Monday, July 31, 2006

Eastern Promise

This weekend my wife and I went East to Norfolk and Suffolk for various reasons:
Firstly because it was my good mate’s 50th birthday and we just had to be there to assist in the destruction of the beer mountain.
Secondly to visit 2 charming couples whom we met on our Italy trip last year and who happen to live there and thirdly to have a look at possible sites near the sea to move to should we suddenly get the urge to do so.

The party was great and held at The Locks at Geldeston near Beccles.
This pub has a nice garden which boarders onto the Norfolk Broads and with the weather being utterly brilliant, the 80 guests just sat in the garden talking, drinking and having a great time.
My wife (having known me for 20 years now) sensed correctly that I was having the beer goggles on and that yet another pint might just be a bridge to far. Thus she ushered me into the car and removed me from the procedures. The rest is just a blur!

The 2 couples from the Italy trip welcomed us and we had a great time sharing stories, eating their food and talking about possible future holiday plans.
It was lovely seeing them again and we hope they will be able to visit us in return real soon.
Message to Dave:
I know it’s your ferkin’ computer but you’re still nuts to have all those icons on your desktop!
Message to Terry:
Thanks for the barbeque which was delicious, mate. Am I going to buy one though . . . Maybe when the Taliban gets the Nobel peace prize!

On the issue of moving, we did find a nice place we liked! It’s called Overstrand and had ticked a lot of boxes! . . . . That is until I found out that it is fast disappearing as the cliffs there are falling into the sea!
(Read this)
I don’t think my wife would like this a lot and I am not too keen on it myself! So the hunt continues.
At present the areas under consideration are:
Scotland (West Coast), Norfolk, Suffolk Coast, North Devon Coast.
The latter seems very expensive.
If any of you readers care to suggest a place in those areas or somewhere else, we would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What a load of bull, Mr. Picasso!!

A relative of mine started me griping on this one! Art!!
Let me explain!
Some years back now my uncle, who seems to believe that the love of ‘art’ is what marks you out as educated whereas the lack of understanding ‘art’ slots you firmly in to the weasel category of human hierarchy.
We are not talking any art here!! Oh no!! We are talking ‘His art’, the art he likes and true to prediction and very conveniently the art he likes is the art that has reached worldwide recognition.
Me, I don’t run with the crowd, I support the underdog, I need to be persuaded by passion, motivation, love, etc. . . .
The conversation went somewhat like this:

‘Erik, look at this painting’ (placing large, open catalogue in front of me showing a large picture - See below - ).

‘Isn’t it pure genius how Picasso managed to create this bulls head from everyday items?’
‘It’s a saddle and some handle bars!’
‘Yes, yes, but it is also a bulls head!’
‘No, don’t you see . . if these items had been placed any other way it would not have worked!’
‘If you would place the handle bars below the saddle and upside down you’d have a skull with a moustache!! There!! I am Picasso!!’
‘You are missing the point! The genius of th. . . ‘
‘You are missing the point! I don’t give a rat’s arse!!’
‘Art like this is what sets us apart from animals!’
‘So what about a man with tattoos and various nails and studs through various body parts!? . . . . Art??? Masochistic nonsense??? . . . . something to set him apart from the animals or just a filthy animal himself??’
‘You can hardly compare that with Picasso!!’
‘No?? I believe I just did!!’
‘Picasso is untouchable as a master of art!’
‘Picasso sucks!!’
(Shuts catalogue violently and storms off)

Now I know that was naughty and I was out to wind him up as I really don’t care about Picasso either ways – as far as I am concerned he can have his fame!
I just don’t agree with anyone professing to be able to judge ‘Art’ and pigeon-hole people according to their interest or taste in it.
Surely art is subjective and might mean different things to different people?!
This blog site for example:
Some think it’s a steaming pile of manure whilst others look forward to reading it and having a giggle! Art?? Maybe!
Besides, I did not feel any passion in his voice or arguments apart from the ‘O, look how clever and High Society I really am!! I have come a long way since the animal stage and I am now superior!’
Well, uncle, good luck with that!
As for me . . . being the animal I am I can at least scratch my arse without anyone (including myself) being embarrassed and compliment someone on their newly acquired tattoo!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Nicole??? - - - Papa??!!

Whilst we were up in Oban, Scotland, we decided to take the ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull, which takes only about 45 minutes. My hidden agenda was to visit the Tobermory distillery, which was closed on my previous trip to the Isle.
So we all boarded the motorised sofa (see previous post) and headed for the port of Oban.
Unlike the previous time when we got nearly stranded in Oban due to the ferry being full up and me not having reserved tickets beforehand (‘Who is going to want to go to Mull anyway?’) everything went smoothly this time because I did not make that mistake again.
Because of our dog we all went up on deck and sat down amongst the cleverly disguised (NOT) tourists from various countries.

If I had not previously mentioned the fact that I was born in Germany, now is as good a time as any!
P.S.: –End

After a minute or so a woman sat herself next to me (picture Maureen Lipman in the “ology” adverts) and stroking our dog grinned at me and said: ‘So ein suesser Hund! Wir haben auch einen zu Hause! (Such a sweet dog! We, too, have one at home!) Sorry, no English!’
I replied in German: ‘You wanna buy it?? I’d sell it cheap!’
Shocked at my perfect German she looked at me in a “Nicole??? - - - Papa??!!” – sort of way and then went straight into a tornado of German sentences with wild hand gestures and excitedly flickering eyes.

She started to tell me all about her being on a bus tour through Scotland and was complaining about everything.
‘We have not even had time to go to a shop to buy Whisky and if we had, nobody told us what we might like! Are all Whisky’s the same?’
I suggested buying a bottle of Dalwhinnie, being soft with sweet after-taste for the ladies.
‘Oooh! You are such a nice man!! Darvinni?!’
During the crossing I suggested shops, restaurants, places to see and things to watch out for.
‘Oooh! You are such a nice man. You should do your own tours for Germans’
I told her that I had indeed contemplated doing just that and she said that she would definitely sign up for it.
She told me that she can see why I live in Scotland even though she found it very expensive!
I corrected her and advised her that I live in Buckingham, England.
‘Haha!! Even I know that the queen lives in Buckingham! ‘Oooh! You are such a naughty man!!’
I could not be pestered to untangle that misunderstanding and just smiled sweetly.
Our dog who, granted, is a bit dozy, did not pick up my telekinetic orders to bite her or at least grown enough to make her move so I got up to find the rest of the family, all of which had fled to the safety of the lower deck.
‘Auf Wiedersehen!’ I chirped shaking her hand as it is custom over there.
‘Auf Wiedersehen! It was a pleasure to meet such a nice man!!’
That’ll learn me to open my big mouth.
We met the woman and her group again on the way back but I did not stand still long enough for her to initiate conversation.

If I ever start doing tours for Germans, I will need a lot of Calm pills.
All said and done however it distinctively looks like I am a very nice man!!
(Blushes slightly and looks coy)

Monday, July 24, 2006

The motorised Sofa

The reason why the electronic firefly was not updated lately lies in the fact that son No. 2 got married up in the north of England and we combined this with a visit to Scotland.
Since my wife, my daughter No. 2, my dog and I were due to be joined by my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, their son No. 2 and their dog, I decided to book a people carrier for the duration.

The online order form was easy enough, asking me the usual questions such as:

‘Do you have points on your licence or any other serious illnesses?’
‘Are you between 80 and clinically dead (or is anyone in your party wanting to drive this vehicle being between 80 and clinically dead?)’
‘Are you wanting to take this vehicle out of the country and if so, are you likely to go the Lebanon or any other war-torn country?’

One of the more important questions was the to determine the choice of your vehicle.
Would I like a car the size of a kidney bean, a tent, an aircraft hanger or a medium sized country?!?

The Vauxhall Zafira was too small – classed as a Mini MPV so I opted for the Toyota Previa, being (as I know from my brother in Germany who actually has one) a large, fully fletched 7 seater with luggage room.

The day of our departure finally arrived and I turned up at the rental company at 10 a.m. as promised to receive my vehicle.

‘Hello, E.S.U. is the name! I am here to pick up the Previa!’
‘Hello! Come with me!’
the assistant said, waving his arms in a “c’mon I ain’t got not much time” sort of way.
‘Here you are!’
‘This is a Vauxhall Zafira!’ I pointed out.
‘Yeah, great car! Air-con, fully loaded and automatic!’
‘Apart from being too small! I ordered a Previa!’
‘Yes, but it does state that it might be a similar vehicle!’
‘Is a horse similar to an elephant???? Well . . . . is it????
‘Guess not! But the fact still remains tha . . .’
‘. . . But the fact still remains that I don’t give a rat’s arse about your facts! Where the ferkin’ smeg is my Previa??’
‘You ordered a people carrier and this one is one!!’
‘Nope!! I ordered a LARGE people carrier as in your LARGE PEOPLE CARRIER group!!!’
‘No need to shout!’
‘W H A T ? ? ? ? ‘ (now breathing hard like a bull)

(Enter his manager)

‘What seems to be the problem??’
‘I ordered a LARGE people carrier and this Bozo is trying to fob me off with a Zafira!’
‘I am very sorry!’
(Stunned silence! Did he just apologise?)
‘We made a mistake!’
(Even more stunned silence!! Did he just admit to making a mistake??)
‘We do have a similar sized vehicle coming in and it will be here in 30 minutes if you can wait?!?’
‘What is it?’
‘A Kia Sedona!’
‘Sedona?? Sounds like a Sofa!’

I agreed to wait and every 10 minutes over the promised arrival time of half an hour I got more concessions out of them. Extra petrol, extra insurance for another driver, etc.
By the time the car arrived they were more than happy to see the back of me.

Once home I started to pack the Kia with the entire content of our house (or so it seemed) and we went on our way.

As it was hot, the air con was going but there was something wrong.
If I directed the air con to the top, the bottom would blow out hot air and visa versa.
My daughter in the back informed me that all the vents at the back were blowing out hot air and that the dog was melting!

Having tried everything I finally saw in the middle of a thousand buttons on the dashboard a button with the markings “HT RR” on it.
I had given it no thought earlier but when I pressed it, the Kia turned from a sauna into a fridge!
After another 10 miles even the dog stopped panting and zipped up his fur.
The seats were like sofa seats – complete with arm-rests and the gear change was like that known to my granddad when driving a 5 ton army truck. I never missed so many gears in my entire life and even my wife wondered if I had finally lost it!!
The car had only 3900 miles on the clock but had the look and feel of a 10 year old veteran.

It did however do the job and was very economic on the old Diesel fuel.
When I returned it 10 days later and 2000 miles older, unwashed, unhoovered and without much fuel left in the tank my wife thought I would not get my deposit back (£150) but she was wrong! Guess what! The guy still remembered me and could not have been more eager to pay me the dosh!

Nice people!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

No cash for you, Buster!!!!

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I hate complications and can become quite stroppy with people trying to set common sense aside for the sake of rules and regulations.

A few days ago I signed up with a new bank online and filled in all the things I was asked to fill in.
Spookily I was accepted and as by magic a few days later such things as cheque books and cards arrived.
I therefore last night went back onto the web to do some internet banking.
To my surprise I had to “register” for internet banking by phoning a number.
Easy! . . . Or so I thought!!
Here then is the general conversation with the bank woman:

‘Good evening, XXX-Bank, Sally speaking, how can we help?’
‘Hi, Sally, my name is E.S.U. and I would like to sign up for internet banking!’
‘Sure! I need to first take you through “Security”!’
‘Oh, OK!?!’
‘Can you give me digit 1 and 3 of your pin number?’
‘I haven’t received my pin number yet!’
‘Ok, when did you open your account?’
‘Just now! Which is why I am ringing you!’
‘Can you give me your memorable name?’
‘What name would that be?’
‘The name you gave on the online form when you applied!’
‘Oh . . . . eeehm . . . Jamie?’
NOOOO!!!! . . . What about your memorable date???’
‘I slept since then!!’
What credit limit did we give you??’
‘Eeehhmmm . . . £5700???’
‘Well, it has definitely got a 5 and a 7 in it!!!

£57?? (laughs nervously)’
(Big Sigh)
OK, what is the account number you gave us??’
‘What number? The one from my current bank?’
‘OK, it is (number here)!’
‘No, that is your account number from OUR bank!’
‘Oh, hang on!! I just found your letter!!! The credit limit is £7500!!!!!’
‘Too late!’
‘What do you mean by “too late”?? Too late for what??’
‘I need to go through my computer screen prompts and that one has gone!’
‘So what you are saying is: “
Computer says NO’ harhargnahaha snort!!’
‘ ~~~~ silence ~~~’
‘Look here, Sandie!’ ‘SALLY’ ‘yeah, Sally, ask me something I will know! It is me, honestly!!’
‘What is your date of birth?’
‘Aha!!!! Yes, it is (birth date for Sally’s ears only)!’

After another half dozen silly questions she finally believes me to be ME and proceeds:

‘Right, now that we have established that you are YOU (which I actually knew all the time even though she almost made me doubt it)
how about setting up a new memorable name??’
‘OK, how about . . . “SERIOUSLY” ??
‘Yes, straight up! I’m not yoking!!’
‘No, I mean . . the memorable word is “SERIOUSLY”??
‘The word is “Honestly?”
‘No the word is “SERIOUSLY” . . Honestly!!’
‘OK, how do you spell that??’
‘Are you being serious???
‘OK (spells the word) S for Sheep, E for Electricity, R for Rooney, I for Ice-pick, O for Oslo, U for Underpants, S for another sheep, L for Lunatic and Y for . . . well . . just Y!’

‘Ok, how about a memorable date??’
‘No thanks, I’m married! Hohohohhaha!’
‘ ~~~~ icy, icy silence ~~~’
‘OK, how about 03-07-2006??’
‘That’s today!!’
‘Well, I won’t forget it in a hurry, will you?’
(can I hear gnashing of teeth??)
‘OK, lastly can you give me the name of your last school?!’
‘Yes (remember I was brought up in Germany), It is

‘ ~~~~ utter, utter, utter silence ~~~’
(Tries not to cry) Any other school??’
‘Yes, but that was my last one!’
‘What about your first one?’
‘That’ll do! You are now registered to bank online! Good-bye’

Well, that was fun!! By the way . . remember the fact that I cannot remember names?!?
I have already forgotten what name I gave for the memorable one!
Maybe I will just have to cancel this account again!

P.S.: I will be away on holiday for a couple of weeks, so no blogging I’m afraid. Back on the 24th July. Wish me luck!

P.S.S.: If you are Sally from XXX-Bank . . . . Sorry, love!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Stag Do - Part II

Here we are again – stag do done and dusted!
We drove up to near Nottingham to a place in Nowheres Land for some Buggy Mud Racing and Quad Biking. The temperatures were rising fast and the sun was blasting out of a clear blue sky. Luckily Gary and I had taken precaution - me bringing along sun-factor 30 sunshield and Gary a fully stocked cool-bag with ice cold beers!
The stag was late and by the time he arrived we had already necked two bottles each.
The mud racing had turned into dust racing and the ground was so hard that it shook the bones out of place, going round the track.
The quad biking was through some very bumpy and windy forest track and I failed to turn into a corner on time and collided with a tree, much to the amusement of the whole party.
Wearing a helmet when the temperature is already 30 degrees is no picnic and I was sweating like a naughty boy in church.
Once we finished we tipped back another couple of bottles (minus the drivers of course) and drove up to the hotel to watch the England – Portugal match.
If I would have been a nail-biting person I would have eaten most of my hands but as it was more alcohol took its place.
Gutted!!! We were robbed and as if losing was not enough I also had to put up with my brother’s text messages taking the p*ss out of us (he is German).
To sum up the day:
Apart from getting drunk and sweating a lot the day was full of little disappointments.
No England victory, no strippers and I agree with Yara (see comment on previous post) that girls these days seem to have more fun.
Is sex change the right option for me???