Sunday, April 29, 2007
In other news, Hasbro is coming out with a new "Here & Now" UK Monopoly edition. People can vote on what places get to be spots on the board. There's a chance for even little places to get onto the board as wildcards. So go here and vote for Cookham! http://www.monopoly.co.uk/vote.aspx
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Two happened in person. The Cookham parish phoned me up regarding my enquiry as to an allotment, telling me to come down and pick up a map to the allotments and then go and pick one out. I headed straight out, eager to see what awaited me. I got the map and went over to the allotments. There was a woman working on one of the plots, so I said hello and started talking to her about the plots and asking lots of questions. She was very helpful in recommending which plot to choose, as there were a few different ones available. I started to tell the saga of who I was (Canadian, married to an Australian, used to live in Germany, blah blah blah) and she turned to me and asked, "Wait, are you the blogger?" I was tickled to meet someone from Cookham who actually reads my blog. It really made my day. So an especial hello to C and thanks for being so helpful and friendly this morning at the allotments. I think she is looking forward to seeing my posts about the allotment. I'm pretty sure the first few will be mainly moaning about how sore my body is from turning the soil, but I'll try and keep it to a minimum.
Soon I'll be recognised everywhere I go and I'll have to start wearing sunglasses to escape the paparazzi. Well maybe not but as I said, the recognition was nice.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Ampel is the German word for traffic light. And Mann is German for man. If you put -chen at the end of a word, it makes it a small version. Like in English when you put a -y sound on something, eg. doggy, kitty. So Ampelmännchen means "little traffic light man", which is exactly what it is. It's the figures on the pedestrian light at an intersection which show you when to walk or to wait. West Germany has the boring normal one, which is just a skinny stick figure, sort of like what they use to illustrate the Olympic sports. But East Germany has/had a much much cooler set of figures:
Aren't they great? Full of character with that stout body and hat. I really like the green one, walking off with purpose and with his hat set at a jaunty angle, ready to face the world. Not to slight the red one, he manages to show that you should wait without making you feel that you are being preached to. And who wouldn't want to wait, to stride across the street with the green man, pretending you are wearing a hat that is set at a jaunty angle?
I first saw them in February 1994, when I went on a week tour of eastern Germany; visiting Leipzig, Halle, Dresden and Berlin. Seeing them again on TV, especially after hearing music from the time period as well, brought that moment in time and place back to me. It was a very Proustian moment.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Lena and Gramma watching the fun dog race. Well, Gramma was watching it, Lena was watching the grass grow.
One of the scurry drivers, waiting her turn. The counterweight passenger sits on the little seat behind her.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
After the fun of recording Lena when she was angry, I know what I have to look forward to.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
In other news, we went to Thame Country Show yesterday. It was interesting, very much a country thing to do. Lots of demonstrations of hunting with spaniels, with falcons, with spaniels and falcons together and even hunting with ferrets. We missed the ferret hunting demo, so I'm afraid I can't tell you how to do it. But the falcon display was pretty cool. The falcon came shooting in from a great height like a rocket, she was very impressive. There was a rabbit judging contest and the winners were out on display in a tent. Who knew there were so many different types of rabbits? Hamsters too! There was a chance for people to show off their own dogs' skills, which was quite amusing. The one event we saw was a retrieving contest. The owner held the dog (a black Lab) while the organiser put 3 balls around the course. He showed the dog where all 3 balls were as he did it and then when they were down, the dog and owner went out to get them. The owner could help by encouraging the dog to the direction of where the ball was, or by showing the dog the tunnel to get into the fenced off part where the ball was. Of course, being just an average dog, it did a pretty average job at retrieving. Meaning it remembered where the last ball was put, but not the first 2; so it took a fair amount of animation from her owner to get all three balls. There was also scurry driving, which was something I hadn't seen before either. Two little ponies pull a cart with a driver and rider through a set course as fast as possible. The driver obviously steers and the rider is there for leverage to help make tight turns. It's pretty fast and exciting, well worth a watch if you get a chance. There were also lots of stands selling all sorts of things, food products to binoculars to straw baskets to folding chairs. Everything you need for life in the country. I enjoyed the show quite a bit and it made for a nice day out. There is another big Thame show in the Fall, with lots of judging of prize-winning cattle, potatoes, cakes and that sort of thing. Not quite the same idea as this show, but I might keep in mind for us for later anyways. As C'lonials, we should take these opportunities to get to know the Brits and their ways and their award winning strawberry jams.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
This first video was just as we got up.
Being the cruel mother that I am, (it's not only step-mothers you know), I filmed my child crying. She wasn't seriously upset, and it's cute. Well, me and my twisted sense of things thinks it's cute.
But she soon cheered up and started singing and dancing on cue.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I had Lancashire Hotpot and my companion (isn't that how all restaurant reviewers refer to the person they eat dinner with? My "companion". A nice neutral term which leaves you to wonder what sort of relationship they have. Wife-husband? Business partner? Homosexual affair?) had Skate Wing with Capers, Lemon and Parsley. The bartender warned me that the hotpot had an oyster in it when I ordered it. I was a bit bemused by this, as having never eaten a Lancashire Hotpot, I wouldn't have known whether this was usual or not. I told the bartender as much after the meal, and he let me into a bit of the history of the Hotpot, saying that oysters used to be a regular ingredient in it, since they were cheap for people to use. The Hinds Head tries to keep the food as traditional as the pub is, hence the oysters I guess.
As I said, I'd never eaten Lancashire Hotpot before, but it was pretty good. The oyster in it did seem a bit odd, but it was okay. My companion's skate wing was excellent though, I'll probably order that next time if it's still on the menu. I don't know if it changes, but I would hope there's a bit of seasonal variety to it.
So my rating:
Ambiance: 2 I like the old Tudor look of the pub. As I didn't see the restaurant bit, I don't know what it's like, but the pub part was good, even if near empty. Not smoky, a big fireplace (not lit, but obviously working) and timbered walls and ceilings. Although it fits with the atmosphere, the slightly wonky table that tilted slighty on two legs took away a bit.
Service: 3 The bartenders and the personnel who brought the food were all very friendly, but in a laid-back, non-interfering manner. I thought the bartender knowing the history of the traditional food was a great thing, not seen in nearly enough restaurant staff.
Food: 2.5 Our mains were excellent, but I didn't think much of their Triple Cooked Chips. They seemed pretty ordinary to me.
So a strong rating of 7.5 out of 9 for The Hind's Head. We will be back again.
The Hinds Head website: http://www.thehindsheadhotel.com/index.aspx
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Phil and myself. It was Phil's brilliant idea to go to have a slackers' beer garden visit. Thanks Phil! It was chilly, but fun.
Maybe this is more like it...
I would like you to note two things in this photo. One, all the Hashers are looking rather spiffy, which is not a usual state for them. Two, note all the beer glasses, (Maß) which is a normal state for Hashers.