Sunday, June 25, 2006

Football's the word

I went to the gym this morning and now my foot hurts. If this continues, I will have soon lost all the fitness that I worked so hard to get.

To console myself I decided to go shopping. During the World Cup shops are allowed to open on Sundays. I bought new shoes and raided The Body Shop.

One of the public viewing areas...

... near the cathedral...

Forever England...

... Forever 18...

The ceiling in Cologne central station... football heaven...

While I am writing this, England is playing against Ecuador on the telly. They are leading 1:0 and I can hear "Rule Britania". Outside the sky suddenly looks like this:

It's rainging hard now, thunder and lightning. The end of the world?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fever Pitch

My boss got an invitation from Deutsche Bank to the Fifa World Cup game Germany vs. Poland. He couldn't go, but suggested that - because I had such a difficult season, which ended with my favourite club being relegated to the second league - I should go instead. I LOVE my boss!

For a couple of hours I felt like a vip. And for the first time in my life I had to wear a wrist band that allowed me to go to places not everyone is allowed to go to (not the players' dressing room, though).

The invitation did not just include a ticket, but a whole hospitality pack. This is my loot:

Not in the picture (but in my stomach): Some really nice food and German white wine. All other beverages that are served at the stadiums have to be from the main sponsors. So it's
Coca Cola and Anheuser Busch only. For most Germans that is going to be hard. Budweiser is not really what we consider beer.

I did not take my digital camera, because I wasn't sure if it was allowed. But my host did and he promised to send the pictures by mail soon. So for the time being, some crappy pictures taken by a crappy mobile phone camera:

Waiting in posh
Nikko Hotel in Düsseldorf for the van to take us to the stadium ... (I don't look very enthusiastic on this picture, but trust me... I was).

Outside the stadium: fans and security

The stadium...

Polish fans in the row in front of us. The one on the right was devasted after the game, but they were all very friendly and congratulated after the match.

Apparently meant to be the German eagle... wearing a football outfit... storming towards the opponent's goal...

Photographers in front of the true vips of the evening: our president Horst Köhler, football legend Franz Beckenbauer and others. Madness.

Blogger is currently not allowing me to upload more pictures; neither here nor in a new post. Shame. Will try again later.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hot hot hot

It's hot. And the only member of this household, who is allowed to wear a fur coat and does so permanently, wishes it had a zipper so he could take it off.

Actually it's very hot. And this morning was the start of the half-marathon in Leverkusen. When I got up, I felt like doing a thousand other things than run for 21 miles. Sitting on the balcony with a nice cuppa and a good book, for example. But a couple of hours later, there I was... running and panting in the sun.

Of course it didn't go too well. My foot hurt (silly me!) and the heat was killing me. I don't like running in summer, I am decidedly an autumn/winter runner. 12°C are just fine, thank you. But today for at least 50% of the time there was no shade whatsoever and a bright summer sun over our heads. I don't remember hearing and seeing the ambulance that often at any race before. Several people were being taken care of beside the track by medics.

I started too fast, doing the first k in 5:45. I knew I was doomed when I hadn't slowed down much by 10k, even though I tried. But with people passing you by and dragging you along it is sometimes hard to run a slower pace. Eventually after 15k I fell into a pace that was very close to Nordic Walking. But at least I was still "running". Lots of people walked the last 1 to 2k. My official time is 0

Behind the finish line medals were handed out and ... WATER. I drank like a camel after a desert crossing. Anna (official time 01:53:26 - excellent) had a beer. Had I done that I would have been in the hospital now. She stayed and queued for a free massage. I just wanted to go home and sleep, so I did.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Change of plan

Apparently running on the treadmill yesterday wasn't such a good idea; my foot hurt again more this morning. Therefore I decided to abandon the "run in the forest" plan and go to the gym for an hour on the Elliptical Cross-Trainer. I figured that would be better for my foot, because the weight doesn't come crashing down on it when I train. We'll see if I was right tomorrow.

But I promised pictures, so here are some of my neighbours' geese and especially the goslings.

These little bundles of joy are, I believe, Anser anser f. domestica or
Domesticated Geese

They also have couple of very loud and quite aggressive Greylag Geese (Anser anser). You should not ruffle their feathers!

Plus lots of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Cute, but smelly.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


So, it's the Pentecost weekend. Being somewhat of an agnostic, all that means to me is that Monday is a Bank Holiday. Work is still a nightmare, so the extra day off is more than welcome.

This morning I went to the gym again to work on that JLo butt and run on the treadmill for a bit. Next Sunday is the half-marathon in Leverkusen. My foot is still hurting a little, so I have scaled down my expectations regarding the time. I will be very happy (and very surprised) if I finish in 02:10:00. Tomorrow I will go for a run in the forest again (if it doesn't rain) and take my camera. It's been a while.

Good news: A friend sent me a message saying that he has secured tickets for the World Cup for us. We will go and see Korea vs. Switzerland in Hanover. That's probably not the most exiting game to watch and Hanover is not the nearest stadium, but beggars can't be choosers.

Now playing:
Nick Drake's last album "Pink Moon" (1972). It has been digitally remastered and the booklet now includes lyrics and more pictures. It's beautiful, just Nick Drake, an acoustic guitar and a piano. Listen to it on Amazon.

Volkswagen used the title track for a commercial a couple of years back, so you may recognise it.

This year a new book about Nick Drake was published that I want to read:
Trevor Dann - Darker Than The Deepest Sea. I have read exerpts in a magazine and they were very good. I just don't know when to find the time. There is a huge stack of unread books waiting for me already.