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Everything posted by arunadasi

  1. Car rental in Germany

      I rented from Buchbinder in October, pick up Munich airport, drop off Frankfurt airport. I told them I'd be visiting Austria and France and there was no extra charge. I got a lovely car in a higher class than I had booked, but decided to pay extra for an automatic. In the end I changed the drop off back to Munich. All very easy.
  2. This is a tale of two kittens, who turned into cats. It could be a romance.   Kitten Roony was a stray. She wandered into my daughter's garden when she was just tiny -- no more than maybe two or three weeks old. We don't know where she came from. The place is a village, but nobody knew of a cat who had recently had babies. My daughter had just given birth so they kept her and raised her on breast milk at first, fed with a pipette. She thrived, and became a well-loved pet. She has a large garden to roam in and beyond that, open fields and behind that, forest. She's an outdoor cat who comes and goes as she pleases, very independent. She quite likes sitting on a human lap and being stroked, but might very suddenly and quickly snap and bite the hand that stroked her. When she was a kitten, biting was a real problem. She would bite people's feet,  persistently, as if in play, but quite hard. I googled that a mother cat teaches her kittens not to bite by hissing, so we hissed at her when she bit, and she improved. Now that she's adult the biting only comes suddenly, after a cosy stroking session. She then runs away. She's not terribly fond of humans. She likes to be outside, catches and kills mice and birds (occasionally) and likes to go upstairs to sleep on the beds. She is spayed, now about 18 months old.   Daughter thought a second cat, a kitten, would give her a new focus and help with her biting, and since my granddaughter, 10 years old, longed for a kitten. we got her one when she came to stay with me and my son in July. I have a town flat. We thought the kitten could stay there while granddaughter is with us, then move to my daughter. This was Finny. We got him as a female, but he turned out to be male. We don't have a garden, just a balcony and a sort of outside courtyard. He was six weeks old when we brought him home. We took him straight to Roony, and Roony immediately hated him. Hissed at him while he was still in the basket etc, and wouldn't go near him. So it seemed the plan would not work and we'd have to keep Finny in the flat, which I'm not too keen on. Granddaughter went back to Austria, and my son is Finny's chief caretaker. We take Finny over to my daughter occasionally. He is now five months old and just as big as Roony. Roony still hates him.   When Finny comes to visit, they seem to be always together. Finny just sits there, and Roony sits watching him. If he comes closer to her, she hisses and swipes at him. Finny is very calm, very steady, and doesn't seem to mind being hissed and swiped at. He just moves out of the way, sits and watches. Sometimes they both go upstairs and lie under the bed, quite close to each other, watching each other, Roony hissing if Finny gets too close. They are definitely interested in each other, and I suppose for Finny it's a courting thing now. Roony is just not interested. They seem to be always near each other, stalking each other. I watched them once when they were both outside: they were running round and round a large container thing, for ages.  Sometimes Finny stays overnight. SOmetimes he sleeps in Roony's bed. He is very confident, now that he's just as big. sometimes they are just near to wach other, resting, or staring at each other.   Once, they both had a bowl of food in the kitchen, around the corner from each other. Finny, who loves his food, didn't bother to eat his, but just say watching Roony. Then Roony came and ate Finny's food, and he didn't mind.   I have to say that Finny is a very friendly, sweet natured cat, a "people" cat, As we don't have a garden he's a house cat, and whenever we come home there he is, rushing to greet us. He follows my son all over the place, like a dog, and even sits behind him on the toilet. He comes when called by name, even if he's at the back of the garden, at my daughter's. If anyone is at home, he'll be with that person, on their bed or their lap.   The time is going to come when my son will stay at his sister's house for a couple of weeks, while we are away, looking after both cats. Our hope is that Finny's persistence and good nature will win through in the end.  I don't have much experience with cats, so I thought I'd put it to the good people of TT; assuming that Finny is indeed courting, is there a chance he will eventually win over Roony? Can they ever be friends? I have to say it is fascinating to watch. I do feel for Roony, having her home invaded, and Finny just doesn't seem to understand rejection.    Of course, it would be best for them to be friends eventually. Finny might be a house cat, but he loves the garden and it would be paradise for him -- of only Roony would give him a chance. He's not being macho about it, just very sweet and patient.    
  3. Daughter's parents in law have a dog, Judy, who visits sometimes. Seriously, she is terrified of Judy! Judy is a small terrier who chases her madly around the garden. Father in law said Judy might kill Roony if he caught her. So that's not working. Daughter would love a dog, but the present house is too small. Maybe if they ever move, but then a stable, gentle dog. We have to see. Judy is a sweet dog but over excitable. Plus, as is the case in Ireland, she is allowed to roam the streets. I've often seen her trotting down the high street and she comes to visit on her own (but has no access to the garden).   When driving here you always have to be on the watch for dogs on the street. For anyone with a German background it's crazy, but it's what they do, especially in rural areas. They don't even have insurance.   Thanks to all the feedback. Even if it means I've had to disillusion myself re the budding romance! I'll certainly check out some of your tips. Poor Roony, having her space invaded, and poor Finny, denied friendship. Ah well, such is life
  4. That is encouraging, LeonG! It's my impression that this is the beginning of a long friendship/romance, but there are things I don't know about cats, for instance, does a spayed female still accept courtship/mating from a male? Does she emit some kind of aura that deters the male, can he tell?   On another not, I tried to give Optimista a greenie but got  a pop-up saying I am not allowed to. What is that about?
  5. Nd here they are, just hanging out! Left is Roony, right is Finny.
  6. My daughter is feeling a bit down due to the  grey Ireland weather. So I promised her a week's holiday (with baby) in November. She was in Lanzarote last February and loved it, and I remember fondly an intransit day in Tenerife many years ago. The temperature should still be warm then. But it's a four hour flight.   Any suggestions for somewhere really warm in early November, and maybe not so far from Dublin?
  7. Suggestions please for warm November getaway

    In the end we decided not to go anywhere. It just seemed a bit self-indulgent. But thanks for all the suggestions and sorry for not coming back to the thread. Maybe others can use the suggestions! We are now all going to India in December for three weeks.
  8. Refund of tax and fees when canceling a flight

    i recently did not use a return Ryanair flight so I tried to get the tax back -- they have a page specifically for this. I did not have much hope as they say that they only return anything above the admin charge. As I suspected, there was nothing to return. But it should be different with serious airlines, like the Lufthansa one in the post above this. There's probably a form to fill out online, like with Ryanair.
  9. Hello everyone, I'm back with an urgent question! First of all, a big wave. As many of you know, I retired to Ireland last year. I started out living in a room in a comfortable B&B with a lovely Irish couple in the coutryside; it saved money and also I had a bad hip and didn't want the responsibility for a home of my own. Also it gave me time to figure out how and where I really wanted to live. I moved into a nice brand new rented flat in town last month and all is well. My son had moved in with me and has a start up business, my daughter lives over the border in NI with husband and baby girl, and at the moment my other granddaughter is here on holiday. So all's well.   But I'm having the usual problems with the Barmer. I'm still with them; they covered me automatically when I moved to Ireland. My income is as follows: The bulk of it is a widow's pension paid through the Versorgungsamt B.-W. Then I have my normal pension which is about 500€, and two other tiny pensions from Germany. And a tiny pension from the UK.   I also have quarterly income from the sale of my books, which at the moment is quite good, at least as much  (annually) as all the pensions put together (but varies from year to year). The Barmer is still trying to work out how much my monthy Beitraege should be -- I didn't have to pay a single Beitrag last year as they are still figuring it out. One day I'll get a fat bill.     I've been tax resident in Ireland since 1.1.18. I have an Irish accountant who is doing my taxes for that year; that is, my taxes from my self-employment.   Last November I went to India for three months. This was soon after I had my hip operation and was part of my recovery. At this point I wrote the Barmer cancelling my insurance. I never heard back for them about this, not even after two reminders,   (In 2017 I also went to India for three months. I was able to cancel my insurance immediately  for that time, and join back when I returned to Germany, so that I didn;t have to pay Beitraege while abroad. It all adds up after all.)   Anyway. I wrote Barmer again recently, confirming once again my cancellation. They informed me I had to be in the German system in order to be covered by the Irish public system.   I replied that, after a year, all residents of Ireland are automatically in the Irish system (HSE) and thus I don't need German insurance any more. The HSE isn't too good, it's slow and cumbersome and doesn't cover everything like the NHS, but it's free and it'll do for me as I also get German Beihilfe and I have a small Irish private insurance. No need to pay Barmer a couple hundred a month.   Today they wrote back, as follows:   ...fuer einen in einem anderen Mitgliedstaat wohnenden Rentner, der nur eine Rente aus der deutschen gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung bezieht, gelten die deutschen Rechtsvorschriften ueber die Krankenversicherung, wenn man keinen eigenen Leistungsanspruch im WOhnstaat hat   Ein Anspruch (...) aufgrund des Wohnens, wie es bei Ihnen der Fall ist, ist nachrangig.   Bezugnehmend auf Ihre Schreiben vom 17.08.19 teile ich Ihnen mit, dass bei Ihnen, da sie kein Einkommen durch eine Beschaeftigung oder durch eine Rente in Irland haben, weiterhin die deutschen Rechtsvorschriften gelten und sie Weiterhin in Deutschland bei der Barmer versichert sind.   In other words, I'm not allowed to cancel my insurance policy? How can this be? they make such a fuss about accepting people; can they really force you to stay in if you live abroad and don't want to and have other arrangements?   I did a bit of googling and found this:     Bei Rentnern, die sich für ein Leben im Ausland entschieden haben, besteht in der Regel keine Versicherungspflicht bei der deutschen Krankenversicherung und Pflegeversicherung für Rentner. Entscheidend ist, in welches Land der Senior seinen neuen Wohnsitz verlegt. Befindet sich der Wohnsitz innerhalb der EU oder in einem Staat des Europäischen Wirtschaftsraumes oder der Schweiz, kann der Senior solange in der deutschen Kranken- und Pflegeversicherung versichert bleiben, wie er Rente aus Deutschland bezieht.   So, it is "kann", not "muss"...???   Grateful for all help and advice. Sorry this is so long. German Papierkrieg as usual...   (Edited to add: I do indeed have a "Beschaeftigung in Irland". I am a writer and get income from this; although not paid from Ireland but from the UK.)  
  10. Suggestions please for warm November getaway

      Nope, that won't do it! Already at it.  I'm OK, off to Guyana next week. 
  11. What's got you flummoxed today?

      I  learn something new every day.
  12. What's got you flummoxed today?

          These days you have to appear in person: they take your photo "vor Ort" as well as your fingerprint. It;s not so easy for my daughter to fly to London and back just for that -- she has a baby and is breastfreeding.    
  13. What's got you flummoxed today?

    I understand that -- (though I didn't know she'd have to pay emplyees out of her own pocket!). I still think it's awful to leave the post unattended for six whole weeks.   In fact, I'm even more flummoxed, after reading  your link!  That a country like Germany can't pay for its own Vertretungen abroad, can't pay for a decent office in Belfast.      
  14. What's got you flummoxed today?

      I was flummoxed earlier this year when my entire faith in Germany as the epitome of efficiency was shattered. I mean, surely represention abroad should stand out as a glowing example of how perfectly smooth everything in Germany works.   But not so with the Germany Consulate Belfast. My daughter's passport is about to expire so she needed to apply for a new one. She contacted the Belfast Consulate via email but received no reply. So she went online and discovered that there actually is no German Consulate in Belfast -- there's a German Consul who actually lives in Londonderry which is at the northernmost tip of Northern Ireland. I assume she must have an office in Belfast...   Anyway, my daughter called this consul only to get the message that the consul would be out of office until early September. That's all. No mention of a stellvertetende Konsul or any such thing, or what to do in an emergency. She called the Dublin Embassy -- which is the opposite, a state-of-the-art setup currently undergoing renovations, but super efficient-- and they said they cannot help; her only option it to go to the German Embassy in London.   I mean, come on. Even I, as a lowly social worker in a hospital, had a Vertretung when I was on holiday. I find it super lax. The consul was unavailabke for six whole weeks.   Often these German Consuls are just ordinary people given a Mandat. The German Consul in Guyana for many years was a German expat who ran a furniture store and changed money (illegally) on the sly. A very shady character.   More recently the German Consul in Guyana is actually Dutch. Were I to live in Guyana I'm sure I could be a German Consul (if I were younger maybe). for that matter, I told my daughter she should apply for the job.
  15. What's got you flummoxed today?

      Sometimes it is these Asian and African countries that lead. I believe it was Rwanda that was the first country to ban all plastic bags. I was in Tamil Nadu, India, last year when the ban on plastic came into effect. It was interesting, because I had actually seen plastic bin bags in the supermarkets in December but didn't buy any. Come January, they were all gone, from all the shops. So I googled and sure enough, Tamil Nadu had banned all single-use plastic as of January 1st. Now all of India has banned single use plastic. It was inconvenient at first we we soon got use to improvising, finding ways of rubbish disposal with newspaper etc. I was in Sri Lanka in 2017 when a ban was imposed, or about to be imposed. I remember there were actualy demonstration in Colombo against the ban.   It's easy to dismiss them third world countries, but it's not always fair. I'm always impressed in India at how resourceful people are with what they have. The repair things over and over again before chucking them out. They can make anything. Years ago, my baby buggy lost a wheel during the flight over. I asked around, and in a cople of says some local workman had made me a new wheel out of wood -- and fitted it, and it worked!
  16.   Well, living as I do on the Irish border and crossing it (or family members crossing it) sometimes several times a day, you never know after Brexit. My daughter lives in the north, I (and my son) in the south. We all go back and forth. Son and I are her main babysitters.
  17. Brexit: The fallout

    Oh, I feel quite at home again after a year! Same old folk with same old bickering! I love you guys! 
  18. Brexit: The fallout

      While I agree that it is the way it is and we can't quibble about the past, your comparison really doesn't work. The referendum was "status quo" or "change".  In a general election there is no status quo; there are two candidates. People who don't vote don't care enough and are content  with any candidate. People who don't vote in a referendum are content with the status quo.   But it is as it is and we have to deal with the consequences, that much is true.
  19. Brexit: The fallout

      I always believed that those who didn't vote at all are actually clandestine remainers. Surely if the non-voters were pro-Brexit they would have made the effort to vote for it -- not voting means they were basically content with the status quo, and simply weren't interested in change. 
  20. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

    I really do believe that there is a certain type of mentality that does or can do extremely well in the German system; that is, there is compatibility. And the parents of such children get very defensive and protective and genuinly believe that the kids who don't do so well -- it's their fault, the parents should have tried harder, this and that. I do admit without reserve that it was not understanding the system and how it works that caused some problems for me. But in the end I think there was a basic incompatibility.   I had a similar conversation recently with a German friend of mine from way back well; we met up again after about 30 years.  She was very inflexible in her arguments that the German system is fantastic and that an "allgemeine" education is the best; that is, the kids should learn all subjects up to Abitur and be good at all of them because that's the only way to make them fit for Uni and the world.   I prefer a mix and match system, the way it was for me in the UK, and which is truly the best for some pupils. I would have totally failed in the German system. I needed an education in which my strengths (English language, foreign languages, arts) were reinforced and I could withdraw energy from the subjects I truly, genuinly couldn't come to grips with - which was mathematics. So I managed to scrape through British O levels with maths, and then drop it completely at age 16, and concentrate on language and do well in those subjects. My friend was appalled. It seems she would have preferred me to fail completely at keeping up in certain subjects, and then learn a trade -- which would not have worked at all. With all due respect for trades -- I'm far too impractical and clumsy to go in that direction! But now my friend considers me badly educated.   I think my son could have shone in the German system if only he had been allowed a little more freedom to do things his way, and not to toe the line, and if I had been more aware of my own role. My daughter is like me in many ways; totally incompatible with the German system.   I suspect that the Chinese and Singaporeans are even more rigid than the Germans, the parents even more pushy. In some ways I admire this way of doing things; they do achieve results. But finally, it's not for me.   I have to say, that the British go far too much in the other direction, thus you get what they call the Mickey Mouse degrees and lowering of standards so as to support the weak students, so that more students can be winners. My daughter went from an average British Uni to TUM, and she says the difference was like day and night. TUM was much, much, a hundred times better, and she enjoyed it, even enjoyed the pressure -- as an adult she was far more capable of adapting than she had been as a child. She has a very low opinion of British unis and the study ethic of students there, who, she says, were more into partying and getting drunk and getting laid than in studying.
  21. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

          No. Both my kids had only ONE teacher for the main subjects (Maths and German) all through primary school. My son's teacher absolutely hated him; I'm not exagerrating. He had had a brilliant teacher for his first year, he adored her and she brought out the best in him, but she left and her replacement was a horror. I could tell some stories about favouritism... he had her from 2. Klasse to 4. Klasse and she gave him a Realschule recommendation. The other teachers -- I don;t even know who they were, they were minor.   I removed my daughter from the Grundschule in the third year and put her in the Waldorfschule. She learnt nothing there and the bullying was even worse than in the Grundschule. Again, it was just one teacher the kids had for the first 8 years (I think!) of school.    This is all in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Even when my son returned from England, having done really well at school there, top grades, the Gymnasium principle wouldn't accept him. He actually said I was trying to sneak him into the Gymnasium through the back door. Even though he had, in effect, repeated a class (left at the end of 4., returned after a year to enter the 5.)
  22. Language acquisition for 5/6 year old

      If I could do it all again, knowing what I know now, I would. I was too compacent; I didn't "get" the German system, buy also, I believe, there's a certain type of learning it's really suited for, and neither I nor my kids could ever have thrived. I would have ended up in the Hauptschule, I'm certain; both I and my daughter have more "soft" strengths, artistic, creative, that don't count for much in D. And my son was too individualistic. He figured out ways to calculate things not using the given system; he'd get the right results in maths, but he had to show how he did it, and never could. He'd write marvellous stories, and be told he used too much imagination. Things like that.   I was interested in following what they learned, but actually sitting down and practicing with them -- I never did that. I think there was a certain mental incompatability with the German system. All three of us did well in the UK (in my case, also Guyana) system. I also much prefer all day school -- slower, more time for everything. But -- well, it's all over now. Thank goodness.   My granddaughter is also having problems in Austria, it appears. Her mother has decided to homeschool her. I'm not sure it's the right decision. She's here right now and obviously very, very bright but I can't see her thriving in a German school, and I assume Austria is similar.  
  23. I think there would be complications in claiming UK residence and registering to vote. I just checked the Northern Ireland info and I afaik would have to apply for permanent residence. This would also mean being tax resident in NI which I don't want to be for various reasons. Looks like I'll have to suck it up, unles SOLVIT has a solution. I'll keep this updated. Could be interesting for others.
  24.   I can't, as I'm not a UK citizen. Unless you mean local votes? I'm not sure if I can...
  25. GP visits are €50. I get Beihilfe, so I am reimbursed 80% of all my medical costs. I also have private Irish health coverage which also covers GP visits plus hospital care -- I am totally overinsured at the moment!!!! That's why I want to ditch the Barmer.