Saturn, one of the national consumer electronics megastore chains, has an advertising slogan that's become embedded into the language:
Geiz ist geil
(Cheap is cool)
Germans being financially conservative, debt averse (helped by the fact that credit cards have a very low penetration rate and home ownership is low compared with other European countries) and parsimonious (discounters such as Aldi and Lidl have 30% of the market), the advertising campaign struck an immediate chord.
So much so that someone with a felt pen and a gift for the vernacular has kindly summarised the story of St Martin on the plaque for us in Yoofspeak.
"St Martin shared his cloak with a tramp (hobo) who was neither rich nor sexy.
St Martin didn't buy into the concept that "Cheap is Cool""
We've got bins for organic and inorganic - our waste charge includes 13 emptyings each a year, but they collect at 2 weekly intervals, so if you're rich and/or ecologically irresponsible, you can double that.
Paper goes out every 2 weeks and plastic/metals/glass go in the yellow bag and they're also collected every 2 weeks
Our waste footprint is pretty small, actually.
Organic goes onto the 3 compost heaps and then onto the garden, our inorganic bin goes out every 3 or 4 months (and it's never full, even then - just a bit smelly...) and we take the bottles to the bottle bank.
Wouldn't want the neighbours to know how much we drink, would we?
That's what comes from translating colloquialisms literally.
"Darauf gebe ich keinen Pfifferling"
"Not worth a red cent"
I rather like chantarelles, though.
Fry them hard in a pan with butter (don't crowd them or they'll sweat and end up stewed. And we wouldn't want that, now would we..?), sling some cream in when they've got a bit of colour and let them simmer for a bit. Maybe a minute.
Good quality tagliatelle done al dente and away you go.
Season to taste and some flatleaf parley coarsely chopped on top.
Toddled off to my first political event the other evening.
Not that I can actually vote over here, but whatever..
Wolfgang Bosbach, one of the Head Honchos from the CDU in Berlin (and who comes across in the media as being refreshingly clued up and pragmatic) fronted up the other night to fly the flag for the local MP and - given that drinks and snacks were on offer - it sounded like a cheap night out.
Entertaining for sure.
The Fire Brigade band played "A Whiter Shade of Pale" to the gathered geriatrics - median age between 68 and 70, 90% male, 100% beige clad - and the guest speaker was as good as I'd imagined.
Lots of vigorous nodding, "Hear, hears", "Bravos" and banging on tables when he got onto juvenile crime and law and order stuff and some fairly convoluted questions and comments from the geriatrics at the end.
Once the folks had got to their feet. Takes a while.
Some of the trams around here are truly museum pieces.
Technically (being in Germany) they're obviously top notch, but their stilted officialese signage ("Seek a secure grip whilst standing") and yucky caramel colour schemes are a dead give-aways to an (almost) by-gone era.
And the lack of mobility-challenged access - you almost need a ladder to clamber inside....
Best bank robbery I've read about happened here last week.
Pensioner fronts up to a bank, pulls a pistol and demands money.
Cashier gives him a wad of notes (especially packaged and registered for such occasions) and he casually wanders out of the door and.... waits at the bus stop.
Bus comes along and on he hops.
Meanwhile, the law has been notified - also regarding the getaway vehicle - so they drop of a couple of plain-clothed officers at the next bus stop who board the vehicle, identify the culprit (hasn't attempted to change his appearance or anything like that), assess the situation and arrest him.
Goes before the magistrate who remands him on his own recognisance i.e. he's free to walk around because he has a fixed place of abode.
Cut them in half and de-seed them, brush some olive oil over the skin, roast them under the grill until they're blistered and blackened, then pop them in a bowl covered with Gladwrap until they're cool.
Skin peel off like a dream.
Cut them into slices, mix them with olive oil, capers, coarsely chopped olives, some anchovies and lemon zest (or finely sliced preserved lemon peel).
The "Economist" said last week that "“DON’T WALK” signals hypnotise German pedestrians even when no car is in sight."
Don't believe a word of it.
Around here, everyone subscribes to the theory that "Rules are made for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men."
And no-one wants to be categorised as a fool, now do they..?
This is the railway crossing in Gonsenheim.
On the other side of the tracks, there's a sizeable light industrial estate that's grown and grown over the years.
For yonks, there was a sign to the effect that you couldn't cross the lines at this point unless you were a tractor, this being a direct route from the village (where farmers still live) to the fields.
No-one paid any attention, of course.
First of all, no-one's a fool and secondly, it's either that or a 2.5 km detour via the only legal access road.
Instead of 100 metres.
At some stage, the city fathers were tired of being ignored and put up a physical barrier that allows we cyclists and them pedestrians through, but no cars.
Or tractors, for that matter.
So everyone moans, but does the 2.5km.
Last winter, there's a humongous fire that closes off the access road.
Burns forever - obviously starts in the late afternoon, just before clocking-off time - and chaos unsues.
Some folk head off through the fields in the dark, take a wrong turn and end up to the axles in the quagmire.
BFE, a major supplier of mobile TV studios to the broadcasting industry, had an articulated truck loaded and ready to go to meet a contractual deadline and they formed a human chain, moving a whole TV studio box by box across the tracks.
Uproar in the papers.
City Fathers decided that a second legal access road would be a GOOD IDEA.
They're simplicity itself and anthromorphistic to boot.
Just load the oranges into the hopper from where they're fed down the stainless steel spiral (top left) to meet their fate in the form of 2 counter-rotating wheels, each with half-orange sized indentations which tenderly embrace the victim.
Zap! They're sliced in half by the thingy in the middle and - while they're still wondering what's happening - up comes one of the 3 presses (one for each half), dejuices them and discards the skin into a waste bin.
I could stand there and watch them all day.
Mind you, I've been known to spend a week at the laudromat....