Auf Deutsch, Bitte?

Tuesday, April 21 2009 at 00:36 (Books, Current Affairs, Daily Life, Music, Pictures, Rants) (, , , , )

I seem to have let this build up for far too long… Oh well. I did take notes for the actual holiday bit, so I’m okay there. Yes you read correctly. Notes. I took notes for blogging with.

So the Easter holidays have now come… and gone. The first few days weren’t that exciting, just watching a bunch of FMA to the end of the series and (gasp) forwarding ports 6881-6889 on my router to enable me to torrent faster. I suddenly went from about 4Kbps to 100, which was probably worth the effort. On the Tuesday my parents went to see Waiting for Godot in Norwich, with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen – I wasn’t invited. However, in the programme I noticed that there was a screen from X-Men 3, since that also had both Stewart and McKellen. Somehow, I don’t consider it to be the best hour of either of them (It SUCKED like Juliette if you give her a tenner.)

Here begin the NOTES:

The picture I made after making my notes.

The picture I made after making my notes.

On the Wednesday we left late for Harwich international port with myself, my parents and my dear grandfather, herein referred to as ‘G’. He’s not that bad sometimes, but he can be really rude to people who are only trying to help him, and he’s VERY picky. I also find it ironic that even though his family was driven out of Germany by fascist Nazis, he still chooses to vote Conservative.
Anyway, after the hour-ish long drive we boarded the ferry where G promptly made a fuss because he found that he couldn’t have the disabled cabin we had booked because a more severely disabled person who had had a stroke needed it. The captain had to be called to get G an orange juice, and my parents were duly compensated by being able to be on the bridge as the ferry left port. Meanwhile, I sat in our cabin, reading ‘Knife Edge’ and listening to ‘Sen no Yoru Wo Koete’, because it’s just so lovely. I got to sleep at about 1~1:30.

On Thursday we arose when the ferry docked and were instructed by my mother that we couldn’t have a cooked breakfast – we had to go to the continental buffet instead, where I had extremely exotic Coco Pops and milk. After that began the technically 6-hour but actually 8-hour drive from The Hoek of Holland to Schloss Pretzfeld in Germany, punctuated by a few stops to stretch legs and eat schnitzel sandwiches. The pauses also gave me a chance to completely screw up asking for doughnuts in German and thereby destroy all of my confidence in my ability to speak the darn language. I spent the rest of the week mumbling in English to the Germans instead.
Near the end of the journey I finally finished Knife Edge, which sucked, and then we finally arrived at Pretzfeld, which is a quaint little village… somewhere… in Germany. However, the point of interest for me or for my family is the castle or ‘Schloss’ that overlooks the village, which my family owns, for various peculiar reasons, including some friend of my great, great, greats buying it for one mark at a time of depression and then giving it to my family when he died… It’s all a bit vague to me, but this castle is frigging huge, with two-metre thick walls and about a bazillion rooms. Most of them are rented out to other people, but there is a ‘flat’ area where visitors can stay, with several bedrooms, a dining/living room, kitchen and a room which for some reason has a table tennis table.
Anyway, after setting myself into my room I set off in search of a power adapter so I could plug my laptop in, but it was some time before I eventually discovered a really old yellowed one that looked like it might explode. I plugged it in and watched the latest Bleach, which I had downloaded before I left, then I tried to work out what I was going to do with my time. First off I found out that Half-Life doesn’t work without an internet connection – thank you very much, Steam – and then I played the campaign of Halo for about half an hour before I remembered how unbelievably crappy it is. So this left only one open option – Late night Chrono Cross sessions. Hell yeah.

On Friday we had our first walk, which was kinda uncomfortable because I had stupidly expected Germany to be cold and so had brought warm trousers and trainers, but no shorts or sandals. In fact the weather was astoundingly warm and sunny for the duration of our time in Germany – Only after we left did it resume the dreary skies and pouring rain there had been before we arrived. Funny…
Anyway, the walk was beautiful in of itself, but I was too busy finding the hills too steep to care, and there were these damned little coloured signs we had to follow, which were placed so that there were none for about a mile, then eighteen within twenty metres of each other.

Pretty flowers.

Pretty flowers.

Brooding trees

Brooding trees

Gothic Churches, hills, pretty flowers AND brooding trees.

Gothic Churches, hills, pretty flowers AND brooding trees.

A fountain decorated for Easter.

A fountain decorated for Easter.

Terrifying German decorations.

Terrifying German decorations.

German Easter... chickens...

German Easter... chickens...

Anyway, I finally returned, exhausted, to Pretzfeld and Chrono Cross. By the way, it should just be taken as read that pretty much any time we were around G he was being obnoxious about something. I’m not really going to mention it because it would take to long, but keep in mind that it was happening all the time.

Saturday was a Lazy day. I played Chrono Cross, sat in the garden of the Schloss and read The Amulet of Samarkand, and lazed some more, even as my parents went off on an energetic walk to the Jewish graveyard not far from the village. I had a moment of excitement when I discovered a WLAN router under a table plugged into some stuff, but even though it worked once I switched it on, my computer wouldn’t pick it up, and I doubted that anyone was paying for an ISP anyway. We did go out shopping to Ebermannstadt briefly to buy me some shorts, but it ended up taking ages. I walked into the shop, said ‘I like these, get them, let’s go’, but NO, we have to analyse every pair before eventually buying the first ones I had picked up. You can’t spell ‘analyse’ without ‘anal’. In the evening we went out to dinner so G could be rude to other people, and I had schnitzel mit spätzle.

Easter Sunday was a bit of an anticlimax, to be honest. I had a short hunt for a Lindt Osterhäse, which I found, after some speculating, next to the router. G insisted that we look at museum of paintings by my great, great grandfather Curt Herrmann, who (I’m told) was one of the great neo-impressionist painters of his time in Germany. The other thing that I know is that my great, great grandmother was twenty years younger than him, AND she was his student in art school. Weird.
The paintings are pretty good, but nothing to make a song and dance about, really, so I crept downstairs again to read more of The Amulet of Samarkand, play Chrono Cross and play table tennis with my mother. We’d been playing on and off since we arrived, and I was getting pretty good.

On Monday we went for our second walk, which was much easier, not to mention cooler, in shorts. It was still far too hot for what I’ve come to expect from Germany, but as a result of this burst of heat, EVERYTHING had decided to come out in leaf or blossom at the same time. It was truly a spectacular sight, where previously bare trees were suddenly vibrant greens or soft whites and creams. There were hills, hills, lunches, views, hills, trees and finally a return to the schloss for further Chrono Cross.

Great view over the valley. Note the blossomd trees.

Great view over the valley. Note the blossom'd trees.

Alright, we cool. But if yall dont get it to me by Friday, Im gonna have ma boy her pull yo head off.

Alright, we cool. But if ya'll don't get it to me by Friday, I'm gonna have ma boy here pull yo' head off.

More flowers.

More flowers.

Quirky houses.

Quirky houses.

On Tuesday we tried out the newly serviced bicycles – the first one I tried could only switch drunkenly between two gears, the second was too small and the third had a burst tyre, but the fourth was just right. We test cycled to Ebermannstadt, which is the closest town to Pretzfeld, where we bought bread, cakes, butter and a new bike lock before returning. The German cycle paths are nice; whereas the hills are great for walking, the valleys are flat and straight-ish, so they are perfect for cycle-routes. The problem was that every time I began to feel good about my apparent athlecity, a topless bronzed and musclebound German person would overtake me on a bicycle made of gold at 80Kph.

Lovely blossom.

Lovely blossom.

The garden of the schloss in blossom.

The garden of the schloss in blossom.

When I got back, I finally got the dual Einlanzers for Glenn, so then I got bored and played some other games. I tried playing Chrono Trigger again, except I changed people’s names to screw up their backstory or I game them Chrono Cross names: Crono became Serge, Marle became Nadia, Frog became Glenn, Magus will be Janus, Robo will be R-66Y, and so on.
We went out for dinner again, where I had cheesy schnitzel with croquettes. (Schnitzel is the only German food I can actually eat without going mad).

On Wednesday at my behest we cycled to Forcheim, the closest big market town, but still a fair distance away. After a charming if tiring ride down we explored the vaguely remembered town from last time I went to Pretzfeld, a few years ago now. First off I bought a pair of proper Crocs, ’cause I’m so cool.

Dark and sexy looking... shoes.

Dark and sexy looking... shoes.

Then my father and I went into a stationery shop and spent €30 on pens.

Left to right: My new propelling pencil, also with a propelling eraser. My new Lamy pen - They had a poster of it and I couldnt resist. Refills for both my old and new pens.

Left to right: My new propelling pencil, also with a propelling eraser. My new Lamy pen - They had a poster of it and I couldn't resist. Refills for both my old and new pens.

After that came a lunch of pizza, then I tried on some sunglasses, none of which had both the qualities of comfort and not making me look like a complete prick. On the way back we took a detour up a hill called something like the ‘Valballa’, where there is a rather nice restaurant, where we got ice-creams before riding back down the hill very fast.
Back at Pretzfeld once again, we had soup and asparagus before table tennis and sleep.

Thursday was the day we were heading back home, so at twelve o’clock exactly we left, having packed up everything, on another eight-hour journey back to the Hoek of Holland. It was rather dull and little of note happened, so I’ll skip over it. On the ferry G did get his disabled cabin, and I had tomato soup before turning in.

On Friday, after finally ridding ourselves of G back my grandmother at the Morrisons car park, we finally arrived back home at about 9:00 am, which completely threw off my body clock, which through various reasons had decided it was time for tea and biscuits. I had already caught up on my internet stuff by 11:00, so I decided to do some reviso… No, I can’t really say that with a straight face. I played video games.

A few statistics about the trip:

  • I walked about 25Km.
  • I cycled about 35Km.
  • I ping-ponged for about 4 hours.
  • I ate 40Kg of meat (approx).
  • I survived living with my grandfather for 7 days.

On Saturday I had a Spanish workshop, which was a bit scary, since the only people there were Caroline, Ellen and Tilly. It was hard after so much German to go back to Spanish, but I did get to shout at Tilly about how my family’s German heritage was better preserved than hers.

Sunday… I tried to do some revision. I didn’t.

Today I also tried to revise… and failed. I ended up playing Alien Hominid because I now have the PS2 back, and I got a new high score. I’d forgotten how much that game rocks.

Phew. That’s life done.

Music-wise, I managed to burn through ALL of my J-pop (2.9 hours of music) on the journey to and from Pretzfeld, as well as the MadWorld soundtrack and a few others. I’ve also just downloaded the Donkey Kong Country 1 soundtrack, mainly for this one, but also because several of the other tracks are very good, but not quite as good as the piratey vibes from DKC2. And once I’m familiar with all the DKC soundtracks I can get ‘Kong in Koncert’… I’ve been listening to some Rodrigo y Gabriela whilst revising.

ANIME-wise, the last episode of series 10 of Bleach was hilarious, and the start of series 11 was promisingly awesome of massive battles to come of Ukitake and Ulquiorra pwnage.
I also finished watching FMA and watched the movie. It was brilliant. It was more than just anime, it’s about life and death and war and peace and OMG COLNEL MUSTANG IS AWESOME. So is Hawkeye. And Ed, obviously.

Max – You might actually like FMA – there’s a Fuhrer and the movie is based entirely around Nazis.

Err… Oh yes. The Pirate Bay trial. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. There will always be others to take up the mantle.




  1. Chris Smedley said,

    *Looked at the pictures, will read later* WHAT THE HELL BEN! Why’d the fuck did you get some Crocks… Now… I have to kill you…. And whilst killing you, tearing out your thumbs and placing them in the worst place possible…. yeah, your cerebal Cortex….
    There better be a good explanation in there when I get back to read the rest of it…

  2. Chris Smedley said,

    Again – Yui (Fma:BH soundtrack) FUCKING ROCKS! The start up of FMA:BH also is super awesome! I can’t wait for it to come out in english dub… and the animation looks MUUUCH better. The effects look better and it has a better… shine if you get me… *feels hungry now*.
    Can I just say… if you are renting out… A CASTLE why the hell don’t you get a lot of other things? Like Xbox360s… or Xbox360s for your friends *hint hint* or big TVs for your friends… or youself… or even a Wii for you friends… STOP BEING SO SELFISH WITH YO’ CASTLE MONEH! And… why don’t you boot out the renters and live in a castle, make your own pirate flag, make me captain then live there…. HUH!?!
    OH! Bleach. Isn’t the end of Season 10 With the Karakurizer (aka Kon) as well as Don Kanoji (or w/e) I can tell you know…. some stuff you are going to see… WILL FUCKING BLOW YOUR MIND! You get to see some of the releases, some of the PROPER releases… you get to see a DISTURBING Arrancar Release… unless you are into that sort of thing… I think the later two are the first you will see… I THINK. Either way… it is FUCKING awesome… with like, 2 of the cool peeps (IMO (Kira and Shuhei) as well as some of Squad 11…. I mean, sexeh thimes will be comin’ your whey BOIIIIII!
    (Gangsta yo!)

  3. joethearachnid said,

    I don’t know why we can’t buy Xbox 360s. My parents don’t like videogames, pretty much.
    I found the full version of ‘again’ here:
    Yeah, I think the song is pretty good. I haven’t watched any of the episodes yet, but it seems like an excuse to bring all of the awesome dead characters back to do further… stuff. I don’t know whether this will follow a new continuity or whether it will go back to the main anime plot at the end.
    But more Mustang = Hells Yeah!

  4. Chris Smedley said,

    I always love anime openings… They always have cool energetic fight scenes (Like in the 4th opening and this current one) that never turn up, but they normally turn out to be the most fluent and… believable fight due to the lack of tlaking after every swing, plus the bit where a lot of the characters (Mayes Hughes and Roy Mustang etc) are kinda like Ragdoll as they turn and do their thang, looked OSOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Chris Smedley said,

    Also, you sun of a homosaurus…. I got rick rolled….

  6. Chris Smedley said,


  7. Max said,

    Juliette comment = win. That is all.

  8. florrieprichards said,

    i do not know if you noticed, or if you went on both, but the Stena Hollandica is far more modern and clean than the Stena Britannica…

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