Tag Archives: Work

“Waiter waiter, this plate is wet…!”

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That’s not wet Sir – that’s the soup.”

Greetings to everybody all over the World, not just friends and family in England and Germany. I say this because, according to wordpress.com stats at least, there have been people reading my blog from as far as Costa Rica. I can’t say for sure that I currently have, ever have had, or ever will have, acquaintances in Costa Rica, but thank you for reading nonetheless. Whether it’s now officially Spring-time here in Göβweinstein or not, I really don’t know. One day the weather tells me one thing, the next day, it goes back on its word! Either way, it’s definitely been a lot milder, reasonably sunny, and the days are slowly getting longer. Bernd made a big call two days ago (the sun was beating down), when he asked us to set up a small percentage of the outdoor seating / table arrangements for the restaurant, despite the weather forecast for the next day being rather bleak. Well, as the saying goes, “he who dares wins.” The weather, it transpired, wasn’t bad after all…The only down side was however, that nobody sat outside.

The last month has definitely been the quietest since I’ve been here, work-wise that is. Shortly after the last post that I published (in February), I had enough time to head back to England for a week to see Grace and the family, which, in my opinion, could use up a whole blog in itself! Anyway, I’ll skim over that a bit later on. The week preceding that was a really entertaining one, in which I had hardly any opportunity at all to speak German, despite it being a normal working week. I call it normal, well, in terms of the work, it was relatively normal. In terms of the guests who were stopping with us, it was more unusual than normal. The reason behind this, was that during those seven days, the World’s biggest toy fair “Spielwarenmesse” was taking place in Nuremburg. Being an international event, room prices and availability in and around Nuremburg rocketed and decreased respectively. That meant that lots of businessmen and toy enthusiasts alike decided to go for the more commuter approach, e.g., book a room at Gasthof Stern and drive for 45 minutes every morning into Nuremburg…

Poor image effort, I know.

What made that week remarkably funny and stressful simultaneously, was that every guest (and each room was booked) was foreign. I would estimate that approximately 10% of the guests could speak English (limited English if I’m being generous), and around 0% knew German. Now I can’t say that my colleague Christian’s English is particularly good (sorry Christian), and Stefan isn’t bad (that’s if he’s not running about like a headless chicken), so that left just one person, me, who had half a chance of communicating with the guests. I would say that the Russian guests were the worst, not a word of either English or German. Subsequently going through the menu with them took an hour in itself, and likely they (and I) were more confused than before. For example, one of the guests just kept saying to me, “Cheese Beer.” I racked my brains for minutes, but simply couldn’t work out what he wanted. A beer and a slice of cheese? Eventually I just gave up. So at all costs I tried avoiding the Russians, although Christian and Stefan kept trying to usher me over to translate. Ironically it was the only French guests who held a decent grasp of English (unfortunately no German). And all of this time I thought that it was the French who had the reputation for being USELESS at foreign languages. Unsurprisingly they had that stereotypically thick French accent (they must put it on), but at least we could work out what they wanted. We also had two Pakistani guests who were absolute jokers. For starters they got lost on the way to the hotel, then when they finally arrived they kept asking whether Fish and Chips was on the menu (which made me laugh), and when I asked Ingo the cook whether we could serve that, he simply felt insulted and ignored me for the rest of the evening. To wrap things up, they asked Bernd whether the hotel offered an Islamic breakfast, to which Bernd replied; “What does an Islamic breakfast consist of?” Fortunately there was one group of English guests (from East Anglia), with whom, ironically, were few communication problems. They were my only bit of rest bite! So for 6 long nights, there were plenty of examples of wrong orders, sounds of “sorry I didn’t quite catch that,” and times when it felt like the headquarters of the United Nations.

So whilst we wait for Easter, when all the pilgrims come to Göβweinstein and business really gets going again, work has been reasonably quiet. There have been a lot of repairs going on, Germany’s annual Fasching (Carnival) took place, Heike and Bernd went to Cuba, I’ve been on breakfast duty (my body clock definitely isn’t set to “Student” mode anymore), and finally I’ve been regularly taking Charlie for walks through the woods. Now just for the record, Charlie the dog is a legend. You can see from all the photos of him that I’ve posted, that he can be incredibly cute (which is 90% of the time), he’s a real “man’s best friend” kind of dog. But there’s another side to Charlie (it’s not all that bad so don’t get worried). This stems from his protective nature, whereby he always keeps firm watch over the house, and the only people he doesn’t bark at when entering the house is family Vogl and me. In fact, sometimes there’s no point in even locking the door, because if Charlie’s there, your safety is pretty much guaranteed. For some reason, Charlie hates ALL other animals. He just can’t stand them, in particular, little ratty-like dogs. When I’m walking him and we come across a small nipper-kind of dog, I’ve got to hold Charlie close. It doesn’t matter how many times we tell him off, he just doesn’t learn! He thinks he’s really clever sometimes, by pretending to be friendly to other dogs, e.g. sniffing their arse and wagging his tail, but the minute we look away he attacks. The phrase “pick on somebody your own size” just doesn’t sink in with Charlie. Charlie was with me and Christian in the hotel the other day, he got up, on his back legs, opened the door all by himself and left the building. Christian said, he’s probably just going to the toilet, he’ll be ok. MISTAKE. 30 seconds later, all hell breaks loose. Me and Christian run outside, what kind of scene awaits us? A young woman with her tiny rat dog, cowering behind a car crying, holding it to her breast, as Charlie lords it over them, barking, growling and warning them, that if they ever come round here again, that he will eat them for breakfast. He is undoubtedly one of the best dogs ever, but man can he be misbehaved sometimes.

Fasching (Carnival), in the village.

The week I spent back in England was top notch, catching up with Grace, the family, and friends. I also received quite a few belated birthday presents whilst I was there, including series 4 and 5 of The Sopranos, a couple of Coldplay CD’s, and a nice new watch! There was a celebratory meal for my 21st at the local Indian, which was lovely, and one of mine and Grace’s other friends was celebrating his 21st too, so on the Saturday night we all went out in Canterbury. Not that I’ll be away from England for too much longer, seeing as I’ve already (time has flown) spent just under 6 months here in Germany. That means that I’ve only got another 2 months here in Göβweinstein! Which reminds me, it’s probably about time that I book my train ticket home (not flying this time), as train prices over here are amazingly even more expensive than back in England…Well, I guess they do run on time. So yes, all of us workers here at Gasthof Stern are making the most of the last couple of weeks of relative freedom before the real work kicks in again. To pass the time recently I’ve started buying Süddeutsche Zeitung, although it takes me approximately a week to read one edition of the newspaper, which funnily enough is a bit like my nan! I went to a sushi bar in Erlangen last weekend, have watched lots of football (mainly on illegal stream websites), and have been bumming around on Facebook.

I promise you all that I’ll publish another post very soon! But until the next time, farewell.

“Waiter waiter, does the band which is playing take requests…?

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“Yes, Sir.”

“Please ask them to stop playing and go home.”

Well hello everybody and welcome to another instalment of my year abroad blog. As I glanced out of my bedroom window just a moment ago I noticed that, once again, it is has started to snow. The figure is now so high, that I can’t count with my fingers the number of times that I’ve slipped (and almost fallen over) on my 100 yard journey to work each morning; it really can be quite hazardous! Don’t be silly enough to think however that these kind of conditions would for one moment hinder Gasthof Stern in its attempt to assume the role of World’s most hard working hotel, oh no. Despite the smaller amount of “opening times” the restaurant has offered of late, the Gasthof Stern team has somehow managed to find itself with more work to do than most weeks (I wasn’t even surprised this time ;)). Anyway, I’m still really enjoying the work (maybe a bit less by the end of the day), and I’m still learning, learning, learning. Amazingly enough, I’m officially over half way through my 8 months in Germany. Needless to say, the time has flown!

Where the feast will take place.

We kind of knew beforehand that despite the hotel being closed for the majority of this week, that we would still be quite busy, as there is a rather big event coming up tomorrow evening. In a nutshell: Gasthof Stern will be briefly transforming from a modest family restaurant, into a no-strings attached, party arena on Saturday night. One lucky gentleman has a 60th birthday to be celebrating on that day, and as a surprise (or at least I think it’s a surprise), some of his friends have rented out the whole building all to themselves (until 3am) as the venue. Now we all know how jolly and carried away these older folk can get, so I can tell right now that it’s not going to  be an early night for me. Anyway, it’s not simply a matter of catering for the group (around 40 people) in terms of food and drink, it goes further than that. In fact, they’re going all out. They’ve requested specifically, that we transform one suite into a massive royal table where they can all dine together, while the adjacent suite is to be made into a huge dance-floor. Basically, this means, a lot of organisation and preparation from us!

Somehow needs to be transformed into a dance-floor.

Admittedly, it’s taken us a few days to get everything sorted. However, the one thing that consumed a heck of a lot of time, was shifting all of the tables from the Bamberger suite into the barn (it’s the only place where there’s any room). It gets better. The entrance to the barn was blocked, e.g. we were unable to shift any of the tables inside, by 4 pallets of breeze blocks (as in the really heavy ones I used to deal with at Travis Perkins back in the day). So, naturally, we went to go and start up the tractor (with the fork arms), in order to temporarily move the pallets out of the way. You can imagine the despair that came across Stefan’s, Christian’s, and my face when we discovered that the tractor was broken. What really rubbed salt into the wound however, was when it dawned upon us that we were going to have to shift every block, by hand, to the back of the dusty barn. Instead of wallowing in our despair, we whacked on the radio, and like good old Germans, didn’t stop moving until all the blocks were removed (3 and a half hours later).

Anyway, I’m on a nice long break at the moment, and I’m recovering quite nicely! It’s still to be seen how mad these group of golden oldies are going to be, but if they’re anything like the usual crowds we get in here, they’ll be quite noisy! Still, it should be quite funny. In 10 days I’m coming back home for over a week and will be spending the whole time with Grace and my family, as well as attending Nathan Ellisdon’s 21st birthday party. To say that I’m excited is a downright understatement! I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone, and that I’ve only just under 4 months left. So, all that said and done, I should probably go and talk some more German whilst I’ve still got the time!

Bis bald!