Thursday, 30 November 2017

One thing at a time

I actually managed to, brace yourself, get a task done. The old BBQ has been disassembled and taken to the trailer. On the agenda for tomorrow is a dump run where I shall divest myself of the old BBQ and an assortment of trash and recyclables.

The beginning of the end
Next stop the dump
Even unto the end that old BBQ was a pain in the butt. Too big and heavy to simply mule to the trailer I had to drag out the tools and strip it down to manageable chunks. Taking the BBQ apart was a real eye opener for me. The burners were all rotten, the manifold was all but toast, there was a burn through at the front of the box where the control manifold was, oh and there was a mouse nest. Damn. Looking at the state the old BBQ was in, I have no idea why it never blew up. Well no matter, it's in the back of the trailer now so all is good.

Today it's overcast and rainy so I will be working in the basement. I've managed to let it get into a crap pit. I don't like it so it will give me something to do. Tomorrow I'm going to toss a rule out the window and try to get two thing done. First and foremost is the dump run. I want my trailer back so I've got to get ride of the stuff that's in it. That should put paid to the morning. Then in the afternoon I'm going to wrestle with the Christmas lights, sigh. I have to make sure they work and get them ready for the install which I'm planning on doing Saturday. The weathertainers have sad it will be a good weekend and after the the thermometer will drop into the substrata.

My rule has been to do one task at a time. I figure I'm not on the clock, I'm retired. The tasks will get done but done on my time. Besides my life is rather ho hum with nothing really exciting going one so why push things? One task at a time done well and move one or as I have been told: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. As a retired person I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.

That's enough for me today. Until tomorrow, so long from up here is the great wet north.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

A Twitter hiatus

Up until recently I was a Twitter, hummm... what's the word? Twit? Ya that sounds about right. On a regular day of tweeting I'd get into several battles with people who just wanted to pick a fight over any little thing. Now I will admit that I wasn't an angel, there were times when I was bored and I would post something to draw people into heated discussion but I didn't do it that often.

Over the past few weeks I'd been dumping news and political feeds until all I had were a few hobby feeds (aircraft, firearms, comedy) and several of the news outlets. One of those news feeds was a local TV outlet and they had pasted a story about a recent teachers strike. Being the silly guy I am I made what I thought was a middle of the road comment about how all sides would have been better off with a German style of union/management. Of course I was jumped and not just jumped on, it was a rude nasty vulgar attack so I logged of twitter for the day.

While perusing the posted links over at Living freedom, a blog hosted and authored by a writer named Claire Wolfe, I came across a link to another blog called Simple Justice, A Criminal Defense Blog. The post was about Twitter and the twits that post on it. The author talked about how he was taking a “a twitter hiatus” and why.

His points hit home with me and after a good long think last night I deleted my twitter account. I just got tired, tired of the wingnuts and nut-jobs that just want to pick fights. I'm tired of the “geniuses” who must correct anyone on Twitter who they feel is wrong. I'm tired of the ones who argue from a position of ignorance. I understand these are the flotsam and jetsam of Twitter, always present and always a pinprick in the enjoyment of the medium, but I'm tired of them. Life's way to short to get worked up by a person who wasn't over burdened with education, a person who uses the F bomb as punctuation, a person who is an idiot.

So now I'm left with only one interactive bit of social media, Facebook. I plan to stay on Facebook until such time that the posts start to bug me like those of Twitter did. Once I get to BS saturation I'll dump FB like a hot rock the way I did last time. But this time' different I'm deliberately avoiding political entanglements and keeping it simple. So far this strategy seems to be working, only time will tell. 

Well that's it for me. Until tomorrow Bye-bye.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

I finally broke down, Part 2

I woke with the sun streaming through the window and a cat meowing in my ear. My Wife had managed to snag the shower first, so I just checked the news on my tablet while fending off the cat's advances. A few minutes later I was done with the shower, dried and dressed. One of the nice things about getting up second is that while I'm in the process of going from semi humanoid to “hansom good looking hunk of man” my lovely wife is fighting with the coffee maker. Ah it's good to be a guy...

Once downstairs and in my spot on the couch at the personal confuser I had my first sip of coffee for the day. I had just barely removed the coffee cup from my yap when the phone rang. It was the delivery guys letting us know our new BBQ was on the way. I had just enough time to finish writing the above paragraph when the delivery guys were pulling into the drive way.
Beep, beep, beep
a nice sound to

And do it starts
I had the delivery guy bring the gawd awful heavy box inside then I proceeded to read the instructions. I know there are some who don't bother with this step feeling that the instructions are nothing more than the recommended way to put something together. I, on the other hand, have learned that this isn't necessarily so.

I gathered up the needed tools and had at the beast. Assembly went rather better than I'm used to. The packaging was a little much but I guess that's better than  a bashed up new BBQ. Much to my Wife's horror  delight I assembled the beast in the kitchen. There were no real hiccups in the assembly with the exception of putting on the doors and setting the top of the BBQ onto the base. I was lucky that my, smarter than I, Wife was around to lend a hand.
It's things like this that make
Wives cry

Put to bed
Finished and it it's home
After she left to do what ever it is that  wives do I finished the assembly, took the  unit outside and tested it. There was only  one little nagging thing, the knob for the  right burner when turned feels scratchy. I  played with it a bit and it started to loosen  up. I figure it will be fine and the more I  use it the better it will be.

Well I'm off to cook a little lunch, Until the morrow that's it for me.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Friday and the weekend is here... Meh....

This morning dawn crashed through the bedroom window all bright and sunny. The sunlight bathing the bedroom didn't last very long. Sooner than I would have liked the clouds moved in and the world turned into a typical grey November day, the kinda day that sucks the life right out of a guy.

I did manage to make it through the morning rituals and get down stairs before my wife had the chance to finish off the coffee. While she has polished off the last cup before, my lovely wife isn't a bad guy, she has always made it a point to make a fresh pot at my request.

After a while at the personal confuser my wife suddenly says “Let's go out, maybe get some lunch and do a little food shopping." So I went and skinned into some socks, grabbed my coat and we were away. 

If my app says it's a nasty day
then it must be so.
Lunch at the Hasty was meh. I don't know if it was the grey day that was effecting my mood but the food I normally enjoy at the diner tasted bland. From the Hasty we went over to a farm store for a look see. While we did pick up a few things, nothing in the food line really jumped out at my wife or I. One of the nice things about our little trip into the countryside was on the way home. As we drove by a lake I asked my wife to stop and I climbed out for a few photos. Far off on the horizon there was blue sky and with the cold looking lake kinda summed up our November day.
Traffic in town

The view looking out at Bass Lake

Now here back at the personal confuser I just looked at the honey-do list. There's putting up the Christmas lights and cleaning out the basement, again, among other things but I really don't feel like doing anything. What I am going to do is spook and gawk on the web for a bit then, if I really get ambitious, I'll have a nap.

It's Friday so there will be no blog entries over the weekend, until Monday bye-bye.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

I finally broke down

To my American friends happy Thanksgiving, and good Black Friday weekend to the rest of you. 

Yesterday I managed to put a patch on the old BBQ and last night I even cooked on it. But cooking on the old BBQ was not a happy event. The patch I made didn't last very long so there was a serious heat loss. Cooking the bacon on the griddle took a lot longer than I wanted. Normally it would have been around ten minutes max in the cold including time to heat up the griddle. Last night I found myself outside minding the grill for a lot longer than I wanted, freezing my butt off for almost a half hour.

There I was on the personal confuser this morning thinking about the wreck of a BBQ and at my lowest ebb I opened up an email from Costco.

The photo that sucked me in...
Today marks the first day of their Black Friday deals. I figured what the hell and took a look. One of the first things that caught my eye was a Napoleon Triumph 410 BBQ on sale. They had knocked a hundred bucks off the price which was already fifty bucks under the MSRP. To this deal they had added a cover which saved another sixty five bucks. 

Of course not wanting to just jump into this, I took a look around at the various reviews. I had to work very hard to find a negative one. Me being the good husband I decided to run the idea of buying the BBQ past my lovely, smarter than I, wife. Here response was “Just order it and think of the BBQ as an early Christmas present to us.” So I did just that. 😀

Bye for now...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

What a change, the sun was out

Today actually turned out to be a nice day... a little cold, but nice. Last night I managed to get some sleep so this morning when I got up it wasn't a reenactment of a zombie rising from a grave.

Once the coming back from the dead and entering the realm of the living thing was done, I went down stairs and got the coffee brewer started then fed the cat & cleaned the litter. Yes my day was off to a rousing start. I checked what was going on in the world of cyberspace and found it to be the same old crap I had left the night before. I figured that after lunch I'd go for a walk and clear my head but that didn't happen. I ended up taking a ride into Home Depot for a few items. The change of plans came about from my wife's decision to do soup and sandwiches for dinner. She had a hankering for bacon sandwiches and since it's better to do the bacon on the griddle than smoke out the kitchen I said I'd do the bacon on the grill.

I hadn't used the BBQ for a while so I went out for a look. I noticed the hole in the front was getting larger and sooner or later I was going to have to do something about it. There was also the remains of a mouse nest in there that I was going to have to take care of as well.

I ventured into home depot and got the materials to patch the hole. After that I dropped into the market and picked up a few items. The original reason was to get some milk but since I was there I also picked up stuff for tomorrow nights dinner. I've learnt over 39 years of married bliss that a guy can never have too many brownie points. 

This is where S would like to be these days, someplace
nice with a hot sun and a cold drink. To tell the truth
I would like to be there too. I hate the winter cold.
While I was at the market I ran into an old friend, S, and we caught up. For her it's the same old thing. Like me she's not a fan of winter and unlike me she still works and the work is getting her down. I figure it's the season with reduced daylight and added cold things tend to grind on one. As my old boss would say “we shall overcome.”

When I got home I stripped the BBQ down and cleaned out the mouse nest then I patched the hole. I don't know how long the patch will last but I tested the BBQ and things worked so for now all is good.
If the patch fails I'll fix it again, and again, and again until spring comes around when I'll go get a new one. What's holding me back now is the decision of propane or charcoal and the never ending mental debate about which one is better.You could say that indecision may or may not be my problem.

Well that's all I got for today. Bye for now.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The internet problem was what?

Yesterday the internet fix 'em up guy arrived just as I was contemplating having some lunch. I let my; smarter than I am with electronics computers and internet thingies, wife chat with the repair guy. He then disappeared down stairs for a bit and then went outside for a moment only to return and let us know he had found the problem and corrected it. The issue was the internet signal was too strong. This came as a surprise to me having grown up with the too much is never a bad thing school of thought. Well the internet seems to be working fine now although for how long is anybody's guess.

Last night was one of “those nights.” No matter how I positioned myself I just couldn't get comfortable. In addition to this my old brain just would not settle down. The last time I took a peek at my wrist watch it was flirting with four AM. Sooner than I would have liked the alarm went off and I crawled out of my nice warm bed.

I managed to change myself from a homeless looking guy to someone who was presentable in jig time. After giving my wife a peck on the cheek, I was outbound heading for the heart of the big city. I was doing lunch with my friend R down in Hogtown. The trip down to the city was relatively uneventful. I parked the truck at a mega mall and hopped on the subway. The hell I was going to drive down town.

Heading down on
the subway
Sooner than I expected I was at my friend's address. We chatted while he got ready then we headed over to the restaurant. Lunch was fine and the server even took pity on R and I, she charged us the seniors rate. I didn't know if I should be insulted or not so I chose the “or not” route and we had a good laugh about it.

OK I admit it there are few
nice things downtown

At least it was a nice day
After lunch R walked me over to the subway where we shook hands and promised to meet again for lunch in the spring. The trip home was shorter time wise for some reason. Well I wasn't going to worry about it, I was out of that place. It looks like the older I get the less I like going to big cities. It's not that the big city is a bad place exactly, I guess it's the amount of people and my experiences of dealing with large groups when things go wrong.

On the way home
 Well that's my little adventure for today. Until tomorrow enjoy the warm temps as long as you can. Bye-bye...

Monday, 20 November 2017

The weekend that was

Friday after the blog was put to bed, I went into town with my lovely wife to see our travel agent then get a few things grocery wise. Our first stop in town was for some sustenance. We had lunch at a nice little restaurant then we paid a visit to our travel agent a few doors over.

After giving our agent a sit-rep on the trip we told her the game plan for next year. The game plan is to head out west for our fortieth. The options are seeing the Rocky mountains from the Rocky mountaineer train then head on to Vancouver where we will see a few friends, have some laughs the usual. Plan B is a few days in Vancouver then do an inside passage Alaska cruse. There was a plan C but I'll be damned if I can remember what it is. Well we shall see what she manages to come up with. 

After seeing the travel agent we headed over to the supermarket to pick up a few things. They had some good sales on so we picked up some extra stuff for the larder. After dinner that evening I vacuum packed the club packs and stored the stuff away. I have to say it's nice to have a full freezer at the beginning of winter, this whole going out for food in a storm thing sucks. 

Saturday was a nasty day dawning overcast with the threat of rain. On the plus side was the temperature topping out at around seven degrees. I texted my friend S and set a time to go over and work on the flat roof. Just after I sent the text I thought to look at my weather app. The time we had agreed upon was around two in the afternoon. As per the weather app radar the rain storm I was expecting and thought would be later, was going to arrive at the same time I would going to be at S's place. I contacted S again and moved the time up.

My weather app
doesn't mince words
I got over to S's place around one and as I pulled into the driveway it started to mist. I rousted S and we hustled, got the ladder up and I was climbing in short notice. I scaled the ladder only to find that we were too late, roof was covered in a sheet of ice. I cleared the little bit of plant debris that was left around the drain as best I could as the mist turned to a light rain. With all that I could do done S and I put the ladder away. We chatted for a few minutes then I was off for home. 
What it was like when I turned in on Saturday

This was what the world looked like on Sunday morning

Home, and this is where I've been hiding since my excursion into the wild yonder. On Saturday evening the weather turned from yucky to nasty and by Sunday there was three or four inches of snow on the ground. I was happy, all cocooned at home as snug as a bug in a rug. The only issue we had was the Internet. It had started to go up and down like a (pardon the expression) whore's drawers. I was thinking it was the modem issue and wanted to swap it out but my smarter than I wife called the Internet company. Turns out there was some fluctuation on the line, what ever the heck that means, so the Internet guy placed a work order and some time today a Internet fix 'em up guy will pay us a visit. Here I sit, sipping my coffee wondering when the Internet fix 'em up guy will pay us a visit.

That's all I got for today. Until the morrow Bye-bye from up here in the Great White North.

Note tomorrow's post will be late. I'm off to the big city for lunch with an old friend.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Life returns to normal

Life has returned to normal around here. The day after we returned home, my wife and I went and picked up our kitty from S who had been looking after her. I was in favor of holding off until Saturday but my wife was going through kitty withdraw. OK, fine, I'll admit it, I was going through a little kitty withdrawal too. Anyway... That evening we took S out for dinner to a nice little Italian place in town. Then we dropped by her place after dinner and picked up Puttie Tat.

Then next day I started on the winter preps with a vengeance because the clock was ticking. The last lawn mow didn't happen because the starter on the old lawn tractor went south. I'll fix it in the spring, it's gotten to damn cold to be working on starters in the drive way.

I did manage to get all the other little jobs done. The snowblower is all ready to go, batteries in the smoke detectors were swapped out, the interior storms are up and the exterior screens are down. 

I got the winter tires on the truck put on and an alignment done. That was another fun day. While I was at the shop the service guy calmly dropped the ball joint bomb on me. The front driver's side ball joint was toast. I had budgeted the money for the alignment and tire swap but this smacked me from right out of the blue. Smiling on the outside and grimacing on the inside, I gave the OK for the work. It was a good thing too because a few days later we had the first snow storm of the season. 

One big job I was happy to get finished was deploying the humungus sized tarp along the side of the house. My wife wants a flower garden and path next year so using the tarp is the first step in killing the vegetation in that area. I've got to sat that because of the size (30'X50") I should have held off until my wife was around but I didn't want her to hurt her back any more than it was. Oh, and yes there was a little cussing that took place during the operation.

After the killer cold and snow I had the opportunity to do a little areal work over at S's place. S worries about leaf build up effecting the water drainage so being the gallant guy I am I promised to get rid of as many leafs as I could. It's not like S couldn't do the job but she has a history of bad luck with heights. 

Using a roof rake to pull off the leafs
Chivalry only goes so far,
I left this for S to deal with
The first attempt ended early because of the cold. The water on the roof had frozen up nicely and short of getting up there with a big ice scraper/pick and risk damaging the roof, it wasn't going to happen. I let it sit for a few days and after the temperature returned to something resembling normal I was back at it. I didn't get all of it but I did put a serious dent into the leaf population. 

Yes we had a little cold
and snow
There were other minutiae that happened since we got home but they really aren't worth the time to write about. So that's about it from me for now. It's Friday and I'm taking the weekend off so this is it until Monday. Bye-bye...

Thursday, 16 November 2017

“And then there will be one last perfect day.”

The clock was running down to zero, this was the last full day of our visit. Today we were going to see the Giessen Gang in the afternoon for coffee and pastries then out for a late dinner. I was looking forward to seeing them all.

The trip into Giessen was fine and when we got to our destination there was a bit of a challenge in finding the entrance to the apartment building. That was solved when our host U came down to shepherd us in.

Our host U
Afternoon coffee was a delightful affair. When we walked in to U's apartment there were hugs and hellos all around. Of all the people there the one I was really looking forward seeing was Tante Inge. She was the one who opened her door to us the first time I visited Germany. A fun filled feisty lady if ever there was one. 

Tante Inge

A light cake
Seriously look at the size of the wedge B cut for me...

Shortly after our arrival coffee and cake was served. Oh my, the chef, B, had out done herself. The cake that was served was out of this world. Of course B had to carve me out a huge wedge which, I'm sorry to say, I couldn't finish but such is life. The afternoon conversation was fast and I had to keep begging for translations but surprisingly after being in country for over two weeks I was getting the gist of a lot . 

B's little boy S chatting
Missing from the menagerie was B's son, daughter and significant other R. I'm sorry we missed R because I wanted to catch up but he was feeling under the weather. I also missed seeing S who was B's little girl. She's one of those people that just lights up a room with her witty repartee. B's son was absent because he was working, mind you that didn't stop him from coming by for a short chat. He made me laugh when he pulled the ambulance into the parking lot lights and sirens ablaze.

After coffee was done we sat around and gabbed for a couple of hours then it was time to head out for dinner. We were eating at a real medieval castle. It was the first time since we had entered Germany that I had the chance to have honest to God schnitzel, no pizza tonight. Our host for the day, U, insisted on picking up the cheque. I have to say that I am forever in her debt because this was a wonderful event with great food and awesome people. Sooner than I wanted it was time to head back to L&J's place. There was packing to get done and sleep to be had. 

One last sunset

The restaurant entrance
The last morning broke to a grey fog covering the landscape. One last hearty meal and we saddled up. L couldn't come with us to the airport so hugs, goodbyes were given on the doorstep. With J at the helm we were off. Once at the airport there were no long lingering goodbyes which was just as well, I hate people seeing me with tears in my eyes. 

A grey dawn to match my grey mood

Chasing the sun
The lights of home
The flight home was fine and that night after an eleven hour trip and a hour and a half drive we were home.

That's it for now. To the gang in Germany, if we missed seeing you I'm sorry but there was only so much time and so vast an area to cover. We will, in a few years, return so hopefully the logistics will get straightened out and we will all party together.

That's it for me until the morrow so until then bye-bye.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Counting down the clock

The twenty fourth came as a bit of a surprise. I was up at the usual time when it dawned on me that our time in Germany was fast coming to a close with so much still to do. There were presents to buy for the kids back home and one special group yet to see and spend time with. Today's exercise was to visit Marburg for gift shopping. 

I've been to Marburg numerous times over the years and it still hasn't lost any of it's magical charm. The city has been around for a while having been founded in 1140AD. Today we were bound for the Marktplatz (marketplace) to do some shopping. J was staying home because he been unlucky enough to catch L's cold. L, being a woman, had simply taken her cold in stride and was soldiering on.

Wondering in and out of the shops
The trip in was a quick one since we weren't that far away and L was driving. L works in Marburg so there was no “find the parking spot” game, she simply drove to her workplace and parked. Then we were off, all we had to do was climb the steps to the shops and have at it in the stores. Hey there was only several hundred meters of very steep incline to traverse, no problem.
Just your friendly
neighborhood Spiderman
I got to the top and after my heart rate returned to something approaching normal and I had stopped heaving for breath, I started to look around. The shops were all cozy affairs with plenty of selection. This meant I did a lot of standing around while the ladies fussed over this or that trinket. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. In short order the ladies were done and we were simply walking around gawking at the sights. Looking back I only made one mistake in this shopping expedition, I should have visited the whisky shop. I had saved my whisky shopping for the duty free at the airport and while the deals were good the selection sucked. 

The one that got away. Next time I promise to visit.
Shopping done we were off for L&J's humble abode with another day's adventure completed. One more adventure then it would be time for our trip home.

L relaxing after a long day of walking
Well that's it from me, until the morrow bye-bye.

Monday, 13 November 2017

No rest for the wicked

While I was content with lounging around sipping fine scotch and enjoying myself, our hosts had other plans and those plans included sightseeing. After a nice breakfast, over which the days excursion was explained, we were bundled into L's SUV and sped off. Our destination was the city of of Darmstadt. A city that our host J knew very well since he was born there.

The trip there was made at a moderate speed (one hundred and sixty or so) since J was at the helm. When we got to Darmstadt we played the ever popular “where to find a parking spot” game but in the end J managed. Out on foot the world was ours to gawk at.

St. Mary Magdalene Chapel
Exploring the grounds
One of the places we visited was the the Mathildenhöhe also known as the wedding tower because, well, they do a lot of weddings there. The area was very pretty even if it was an overcast day. We walked around the grounds for a while and looked at the St. Mary Magdalene Chapel. The Chapel was named in honor of the patron saint of Tsar Nicholas' mother and was built of Russian stone on Russian soil brought to Darmstadt by train. It was used by the Russian imperial family and court during regular visits to the Tsarina's brother and family in Darmstadt. Of course after walking around the grounds our hosts wanted to take us inside the tower. 

So many views, so little time
Once inside the wedding tower we waited for the elevator and J calmly announced that he wass going to walk up the seven stories. Then he asked me if I wanted to join him. Before I could tactfully phrase a reply, the stupid seventeen year old part of my brain says “Sure, lets go!” As I slugged my way up those seven long stories I silently, and very eloquently, cussed out that seventeen year old brain part. The view of the city from the top of the tower was great and it only took five minutes or so for my lungs to stop heaving, but I made it. After sightseeing from the tower We went back to the SUV where J piloted us over to a spot nearer to the Ducal Palace. 

The view from the top of the tower
On the grounds at the Ducal Palas
We wandered through the Schlossplatz (a market square) where we stopped and had a coffee to warm up. It was there that I surprised my wife by having a bowel of Kürbis suppe (pumpkin soup) to warm up. 

Then it was over to the Ducal Palace where J showed us around the grounds. Before we left he insisted we wander over to another part of the palace grounds and look at “the tree.” The tree was located in the central courtyard and when I first saw it I thought it would be right at home in the Hobbit shire of middle earth. He was right, the tree was way too cool. 

The Tree
By this time the light was fading and it was time for dinner so L&J treated us to a nice little dinner at another Italian restaurant.

One never knows what goes through the mind
of a person like J  :^)
Dinner done we wandered around a bit then headed for the barn. All warn out (thank you seventeen year old hind brain) I went to bed early. 

That's about all for now, until tomorrow bye-bye.

Friday, 10 November 2017

The booming metropolis of Ginseldorf

The first day or so at L&J's place was nice and restive, a time to recharge the batteries as it were. Don't get me wrong, the other places we stayed at were great with a lot of fun adventures being had however now it was a time to slow down a bit. One of the first things that came to mind after when we got there was the noise, or lack there of. L&J's home was in a quiet little one shop village where, on a busy day, there might be as many as three or four cars moving on their street. Their place was on the end of a street at the edge of town bordering on farm fields. It was very nice to be there.

The first day when we got there L made an amazing meal and of course I had to throw a wrench into the works because I'm a... Well I'm sure there are children who read this so I will not go into great detail as to what a horses ass I was. I made mention that I'm not fond of crustaceans AKA shrimp. I've just never found the taste and texture palatable. I could have eaten around the crustaceans but our host L went and brewed up a different sauce just for me. While I did feel bad about it I also enjoyed the meal, it was delicious.

Our first full day at L&J's found us not doing very much. I considered it a rest and recharge day. In the middle of the afternoon J announced that he was off to get some pastries for an afternoon snack and asked if I wanted to join him. Did somebody say pastries? Up, shoes on and out; in a flash we were in J's car outbound.

So J says "Pick something", sure... decisions, decisions...
Time's up J steps up and does the picking. Have to say
his choices were excellent.
One of the things I miss when I return home is the assortment of bakeries there are in Germany. The first thing that hit me when we entered the bakery was the visual of all the cakes, pies and other goodies. J asked me if I had any preferences and, for one of the few times during the trip, I was tongue tied and couldn't answer. J smiled then turned and made his order. 

When we got home, over coffee we four polished off the goodies in nothing flat. It was just good manners that prevented me from licking the plate.

That evening L&J took us out to one of their favorite haunts, a little Italian restaurant where we had been before. The meal didn't disappoint and the only issue I had was there was too much food. I figured if I ate like this on a regular basis I'd be the size of a Buick. I had to be all but rolled out the door and when we got back to L&J's place while the others chatted I fought to stay awake and ended up going to bed early. 

Dining with L&J is always an... interesting event.
The biggest issue is trying not to laugh while eating.
Well that's the end of another episode of my life. No blog tomorrow, I will be back on Monday with another installment. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

I feel the need for speed

I thought for a change I'd write about my views on something I had seen as opposed to just reminiscing. Today's topic is about driving. 

Along the autobahn on the way to L&J's* place we hit speeds as high as one hundred and ninety KPH and no speeding tickets were issued. It was the only time on the trip where we came anywhere close to the ICE speeds. Other times we were slowed by the variable speed limits they have. As a guy who is used to a posted speed limit being the speed limit the first time I encountered the concept of variable speed limits I was surprised.

The way it works, or so I am led to believe, is like this. Every few kilometers above the highway there were large electronic signs. These signs were mostly blank but there were times where speed limits were posted electronically over each lane. There were even times while in the various vehicles we traveled when I saw speed limits that were different for each lane. For example when we passed some construction on the side of the road, depending upon the traffic flow sometimes that lane would have a posted speed limit slower than the other lanes.

Here we see the speed limited to
120 KPH and trucks can't pass

One of the other nice things was the traffic control of large trucks. Once again depending upon the amount of traffic there were times when big trucks were confined to the slow lane so traffic could move. This was all done via the electronic traffic control signs. Using this form of control and rigorous enforcement made the traffic flow well most days. Oh, and one other thing I noticed; while driving on Sundays all the heavy trucks were parked in the truck stops. I was told that unless they vehicle had a special permit to be driven on a Sunday it had to be parked. The permits were only issued for trucks delivering critical items. 

Of the two J is the more sedate driver, at least he was
when we ere in the car. Please forgive the quality of the pic,
at those speeds it was hard to keep the cellphone still.

Something else they have in Germany for traffic control that we don't have here are radar cameras. When they tried to do the radar cameras here the did it ass backwards. What they did was take a photo of the back license plate after the car had passed the camera and the owner got the ticket not necessarily the driver. This was wrong and the courts soon came to this conclusion and the photo radar went away. 

In Germany the photo radar takes a photo of the front of the car to identify the driver. If there is a passenger, the passenger is removed from the photo so he/she can't be seen to preserve privacy. Then a check of the vehicle registration is done and if the driver isn't the owner the owner gets a photo in the mail with a request to identify  who the driver was.  Then once the driver is identified that's who gets the ticket. Personally if this was the way it was done over here I would not have had any problems with it. 

By looking at the plates I could tell the vehicle on the
left was from Marburg while the van on the right was from
Giessen (I think)

Another thing that I noticed while on the road was the way the vehicle licenses were numbered. Just by looking at a license you were able to tell where the vehicle was from. This was done by looking at the first two letters of the plate. Those letters represented the area the vehicle was from. Personally I'm not fond of the idea that a car can be tracked that easily but that's just me.I guess that's a hold over from before computers and the ability to easily run plates.

Tomorrow I'll delve into the stuff we got into with L&J but that's it for now.

* My kind wife, who reads this blog, was nice enough to inform me that I had given J the wrong first initial. His first name starts with a J not a Y. J you have my apologies...

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Farewell to Werl

Today was the final day in Werl with tonight being the October fest but first there was a morning of festivities to get through. Tante had invited everybody over for breakfast at her little place and I was up and at 'em looking forward to the fun and games. Cell phone all charged, we were at the ready and my wife and I were out the door and into F&M's truck around nine thirty(ish)

On the way over we stopped and M picked up an assortment of buns and bread. Then before I knew it we were there. Hugs and kisses all around and the breakfast had begun. It was one of those very cool events where people drifted in and drifted out, pictures taken and always the ever present smiles and lots of laughter. During this momentous occasion some of the crew were laughing at me and calling me a paparazzi but I didn't care, if it looked cool I took a photo. Some of the candid photos were just great and others... were deleted. 
Breakfast is ready

Laughter with Tante
Being the paparazzi
Kids being adult kids
Just a wonderful gathering

Sooner than I would have liked it was time to haul ass and head back to F&M's place. Our next hosts L&Y were going to be arriving in an hour or so and there was packing to get done. During this time I was keeping quiet about the October fest tonight. The thought of wearing the lether shorts etc. Wasn't a pleasant one. I just don't have the legs for it.

Our next hosts L&Y arrived a couple of hours later and we saddled up. Before bidding farewell to the town of Werl there was one last stop. One of the cousins G and her beau H had just taken posession of their new home a day or so before and we, being nosey, wanted to take a look. 

The view from G&H's place

G&H's new place was a really nice two story one in the country just on the outskirts of Werl. Where they were before there was always the noise from the street, but here it was very peaceful and quiet with a nice country view. The layout was a good one and I have garage envy because they have a nice one and I don't have any.

Lat the wheel as we make our
egress from Werl
After the tour of the new place there were the hugs, kisses and goodbyes and we piled into L's SUV for the road trip to our next destination, Ginseldorf. The trip to Ginseldorf should have taken around two hours, but L was at the helm a little over an hour and a half later we were pulling into their driveway. Thanks to sections of the autobahn without speed limits and L's driving skills we managed to cheat the jaws of death yet again.
Sorry for the quality of the pic but it's hard to steady a
cellphone when you're traveling at 190 KPH.
That's it for today. Tomorrow I'm going to chat about autobahns, traffic and things driving. So until then bye-bye. 

New shiny

I was going to get my blood work done this morning, so I was up at the crack of nine thirty(ish). After doing the shower thing and making...