Author Archive

An Australian Conundrum

November 14, 2017 10 comments

When Australian politics makes international headlines, you know it will be farcical. Apparently our cherished Antipodean mates are having issues keeping senators and MPs in parliament. The reason? Quite a few apparently hold multiple citizenships which Australia bans. This is rare, if not unique. What’s even rarer is the stringency with which this rule is enforced. Barnaby Joyce and Jacqui Lambie, for example, weren’t even aware that they ever held a citizenship other than Australia’s. Read more…

Categories: General

Random Thoughts

November 11, 2017 3 comments

My train from Dorchester to Waterloo arrived late and I was sent in the wrong direction at Waterloo. I arrived at Heathrow, thanks to a slight Tube delay, mere minutes after the deadline for dropping off luggage passed. I had to spend an additional £300 to fly to Copenhagen on the next flight.The gate agent looked and acted like she just won the Ilse Koch impersonator competition for the 20th year running. Due to the airline’s reluctance to squander time allowing passengers to store their luggage, I had to check over £1000 in German bone china. The reincarnation of the Witch of Buchenwald cost me over £350 in damaged property. Read more…

Categories: General

Tedium Descends Upon Europe

September 6, 2017 1 comment

The date of the German federal election is quickly approaching. Read more…

Categories: General

Well Bless My Heart

August 19, 2017 2 comments

Oh, what an honour, what a blessing! Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz have deemed the great, filthy, unwashed masses of Trier to be worthy of basking in their glory. Both have scheduled rallies in front of the Porta Nigra. As you will know, the 19th Bundestag will be elected 24 September. Why anyone would choose to have a rally in Trier is beyond me. The seat, Wahlkreis Trier, is safe CDU. Trier itself might only be marginally CDU, but the surrounding cities have heavy concentrations of centre-right voters. Will I go to either rally? Oh, heavens no! I only hope it doesn’t interfere with my weekly shopping trip.

I’ve made up my mind to cast my two votes for Howling Laud Hope and the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. This means that I’ll spoil my ballot, but will at least have the quiet satisfaction of having given myself a chuckle. Anything else would give me a deflated feeling.

Categories: General

Not Political

August 16, 2017 3 comments

Politics have become like espresso. That is, unpalatable and something I can simply no longer stomach. I have been busy this week ensuring that political sites no longer show up on my profiles and I refuse to read anything but the weather forecast and currency exchange rates. I will go to the UK, Denmark and Sweden soon, after all. For lack of anything else to say, here is a video that is just as a-political.


Categories: General

Pulling Apart

August 10, 2017 19 comments

Many of my fellow Charioteers are or have been expatriates. Some have settled permanently, some have repatriated, some have moved to third countries. However distinct a person’s experience, there are some experiences which many share. Read more…

Categories: General


August 4, 2017 14 comments

When I was a toddler I was terrified of St Gangolf’s, the second oldest church in Trier. Its altar is a masterpiece of late Gothic art. As an adult I’ve grown to appreciate the quality of the artwork, including that of the near-life-size crucifix. As a toddler, I wasn’t quite so keen. For years the mere mention of the name “Gangolf” could provoke a cold chill in the spine. The emaciated, tortured sculpture of Christ towering over me with a bleeding wound on its side was more than I could manage. Yet, I generally got over my fear of death at a relatively early age. Read more…

Categories: General


One of the quaintest notions that I am frequently subjected to is that Germany is a country utterly transformed. The Federal Republic, apparently, is an entirely new Germany — a Germany that has broken with the its imperial legacies, both monarchic and republican. Parenthetically, the post-First World War German republics were still legally considered empires. That is one of the quirks of translation. If one looks deeper, takes a spade and shovels a few inches beneath the surface a different, deeply troubling truth emerges. Read more…

Categories: General

American Pariah

The Obama years were terrible. Obama was a weak, vacillating president who grew increasingly discredited over his eight years in power. The USA’s image and the perception of its might declined dramatically. It was, like Britain in 1926, a leading world power but it lost its air of invincibility. Rather than being able to dictate terms with a minimal amount of negotiation as it could have a mere 20-30 years earlier, it could merely lead negotiations and use its leverage to persuade smaller countries to come around to its view. Read more…

Categories: General

Silly Amphibians

For obvious reasons I am very concerned about any post-Brexit legal settlement for EEA nationals in the United Kingdom. Whatever my loyalties, my silly little burgundy booklet still carries the legend “Bundesrepublik Deutschland” just under “Europäische Union”. For Britons living on the Continent and Europeans living in Britain, a just settlement is a necessity. Read more…

Categories: General