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About dstanners

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  • Location NRW
  • Nationality British

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  1. How long to wait after making an offer on a house?

    You'd normally get a response pretty quickly (a day or two) unless the house is being sold as part of an estate requiring approval from all beneficiaries, then it can take a week or more. Two issues: 1) it's a sellers' market at present (I live near the RLP border), and 2) the price negotiations aren't as common a practice as they are in the UK/US. Taking those points in turn: 1) The houses I've seen for sale over the past 6 months have all gone for at least the asking price. Most have gone for more. 2) Even when it is not a sellers' market, from my experience there are plenty of Germans who put their home for sale at a price without really considering the possibility that someone might make a lower offer. If their house doesn't sell at a particular price, they might lower the advertised price at a later date. If you make a lower offer, many of these folk would assume you cannot afford more.   So, as @karin_brenig has suggested, if you are genuinely interested in the house, call the seller (or agent, if one is involved), let them know that you remain interested, and ask for their view on your offer. Don't get your hopes up though - my guess is that they have sold it to someone else.    
  2. Permit for modifying garden

    It sounds like you are just making cosmetic changes to your garden and not building anything, so it doesn't inherently seem as something which would require a permit. For info, you can take a look at para 62 of the NRW BauOrdnung, which lists the buildings which do NOT require a permit: SGV § 62 (Fn 15) Verfahrensfreie Bauvorhaben, Beseitigung von Anlagen | RECHT.NRW.DE From what you have described, at most, placing some tiles would be a form of "Aufschuetterung"  covered by sub-para 9, and given you wouldn't want them to be over 2 meters high, under 2 meters deep or cover an area of over 400 square meters, you should be good to go. If you are still unsure, call your local Bauamt and ask them. In my experience, they are surprisingly helpful.
  3. Who to vote for, Bundestagswahl 9/26/2021?

    I missed that comment, but that was pretty much what I was thinking too. Scholz seems to be a shoe-in. I'm not really convinced by him, but he is a slick operator when it comes to handling the questions from both the moderators and (when he thought it was useful) the other participants. It seems that alone might be enough to win him the election. Although voting by post makes life easier, there's just something about voting in person which I prefer. We often have "Wahlschoppen" here in the village too which makes it more of an event: we had a turnout of almost 90% for the EU elections a few years ago.     
  4. German Einschulung vs. American 1st day of school

    Great summary of both the first day of school in the UK, and how it compares with Germany. From my experience, kids here in Germany are quite a bit more positive about school in general, than in England. I wonder whether it is precisely this sort of start to school life which sets them up for a more positive experience? 
  5. Brexit: The fallout

    Does your team have an German supporters' club? They might have their own scarves made over here. By default I am almost certainly the German supporters' club of the Mighty Terras (that's Weymouth FC on the off-chance you aren't a follower of non-league football). Of course, if I'm wrong about being the only Terras fan here, and you are also a fan of the South Coast's Sleeping Giants, I'd be prepared to have a go at knitting you a scarf myself.
  6. Cool stuff worth sharing

    Ha, yes, @emkayI have seen those. Of course along with Indiana Jones the 80s also gave us those Kathleen Turner/Michael Douglas films Romancing the Stone and Jewel in the Nile, which had plenty of treasure hunting in too. I remember liking those two films at the time and finding them pretty funny, but I guess the fact that neither seems to get an outing on TV any more (even in Germany) would suggest that perhaps neither stood the test of time. Whilst it isn't as selfless as skipping treasure hunting, when son 1 was born I had tickets to England v Wales at Twickenham and for son 2 I gave up a ticket for an Ashes Test at Edgbaston. So, I lost kudos for poor sporting attendance, but gained a bit in family relations...my kids would give me grief if they discovered I'd chosen to watch sport instead of their births, and my nephew is still very grateful for the tickets he ended using.       
  7. Cool stuff worth sharing

    A year or so ago I watched a programme about a Polish team who were convinced they'd found the Amber Room on a train abandoned in some sort of collapsed mine. From your article it would seem that their hunch didn't work out as hoped. I enjoy Indiana Jones films too much not to be interested in these sorts of stories, but the cynic in me can't help but think the most likely answer is that it was all destroyed by bombs in the war. Still, diving for treasure in the South China Sea sounds brilliant.  
  8. Who to vote for, Bundestagswahl 9/26/2021?

    According to Wahl-o-mat I should vote for the Pirate party. It must be my seaside roots...although the other day someone posted a picture of an unmanned, automatic tanker (from Norway I believe), which did make me think a career change to piracy could work. I haven't seen any of their candidates on any of the TV debates so far... 
  9. Cleaning a clogged bathtub

    Firstly, it's worth double-checking whether it is just a soluble blockage. Just try some Natron (bicarbonate of sodium) and vinegar. It costs pence and works better than any drain unblocking chemicals.  I would also consider using a bit of hose pipe down the sink. Waste pipes generally increase in diameter from relatively narrow (by the sink) thicker (toilet waste) to largest (soil pipe into the main sewer), so if something is a bit stuck at the top, it should (in theory) be less stuck as it goes down. It is of course possible that your dishwasher problem and the bathroom problem are linked, as they will all connect to the soil pipe somewhere. In the meantime, it is worth checking that the impeller on your dishwasher (the little rotating propeller bit through which the water drains) is not being blocked by anything. There are loads of videos on youtube showing you how to access it depending on your model (usually it is only one clip or one screw to remove, located near the filter).   If you are not confident with doing any of the above, then it is safest to get a soil pipe inspection, whereby folk will turn up with a camera on a flexible hose and find your blockage. They'll even give you a CD, but expect to pay about two hundred euros by the time they've added travel etc.  
  10. God and the German School

    Sadly @MikeMelga, I can imagine a local priest around here doing that too. Down in Iversheim, an Eifel village heavily hit by the floods, I spent a few hours with some folk cleaning mud (and worse) out of the Catholic church. An hour after clearing it, I was asked by the Army to speak with the Church Vorstand (who had seen us do all the shovelling) if the church could be used as a place to hand out coffee and food. I agreed to ask, because for me the answer was obvious. It turns out the answer was equally obvious for the Church, but different to what I had expected - a straight "no". After that brush off, I then asked whether we could use the Church hall for that purpose instead...the answer was: "but we've just fitted a new carpet, we can't have all these people bringing mud in there. You can only use it provided you agree to replace the carpet!" Seriously, you could not make this sh:t up. In the end, it required a Judge to speak with the vicar and tell him that if he didn't make the space available, she would take photos of the clean, empty hall, alongside pictures of the destroyed village and filthy helpers and residents, and let the press decide what to make of it. It's a pity that threats were the way to get him to move, rather than a simple desire to help.  
  11. God and the German School

    Thanks for the reply @kiplette, that was what I was hoping. I was just feeling a bit worried about it because I was at a funeral here in the village a couple of weeks ago, and the vicar gave a "fire and brimstone" speech for about half an hour, which completely threw me...oh and earlier in the summer one of my youngest son's friends suggested they play "confession" with the whole hail Mary stuff chucked in. I'd hoped Evangelisch might be a bit more "religion-light", but with the Germans I'm never that sure that they do anything without claiming to be 100% certain that their way is the only right way.   
  12. Nightlife in Cologne

    Had a look at the list of pubs and bars in Cologne on this website, and most of the reviews are about 10 years old. Any recommendations for decent pubs in Cologne for a group to have a night on the beers? Preferably somewhere central, but I'm not looking for the usual expat bars or first hits on Google. I asked a local the other day who told me: "Zulpicher Strasse is looking pretty f@cked up as usual, so maybe something to avoid", which doesn't really mean anything to me, or help me at all. The person who said it is only about 25, so perhaps he was just trying to politely point out that I'm too old to go drinking somewhere near a university.   
  13. God and the German School

    As the last post was 10 years ago, I'd be interested in any more recent thoughts on this, because my oldest son has just started Gymnasium and has been put in the philosophy class, rather than one of the religious classes. Like many folk in England (the vast majority in my day), I was brought up C of E and even went to a church school, but in terms of religion it very much accorded to the old joke: "are you religious? No, I'm Church of England". As such, I suppose I'm agnostic. Over here the folk seem to take religion much more seriously: particularly here in very Catholic Eifel, but I'm aware down south it's also a big deal. The Evangelisch course has fewer pupils than philosophy, and according to older kids at the school, it's  the easiest to pass. That made my son interested (nothing to do with any preference for any or no religion). I don't really have a problem with my son changing on that basis, but if the course is dogmatic (i.e. "this is the right way, all others will burn in hell") I'd rather he avoided it.  Any of you have recent experience as to how the religious courses are currently being taught in German schools, and if so, any views as to how it compared to a typical RE class in the UK?   
  14. de-register the car

    Put the car details into this website:  Autoverkauf - Gebrauchtwagen einfach verkaufen (mobile.de)  and you'll get quick, genuine offers (from my experience) from traders near you.  If you think the offer is a bit low, because there is something special about your car which isn't in the information provided, you can try to haggle when you get to the garage (it's worked for me). Equally, if the offer seems high (for example, the information you provide won't mention a huge dent on the bonnet, or a knocking sound as soon as the engine starts), prepare to justify why it is still worth near the offer price. Always best to go armed with a few adverts for similar cars in the area too. A trader will typically be prepared to do the deregistration for you.  
  15. What made you laugh today?

    I don't know why, but this article made me laugh:  United Airlines reminds crew not to restrain unruly passengers with duct tape | Airline industry | The Guardian This is either genuinely good deadpan writing, or the author seems to have missed both the opportunity for more humour and the point: the examples where duct tape were used all end with trouble makers being stopped, whereas the example in which it wasn't used ends up with blood and missing teeth.  Alternatively, perhaps, "don't duct tape passengers" could be alongside, "don't waterboard people making complaints"?  I would have liked some better pictures too. Are the trouble makers being gaffered into their seats, or are the attendants sticking tape over their eyebrows as a retrospective punishment (a non-permanent branding)? Either would make for good before and after pictures.