Saturday, January 18, 2014

I'm back! Sort of...well, no, I mean...I am.

But thanks to the efforts of my local football team to treat loyal fans like sub-human scum (see previous blog) will no longer be blogging about that malarkey.

Instead, I shall be blogging about my experiences as an Englishman living in Germany for the past xx years. I hope to dispel some myths, sereotypes and possibly uncover some truths. Some people may not agree with what I type. I can only say it will be based on my experiences. And there are a lot of them. So...without further ado, I give you:


Somewhere in the past, the people at the Stereotype HQ got together in their underground lair (I am assuming they have one but it is now closed due to Health and Safety regulations) and set out a bunch of stereotypes for most countries in the world. 

These were thankfully abolished in the early 90's, although someone forgot to tell the Top Gear presenters, when they rolled out a Mexican stereotype to describe something.

On my countless trips to France over the years, I have still yet to see a moustachioed man with a beret, in a striped t shirt, riding a bike, with a string of onions around his neck, going "He Haw, He Haw" as he rides by.

As if to prove my point, the above image was taken from a Google image search for "french person". It was the third on the list. Oh look, I've gone all Dave Gorman on you.

The Germans did not get of lightly, when the CEO of ACME Stereotypes signed their quota. The Germans are puntual, it said. Erm....No! In fact, the amount of times a German has actually been on time to a meeting or appointment in my 16 years here I could probably count on my two hands (one if you are from Norfolk...whoops, another stereotype right there).

I don't think my love of punctuality is a cultural thing. More likely to do with the fact that the only job I have ever had has been the British Military, first as a soldier then a civilian, where the norm was, turning up 5 minutes before a parade (that's an appointment to the normal folk). 

 When I was a young soldier, I was actually late for a parade. By a matter of about 4 minutes. My reward? 7 days in jail. And guess what? I was never late again.

To that end, I kinda have a "thing" for being on time. I remember an occasion I was driving to a football match, and the meet was scheduled for 12:00. At 12:15 with still no sign of one of our party, I left. There was uproar. Luckily this tale has a happy ending as just as I was driving down the road, the protaganist was walking towards the meeting place.

One of my bugbears is when people state a time, and they are 30 odd minutes late. Don't say a time then. Err on the side of caution. Say "Between 1 and 2". That way you have all your bases covered.

"I'll call you back in 5 minutes". Liar! We all know YOUR five minutes can be over an hour. Don't say it then. Say "I'll call you back as soon as possible". There...isn't that easier?

Deutsche Bahn! Please don't get me started on the myth that German trains are on time, clean etc.....

I could write a whole book over the utter ineptitude of this firm. However the crux of the matter is, no...your trains do not run on time. Even when the trains are on time, they aren't. Does that make sense? 

TV Shows. With a start time of 19:47, you would expect them to start on time. Noooooo! Again, why put it? Why not say 19:47 to 19:53. Oh yeah, I know why. Because if you DID put that, the programme would start at 19:58 wouldn't it?

Appointments. I once had a doctors appointment for 14:15. At 15:15 I was STILL in the waiting room. 

I often have to go to the job centre and not once have one of the little neo-facist, oafish, incompetent cockwombles EVER been on time. I will now experiment the next time my lisping Harry Potter-a-like bimbles out of his room, 3 minutes late for our appointment. I shall sit there in corridor for the requesite amount of time he left me waiting.

Apart from that, yes, very punctual!



  1. I'm with you 100% of the way about punctuality. Why do some people arrange to meet at a time they have no intention of achieving, or are incapable of achieving? Like you, it annoys me when one makes an appointment with a doctor or some other "professional" and have to wait as thought their time is valuable but your's is not.