New title, new look

I thought that it is more appropriate for my blog to be renamed. Certainly I am not in Belfast anymore.

Plus I decided to get a new design.

And there we go!

And there is good news: I will go to Göteborg between the 10th and 16th of August to meet my favourite Swedes!

Yippie!

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My grandfather’s pets

Under the stairs to the door of my grandfather’s house (now owned by my cousin) there is a room that he used as a shed for his gardening tools and other things. This room is a rather damp, dark and dirty thing. There were shitloads of cobwebs with withish spider mummies in them. (Hmm…tasty!).

Anyway, I tried to clean this thing up and started to remove things from this space (it doesn’t really deserve the name room although there was a door) and I stood in there and enjoyed the distinct smell of things rotting in humid surroundings when suddenly…

…(this is the break to make the narration more thrilling)…

…I had to scratch my legs. When I did that I found out that it was covered with ants. Shitloads. Millions. I stood in a pile of what I had thought was earth but in fact was wood so rotten that ants had chosen it for their nest. And they were quite angry that I had stepped into it. And as the trespasser that I was I got what I deserved – ant bites.

After I had recovered from the shock, the ants got what they deserved for attacking me: they were scattered, crushed and killed by some violent strokes of a shovel (that happened to be there) which were conducted by a wounded, hurt and angry me.

The point of the story is: my grandfather had more pets than anybody else: A couple of millions of ants. And the best thing is: he didn’t even now that they were there!

Have a nice day!

Max

Pictures of Deconstruction

This is me next to a wall that had to be removed. 

wallbefore.jpg
This is me without the wall.

wallafter.jpg
This is the wall at its new destination.

walldebris.jpg

You can imagine what happened in between. Some 30 to 40 strokes of the sledgehammer and a couple of rides with a wheelbarrow.

It is easy to tell that my grandfather was a steelworker. He used really good, hard and enduring steel for building his house. Makes work for me more difficult but I can take the challenge.

Cheers

Max 

Two things…

…I consider worth sharing.

1.

Today, when I was about to leave the house, my mum walked towards me patted my belly and said in an approving tone something like: "What a handsome belly!". Good news then. I obviously carry a not to be overlooked bulge but it is at least handsome. (Have I ever mentioned that when mum and dad met my dad was overweight already? Seems she likes it…). Probably I should drink less beer and work more.

2.

Later the day, when my mum and I watched the football match England-Sweden (very nice match btw) she told me about my ancestors which was even more interesting than the football match because:

My grand-grand-grandfather Alois Gallery emigrated to the United States of America and became an American Citizen in the state of New Jersey in 1891. He had a daughter named Anna Gallery who returned to Germany and married Raimund Keller, my grand-grandfather, and therefore became my grand-grandmother.[The legend (as told by a sister of my grandfather to my mother) is that she had problems with the German language (i.e. with the dialect spoken in the Saarland) and therefore the upbringing of the children was mostly done by the evil, unmarried, communist brother of my grand-grandfather – known as "the uncle"]. It is a bit far fetched, but still: if I ever make it to visit the USA I won't be the first one of my family to go there.

The rest of the day: nothing special, but: GERMANY IS IN THE NEXT ROUND OF THE WORLD CUP!! Unfortunately, we will have to beat Sweden to go to the quarter finals…My congratulations of course to Sweden and England for making it to the next round of the world cup!!
Cheers!

Max

Stretched

I feel stretched. Stretched like a wire between Belfast and here…

I spent the weekend (including the Thursday which was a bank holiday in States with a catholic majority) together with Tanja in Bonn. We watched a lot of football, enjoyed the good weather, ate a lot of icecream and talked a lot. Bonn is a really nice city and – for those who don't know (tell me if I think too low of your knowledge) – was the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany before the unification. There is a lot of money, and lots of posh people but it is also quite quiet and clean.

On my way back today in the train we had a major delay caused by an emergency of whatever kind on the railways. The train had to be redirected and I arrived over two hours late. I realised again how my stay abroad has altered my perception of things. On the train ride I really admired the landscape – something that I hardly ever did before…there is things you just take for granted until you don't have it for a while.

Here is an example of the landscape: It is the river Saar which gives the name to my native state: the Saarland.

saar.jpg

But now it is really time to go to bed. Tomorrow I will have to work again. (hooray…at least I earn money and I am distracted).

I still miss you all. It is very good though to be able to stay in contact via internet. It helps. The nobel prize for the guys who invented the internet!!

gute Nacht!!

Max

And just to mention it: a minute ago I saw the international space station ISS. It is now visible from Germany at some times during the night. Quite interesting to see this fast moving 'star' and to think that it is about 350 kilometers high orbiting the earth in approximately 90 minutes and carrying poeple…

First day of work

Working – that's what I did today. I improved my farmer's/builder's tan by gardening in the morning and the afternoon I spent removing my grandfather's belongings (books, clothes etc.) from wardrobes. It relly feels strange to throw away all those things that are connected to a once beloved but now dead person.

Anyway, today was the hottest day here for this year so far. The weather was (and still is) beautiful. So beautiful indeed that I felt the need to take some pictures on my way back from work. Whoever loves the Irish landscape must also love the Saarland in June. The main difference is that the Saarland is more densely populated than Ireland – it is hard to find views of landscape without traces of civilization.

But now for the pictures:

Me in my working outfit:

Workinggear.jpg

And some pictures of the surroundings of my hometown:

Saarland 002.jpg

Saarland 010.jpg

Saarland 016.jpg

And not to forget: I miss you guys very much!

But now off to football for distraction.

 Cheers

Max 

Jack in Bermany

Yes, that's the truth. I have just arrived…okay, I had a hearty meal, unpacked my bags (partly) and called Tanja before actually going online. But now I am here…feels good – feels strange. 

Tomorrow will be a family welcome back meal and from Monday onwards I will be working. Working during the day, football and beer in the evenings. A pretty working class life…but I think I'm looking forward to it. 

Anyway…I will take some pictures of my beautiful Saarland (btw the smallest state of Germany) and post them here so you can get an impression of the countryside that was my home for 23 years.

But that's it for now. I have travelled and I'm tired. And I realised today that I actually never made it out of Europe (safe for the afternoon 1996 on the asian side of Istanbul where I caught the most evil diarrhoea ever beheld by human bowels).

That will change! Ranjan, Katie, Margaret: THE GERMAN WILL COME! …sometime… 

Cheers

Max

P.S. A picture for the Americans: On the way back from the airport my mum was driving the Audi at a speed of 180 km/h – which is approx 110 mp/h. Photographic evidence below. Fast isn't it? And completely legal on the Autobahn.
112Miles.jpg