On turning down, turning off and turning up

Okay, so I’m [most probably] going to sound either incredibly stuck up or incredibly naiive for the next paragraph or two.. please bear with me.

***

I got a phonecall from my skiing teacher a couple of weeks ago.

He said he’d just got in from a day of skiing and asked if I wanted to go for a couple of days the weekend after next (= this one ;)). He figured I was the only one crazy enough to want to go skiing enough to put up with MORE snow/winter.

I thought that was a fantastic idea and said we should invite D (my ski-partner) because he was bound to be interested (and crazy) too. I was being given a lift into town by a friend I don’t see often and who I wanted to talk to, so we agreed to plan the skiing later.

In the meantime I sent D an email. He was as enthusiastic as I’d imagined.

Last weekend we talked about skiing.

Turns out my SkiTeacher wasn’t just thinking about skiing when he invited me. A happy threesome wasn’t what he’d pictured either (thankfully, I suppose…).

He was jealous of D, unhappy with me automatically inviting other people to what he’d hoped would be a chance to “get to know me better” (his words). He suggested (stroppily) that we (D and I) go together because he didn’t just want to be our chauffeur. That I really just wanted to ski and thought D might too wasn’t a possibility in his mind.

He’s a great teacher, and also one of those people I really like spending time with off the piste, but I couldn’t imagine having a relationship with him. Especially since he’s one of my ex’s best friends, and has just about (more-or-less) finished breaking up with his girlfriend of 4 years (very messy, been going on since about July).

A couple of strained conversations later, we decided to abandon the whole skiing idea, freeing him up to go to a birthday party he would otherwise have passed on. I didn’t exactly turn down the skiing, so much as him as a person.

When D asked what the plan was, I bent the truth a little and told him the SkiTeacher was busy. He suggested we go by ourselves instead….

Oh man.

Because that obviously wouldn’t cause further complications.

Besides, I figured I don’t have the time or the money to go skiing anyway..

***

It’s May.

It’s supposed to be well into spring and fast approaching summer.

Instead it’s cold, wet, cloudy and making me want to hibernate or at least turn the heating back on.

I turned it off back in March when we had a strangely warm fortnight or so. 24 degrees is nice enough to convince me I really don’t need to continue to finance the electricity company’s boss’s next holiday.

On Friday it didn’t get above 10 degrees.

Yesterday it reached the dizzy heights of 15 degrees.

Today it’s back down to 8.

It’s May.

This time next week it’s already several hours into June.

The radio told me that it’s supposed to be warm on Tuesday. The presenter told him to stop there and not say anything about the rest of the week.

Starting on Thursday I’m going to be away a lot for the next couple of months. Given that my heating takes about a week to start to have an effect, it seems a bit pointless turning it on.

I guess I’d better pull out a jumper and my blanket and get through the next few days.

***

I finished school in June 2005. That means I’ve been out of school for almost exactly 8 years (also, that I did my GCSEs 10 years ago, but since the rest of my year are having a reunion party without even inviting me, I don’t think it really warrants much attention…). I moved to Germany the following autumn and apart from a few months here and there have been living here ever since.

After a 5 year ‘struggle’ to make, and more importantly keep, friends during year 7 to GCSEs, it came as a major surprise to be so wholely and immediately welcomed into a group of the loveliest people in the 6th Form (I changed schools). There were enough of us to fill the ‘Small Common Room’ but the core group was practically inseperable, eating, walking, revising, partying, just generally spending time together. I especially spent time with two lovely ladies.

My group of A-Level-ites kind of broke up when everyone went off to uni (and I went to Germany) but we continued to meet up when we were all home for the holidays.These group meetings were drastically reduced when we all broke up with our respective partners and getting together became awkward. Since then we’ve all moved on, changed jobs, houses and boyfriends a couple of times..

However.

I still keep in touch with my lovely ladies. Not especially regularly, but still enough for it to not be forced when we DO make it into the same place at the same time.

And now it’s finally time for them to come and see me in Germany.

Finally.

They plan to turn up at the end of June πŸ™‚

Looking forward to it so much I’ve even started making plans a month in advance!!

πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

On partying like a German

Warning: This post contains predjudice and unfair descriptions πŸ˜‰

When in Germany, party like a German πŸ™‚

The stereotype/predjudice is that the Germans are a very serious people. I’m not sure that that’s true, they’re just incredibly orderly.

Even getting drunk and dancing on tables has to be done in an orderly fashion.

Where I live, they organise a huge festival for approximately 3 weeks twice a year.

I went yesterday.

***

(unfinished post snippet from 2013, posted (unchanged) on 29th July 2016 as part of a huge blog-tidying marathon…)

On ‘coincidences’ (and Berlin)

On Thursday I decided to go to Berlin.

Naja, ish.

While it is true that I decided to go, it wasn’t entirely my decision. I was invited to a meeting. The sort that it would be silly not to go to. Some of you know why, some don’t. It’s not entirely relevant. The only relevant part is that I need to be in Berlin on Thursday.

Wednesday is the 1st of May. In Germany it’s a national Holiday. I decided to take Thursday and Friday off work, get the train on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, go to the meeting on Thursday and spend the rest of the time being a tourist before coming home on Sunday. I’ve been in Berlin before, but only briefly and I didn’t walk around much.

On Friday I took my holiday form to the person-who-signs-holiday-forms’ secretary. She looked at it and said she was going away the same week. As the polite, interested person I am, I asked her where she was going.. I didn’t really particularly care, but it’s always good to have secretaries on your side πŸ™‚ and talking to them beyond “hello, here you are, thanks, bye” always helps.

Turns out she was going to Berlin.

AND has a spare seat in her car.

AND is willing to take me with her πŸ™‚

AND is going to bring me back with her on Sunday.

BINGO.

She’s leaving on Monday afternoon, so I added Tuesday to my holiday form before going to celebrate my good fortune in a beer tent πŸ™‚

I spent today on the phone. Practically everyone I know in Berlin has ‘offered’ to have me over to stay πŸ™‚

I’ve also invited to a lecture, to look round 2 glassblowing workshops and to some kind of concert/party, as well as to join in with whatever’s going on on the 1st.

Watch out Berlin – here I come!!

On social predjudice

“Why are you fun?!! You’re English!! …and I thought English girls couldn’t dance”

“uh..”

Gotta love Americans πŸ˜‰

On swimming in the sun

Once or twice a week I go swimming with a friend.

We’ve just started going to the pool near her house instead of the one near mine.

Today, for the first time, I discovered it has an outdoor pool attached.

It was sunny, and scarily warm, so I went out for the first outdoor swim in aaaaaages!! The water was obviously colder than in the indoor pool, but the air was soooo much nicer to breathe – makes swimming that much easier πŸ™‚

I only swam 2 rounds, because my swimming buddy was inside waiting for me (she’s recovering from being ill and doesn’t want to risk getting ill again).

Hopefully it will be sunny again next week πŸ™‚

On bikes, breadbuns and guilty conciences

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She learned to ride a bike (slowly) and when she grew up she still liked cycling.

That little girl was me.

Now I’m a whole lot older, even if not that much bigger.

When I started work, I lived in a house half an hour’s walk away from the workshop. Someone told me about the annual bike-sale in the town; I went, saw and conquered and came away with the most amazing bike ever.

Anyway.

That’s all history.

My bike was stolen in June last year.

I was not amused.

I moped and refused to think about getting a replacement.

A long while later, I was asked if I cycled; “I used to..” I said, and told him the sad tale.

Shortly afterwards, [practically] on my birthday, I received an answerphone message offering me a bike. She’d bought one recently and got too ill to ride it anymore. She had wanted to donate it to the church jumble sale, but since she’d heard mine had been stolen, she felt it would be more sensible to give it to me instead.

Who turns down that kind of offer??

After dropping my parents and brother at the airport, I went to fetch it and brought it home.

And felt incredibly guilty.

I just couldn’t manage to be as grateful as I knew I ought to be.

It’s not that I usually spend my time looking in horses mouths, but this horse had an attractive tongue..

I’d just been given an almost brand-new bike…

…and I didn’t like it.

The reason?

It was the sort of bike that stops if you pedal backwards.

Other than that it was pretty cool.

But it was enough for me not to want it. That and the knowledge that somewhere out there, someone was still happily riding MY bike.

It sat, or ‘stood’ if you’re a fussy German person, in my hall since then. I kept meaning to take it out for a ride and to get myself used to the stoopid brake-system, but I never got round to it. It was too icy, too cold, too windy, too wet, too dark, there was too much snow, I was too tired, I had to go out soon, I’d just got back and it was late… etc etc etc.

The days turned to weeks, the weeks turned to months, and the months were threatening to turn into a year. The more I didn’t ride it, the more I didn’t want to and the more guilty I felt about my ungratefulness.

Then, last week, one of my Hauskreis ladies asked us what we knew about the bike-exchange. We all emparted out assorted wisdom on her, and asked her why she wanted to know. Turns out her bike had just been written off, and she was on the lookout for a new one…

… one with backward-pedalling brakes.

Wow – seems people actually WANT the things.. I was astounded

As soon as I could speak, I immediately offered her mine and they all stared at me as if I’d turned into a buffalo.

I explained and they stopped staring and we arranged for her to come over on Saturday (with breakfast) and look at it, and maybe/probably pick it up. Then we would go to the Bike-Exchange and choose a bike for me.

And that’s what we did. I spent the morning tidying my house so they could have breakfast with me. When they came they brought breadbuns, but had already eaten and wanted to get on with their day. I put the buns onto the freshly washed sideboard and wheeled the bike out for inspection. She loved it and it was duly packed into the car.

I followed it in and we were off to the bike-exchange.

3 drizzly hours later I was the proud, if slightly soggy, owner of a ‘new’ bike.

The best part of it was that the pedals were there for pedalling and not for braking πŸ™‚

On Pidgeons

Today my workshop was invaded by 2 pidgeons.

I left for 10-15 minutes to print something in a different room, when I got back, there they were.

Apparently they mate for life. I was told that by most of the people who found out about my predicament.

Not that it really helped me much.

But anyway.

The main problem with having pidgeons in the workshop is not knowing how to get them out.

The obvious solution would be to open the windows.

The main problem with that, is that the windows in my workshop are old and the hinges are apparently dodgey or broken. I’m not allowed to open them.

German windows can open from one side (like any other windows) or tip ca 10 degrees to vertical. 2 of the 6 windows in my workshop can be tipped.

I like fresh air, so I’d tipped both of them.

That’s how they got in in the first place. There wasn’t much chance of them finding their way out by themselves.

Not knowing much else about pidgeons exept that they breed for life and shouldn’t be in my workshop, I went to find the Hausmeister (that’s something like a caretaker I guess. The guy who’s responsible for EVERYTHING no one else wants to be responsible for. Things like catching pidgeons. Not that he personally does anything about the things he’s responsible for. His job is to get hold of the person who is better able to deal with the responsibility and make sure good things happen).

He wrote my name down on a piece of paper and said he’d get in touch when he’d finished thinking. A little while later, he came to look at the pidgeons and confirm that they were indeed loose in my workshop.

Something like 4 hours later, 2 men appeared in my workshop – one for each pidgeon I suppose. One was short and round, the other tall and thin, the men I mean – the pidgeons looked remarkably similar to each other.

In the meantime, my colleague had come back from his doctors appointment. I told him the story so far, that the pidgeon-catchers had been summoned, and pointed to the air condtioning tubing where they were perched. He told anyone who’d listen the story of how he’d chased a pidgeon out of the workshop 30 years ago. He didn’t say anything about these pidgeons, or make any attempt to get rid of them.

When the pidgeon-catchers arrived they said we should normally open a window, but since ours don’t open, they’d brought nets on long sticks. They wanted to look at the room then they’d go and get them. My dear colleague then kindly cleared the things off his windowsill and opened the window. The pidgeons were gently nudged in the right direction with the broom while the pidgeon catchers looked on. They left before they had a chance to get their nets.

Still, I guess watching people waving brooms in the air beats sitting in an office waiting for the phone to ring…

On the difference between clean and tidy*

– or the mystery box part 2 –

I am not a particularly tidy person. I am learning, and I am getting better, but I’m not there yet.

However.

I can’t deal with dirty.

Unless it’s unavoidable and short-term.

Cake mix on the worktop, compost on the floor, paint on the table. Whatever. It’s all fine at the time I’m working on something.. After I’m done, I want it cleared up. If I’m busy I can ignore it for a while but 3 days on, it’s not good.

I don’t really care too much how chaotic things are, how heaped up, how strewn accross the floor, as long as they’re clean.

I don’t like dust bunnies and piles of animal hair between the things I leave on the floor. I host chaos, but it ought to be clean chaos.

Sure, at some point I’ve had enough of the chaos and sort it all out and put things away. As I get older (and presumably more practised), that point gets progressively closer to tidy.

 

I’ve just spent an hour (give or take) cleaning out my ‘new’ microwave.

Maybe I’m fussier about other peoples’ dirt than my own, but I don’t really understand how it got into that state.

Okay, microwaving food is liable to spit. I get that. I also get that no-one wants to spend their lives cleaning the inside of their microwave.. but surely there’s some kind of grossness alarm that should go off when the walls, the ceiling, the door and the glass plate are covered in a layer of sticky fat that stays on the sponge once the soap suds have been rinsed out…

Even the plug was grimey. I washed it, as carefully as I could, with a hot, soapy sponge and blowdried it before plugging it in to see if it worked.

It did, and does. And I’m going to to try and keep it clean.

 

* this is an idea that’s been going round my head for a while now.. it seemed to fit today.