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About dstanners

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  • Location NRW
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  1. Why are you happy today?

    I'm happy because these chaps are doing a great job of cutting my lawn (Eifel-style).
  2. What made you laugh today?

    The bit that amazes me, is the rather unlikely venue for the alleged trip. I could imagine media agents might drop their phone into vat of Sangria on a Marbella booze cruise, but what were they doing on a boat in the north sea? Mackerel fishing from Whitby? Drilling for oil?    
  3. BREXIT positives and negatives

    It all beggars belief. The UK decision to conclude an agreement incorporating border/trade controls between GB and NI was of course moronic. But once it was done, the issue is now solely an internal UK problem. There is no reason why the EU would want to make reopening the Brexit deal on that point a top priority. What amazed me crossing the channel this past week was that the ports in Dunkirk and Dover now have a new section for ferries direct to Ireland. Brexit has left the UK as such a basket case that it's actually easier to stick lorries on a boat near the Belgian border doing about 30 knots for 24 hours all the way to Ireland, rather than nip across the channel and drive through GB. It would be almost possible to describe the UK as being in a state of managed decline, except the word "managed" is too generous. It's sad really, but from my conversations with folk over there, there wasn't much appetite to do anything about it.  
  4. Going to France (from Germany)

    That might be good news for you, but sadly that just reminded me that back in the day, I was pulled over three times on a 5 mile trip home one evening. Each time I was issued with a 7 day wonder. Perhaps I should have made more of an effort.   Of course, when the first policeman asked me: "is this your vehicle?", I probably shouldn't have answered: "No Sherlock. I went to the pavilion car park and looked for the oldest, rustiest car I could find, and decided to drive that home". The 17 year old me was not as clever as he thought he was.      
  5. Ok, this is really short notice (I did say that I might have to go before July!), but could she make it tomorrow? I'm driving over to Reading in a van just booked on a 6pm ferry, and have plenty of room for a dog and passenger. I live in the Eifel, but could pick her up in Cologne, Aachen or Brussels (or other towns on/near that stretch) if she can make it there by midday/early afternoon tomorrow. I'm assuming she has all necessary travel document(s)/passport etc for her and also the dog (rabies vaccination and worming tablets for the dog)? I don't wish to sound uncharitable, but I hope you can understand that the offer is subject to that sort of thing being sorted in advance. If you send me a PM, I can give you my number for details.    
  6. How soon thereafter must it be? A week or so, or would she wait until the summer? I'll be driving over mid/late July (but may possibly have an earlier trip too).  
  7. garden lawns are bad

    Given it isn't strong enough for planting on the roof, could you attach some trellises to sides of the garage and let plants climb up and cover the roof? If it's in the sun, some grapes could be good. Alternatively, you could plant some willow either side, and let it arch over the roof. 
  8. garden lawns are bad

    I think that sort of article is disingenuous, insofar as it lumps together ideas of replacing lawns with artificial grass alongside using less fertiliser/irrigation. To my mind, there are two points: whether households maintain "green" outside space (yes), and whether we should use lots of water and chemicals to maintain manicured grass lawns (no).   Here in the glorious Eifel, the days of highly-manicured lawns should be numbered. Even though not too many people seem to use fertiliser on gardens, the summers are just too dry...or (to misquote from Network Rail) we get the "wrong sort" of rain: nothing for months and then enough to flood entire valleys in one day.   If folk want to get rid of grass, or where the grass would die without watering/fertilisers, the option shouldn't be to roll out plastic grass-substitutes, but to look for hardier alternatives (I like @emkay's  suggestion of clover) and let areas go wilder (great for birds and insects).   We've got an area towards the bottom of the garden which is nominally "grass" insofar as it's where my kids and their friends play football/rugby etc, but I don't water it or use any particular chemicals. Each spring I throw some new grass seed in the patchier areas (on days when I know rain is due), and it seems to work well enough.   I've also started setting the blades higher on the mower too.    
  9. Food outlet - catastrophe

    Bl00dy hell €40 on kebabs! He must have had to haggle. A few options: 1) drink more before eating. That will improve the taste. 2) if it tastes nasty, don't go back for seconds. 3) if you are happy to spend 40euros on a kebab, buy a train ticket to Cologne, and get yourself a Mangal. I had one a couple of weeks ago (boozy night out in Cologne) and was delighted by Mr Podolski's offerings. 4) if you're ever in the UK, go to any high street at 11pm and try the UK's take on a slice off the elephant's leg. Once you've tried that grey, semi-translucent muck in a warmed-up pitta (from the frozen aisle at Aldi), you'll never feel so bad about kebabs in Germany again.
  10. I've just spent the last 10 minutes or so on google trying to figure out what that is! The return sounds great in the current market, but I'm too cautious to invest in things I struggle to to understand. Good luck though.
  11. A bit of a punt, but I've just bought some more Wise shares (former transferwise) which have absolutely tanked over the last 6 months (not helped by having their centre of operations in the Baltics). They are profitable and growing. Apart from the obvious risk of being fairly close to Russia, it seems undervalued (at least, unless/until Atlantic Money gains market share). Apart from that, I'm looking to invest in a heat pump and PV for my house! 
  12. Beer bottles with flip tops (or swing tops)

    It's a fair point about buying too much stuff to start (as a few others have pointed out, the starter kits will be fine to begin with), but the crown caps won't come off if they've been put on with a capper. An even cheaper option (one I used to use as a student) would be to re-use any plastic, fizzy drinks bottles - just leave an inch at the top). Whatever option you go for, don't forget to sterilise properly. It's a real waste of time, effort and money to do all the work, and find the drink has been ruined because a bottle/keg etc wasn't properly cleaned in advance. One bit of kit which isn't always included in the starter sets but is worth considering is a hydrometer (perhaps for your 2nd or 3rd batch). It tells you the sugar content in the brew, so you know what the likely alcohol content will be the day you make it, and then a few weeks later whether the yeast has finished turning the sugar to alcohol (so you don't end up drinking a nasty, yeasty beer). Happy brewing.    
  13. Beer bottles with flip tops (or swing tops)

    Well, whilst that is a nice way to try a whole load of different beers (and I can recommend Peters Koelsch for a flip top bottled beer if you can get it that far south), for bottling homebrew you'd be far better off buying yourself a crown capper (for about £15 on Amazon) and some crown caps (cost about £5 for 100) then you can use any bottles you like. Even though they may appear resealable, the seal on flip top beers perishes quite easily and you'll end up needing to throw away a few of the bottles you have re-used. Again, from experience, whichever route you take, don't forget to sterilise the bottles as soon as you've finished the beer. A few years back I decided to collect a few crates' worth of flip tops for homebrewing, and intended to sterilise them all in one go. I just couldn't get the mould out of the ones I'd finished first, even though I'd given them a bit of a rinse after drinking. 
  14. Depositing foreign currency into a German account

    Hmm, usually when I see messages like that those "friends" tend to be referred to as Nigerian princes rather than refugees, so assuming this is actually a legitimate question, a key point to note is that banks are unlikely to be the cheapest way to exchange currencies. Currency matching services like wise.com (formerly Transferwise) are far cheaper.    
  15. Advice needed re UK toilet plumbing issue

    I think that would be a long way down the problem checking list! It really wouldn't surprise me if your outlet pipe was just full of rusty old sludge. Sentinel/Fernox type products are easy to use and would clear those sort of blockages: in any event, it's a £20/30 purchase which wouldn't cause any harm to your system even if it wasn't the solution to all of the problems. Assuming you aren't in the UK at present, ask your agent to do it...or better still (what I do with some properties in the UK), stop using agencies altogether and find a local handyman.