Saturday, January 9, 2010

Be Prepared

Now I have always thought 'to be prepared' was the motto of the scouts but I think it should maybe also be the motto of the German people...

Yesterday we were warned by the 'Civil Protection Office' (the BKK) to keep three or four days' worth of provisions, including alternative cooking fuel (!) in case of power cuts. Among the essential items listed by the BBK is a battery-powered radio, for checking weather reports. A friend's 7 year old son was asked by the father of his friend whether they'd stocked up on candles before the storm came - causing the child to then panic in case they didn't have enough candles (after all, his English mother is highly unlikely to be as prepared as a German mother!)

But Germans are usually prepared for any eventuality, they'll be the ones with the packet of tissues, ready to offer when your sniffing gets too irksome, with the healthy snacks when your children are complaining of hunger, a spare 1 Euro for the shopping trolley (although they never seem to have their money ready to pay at the checkout so causing a backlog on the conveyor) and as soon as October comes around they change their car tyres to winter ones, a policy I'm sure the British would welcome at the moment during their own 'big freeze'.

They have barbecues for the summer months and ski gear for the winter ones, watching the children at school this week I was struck by how well kitted out they were for the snow, all (pretty much without exception) in salopettes, padded jackets, fleecey hats and waterproof & thermally insulated boots (they probably had 6 layers of thermal clothing underneath the jacket too) in fact, from August onwards throughout the winter the only kind of footwear you seem to be able to buy for children are these hideously ugly but oh so practical winter boots with layers of gortex and thinsulate and fleece. I'm starting to wish I had a pair, maybe then I wouldn't be viewing the prospect of walking the dog in the middle of 'Daisy' with so much trepidation that I phoned a friend to come and walk her dog at the same time, this way neither of us can back out and also we don't have to go so far as the dogs hoon about like demented puppies usually when they're together...

Anyway, back to the subject of being prepared and footwear, I commented over Christmas about how the Germans seem to be non slip (Non Slip Germans) yet don't seem to be wearing particularly grippy shoes/boots, I have discovered their secret! Ha ha haaa (evil laugh)
A friend of mine here (to spare her blushes I wont name her, let's just call her M) who shares my shoe fetish and love of pretty (and also essentially impractical) shoes decided that this year she would give in and buy something to put on her feet that would stop her slipping over and also keep her feet warm and dry - something that thin leather soles and patent uppers can never achieve. She's just had a big(ish) birthday and realises that maybe, just maybe she's a grown up now... M is German and therefore took this matter seriously and did her research - as Germans do before making an important purchase and for M, footwear is a serious business. M discovered a company, Högl an Austrian company who make not unattractive shoes and boots including a range that is waterproof and insulated and also has a ridged sole to prevent slipping over, after purchasing she completely tested the boots and reported happily that there was no unwanted slippage and yet the boots look like normal footwear, a little on the sensible side for M but I guess she can cope with that for a couple of weeks in the depths of winter, at least she's prepared now, whatever the weather gods decide to throw at us!

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