Sunday, 30 March 2008

It wasn't just "fluish symptoms" I had last week but full-blown influenza. Probably the nastiest bout I've experienced in many a year. After last Monday's post, I felt progressively worse and had to skip work for the rest of the week. It was only yesterday afternoon that I began to feel a bit better (after going to bed the previous evening with a temperature). This improvement has continued over the course of today. However, I still feel weak walking around, as I obviously still need to build up some strength.

Monday, 24 March 2008

White Easter

What with Easter being so early this year, Mother Nature decided to sprinkle some of the snow she couldn't be bothered chucking down over Christmas. Admittedly, it was really just a sprinkling in the strictest sense of the term, but the weather has been rather freezing and uninspiring these past few days. So much for blooming almond trees... Just as well that I've been kept busy translating various wine tasting notes. Other than that, I've been struck down with fluish symptoms, so I've been cooped up at home for virtually the past 72 hours.

Monday, 17 March 2008

I read the following item of news with satisfaction today:

Änderungen zum 17. März 2008
Am 17. März 2008 stellt Sat.1 sein Abendprogramm um. Im Zuge dessen werden die Sat.1 News, die von da an Sat.1 Nachrichten heißen (außer sonntags), werktags von 20:00 Uhr bis 20:15 Uhr ausgestrahlt. Neuer Moderator für die Werktagsausgaben wird N24-Chefredakteur Peter Limbourg sein. Die Wochenendausgaben werden weiterhin um 18:30 Uhr beginnen und von Katja Losch und Heiko Paluschka moderiert. Des Weiteren werden die Nachrichten aus einem neuen Studio gesendet. (Quelle:

Basically, the flagship news programme on Sat.1 is to be renamed "Sat.1 Nachrichten" - like it used to be before the pernicious influence of "Denglisch" meant it had to be rebranded as "Sat.1 News". I mean, why replace a perfectly functional German word with "news" [sorry, News...] in the first place? Finally someone has seen sense.

Sunday, 16 March 2008


I thought I would sit outside the Sparkasse on Saturday (as you do..) and take this photo of the almond tree by the entrance. For me, it's always the first tangible sign that winter will soon be on the way out. It also reminds me of the vineyards of the Pfalz where countless such trees blossom at this time of the year.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Some rather shocking local news. On Sunday at around 1.30 p.m. a 49-year-old man stabbed his wife to death in Haltingen during a domestic row. The couple's two sons, aged 16 and 20, witnessed the incident and alarmed the police, who later arrested the man shortly afterwards in his car. While I was walking up through the vineyards to Ötlingen last Sunday lunchtime, I saw a police car racing from the Binzen motorway exit towards Haltingen, siren blazing, and a helicopter hovering over Haltingen. This explains it.

Beziehungsdrama endet tödlich

49-Jähriger ersticht Ehefrau in Haltingen / Ehemann hat Tat eingeräumt /Sohn alarmierte Polizei

Weil am Rhein-Haltingen (mib). Am Sonntag hat ein 49-jähriger Mann seine Ehefrau in der Hermann-Brian-Straße so schwer mit einem Messer verletzt, dass sie noch in der gemeinsamen Wohnung starb.

Mitansehen mussten diese Bluttat zwei Kinder des Paares, die sich in der Wohnung aufgehalten haben.

Es war am Sonntag gegen 13.30 Uhr, als der Einsatzzentrale der Polizeidirektion Lörrach mitgeteilt wurde, dass es in besagter Wohnung zu einer lautstarken Auseinandersetzung gekommen ist. Die ersten Feststellungen ergaben, dass der 49-jährige Mann mit einem Messer auf seine Ehefrau eingestochen hat.

Zwischen dem Ehepaar kam es in der Wohnung, in der sich auch die gemeinsamen Kinder, 16 und 20 Jahre alt, aufhielten, zu einem heftigen Streit. Grund war eine schon länger anhaltende Ehekrise. Im Verlaufe des Streits stach der Mann mit einem Messer auf seine Frau ein, die daraufhin zusammenbrach.

Der Familienvater verließ laut Polizeiangaben das Haus und der 16-jährige Sohn alarmierte die Polizei. Diese leitete eine Fahndung nach dem Flüchtigen ein und nahm ihn kurze Zeit später mit seinem Auto fest.

Das Beziehungsdrama hat gestern die Haltinger tief erschüttert. Viele konnten nicht so recht glauben, dass so etwas auch bei uns passieren könne. Für die Ehefrau kam jegliche ärztliche Hilfe zu spät: Sie starb auf dem Transport zum wartenden Rettungshubschrauber. Todesursache war die Stichverletzung, wie die gestrige Obduktion im Institut für Rechtsmedizin in Freiburg ergab.

Neben Notärzten und Hilfsdienst war auch die Haltinger Feuerwehr im Einsatz und richtete für den angeforderten Rettungshubschrauber einen provisorischen Landeplatz in der Weinbergstraße ein.

Die Staatsanwaltschaft Lörrach hat gegen den 49-jährigen Familienvater und Ehemann der getöteten Frau Haftbefehl wegen Totschlags beantragt. Das Amtsgericht Lörrach hat dem Antrag entsprochen und den Mann, der von Nachbarn als liebenswert und freundlich beschrieben, in Untersuchungshaft genommen.

Der Festgenommene hat zwischenzeitlich eingeräumt, auf seine Frau eingestochen zu haben, teilten gestern die Staatsanwaltschaft und die Polizeidirektion Lörrach in einer gemeinsamen Presseerklärung mit.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


I took the chance to get out for a relaxing Sunday walk today. Caught the train to Haltingen and then walked up the hill to Ötlingen where I had a Schorle outdoors on the terrace at the Gasthaus zum Ochsen ("Ox Inn"). Afterwards, I walked a few metres along the village road to the Muusloch - which was just opening, so I stayed a while and had a Viertele of Weißburgunder sat under the pergola by the entrance [hic].

It was a pleasant hour and a half I spent up there in Ötlingen. One feature in the village which caught my attention was the series of artist murals and sculptures along the length of the village road outside houses. This arty theme is currently the village's leitmotif - and is seemingly all the work of just a handful of locals.

Actually, I've just spotted this (could be interesting...):

Sonntag, 13. Apr 2008
15:00 Uhr
Das „ART“-Dorf Ötlingen - neu
Sigrid Droguet wird auf ihrer Tour durch Ötlingen von alten Herrenhäusern und deren Geschichte erzählen, Sie durch versteckte Winkel von Ötlingen führen und Ihnen dabei auch die „Art”-Galerie entlang der Dorfstraße erläutern.
Treffpunkt: Vor dem Gasthaus Ochsen

Quo vadis - eh?

I didn't study Latin at school, although I wouldn't necessarily say this has put me at a disadvantage in life. Learning French was hard enough, but at least that's a language I can use. Much to my genuine surprise then when I first came to Germany at how frequently certain set phrases in Latin appear in an everyday context such as the written press.

Quo vadis - or, "Where are you going?" - is one that's always puzzled me. Thanks to my knowledge of French, I was always aware enough to realise what it would roughly mean. However, the phrase seems to crop up everywhere, though most commonly in German-language newspaper headlines, and I increasingly get the impression it's plonked in there because the headline writer is too lazy to think up something more original. For example, you see an article about FC Basel - for example, an analysis looking at what the remainder of the season holds in store for Switzerland's best supported football club. The headline would look something like this: "FCB - Quo vadis?" I think it's safe to say that that sort of thing is not done by Fleet Street journalists.

Carpe diem is another one which appears a lot here in Germany. It's one of those terms Germans like to use in English, but which usually illicit blank looks on the part of English native speakers. In fact, I had to look up its meaning again (i.e. "Seize the day") just now in that, ahem, authoritative Internet resource, Wikipedia. " It has a nice meaning, though, I must admit. "Carpee Dee-em!"

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Rude awakening

I know this is Germany, the country where school starts at 7.40 in the morning, but it really does take the biscuit when you have someone clearing the leaves and debris with a noisy suction machine along the path next to your bedroom window at 7.15 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I know that a lot of my neighbours are pensioners who tend to wake up at the crack of dawn anyway, but can't a job like that be done some time between Monday and Friday?


Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

Sunday, 2 March 2008


Unbelievable for this time of the year, but I was bitten four times in total by a pesky mosquito on two successive nights while sleeping last week. To my satisfaction, I killed the midge in question on Friday morning in the kitchen. Now, some people might say this is all to do with climate change, but I say the reason is probably that January and February weren't cold enough, plus the neighbours opposite have a pond in their garden. Still, it's the first time I've been bitten by midges in February.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Weil gives the green light

Yesterday evening, Weil's councillors finally approved the tram extension from Basle to Weil, the result being 22 to 10 votes in favour of giving the project the green light. Amid all the excitement, it almost escaped everyone's attention that Oberbürgermeister Dietz abstained from casting his vote. Supposedly, he decided not to vote out of respect for his Christian Democrat colleagues, most of whom were against the motion.

The turning point in this whole saga came a week and a half ago, when Willi Stächele - who is due to become in the next finance minister for Baden-Württemberg next July - turned up at the town hall in person to confirm that the state would make a significant contribution to funding the project. This came as a huge relief, and certainly what Weil had been hoping for. Dietz subsequently intimated that the state of the town's accounts was now a little better than previously assumed and that Weil may yet be able to close the gap in financing that was originally the cause of so much prevarication on the German side.

Anyway, if all goes to plan, Weil should have a tram link direct to Basel from the beginning of 2012.