Things *not* to say at the…

Summer is nearly here in Germany.  It was sunny and 24 degrees cee today.  Out thoughts turn in this part of the world to soaking in the sun, absorbing the vitamin D and hoping to get the freckles on the Celtic skin to join together to form some kind of a tan.  One of our favourite beauty spots is open again.  It also has an FKK section.  That, in plain English, is the nudist/naturist section, for those of you who don’t know about that part of German culture.  (Well, you do now.)

The classic question:

But what if you happen to see your bank manager at the nudist camp?  What should you do?  What should you say to them?

Well, in these internet days, who really knows their bank manager, anyway?  Most of us just do online banking.  It’s much more likely for you to have a chance encounter with your local supermarket manager or your local librarian.

So here’s a list of things for you and your local librarian not to say if you happen to see each other au naturel/in the nuddy/the nip/the nod/the raw/in the buff/, in their birthday suit/wearing nothing but a smile etc.

  • Ooh I say, now there’s a bookworm!
  • I see you’re trying to check me out.  I’m afraid that’s reference only.
  • What a lovely buff cover!
  • Shhhh!  Careful when you slam that book shut!
  • What a lovely hardback.  It must be a limited edition.
  • My, my, what a weighty tome!
  • Oh, you’ve noticed I’m re(a)d all over!  I’ve only my shelf to blame, though.
  • You keep giving me wordy looks…
  • Oops, that looks impossible to put down.
  • You look cold.  Is that due to the draft?
  • How novel seeing you here, not wearing even a book jacket.
  • There’s the librarian.  Dewey think thesaurus just now?
  • Nice manuscript you got there…
  • I’ve noticed your wandering eyes. I guess you must be a fan of Pepys.
  • Don’t get all a-browsed.
  • You seem a bit shy.  Are you perhaps reserved?

Or imagine these conversations:

  • That item is long overdue.  You have an outstanding fine…
  • Oh, thank you very much.  An outstanding, fine what, though?  [Follow that with a Sid James cackle.]

And…

  • Fancy seeing you here!  Do you come here with anyone else from the library?
  • Well, it was bound to happen.  ISBN here a few times.  And yes, I quite often hang out here with a few other members.

Have a specially reserved, day won’t you!

women s yellow long sleeve shirt

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

 

 

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Classmates Reunion Part 2

Like the song goes, Train and Boats and Planes.  Actually, Trains and Blokes and Planes.  I hadn’t planned a great deal for Grasshopper’s weekend.  He’s easy, he says.  No point in timetabling every minute.  We head to the Altstadt.  We decide a coffee at an Irish pub is the obvious choice.  Coffee, craic and more chat.  We decide not to sing any of our dads’ politically incorrect songs from their days in Northern Ireland.

We have about three hours to kill before Schatz is due to arrive.  We walk and talk  along to the Rheinufer to get the typical touristy panorama pics.  Then I see the Rheinturm TV tower in the distance.

Taxi.

Grasshopper uses his German skills to buy our tickets at the Rheinturm.

Zwei, bitte.

(He’s fluent.)

Views, tea and apple cake with whipped cream.  It’s got to be done, hasn’t it.

Energy levels starting to sap after a while.  Grasshopper has been up since 04:00 UK time.  Back to our hotel.  Grasshopper checks in.  I nip to the local post office to pick up a package.

Schatz arrives.  We check in.  We then meet up with Grasshopper at the appointed hour on the nail.

Taxi to Altstadt again.  Cocktail bar.  Planters punch, mai thai, Tom’n’cherry.  A few more rounds.  All three of us chat.  We reminisce.  We get merry.  Schatz speaks in English.  More in one evening down the cocktail bar than in years of us being together.  Result!

Grasshopper is as WYSIWYG in real life as he is over the internet.  Diamond geezer.

We make our way back to our hotel.  Schatz heads to bed.  Grasshopper and I continue chatting in the hotel bar till near midnight.

Shortly before midnight, my head hits my pillow after a quick glug of water to rehydrate.

It’s been a great day.  I hope I don’t have a sore head in the morning…

photograph of men having conversation seating on chair

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Have a reminiscing day, won’t you!

Scope Creep

What is scope creep?  Click here, or see the following extract:

Scope creep refers to a project that has seen its original goals expand while it’s in progress. As the term suggests, scope creep is a subtle process that starts with small adjustments and ends up resulting in projects that take far longer to complete or even fail before they are finished. Even if the project is completed, scope creep can result in final deliverables that look nothing like what was originally envisioned.

Scope creep may also be called creep of scope.

Think:

  • Death by a thousand cuts
  • Boiling a frog

Then you probably have a good idea about what this article is about.

Those of us who work in projects know what scope creep is.

Build me a car.  Here are the specifications.

Then five hours before planned delivery date:

Oh, and can the car also have a kettle built in?  And it should be blue.

Scope creep also happens in our daily lives.

At church:

G in G, can you organise the annual cricket match in a fortnight.  Our team captain is on a business trip and can’t organise it.

Sharp intake of breath.

Yes, I will.

(Passive aggressive British “tut” and shrug of shoulders.)

Then two days before said match…

And can you pop over to church to load the cricket kit into the church car?

(Strange, I thought I was organising, not doing…)

Then one day before the match…

Can we [= you] put the TV on in the church so that the cricket players can watch the England games straight after the football match?  Can you also let the cricketers know that they need to start one hour earlier?  Also, can you come to church on Saturday to mow the church lawn so that the visitors get a good impression of church?  [And fourteen other requests.]

So from organising to being literally hands-on.

Voom!  Pup!  Pup!  Pup!  Lawnmower starts on a scorching hot, redhead-unfriendly morning.  Schatz, patient as ever, is sitting in the shade.  Mrs Busybody is standing over me.

Why have I set the blades at this level?

Why don’t I empty the lawnmower bin more often, like I do?

Why haven’t I mown the grass behind the church?

I bite my tongue.  I grit my teeth.

I finish the mowing.  I come back to Schatz.  I turn into stereotypical fiery redhead.

A dictionary’s worth of expletives leave my mouth.

I tell Mrs Busybody:

I have done everything you asked.

I add:

I am sorry.  I cannot help you any further.

This is a British euphemism for:

Now get lost and leave me alone!!!!!

I head off to cricket and drink a pint of Pimms in the shade.

Howzat!

Have an un-creepy day, won’t you!

howzat

 

 

Pack die Badehose ein…

Pack Your Swimming Trunks is the title of a German-language song from the 1950s.  Last weekend Schatz and I did not need to pack them.

We decided to spend Saturday, a glorious, sunny, day (28 degrees celsius) at Unterbacher See, a beauty spot to the south of Düsseldorf.  Specifically, the south beach, where the FKK (naturist/nudist/au naturel) section is to be found.

I had been two or three times before, and I liked it.  Clear water in the lake, very friendly people.  Schatz had seen some of my pictures from Unterbacher See.  She had visited its website.  She, too, wanted to try the place out.

G in G:

Schatz, are you sure you’re happy to go to the FKK section?

Schatz:

Yeah, what’s the big deal?  I’ve sat in the Tecaldarium sauna before.  No problem at all to go there.

G in G:

Fair enough.  Let’s do it then.

One hour and €4 each later we arrive at Unterbacher See.

Schatz:

G in G, you will need to wear one thing here.

G in G:

My glasses?

Schatz:

Yes, and your hat.

We reach the FKK area.  Schatz picks a suitable spot in a slightly shaded area next to a row of trees.

We drop off our things.  Towel, goggles… clothes.

All of them. Every. Single. Piece.  (Except for my hat, of course.)

Schatz gets undressed as casually if she were about to jump into the shower, totally un-bothered about being in her birthday suit (Adamskostüm) with what seems to be half the population of Düsseldorf.  (Well, let’s just say, hundreds of people there.  But only one redhead there – namely, me, Ginge in Germany.)

We both lie down on our beach towels, pretty much oblivious to all the other birthday suits surrounding us.  Schatz rolls over.  I spray sun cream over her body from head to foot.

 

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

 

The sun cream is a bit cold.  Probably not a bad thing when it’s nearly 30oc.  One side, then the other.  (Now Schatz has a good idea how it is to be a rotisserie chicken.)

Schatz gets her e-book out and starts reading as if she were on her living room couch.  I do the same with my book on Russian grammar… as one does.

After a few pages, Schatz suggests going for a (skinny) dip in the lake.  We go ankle-deep.  It’s slightly cold.  By no means a complaint.  It’s what you need.  Schatz is the first to immerse herself in the water.  Like a coward, I walk into the water up to my armpits.  I then take the plunge.  Literally.

Whoooooar!  That is nice and cooling.  Good job we have waterproof sun cream on.  We swim for a good twenty minutes.  It’s too nice to come back to dry land.  Sailing boats and kayaks cruise by, waving to the people in their bathing birthday suits.  The  bathing birthday suits wave back.

Schatz comes back to our spot, borrows my rucksack to use as a pillow, rolls over and has a power nap.  I read my Russian grammar book.  Schatz is happy and content.

So, overall impression?

  • There is nothing at all erotic about an FKK beach.  If getting a thrill from naked flesh is your “thang,” then visit the internet, not the FKK beach.
  • Everybody there had body confidence.  There were people of all shapes and sizes there, from pensioners to single people, to families with children of all ages, all happily lying there or strolling around.
  • One thing: piercings.  Let’s just say, why would you want to place a bumper sticker on Ferrrari?  Why?  Why?  Why?
  • Nobody stares at you, not even at the only redhead there.  They’re all either reading their newspaper (handy in lieu of sun cream, I guess), their e-reader, or their Russian grammar book.
  • There is nothing as nice and as cooling as swimming au naturel in the lake (temperature: 21oc).
  • Schatz loved the place.  She was happy to lie there without any clothes – or the slightest hint of embarrassment.
  • She loved the coffee and the bratwurst at the snack kiosk.
  • Schatz herself actually mentioned there were no posers in the FKK section, but there were lots of them in the non-FKK section, preening themselves, worrying about their looks, planning the next bleaching of their nasal hair, etc.
  • We both plan to go again.  Next time I will plunge straight into the water, and not just tip-toe up to my shoulders and shiver.  Just take the plunge – literally.
  • From a health point of view, we both got our daily dose of vitamin D and no sunburn.  Bingo!

Have a textilfrei day, won’t you!

fkksignage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rule, Britannia!

So, main event completed: visit to my Dad’s grave.  Dead and buried, as he would himself doubtless say have said.  What did Schatz and I do on our four days in England?

Quite a lot in a short amount of time.  Fortunately the weather was remarkably on all four days.  Only when visiting the cemetery did we experience any precipitation – the right weather for such a visit.

Our base was Saltburn-by-the-Sea.  This time a 4-star hotel, a bit of a step up from when I lived in the town in the early 90’s: a bedsit.  The views!  Huntcliff.  The pier!  Redcar steelworks.  The beach, full of dog walkers and their dogs, happy as anything, tails wagging away for England.  I think I even caught the sun… (Not too difficult for a redhead…)

Saturday morning meeting with my ex-maths teacher and fellow church warden, Mr N.  “Call me Rob, not sir.”  Yes, sir.

Saturday dinner in the Thai restaurant, where the Thai waitress spoke surprisingly good German, having overheard me and Schatz speaking in Schatz’ native language.

Sunday morning stroll through the town down the cliff path, along the beach, taking hundreds of photos on the pier, then the hike back up the cliff path (someone maybe needed an oxygen cylinder in their rucksack).  Then our sore feet took us back to Emmanuel Church and the chip shop opposite, just as it opened.  Small cod and chips for Schatz; jumbo battered sausage, chips and curry sauce for me.  All consumed while seated on the church wall.

Finally, fed and watered, thanks to England’s liberal Sunday trading laws, back to our hotel room for a shower, followed by a lie down to let our feet cool off.  Not so much strength through joy, as sweat, through joy…

Have a joyful day, won’t you!

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The Modern Parents

First of all, a few facts about me.

  1. I’m a redhead.
  2. I live in Germany.
  3. I’ve a mum.
  4. I’ve no dad (since 16 January).
  5. I have my Schatz.
  6. I have no children (unless there’s some Boris Ginge-in-Germany that I’m not aware of from my year abroad in Russia).
  7. I believe in the saying, “None of us has been to the North Pole, but we all know it’s pretty freezing there.”

I haven’t read Viz comic for about fifteen years.   One of their best comic strips was The Modern Parents.  This is the topic of my rant du jour.  First of all, have a read of the following snippet.

mod

Before anyone says, “Ah, but you’re not a parent yourself, so how can you have a dig at parents?” please scroll back up to fact 7.

I’m not a parent, but I bump into them and their offspring at church, in cafes, on the tram, in the library and of, course, on Facebook.  So, in a way, I see myself as an outside observer.  Let me give you a quote.

I aim to be not just their [my sons’] father, but also their best friend.

Those were the exact words of B, an acquaintance of mine, in early 2017, whose sons Whatsapp him about once a month.

And some other quotes, this time from CEB, a former classmate of mine.

Number 1:

So [daughter’s name] and I have just tried out [son’s name]’s pesto crusted salmon as he got all the ingredients a week early. The Asparagus was very tasty, hope he manages as well in his master chef competition. Had to wait till 7 as we had to watch the golden compass for [daughter’s name]’s homework!

Number 2:

Mother’s Day over for me. Well done to [daughter’s name] who cooked smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagels with orange juice and coffee for me, my sister and niece.  Soooo impressed at the beautiful prayer she wrote for me for Sunday’s church service.  Nine years old, and writing like a theologian.

Etc ad nauseum.

Now clearly, to quote the liturgy, “it is right to give thanks and praise,” but I would question whether putting your children on a pedestal for everything they do, and in such a gushing manner, is really necessary.  Imagine if your line manager at work acted in a similar manner…

So proud of Fred for the way he cleaned the toilets at the bus station this morning.  Those endless hours of showing him how to mop floors have most definitely not been wasted!  Go, Team Toilet!

How about:

Astounded at how Julia has made such delicious slices of toast today, using our secret method.  Three customers have all taken photos of their toast this morning.  Catering Assistant of the Year!

All of these quotes just remind me of Mr “Which Was Nice,” a comedy character from The Fast Show, a hit comedy series from the 1990s.

Is the aim of all these posts to be “two-sheds”: Anything You Can Do, I Con Do Better, as per the song?  Is it projection?  “Because my offspring are so clever, that is proof that I am clever.”

As for being your sons’/daughters’ best friend, may I, as a mere non-parent, humbly suggest that you leave it to them to decide who will be their best friend, as a refusal can often offend.

(Am I being too harsh?)

Have a praiseworthy day, won’t you!