The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for August, 2008

Back to Berlin

Posted by Exile on August 30, 2008

My father-in-law has just celebrated his 81st birthday. What does one give a man who has everything he needs? He has all the power tools, the things for his car, his garden, his house. He doesn’t smoke, so a new pipe is a bit of a waste of time and he has a fishing pole. He has all the books he ever wanted to read and will get more at Christmas, I’m sure.

imageWell, we think we have solved the problem. You can’t beat an experience. A day, or days, doing something you haven’t yet done. Father-in-law would have liked to have traveled a little more than he did. So we’re going to take him somewhere he hasn’t been yet. Last year it was London. This year, it’s Berlin.

I’ve been there twice. Once many years ago as a soldier, for about two hours. In and out. Last time was a weekend with my dear lady. She took me there for my birthday. This time I will see a little more of that city that has fascinated me for years. I daresay we will see some of the sights again, the Brandenburg Gate and so on, but if I know F-i-l, he’s been reading up on Berlin and wants to see it all.

He walked me to a standstill in London, so this year I’m taking the right shoes to avoid the blisters. This is going to be a fun weekend. I’m looking forward to it.

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Going For a Trundle

Posted by Exile on August 22, 2008

Which may sound a bit strange, but is the best way of describing a walk with the two dogs. Dachshunds, I have discovered, do not walk. They trundle. And they are very good at it too. The simple fact that they are built the way they are makes them ideal trundlers. Well developed backsides, short stocky legs and that low slung profile make for ideal trundling. Trundling is done at a break-neck speed and is ideal for covering ground that one does not have the height to see over. Trundling allows one to cover a lot of ground in a minimum of time without having to run. It also means that anything that appears on the somewhat closer than you might think horizon, is easily barked at, sniffed, eaten or peed on with amazing speed and the minimum of disruption to the trundling itself, which continues unabated by whatever obstacle has appeared and must be duly dealt with. The world is too big to be seen all at once but everything must be investigated and treated accordingly. Which probably accounts for the trundling in the first place.

Another thing you may not realise at first glance, is that Dachshunds have an amazing pulling power. Again, it is those short stocky legs and that well developed rear end that allows them to pull much more than their own weight. I have no idea how to measure the torque on those hind legs but I can testify, it is phenomenal. If producers of automobiles could master this in similar fashion, then they would have the world racing circuit licked.

grav1Having gained the confidence enough to let these two little canines run free and still return to me, I let them run free for the first time today in the field close to our home. The grass has been cut recently and they could move freely about the entire thousand meter length of the field without losing sight of me, or me of them. It struck me as comical to see two backsides, tails up, four paws and four flapping ears disappear into the middle distance.

My life has changed. I need to learn how to trundle.

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Dog Day Sunday

Posted by Exile on August 17, 2008

Arriving home after my party expedition to North Sealland I couldn’t relax for any length of time. I kept looking out of the window and watching for the arrival of our two additions to the Exile household. We have “rescued” these two delightful wire haired dachshunds. Their previous owner is very ill and can no longer look after them. They have been in kennels for the past three weeks to nearly a month and are in serious need of  some TLC. Believe me, they are getting it now, in spades!

If it was up to me I would call them “Spit and Polish” or something similar but they have names already and we must try to live with that. But maybe, with a few minor changes, we can get them used to new ones. They are about three years old, very attentive, happy and absolutely solid. Robust is the word that comes to mind. I know my wife will spoil them!

These two are going to be a handful.

Great! Woof, woof! Welcome to The Shack.

MVC-042F MVC-043F

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Party Politics

Posted by Exile on August 17, 2008

Party-balloons My dear one and I were out and about yesterday celebrating two very different birthdays. Normally we go to parties together. We met at one, so we tend to get nostalgic about these things, but what does one do when one is invited to two separate affairs on the same day? The one being my , well, niece I suppose, in that she is my daughter’s cousin, but I am in no other way related with the family now. We’re all good friends still though and I wanted to mark the young lady’s 18th birthday. The second was a colleague to my dearly beloved, who has reached the tender age of 60. We did not want to disappoint either one so a split was necessary.
I went North to the outer reaches of Sealland and my dear one headed off to the suburbs of Copenhagen.

It is worth noting that the party where I met my wife, was held by the same people that were holding this one. My ex-brother-in-law and his wife. We’ve been friends for years and I remember them as being some of the first to make me welcome on my arrival in this country many years ago. I enjoy a good shindig, and these people usually get it right. Food, drink and music, good company and a bit of a chat along the way. These family parties are a great way of catching up with people one seldom sees. I was not disappointed. I mingled, joined in with the party games, drank a fishpond of beer and ate barbequed sausages like a champ. Finally, around one o’clock in the morning, it all got to be too much and I decided that I would have to sleep this one off.

My hosts had been very gracious and had prepared a bed for me in the upper part of their house. This had once been a self contained apartment and still has all the amenities. I found my bed, said goodnight to the world and promptly blacked out on something resembling a pillow. I awoke at about three a.m. desperately needing to pee. I got up from my bed and things began to go terribly wrong. Unused to my surroundings, partly drunk, blind as a bat being only half awake, I raised myself up forgetting that I was under a slanting ceiling. My head made firm contact with the frame of a skylight window. Searing pain filled my head and I clutched the back of my cranium as I tried to reach the toilet. My trials were not over yet. I had no idea that there is a three centimeter step up from the floor level of my bedroom and the hallway, to the toilet. I hammered the toes of my right foot about half an inch into the woodwork of the doorstep. Now, in consummate agony and convinced that all the toes of my right foot were broken and my skull split, I found myself trying to hold my head, hold my foot, stand on one leg and pee, all at the same time. One lacks a hand somewhere. It was a zen-yoga moment from Hell.

Concussed, limping, spitting feathers and swearing like a trooper, I stumbled slowly back to my bed. I fell upon it and decided I would not leave it again until I was sober, it was daylight and I felt no pain. Despite the throbbing at both ends of my tortured body, I finally fell asleep again and the night passed without further event.

My nocturnal thundering around had not gone unnoticed by my hosts who commented on having heard a certain loud thud followed by muffled cursing during the night. Not wishing to relive the events of the previous catharsis, I made light of it saying that I had discovered the step too late and collided with it. No harm done, I said. I ate a little breakfast and then made ready to leave. Wishing them all things good and thanking them for their hospitality and the party, I hobbled off to my car silently cursing my still very tender toes.

My wife had fared somewhat better than I. She had had a pleasant evening, had not gotten drunk, took a taxi home and slept soundly in her own bed.

I appear to be lacking her common sense. And I have the bruises to prove it!

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