On lacking trust

This morning I bought 10 chocolate catfish. They are small and dark brown and incredibly cute.

The saleslady at the fish market said they’d grow to approximately 4-5cm long – perfect for my tank. I had no signal in the salesroom, so I couldn’t check anything online. I bought the fish, based purely on sight and the assurance of the saleslady.

When I reached civilization (;)) I googled them. Apparently there’s no such thing. I tried various other searches and decided they must be a dark brown version of Corydoras Aeneus. They grow to 8cm long. That’s almost double what I was expecting. I’m awful at playing catch (to get them out of an aquarium), especially when there’s lots of plants to hide in, so I aim not to have to try. That means I have to decide where they’re going in advance and that is dangerously close to planning.

I don’t plan.

After a long time of faffing about, googling and trying to make a decision, I took the fish to xDB’s, and put them into his tank with my other babies. He’s doing a great job of looking after them for me.

After I got home, fishless, I found a website selling a breed of dark brown catfish which supposedly reach an adult length of 5-6cm. 

Maybe the saleslady is right after all. Maybe I can pick my fish up in a couple of months and know they’ll be ok to live with my other fish.

But what if they really will get that big, what if she just wanted to sell them? I guess it worked – I bought them…
I’m not sure whether I lack trust or have too much.

On planting my lunch

A seed fell out of my lunch yesterday:

It had already started growing, so I planted it. (People without access to compost and plant pots in their lunch break are obviously missing out 😉 *)

Even if I don’t really have room for an apple tree in my garden, I figured it should have a chance to do its thing. And there are always other people with bigger gardens if it ever gets too big for a tub.

Then I opened the other seed cavities and found two more ready-germinated seeds, so I planted them too.

In a couple of years I’ll need a volunteer who’s willing to host my orchard :).
* I only do as of yesterday morning – my tomato plants were shooting up without enough light to make them strong. The office at work faces mostly south, which is often a pain, but is probably good for the tomatoes…

On failure and other misfortunes

(Warning: contains a small amount of blood and a great deal of frustration)


On Sunday I admitted failure. 

I had failed to finish the book in time to send it to the printers before leaving to catch the plane, despite staying up all night to work on it.

I was quite miffed (ok, a lot miffed)..

There’s not a lot of point being miffed if you aren’t in a position to change anything. I decided to look up instead.

On Monday I was so busy looking up, that I didn’t notice the small piece of volcano sticking up in the middle of the otherwise even path.

..and that dear readers, is why looking down isn’t always a bad thing…

Luckily I was equipped with water and tissues and DB had a plaster with him.

Onwards and upwards!

That evening, on the way to get dinner, I missed the step onto the pavement and stubbed the same toe, removing the plaster and the flap of skin I’d created earlier.

Back to the apartment for a new plaster.

I don’t particularly appreciate losing skin, so I gave up on looking up, and decided to look down, and watch what my feet are doing instead. 

That worked well for a day or so – until I went to the toilet while the window was open. And even that was fine until I stood up…

An almighty yell and a lump on my head later, and I was convinced that looking down doesn’t help much either.


I think I’m going to keep my feet up and my head down, and get on with my revision. Maybe I should even look forward to the exams?!

On red lights

There is a solitary red street light on the road next to the river through the residential area.

Does that make it a red light district?

On suspicious plastic bags

Last year, I signed us up for a local bread delivery service. The idea’s pretty awesome – one person buys loads of bread, breadbuns and pastries and drives round all the houses delivering them in time for breakfast, instead of everyone heading out to the bakeries individually, mostly in their cars. The trouble is, the bread isn’t nearly as good as the bread we can buy at our nearest bakery. It isn’t even as good as it was at the beginning. I think they must have changed the providing bakery at some point during the year. DB says he’s willing to cycle to the better one at weekends so we don’t really need them anymore. I keep meaning to cancel the subscription but I never think about it until I see the bag of bread buns hanging on the gate and then I head to work and forget about them until the next week.


Yesterday morning, when I went to open the front gate to let the car out, the buns I’d forgotten to cancel hung in their plastic bag on the gate handle, the way they always do on Mondays..

…Then I noticed a second plastic bag. This one was sitting on the top of the dustbin, minding its own business.

The dustbin lid is a good place to put things – it’s hidden behind the gatepost, and even if anyone notices a plastic bag, they assume it’s rubbish that didn’t quite fit in the bin.

Friends have been known to leave books and handcream, fish food and goodness-knows-what-else on the bin for us. When they do, they write or phone to tell us.

This time, though, I hadn’t heard from anyone. That meant either DB had put it there himself or he’d arranged for someone to drop something off. The bin wasn’t full, and DB is very orderly in his own way*, so that means he was an unlikely suspect. I unhung the bread bag, picked up the mystery bag and turned back towards the car.


It was heavy for its size, and squidgy, in a crunchy sort of way, like a bag of damp sand. I looked inside (because I’m nosy and not feline enough to feel scared of curiosity) but I couldn’t see anything interesting because the contents, whatever it was, had been put into smaller bags, which in turn were in a small bag inside the bag on the bin. I’m not curious enough to actually open other people’s stuff so I went to find DB.

DB hadn’t heard from anyone either and was more interested in leaving for work in time than finding out what was in the bag, so I left it on the porch, got in the car and forgot all about it.


When I got home, it was raining. In my rush to get in, I almost tripped over this:

The red bag is one of the at least four smaller bags, inside the white bag inside the green bag

DB followed me onto the porch, picking up the bag on the way. After a few seconds of bag squishing, he put it down and said we probably ought not to open it at all, and to call the police instead.


A very patient but rather confused police officer listened to me tell him about finding the mysterious bag, then asked me what I wanted him to do about it. I thought that part was his job, but I suggested he might want to see and/or collect it. He agreed that that might be a good idea and promised to send a colleague round to pick it up.


The colleague arrived over an hour later. He listened to the story (which really isn’t that exciting when you think about it), looked at the dustbin, picked up the bag, peered inside with a torch, pulled out one of the smallest bags, crunchy-squidged it, laughed and pronounced it to be salt for de-icing roads. He took it with him to throw away in his dustbin since whoever had put it on our dustbin hadn’t wanted it in theirs, and we hadn’t wanted it in ours.

And that was it.

Off he went, mysterious bag in tow.


Which is all very well, and I’m glad it’s gone, but it leaves me wondering a) why anyone would wrap salt in small bags before getting rid of it in someone else’s garden and b) how he knew what it was without even opening the bag.

DB says it’s probably crystal meth and the police didn’t want to scare us, but I’m pretty sure people don’t leave 3 pounds of crystal meth in other people’s gardens.

I shall probably never find out what it really is, and that’s going to bother me until I forget about it – which probably won’t take long if the bread bun subscription is anything to go by.

Talking of bread bun subscriptions – now would be a good time to cancel one. I’m on a train and have nothing else sensible to do. The catch? (because there’s always a catch) it’s an English train and I don’t fancy another huge roaming bill.. Maybe later when I have Wifi – if I remember…..


* as long as it doesn’t involve the garage or the workshop or the sitting room table.

On winter flowers

I don’t know many plants that flower in winter, in my head none had big poofy blooms.

Then I accompanied DB on a work trip, calling in at his workshop en route.

I am now better educated.

Trees do blossom in January. Especially mostly neglected trees kept in corridors.



This particular corridor is only marginally heated and any natural light that fights its way through the workshop windows, then through the frosted glass wall dividing the workshop from the corridor is tired before it reaches the leaves. It wouldn’t strike me as the ideal climate for a deciduous tree, but it seems perfectly happy….

On coming home

I flew home* on Saturday.

I landed, and was presented with two of my favourite things:



(which they handed out on the plane as we got off)




(which you can barely see in my blurry photo).

Isn’t that awesome?

It was even more awesome the next day.

Tthere was enough to make footprints in 🙂


And to admire


And to brush off the van


And it was at least 25 degrees  (centigrade) colder than the day before…


* in this case “home” means Berlin, Germany. Often it means my parents’ house in Southern England.

On bright lights (and hospital beds)

Sometimes, I think I should just stop making plans.

I mean, I know they never work out the way I intended them to, so I could save myself the bother of making them in the first place.

Also, maybe God would stop laughing at them/me.


This year, the company I work for closes between Christmas and New Year. This means I have ‘ZwangsUrlaub’ or compulsory holiday.

I was planning to relax until Sunday, doing jigsaws and folding stars and making Gingerbread houses (which I still have to post, sorry) and other Christmas Things, and then spend the compulsory week off work (Mo-Fr) tidying up my corner, finding the bottom of the washing box, hopefully finally getting some paintings finished, maybe even getting some pictures on the wall, before flying away with DB on Saturday for 2 weeks of sunshine and more relaxing (dear theoretical burglars, please note – we have housesitters with a dog).

We were also going to visit a couple of DB’s friends and celebrate the new year with fireworks and copious amounts of food (me) and alcohol (DB).

What I wasn’t planning on doing, was spending time in hospital. Not as a visitor, not as an outpatient and most certainly not as an inpatient.


Turns out I have Keratitis and have the dubious privilege of at least one, probably two, possibly more, overnight stay(s) in hospital where the night-nurse has the dubious pleasure of waking me up every couple of hours to drop eye-drops into my sleep-deprived eyes.


This is my bed:

Hospital bed with fairy lights
“I want to see the [fairy] lights tonight” – adapted from Richard Thompson’s ‘Bright lights’ lyrics
Apparently I’m the first patient to bring fairy lights with them.

However, it appears to be a Good Thing because it means I can leave them on and the nurse doesn’t have to turn the main lights on and wake everyone up.


According to the doctor I saw after 4 and a half hours in the waiting room, and who shined multiple very shiny lights in my eyes, it (Keratitis) can be a dangerous thing to have.

Mine doesn’t seem too bad, but I could use any spare prayers you have…

(Eyesight is crazily important, and I’m going to do all they say I need to do to get better, but they’re contemplating cancelling my holiday – to ensure that I can be monitored – and that would suck big time. DB needs a break, and we chose not to book cancellation-insurance, so the money would be gone too…)


Thank you 🙂


P.S. I’ll write some of the background story tomorrow..