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Monday, 28 December 2015

Weihnachtsmarkt 3. Technoid

In Cologne we stayed in a penthouse - the top floor all to ourselves, reached by a multi-mirrored lift. The ultimate in style, luxury and a soupcon of techno-frustration.

A wall-mounted digital clock hinted at what was to come; showing time, date, temperature and humidity. A whirring noise in our bedroom, eightish in the morning, indicated dawn had arrived and that the blind was automatically rising a foot to prepare us for daylight.

Nothing so old-fashioned as a tap for the bath - more a stepped cascade mid-way along. Initiated by foot-operated levers and prevented from overflowing by photo-electric sensors. Jacuzzi water agitators of course and, when all had flowed away, a few minutes of sighing and hissing that was never explained - perhaps some kind of drying and/or cleaning function.

Even the curtain rail for the shower curtain was sexily circular: shrouding the user in a tube of white.

Occasional Speeder was entranced by the Krups coffee maker; feed it with a sealed pod of fresh grounds and it delivers deliciously rich expresso in less than a minute, start to finish. Both she and I have subsequently bought this device in the UK.

We ate out but had we self-catered we'd have had access to a range of expensive kitchen knives capable of dealing with anything from a roast quail to a half-carcase of beef and handily attached to the wall by a magnet.

The handbowl tap had no turners and worked by hand proximity plus a puzzling button; the plug was not amenable to reason.
Outside the apartment the Russians were handing out literature intended to discourage the Germans from having anything to with Brits. This too was not amenable to reason.

NOTE. I am toying with taking singing lessons. Is this foolish optimism at age eighty? I have yet to approach a teacher and must confess I'm apprehensive at how she (most are women in Herefordshire) might react.


  1. Definitely go for the singing lessons, just because I think everyone should sing.

  2. Go for the lessons, RR. I am contemplating (again) going on a Gregorian chant course. Not religious, I just enjoy the song. Contemplative and relaxing. Once referred to as a series of little hammers massaging your spine.

  3. I have been having plug issues today, but this time over the hill from you in Malvern. A bath with a plug that opens every time you place your foot on it, is a very silly idea indeed. We also have seemingly uncontrollable bubbles; however, I can see the hills from the bath so all is forgiven

  4. Take the lessons! What's age fot to do with it? Singing is the best thing for the soul, the mind, the body and everything else under the sun, visible and invisible, believed or unbelieved.

    Later you'll have to change your blog title to FKA (Formerly Known As)Tone Deaf.

  5. A click stopper perhaps? Alternately closed and open with a press? No idea about the Russians.

  6. All: Eventually I found a teacher who offered initial email communication rather than stuttering chat over the phone. Here's what I wrote:

    Music means a lot to me; my wife and I regularly attend CBSO concerts, we have a collection of some 700 CDs, more recently we have started buying operatic DVDs. I write fiction and although I cannot read music I use a keyboard to pick out tunes when plotlines prove hard to come by. When I was still a treble I sang in a church choir. I wish I could sing as an adult and would be delighted if I could find some way of staggering through "An Die Muzik" given its sentiments and the fact it is has a fairly limited range. But I've left things perilously late since I am now eighty. I'd be satisfied with almost any level of improvement if you felt you could do something for me. Can you? I live in Belmont and so am near enough to fit into any unoccupied corners of your schedule.

    Blonde Two: (1) Should everyone sing? I'm not sure. I'm quite prepared to accept the fact that I shouldn't sing if, after a trial, the teacher thinks physical deterioration has gone too far. (2) What an admirable choice of adjective under the circumstances - "silly" I mean.

    Avus: But isn't the whole point of Gregorian Chant choral not solo? Or are you thinking of persuading neighbours to join you?

    Natalie: Yes, yes, I'm well aware of the flossy aspects, it's the practicalities that need exploring. Over the years the body deteriorates and that includes the voice box. The deterioration may now be irretriveable: someone already trained may still sing, someone starting from scratch at eighty may be untrainable.

    MikeM: I have plugs like that all over the house. This one couldn't be pressed down to start with. As to the Russians I'd say they were behaving Russianly.

  7. Yes, it's the "chorality" I enjoy and I would need to attend meetings of like-minded souls. I doubt my neighbours would be accomodating.

  8. Amazing holiday rental. However I'm not sure anywhere that uses a shower curtain rather than a door is as sophisticated as it's pretending to be. In Amsterdam we had a tiny cupboard where the loo and the shower were almost the same installation, with just a skimpy curtain between. There was no wash hand basin, just a small spout tap on the shower. I'm in fact quite happy to put up with makeshift washing arrangements for the sake of large light rooms and views, but Tom tends to give priority to ablution areas.

    Odd that the Russians are badmouthing the British to the Germans in English.