We've got to the point in Germany where we've been here long enough that stuff is breaking/wearing out/being out grown and needing to be replaced.
There are two options - replace like with like by sourcing from England or go local.
There are issues with both of these options...
- One of my Jamie Oliver stainless steel saucepans has decided to start leaking, you wouldn't think it possible would you, but the way the handle is fixed on means that it can and does leak through the fixing points (it's part of a set of three, so I'm guessing the others are going to have to be replaced sooner or later). Clearly this could easily be sourced locally and needed to be seeing as I need the pan NOW and the weight and feel of the pan is important and you can't get that impression over the internet. I interrogated one shop assistant about their pans and was told that they only offered pans of that size (I'm talking small/medium pan, 1-1.5 litre, the size that is useful for everything) with two little handles rather than one long sticky out one. But I wanted what I'd had, and what I'd had was one long sticky out handle. So I gave up on that store and decided to go somewhere else with more choice.
Apparently in Germany they only come with two handles over a certain size, so I had to bite the bullet and go native.
- I recently had to buy Ben a new duvet. We're having to accept the fact that at 14 he's growing up and therefore he has a new (slightly bigger) bed and new paint job on the walls and new duvet cover - the old UK ones were thought to be too juvenile (he had a point, planets and graffiti are aimed more at the younger boy and therefore childish and 'not cool'). I tried to get a duvet from M&S - they are quite happy to deliver abroad, but duvets are clearly the exception (of course you only find this out after spending some time choosing what you want, adding to the order and then getting to the checkout point. Grrrrrr). So I had to get the duvet and cover here. Not such a problem, although the duvet cover choice can be a little dull, then I had to get the duvet to fit in the cover and discovered that it was a good job that M&S didn't deliver duvets abroad as it wouldn't have fitted into the cover. I was informed that in Germany there are three duvet sizes; small (single/1 person) medium (almost a double/1-2 people or 1 very wriggly teen) and large. So I have the correct sized duvet for the cover but what I don't understand is why it doesn't look as if it fits, maybe I need to rotate the duvet through 90 degrees?
- The pillows in our house were getting old and decrepit and had to be replaced. Another tricky thing to source over the internet as again you need to test them, so we have to go local. The problem here is that the continentals have weird ideas when it comes to head/neck support in bed. You either go for something that is almost a metre square (which most people apparently double over) or you go for something that is a little longer than the standard UK rectangular pillow and also a little narrower. Fortunately this narrower pillow still fits in our existing English pillow cases, although they don't look as athetically pleasing, but as I'm not planning on entering a Good Homes competition they'll do, just.
- Wellies were one of the first things I had a problem with here. As a dog owner and walker (the two go hand in hand) wellies are an integral part of my autumn/winter/spring attire. I had a lovely pair of red wellies from England that expired after one year of German mud - which I think must be excessively corrosive (certainly wouldn't want to use it for a face pack), so I replaced them with a locally sourced pair (afterall when your boots start to leak they have to be replaced pretty damn fast) but these also lasted only one winter, fortunately then we were in late spring and had a week in England planned for the summer. My lilac Hunter wellies were collected on the trip and are still going strong, clearly impervious to German mud.
Of course the dilemma of buying locally or sourcing from the UK is only possible due to the ever spreading internet, it does make the transition smoother and less arduous. I just wish it was as worldwide as it's supposed to be - but that's a whole other story!