Monday, 28 April 2008

Being tagged

My fellow-blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon Born-again Redneck
had me tagged and here are the details of what this entails:

The rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people
and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves
them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and
asking them to read your blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

The questions are as follows:

1.) What I was doing 10 years ago?
2.) What are five things on my to-do list for to-day? (not in any particular order)
3.) Snacks I enjoy
4.) Things I would do if I were a billionaire
5.) Three of my bad habits
6.) Five places I have lived
7.) Jobs I have had

1.) What I was doing 10 years ago?

In 1998 I was living in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, a Paris suburb and worked for a German company selling gears, gear grinding and gear controlling machines. In July I married after having lived together for about 7 years. In September we left our jobs and moved 600 km down south to live in a village. I am still there, happy.

2.) Five things on my to-do list for to-day

a) Racking my brain to answer the tagging questions.

b) Continue working on the overhaul of the wooden terrace railing (balustrade), using an orbital sander, a power planer, a router, a band saw, a jigsaw plus a pot of paint.

c) If weather permitting, driving down to the Dordogne valley for some paragliding. Spring is the very best period for this. Half an hour of flying right above the treetops would be wonderful.

d) Calling on my friend in Brussels to talk about the last piece of music on my blog. He wrote me that clarinet player is not good enough and he has a better one.

e) Last not least: buying at "Blandings Castle" from PG Wodehouse, Patrick "The Redneck" (see above) recommended to me. Incidentally, I met him by making a Google blog search for this beloved writer and now I have to find out, too, at Wikipedia what "redneck" really means in USA English.

3.) Snacks I enjoy

Black forest cherry cake, Tiramisu, bitter almond chocolate.

4.) Things I would do if I were a billionaire

Make a trip around the world, have a look at Australia, Japan, some US National Parks. Opening a world-wide TV station, kind of personal CNN but very much less boring and no publicity. Buying a car with a huge trunk that runs noiselessly and uses no petrol. Kicking out all those I don't want to see: that's the privilege of the rich.

3.) Three of my bad habits

I like to convince those who are not convinced. - I like reading when others make small talk - should eat less chocolate, pastries and other blow-up stuff.

5.) Five places I have lived

In Berlin-West before the Wall came down - in Aachen/Rhineland where Carolus Magnus had his HQ more than thousand years ago - in Brussels/Belgium where it rains more often than not - in Neuilly-Sur-Seine where the current French President was town mayor - in Rouffiac the farmers' village, far away from cities, noise, industry, business, pollution.

7.) Jobs I have had

In AACHEN as an apprentice for transports, export/import. Having got my diploma, I made the solemn oath never to work again in the transports business.

In BRUSSELS in a company where we were selling turn key plants to Third World countries and to the Soviet Block. We went bust when Saddam launched his war against Iran instead of paying us. Professionally speaking, my best time.

In NEUILLY-SUR-SEINE near Paris selling gears and machine tools made by our German mother company to French industry. Thrilling but stressful job.

THE END of this huge task. Now let's shut down the 'puter and hit the road for the Dordogne valley, see 2-c here above. Bye bye.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


Judging by the number of comments, my last post about the opera singer Lucia Popp was quite (reasonably) popular.

What astonished me most was the fact that people from far away and from very different cultural background appreciate Mozart's music and the singer, too.
Unfortunately, I am sorry to admit that this is only partially true the other way round. So I don't fall for Chinese Opera but like their instrumental music.

This YouTube video features a composition from Carl Maria von Weber. The clarinet is played by Sabine Meyer. Please lend them both your ears for three or four minutes. It's really gorgeous, there are not many pieces of music like this.

When clicking you are being jumped to YouTube and that is ok because it gives you the possibility to read the comments.

Depending on the piece of music, some of these are truly ferocious. The pleasure to destroy, humiliate, downgrade. Music should not be the means to let off steam.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Yesterday fellow-villager Valérie told me that the amount of money spent per month for Diesel by herself and her husband has reached 850 Euro (about 1300 Dollar at present exchange rate).

Quite a lot for a family that is not hauling it in with a shovel. Then I asked her how she is driving and she explains she drives sportingly. Meaning, she accelerates than brakes, braking accelerating, braking accelerating.

Well, I don't drive like this. In fact, you might say I am driving like my own grandfather. This is not due to fear of traffic and speed. I am accelerating smoothly, I brake only when I can't help it, preferring the motor brake by shifting into low gear. When reaching a village where the max. speed is 50 km/h (about 30 miles), I leave the gas pedal and frequently go into idle speed for better gliding.

You might consider this a rather boring driving technique. But it isn't because I am doing all this with a passion. I want to become world champion of low consumption. In case the title will ever be given I am ready to compete.

Last October my wife bought a new car - VW Polo Diesel TDI 1,4/80 HP - and this car is equipped with a kind of computer giving the average consumption of the current trip.

When she comes back from work in Aurillac, 40 km (25 Miles) from here, I frequently check her average consumption. Now it happens more and more often that she uses only 3,9 liter on 100 km or goes 60 1/3 Mile per Gallon!

Splendid, really. Good for the budget. Especially now with one liter of Diesel selling at 1,28 Euro (7,51 US Dollar per Gallon). But what amazes me is how she is doing it. With all my gimmicks I cannot do better and she is just an ordinary driver, like many women. She never goes into idle speed when the road is downhill. Just a careful, reasonable driver without any fuzz and addiction to overtaking whatever appears in front of her.

I would like to know and solve the riddle.

The first photo shows my wife where she gets the keys from the Volkswagen dealer. The lower one is our last homage to my Golf. I bought this car 20 years ago and it was still in top shape, passing the Technical Control with flying colours. When I made an ad in the local paper to sell it for 6OO Euro I got more than 30 phone calls.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008


About ten years ago I heard for the first time an aria sung by Lucia Popp. Since then, she has been my favorite classical singer. I can't really say why because my technical knowledge of music is scant. I just love to hear her singing.

Lucia Popp's voice can go very high up but to me there is a difference with most other opera singers: even on top, she remains melodious, there is spare room and she never becomes the screechy slate pencil voice you hear so frequently.

Here, Lucia Popp is singing Laudate Dominum out of Vesperae Solemnes de Confessore from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When he composed this piece of music, Mozart must have been very young, about 20 or so. If I had faith and were a believer I would say Mozart was divinely inspired when writing this piece of church music.

Last not least, I would like to say thank you to YouTube that made all this possible and to the British chappie Glenmed who posted the recording. On his personal page Glenmed explains "I try to avoid present-day teenager dum-dum stuff". God bless England and the English, may they never loose their splendid sens of humor.