again, I had to go back to the time before last. I didn’t say how many types I’d baked them though, but research tells me it was 4. I’ve since baked Spiced Oat Cookies and Maple Pecan Nut Cookies, which makes six. Four more to go!

Number 20: Attend a World Cup rugby match

My dad actually managed to get us tickets for three rugby matches during the world cup in England, so I’ve more than completed this one!

RWC 2015

Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

I’ve been trying sooo hard to read Big Read books lately! Last time I was on 13, now I’m up to 27! Not going to list them all here. I’m currently reading The Magus for Megan’s reading challenge and I’m part-way through The Unbearable Lightness of Being as well (started it a while ago), so I’ll hopefully be adding more to the list soon. Still over 100 to go 😮

Number 24. Go to 5 different Christmas markets (other than Karlsruhe and Durlach)

So, I originally excluded Karlsruhe and Durlach since I lived there and the idea was to go further afield. Based on the same principle, I excluded Basel last year. But I still managed to complete this item: I had been to two already so Colmar, Rheinfelden and Bern last year makes five.

Number 31. Watch 35 films I’ve never seen before.

I’d managed 18 last time (which was only 2 more than the previous check in). Thanks to a looong flight to New Zealand and back, I’ve actually managed a few more since last year and I’m now up to 27. Woo hoo!

That’s everything this time. I’m not sure I’ll actually managed to complete the list before I turn 35 (can’t see me actually affording 3 OU courses in the next 2 years!), but that’s okay. I already feel like the list has helped me make the most of my time. Next progress report… when I remember! 😉

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A Photo An Hour: 17 October 2015

October’s installment of Jane and Louisa‘s Photo an Hour linkup was yesterday, and for the second month in a row I actually remembered to join in despite having nothing particularly exciting planned. Jan was out for the of the day at a practice session for a choir he’s performing a concert with at the end of October and I have no friends here so it was just me, myself and I. Here’s how my day went:

10 a.m. I’m up! To start the day, the obligatory cup of tea and some porridgey stuff I spotted and found intriguing.

11 a.m. I want to go out so I’m taking a shower (hey, that’s almost a line from a song! Not intentional, promise!).

12 noon. Finally made it out. Now it’s cold I have to dry my hair, so getting ready takes ages. Plus I had to go back for my phone so I would actually know when it was time for the next photo!

1 p.m. Leaving the shops (photo actually taken slightly after the hour because I was in Aldi at photo time and I was afraid of getting in trouble for taking photos – lots of staff were hovering around!).

2 p.m. Walking home (I need the exercise). This is actually a side street as it was a bit more interesting than the main road I was walking down.

3 p.m. Just finishing my rather late lunch. Scrambled eggs with courgette (my idea of a healthy meal), a slice of toast with chickpea spread on (not pictured because I’d already eaten it) and of course a cup of tea.

4 p.m. A spot of housework! Not the most exciting photo, but I was hoovering at the time so what else should I have done?

5 p.m. I found a recipe for “healthy” biscuits (cookies) and was determined to bake them. Just a few of the ingredients gathered here – I then had to make my own mixed spice because it doesn’t exist here apparently.

6 p.m. Lining the baking tray with my new permanent baking “parchment” (clearly it’s not parchment, but Teflon).

7 p.m. Jan came home and made us each a cup of tea. Check out the matching mugs!

8 p.m. Cooking tea. Chicken with bulgur and beans.

9 p.m. Jan put the rugby on, so here’s the Haka.

Beer10 p.m. Half time nearly over. Drinking beer.

I went to bed just before 11 and decided not to stay up for the extra ten minutes and take a photo because I was convinced I had an even number. I was wrong. Symmetry ruined, grrr!

35 Before 35: Attend a world cup rugby match

I’m baaack! I see you’ve all been busy guessing what I’m stitching (those of you who haven’t yet should go here and do so now), and I will put up a new picture for you soon, but right now I would like to talk about rugby.

I had to take a photo of the Newcastle United sign without the horrid adverts!
I had to take a photo of the Newcastle United sign without the horrid adverts!

Number 20 on my 35 before 35 was to attend a world cup rugby match. I thought since it was taking place in England it was an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed! As it turned out, I actually attended three matches – all the ones that were taking place at St James’ Park (Newcastle United FC’s home ground). We got to see South Africa vs Scotland, New Zealand vs Tonga and Samoa vs Scotland. The two Scotland ones had the best atmosphere – so many Scots had come down for it that it was almost like a home game for Scotland! The best match, surprisingly, was Samoa vs Scotland! New Zealand won theirs but were fairly disappointing – obviously they ran all over little Tonga but they didn’t play nearly as well as I was expecting them to. Scotland played terribly against South Africa and thoroughly deserved the beating they got! But Samoa vs Scotland was a fairly even match and definitely the most exciting of the three. In the end Scotland deservedly won – although I was actually torn with that match as if Scotland had lost Japan – who had been doing surprisingly well during the group phase – would have gone through to the next stage. Anyway, enough talking – here are a few photos.

South Africa v Scotland

New Zealand v Tonga

Samoa v Scotland

It wasn’t always that easy to tell what was going on from the stands (especially when we were nowhere near the screen!), but all three matches were great fun to attend and I would definitely do it again!

So, another item off the list. What’s next?

Friday letters

Good morning! I hope you’re all well and that those of you who haven’t guessed already are busily wracking your brains for guess the Christmas cross stitch round 3! I’ve been suffering from a horrible cold all week. It started on Sunday with a bit of a sore throat, on Monday I didn’t feel any worse, which gave me hope that a sore throat was the worst I was going to get. Then on Tuesday I had to actually go into work for various meetings, which involved two hours on a freezing train. Why must Deutsche Bahn turn the air conditioning up so much?! I’m sure that didn’t help matters at all, because by the time it came to the journey home swallowing really hurt and I could not get warm at all! I went to bed with a cup of Lemsip and woke up feeling so terrible that if I was still actually going into the office regularly I would have called in sick. But since my “office” is only a few metres from the bedroom and my colleague was already off sick (for the second week), I wrapped up warm and powered through with the help of ALL the hot drinks and several packets of tissues (I could not stop sneezing!). It seemed to work as yesterday I wasn’t sneezing as much and my throat was back to being more scratchy than sore. How today will go remains to be seen, but I’m consoling myself with the fact that it’s almost the weekend and then I only have to work Monday and after that I’m on holiday – finally! Apart from one day for my cousin’s wedding, I haven’t had any time off since April, when I took a week to move! This cold just better have gone by the time I have to get on a plane… Anyway… sorry to ramble on so much. I know you’re only here for the letters 😉

Mail boxDear cold. I was serious with what I said up there. I fly on Thursday and you had better be gone by then! My ears hurt enough on planes without a half blocked-half runny nose getting involved in matters!

Dear British food. I am coming to eat you, oh yes I am!! Proper chips, pies, decent bacon, pasties and yummy crisps… get in my belly!

Dear godson (and your mum). It’s been far too long! I can’t wait to see you.

Dear October. I’m actually not going to complain that you’ve arrived far too quickly (even though you have) because with you comes holiday!

Dear rugby matches we’re attending. Please be as exciting as the South Africa vs Japan match. We want some action! (For reference, that’s the three that are taking place in Newcastle. Now get on it, rugby Gods).

Right, that’s all from me for today. Keep placing your guesses on this week’s cross stitch post and I’ll get the next picture up for you soon. In the meantime, have a fantastic weekend!

Travel theme: Play

As soon as I saw this week’s travel theme on Where’s My Backpack, I knew I wanted to join in. The theme is Play… what could be more fun than that?

The first thing that came to mind when I read the title of the theme was playing games. Then I remembered this photo that I took right here in Karlsruhe a few years ago:

Flying frisbee
Flying frisbee

A few people from the student residence I was living in were throwing a frisbee around and I managed to get a shot of it in mid-air. Not bad, even if I do say so myself 😉

My next photo shows a different type of game… Rugby! Jan wanted to attend a rugby match, so my dad bought us tickets for Newcastle Falcons vs Worcester Warriers on 27 December 2008. The game was fairly disappointing, ending in a draw, but at least he can say he went! If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice the ball on its way between the posts. A conversion for the Falcons!

Rugby

Of course, games aren’t the only thing that can be played. How about instruments? Here’s KT Tunstall playing in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh on 1 January 2011.

KT Tunstall and band
KT Tunstall and band

And finally… humans are not the only creatures who like to play. I took this picture at Karlsruhe zoo last year:

Looks like somebody found himself something to play with...
Looks like somebody found himself something to play with…

Cute, isn’t it?

The weekly travel theme is open to submissions until Thursday. To join in and see how other people have interpreted the theme of “Play”, go to Ailsa’s blog post.

Wheelchair rugby

Today, we went to see a game of wheelchair rugby.
We first heard that such a thing existed about three years ago, but until now every time we thought about going to see it, the game in Karlsruhe turned out to be on a day that we weren’t actually here. This year, things worked out, and we were able to see a Champion’s League match between Karlsruhe Rebels and Switzerland (I originally thought it was the final, but having just looked at the schedule, I see there are still two more days of games to go).

Wheelchair rugby 1

The basic aim of the game is to score points by driving over the goal line in your wheelchair. There are cones at each end of the line, which you have to drive through. The team defending aims to stop the players on the attacking team from getting to said goal line and driving over it. They can do this by bashing into the opposing team member’s wheelchair, but actual body contact is not allowed.

In the photo below, the person holding the ball has just driven over the line, scoring a goal for his team:

Wheelchair rugby 2

After a goal is scored, the ball is given to the opposing team for a throw in. That team is then in attack and has the chance to try and score a goal. The attacking team has 12 seconds in which to get the ball over the half-way line – if they don’t manage it, they lose possession. The player with the ball is allowed to hold on to it for 10 seconds at a time – after that, they either have to bounce the ball or pass it to a team mate. Fouls are penalised wither with a time out – the player who committed the foul has to sit out wither for a specified length of time or until the opposing team scores a goal (a bit like the sin bin in Rugby Union), or with a “penalty goal”, which basically means the team that was fouled against has a certain length of time to try and score a goal and, during that time, the opposing team cannot defend against them. Other rules are that only three players from the defending team at a time can be in the rectangle in front of the goal line at one time, and attacking players can only stay in that same zone for 10 seconds each.

My pictures aren’t brilliant, but I hope they’re good enough to give you an idea of what’s going on. Here’s one of a member of the Swiss team about to score a goal:

Wheelchair rugby 3

The match we saw started off quite tame – it seemed a little too easy to score a goal, and the Swiss team were clearly inferior, but after a while things picked up a bit, they figured out how to effectively defend against the Rebels and it got a lot more interesting. There was certainly more instances of wheelchairs banging into each other in a manner that reminded me of the dodgems at the funfair!

It wasn’t as violent as I’d been lead to expect from watching YouTube videos, but it was an interesting game to watch and it was quite easy to work out what was going on (definitely an advantage over ordinary rugby!)

Entry to the game cost nothing, so if I’m not busy when there’s another match in Karlsruhe I would certainly consider going along again. There are much worse ways to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon!

Wheelchair rugby 4

The games we play

I still haven’t decided what to do with the photos I’m taking for my 101 things challenge. Various people have suggested Flickr, which is ok but annoys me for 2 reasons. 1) They now force you to get a Yahoo account to log in to Flickr. Any what if I didn’t actually want a Yahoo account?! and 2) The free account only allows you to put up 200 photos. Which is fine, but I am clearly going to need to put up more than 200 photos for this challenge. Obviously I won’t be putting up all 50 every time, but I have 33 themes to get through! At the moment Flickr seems to be the best (read as only!) idea I have, but maybe I’ll come up with something.

In the meantime, since a few people have shown interest, I thought I would post one or two of the photos from this months challenge right here on Confuzzledom. Most of them aren’t particularly good, but you did ask… and now you have to suffer 😉

Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Game of rugby anyone?
Game of rugby anyone?
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee
Help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee

OK, that’s all folks. I have more but I don’t want to use up all my photo space in one blog post…