dstanners

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Everything posted by dstanners

  1. @Malt-Teaser, you are correct. My entitlement to drive 7.5t and the other odd and old vehicles is restricted to non-commercial use only. Fortunately for me I am also relatively old, definitely odd and often not very commercial. Living in a national park I sometimes have a need/want to drive those various vehicles for private purposes: helping people move stuff, digging holes, shifting rocks or picking up the village JGV from a pub in the middle of nowhere.     Mind you, if you are interested in (say) long distance driving commercially, then keeping your hand in by using them in a private capacity is sure to make the test easier. I've driven a 7.5t with trailer from the UK to Germany a couple of times, so I'm pretty confident I could pass a practical if it became necessary. 
  2. Is Prince Harry revolting?

    Can't stand the whole bl00dy family, but I think the vague allusion that Harry, "intends to work towards becoming financially independent" is completely typical. Better translated as he will: "keep sponging off the royal name, connections and public purse as long as they can get away with it". He's 35 years old for Chr:st sake, even by German standards he should be independent by now. Oh, but he will keep up his "royal work". Oxymoron if ever there was. If the world would just replace these figureheads "of state" and their offspring, with some trees, we'd have money to spend on those who deserve/need it, and a far better carbon footprint.      
  3. Cheers @john g. . Life's good...not always perfect though - otherwise I wouldn't post on the "Vent" thread so often! That said, I do make a point of noticing how good I've got things every time I'm out walking the dog during the day.  @sos-the-rope feel free to PM.  
  4. Yes, that’s what I did about 12 years ago, and (so far at least) I haven’t regretted it at all. It took me two attempts to get started though. The first time, I had arranged the scheme to shift fixed costs of the books, and give me flexibility in how I did  my work. I was in London at the time, and there was (and almost certainly still is) a crazy, long-hours culture where I had worked (I typically worked 7am to 9pm in the office and was contactable via Blackberry all other times). However, part of that culture involves an awful lot of unproductive time, and I had worked out a way to automate parts of work and delegate other parts to my team, with the intent of leaving me to deal only with the stuff which really required someone with my experience. All set up and ready to go, when the other board members got cold feet, and didn’t like the idea that I would no longer “be committed”. So, I resigned. Not too long thereafter, a competitor had asked me to join them. I said that I was interested but only on a consultancy-style basis. We agreed to try it out and arranged a consultancy contract with a retainer for a minimum of 15 hours per month and an agreed hourly rate for any other projects which we could agree from time to time, and most importantly one which could be terminated by either side at any time for any or no reason on just one week’s notice (at my previous employer I was on 6 months, so this was a real but deliberate change for me). I am free to decide how and when to do their work, and all work is from home unless there is a particular need for face to face meetings (chargeable at the hourly rate). 12 years on, they are still a client of mine. I speak with different people from their offices every week and send/receive emails almost daily, but on average we meet face to face no more than four times per year. Having that first one client as a base allowed me some real flexibility both with my time/lifestyle, but also importantly being free to choose what work, and with whom, I would take on in addition to them. So I have had (and still have) some other interesting and good people as clients: if I don’t like them or the work is dull, I don’t do it. I feel it's quite a privilege to be in that position. One point of warning from your post though is that you have mentioned how you are educating yourself and how you want more variety. From my experience (and one of the few downsides for me) is that my clients come to me precisely because they know that I am familiar with the areas in which they have issues. They would not come to me (and indeed I would not be willing to advise them) on areas which are new for me. So, whilst the way in which I work is far better, and the lifestyle it affords is infinitely better, I really would not say that the quality of the work itself is better. Indeed, the opportunity to learn new things and develop your career as an employee are (from my experience) far greater. Also consider how social you are and how much you require/enjoy interaction with other people. I seriously underestimated that, and found it quite hard for the first few years adjusting to spending quite so much time on my own. There are ways to overcome this, but don’t underestimate the change. You mentioned tax and admin, and yeah it’s a pain, but there are good tax advisers out there (mine is brilliant)….in fact, there seem to be several very helpful ones on this forum too. Overall though, it’s a huge positive for me. Way better rates for your work, no need whatsoever to get involved or concerned by or with office politics, and for me, the chance to have all meals with my family, take the dog for two long walks a day, get on the bike a few times a week during “normal” working hours.  Blimey, there's loads more, but this is already a monster posting - well done if you got this far!  
  5. The Vent - No Chat!

    After returning from England with my long wheel base Vito van absolutely full of presents and stuff for the kids (they got so much stuff, some presents haven't even been opened yet), I proposed a "family" new year's resolution of: "let's not buy so much stuff". So, my wife has just returned from town this morning with a new kettle (I'm guessing the one I used to make her tea this morning wasn't quick enough or something?) and 8 new creme brulee (I kid you not) dishes. Amazingly, we've already got 8 creme brulee dishes, and I don't think she's made creme brulee eight times in all the years we've been married...in fact, I'd even prefer cheese and bl00dy biscuits anyway...and I quite happily eat it out of my f@cking hands. 
  6. Complete FAIL

    Serie A's anti-racism posters appear to be something of an own goal. I understand that artist's point is that we're all the same given we're all descended from apes, (although I'm not convinced tinkering with eyes and skin tone to get "Eurochimp" or an Asian one etc is a concept which took him any particular time or effort), but I'm not sure that is the message that his target market will have taken from the images. 
  7. Brexit: The fallout

    It is also quite telling, that when their supposed Tory couple hear that there are carol singers at the door, the response is, "give them a quid and tell them to b@gger off". That must be the lovely, generous and thoughtful Big Society the Tories want to create. Thanks for walking around spreading Xmas cheer and singing to me, now here's enough money for you to buy one first class stamp between you (provided you don't use a big envelope), and f@ck off before I call the police.      
  8. Brexit: The fallout

    Attention to watch is one thing (sitting and watching crap TV is popular in the UK), but attention to detail would be better. Particularly the card: "(If Parliament doesn't block it again)", which should more accurately be understood as: "If I don't decide to remove my own deal again (after Parliament has just voted it through)" It's odd at the moment, as I'm feeling resigned to the idiocy of a Tory majority, but I know that by Thursday I will have developed a wrongly-placed sense sense of optimism (I'm actually going to be back in London on Thursday too), which will be crushed by midnight. I tend to share this guy's view on how things will pan out on TV: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/dec/10/the-baddies-are-going-to-win-again-a-brutally-honest-guide-to-election-night-tv      
  9. Thanks @hzoibut that's too late notice for me. In my 1962 Massey, I'd needed to have set off a few hours ago to be able to join in the tractor fest in Wiesbaden by 7am tomorrow morning. Enjoy the show, and feel free to post some pictures.   
  10. Yes on both counts. The main point I had hoped to make in my response was that an extra year wouldn't hurt the OP. I hope that is the message that gets through.   The other bit (which I introduced with the caveat about it being a, "big assumption even for highly skilled linguists") about whether her language is up to scratch and potential benefits with her English were an attempt to try to help the OP find some sort of positive option/solution. Still, if you think your comments of 1) blame your Dad and 2) your current level of German isn't good enough, are more helpful for a 15 year old first time poster, then I guess we can agree to disagree.  
  11. Perhaps I'm confusing your age and school years. Generally speaking Year 10 pupils would be 15 years old turning 16 at some point in that academic year. You have mentioned that you are currently 15. To my mind then, if you spend this current academic year (given you are based in NRW, I am assuming you are currently at language school) getting your German up to scratch, it would be reasonable for you to start year 10 next August. That would make you one year older than the "standard". However, this is Germany, so unlike in many other countries, there does not appear to be a stigma attached in being a year "behind".    Don't be in too much of a rush to put yourself at too much of a disadvantage to all of the other kids in the system. You even mentioned heading off to university in future. Whilst an additional year might seem a pain right now, by the time you are at university it will seem immaterial. Also, if you are someone keen to look ahead, I imagine employers will be impressed by someone who has genuine fluency in several languages and succeeded in a variety of international school systems.   On the other hand, from your written English at least (albeit only comparing that one message, to written English I have seen from Germans at our local bilingual Gymnasium), it would seem you will have an advantage when it comes to those subjects which are taught in English. If you really think you are being disadvantaged, and are confident your German is/will be near a native level in a year (a big assumption, even for highly talented linguists) I would suggest you speak with the director of the bilingual school, to emphasise how your German language deficiency (relevant for some subjects) is compensated by your above average English (relevant for the remaining subjects).  
  12. Politics Gen XYZ

    Absolutely, it wouldn't embarrass him at all. If anything, it is "on message" as far as Brand Johnson goes. He loves to play up to the "rebel without a care" image, whether it's in respect of meetings with statesmen, parenthood or personal relationships. That image is what he relies on to pretend that he isn't the 100% product of the broken Establishment which he absolutely is. The media has allowed him to market himself so well in this regard, that each time he tells a lie, he is just adding to that persona, rather than being "found out".   
  13. Brexit: The fallout

    Sure, but an amusing and rather more brutal assessment of his "fatherhood" skills was Marina Hyde's article today: " So let me say that this election marks a change of behaviour for the prime minister, who has finally started withdrawing. Unfortunately, he’s pulling out of climate debates and BBC interviews, as opposed to single mothers. Still, baby steps. And he’s certainly missed a few of those. "  
  14. Voting in UK general elections

    @kiplette didn't they include a postage paid envelope? Mine did/does. Perhaps it varies by council.
  15. Voting in UK general elections

    So, my postal vote has come through for the UK General Election. It's a depressing choice, given that there's almost no hope of unseating the current Tory. He goes by the name of Richard Drax, because Cameron told him it made him sound more like a "man of the people" than his true name of Richard Grosvenor Plunkett Ernle Erle Drax. He's such a man of the people that his estate (which is somewhat different to the estates many of his Weymouth-based constituents live in) takes about 20 minutes to drive at 60mph along the front wall. Due to the daft UK system, I will probably vote for someone I don't want to be MP LESS than Drax, rather than the person I would most like to be MP for South Dorset....oh, and in any event, the vote will almost certainly not count for anything anyway.  Previously I'd lived in Richmond Park which is a genuine marginal. About 8-10 years ago it went Tory...to another real "man of the people" Lord Goldsmith's son Zac. My (German) wife wasn't allowed to vote in the election, despite having been a UK tax payer for over 10 years, whereas Zac was allowed to be MP without being a UK tax payer at all (at least at the time). Bl00dy hell, I'm glad I live here. Anyone else voting from Germany?   
  16. So, the final update from me on this thread. This morning, I finally collected my German licence, which includes the various odd classes/sub-classes of categories C and D. The only difference is that those classes are now for a period of 5 years only, which is less than the UK entitlement. However, it is a simple trip to the doctor in five years for an eye sight and reactions test etc, for a further extension - and in fairness, if my eyes and reactions are shot, then I probably shouldn't be hairing a round the Eifel in a 7.5 tonne lorry anyway. All good.
  17. Whilst I feel sorry for Dresden about the so-called museum "heist", it's hard to watch the police video (link below) and think of anything less like Oceans 11. A big torch and a single axe (not exactly precision aimed either) seemed sufficient to deal with all eventualities. It isn't going to get Hollywood interested is it?  https://youtu.be/fQPWr1j0NvM 
  18. You need a better relationship with the teachers. Ask for a meeting with both the teachers involved and also the head teacher. Explain the issues as you and your son see it, but don't dismiss their concerns that your son is capable of undesirable behaviour too. Make sure they know that you are an active and involved parent: i.e, you are not dumping a difficult kid on them, you do believe that kids should pay attention/behave at school...and also, that you won't just accept unfair treatment either! Propose some solutions: for example, discuss techniques the previous teacher used, and which worked for your  son. Perhaps mention things you do at home which help your son's behaviour. On the flip side, once you have shown how you can help them, it is then reasonable for you to ask them to take a second before jumping to conclusions in respect of your son's behaviour, and importantly how the other kids are reacting with him. If they have recommended a visit to the Ergo, then do it. The Ergo may say there is nothing wrong. If that is the case, make sure the school knows you have had that meeting, and what the outcome was. Good luck.  
  19. Living in a national park, this is a day to day issue for me. Sometimes dogs are used (in Germany) for flushing animals towards a line of hunters (particularly boar, which would otherwise only come out at night, but it is also common in the UK for pheasant shoots too). It's not nice, and would be a stressful end for the animal. However, cows don't happily jump in trucks to be transported to the abattoir, and I don't think it too anthropomorphic to imagine that they won't be thrilled to be standing in line waiting for the electric bolt. The upside is that for 99.99% of their lives, the wild boars will have been living freely. The end isn't nice, but is it ever? For me the key would be to know that there is a quick shot, rather than the scenario (a la fox/hound hunting in the UK/France) where the dogs themselves are involved in "holding"/dispatching the wild animals.    Here in the Eifel there has been lots of shooting of late. It's unpleasant to hear a hunter having to take two (or even three) shots at an animal. @jeba is correct that hunters can have their permits removed for consistently missing their cull targets. It's quite a problem around here because this area is popular with Dutch/Belgian sadists, who find it cheaper to get their kicks just across the border in Germany, but only do so for "fun" weekends with their mates, rather than as an active part of maintaining the local flora/fauna balance. They don't have a problem blasting a few deer, but often can't be bothered with the far faster breeding and nocturnal boars (cold, dark winter nights aren't as much fun as a bright day in the woods), which has led to an explosion in their numbers.    Fortunately, I do have a source for wild boar (and venison) from one of the genuine local hunters, who is a friend of mine. The meat tastes great, and (for me at least) solves any dilemma of enjoying meat but not wanting to be unnecessarily mean to animals.     
  20. Things to ponder

    The payday loan company QuickQuid have gone bust in the UK, allegedly due to compensation claims. That means they don't have money to pay their creditors, so the Directors can just shut up shop in the UK and will take their business back to the US. I wonder how QuickQuid would have reacted if the folk who took out loans just said they couldn't pay and moved next door?
  21. VPN for kodi streaming in Germany

    I was using Tunnel Bear as an alternative to Pure, but that stopped working on BBC ages ago, and even Sky stopped it last month. Any alternatives currently working?  
  22. Brexit: The fallout

    There has rightly been lots of talk about the car industry, and the issues with just-in-time delivery and cross-border assembly, which are real nuts and bolts matter for the transfer of goods / leaving the customs union. However, whilst I appreciate the "agreement" is only the basis on which to start trade discussions, it is staggering how little the services sector is being mentioned at all. Services make up around 80% of the UK economy (and employ over 80% of the working population) and there seems to be no certainty or even discussions as to whether that sector will be allowed to sell into its largest market after Christmas next year. (source for the 80% data: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/articles/fivefactsabouttheukservicesector/2016-09-29)   
  23. What's got you flummoxed today?

    At breakfast this morning one of my kids' 7 year old friends answered my son's question: "which girl do you like least?" with..."Angela Merkel". I was expecting an answer like "Lilly from class 3", so I started laughing, and asked him why. He looked at my coldly and said: "Because she let all the bad people into our country". It was disturbing to hear a 7 year old speak that way.
  24. Short term mortgage

    Don't know about two year mortgages, but it seems like you only need some sort of bridging loan (if such a thing exists here). Anyway, an alternative would be to speak with the vendor of the property you like here in Germany. From my experience, people don't make such quick decisions to buy and sell over here (compared to the UK), and perhaps if you confirmed your interest but explained that it is dependent upon your UK sale completing, they might offer you some time.   
  25. What made you smile today?

    Ahead of the other game tomorrow, the Kiwis are understandably confident:  https://youtu.be/-3GeLvd-HnU