Sunday, 20 April 2008

This and that

So, the weekend that's about to come to an end was a quiet one. However, here's some flotsam and jetsam.

I went into Basle on Friday night for a couple of pints with Karl-Heinz and Simonetta, two translators from CLS where I used to work until the end of 2006. I hadn't seen Simonetta for a long time, so it was good to catch up with her. Both of them told me about the latest goings-on at my old place of work and we basically had a good laugh.

The weather was fairly good on Saturday, as has also been the case today. I just pottered around, got some food in at the shops, made large meal of the day at midday and then ventured into Basle again at teatime to watch the Blackburn-Man United match.

Went on a bike ride today round the outskirts of Haltingen, then towards home via Friedlingen. Spring also finally seems to have sprung, which is nice.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

SC Freiburg 2 - 0 Carl Zeiss Jena

Went to Freiburg today with two good friends, Karl-Heinz and Pete, to watch some second division football at Sportclub Freiburg. Attendance 14,050.

Jena scuppered Freiburg's promotion chances last season with a last-minute equaliser, so today was a bit of pay-back time for SCF. Not only that, but Freiburg disastrously lost 0-5 the previous Sunday at the home of anarchy that is St. Pauli. (Here is a fact well known to followers of German football, and quoted in, ahem, Wikipedia: "St. Pauli opens its home matches with AC/DC's Hells' Bells, and after every home goal Song 2 by Blur is played, turning the stadium into a giant mosh pit." Evidently no room for Freiburg's pretty passes with eleven hairy-ar*ed cloggers with a skull and cross-bones on their shirts chasing them.

For the first time in ages, we stood in the Nordtribüne instead of sitting elsewhere. Being the typical English-style fans we are, we arrived only a few minutes before kick-off, which meant that we had to settle for standing room at ground level right behind the goal - given that German fans arrive hours before the match to grab the best sun benches.. sorry, terrace spaces.

The match itself was a fairly entertaining affair and Freiburg were well worth their win. One of the notable features of standing in the Nordtribüne was that the crowd were egged on by some bloke with a microphone who stood on a few cardboard boxes about 10 yards from us. He would start each chant through his loudspeaker, then the crowd would follow suit. Not very spontaneous, if you ask me. This cheerleader was facing the crowd during the whole 90 minutes (although I noticed that someone else came on and replaced the original one for the second half). The first one probably got bored. Such a phenomenon is fairly recent and dates back to around 2001/2002 when the more dedicated (or extreme) fans of most Bundesliga clubs began to form Ultra groups - a way of mimicking Italian football supporters and their various groupings. I don't wish to cast judgment on such fans, but only to say that English football does pretty well without them. But then again, English fans are rather more spontaneous.

Incidentally, Jögi Löw, the Germany manager, was at the match today. He supposedly has a house on the outskirts of Freiburg in Freiburg-St. Georgen.

Another notable fact was that the flamboyantly monikered Alain Junior Olle Olle came on for Freiburg some time during the second half. He is from Cameroon and was signed from Uruguay's Nacional during the winter break.

To cap off the day, United beat Arsenal thanks to a stunning free-kick from Owen Hargreaves.

Saturday, 5 April 2008


I went into Basle this afternoon to have a quick look round "Baselworld - The Watch and Jewellery Show" (I must say, as a humble native English speaker, I'm glad "jewellery" has been written the British way and not subsided to the US spelling that is all-pervading in this day and age.) Anyway, there was quite a bit of opulence on show around town. Every year I'm fascinated by the business people who come to Basle for this annual trade fair - all dressed to kill in their suits and chunky watches. Supposedly, this is the world's most important trade fair for the watch and jewellery industry, so no expense is spared. Here are some photos I took of the to-ings and fro-ings on Messeplatz.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Fait accompli

Wolfgang Dietz, Oberbürgermeister of Weil, is set to be re-elected for another term as mayor this coming Sunday. It hasn't exactly been the most hotly contested of mayoral races, though that's because no one else actually bothered to throw their hat into the ring and take on Herr Dietz at the ballot box. However, such electoral processes must follow protocol, come what may, so Sunday will still see a vote taking place - but just for one candidate. How quaint. I wonder what the voter turn-out will be like?

I thought about putting my name forward, but I've decided to devote more time to my family.