Friday, February 25, 2011

Four, going on 40

I often mention my dog, Logan.

A better tempered dog you would be hard pressed to find. He loves the children* and cats (taste delicious) and all visitors, especially the delivery guys who often have dog treats in their pockets. As a guard dog he'd be rubbish, unless of course the burglar was allergic to dog hair and our house is full of that (if I'd known how much retrievers shed I'd have had a poodle.)

Logan is four, five this August. So in dog years that makes him 28, almost 35. Well past the delinquent teenager stage - you'd have thought. But no. This last week has seen atrocious behaviour from him and I'm not amused.

It started last Tuesday when he went AWOL for over an hour in the woods after getting into the cemetary on the trail of some delectable scent.

Wednesday he again snook into the cemetary through a different spot - fortunately we noticed straight away and were able to round up the rogue before he vanished into some grave to reappear licking his chops.

This week he's woken me in the middle of the night three times, so that he can go out and pee/poo. I wouldn't mind*** but I always send him into the garden before lights out. Wretch.

Two days ago walking with Rebecca and Oscar (Logan's best friend) both dogs were so...immature, I renamed them both 'Dumb and Dumber'****. They were disappearing, eating anything and everything indiscriminately, peeing on each other, and then Logan got hold of a small plastic container (maybe 1 inch square) that had probably had take out ketchup or garlic butter in it. When we realised what he'd got we knew he could't keep it. It took the two of us to prise open his jaws and extract the plastic container.

Today I had a coffee and cake date with Rebecca and Princie. We put the three dogs in Rebecca's dog-proof garden. Two minutes later Logan was outside the front door, having escaped from the garden. We put him back twice before giving up and leaving him to lie on his own in the porch. Rebecca has now got to try and find out where Logan's hidden the matter transporter because that garden is dog-proof.

I joked to my friends that Logan's behaviour this last week had been like that of a delinquent teenager, but that he's too old (in dog years) for it to be classed as juvenile high spirits. Princie had the answer. She declared he was going through a mid life crisis!

That's all I need, a dog that thinks he needs a motorbike.

* but couldn't eat a whole one** as Simon would add.
** although actually he'd give it a damn good go.
*** that's a bare faced lie, I do mind, I hate having my sleep disturbed.
**** another film title.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

O brother, where art thou?*

My little brother Ed (who also blogs - but somewhat sporadically) works in oil. Or to be specific, in mud. I've learnt over the years that 'mud' doesn't necessarily mean the stuff that is tracked through my house on a regular basis by the children and the dog, but rather the chemical mix that is pumped down into bore holes to lubricate the drill and keep everything turning**.

My little brother seems to have developed a taste for living on the edge (goodness only knows where he got that from, no-one else from the Walford clan seems to have this suicidal gene. But then such a gene would be recessive and wipe itself out quite quickly don't you think? A lemming gene.)
Roller blading too tame? Try it 'off road'. Snorkelling a little dull? Take up SCUBA. Running a marathon not hard enough? Go Ironman distance. And of course this gets reflected in his profession - or rather the location where he chooses to work. He started with oil rigs, but clearly that was too tame. Went to the oil fields in Indonesia, in 1998, and the fall of Suharto. There followed a period of calm while he was in Aberdeen (where possibly the most dangerous thing is the deep fried Mars Bar - or is that only Glasgow?) Although he did discover a love of FAST motorbikes at this time (I think he left it that late in life so that mom couldn't stop him doing it, especially as he was about as far away from parental control as he could get whilst still living in the same country.)

For the last couple of years Ed has been in Libya, Tripoli to be precise.

This last week has been...tense.

The last 24 hours have been hell.

Over the weekend it became obvious that the Libyans were going to grasp their chance of freedom and fight for their lives. No-one really thought the action would spread to Tripoli, Gaddafi's stronghold, where the majority of the workers are employed either by the government or in oil. Ed and I had several conversations over the weekend, him playing it down while I read to him whatever information I could find on the internet. The one that finally got him a little twitchy was Sunday night when I read someone reporting that 1000's of people were marching on Tripoli, and they weren't going in support of Gaddafi.

On Monday the plan was to evacuate the expats from Ed's company via scheduled flights on the Tuesday, seeing as the Libyan government had finally decided to relax their rule that required exit visas***. Like I said, that was the plan. Monday evening they all (20-30 people) congregated together for safety at the boss's house, ready to run to the airport first thing on Tuesday.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was hell. Having had numerous emails from Ed over the weekend and throughout Monday, on Tuesday I got one, and I guess I was lucky to get that. It said simply:

airport total chaos
we are getting an sos charter flight to keep our group together.

don't know where to.

more later

And yesterday that was all we knew.

The flights they'd been supposed to catch were cancelled. Airspace over Tripoli was closed. And Gaddafi went on TV and ranted to the world about how 'he would never leave and would die a martyr'.

Yeah. Yesterday was a stressful day, and I'm sure it was even worse for those in Libya.

My routine over the last four, five, six days has been the same. The moment I'm up and in the kitchen I check first email - anything from Ed? Then a triathlon website he's been using to get information out - anything from Ed? Then the BBC site - what's the latest in Libya? Then onto Al Jazeera which has a live blog updating constantly - what's the latest in Libya? Then onto the Guardian's live updating blog page...Yesterday I stopped checking the Twitter updates as they were getting too scary and to be honest, I can do scary in my own imagination, I really don't need to give it further ammunition.

Just after 8am today my mobile rang - my brother. He was brief, saying merely that they were 'back at the airport' (which makes me want to know where they had been) that they were in a safer place (didn't like the use of the word 'safer' - kind of implies that previously they'd been somewhere 'not safe') and trying to get on a flight to Malta. He'd let me know when anything changed.

Then at lunchtime I got an email from Ed. They were all in the business lounge of the airport (this isn't as grand as it sounds, Tripoli 'international' airport is a hole, the business lounge sounds as though it's merely the equivalent of a normal departure lounge in the civilised world) waiting on a flight to Malta.

And that's it.

I think my little brother is still in Tripoli, waiting for a flight out, while I sit at home (as my parents do at their home) waiting for good news.

I hope after this he's had his fill of excitement, and maybe, just maybe he'll get a job somewhere nice, preferably somewhere warm and pretty where we might actually want to go and visit!

Stay safe Ed!

Update: 1852 Wednesday evening Ed rang - from the safety of Malta! Phew.

* also a film starring another of my favourite leading men (maybe I should make this week film week?) George Clooney.
** I'm quite sure that if I have got any of this wrong my little brother will eventually correct me.
*** I cannot ever imagine feeling the need to travel to a country where not only do you need to grovel to get in, but you have to grovel to get out too.

Word for the day; dictator - der Diktator.

Monday, February 21, 2011

For the love of Colin

Yesterday I went to the cinema.

Wow, you're thinking, so what?

But this is Germany and this is the modern world where most films today are shown on one of eight + screens in a huge multiplex where buckets of popcorn are seemingly as obligatory as the litres of coke and the 20 minutes of ads prior to the main feature.

Yesrerday however, was different. The film was "The King's Speech" and the cinema was the "Casablanca" in Bochum (just a 30 minute* drive from us) which is an independant local cinema like back in the good old days when there were only three screens and the biggest always had THE film of the moment showing and the other two had something far quirkier. This cinema even had a projectionist - I know because I saw him, winding the film onto the spool thingummy as we went to find a seat. Mark Kermode would approve of this cinema. What's more, the film was in English with German subtitles. Heaven. This rarely happens here, the Germans dub, everything it seems, and I just can't bare to watch an actor whose voice I know, acting his heart out with someone else's voice laid over the top.

"The King's Speech" is an amazing film, all about the problems the Duke of York (as he was at the beginning of the film) had with his speech, he had a dreadful stammer that previously would not have been a huge problem within the Royal Family, but due to the discovery of radio and its impact on the world, a person in such a powerful position could not be viewed as being 'weak'. The film catalogues the meeting of Prince Albert and Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist whose unorthodox methods and lack of formal professional training ensured the future King's retinue disapproved.

Colin Firth has been a popular actor since starring as Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (way back in 1995) and is regarded by many (myself included) as a bit of a heart throb - possibly due to the 'wet shirt' incident in P&P** but also quite probably due to his self depreciating manner, swoon.

Last year we had high hopes for him winning an Oscar for his performance in "A Single Man", which was such an unbelievably stylish film (thanks to Tom Ford of Gucci fame for directing) but he lost out to Jeff Bridges. This year is surely Colin's year, he acts the stammerer with such perfection that you truly believe he isn't going to be able to speak the words he is required to.

A great film, although what the locals in the audience thought of the scene where the news broadcast of the Kings coronation is shown to the young princesses and then the second item is a clip of Hitler egging on his troops, one princess says to her father, "what's he saying daddy?" "I don't know." answers the King, "but he says it rather well."
We howled with laughter, but refrained from goose stepping out of the cinema.

Excuse me, I'm off to watch back to back episodes of P&P, now where's that corset?

* on a Sunday, in perfect weather - i.e. no scary rain or snow (not scary for me - the locals have an irrational fear of getting their cars wet &/or dirty).
** sorry, I forgot myself for a moment there...just wiping the dribble off the keyboard...

Word of the day; das Kino - the cinema

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Snaps 52

Simon's in the middle of a two week 'business' trip in South Korea, Tokyo & Singapore;
As the saying goes, while the cats away...the mice go shopping.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Have you seen this dog?

Yesterday I lost my dog.

I did find him again (or rather, to put it more accurately - we found each other) but there was at least an hour, maybe 90 minutes when I was wandering, dogless, whistling and calling inanely throughout the woods.

The morning had started so well, Jasmine and I weren't fighting/arguing, Ben had managed to track down all his P.E. kit that he thought he needed for school (turned out he didn't need any of it as their timetable was changed last Friday because they're halfway through this school year) the sun was trying to break cover, all in all it looked like being a good day.

After dropping Jas at school, Logan and I looped down through the woods, past the football pitches by the main road and then climbed (trust me, crampons are almost necessary) the path back up into the woods emerging by the Friedhoff*, I then turned away and down into the woods along another path, but Logan was distracted by another dog on the upper path, they smiffed each other in that delightful way dogs have and as I called him, Logan looked as though he was coming, but then he had a change of heart, and hurtled into the woods furthest away from me and towards the Friedhoff.

If ever Logan decides to wander off he always vanishes at this point, he can get into the Friedhoff easily there because the wall is jumpable and failing that there are gaps in the fencing (not that he can ever find the spot where he came through when it comes to getting back out again though.) There's clearly some very appetising smells originating from the Friedhoff because Logan is a creature driven only by his stomach and his hunger and when I eventually find him digging in the graveyard he's usually chewing...

I got to the spot where Logan can normally be found, scoffing something undesirable but this time there was no dog. And so started the dog hunt.

At first no-one seemed to have seen him, although everyone was very helpful and positive, suggesting that he'd maybe find his way home (I expressed disbelief at this idea, Logan is a lovely dog, a better natured beast you couldn't wish for but his intelligence is limited strictly to calorie counting, he'd find his way home only if following a trail of bread crumbs) or that he'd come back where he last saw me (this sounded more likely and I heard this from different people) one lady said she'd call me if she found him, another said she'd seen him (this was after about an hour of me wandering around, shouting and whistling like a loon) but couldn't attach him to her dog's lead because her dog was "zickig" (bitchy/touchy - and it was too, a right grumpy bitch) the lumberjacks reckoned they'd seen him standing on the top of the (waist height) wall at the view point (I think maybe they were taking the piss. Logan? Expend energy in jumping up onto a wall? The only time he uses more energy than is absolutely required is when the children are trying to teach him a new trick (and feeding him treats) or when I take him running with me and he has no option but to run alongside me because I keep him on the lead to prevent him wandering off on the scrounge).

At some point during my increasingly frantic search I rang Rebecca who joined me as soon as she was able. She walked with Logan's bestest friend Oscar to join me from the far end of the woods, to ensure he wasn't up there - he wasn't.

The last sighting I'd had was from another retriever's owner who'd seen Logan disappearing down the path we'd come up almost two hours before and I decided to stand there, in view of the area he'd originally disappeared from, in the faint hope that maybe, just maybe he was circling round, retracing our route trying to find me, possibly I'm crediting him with too much sense, however, appear he did, looking thoroughly bedraggled and knackered.

I'd left the house at 7.30am and eventually made it home at 10am...a rather extended 60 minute walk - good job I had no serious plans eh? Bloody dog!

* word for the day; Friedhoff - cemetery

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lena is a four letter word

Last year Germany won the Eurovision Song Contest, and they won it in style too. Lena with her song 'Satellite' was a huge success, just a shame that to all native English speakers her mangling of the English language was akin to nails being scraped down a blackboard, it wasn't that she couldn't speak the language just that she seemed to speak/sing with about three different accents (shudder) in one sentence.

Eurovision 2011 is quickly approaching, May 14th is only 90 days away* and most countries are busy finalising their entries; the Irish have announced "Jedward" will try to win for them, the UK have chosen the band "Blue" as their best hope, which is a bold move for the band because if they do badly** then any revitalising of their pop career is shot down in flames, Norway's entry was chosen on Saturday night and Azerbaijan have already chosen a duet.

Germany is understandably very keen to retain the Eurovision crown and got the jump on all the other competitor countries by declaring right from the get go that Lena would defend her title...oh goodie. Never mind, I thought, maybe a year is long enough to improve her accent - or at least consolidate it so that it doesn't meander from London to Edinburgh to New York, wishful thinking, and it's not as if I didn't try to do something about it - Lena's has a cousin who is a boy in Jasmine's class and I speak to his mom, so after the contest last year I made a point of congratulating her and telling her that she could improve her niece's English as her enunciation is so much better.***

The last two weeks have seen me sitting on my sofa of a Monday evening suffering 2 hours of the hell that is German TV. The German public might have had no say in who is representing their country at Eurovision but they do get to choose the song, six songs the first week and six the second, three go through from each week and then on Friday 18th there's another 150 minute TV show when the final song is chosen (talk about making a mountain out of a molehill).

My German teacher is forever telling me I should watch more (actually just any) German TV but my argument is that it's so shite I'd rather not watch any TV, so when I do find a programme that is vaguely interesting then I make a point of watching, hence me making a determined effort to watch Lena.

Unfortunately her accent hasn't improved at all over the last 12 months and unfortunately every single song she sang had English lyrics - you'd have thought that out of 12 songs there would be a token German one, but no. To make matters even worse it seemed as though every song had the word "day" in it, or rather, to give it the Lena enunciation 'dai - eeeee'. By the end of both evenings I'd developed a very nasty twitch and I swear blood was starting to come out of my ears.

Needless to say I shan't be watching the third and final instalment of Germany's search for their Eurovision song, I shall wait (with unbated breathe) for the show itself and in the meantime pray that the German voting public don't choose the song "A Good Day".

If you're at all interested in the songs/doubt that anyone can speak-sing English with such a variable accent then the evidence can be found here, here, and here**** - enjoy!

* have just realised that this is the day before my daughter's birthday and also coincides with the probable visit from the outlaws, I can see them cramping our Eurovision viewing somewhat as they are both very....theatrically inclined...I might need to watch the show in another room - or would that be rude?
** a stong possibility seeing as no-one, but no-one votes for the U.K., the only country within Europe that acts as though it's outside of Europe and then wonders why it's billy-no-mates).
*** now if you think this was rather blunt speaking, don't forget where I live - Deutschland, the land that invented the concept of being rude without actually being rude.
**** I'm being kind, only giving you three songs to listen to, there are 12 after all, if you want more let me know and I'll find you the links...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Snaps 51

Nature seems to think winter is vorbei...

but I can still remember getting snow at Easter, and this year Easter is sooooo late!

word of the day; vorbei - past

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Buffalo and the Butterfly

Last night was Funny Wednesday at my favourite bar here in Kettwig, Lulu's. It's a monthly event but only every quarter is it an English Funny Wednesday, this was the third such event and this time Simon was actually in the country and home, and so able to come too - double bonus!

The entertainment started with Brad Bowen a Yank who now lives in Cologne (where most English speaking comedians in NRW seem to choose to live). It must be a hideous experience to have to be the first person up, in a small bar, where the audience are close enough to see every drop of emerging sweat on your forehead.
Brad was OK, not split my sides funny, but amusing, especially when he started discussing the fact that men and women are different, referring to himself and other males as buffalo - quite happy to stand motionless for long periods of time and have to be pushed into action, whilst women are more like butterflies, busy fluttering around - both happy in their differences, the problems happen when the two interact and the fragile nature of the butterfly can be damaged by the brute force (and ignorance) of the buffalo.

Next up after Brad came Alan Moorhouse, who started off by deliberating the usefulness (or not) of country music (much to the bar owners' amusement, one of whom is from Texas and plays in her own country band (Miss Behavin') here). He reckons you can't have a country song unless family and God get a mention. Alan reminded me a lot of Mike Harding, with guitar, mouth organ and such funny lyrics that my cheeks ached from laughing by the time he finished his set, he even managed to get us all singing along and promising (glass in hand) never to drink again.

James Allan
rounded the evening off nicely, he likes to find out where his audience is from to start with - all the better to offend them, and he was spoilt for choice last night as the crowd consisted of Indian, Canadian, American, English, Jamaican as well as German possibilities, he even snook in a sneaky little Hitler joke.

It was, as always, a great evening out, made all the better by the company we were in, red neck jokes were told to the Americans at our table, Michael Jackson jokes also and we discussed the chances of Rebecca's husband getting a Valentine's gift let alone a card after he commented that her recent hair cut made her look (and I'll whisper it) "middle aged"...especially as he followed it up with the suggestion that it was maybe a bit "twinset and pearls", maybe she could enrol him in a "tact and diplomacy" course, but then again, this is Germany, the land of direct (and often blunt and hurtful) speech, so such a thing is probably unheard of. Sam is definitely a buffalo!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Reviews #15

The White Queen - Philippa Gregory

My knowledge of history is, as I've mentioned before, shite.

I dropped geography (dull) and history (it seemed to be all about dates) as soon as I was able in favour of the more fun (to me) subjects of physics (lots of experiments and making things go bang) chemistry (lots of experiments and even more of an opportunity to make things go bang) and biology (where I became quite adept with a scalpel and learnt to dissect worms, dogfish, rats, frogs and even whelks).

Whilst my knowledge of geography has improved (slightly) through living in and travelling around the country, my history is still shite, I can tell you the ways in which Henry VIII relieved himself of each of his wives (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived) but that's only because the rhyme kind of sticks...

Consequently I do enjoy a book that will give me my reading fix whilst at the same time going some way to plugging a gap in my historical knowledge. Philippa Gregory is the perfect author for this, weaving a web of fiction around verified facts and spinning tales out of the grey areas, I have read several of her books and am never disappointed.

The White Queen covers the period of Edward IV, 1464 through to Richard III in 1486, the War of the Roses, and details the rise and fall of Elizabeth Woodville and her family as she catches the King and they (the family) hang on to his coat tails, trying to wring as much profit from the union as possible.

Edward and Elizabeth were married for some 19 years which gives a lot of ground to cover in 400 pages and while it all needed mentioning I did feel that the story barely held together in some places and for me there was little feeling of the passage of time, other than the near constant state of pregnancy of the Queen. It wasn't until towards the end of the book, after Edward's death and Elizabeth's flight to santuary in Westminster Abbey that I really felt gripped by the tale.

I enjoyed learning about the the 'Princes in the Tower' - the two young sons of Edward and Elizabeth who were next in line to the throne and for whom Richard (King Edward's brother) was supposed to act as Protector. That the two boys were imprisoned in the Tower of London is fact, but what happened to them subsequently is still a mystery, no bodies have ever been confirmed as theirs and Richard was able to declare himself righful monarch by the overturning of Edward and Elizabeth's marriage, with that pronounced unlawful any offspring became illegitimate and so forfeighted their right to the crown.

A good read, and I love a book that creates a thirst for knowledge - I've googled most of the characters from that period of history this week, and was fascinated to discover that through her granddaughter, Queen Margaret of Scotland, Elizabeth became the ancestress of the Stuart, Hanover and Windsor dynasties, the descendents of whom still rule over the United Kingdom, not bad for a commoner!

As I said, a good read, but not her best.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dirty Stop Outs

The first Friday of every month is always bookgroup at Le Chat Noir, and last Friday night was no exception.

I'd booked the table for 11 people (who'd said they could make it) and was surprised to arrive and find the table full of people I hadn't expected...bookgroup members alright, just not ones I'd anticipated seeing, still, it's better to have more people there than less.

The book we were supposed to discuss was 'Eat, Pray, Love' (which I have previously reviewed and declared it to be a waste of my time), and because most of us who'd actually ploughed through its navel gazing, personal analysis had thought it to be bilge we didn't actually talk about the book much, other than to agree on its crapness and to refuse to read the sequel.

It was the previous month's book that still had us talking though - 'To Kill a Mockingbird', is just a great, great classic, this coming month we're reading another classic, we voted to read 'Catch 22', could be an interesting read and hopefully an interesting discussion.

Amongst non book related topics last night were;

- the availability (or rather, non-availability) of Indian and Chinese food, L refuses to eat any Indian cuisine outside of his native India (apart from that he's cooked himself) whilst K & T (from Singapore) have still not given up the search for a decent oriental restaurant, we joined in bemoaning the orangey/brown glop that seems to accompany all 'chinese' food here in Germany, whether the dish is masquerading as beef in black bean sauce, chicken with cashew nuts or sweet 'n sour pork it all has the same sauce.
- N's Liverpudlian accent has strengthened over the last couple of days, due to her mom visiting from the homeland, I said N's accent had regressed and the mother wasn't amused...
- NS mentioned she was thinking about going in for army training which started K off on his reminiscing of his two years National Service, T rolled her eyes in frustration apparently this is standard behaviour of any Singapore male, they get started on their army time and it's hard to deflect the conversation.
- I think we've gained two more partygoers for April 29th, when we (girlies) plan on spending the whole day in front of the TV, glued to the Royal Wedding coverage, drinking champagne and eating appropriate wedding food. Both NS & T are keen, as is K, but as he's male and probably doesn't look good in a wedding hat, he'll only really be useful acting as barman!
- I'm trying to talk L into going ice skating, he's never been before (what with growing up in India) and in theory has good balance (as he can do a head stand (years of yoga) but personally I think that's down to him having a flat head) but L isn't especially keen. There's an open air rink in the middle of Essen at the moment surrounded by Glühwein & Waffel stands with a sledging slope next to it that you can hurtle down on huge innertube things, I'm sure Rebecca & I can persuade L to join us and the kids there next Sunday lunchtime...Rebecca & I can stand and watch while L is taught to ice skate by 4-5 children.

I'd been prepared to have to leave earlier than usual as Rebecca (who I share a taxi with) has a really bad back and sitting for a prolonged period of time is not a good thing, however she refused to leave early and we ended up being the last to leave - dirty stopouts that we are.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Snaps 50

The weather has turned warmer this week, perfect timing seeing as I only just discovered the function for the two buttons in front of the hand brake - heated seats...duuuuhhhh! I can be so blonde sometimes!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ladies who lunch

One of the things I've felt that has been missing from my life here in Germany has been the opportunity to meet a friend for a lazy lunch.

When I lived in England my friend Al and I had it down to a fine art, Fridays were perfect, you actually felt like you'd earnt the 'time off', it was almost the weekend and the house was clean, all the chores were done, the ideal opportunity for a little 'me time' before diving into the 24/7 family time that the weekend becomes once children are involved.

We would sometimes meet to do a spot of shopping first before heading to a quiet coffee shop for a delicious panini and a serious gossip, or maybe no shopping just straight to a country pub where we would draw out a glass of pinot grigio over 2 courses, accompanied of course by lots of gossip.

The problem with moving to Germany was two-fold, I no longer had weekly access to my lunch partner and I also lost my lunchtime as the school kicks out anytime between 11.30 and 2.15... I really missed being a lady who lunches and it's taken me almost 4 years to find a replacement (not for Al, that is impossible) I think I'm starting to get the concept of 'Frühstück' - finally!

Last week I managed to squeeze in 2 social breakfasts and today another one.

It's just so civilised, we met at 10 (a little late for breakfast and to be honest we lingered so long we should have called it brunch) but it does mean that the little, but necessary chores of the day had been done (kids to school; tick. laundry started; tick. food for tea; tick. market; tick) but by the time we four were all gathered together we were starving.

The venue was Romeo's (or Enzo's as the locals call it, due to the fact that Enzo own & runs it) a little Eiscafé that is so popular on market days that reservations are advisable.

Rebecca, Rachael & I all opted for the 'small breakfast' which consists of a huge basket of bread (4 different sorts) butter, cream cheese, jam, ham, salami, paté, mozarella, tomato, brie (we had a combination of veggie and non veggie hence the wide selection of toppings to go on the bread), Princie decided to satisfy her sweet tooth and went for the banana & ice-cream waffle (shudder) this was all washed down with as much caffeine as we felt we needed.

It was a great way to end the week/start the week end, two hours of uninterrupted girlie time, just good, simple food, great coffee and even better company. I think we all felt the benefit, so much so that the venue (if not the date) for the next Frühstück has already been suggested.

So I guess I'm no longer a 'lady who lunches' but rather a 'frau die frühstücks'!

word of the day; kleines frühstück - a meal which can take up to two hours to consume and can replace 2 normal meals

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book reviews #14

Ralph's party - Lisa Jewell

A tangled love story or 3 tales in one book.

Jem moves into a flat share with 2 guys and decides that Smith is the man she's seen in her dreams, who she is destined to be with, Ralph thinks differently but can only watch as she falls into a relationship and in love with his best friend Smith, who for 5 years has harboured unrequited feelings of love for the girl in the top flat, Cheri.
Meanwhile Karl and Siobhan's (middle flat) relationship founders disastrously when she finds out how badly he betrayed her with Cheri.

A light bit of frothy, girlie, chick lit, nicely written and undemanding.

Will I rush to read more of Ms jewell's novels, the way I do a Pratchett or a Faulks? No. But also I wouldn't turn one down, and can quite easily see myself reading more.