‘Have you caught the bug?’

Day 40: Hast du Blut geleckt?

Y’know when you give something a go, give something new a try, just once, but instantly know you’ll be back for more?

‘To taste blood’ (blut lecken) is the English equivalent (and literal translation), which if I’m honest, I had not come across before. You’ve had a taste of something and you want more. More more moreeeeeeeeee!


Pros in the making


And for once, it’s not primarily associated with food! I like to think my first introduction to roller blading was a similar ‘tasting blood’ kinda experience!


First time bladers coming through

Despite a few falls, there was luckily no actual tasting of blood necessary!


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‘sly dog’

Day 39: das Schlitzohr 

This mildly offensive term can be hurled back and forth and most wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Perhaps you really had been a bit of  a ‘rascal’ and deserved the ‘sly dog’ status.

However, there are roughly 100 people from Germany who would find this term incredibly insulting.


something about sticks and stones….maybe words can hurt ?


The tradition dates back to medieval times but lives on in German speaking countries and is known as the Journeymen years (Wanderjahre). For 3 years and 1 day, the travelling craftsmen are on the walz or ‘auf der Walz sein’.

Following strict rules on their travels, the wanderers are not allowed within 50km of their home town and must live from the rucksack on their back. Part of the initiation, so to say, involves having their ears pierced with the use of a hammer and nail. A decorative earring is to be worn.

But if the carpenter should ever break a rule, it is seen as betrayal. The earring would be ripped immediately from his ear. Hence the term, ‘schlitz’ ‘(slit), ‘ohr’ (ear).

Therefore, calling one of the hundred journeymen a Schlitzohr would mean something very different to you, Joe Bloggs or I. Intrigued? Find out what else (such as ‘walzing matilda’ for example) originates from this intriguing Journeymen tradition.

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Day 38: der Trottel

Trottel was never going to translate into genius, was it now?

The word is doomed from the moment the first syllable leaves your lips. Fool, idiot, moron, nincompoop, halfwit, prat or douche bag? Take your pick. The word screams WALLY.


A Trottel at the Troedelmarkt?


(I can’t help but be reminded of a ‘Trödelmarkt’ as I say Trottel. This is partly down to my dodgy pronunciation but partly because a Trödelmarkt screams ‘rubbish‘. Not quite on par with a flea market, it’s a jumble sale which more often than not, is filled with cheap tack. Bargains are hiding in there somewhere, but you need a fine and patient eye to find one!)


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‘to kill two birds with one stone’

Day 37: Zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen

The height of productivity.

Kill two birds with one stone, or rather auf Deutsch,‘to kill two flies with one swat.’

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No bird watch tower needed for fly swatting either



And ‘flying without wings’ pops into your head. Uhoh. Ohrwurm alert!

(A digression that has to be explained; Der Ohrwurm is a magical word which you use when you can’t get a song out of your head. Literally, ‘Ear worm’. Rather than going in one ear and out the other, said catchy tune will wriggle round and round blissfully unaware that he’s well and truly outstayed his welcome. Torture!)

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‘a big compliment’

Day 36: ein großes Lob

What a way to shake off the midweek mundane!

Das Lob similarly means lob in terms of tennis or football, as well as ‘praise‘ in German.

When intended to commend someone, the German Lob concept matches the English idea of praise being ‘high’ or ‘looking up to someone.’  Stemming from religious praise, it would explain the emphasis on something good, being above us all.


Andy Murray sure knows a thing or two about lobs


However in my line of ‘is there anything else I can do for you’ customer service work, high praise is not always a daily occurrence.

This email was a very welcome addition to my inbox!


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‘Swabian ravioli’

Day 35: Maultaschen 

These little ‘mouth‘ (Maul) ‘pockets’ (taschen) constitute German ravioli and my goodness are they good!


Mouth sized pockets of spinach filled ravioli

Typically a Swabian tradition from south west Germany, these tasty parcels are mostly filled with meat or spinach.

Up against the big boys like Schnitzel and Wurst, this traditional German dish is easy to bypass. However, I never make the same mistake twice…


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‘shoulda woulda coulda’

Day 34: hätte hätte Fahrradkette

What do you get when add the hindrance of hindsight together with the smug conditional tense?

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‘Would have, would have, bicycle chain.’

I lose count of the times I have left a conversation only to think of a better, more sensical, grammatically correct or simply more humorous German response than what actually did leave my lips!

IF, if, iffff…..

(The bike chain reference is purely to complete the rhyme of course…I’m sure someone thought of something more sensical moments after!)


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