Rhubarb

Two Yorkshiremen are chatting down the allotment. One says to t’other,:

Seth, how’s thee rhubarb coming along this year?

The second Yorkshireman replies:

Aye, reet grand. I’ve been pourin’ hoss manure on to improve the flavour.

Oh aye?

replies the first Yorkshireman,

I find custard does the job for me.

Have a flavoursome day, won’t you!

assorted vegetables

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IYFEG

IYFEG: Insert Your Favourite Ethnic Group.  Used when you don’t want to be accused of being racist.  In this article, I will not be identifying the ethnic group or nationality.

New Year’s Eve Eve (sic).  I’m sitting in the Chinese cafe at Essen Hbf railway station, resting my weary feet while enjoying a nice duck dish.

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly…

I see Mother IYFEG strolling in with her three children.  I know they are IYFEG-ian.  They have walked in to the establishment, as if they own the place (the Hbf, not just the eatery).  Mother IYFEG’s eldest, aged about 14 or 15, scans the eatery, looking at the diners with a mix of contempt and curiosity.

Mother IYFEG speaks to the assistant in German.  I will translate the exchange.

Mother IYFEG:

Hey, I want number 19.

Assistant:

Sure.  That’ll be 8.50€, please.

Mother IYFEG:

And can I have three or four prawns with it?

Assistant:

No, you can’t.

Mother IYFEG:

But it’s just three or four prawns.

Assistant:

This is a chicken dish, not a prawn dish.

Mother IYFEG:

But I will eat the chicken, as well.  And can I have three or four prawns with it?

Assistant (again, replying politely):

No, you can’t.  I’m sorry.

Mother IYFEG, now begining to plead, while her son continues to scan the eatery and its customers:

But, just three or prawns, please.

Assistant (again, replying politely):

So, would you like number 21, the prawn dish?

Mother IYFEG:

No.  I would the number 19.  So, can you give me three or four prawns with it?

And so on and so on.  Five times Mother IYFEG asks for the freebie prawns.

I sit, observing.  I want to eat my duck dish.  Instead I end up biting my tongue.

After the fifth iteration, Mother IYFEG gets the message.  She is not getting her freebie three or four prawns.  A pretty poor impression of asking for breakfast in the film, Falling Down.  She reminds me of a certain relative of mine, a rather immature 49 13 year old.

If I keep pestering you for pocket money, again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again again and again and again and again and again… will you then cave in to my demand for the sake of a quiet life?

Mother IYFEG finally admits defeat.  She pays for her number 19 (chicken dish, not a single prawn), takens her dish to the table behind me.  Her two younger offspring flank her.  Food porn (minus three or four prawns) plus selfie time.  Her eldest stands behind me, no sense of personal space, pressing his back against my back, all the time shouting animatedly in IYFEG-ian.  (I really regret not having taken my lisinopril blood pressure tablet that morning, or a cattle prod, for that matter.)

In truly British passive aggresssive manner, I tut and humph and sigh and slowly shake my head.  I then suddenly lean to the right, causing IYFEG son to lose his balance and slip back onto the table.  He gets the message (but not the prawns).

I feel sure there are nice, likeable IYFEG-ians out there.  I just haven’t met any while living in Germany.

Later on I resolve to buy a book of 80 cent stamps at the post office and then repeatedly ask for three or four 30 cent stamps for some airmail letters that I need to send…  There again, maybe not…

Have a prawn-free day, won’t you!

Image result for michael douglas breakfast

Aye! I love t’Dales!

Burma!  Egypt!  Malaya!

Hang on, wrong song.  That was from Sweet Banana.  Let me start again.

Masham!  Bedale!  Leyburn!

That’s where Schatz and I were at the end of August.

It had been over a year since Schatz and I had been in England (Redcar, Saltburn and Whitby – the North York Moors area).  Now it was time to show Schatz the Yorkshire Dales.

A smooth flight from DUS to Leeds Bradford Airport, preceded by a McDonalds breakfast at DUS.  (I must admit, I do like their muffins and their coffee.  Their branch at DUS does make a useful “office” for doing paperwork.)

Our taxi picks us up on time.  We head through the country roads to our hotel in Masham.  (A point on pronunciation.  It’s “Mass ’em,” not “Mash ’em.”)  We arrive at reception.  For the first time in years, I do not have to spell my surname.  The receptionist says, “I live in that village.”

Our room: nice and cosy.  Lovely double duvet, lots of biscuit by the kettle.  By now it is 4pm.  Schatz and I have not eaten since our mid-morning McAttack.

Wir haben Hunger.

We stroll off to the market square via the local supermarket.  I stock up on Ibuprofen: 90% of the price in Germany.  (I repeat this procedure several times over the weekend.  Why pay a fiver, when you can pay 46 pence?)

The fish’n’chip restaurant is not open for another 30 minutes.  It’s a hot, rather humid day.  Schatz has been dieting successfully this year.  Nonetheless I ask if she would like an ice cream from Bah Humbugs.  Brymor ice cream.  Made from Guernsey cow’s milk.  She says yes.  I bring her a cone with two big scoops of:

  • Black cherry whim-wham
  • Rhubarb and custard

I get myself black cherry whim-wham and chocomint.  Delicious.

icecream

Normally we would eat pudding after a meal.  But needs must.

Harry’s fish and chip restaurant.  Schatz  and I chat in German while looking through the menu.  (We know already what we are going to order, anyway.)

This is what we ordered.  British food p0rn…

chips

I also ordered curry sauce and onion rings to accompany.  Our plates were clean by the time we finished.

A waddle around the Market Square and then back to our hotel via the local fruit shop to buy postcards (and to buy postage stamps – the post office had closed months before, much to the locals’ chagrin).

Back to our hotel room.  We flop out on the bed for “a quick lie-down before we go down to the bar.”

Twenty minutes later, Schatz is in her night clothes under the duvet.  I am watching The Sweeney, 1970’s cops’n’robbers show on TV.  Schatz is now comatose.  I watch another episode of The Sweeney.

  • You’re nicked!
  • Guv’nor!

etc…

I get a second wind.  (I blame the onion rings.)  Lamy fountain pen out.  Postcard to Schatz’ parents.  Another to our church organist, caring for her dad in Surrey.  Another to Grasshopper.  I get dressed.  Off to the postbox in town.  Via the supermarket for more Ibuprofen.  Leg stretch time.  I bring back Nachos and dip for Schatz, who is now awake.

We munch our Nachos.  It’s been a very pleasant day in Masham.

Have a black cherry whim-wham day, won’t you!

 

Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans

Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans was the title of a Noel Coward song.  I fully agree.  Let’s be beastly to the Dutch instead.

Last week I sent the following cartoon out to my British and German friends, many of whom then forwarded it in turn to their friends via Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.

DutchExorcism

Have a guttural day, won’t you!

How to confuse a 5-year-old

A few weeks ago I attended a Roman Catholic first communion, namely that of a young relative of Schatz.  Me, I’m a Prod and proud, to quote from the song, but I’m more than happy to attend such things, stick some cash in the lad’s Erste Kommunion card and join the family for post-mass buffet lunch (which was delicious).

Before the mass started, I chatted to Schatz’s relative-in-law, her five-year-old daughter, seated between us.  R-in-L and I chatted in German.  Daughter sat quietly all during the mass.

Eventually we reached the Lord’s Prayer.  Everyone else said it in German: Vater unser, etc.  I said it in English, my beloved mother tongue, thus:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven:
Give us this day our daily  bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
When before the Collect the priest alone recites the prayer, the people here respond: Amen.
When after all have communicated the people repeat each petition after the priest, the prayer ends:
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

Within a few syllables, five-year-old is staring at me, her jaw nearly reaching the ground.  Daughter tells Mutti words to the effect:

I can’t understand a word he is saying.

Mutti tells daughter:

He comes from another country. 

(Daughter still looks mystified as I flick back into German.)

Have a confusing day, won’t you!

man driving vehicle near tree

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Glory to Stalin!

Stalin’s reign.

An old lady gets on a bus in Moscow. She has waited a long time, and sits down with a sigh of relief. “Oh, glory to God!” she exclaims.

The bus driver turns around with a grave look.

“Comrade, there is no God. You must say, ‘Glory to Comrade Stalin.'”

The old lady apologizes and pledges to remember this. After a minute, she pipes up,

“Comrade, what shall I say, if, heaven forbid, Comrade Stalin should die?”

The bus driver pauses, and answers,

“Oh! Then you shall say, ‘Glory to God!'”

Have a glorious day, won’t you!

Glory-to-Stalin