Friday, September 29, 2006

Know your Blog-Friends!

20 fun facts about Debs:

1 - her hair is an ideal nesting place for a medium sized family of birds
2 - she loves alcohol
3 - she can totally tell the difference between a sincere person and a 'blinder'
4 - she doesn't care for good wheel alignment (taking speed humps without slowing down)
5 - she is hilarious, even when she is serious!
6 - she is big hearted
7 - she is a great mom and wife
8 - she looks scary when she blows her top (danger of serious imjury to anyone in her path)
9 - she loves playing net-ball
10 - she laughs to freely, you just have to laugh with her
11 - she won't easily judge you but once she does, you stay judged!
12 - she is good at organising things
13 - she is scared to go to London (bombings, you see!)
14 - she is beautiful
15 - she is shorter than me but I wouldn't pick a fight with her
16 - she has a wicked sense of humour
17 - she is the only one who can keep company managers in check
18 - her husband is a great guy
19 - she lives in a beautiful house
20 - her hallway wallpaper used to look like a Chinese Take-Away

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Let's talk about Breasts!

It is that time again!! Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat . . . .
But unfortunately the goose is not alone! The same applies to me and the comment from people saying ‘You have put weight on, huh?!!’ can no longer be silenced with the explanation that it only looks that way because I am wearing ‘the shirt with belly’.

The aim is to lose 30 pounds! Yes, thirty – three oh - pounds or 15 kilos or 2 stone and 2 pounds, whichever you prefer!
I managed to do the same a year ago and raised a lot of money for charity.

I have decided that the charity which should benefit from my ‘Porky to Cool’ exercise should be the Breast Cancer Care charity.

Nobody in my family has ever suffered from this disease but our good friend and colleague Jo has sadly passed away after a long and brave fight against cancer.
I cannot even begin to imagine how awful it must be to be diagnosed with it.

The way it will work is that I will be doing various things throughout 12 months such as the sponsored slim, a wine tasting evening, etc. and will ask people to sponsor me for these things via the "Just Giving" website!

I am committed to raise £3000 ($5640 US Dollars or 4440 Euros) during those 12 months.
To sponsor me for this very worthy cause is really easy and every sponsorship will bless someone unfortunate enough to be touched by this dreadful disease.
Please have a look by clicking on the link below and thank you so much!!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nobody's Bitch!!

There are several rules which accompany ‘an evening out with the lads’.
These meetings are necessary and of great importance, serving a multitude of purposes such as:
* re-invigoration of Testosterone
* re-inforcement of the ‘I am top dog in my house’ illusion, having just promised your wife you won’t drink too much and be home before midnight!
* re-telling of various ‘This problem happened . . blablabla . . but I rescued the day’ stories

to mention but a few.

Besides which, it is an excellent oportunity to insult one another in the firm knowledge that no-one, yes, no-one will take offence.
These insult are to 99% designed to challenge your machoness!
You drink like a girl!’ (If your glass has slightly more liquid in it than the other’s)
Yellow is a girl’s colour!’ (If you happen to pot a yellow ball in pool billiad’
What are you?? A girl?’ (If you refuse to partake in a Kebab-Chips Combo after several pints)

So it was that last night Gary, Kev and I visited a few watering holes in town to drink, shoot pool, laugh like hyenas and chomp Kebabs (see picture).

Reason for meeting?
Gary has just resigned his job and is now for 5 days (i.e. before he starts his new job) as he puts it ‘nobody’s bitch’!!

It can safely be said that last night I was ‘the girl’, having drunk Budweiser rather than pints of beer, potting the yellow balls and refusing to poison my body with the Kebab-Chip Combo.

Luckily my ‘look into my eyes and tell me if I care’ stare neutralised the stigma attached to such behaviour and my ‘macho’ handshake ensured that I qualify for a future invite!

Monday, September 25, 2006

All the 3s

Here are some things about me and like all god things, they come in 3s.

3 smells I love:
- Freshly mowed grass
- Freshly tarmaced road
- Freshly baked bread

3 smells I hate:
- BO
- Burning rubber
- The smell you get whilst driving past a poultry farm (Yuk!)

3 jobs that I have had in my life:
Here are some classic ones:
- Packing coffee into boxes. After only 3 days I had more paper-cuts from the cardboard then grains of rice you could fit on a plate.
- Shovelling plants into a giant press. These plants would be used to make medicine and when you pressed them, dark stinky liquid would run all over the place. Everything coming into contact with that stuff stayed permanently coloured.
- Reorganising 20 year old files in a huge dusty cellar. Every night you’d come out looking like a chimney sweep and coughing your guts out!

3 movies that I could watch over and over:
- Serenity
- French kiss
- The Bourne identity (& supremacy)

3 days of fond memories:
- The day my daughter was born
- My wedding day
- My 40th birthday (to which my wife invited loads of people without me knowing)

3 jobs I would love to have:
- A judge on X-Factor (music talent show on TV)
- A tour guide in an interesting country
- A restaurant critic judging food standards and service and awarding Michelin stars

3 places that I have lived at:
- Paris
- Cologne
- York

3 things I like to do:
- Travel
- Blog
- Organise things

3 of my favorite foods:
- Indian food
- Pizza pepperoni
- Cheese

3 places I would like to be right now:
- Aghios Nicholaos in Crete. Sipping frappa overlooking the bay.
- Venice in Italy
- Scottish Highlands

3 websites that I visit daily:
- All my blogging friends
- BBC News
- Flickr

3 things that make me cry:
- Seeing people suffer
- Getting kicked in the ‘$£&%’
- Onions

3 friends that I would challenge to answer these questions on their blog:
- The Debster
- Yara
- A Novelist

Blinded by the Light

Another nice weekend and it was also our 18th wedding anniversary – ooohhhh!!!
Due to my wife just having had a little foot operation to straighten out one of her toes, she is ‘hop-along-cassidy’ and there are limits to what we can do.
We – that is my wife, her sister, my daughter and I – did go to see ‘Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’ at Milky Beans (Milton Keynes).

For all of you who are now saying: “Who??” I need to say: “You are too young!!”.
They are a band who were around mainly in the 70s and have created such songs as ‘The mighty Quinn’, ‘Dave is on the road again’, ‘Spirits in the night’ and many more including the worldwide mega hit ‘Blinded by the light’ which quite rightly states in its lyrics:
'Mama always told me not to look into the eye's of the sun
But mama, that's where the fun is'

I went to see them when I was 18 years old and was wondering if they would still be any good – being as they are now 60+.
Well, I need not have worried! They were excellent and the whole house enjoyed a polished performance with two standing ovations.

In one word (and to speak in modern term language) :

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sat Nav . . . not even a tad naff!!!!!

Today is a grey and rainy day. So it is just as well that my new toy has arrived last night, courtesy of Ebay!
It is my new Satellite Navigation system, which I need now that I am getting old and senile. It also will prevent my wife (quite rightly) snarling at me when we are driving somewhere and I haven’t even bothered to check out where we are supposed to go!
Yes, it has happened lately!! All my German organisation skills have been eroded over the years living in England.

These Sat Navs used to be a pain and if you ever veered off the pre-programmed track, it would bark at you and urge you to "turn around" (before you vill be shot in se knee-caps tvice!!)
Now however it just re-programs itself! Oooohhh!!
This will come in very handy soon when we go to Scotland.

As for now you can see me driving to work and back (a journey I have only made for the past 20 years) with this electronic device telling me where to go!
Aaaaahhh!! Men and their gadgets!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Still no Cash for You, Buster!!

Remember the gripe I wrote about not too long ago regarding a certain bank??
Look HERE to refresh your memory!

Have you looked HERE???

Well, here now is part II of the saga.

After having set up all my online banking details with that bank I did not use it because I couldn’t remember all the details.
I got phone call after phone call from them, no doubt wanting to know why I still haven’t used my bank account or credit card. However I always motioned to my family that I was not in to talk to them.
About 2 weeks ago in a weak moment of guilt and remorse I sat down in front of my computer, pulled the keyboard towards me and brought up the log on screen for the bank.

To my utter surprise I managed to get past all the security questions at the 3rd attempt and was presented with my account details.

You have nil pounds and nil pence in your account!

Sacre Bleu!! That must be because I have not put any money in! (Can you feel the sarcasm??)
So I transferred £800 just to get me started, exchanged my credit and debit cards in my wallet to the new shiny ones from bank XXX and thought no more about it!

A few days later I found myself in a shopping centre in Milky Beans (Nickname for the town of Milton Keynes) and thought to myself: “Self! You really should change your pin code to something you can easily remember!
So I went to the cash point, entered my card and my pin number and the screen promptly ask me if I wanted to change my pin number!

Erik: YES
Machine: Enter your original pin again
Erik: (type type type type)
Machine: Now enter your new pin
Erik: (type type type type)
Machine: Enter your new pin again
Erik: (type type type type)
Machine: Please wait while we contact your bank
Erik: (Doopeedoopeedoo . . tralala . . humdeedum)
Machine: Your bank has refused your pin change!
Erik: What the ????
Machine: Please take your card
Erik: (SNAP) Gorram &£$^+$^£ Bank!!!

So I go back home and phone the bank. After wanting to know my collar size, how quickly I can run a mile and whether or not circumcision had ever crossed my mind (only they call it “Taking you through security”) I was finally free to explain what had happened.
Did you try and change your pin at a XXX, YYY or ZZZ Bank???
No, it was a WWW-Bank!
Aaaaahhhh!!! That won’t work!! You can only do this at a a XXX, YYY or ZZZ Bank!
OK, nice for your bank to tell me so in advance – NOT!!
No wait!! Hmmm?? That is strange!! Your pin number has been changed today! So it must have worked after all!!

(Now we fast forward a few days when I am at Milky Beans station en route to London!)

Day-Return ticket to London please!
OK, just slot your card in the reader and type in your number!
(Can you guess what is going to come next??? . . . )

Erik: (type type type type) – The new pin number!
Machine: “Computer says NO”
Erik: (type type type type) – The old pin number!
Machine: “Computer says NO – and by the way . . do that again and we bar your card! Get it?!?!”

Station counter staff: “Tsssss!!!
Queue in line after me “TSSSSSSS!!!
Me: (Sweat, puff, pant, grin)

After a swift replacement of the Debit Card to the new XXX Credit Card I try again!

Since I only have some small change and some fluff in my pockets I decide to go to the cash point to get some much needed Claude (as in Claude Monet – Money) out.

First I try the debit card again with both numbers, none of which works.
Then I slide in the credit card, which it accepts and ask for some money!

Erik: Just gimme (type type) Pounds!
Machine: Please wait while we process your request!
Erik: (Doopeedoopeedoo . . tralala . . humdeedum)
Machine: Your bank has refused your request!
Erik: What the ????
Machine: Please take your card and never darken our door again. You are obviously penniless!
Erik: (SNAP) Gorram &£$^+$^£ Bank!!! That’s it!!

The station counter staff looked a but puzzled as I asked for some scissors and proceeded to cut up the cards in question!

I can’t wait for the next call from XXX Bank to quiz me over the lack of tranactions on my account! I will tell you all about it when it happened!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

. . . And the Answers were . . .

A1 B2 C1 D3 E1 F2 G3 and H1

Well done those of you who had a go at guessing!
If any answer surprised you, just ask me and I will explain!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Two Truths and a Lie

Here is a little something to see how good you are at spotting a lie!
Below are questions, each with three statements. Two are correct, one is a lie!
Can you spot the lie??
Post your guess as a comment (i.e. A2, B1, C3, D2, ...)
Next post will reveal the lies to you!
Have fun!

Which one is the lie??

Strange things happened to me as a child

As a child a hairdresser badly cut my ear and I needed stitches
As a child a man tried to throw me overboard on a ship
As a child a burglar tried to break into our house while I was in it

I like all of these!

Frogs Legs

Nothing frightens me!


I want to see these before I die!

Pyramids in Egypt
New York
Sahara Desert

I am able to do these!

Ski down a mountain
Solve the Rubic's Cube
Play the guitar

I love watching these!

Sci-Fi Films

I did all of these awful things!

Beat up a couple of Scouts
Threw a guy out of a moving tram
Shoved my brother into a wasp's nest

I like these types of music!

Classical music
Hard Rock

Did you spot the lies?? Not sure? Well, all will be revealed next post!
Don't forget to post your guess on the comments page

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Now you see it . . . now you don't!

Here is a good one!
Weeks ago on each corner of our streets on the estate chalk signs appeared to indicate that this is where the sidewalk needs to be sloped away for wheelchair access!
Suddenly the same council thought "F%ck it!" and re-tarmacked the whole gorram thing, thus covering up the chalk marks.
We are now awaiting the re-chalking of the pavement!
Only in England!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bank induced Tourette Syndrome

A good friend of mine - let's call him Tourette's Boy for ease - has just sent this letter to his bank.
I laughed so much I just had to share it with you!
Please, Tourette's Boy, let us have the reply from the bank!

Letter to the Bank

Dear Someone.

In this debt burdened world we exist in we are continually told to save money wherever possible. Sensibe advice that I try to take; I have been saving coinage for a good few years, those small denomination coins that are otherwise useless in everyday life with the advent of debit cards and the effect of inflation (Can you buy penny chews anymore I wonder?). I spent a torrid evening last week hunched over my dining room table impersonating Scrooge as I counted a large collection 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 & 50p into the appropriate amounts as printed on those small and (while we're having a whinge) extremely unfriendly bags (The opening is too small scuppering the attempts to count correctly as the coins spill onto the floor). Today, I have found time in my hectic life to drag myself to an Abbey branch to get them into my savings account that they may accumulate further wealth.

Imagine my astonishment then when I was told that Abbey do not take more than five bags at a time. My bank won't take cash anymore; or at least not a sensible amount of cash... In this instance, having kicked up a fuss in front of a long queue of other customers (as usual it was lunch and the tellers were, well, at lunch!) the branch agreed to take 20 bags; I think the point I started asking other members of the public in the queue if they could believe what I was being told was the decisive moment when the counter manager relented, bad press and all that.

The best part of this sad state of affairs was when I was told the reason they only take 5 bags was due to the size of the safe / vault and that they could not fit any more in. I guess that means that either the vault is full or you need a bigger vault. Do I honestly believe that explanation? Not one iota.

Now, I am a contractor on an hourly rate which means that it costs me money (lost income) to go to a branch. My nearest branch is in Egham, some 7 miles from where I work. That’s a 14 mile round trip and, with parking / walking time included I am looking at an hour to attend the branch. That’s £50 in lost income. Bearing in mind that I have (after banking 20 bags today for the grand sum of £20, the penny bags went in first!) another 50 or so bags left to bank, at 5 a day, that is another ten trips. Even before the cost of petrol, wear & tear on my car, parking charges I will be out of pocket £500 in lost earnings to bank the paltry sum of £160. Quite frankly, I would be better off if I just put the lot in the bin (Except that doing so is illegal as it defaces the Queens head).

Could you please in your infinite wisdom explain how I can bank my additional 50 bags in a single transaction (as the major high street banks allow – Barclays, Lloyds TSB as examples) rather than wasting several hours of my time and costing me in the order of £340? Quite frankly it’s another display of everything that is customer service in this country! Astonishing! Please do not, as your branch teller suggested, tell me to go to a supermarket and use their automatic counting machines as, as I explained to said teller and as I began this letter, I do not wish to spend the money but instead save it…
Yours, TB.

And these guys are looking after our funds??
Good luck to us all!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

News Flash! God wanted!


Four men have now been arrested in connection with the murder inquiry in Aylesbury this morning.
An official statement just released by Thames Valley Police reads as follows:
"Police have launched a murder inquiry after a man died following a fight in Aylesbury in the early hours of this morning. Officers were called to Cambridge Street just before 3am after reports that people were fighting in the road. On arrival they found a man with injuries at the scene. He was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he later died. The man, who has not yet been formally identified, is in his twenties. "

"Well, the man who has not been formally identified is the son of my friend” a colleague of mine confirmed to me, shaking his head in disbelieve and sorrow.

Another young life needlessly taken; another grief stricken family.
More people in prison, their families shamed and bewildered.
Looking for someone to blame other then any obvious, the people asking me the question:
You are a Christian! Where was God??” are the same people who only a short while ago were smirking at me and dismissing my plea to them to take time to find him.

Where was God??? Why don’t you ask him yourselves?!!?!
How can you hear him?
Here’s a tip!
God is often referred to as the still, small voice!

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Wood is fighting back!

This weekend I have had my fair share of troubles with the common wood.
First of all I decided to repaint the summerhouse in our garden. Luckily I started at the blind side, facing away from any view and only seen by the back fence (which hadn’t really cared about anything ever!). Once that side was done my wife came for an inspection of the work and remarked that it looked like a dog’s breakfast.
She was right! It looked streaky and downright horrible.
It was then that I figured out that I had bought the wrong painting stuff. It was too late to get to the store in time to buy the right paint so we opted for visiting my mother-in-law instead.
She led us into her garden and showed us a lilac tree which had taken on enormous dimensions and she was complaining that it took away all the light and the nice view to the cricket field behind her house.
Noooooo proooblem!!!” I said, waving my hand back and forth in a dismissive sort of way. “I will come by tomorrow and cut it off. Won’t take me more than 3 minutes!
(Reader please note: Why am I such an idiot and have not learned in all these years that whenever I say things as if they are the easiest things on earth those very things conspire against me in a spectacular way?!)

So yesterday (Sunday) we returned armed with 2 saws and a branch cutter to remove the offending article.
First I cut all the smaller branches off, which was easy and gave me an enormous feeling of power and achievement. Then it was the tree trunk’s turn. I positioned the saw near the bottom of the tree and started sawing . . . and sawing . . . and sawing . . . and getting hot . . and bothered . . and the saw got stuck . . and I was not even half way through the gorram tree and my strength was gone.

I will go home and fetch the electric saw!” I puffed. “See you in an hour!
So off I went, sucking the last cold air out of the air con just to get my breath back and lower my temperature to below boiling point and returned as promised some time later.
I hooked up the saw, aligned it with the tree and looked on in disbelief as the tree just laughed at me and the saw had about as much impact as an ashtray on a motorbike! None!
By now it was mid afternoon and I could hear (but not see) the cricketers playing on the field. Back to the manual sawing then!
Ritch-Ratch’ went the saw. ‘Puff-Puff’ went the Erik. ‘Drip-Drip’ went the sweat and even though I was now 8/10th through the tree it didn’t even sway.
Oh, you poor boy! I should have never asked you to do it! You will break you back! Just leave it now and I will get someone in to finish it off!
Give up??? Now?? After all this??? Never!!! I will not be beaten by gorram wood!
” I spewed, nearly bursting a blood vessel.
Yeah,” my wife said, “It’s personal now! Once Erik has got the bit between his teeth it’s kill or be killed!
And so it was that after hours of frustration at 4:26 p.m. British Summer Time I finally killed the tree just before the 3rd wicket fell in the local cricket derby which I could now clearly observe.
Great!” my mother-in-law exclaimed, “If you could now cut the branches into 10 inch (30 cm) pieces, I will be able to give it to the people down the road as fire wood for their open fireplaces!
I laughed at the cunning of this well-timed joke until I realised that she was not joking.
So even in death the tree had the last laugh as I spent the rest of the day sawing, sweating, cursing and hurting.

I don't know . . . . . !!
The things we must do when we don’t manage to control our mouth.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sun, Smiles and Songs from Eros

It’s all good!!! Weekend, sunshine, no more work and no traffic as I make my way home listening to one of my favourite music artists – Eros Ramazzotti!

Arriving home and thumbing through the utter crap that nowadays masquerades as ‘post’ I stop at a peculiar looking bag.
It is from my cousin in Hamburg, who has just send me some pictures I took on the fatal SD-Card.
I had forgotten that I downloaded those pictures juuuust in case!!! Premonition??
So thank you for sending it, Cous!

Anyway, here are some pictures from Hamburg – better late than never!
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Click here for the Hamburg Pictures

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I must be 'quackers'!

Ok, I admit it! I am a big Softy deep down. At times I can seem uncaring and don’t really have time for people who I have stamped as ‘morons’ but when my daughter sent me this photo taken on her camera phone this morning I was staring at it for a long time thinking how cute and loveable these little ducklings look!
Daughter No. 2 is currently spending some time with friends of hers who have a farm down in the south-east of England and I predict that she will ask us for an extension of time there rather than coming home on Monday.Looking at this picture, can you blame her??

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Beating your own drum!!

This post is a shameful and blatant attempt to promote a little book I have written!
It is called
A German Shepherd amongst Yorkshire Terriers
and is (as the sub-title shows) The often amusing Escapades of a German Boy coming to live in York, England for some Months. A Love Story about a City and about Life itself.
The boy in this story is actually me and the stories are real.
I think you will like it and recommend it for your perusal and would certainly love to hear your comments on it!
I have not published this as a book and make no money from it (unfortunately!).

To read this book all you need to do is to click on this link:

Erik's Book

If it makes you laugh, then my mission has succeeded!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Just waffling as usual!

Do you ever feel as if everybody is doing exciting things except you?
Well, reading some of my favourite blogs, it certainly feels that way to me.
There is Heather from Canada with her stunning post on her courageous jump, Yara hunting for a new job, Heather from London showing her beautiful pictures from the recent trip to Bruges, Anvilcloud getting instrumental, Lucy starting her new job soon and Janet visiting the fair!
Looking at my recent posts, I am just waffling.
Here then is a picture of my wife and daughter No. 2 “waffling” as well!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The productive weekend

Well, what a productive weekend! First I got my new blog header done and because the weather tried to tell via very blustery winds us that autumn has now really arrived, I cleaned out the garage, skipped all the junk that had assembled there over the year and got the garden winter-ready. Too soon??? Maybe but I won't feel like doing this once it gets cold outside!

What else?? . . . .

Oh, yes! I made a lovely dish! Basque Chicken (Spanish) which is very yummy!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

You like the new Header??

Finally I managed to get myself a new header uploaded!
May I say a big THANKS to everyone who has taken time to suggest ways and means to do this!
For all of you who also want to have a new picture header, here is how:

1.) You need some sort of software to manipulate a picture (to the right size and to overlay text if you want)
2.) Save the new header as a jpeg file to Flickr (or any other picture place)
3.) Go to and follow the advice as to how to amend the template.

All I did on step 3 was the last bit that starts with:

Since I want a header image, I should delete the Blog title and replace it with my logo/banner and center the banner.

Just copy/paste the gorram text and then substitute the jpeg file with your picture!
Good luck, friends!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Calling all Bloggers!!

Ok, here is something that's driving me crazy!!
Many blogsites have lovely pictures as their header which in essence are just jpeg files I guess that these people have made up and somehow built into the template code!
I had a look on blogger "Help" and they were talking about an "Edit Layout" function which I just don't seem to have.
So, can someone please enlighten me how this is done!
If it is too long to comment on here, just email it to me on

Here are some examples of what I am talking about.