April 2024
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Sunday in Germany

by Ken Yeager (ACS)

Moin, Moin, as we say here in north Germany using the local Plattdeutsch.  Just a quick note to say hello to all of the Saigon Kids that take the time to read my blatherings and perhaps to drum up some interest in writing by a few of you.

My day started by shoveling snow.  We got about an inch and half last night and the law says that the sidewalks in front of one’s house must be cleaned by 0900.  Now we don’t really have a sidewalk but more of a dirt path in front of our place…the cement sidewalk is on the other side of the street, so don’t know if the law really applies to us except for the paved section of our driveway.  I share duties with my neighbor/landlord…the does it one time, I do it the next.  Naturally, the snow blower is in the shop…won’t start and just when it’s needed.  I think I bought a dud.  But seeing as today is Sunday and the noise laws here, I would probably get into trouble using it today.  Germany and its nanny state laws can really be annoying at times.

I am not a terribly big TV fan but my wife and I have been really enjoying the Downton Abbey series.  If you haven’t seen them, I think you are missing a really good British TV production. 

To date, there are three series of 6 to 9 episodes each plus the 2013 Christmas special.  The first series was broadcast on German TV a couple of weeks ago, but of course, in German and German stations don’t do subtitles (which is why most Germans never learn English very good, while the Dutch folks are almost all fluent in 4 languages).  Anyway, if you haven’t seen it on TV, consider buying DVDs of it.  I wanted to hear it in English and we both wanted to be able to read the subtitles (the speakers are English and they tend to muffle their speech at times) so we got our copies from Amazon UK.  Google Downton Abbey to get a brief synopsis of the series before you invest in DVDs since we don’t all have the same tastes in programs.  A 4th series is supposed to be done this year.

On Friday afternoon I was off to the Hamburg Motorrad Tage (Motorcycle Days), a fair in which there are a number of vendors selling new and used motorcycles, equipment, gadgets, tours, clubs seeking members, food and drink, police, fire department and military recruiters, and lots and lots of people.  I am still madly in love with my 2005 Kawasaki 1600 Nomad, but there were some really nice bikes on display.  I think if I had the money I would also buy a small 650cc Café Roadster, one of those 3 wheeled motor scooters, and a nice Triumph motorcycle.  I do like the Triumph styling and while it is not “cruiser” styling, they look nice and I know they perform wonderfully.   Our vacation this year will interfere with one event for me, but the Blessing of the Bikes takes place in early June, weather permitting, and towards the end of June starts the Hamburg Harley Days which will be celebrating their 10th anniversary.  The Hanse Bikers Charity Ride is in July during our vacation.  I don’t ride with them anymore but I do contribute to their charity which is for the children’s cancer ward at one of the local hospitals.

One of my few friends here in the Hamburg (HH) area is a fellow I met during my time in the Hanse Bikers.  He is a retired sea captain who translated his seaman skills into some sort of sea transport business that he and his wife ran from Singapore.  He has since retired after selling his business for what obviously was a goodly sum of money.  He now owns a very nice house outside of Hamburg and a nice place in Texas with some land and a good sized house.  He has two Harley Davidson motorcycles in Germany and one in the US.  While not terribly close, we are friends and get together now and again.  We have an open invitation to visit them in Texas or use the house whenever we want but Texas is sooo far away.  The friends are in the US now enjoying, I hope, warm weather.

My wife and I are on a diet right now.  We have to do this at least once a year.  While my wife loves to buy clothes, she hates changing sizes, so hence the diet.  We are just ending our second week with one more to go.  I hate diets because I really enjoy food, but I too have the same problem as my wife except that I hate buying clothes.  Our diet is called Metabolic Balance.  We started by having a blood test which is supposed to determine what your digestive system can easily assimilate and those are the foods you are supposed to eat.  But NO carbohydrates, fats, or dairy products (goat’s cheese is an exception).   For us, it works and since one can eat a full meal, one does not experience hunger.  Cravings perhaps, but no hunger.  I lost 6 lbs in the first week.  Will know tomorrow about loss in the second week (probably not much).

Looking forward to summer.  I dislike cold weather, snow, ice..I guess Saigon weather got into my blood and stayed there.

OK enough.  I wish everyone a good and enjoyable Sunday and a great week.  How fast the time does fly. 


5 comments to Sunday in Germany

  • Suellen Oliver Campbell

    I love the tales of daily life in Germany, Ken. Don’t ever stop writing…we are reading! I have never been to Germany, but I do enjoy hearing about the festivals, weather, seasons etc. You describe your life so delightfully.

    I am a huge Downton Abbey fan, as are many of my friends. Nothing like a good English time-period soap-opera with costumes, vehicles and extravagant lifestyles. The acting has been superb, too. We are currently watching Season 3 on our PBS station, and it has had some real surprises each week. I understand the younger actors are hoping to get work in the U.S. and therefore there are no guarantees as to who will survive to make it to Season 4.

    If you and any other readers like Downton, you might also enjoy Monarch of the Glen, a contemporary series set in Scotland on a beautiful estate, and also very well-done. Julian Fellowes, who wrote Downton Abbey is a recurring character in Monarch. It ran for 7-8 years I think.

    Another worthwhile series is Ballykissangel, a contemporary themed series set in a small Irish village, with recurring characters. And we also enjoyed the short series entitled, The Constable. Another small village setting. You will recognize the lead character!

    Charles and I are not too keen on the majority of mainstream American tv shows, but we do find entertainment through many British series on PBS or DVD or Roku rental. We have decided that the usual fare on American tv is Hollywood’s attempt to dummy-down our intellect, and though we do not consider ourselves intellectual, we are trying to preserve what intelligence we do have.

    Let me know if you try any of my suggestions and what you think of them, Ken.
    Meanwhile, enjoy the winter in Germany. Here in Houston it has been in the high 70s and low 80s this past week. Crazy! Come to Texas…it is not soooooooo far!
    My best, always.

    • Kenneth R. Yeager

      Thanks for the nice comment re my ramblings and also for the names of other good series. I’ve check on Amazon but cannot find anything on The Constable. Suggestions on where to look to buy the video. The other two you suggested are available from Amazon UK so I will probably buy those.
      Along similar lines but with books and videos, have you seen or read anything from James Harriot? He has a series of book out and I think it was BBC that make a TV series. And for great reading, at least in my humble opinion, check out books by R. Delderfield, especially the series A Horseman Riding By and Give Us This Day/God is an Englishman. I’ve read both series at least three times. He has other books out but those are amoung the best, again my opinion.

      My friend that I mentioned above in my ramblings is an a small place called Hockley, which is pretty close to Houston. Doesn’t look to me to be too much there but I’m just referring to what I can see using Google Earth.
      Take care – Ken

  • Suellen Oliver Campbell

    Hockley is a very small community just west of Tomball, which is about 20 minutes from us in north Houston. Hockley is ranch/farm country. Not much there, but probably some very nice folks.
    Ken, I loved the PBS/BBC tv series, A Horseman Riding By, which was shown many years ago now. Really loved the All Creatures Great and Small PBS/BBC series, too. It was on for several years and the Herriot books by the same name are so entertaining. Based on the lives of a real English vet and his brother, they will make you laugh outloud.
    Thanks for your recommendations. I will try the Delderfield books.

    Since Downton Abbey is a favorite, then I really hope you will enjoy the other two series. Also, from doing some Googling, I discovered that I gave you the wrong name for the Scottish series about the constable. It is called Hamish Macbeth and stars Robert Carlyle. You will recognize Carlyle as the star of movie, The Full Monty. Sorry to have steered you wrong, Ken. Hope this new info helps you locate it.
    Have fun watching…wish I could see them all again for the first time. Charles and I really do enjoy the hours of BBC quality productions. U.S. tv has so lowered its standards and quality that we find it sadly disappointing these days.
    Also, if you have not been introduced to Doc Martin, you really should take a gander at this newer BBC series, too. Great scenery, quirky acting and British humor to boot. Martin Clune plays the primary character: a contemporary age doctor sent to a little town on the beautiful Cornwall coast of England. Recurring characters; the series has run for 5 years now, and we hope for a few more.

    So that should keep you busy for a few months/years of Germany’s cold winters. Have fun ordering. Let me know what you think of my suggestions.

  • Suellen Oliver Campbell

    Rats! I forgot to mention New Tricks, another BBC series that Charles really likes. It is about a group of retired English coppers who go about solving old cases of unresolved crimes. They are somewhat unorthodox in their investigations but get the job done in the end. Thought you might like to take a look at this series,too, if you enjoy crime-themed storylines. It is contemporary with great actors you will recognize from other British productions.

  • Kenneth R. Yeager

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. Now I just have to convince my wife to let me spend the money to buy the various series, but I’ll manage. Take care – Ken

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