WF – WTF????

So, all in all, a most enjoyable trip to Wolfenbüttel last weekend, visiting childhood, pads brat haunts in the days when the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) (“Besatzungsarmee”) were resident at BFPO 33.

More later as I warm up into reminisce mode.  But first of all, switch on rant mode.  Stand by for the next bit to sound like a clip from That’s Life.

After settling in at our hotel, I asked reception to order me a taxi to Danziger Strasse, where our family’s old pad was.  The miserable, sullen taxi driver from Altstadt Alt-Twat Taxis (turned up ten minutes later, barking orders at someone on his mobile.  He drove me and the Lovely Doctor C to said destination.  €20.  The journey seemed a bit longer than the last time I visited WF in April 2001, but I was aware of the road closure.  Maybe that was the reason.  Anyway I was more interested in visting the old married quarters, strolling round the old barracks, enjoying the glorious sunshine, etc.

Return journey – somewhat shorter, fare: €7.40.  The Lovely Dr C and I were amazed.  We told the taxi driver what we had paid on the outbound leg, €13 more than “on the flip-flop” (early 80’s CB radio-speak).  He, too, was stunned.  So, too was the taxi driver who drove us back from the cocktail bar that evening.  Who needs the internet when you have taxi drivers?  I’m sure tongues will be wagging back at the office.  Guess who I told about the incident?

  • A whole regiment of online 16th/5th Lancers
  • The driver who took us back to Braunschweig on the Sunday morning, who apologised most profusely for the Alt-Twat Taxis’ driver’s action
  • The cocktail stand owner, who is going to tell a group of 40 old soldiers (who come every year to WF for a reunion)
  • Last, but by no means, οὐ µή (ou ), least, hotel reception, who immediately placed Alt-Twat Taxis on a black list.

Herr Taxifahrer, you may have fleeced me of €13, but the last laugh is on you, my friend.

(To quote Esther Rantzen, “Cyril…”)


“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.

Forgive and Forget

We are told in the Bible to forgive.

Forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

Today I received an email, the first two sentences of which:

  • Asked how I was
  • Noted that I had de-friended the author of the mail from Facebook (the modern-day equivalent of excommunication, I guess, with bell, book and Kindle)
  • Asked how my significant other was
  • Asked how my job was going

The rest of the mail was a copy and paste of a survey request to provide feedback on the writer’s interpersonal skills.  Well, the answer is, as I learnt on my interrogator course many moons ago, ICATQ.  I cannot answer that question.

The trouble is, that person sent me a very nasty email in the summer, which left me feeling nauseous and on the verge of tears.  Please do not accuse me of being disingenuous.  Punkt.

I forgive that person, and I genuinely wish them well, but I also want to forget that person.  Surround yourself with radiators, not drains, a lesson it has taken me decades to learn.  Experience is the best teacher: one’s own is the harshest of all.

Nails from the Dales

Now, what is it about Facebook?  The more mundane and boring the status update, the more likes you get.

To prove the point, I once wrote a status of,

“I have just clipped my toenails.”

Within ten minutes on a mid-week morning, I had seven likes from various Facebook friends.  I am glad to have thrilled them with that snippet.

Do some people just sit at their PC like air traffic controllers, monitoring their Facebook friends’s movements?

Bist du bei Facebook? Linkedin? Xing?

Yes, I am on Facebook, Linkedin and, nominally at least, on Xing.  What I don’t understand is why one of the nasty, bullying managers with whom I worked in a call centre (the nearest thing the UK has to a Victorian factory) in 2007 tried to make contact with me today via Linkedin.  What benefit would either of us derive from being linked in via Linkedin?  While lying in bed this morning, gradually regaining consciousness and listening to Farming Today, I found an email from “Alpha Romeo” (missing letters Sierra Echo Hotel Oscar Lima Echo), asking to be a Linkedin contact.  I don’t think so.  Given that our man had messaged me at some point during the wee small hours, I can only assume that he was bored senseless on night shift and decided to look up anyone and everyone he could ever remember working with in his life.

Now, the question is, what do I do?

  • Zap the email from Linkedin and ignore Alpha Romeo?
  • Reply, telling our man to get lost?
  • Reply, “Sorry, I don’t know who you are”?
  • Reply as if we were long-lost best buddies?

Personally, I think I’ll just ignore him.  Most of his erstwhile colleagues would like to be in contact with him – via a ouija board.