MORE THINGS THAT ANNOY ME

Nooo …

You didn’t really think, I would be done with two measly articles about the things that annoy me, did you? So here are even more things that annoy the hell out of me:

1.) Telephone hotlines – press 1, press 2, press 1 again … just to end up where you don’t want to be to receive the information you don’t want. And keep waiting for an actual person to pick up for hours. Literally. For hours. Phone companies seem to be the worst. Or anything else that has to deal with multimedia stuff. Or the parcel delivery services. Just don’t get me started on those!!!

2.) The German post office in particular – I’m regularly seeing red just by entering. They annoy me so much. Ridiculousness of the week? Having to present ID (no, my driver’s license is not enough to ID myself) for the ordered Austrian theatre DVD which is as harmless as the Muppets. (Oh, right, I forgot, the Muppets require a notification for the poor children who might suffer from childhood disturbances by the Muppets!) Or the postman (apart from one postwoman) who doesn’t manage to ring the doorbell when one of my used book deliveries doesn’t fit into the letter box. Even though I’m home, because I’m still working from home. Imagine my annoyance discovering the notification announcing “we couldn’t reach you at home, please pick up your parcel from tomorrow on …”. Stupid bastards!

3.) Bikers – oh boy, don’t get me started on bikers. As in those who sit on a bicycle and think they are the kings of the cities. I hate them with all my heart. Especially on country roads and in big cities where bikes seem to RULE. They annoy me to hell, they are of the opinion that THEY have every right! One of the worst city is Munster and I’m always glad when I have reached the parking garage I usually use without mowing down one of those bloody bikers.

4.) German traffic lights – as in switching from green to orange right away. Being scared every time I approach one of those it might switch all of a sudden and I will have to do an emergency break. Or just risk crossing at orange. I miss our Austrian lights, when the green light starts to blink announcing it will switch to orange in a moment, preparing you to either keep going – depending on whether it has just started blinking – or rather stop. 

5.) Spoons – as in being served spoons when ordering spaghetti. Hello? One does not eat spaghetti with spoons and forks. If you can’t eat spaghetti the Italian way, you better stick to normal pasta.  

6.) Cash only – no debit, no credit card! Yes, those places still exist. Especially in Germany, especially on small German islands, as it seems. For someone who is running around with 50€ max in her wallet and is used to drawing on of her cards all the time, it’s totally annoying to be told you can’t pay for your coffee, meal or souvenir with card. And especially now, in Covidtimes, where it was suggested to rather pay with card than with cash. Those bloody Covidinconsistencies …

7.) Speaking of which! Having returned from my weekend island getaway not too long ago, I was horrified that not once I was asked to provide prove of vaccination, recovery or being tested.What a disgrace to handle the pandemic.

8.) German hotels and their horrible pillows – yeah, it’s true. So far, it’s been the German hotels only – and I’ve been to plenty of other countries – where I constantly have to beg for a second or even third pillow. Every single hotel treated me to soft, flat pillows I just can’t stand. I need substance, I need structure, I need a pillow that supports my neck and head when I’m reading in bed at night. Fortunately, I brought Austrian, hard pillows with me on my move to Germany. I would have been totally lost!

Well, that’s it for now – once again. Will there be a “to be continued”? You bet! I’ll keep collecting the annoyances of life … or rather, my life!

BIRTHDAY, AGAIN!?

Oh darn! Where has the year gone? Well, I don’t know! I really don’t know. It’s as if it had just been yesterday that I treated myself to strawberry cake in bed for breakfast, opening all the presents I had ordered and meeting up for birthday dinner at my favourite despised “Sissi&Franz” restaurant for burgers with a colleague of mine.

And now it’s here again, my birthday! One year older, one year wiser (yeah, as if) and one year closerto getting home.

This year, I had to take the day off – which I usually do – to celebrate myself. My birthday plans? A nice breakfast with fresh rolls, deli, fruit, yogurt … the whole shebang! And cake! Of course, I will have a birthday cake! Of the Ikea kind (Daim cake) bought myself. Yes, I admit it, I’m just too lazy to bake my own birthday cake. Even though I would crave to once again have the wonderful cake my mother always baked. A hazelnut cake with buttercream chocolate frosting and filling. And I guess, I would still enjoy it the way I used to in those days. Dissecting my slice of cake, first eating the cake itself, followed by the delicious cream. Oh my, I do miss this cake. I can’t even remember the last time I had it. It must be 15 years at least. At least!!!

Well, after a nice breakfast I will, once again, open the presents I got myself (what would I do without Amazon) and which I have been collecting since January. (With the next collection starting afterwards for Christmas …) So, there is a nice stack of parcels still hidden in my closet and since I’ve been collecting for many months, most of them will be surprises. Who remembers what one ordered in January, huh? I certainly don’t. Because, never again I will have a Christmas or birthday with no presents. Even if I have to buy them myself!

My joy will then continue by adding my new books (yep, my gifts to myself are mostly books, as usual) to my “unread book” list and store them away in the “unread book shelf”.

The rest of the day I will just enjoy, hopefully on the balcony when the weather is nice and either go out for dinner in the evening or order in (something I do quite rarely). Hoping, that this will be my last birthday in Germany and the next will already be back home in Austria. With friends and family …

I’M A HARD ROCK GIRL

… thrown in with a little gothic and lots of musicals. Well, thinking about my musical preferences I guess I’m pretty versatile. What I don’t like at all, however, is traditional music, “Schlager”, jazz, blues, hip hop and rap. Apart from that? I’m as comfortable in a classical concert as with heavy metal. Which taste I have acquired for thanks to my best friend a few years back. He took me to my first concert. “BöhseOnkelz” no less and it was quite a culture shock for me, though. I felt a bit out of space … and would have preferred them NOT to sing but just enjoy their instrumental music. A few months later, we went to their festival and it was awesome. Just awesome. Great show and great atmosphere. And I started to really like them. I even have some of their songs on my iPhone now and whenever I’m in a bad mood I put them on, loudly, singing along with open car windows and feeling just good again. (Don’t want to know what the people on the streets are thinking, however, when they see me in business outfit in my flashy British car with this kind of music driving through town … but as usual, I don’t care what others think about me!)

Since this first concert, some years have passed and I got to know many other bands I hadn’t heard before. But every single event we went to, I loved very much. I liked the music. Some better, of course. But I liked every one of them. We have established a concert driving routine. Meeting up in time, stocking up on snacks and beverages and off we go. He is bringing the CDs, and since I mostly don’t know the band we are going to see, it’s him singing along for the often several-hours-long drives. (Hence, we need plenty of snacks to sustain us: gummi bear stuff is obligatory, cookies a nice addition and energy drinks a must.) Me pitching in on the rare occasion I DO know one of the songs.

At the concerts themselves we share “Radler” – a beer lemonade mix – and if available, bratwurst in a bun or curry sausage with fries. After all, jumping around for more than two hours is exhausting … but so much fun. What I absolutely hate, though, is this “pogo” dancing or rather, jumping, basically just pushing each other around senselessly. There is just no point! Apart from getting hurt and being doused with sticky stinking beer from everyone around. My friend always tries to keep me away and protect me from those crazy guys, but … well, I still always watch them too to not being bumped around and can’t concentrate on the guys on the stage. This does spoil the whole heavy metal / gothic / hard rock experience for me a bit. But nevertheless, I love those outings, cause I never know what to expect in case of new bands. Or looking forward to those I already know.

After the concerts, especially on return trips of more than one hour, we stop at McDonalds for a midnight meal to survive the drive back home. What could be a better end to a concert trip for two crazy, exhaustedpeople in their 40s? Exactly! What’s next on ourschedule? I don’t know. But I never do! And it’s perfect the way it is! So, I will be waiting for the next trip as soon as possible!

AAARRGHHH …

I’m bored! I’m so bored! I can’t remember a time I’ve been so bored. You’re asking yourself, “What in the hell is she doing NOW? What can be so mindnumbingly boring?”

I’ll tell you! I’m in Austria and being a good friend I’m jumping in for the afternoon at my former working place, torturing an 8th grader, who’s got a written English test next week. How do teachers do it? Teaching the same stuff every year for … well, forever? I’m so endlessly bored waiting for my student to finish the exercise that I’m chewing my well-manicured nails and looking at my watch every other minute.

The weird thing is, I had been doing this English (and German) tutoring for more than ten years and don’t know how I did it without hopping mad. It’s as if I’d never stopped doing this. As if I’d never been away. Rattling on about the tenses and their use, Passive Voice, Reported Speech, Adverb-Adjective … and then the stories. They are the same! Can you believe it? They are still the same! My gosh, it’s as if I’d given my last lesson to an 8th grader two days ago – and not five years!

I still remember the stories by just reading the headlines. (How tragic I that? That I can still remember all those stories?) My student’s chapters are about Extreme Sports (Boxing, Climbing El Capitan and basketball) and Native Americans, how they live today, the Trail of Tears and a story called “Indian Heaven”. Dozens of students, dozens of times, dozens of hours chewing through the same grammar, the same stories, the same exercises. How happy I always had been of the times I could teach senior high school students. Where all I had to do was doing conversations, giving them topics to write and correcting them. How much more gratifying, challenging and satisfying.

And now I’m back in my old life for a brief time, and I’m so annoyed with myself that I could kick my butt. Instead of enjoying one of those marvellous ice cream sundaes at the “Cortina” I’m stuck here in an endless loop … and then … thankfully I wake up. Ohmy gosh, it was just a dream. A bad dream. Cause I just couldn’t do this anymore. I’m so grateful to be allowed to live the life I live. With a job I like, earning enough money to be independent and afford some small luxuries like my books and travelling.

CrimeFest

Now, THAT’S the real reason I was in Bristol. To attend the CrimeFest. And after three weeks of waiting – or four? If you count in the travel prep post – it’s definitely time for my big vacation event! CrimeFest is a crime and mystery book convention usually happening every year (apart from the past two pandemic years) and that’s exactly how long I had to wait to attend. Having booked it in 2019.

It was the first time I was taking part in something like this. And it’s another item to scratch off my list of things I absolutely wanted to do.

With perfect timing, I arrived back at the hotel to get registered and pick up my goodie bag, filled with the programme and four complimentary books. And of course, I bought a CrimeFest T-Shirt right away.Souvenirs, souvenirs.

At 1:30 pm the first panel started and I was hooked right away. And believe it or not, I attended every single time slot panel – since some were running at the same time – and loved every single minute of it.Even though it was extremely exhausting, going all day. 50 minutes of panel discussion, 20 minutebreaks to browse and buy books and have them signed. Well, guess what! I hadn’t wanted to … but I couldn’t help buying more books than intended because A) I wanted to try the one or other author I hadn’t heard of before and B) absolutely wanted to have them signed by them.

Just to name a few authors I met, talked to and bought books from: T.E. Kinsey and his lovely Lady Hardcastle mysteries, Mick Finlay and his Arrowood Victorian mysteries, Ann Cleeves (Vera, Shetford, etc), Mark Ellis, Andrew Child (Reacher), Tim Glister (60s spy novel), Janice Hallett, D.V. Bishop, Mike Ripley (Campion series), Peter Hanington,Martin Edwards, John Lawton, Linda Stratmann, Leigh Russell and many more. Bumping into each other again and again, striking up interesting conversations. Plus a very nice Gala Dinner on Saturday evening with great food and a little awards show … the perfect ending to a perfect little vacation.

Two and a half days to be among crime and mystery lovers – Sunday I had to leave early and couldn’t take part in the last few panels – and books, books, books. If I hadn’t been limited by my luggage capacities (and stupid customs regulations since Britain is not EU anymore) I would not only have stocked up on even more books (there were many more on my booklist I could have gotten at Waterstones, not to mention the book stand in the ballroom of the convention hotel with offers from the attending authors) but also much more on my favourite British groceries. Like my tea biscuits, shortbread, Ovaltine cocoa, cheese crackers, cake mixes, scones, Horlicks malt drink and … darn, I completely forgot to look for SPAM. (But I guess I wouldn’t have been allowed to import it anyway, officially at least …)

Oh well, 36 books is not too bad either – yep, half of my suitcase was filled with books. And yep, I received a “heavy” sticker for being 5 kilos above the limit and had to pay extra. 

Even though the return trip was an ordeal – leaving the hotel at 6 am, arriving at my apartment at 7:30 pm due to delays and a long waiting period in Amsterdam for my connecting flight, not to mention the crappiest burger I ever had at Amsterdam airport– I certainly want to go back to attend CrimeFest again in the years to come! Cheerio!

BEING IN BRISTOL – DAY 2

Nah, still not done yet! Sorry! Ohhh, it’s nice to be so inspired again. Sitting at my hotel’s pub, being surrounded by chatting, it’s actually quite loud and if anyone were with me, we would barely hear each other without shouting, increasing the sound level to another 10%.

Anyway, waiting for my dinner, it’s burger again (I just couldn’t resist, they are just so much better than the stuff one gets back at home, even at my love-hate restaurant “Sissi & Franz”) I continue giving an account of my visit to Bristol.

Day 2 basically started the same way as Day 1. Withwonderful British breakfast, thrown in with some watermelon and a croissant with Nutella. Bliss, pure bliss.

I knew I had to get some sightseeing in, well, not exactly had to but want to. With an estimated half hour of walking time I left the hotel at 9 a.m. (fearing I might lose my way again) and with my trusted Google Maps App I had no trouble at all finding my destination. Which is THE place to go when in Bristol: Brunel’s SS Great Britain (the first ocean liner, for anyone who didn’t know that). And being an engineer it was even more essential to go there. One just has to admire the technical inventions of those times.

Of course, I was half an hour early. Gee, what a surprise. But I didn’t mind. The sun was shining, I was sitting on a bench next to the river Avon and I just enjoyed the view.

I knew, I had approx. 1 and a half hours to get everything done. The museums, the ship, the souvenir shopping. For a tour that usually takes 3-4 hours. Well, I got it done in one. My proud record – I think my running through Madame Tussaud’s many many years ago, when smartphones were still a thing of the big unknown and plain cameras were the only way to take pictures, loaded with film rolls, took longer. And for those, who are wondering, why I was running through Madame Tussaud’s taking pictures of basically everyone I knew and didn’t know? My camera didn’t work the first time I was there and I had to borrow the one from our host. And being me, even then, I took as many pics as possible. As far as I remember approx. 3 rolls, 36 pics each. You do the math …

Where was I? Right! Rushing through, taking pics of basically everything. Well, since one doesn’t have to pay for the pics to be developed at the horrendous price of 25 years ago, it doesn’t matter, how many pics one takes with one’s smartphone. (Even though I tend to print them out for my photo albums. And I tend to print ALL of them! I just can never decide! And I love to thumb through them physically!) The marvellous thing? I was basically alone on the ship, leaving the others behind in the first room of the Dockyard Museum. And let me tell you! It was awesome. And I wish I had had more time to explore and look into the tiny cabins and rooms moreextensively. What was creepy, though, as one walks through the quarters, moans, sighs and voices are following you. From the man sitting on his bunk sewing. From the man being treated by the ship’s doctor. From the seasick woman retching into a bowl. And since I was basically alone … it definitely gave me the creeps. Ghost voices from another day and age.

Isambard Brunel sure was a fascinating man. Withthe first ocean liner just one of his many inventions and accomplishments. And I’m really looking forward to reading the guide book and the book about Brunel I bought. (Apart from other souvenirs! The usual cup, a fridge magnet, a fabric bag … the usual!)

Ohhh, look at that! Nearly 700 words just for my vacation report of the morning of Day 2. But don’t worry, I will stop right here and continue with the rest of my day’s adventures in next week’s post! Cheerio!

BEING IN BRISTOL – DAY 1

You didn’t really think I would be done with one measly post about Bristol, did you? After all those boring months with nothing happening and nothing exciting to write about, I just have to draw my vacation out as much as possible. Hopefully not boring you to death in the process.

Part 2 starts with Day 1. Right now, I’m sitting in my hotel’s bar, with a cup of Early Grey, enjoying some peace and quiet to get some writing done. Unfortunately, afternoon tea didn’t happen, even though I had planned to … but let me start at the beginning. Breakfast consisted of baked beans, fried egg, bacon, mushrooms and toasted bread. I always skip the sausages, that’s one acquired taste I haven’t gotten yet. Compared to the sunny welcome I received the day before, England showed its usual face by greeting me with rain. Lots of rain. Cats and dogs kind of rain. But … I had no choice. I needed to get rid of my big bag of books and so I started my trip armed with my mini umbrella, Google Mapsdirections shouted at me, my handbag slung across my body and the bag of books hanging from my soon aching shoulder. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Surprisingly, I found my way quite easily. But … did you know Bristol has hills? Yeah, hills! And guess what! I had to climb one of those hills to get to another part of the city to the nearest Oxfam shop. Boy, I was exhausted by the time I arrived there and sighed loudly, “Thanks God! I’m here!”

I donated my books and looked around myself, happily discovering a few for myself, knowing, I did some good and that people with little money will have a chance to get my pristine conditioned books and will hopefully enjoy them.

It was still raining by the time I left the store, but I was quite relieved to be rid of the weight. My five Oxfam book purchases were nothing compared to that.

I briefly considered returning to the hotel to drop offmy book bag, but then discovered Primark not far away and headed there. Yes, I admit it, occasionally I also buy stuff at Primark, particularly stocking up on home office leggings which do tend to fall apart after some time. And, my greatest purchase, a rain jacket to bring me through the day.

Happily, I continued on my way, too curious to turn back, discovered an open-air shopping mall and was in Next – Ann Summers – WH Smith – Boots and Superdrug heaven. I skipped Victoria’s Secret. As iconic as VS is, I much prefer Ann Summers for my unmentionables and of course I did find the one or other piece to make my special friend (and me) happy. By the time I finally emerged from my first shopping spree, rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out. Oh, this wonderful British weather. Parched, hot and half-dead on my feet I finallyheaded back to the hotel. Time to unload and unparch – as in hydrate with Strawberry infused still water bought at Tesco the evening before – before being on my way again. With the goal to treat myself to Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols. I had certainly deserved that and was looking forward to a nice cup of Earl Grey, sandwiches, cakes and scones which would have been lunch and dinner in one … just to being told that I should have booked. Not, because the restaurant was fully booked – there was ONE table occupied. No, because the chef needs to know in advance in order to prepare Afternoon Tea. Gee, that left me a bit speechless. I mean, Harvey Nichols. One expects the place filled with people enjoying Afternoon Tea every single day. 

I left. Drowning my pain at “Waterstones” by buying the next book load. Happily scratching off some from my extensive book list. Wondering on my way back to my hotel, whether THEY would serve afternoon tea. Well, since I wrote in the beginning that I’m sitting here at the hotel bar with a cup of Earl Grey, you might have guessed, that no, they do not serve Afternoon Tea. Thinking back longingly to Harrogate and the Old Swan Inn, with the wonderful lounge and delicious Afternoon Tea, not much “worse” than my booked Afternoon Tea at “Betty’s”.

Anyway, since I don’t want to return to “town” for the third time today, I decided to forget about this wonderful tradition and have dinner at the pub again. Today it will be the traditional Fish and Chips with mashed peas for me. Since this is on my culinary England schedule as well, nothing is lost. 

And that’s exactly what I did. Ending the evening just like the night before. By stretching out my aching not-used-to-much-exercise-home-office-body and zapping my way through British TV programs before falling asleep in my wonderful hotel bed with the even more wonderful pillows – compact and not those horrible thin soft ones I have to endure in Germany when staying at a hotel, with me always having to request a second or third pillow to compensate.

Yes, that’s England for me too! Great pillows! Toodle-oo!

GOING TO BRISTOL

Well, here I am, at the airport, Gate 53, waiting for departure. And as usual I’m way too early. Waaay too early. Still one a half hours before the gate will be opened. And I have already done the whole Starbucks thing – a must and tradition after dropping off my suitcase – with Iced Chai Latte and a late breakfast ham and cheese panini. Got through security without problems, checked out the Duty-Free store and just had some Iced tea, parched. My Gate is tiny, just about 6 rows of seats – well, after all it will just be a city hop from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam and another city hop from Amsterdam to Bristol. I guess I would not have been much slower if I had decided to drive after all. But, well, the experience of flying again after five years is nice too. And worth the waiting around at the airport. It’s my own bloody fault I have to be everywhere way ahead of time. At least there are so few people around one can forget wearing a mask for the time being. Which is a relief after the hour-long-train ride.

I am kind of bored, though. I’m not in the mood for reading, nor browsing magazines at my magazine app, and my travel diary writing is already done for now. (Since not much has happened, of course!)

Well, the flights were quite uneventful, however, since I had a window seat from Amsterdam to Bristol I spent more time watching the world and England from above than reading my Mrs Jeffries mystery (apart from devouring the tasty vegetarian curry sandwich and the obligatory tomato juice). Oh, to be back in one of my favourite countries. To watch the green fields with tiny cows and even tinier sheep, thegentle rolling hills … bliss. Pure bliss. Plus, the beautiful weather expecting me … just perfect. Due to whatever ails an airport with several flights arriving at the same time, the waiting time for my suitcase was much longer than I’m used to. But at least I caught a bus to Bristol Coach Station right away. The walk to my hotel, however, was quite an ordeal. Even with Google Maps I took wrong turns all the time because of the many narrow roads I was supposed to take. Without Google Maps? I would have been totally lost, or let me rephrase that, even more lost. And probably would just have taken a cab to take me to my 10 minute-walk-away hotel. But in the end, I arrived and checked in. The exterior of the Mercure Grand Bristol is beautiful. One of those old huge mansions, my room? Comfortable, practicable, clean … in industrial style. Maybe a “hint” at the great Brunel who is present all around the city?

Anyway, I just dropped everything off and headed to the closest pub a few paces away. And really, really lucked out in terms of good food. (Since I don’t like beer, this was not my main goal!) I ordered the burger with fries and Strawberry Eton Mess for dessert and loved every single bite. Delicious! Could have missed out on the soccer game displayed loudly on the huge screen, though. Especially since Liverpool was playing against Aston Villa. And I really could have done without seeing the German trainer Klopp all the time. I was rooting for the other team, of course! As I found out later, sadly my team didn’t win. Darn! Darn, darn, darn! Exhausted from my travel day I finished the day off with some TV, looking forward to the days to come!

TRAVEL PREPARATIONS

I’m so excited! After more than two years I will be A) travelling again, B) in an airplane and C) to one of my most favourite countries. I can’t believe, I haven’t flown anywhere for 5 long years. And I’m so looking forward to it. (Despite the horrible mask wearing issue!) Why? I just love it! I love to be at the airport early, have my usual Starbucks coffee and start my travel diary (old-fashionedly handwritten) before checking in and wandering around, through security check and browse the shops and magazines. Reading, texting friends or even doing some writing while waiting for my flight to be called.

Why I didn’t fly anywhere the past five years? Because my ex and I went everywhere by car. And our vacations took us to either England, the Netherlands or Austria (with a little Italy thrown in).After that Covid hit us, with me not going anywhere in 2020, happy to at least go home to Austria in 2021.

But now I’m back! Starting my travel year with a trip to Bristol, England. I guess it will take me longer to get there by plane as if I had actually decided to drive. Especially the return trip will be an ordeal. Flying from Bristol to Amsterdam, having to spend 6 hours at the airport for my flight back to Düsseldorf. Just because my connecting flight has been cancelled. Oh well, I will do what I always do. Move from one coffee shop to another, with my reading material and MacBook. Maybe do some airport shopping. There are worse locations to spend one’s waiting time.

Anyway, I’m not telling you yet, why I’m going to Bristol – instead of my darling London. I have to keep the suspense going (even though I might have mentioned the reason for my travelling to Bristol in one of my posts already). 

Apart from my real reason for going there, Bristol will be a treasure trove for the engineer in me. With Brunel and his influence everywhere you go. So, of course there will be some sightseeing. And of course, there will be some shopping too. And stupid me will be lugging some English books with me to donate to Oxfam or any other charity that comes across my way. Because, let’s just face it, Germany is not exactly the ideal place to get rid of English books (as in donating them) without fearing they would just be thrown away. And one just does not throw away books. (With the one exception: mouldy smelling books. The mould would jump to my other books and I just can’t have that!) AND I too love to browse books at charity shops and have come across the one or other in mint condition at a bargain.

The organizer in me has already looked up the most important addresses, checked the routes from my hotel to wherever I want to go, inquired regarding bus schedule from the airport to Bristol and back, I even got a brand new mini fold-out map, made notes on what to wear when, what to pack and what I absolutely have to buy back in England. (Not to mention having a printed version of my “yet-to-buy-booklist”. Sometimes it’s hard to track which books I already have and which I still want from my favourite authors!)

So, I’m absolutely ready to go! And in a few days I will. England, here I come!

I WAS THE TALK SHOW QUEEN

Do you remember those times in which the afternoons were filled with talk shows and you didn’t quite know which channel to switch to first? Yeah, I know, it was the 90s (of the last century) and the 2000s. I loved those trashy shows and enjoyed them whenever I had time. The fighting, screaming and hysterical women, confessing their infidelities, their escapades with each other’s husbands, falling into each other’s arms again at the end of the show, forgiving everything? Absolutely fricking everything? Or those who didn’t know who the father of their child was? Or the crazy neighbours nearly jumping each other’s throats because of a tree branch growing across the fence? Or the teenagers, those annoying teenagers … being, well puberty stricken and horrible … being teenagers. How fascinating! Did those people actually exist in real life? (Well, obviously, it couldn’t have been all fake!)

Sadly, I had to be content with German and Austrian talk shows and immensely enjoyed a Saturday pre-evening show with the best clips from talk-shows around the world. Giving me a glimpse of those from across the pond. “Maury”, “Montel”, “Dr. Phil”, “Jerry Springer”, … marvellously trashy.

I kind of miss this shallow entertainment. And yes, I know, there are lots of other trashy shows out there. Families switching their wives for a week, pregnant teens, unemployed and proud of it low-life social spongers who have enough money for cigarettes but are moaning about grocery costs, unfortunate less than good-looking people living at home looking for a partner, farmers looking for farmer wives … the trashier the better for the ratings. However, I could never get enthusiastic about those. Just like game shows, I simply can’t watch those.

But … there is a time and place for everything. I enjoyed the talk show times incredibly, wouldn’thave time for them now anyway, I guess. And I doubt I would be as hooked today as I was then. What I would enjoy, though, would be able to follow the American night time greats Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, (and Saturday Night Live, of course) … but living in Germany and the restrictions one has to suffer when it comes to one’s desire for British or American TV … as in, not possible to watch unless you do something more or less illegal … well, I’m stuck with boring German TV (which I never watch), Netflix and You Tube clips. Which at least lets me enjoy the best parts of those shows …