Like marmite?

Good evening folks.  I’m back in Berlin now with sunshine and chocolate (melted malteasers from epic Sunday journey) and a rather superb guest post to follow up on.  I need to think about adding a glossary page for all you Engles to translate the tricky words like schadenfreude und so weiter, plus I clearly need to do some housekeeping since the punctuation problem, particularly the exlamation proliferation, is getting out of hand.

This might take some time, so in the meantime I invite you to admire this graffito from the streets of Islington.

A bit like marmite?  I don’t know, I quite like Wills and Kate but I don’t think I love them.  I certainly hate marmite though.  That’s a fact.




These Idle Thumbs

As promised, an utterly brilliant guest post from Mr Murray, who will be welcome back any time. Enjoy


In the absence of our fearless leader, who’s traipsing around doing her bit for Anglo-German-Oirish relations, I have been parachuted in to commandeer the squeakosphere and keep this blog ticking over. Think of me as something of a caretaker, a janitor, if you will. Though instead of fetching balls from the school roof, confiscating d!rty mags and bustin’ smokers in the bike shed, I’m more just popping in to check the windows are shut and run the taps for a bit. Turns out the theme of this blog, as the heading above points out and stops me dead in my typing tracks, is Berlin – of which I know a big, fat, clinically obese zero about. Clutching at straws, I recall seeing a movie called Munich, once, many moons ago, but that’s as geographically and as culturally close as I come to firsthand experience. My only knowledge of Berlin is what I have read on here: there’s an awful graffiti problem (called street-art in Germany, presumably the handiwork of the above-mentioned bike-shed dwelling delinquents), there’s a ‘Dom’, and there’s a suspicious sounding place called the Sausage Palace. I think I’ve seen it in one of the d!rty mags I confiscated. So while she’s teaching folk in Berlin, she’s simultaneously educating corn-chewing, petrol-sucking country bumpkins like me back in Blighty.

Anyway; the blog. She’s left behind a bit of a mess here, if I’m to be honest. There’s a bucket of exclamation marks spilt all over the floor, a drawer marked ‘punktuation’ lying wide open, coffee-cup marks on the log-in page and an assortment of German words scattered over the keyboard. I wouldn’t mind tidying up, it’s no bother really, but I’m only here in caretaker capacity. Check the windows. Run the taps. Plus I wouldn’t know where to put words like schadenfreude – which could be anything from a hilarious insult to some continental breakfasty thingy eaten in Germany. Like a croissant with a sausage in it. Dipped in beer.

I don’t really have anything of interest to report, promote or even convincingly rant about. But I promised I’d put these idle thumbs to use and contribute something. Anything to look forward to? Um, not really. The summer I suppose. Ah, the summer. Here it comes – galloping into town, flanked by a legion of cheap crappy barbeques, shirtless middle-aged monkey-men with their red-raw mansacks on display, and refined, chic ‘ladies’ in floral frocks peeing in public-park bushes.

Yup, the summer.

I’ve waded through seven dense, dark murky months of misery to arrive at this point, the onset of the sunshine season, so I intend to make it last and stretch every last shimmering sunbeam out of it, hence why I’ve been sporting shorts, shades and sun-block since Mid-March, and lying face-down drunk in the park since early April. Summer clothing has issues though. Shorts don’t suit me/I don’t suit shorts; my legs are so white I look like I’ve spent the majority of my life as a Shawshank’s inmate. Whiter than an episode of Midsomer Murders, these pins. Can’t understand, nor stand, flip-flops. Not because I don’t suit them – you can’t really not suit flip-flops – but because they are the single most impractical, uncomfortable, pointless brain-fart mankind has ever let rip. You don’t wear them; your toes carry them. The pages of history are littered with reasons against them. The Greeks and Romans famously marched on them, and their empires collapsed because going into battle in flip-flops was simply asking for trouble. The ill-fated folk of Pompeii perished because running in flip-flops was/is virtually impossible. Big JC of Nazareth wore ‘sandals’ (early flip-flops) and he ended up with a nail through his foot. I choose to learn from history and stick with solid, practical German innovation; Adidas.

 Anyway I best shoot, I’m starting to moan, and Her Right Royal Squeakiness will be back soon to commence keyboard battle and resume normal service. In parting, I left a little present of a mixtape for her when she gets back, but the copyright police at busted me for using a track without permission. So I need to run, the net is closing in and sirens are coming into earshot.

That is all.

Have a wonderful summer. See you around.


Trolls and treats and other good things

And so it was that the month of May was ordained to be the birthday month, that the many people could celebrate their birthdays in the sunshine.  Wednesday was my day but there’ve been several before me in May and several more to come.  It’s a good month.

Things that have happened lately:

  1. I’ve worked lots
  2. the girls in my German class took me out for ice cream on my birthday.  White chocolate ice cream in the sunshine, amazing!
  3. unfortunately I forgot that my evening class that came after the ice cream was starting at 17.00 instead of the usual 17.30 so I was dramatically late for the first time ever, and it was the first lesson with a new client.  Way to make a good impression Nics.
  4. that put me in a less than brilliant mood, but then I got home and the house smelled of cake.  Yet it was mysteriously empty.  Shortly afterwards Amanda whirled into the house, grabbed me and took me out to the bridge for an impromptu birthday celebration with the housemates, the cake she’d made, and beer.  I felt happy all over again, these guys are wunderbar.
  5. from the bridge I could see stars.  Most years on my birthday I find myself looking at the stars and I always feel lucky for having so many wonderful people in my life.  Love you all.
  6. the last trees to go green in Berlin, look like mimosas and smell amazing, but they make me sneeze.  The city is just gorgeous at the moment though.
  7. yesterday I had an actual social conversation that lasted aaaages in German at the Lomo shop launch party.  He was Austrian, but still, he understood me enough to converse about lots of stuff.  He was very polite and lovely and tolerant of my many mistakes, and it cheered me right up after a loooong day.
  8. my present arrived from LTN in a huuuuge box which was wonderfully exciting.  He gave me a set of totally gorgeous and rather fab set of speakers so I’m listening to music properly again!
  9. today I saw the most poseurish man ever on a bike , cycling over the bridge in a sleeveless t-shirt, with his hands  behind his head as if he were reclining at his ease…made me grin, and so he grinned back
  10. there was also a pug puppy at the s-bahn station.  It almost convinced me that pugs can be cute. Sadly I don’t have a photo for Bella though, my camera was already packed
  11. I got given Norwegian trolls by a student!
  12. Another student gave me a Dylan Thomas poem with a German translation.  It’s beautiful.
And now I’m on holiday.  Life is good.
I won’t be posting for a week or so, my apologies, I’ll try to bring you lots of good stuff when I get back, but until then, viel Spaß! xxx

Best of Bella

I experienced a massive fail during Bella’s fantabulous visit.  I forgot my camera.  Twice!  I’ve carried it faithfully ever day since I’ve been here, but the minute I had a new visitor I forgot it.  This means I’ll mostly be relying on Bella for photomagraphs to show how fun it was introducing her to Berlin.

At this point I should also confess that I had two important missions for the visit overall.  Firstly to find lots of pugs for Bella to photograph:  this went relatively well, we didn’t see many but those that we did see were superbly entertaining.  Secondly to photograph her eating a sausage, true Berliner food, under instructions from folks at home: this remains incomplete and I’m ashamed. Next time, I’ll do better.

 However, I do have a few photos from day 2, all taken once we’d recovered from Friday night, thanks to the judicious application of cakes, juice, a good band and lots of sunshine.

The mission for Saturday afternoon:

 1.  Purchase fabulous new sunglasses, pose and pout.


2.  Appreciate the architecture around Gendarmenmarkt.


3.  Locate ice cream and consume with all speed.


We also managed to point at important buildings, and enjoy a rather lovely sky. Well done us.

Big soldier


May Day.

Both are much bigger events here in the Land of Deutsch than at home.  Walpurgis night is apparently traditionally celebrated with dancing and bonfires, and in Berlin there’s a more modern tradition of leftist riots starting on Walpurgis night to get a head start for May Day.  This meant that there were police in body armour all over F’hain, and crowds of people wandering around, possibly following some undercurrents that I didn’t quite understand.

However, we missed the majority of any drama that was going on, because I decided to take LTN to Treptower Park and show him the soviet memorial on the way to the Kreuzberg Maifest.  It turned out that there was a party going on in the park too, so we ended up picnicking near a swing stage and practising flying, but never actually reaching the ‘officia’ Maifest.  Twas Fun though.

I don’t think LTN minded too much (I hope), he got a sausage and a good share of my cheese and ham bread thing out of it.  He also got to see the big soldier and play around with colours again.  Not that I am/he is easily pleased or anything…

You’ll notice that the memorial looks really quite different now that it’s all greened up.  Beautiful.  Happy belated Walpurgis all x