Reliably Slow

Reliably slow.

That’s how B, a ten pound pom and former neighbour of my dad’s, described Australia Post.

A very apt description.

On 30 April I sent Oxfordshire Gal, in Brisbane, Australia, a postcard by airmail.  Correct postage.  Correctly addressed.

On 31 May the card finally arrived.  It did not have any markings on such as “Sent in error to Austria,” etc.  Maybe it went on a backpacking tour around via Alice Springs.

On 3 May I sent Oxfordshire Gal a book, again, airmail, correct postage, correctly addressed.  On 3rd June the book arrived.

Lots of Brits think of Oz as being a land of milk and honey (Schlemmerland).  Australia Post is not part of that illusion.  By contrast, I used to have a penpal in Rwanda.  Postcards and packages to him used to take a week to reach him.

Have a reliably slow day, won’t you!

abandoned antique architecture building

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Feiertag

Feiertag: a German public holiday.  The streets looked until 10am like a curfew had been imposed.  All the shops shut.  (A bit like England used to look on Sundays till about 30 years ago, when the Sunday trading laws were liberalised.)  A few cafes open.  Maybe also a few kiosks.

My routine was as follows.

05:41: Wake up as per any “school day.”  I lie in bed and listen to BBC Radio 5 and then change stations to BBC Radio Tees.

08:20: I climb out of my bed.  Time to make use of the day.

08:30: Time to sort out my flat.  Tidying first.  Then cleaning.  Living  room half-sorted.  Bathroom cleaned, except for the toilet and floor.  Bath and sink now shining.  I take a few breaks to forward a few cartoons via WhatsApp.  Back to cleaning and tidying.  And laundry.  And more laundry.

09:59: I head out to my local cafe for brunch and to get some fresh air on this cloudy, overcast day.

11:00: Feeling “matschig” (fidgety), I call a friend.  We arrange to meet at 13:00 in his part of the city for coffee and chat.

12:00: I sit in the cafe, reading my copy of Creative Writing for Dummies and writing in my diary.  Nice not to have to use my brain too much.  Nice to be away from a screen.

13:00: My friend arrives.  We chat.  We have a good catch-up.  He does not talk about his ailments.  Bonus!

14:00: I head back home via the main train station, the Hbf.  En route to the Hbf, I start day-dreaming about cleaning materials.  Should I get the apple-scented wipes, or the lemon-scented wipes?  I decide to get both.  I go to DM (sort-of-ish the German equivalent of Boots or Superdrug).  I stock up on apple-scented wipes, lemon-scented wipes, a nail brush, toilet cleaner, washing-up liquid, and much, much more.  €20 later, I feel a spring in my step.  All these cleaning products to make my flat look spotless.

Then it hits me.  I have become middle-aged.  The highlight of my day was not brunch, or meeting up with a mate, or going for a walk or cycle ride.  It was the trip to DM.  Retail therapy!

Have a spotless day, won’t you!

person wearing pair of yellow rubber gloves

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you think you know about Islam?

I have a pet hate, namely people who rant on about subjects where they have “received knowledge” (DE: erhaltene Weisheit) or pure prejudice.  I like the German term: Kneipenprofessor (“pub professor”).  I don’t mind you disagreeing with me – as long as you have done your homework, and not just read some Facebook post/internet meme that fits with your prejudices.

So you think you know about Muslims and Islam?  In that case, have a go at this exam paper.  I sat it in January 1993 and got 61% for it, which is a good 2:1 grade.

EPSON MFP image

To quote the famous barrister, F E Smith, on explaining a point of law to a judge:

You may be none the wiser, but you are most certainly now much better-informed.

You have one and half hours starting… now!

Have an academic day, won’t you!

pen writing notes studying

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