When the debt collector just will not leave you in peace…

Vocab point for native German-speakers: debt collector = der Inkassobeauftragte or der Schuldeneintreiber.  They are people whose job it is to knock on your door and get the debtor to pay their debts.  I think you get the idea, especially if one these people hass ever paid you a visit.

What I wonder is this:

  • Train driver
  • Army officer
  • Policeman
  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Bricklayer

I can understand why youngsters will tell the careers adviser that they would like to, would love to, would dream of becoming one.  But has any careers adviser ever had a year 11 student ever say:

Please, Sir, my career ambition is to become a debt collector.

My first experience of dealing with a debt collector hammering on the door was back in 2003.

The place: a village in North Yorkshire, England.

The time: tea-time on a Friday evening.

Boom, boom, boom, tap, tap, tap, thump, thump, rattle, rattle on letter box.

I leave the sofa and the ITV news to head to the door, while my Dad enjoys his tea, for I was visiting him for the weekend  NB: Chain is on door.  Old HM Forces habits of being security-conscious.

At the door – a man looking like a stereotypical night club doorman.

Good evening, sir.  Are you John Barleycorn?

Who?

John Barleycorn.

An unfriendly scowl from the visitor, holding his clipboard.

Never heard of him, I’m afraid.

Yeah, yeah, everyone tells me that.  Are you Mr John Barleycorn?

Nope.

Well, who are you?

Well, who are you, first of all.  Can I see some form of ID, please?

Tut and humph and sigh, and ID badge with name, Nick H***, on it.  Acme Recovery Services.  “Recovery” being a euphemism for “debt collectors.”

Can you produce some form of ID then?

No.  I don’t have to.

Well, do you know where John Barleycorn has moved to? 

Time for a bit of fun (for me, at least)…

Actually, I do know where he lives.  John Barleycorn, you say?  Now, hang on a minute.  He did leave a note, giving a forwarding address.  Now, I had a tidy-up yesterday.  I can’t find the piece of paper right now, but it’ll be somewhere in my study.  Tell you what, I don’t want to have people knocking on my door again, wasting my time and their time.  If you could give me your mobile number, I can give you a bell and give you his new address.  I think it’s somewhere in Northallerton.

Would you?  That would be much appreciated, mate.  Here’s my calling card, with my mobile on.

Conversation ends.  Our man walks off back to his 4WD.

Two minutes later a quick phone call to my old boss.

Mike, you’re not exactly interested in the opposite sex.  Can you give me an address of a good gay dating website, please,?  Oh, and some good buzzwords to use.  I’ll explain later.

Er, yeah, whatever.  Try www….

Thanks!

Within ten minutes I have registered a profile for our visitor on the website, including his mobile number.

25 year old bi-curious guy in London seeks new adventures, etc etc.

Fast forward two weeks.  A payphone in a Yorkshire village.  Insert coins of the realm.  Dial 07… etc, the debt collector’s mobile.

I get voicemail.  A gem.  Ein Knaller.

A grumpy, annoyed and altogether unhappy-sounding voice announces:

This is Nick H.  Unfortunately I have had to change my mobile number.  Please leave me your number, and I will ring you back from my new number.

(I wonder why he changed his mobile number…)

anger-management1

Have a mischievious day, won’t you!

 

Blood sugar diet: day 22 of 56

What have I learnt so far?

  1. Don’t panic if you have a blip.  Stay focussed.  Start afresh.  One week’s weight gain or loss is, in any event, but a small step when you remember it took years to put the weight on.
  2. The 72-hour rule of thumb.  If I have had a blip, it takes about me about 3 days for the “blip weight” to pass out of my body.  (I won’t get too scatalogical here…)
  3. If you do have a blip one week, don’t starve yourself.  Just go back to what you were doing that was helping you to lose weight.  Last week I had a few too many Haribos and Balisto snacks, probably about 3000 calories worth, equalling about 0.5kg, which is what I put on last week.  This week so far I have had literally three, maybe four, Haribo pieces.
  4. If you are tempted to have sweet things, have an ice cream, rather than sweets.  A Magnum ice cream bar has “only” 259 calories and is more filling than a pack of wine gums.  The ice cream is also quite a nice dessert after a salad lunch.
  5. Do some exercise in the evening.  The last two evenings Düsseldorf has enjoyed glorious sunshine.  I have made the most of it.  I’ve already caught the sun after only 20 minutes at lunchtime today.  (Well, what do you expect from a redhead?)  Two 50-minute cycle rides to explore and recce new routes.  I’ve also found a new “salmonellaburger van”, where I can stop off for a coffee.  Another advantage of cycling is this: you can’t comfort-eat while you are cycling – especially if you don’t bring any money with you.  (“Lead us not into temptation.”)  The Union Flag cycling top still turns heads.

Finally, here is a pic of me in my favourite cycling top, back in 1998 in God’s Country, the Yorkshire Dales.  Dennis the Menace from The Beano comic.

Dennis

Have an un-menacing day, won’t you!

Do you ever miss home?

I’m sometimes asked if I miss England. Well, let me tell you about an incident I saw the last time I was back in England.

It was absolutely disgusting behaviour. I was down Redcar seafront that day.

I was sitting on the bench, eating fish and chips, and saw a man and a woman having an almighty argument in front of loads of kids.  Suddenly the woman smacked the guy in the head, and it all kicked off. There was a massive brawl and someone called the police.

The poor copper turned up on his own and took his truncheon to the man.  The guy managed to snatch it off him and began assaulting the policeman AND his wife!

Then out of nowhere a crocodile crept up and stole all the sausages.

 

Have a humorous day, won’t you!

Only One Ali Brownlee!

Sing that title to the tune of Guantanamera.  Those of you who are not Teessiders will not be aware that Ali Brownlee, aka The Voice of Boro, passed away on 14 February 2016, after a short battle against bowel cancer.  I had a lump in my throat and tears slowly trickled down my face when I read the news.

In many a way this date is very fitting, as, to quote his colleague, John Foster, he was loved, not liked, by so many people.  He was for many years a presenter on BBC Tees, mainly as football commentator, but also as breakfast show host, where you’d often hear Ali talking about Benjamin the Labrador and his huge love for his family pet.

Benjamin was a passenger in one of the funeral cars, seeing his owner dad off, something I found very touching.

Ali-Brownlee-Benjamin

I came to love his breakfast show daily Headline Challenge against Peter Barron, editor of The Northern Echo newspaper.

I’ll never forget his reaction to one of my entries last year.  The headline challenge was all about a musical clergyman.  My entry was: “Beat’n’The Bishop”, which Ali’s co-host described as “very funny, but TOTALLY unbroadcastable.”  Ali just went, “Oh!” and then chuckled earthily.  Fourtunately I few weeks later I won the challenge with “You Were Mermaid For Me”, all about love at a Waterworld theme park.

.Ali’s catchphrase and response to The Barron on the Headline Challenge was,

I know exactly where you’re coming from.

And, Ali, I know exactly where you’re going to.  Heaven: hovering right above the Riverside Stadium.

Have a unique day, won’t you!

Sunray at Seventy

Sunray should be seeing the big seven-oh, his seventieth birthday, at the end of this month.

Task for this weekend, besides having the commuter’s lie-in and do my laundry (living out of a suitcase precludes having a huge pile of dirty laundry to do) is to buy Sunray a birthday card and a present.

Fortunately I know what I intend to send him:

  1. A 70th birthday card.  A quick trip to the supermarket or Hallmark should sort that out.
  2. A tenner in his card.
  3. Special bonus present: a laughing sack.  I can save giving the pedometer some hammer by ordering one online from Amazon.co.uk.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Party-Discount-Laughter-bag-mini/dp/B00FFW9QWG/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1429270628&sr=8-12&keywords=laughter+bag  This looks the ideal gift for Sunray, and will keep him amused for hours and days, just like the Best of Ricky King double CD album I bought him in 2009, to remind him of how he used to deal with noisy neighbours’ offspring in the married quarters back in the 1970’s.

The laughing sack was always a family in-joke in the 1970’s and 1980’s, together with:

  • Mattierzoll “Erste kommt der kleine Bunker, und dann kommt der große Bunker” quote (you had to be there)
  • Who ate the next-door neighbour’s Christmas cake in 1962? (We never did find out.)
  • Who lives at Stubbing Nook?  (It turns out, the answer was Clarence Pask.)
  • Who is the smelliest postman in North Yorkshire (ICATQ: I cannot answer that question)

and another 94 one-liners.

Little things amuse little minds, I guess…

Have a laughter-filled day, won’t you!

Gorgeous George Galloway

George Galloway, MP for Bradford West and Tehran Central, has declared Bradford to be an “Israel-free zone.”

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/07/george-galloway-investigated-police-bradford-israel-free-zone

I wonder if he’ll be pasting up posters declaring,

Juden sind hier unerwünscht!

 

Shame on you, Mr Galloway.  Luckily the people of Bradford are above such hatred.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/20/bradford-synagogue-saved-muslims-jews

Maybe he should stick to being a part-time shock-jock and deal with over 9000 complaints…

 

“New Year, New Me”

So, a copy and paste from last year?  Yes, probably.  But to quote from the grafitti in the men’s toilets,

“Man without target hits nothing.”

This year’s resolutions…

1. To lose weight.  Got to be done.  “The same procedure as every year,” to quote from Dinner for One.  Who wants to live forever?  Well, who wants to die early?  Not me.

2. Pay off the overdraft.  Making good progress, I am pleased to say.

3. Build up savings.  Germans are big savers, and I think it is a commendable habit to be a saver.  I still have my Postbank Sparbuch.  This week I’ll pay a few € into my account.

4. Travel.  I think it is over two years since I called in on my folks.  Oh well.  Maybe this year.  However, my main destinations are:

  1. Wolfenbuettel to take the Lovely Doctor along and show her old stomping grounds, the old pad and the barracks
  2. Berda in the Netherlands and attend the redheads jamboree.  Got to be done.  I promise to bring my personal favourite brunette along. 🙂
  3. The UK, even if only for a flying visit.  London, maybe even Yorkshire (God’s Country)

5. Job security.  Oh please, God, I know I’m a sinner, but would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a moderately well-off man.

6. Address book clean-up.  A purge is always cathartic.  Ditto Facebook.  Ditto Linkedin.

7. Take part in the stand-up comedy course.  (Joking aside, it should help with developing general public speaking skills.)

8. Keep a daily diary.  So far, so good this year.  A5 seems to be the right size for me.

9. Join a chess club in the warmer, lighter months.

10. Can we do it?  Yes, we can.  Will we do it?  We can but try.

Bullsh1t?  Well in army-speak bullsh1t is about putting in that extra bit of extra to achieve the highest standards.