Thursday, May 24, 2007

Humble pie

Well, not so humble really, Yes, Liverpool lost, but they played much better than they did two years ago. They should have won based on the run of play; they dominated the first half, but just before the break Alonso, who had given away a couple of free kicks through reckless tackling earlier in the game, ran into an opponent in a dangerous area just outside the penalty box.

They say that good teams earn their luck, and Milan were certainly rewarded well when the free kick that followed hit one of their own players and was deflected past the already committed Reina in goal. What a fluke!

That obviously completely changed the scenario and despite some clever tactical changes in the second half by Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, the Reds lost 2-1. However, the Liverpool players can hold their heads high and have any favourite pies of theirs, if you ask me.

Finally one has to acknowledge AC Milan's European pedigree and in particular admire their captain, Paolo Maldini, who personally has five European Championships, as many as Liverpool FC itself. Impressive!

By the way, we are off on a week's holiday in France now. On our way to the house in Normandy we will stay two nights in St Quentin in the north. For some time we have nurtured the idea of relocating in France to somewhere closer to Germany. Then we could possibly go there at weekends even. So quite often we stop over on our way in order to check out a town or area, but every time we arrive at the house in Normandy we realise that any other place would have to be something special in order to beat our rural paradise.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

For those of you who do not understand the title of this post, I can say that it is the famous anthem of Liverpool Football Club. It will resound in Athens tonight whether the Reds are victorious or not. The fans are some of the most loyal supporters imaginable. They will sing their hearts out irrespective of the result. Will AC Milan get revenge for the defeat in the same Champions League Cup Final in Istanbul two years ago? I hope not. The Reds are the underdogs once again, but they have beaten the odds before. Milan have, among a number of world class players, Kaká, probably the best footballer in the world, to paraphrase the Carlsberg slogan. On the other hand Liverpool are phenomenal fighters. When did you ever see Carragher give up? He does not have that gene, the defeatist gene. He would be the last man standing if it were 'life-or-death'. Finally, if Gerrard fires on all cylinders and puts on one of those famous displays of leadership, I shall enjoy my habitual beer and toast the winners. Otherwise it will be the proverbial pie for lunch tomorrow.

No comment? Comments, please!

I have now changed the settings for this blog so anybody can comment if they so wish. I suddenly realised that none of my family or old friends are bloggers, so I am now giving them the possibility to add comments to my posts. Feel free to comment! Just click on the word 'comments' under any post.

Monday, May 21, 2007


My granddaughter will surely go into the music business when she gets older. She cannot stand still when there's music playing and she loves to sing. They practise that a lot in Kindergarten. She can sing the melody and she gets the vowels of the words right most of the time, so much so that I recognise songs that I have never heard her sing before. Our phone conversations, which mostly consist of words like 'play', 'pyjamas', 'eat', 'sleep', rather than sentences, are greatly improved by her singing down the line. We are on speakerphone (Lautsprecher) to everone's delight, and it is such a heart-warming moment. Moment, well, she never stops! She just keeps on singing, one song after another. Then she has the habit of applauding herself, which you can see in the picture, using the portable house phone and a 'play phone'. What might the future hold?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Vista revisited

My computer is making fun of me! We all know how tricky it can be to transfer stuff from an old PC to a new one, but this takes the biscuit. After having sorted out nearly everything and got it working, the disc drives, which I used to install the new monitor and my Office Software, have stopped responding. They simply don't detect any discs. What do I do? I use the Device Manager to establish the status of the drivers and it tells me that they might be corrupted or something. So, I download the correct drivers from the net, try to install them, get a message like 'You are up the proverbial creek, mate!', and my patience is severely tested. I never dispair, I always walk away victorious in the end, but the end does not seem to be nigh! Like Amy Winehouse sings - 'No, no, no!' I might have to resort to reading a manual. No, I'm only joking. I couldn't possibly do that, could I?

The Squirrel Squad Left Squirming

Yes, because the new birdfeeder has proven to be squirrel-safe. They just have to feed on the scraps on the ground. (As you can see, I have tried out some features in my new Windows Movie Maker.)

But the other day I could not believe my eyes. Squirrels had in the past managed to knock the lantern top and glass off, believing there was still food there like earlier in the year. The bits ended up on the grass but the glass did not break. Now look what they did. Who else could it be?

I honestly don't watch wildlife in the garden all the time, it's just there when I happen to look out the windows or patio doors. But it was good fun playing with the Movie Maker, that's my excuse.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hasta la Vista

Since I got back I have mostly been preoccupied with setting up my new PC. The old one was obsolete, it would test my patience to the limit! So, with a new PC you get a new operating system, which, as expected, is NOT compatible with many of the existing programs and therefore it is pointless to look for old software CD's, emails with usernames and product keys etc. Sometimes you can download drivers from the internet, but frequently you are told that your hardware is too old; they don't even intend to make it compatible with Vista. Thank you very much, arrrgh! Some of my old stuff does not work at all, some partly, some through work-arounds.... Then you have to get used to new software, which can be quite exciting, but the best of all is my new monitor, a fabulous 22-inch flat-screen. It is just wonderful! Pictures come out almost three-dimensional, so sharp and clear. But it looks like I need to buy one of those new all-in-one jobs, printer-scanner-fax machine. There is nothing like a computer to complicate things for you, I say; what a lesser techie person would say, I dare not think about!

Back home again

The hardest part of my uncle's funeral was that the service took place in the same chapel where we said goodbye to my father less than two years ago, even the flowers were put out in exactly the same spot in the garden the following day. It was like burying both my uncle and my father for a second time. The reception afterwards was a slightly more pleasant event, since I met cousins and others I had not seen for a long time.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Living abroad

Living away from one's family often means that you visit at the 'highs and lows' of life; for instance my granddaughter's birth and birthdays, my niece's wedding, both my parents' 80th birthdays, my son's PhD, but also my father's funeral. Now I will travel to Sweden for my oldest uncle's funeral; it is a sad journey and the only consolation is that I will see other dear relatives. So it is with very mixed feelings that I am heading to the Old Country. My uncle had a very healthy, prosperous and happy life, and he passed away peacefully. He had grandchildren and there was even a third generation, so life continuous its natural course.

I have been organising old photos and slides lately, and I found this photo from when my uncle R was eight years old, standing on the left with his younger brother B on the right, and the girl in the centre is actually their aunt B. It is nearly 80 years ago, which you might guess from the clothes they are wearing.