I am writing this entry in Germany. If you don’t know what I’m doing here, I’ll get to that shortly. Last weekend was Toby’s birthday bash giving me a chance to finally meet his uni friends. This included his girlfriend Katie and Doug who, for the past two years since he first misheard my name, has been convinced I am Priam, King of Troy. I was unable to shake the title. Between his amusing drunken outbursts I also talked politics with Emma who fully intends to become an MP — and has the energy that might well make it a reality.

On Tuesday Kirsten and I headed out to Germany, home for her and for me the daunting task of meeting the parents — in a new country and in a language I don’t speak. It very nearly didn’t happen. Having taken my passport in the airport for safekeeping, Kirsten proceeded send them through an X-Ray scanner and shortly afterwards discovered they were missing. As she became increasingly panicked I dragged her back through each of the duty free shops we had been to, fortunately discovering she had left them behind in FCUK. With our requisite disaster occuring early on, we could then relax and enjoy the rest of the journey.

My German is still very limited although being here has sped up the learning process a little. My broken attempts allow to me to communicate a little with her sister Nele and her mother. Rounding off the household, her dad does speak a little English but prefers not to. They’ve all been extremely welcoming and language has not been the barrier I feared. It simply means that most humour tends to be derived from physical comedy rather than the verbal wit I usually depend upon.

Sausagewatch: Jeff in the States has requested that I sample a variety of different sausages while here and report back with my opinions and recommendations. Accordingly the Sausagewatch feature will provide just this, introducing a new type of German sausage with each edition. First up is Bockwurst [bok-vorst] which I tried in a petrol station shortly after the train journey to Neustrelitz. One of the favourite snacks in Germany it is traditionally made from ground veal and pork (with more veal, unlike its more famous cousin “Bratwurst”). At first glance it looks much like the stereotypical American gas station hotdog sausages but is less greasy and slightly firmer, flavoured with chives and parsley.