Day 277 – pause


I’m seriously considering taking a break from this blog. I suddenly have three other projects “on the go”. Only one is time critical, but the blog is becoming a burden rather than a reflection or discovery tool.

Maybe I’ll find a way to incorporate it – otherwise it will take a break. It would be a shame – the idea was to write a post each day throughout the year. But how did Mark Twain say:

Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans.

I can always pick up the thread in 4 years’ time 😉

Either way, the remainder of the year will continue to add to:



Day 274 – hedge trimming


Today I’ve used a hedge trimmer for the first time.

I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive. Nobody has told me that it would be longer than I am tall – and that’s without the blades unfolded. And though the engine is quite heavy … needless to say that the center of gravity isn’t where I was standing.

A strange experience.

Thank God for all the upper body exercise with #CommandoRaid 😉

I might need a bit more practice, but I think I can cautiously declare the experience a success.



Day 270 – old and new


On another blog  I wrote a lot about the fallout of downsizing in the Army (and to a lesser extent the other services). Regiments are merged – amalgamated – or disappear. Thousands of soldiers (sailors, airmen) have been made redundant, many never imagining anything other than a career in the Forces.

But – like in all industries – there is also the opposite.

In 2015, under the Army 2020 concept, the 77th Brigade was formed – named after the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade who used unorthodox tactics against the Japanese in Burma in World War II. The badge shows a mythical Burmese creature.

The Brigade was formed at the same time as the new Army Doctrine Note 15/01 “Integrated Action” was published (source). According to an article in the Independent:

“The brigade,” said the Ministry of Defence, “has been formed to respond to ever changing character of modern conflict and to be able to compete with agile and complex adversaries.

As well as being ready for combat, the troops will be armed with modern skill sets including being adept in social media and new technology; they will engage in psychological warfare, using social media including Facebook and Twitter to “fight in the information age”.

A truly modern army.




Day 269 – being

There’s a saying in German,

Oh selig, oh selig ein Kind noch zu sein.

Apparently, it’s a song from an Opera (Zar und Zimmermann – Czar and Carpenter). It means “blessed to be a child still” – innocent, unknowing, free from all the problems, hassles, worries and doubts that plague us as adults.

Children supposedly live in the “hear and now” – certainly in comparison to us adults.

But we can’t go back there. Once we have developed past that phase, we can’t fly with Peter Pan any longer. Oh, yes – there are still moments when I can live in the “hear and now”; we don’t lose this capacity altogether. And I cherish those moments. But they are few and far between – and they are over much too quickly. It’s not a general characteristic of adult life.

Looking to my left and my right just now, I’m tempted to think of a variation of this saying (though I’m not going to write alternative lyrics for the song). The photos, I would say, speak for themselves.



Day 268 – knackered


I didn’t get to sleep until after half past one – that’s when the party in the neighbourhood finally stopped.

Today I attempted to dig two holes in the garden; scraping might have been a more appropriate description. Clay soil after two months with hardly any rain – next time I should try a pick ax. I can only hope that the roots of the new plants will do the rest, as I had to leave the “holes” rather shallow – but with lots of compost.

My garden isn’t big, but I could keep myself busy every weekend with it. Sometimes I feel I’m still catching up with the couple of weekends I was away earlier in the year. It would need a bit of money spending on it – but that’ll have to wait.



Day 267 – cars & driving

My cars.

It took me forever to get my license.

My first instructor was a nightmare. He wouldn’t believe me that I had, actually, never driven when I started taking lessons. He lost patience on more than one occasion. I don’t think he lasted long as a driving instructor in civvie street. (Yes. He was ex-military.)

I think I’ve since always been a pretty good driver, though it took me a while to become a confident one.

Volkswagen_Beetle_My first car was an old, red Volkswagen beetle. A bit like the one on the photo – though I couldn’t be sure whether it was that exact model.

I took someone else with me to do the test drive.

I loved this car. Nothing is quite like an old Volkswagen beetle.

Sadly, I couldn’t afford keeping a car at the time and so eventually had to sell it again. (My sister somehow always got my parents to help out financially. But that’s a different story.) It had needed a few repairs – but there’s every reason to assume that it’s still running somewhere, and running …

Fast forward a good few number of years (a couple of decades, actually …) and a variety of cars I have driven 6836420312_df2efd325a_b(though not owned). I am now the proud owner of an old BMW (3 series, 2 liter engine, Baur convertible). Had someone told me all those years ago …

In Germany, only show-offs drive BMW. No comments, please.

I love this car. It needed a new exhaust – it now has a stainless steel one, which should last for a while. You can hear the car approach before it enters the street. (Okay, maybe I do fit the bill …) Unfortunately, it now also needs a new soft top before the winter. (Note to self …)

We went on an amazing journey across Europe together; and I think I once named it Pearl (after the ship “Black Pearl” in Pirates of the Caribbean). In Germany, people give their cars male or female names, but that’s somehow not the done thing over here. Anyway, I still occasionally dream of that beetle. Maybe it’s like one’s first love 😉