englishman abroad, parenting

Waiting

I’m learning to drive at the moment. For a number of reasons, I never really got around to it whilst I was 16 and living in the UK. Now I’m learning to drive in Germany, in German, at 32. This is tricky. It’s tricky because you can easily confuse concepts like “Verbot” and “Gebot” when you’ve only been speaking German for a little while. That causes you to never drive on the right-hand side, instead of always driving on the right-hand side, much to my instructor’s consternation. I also seem to be the only person of my age that my instructor has ever dealt with, as he seems genuinely surprised that he has to instruct me how to drive instead of idly watching as I do it. Still, exasperated and grudging instruction from behind a smartphone is better than none at all, and I’m hardly spoilt for choice in the small place I live in.

The grand idea was that I’d be able to drive before the baby comes. That’s been blown out of the water by work commitments (slightly) and Brexit (hugely). Having dropped everything non-vital between January and March to focus on getting my German citizenship. But enough of that. I said I wouldn’t talk about Brexit anymore.

Instead, let’s talk about this baby. It’s late. It’s late and I’ve got the next week off work because we’d anticipated that it would already be here. It’s late and there’s only so many times I can check on the chilli peppers I’m trying to grow in the new greenhouse. It’s late and there’s only so many times my wife can play patience/solitaire on the dining-room table (over 800 times by my reckoning). It’s late and there’s only so many times, please, God! Only so many times that Aurelia can play the same song over and over and over again. It’s late, and I’m off work and Aurelia’s off school and Andrea’s obviously off work and we’re all. Just. Waiting. For something. To happen.

englishman abroad, stories

The bunny ranch…

This is the story of how we all accidentally went to a brothel.

Aurelia is the proud owner of two Zwergkaninchen (dwarf rabbits) called Angel, a boy, and Thunder, a girl. They’re very well looked after, with everything a bunny could want: a nice rabbit run, an underground den, a shelter made out of an old copper drinking trough, a wickerwork tunnel and lots of food. Aurelia wants the best for her bunnies; when we fly off to the UK this Christmas, we’re going to have them looked after by a nice enough place. A bunny sitter, if you will.

My wife and I Googled around and found a couple of places online, one in Oldenburg for a fair price and another in Delmenhorst for a bit less. We asked if we could have a look at the place beforehand, the lady said yes. On Sunday we went to the pet sitter in Delmenhorst.

First thoughts:

  1. This is an industrial area, a business park. Could it really be here?
  2. Haha oh wow. That place next to the printer’s looks like a strip club.
  3. Why are we stopping?

The strip-club-looking place was number 7 on the street. The address we had was number 7. It was the same street. I started to think that the online advertisement was a joke, that some troll had sent us here for a laugh. We decided to have a look around anyway. Just in case.

My noticeably pregnant wife, my six-year-old daughter and I got out of the car.

Second thoughts:

  1. There are an awful lot of doorbells on this strip club. “Candy, Jesse, Katja…”
  2. This isn’t just a strip club, is it?
  3. There’s a gate around the side that says “private property”

“Love?” I said, “I think we should leave. Now.”

“no, we’ll look. It said around here”

My courageous wife knocks on the gate, to an eruption of aggressive barking, and asks if this is where the bunnies are looked after.

The lady who opens the gate is thin, with long, red, fake talons for nails.

“Yes,” she pleasantly replies.

Third thought:

  1. WTF

The lady, Candy, gives us a tour of the various rabbit hutches available behind this house of ill repute, and I start to think that maybe, just maybe, this happens to be a legitimate pet-sitter with an awful location. Maybe the bordello was built afterwards?

Google has all the answers: “No, and here are some other pictures of ‘Candy’, just FYI”.

Final thoughts:

  1. I should have trusted my gut.
  2. Is this a brothel that diversified into pet sitting, or a pet sitter that diversified into whoring?
  3. Business must suck, either way.

We said that we’d be in touch later. We won’t. I don’t want Thunder to come home with long, red, fake talons.