Cool German words, part 1: Zeug

Zeug, what a great German word. It’s similar to the Irish word yoke, as in “that yoke over there“.  In Ireland a yoke basically means a “thing” – when you can’t be bothered to say the word thing -or have forgotten the real name of it.

In German, as I understand it, (which may not necessarily actually be the correct understanding!) zeug means “stuff”.  And when joined to other words, it means different stuff. And Germans really, really like to join words together. e.g. Kreuzschlitzschraubenzieher = cross slit screw puller or as we know it, a phillips screwdriver -which I suppose doesn’t make sense to a foreigner either -who the hell is Phillip and why does he have a screwdriver named after him?

Anyway, I digress, here are some examples of zeug:

  • Feuerzeug =  fire stuff (cigarette lighter)
  • Flugzeug =flying stuff (Aeroplane)  
  • Werkzeug = work stuff (Tools)
  • Zeugmeister = someone in charge of stuff 

And my favourite, although not joined, Dummes Zeug = rubbish or nonsense

To be continued…

Which one is Phillip’s?

 

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It’s hot!

Phew! its hot here, 32C today.

Another feature of German living: it is important to know the inside and outside temperatures at all times.

In the UK, it’s normally not really hot or cold so you don’t worry about it. If you guessed rain without looking out the window, you would probably be right.

Aber, in der Farterland not so simple – the diktat: vorsprung durch technik (advancement through technology) is an unwritten rule of life here.

Consequently Aldi, Lidl and every shop in Germany sells inside/outside wireless weather stations. And consequently, in order to be prepared, organised and appropriately attired to step outside, as all good Germans are, every home must have a wireless inside/outside thermometer -sometimes two. Hell sometimes three or four -sometimes one in every room in the house!

Lidl weather station (disclaimer: not an endorsement)

 

 

Pros and cons of living here

It’ s been 5 months now, lets compare the pros and cons:

Germany: a carnivore’s paradise, clean streets, minimal public drunkenness, proper cycle paths, cheap beer, everyone eats cake at 4pm. Snow in winter, sun in summer, relatively small and crowded coastline but nice beaches, you’re only allowed ten BBQ a year or you get in trouble with the stasi, many pretty streets with various house styles, no pebbledash, people say what they mean, small talk discouraged, grossly excessive attention paid to asparagus.

Wales: public drunkeness , dirty streets, crap painted cycle paths on roads, everyone eats cake whenever they feel like it. Snow occasionally, sun occasionally, a huge coastline of beautiful beaches, as many BBQ’s as you want, lots of ugly, pebbledash housing, vegetarian food available but asparagus not worshipped, people often beat around the bush, small talk mandatory.

hmm, seems about even so far….

Ok, time to compare

It’ s been 5 months now, lets compare the pros and cons:

Germany: a carnivore’s paradise, clean streets, minimal public drunkenness, proper cycle paths, cheap beer, everyone eats cake at 4pm. Snow in winter, sun in summer, a decent bit sea and coastline but only in the north, you’re only allowed ten BBQ a year or you get in trouble with the stasi, many pretty streets with various house styles, no pebble-dash, people say what they mean, small talk discouraged, grossly excessive attention paid to asparagus.

Wales: public drunkeness (e.g. St Mary St on friday nights), dirty streets, crap painted cycle paths on roasd (not the barrage, that’s excellent), everyone eats cake whenever they feel like it, snow occasionally, sun occasionally, a huge coastline of beautiful beaches, as many BBQ’s as you want, lots of ugly, pebbledash housing, vegetarain food available but asparagus not worshipped, people often beat around the bush, small talk mandatory.

hmm, seems about even so far….

Ah Wales…

I really miss Wales on days like this when the weather is hot, there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than Marloes Sands. Once but a short drive away, now it seems like a lifetime..

marloes sands

Too bad an idiot minister has just announced scrapping the proposed marine nature reserve at beautiful Skomer Island around the corner.

Live webcam of Skomer Island

Kampfing in Frankreich (La France)

Just back from 3 weeks Kampfing in France. Here are some things I noticed:

  • If you are a passenger in a French car you have to remove your shoes and socks and put your feet on the dashboard.
  • If you are a middle aged French man on holiday, you have to put on a garish lycra costume, aquire an expensive racing bike and cycle up and down steep hills in the middle of any really hot day. This is especially the case if the Tour-de-France happens to be ongoing.
  • They haven’t really worked out how to put electricity wires underground in towns yet.
  • The food is really nice 🙂

Teacher throwback?

Yesterday, the eldest told us everyone was laughing in school because the teacher threw a blackboard rubber at a boy who was talking and a few minutes later sellotaped another boy’s lips.

The teacher would probably be disciplined in the UK but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a bit of humorous embarassment as a teaching tool -within reason of course. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a great idea!