A busy month

Kerstin and I have had a busy month during August and have been settling into to the apartment in Dortmund. We enlisted the help of Kerstin’s younger brother and her friend Evelyn to help us undertake the mammoth task of painting the remainder of the apartment during our first weekend, which happily we managed in one day flat. After already painting the bedroom and some of the study, I was amazed at the difference the quality of paint can make. Buying good quality paint definitely cuts down the time required!

I promised some photos of the apartment and I have delivered in the photo album section. I have also added the photos from the Rise festival, and check out the longest dreads ever.

We have been to a few cool parties and although we haven’t been out properly for a big night out, we have been out to a couple of bars and tried them out. The first was FZW, an over 30’s night in the local area. We didn’t go because I am over thirty now though, but because we had heard it was a good night out. It was and we really enjoyed ourselves! We have also tried the SkyBar, a surreal experience of a beach transplanted on the top of a multi storey car park. Seemed to work though and we are looking forward to going there on a weekend when it is more busy and a bit sunnier. You have to take an outside workman’s style lift to get there, which all adds to the experience. These kind of “beach bars” are very popular here in Germany. the thought of building a beach, miles away from the sea seems to appeal to the German psyche!

We have been to the local university to play badminton twice, but to be honest the setup isn’t what I enjoy. It is not really organised and people just go there and play with the people they arrived with. Nobody crosses over and people have a tendency to play singles when sharing a court with another couple, rather than think about playing doubles. I might have to look elsewhere for a better badminton club in this area.

Work wise things are good, with fairly constant work and some interesting projects. I’ve been working on a Microsoft SQL Reporting Services project for the last week, that has been quite a challenge. More to come I hope. I have also done a couple of days for some of my old colleagues from the now defunct Apex Interactive too, which is even more ASP.NET in the commercial environment.

Kerstin is now back to work and we are trying to work out our daily schedule so that we fit together in the apartment in a way that we both like. Out main problem is that she starts work very early, getting up at 6.30am, whilst I work on UK office hours that are an hour behind us, hence I could sleep in until 9am quite easily. Since the badminton isn’t working out so well, I am looking for another sport to do, so maybe I can fit it in before I start work. There is a new swimming pool being built around the corner that should open soon, so maybe that might be an option.

From the language side, I’m still failing dismally. I hope to put that right sooner rather than later and have a meeting at a language school next Monday as I feel like I am missing out. I am also feeling what it is like to be the foreigner for once, and although I seem to be the “interesting one” at parties, a bit of the language wouldn’t go amiss!

No bank holiday here and it’s business as usual, plus a national election on its way next month. Should be interesting as Schroeder called it himself. Good to see that the Germans have a leader that isn’t a fascist nutcase and actually listens to the people who voted for him. I hear it is now illegal to protest outside parliament, under slimy new laws from Mr Tony BLIAR!

Finally back online

It seems that people have been missing me and my usual regular posts on the website. Well, I’m back and now living in a different country! Yep, as of the beginning of this week I became a German resident living in Dortmund.

For the week before and during my birthday, Kerstin came over to Wales and I took the time off to have a bit of a holiday. We did quite a few of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path walks, took some time to ourselves, walked the beaches and chilled out.

The respite was needed since the last week has been extremely hectic. On Sunday we drove the car over here from the UK, stopping in at my Dad’s to see family and have a nice birthday BBQ, and then on to Reading where we stopped briefly at my sisters and in Marlborough to see Dean, one of my closest friends from university.

Leading up to leaving the car had turned into a crazy lunatic with an attitude, and seemed to be having a paddy about leaving the country. It started displaying different warning lights, it cost a small fortune to get everything fixed and even then needed the brakes re-done the morning we were supposed to leave. However, at the time we had to leave it behaved itself. Having a saloon was being a pain with regards to how much of my belongings would actually fit in the car and much of the stuff I wanted to take got left. I don’t have a single CD in a box now, all are loose in a plastic bag!

We took the midnight sailing on the Norfolkline ferry out on Dover to Dunkerque and then drove across Belgium and the south of Holland to Dortmund. We wisely got Kerstin insured on the car too, which was a blessing. By the time we got to Belgium I was so tired and Kerstin took over thus I missed Holland entirely! Six hours later and 1000 km more in the clock got us to our destination. Over the last few days several trips have been made to Ikea, I have become a part-time electrician, and we haven’t stopped making furniture and unpacking.

We have had a bit of a nightmare with the broadband, which is exasperated by the fact that my German isn’t good enough to complain and whinge like a good British person is so trained to do. We have gone for the 6 MB broadband option which is new to Germany and although seemingly a good idea at first, has since turned into a bit of a liability. Germany has similar issues in the telecoms sector as the UK, such that Telecom, the German equivalent of BT in the UK have much the same problems, such that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and is an old and antiquated elephant (or so I am told). The DSL structure is also much the same with Telecom splitting out the higher level “service” to other companies. We have gone with OneandOne, but we’ll wait to see how good they are over the long term, since over the last week they have been a bit useless. After continually accusing Telecom of screwing up, it turns out that the DSL router they sent us needed a special Firmware update to work with the 6 MB DSL. It is fixed now though and I’m online at a blistering pace!

Well, I need to get back to building furniture and painting the apartment. I’ll post some photos so everyone can see what the place is like. The description of bright and airy just doesn’t do the place justice! I’m still on the same email address, and for those of you who like different forms of communication, I can be found using that same email address for MSN and Skype (Skype Me) (if you haven’t installed Skype yet, do so. It is brilliant and you can talk to me for free from anywhere in the world).

Stay happy people and “Auf Wiedersehen”!