Thursday, September 29, 2011

Never forget the gummi bears

I had a brief encounter with Frau Katzenjammer today. She was back in the apartment doing those tidying up things and handing over keys and stuff like that and we said our good byes. We said we might see each other in America because she and Herr Katzenjammer are probably going to end up there as well after a brief sojourn in their home town of Hamburg. I said sure thing knowing that the chances of the Katzenjammers ending up in Peoria are somewhat remote - but whatever.

I sometimes in the past tried to speak German to Frau and Herr Katzenjammer but they just used to give me a little smirk – sort of a smirkette – gritted their ears - and ignored this.

They both spoke grammatically perfect English with almost no trace of an accent – as do almost all young professional people in Austria and Germany – and had no need to listen to people mangling their language – which is perfectly capable of being mangled by native German speakers –it being such a bastard of a language in the first place.

Incidentally – I have been waiting for the inestimable esbboston to comment on the origin of Katzenjammer – but he has not. It derives from the cartoons from my childhood ‘The Katzenjammer Kids’. This is course is not the name of my former neighbours but something that popped into my head when I started writing about them.

So now you think Cate and I are going to settle down and rest until our trip to Norway at Christmas don’t you? Wrong.

In two weeks Gwenyth arrives and then we are going on a two week cycling trip from Bruges to Amsterdam. The cycling takes only 7 days – you could do it in a day if you really tried – but we are taking a couple of days at either end to tour Bruges and Amsterdam.

It is one of those boat and barge things but this time we really are on a proper barge with air conditioning and good food and stuff like that.

I know you think that Cate is always on holidays but really she usually just takes very short breaks. This one is a bit longer than usual.

Her boss – Huggy Bear – complains whenever she goes on leave – but also complains whenever he sees how much leave she has accrued – but he does not really mind if she is on leave as long as she works while she is away and takes phone calls – which she does – on the basis that there is no one else to do it.

I think that when Rozalin tells him Cate is taking two weeks off he may pop a foofle valve but she will have an emergency supply of black gummi bears on hand as these work on him like adrenalin and these will bring him to his senses.  

Cate never goes into his office to discuss sensitive issues unless she has a supply of gummi bears with her.


  1. ... or she sends me to do the dirty deeds, like asking him to sign leave forms... Rozalin

  2. When I was in Graz every taxi driver tried to correct my pronunciation of the hotel. Geez, they understood where I wanted to go.

    My co-worker took me to this tiny village local drinking joint and insisted I go and speak with this old guy who had taken English classes and never met an American. They loved speaking English.

  3. Kat zen jam mer

    Obviously it means kitties in a trance dreaming about jelly while at sea, most likely a cruise ship, stuck in traffic in the Panama Canal Zone.

  4. Rozalin: You may need a kilo of black ones.

    fmcgmcclic: You must have special charm. Usually they do not give a rats.

    esbboston; That is good even by your usual high standards.

  5. My dad, who was a kid when the cartoon was so popular, and was of Austrian descent, told me that Katzenjammer is another word for hangover.

  6. SK Waller: That would not surprise me. It would be a natural step for a comic strip write to use a term like that for a family name.