31 December 2006

Happy New Year 2007!

To all of you,

have an excellent new year 2007. Stay healthy and may all you wish for come true! Peace and Light,


Where did 2006 go? I can hardly believe that this year has already passed.

Looking back it seems like yesterday that we celebrated the new year in our old flat in Mülheim's old part of town.

Last February we started renovating the place where Annette’s grandparents used to live so that we could move in. This project meant the initiation of me into the circle of DIYers. Who would have thought that I would end up knocking down walls, plastering and using power tools?

Much of this year we have spent putting the finishing touches to our new place and finding the right furniture. We still need a lamp for the dining area and a bathroom mirror, but apart from that we are done. The next big project will be redesigning our garden next spring. Annette has already gotten into gardening; I am not quite so enthusiastic, yet.

In the course of this year I also passed my probation period and settled in at the Volkshochschule Essen, Essen’s adult education centre. I don’t feel like the newcomer anymore and am enjoying my new job. Currently I am having fun implementing an e‑learning strategy. Well, you know I have always enjoyed playing with computers...

Annette is still at her primary school in Krefeld and her workload seems to be ever increasing. Although her school day officially finishes at 1.30pm, I’m home earlier than her frequently. So we sit together in the evenings and while she is doing her marking I “play” on the computer (the aforementioned e-learning thingy or this blog, for example).

In the summer we spent a lovely week in Lynton, Devon and then picked up Nathan in Lichfield to have him stay with us in Mülheim for two weeks. We also celebrated our first wedding anniversary during this time and it was nice to have Sue and Vic, my English parents, over for the party as well.

In the autumn we celebrated Margret's and Norbert's 60th bithdays with a huge party and in November we all went away on a nostalgic family holiday to Holland. In December Annette and I also spent a lovely weekend in Münster, where Annette used to live during her university years.

The last couple of days I stayed in Lichfield to see Nathan and deliver the presents Santa left in Mülheim. A shame, I was only able to stay for two days but we made the most of it and I am now a Lego master-builder as well as an Uno expert.

I wonder what the new year will entail for us personally. I hope we will keep being blessed with good fortune as the last couple of years have been very happy ones. On the whole the year will probably proof quite difficult for the Germans; VAT and National Insurance contributions will rise and a lot of people will really be worse off. But I think I am due for a little pay rise, so it's not all bad news...

25 December 2006

25 December - Happy Birthday, Monika!

Happy 50th Birthday, Monika. Thank you for letting Annette's Mummy practise with you!

11 December 2006


This is a picture of Münster's St Lambert's Church with its three cages hanging from the spire.

Originally the baskets were used to display the dead bodies of Jan van Leiden, and other anabaptists after the troops of Bishop van Waldeck liberated Münster. However they'd make a great storage room for all kinds of people you want rid off. If it was up to you, who would you put in them? My wife Annette thought exactly 0.23 seconds to come up with three names. I still cannot make my mind up. Can you?

Last film seen: A Good Woman
CD currently playing: Billy Idol - Happy Holidays

01 December 2006

Things I like most about Germany

  1. My wife Annette
  2. Rouladen mit Rotkohl und Knödeln
  3. Beer and wine are sold at reasonable prices
Without Annette I'd be incomplete. There's no better reason to move to Germany than being with somebody you want to share the rest of your life with.

Especially in this cold time of year roulades with red cabbage and dumplings are a meal to look forward to. Annette's way of making them is of course inimitable. However another good recipe can be found here. If you struggle with the German try this babelfish translation. It also shows why translators won't be out of work for decades to come...

When buying wine or beer in Germany, I cannot believe how much I used to pay for a decent tipple. A good bottle of wine can be had for less than €6 (convert to Pound Sterling) and beer is bought in crates of 20 returnable bottles for less than a Euro per bottle. And who wouldn't argue that good food and drink forms an important part of a desirable quality of life?

The one thing I really like about Germany at the moment is the festive spirit, the Christmas decorations, markets and the illuminations. We're off to Münster tomorrow which has one of the most beautiful Christmas markets.