Six Wheels in Germany – November 2020 (Month 80)

More Good News!

Last month I started my blog with the great news that I had passed the German exam required for my citizenship.

Well, I have even better news this month!

It started with an Email from the Ausländerbehörde:

For those who don’t understand German… “Your citizenship certificate is available!”

Yes, I have been awarded German citizenship following my expedited application after living in Germany for less than 7 years (the normal minimum).

A couple of days later I got the official letter in the post, complete with information on what I have to pay.

So I transferred across the 255€ for the payment for the citizenship. I also made an appointment to receive the Citizenship Certificate which will be early in December (so you will have to wait for next month’s blog to read about that). I also have an appointment with the Town Hall to apply for my passport and my ID card.

I cannot tell you what a relief it is to me to retain my European citizenship with all the benefits that entails, plus I was allowed to retain my UK citizenship (the last sentence in the letter above). It will be good to be able to vote in German general elections and to be considered a true part of society there rather than just a visitor. Thanks again to Hartmut and Andreas of the ADFC who helped me with the letter about my voluntary work.

Cycling this month

This month has been very poor for cycling. Partly as I have had zero commuting (working from home at the moment due to COVID-19) and also because it’s been pretty chilly so Klaus and I haven’t wanted to go out riding at the weekends.

This is where I went – lots of walks and runs, not many cycle rides

I lost one of my velomobile Strava QOMs too… velomobilists in the know will understand why when they see this:

I guess Eva was only slightly faster than me…

It’s worth noting that Eva is riding the new Snoek velomobile which has been developed by It’s a small and very fast velomobile and she’s doing some impressive times in it. It’s always good to have more variety of choice in velomobiles and this one, although probably more of a racing machine, seems to position itself in a gap in the market (for smaller riders). Good luck to with it!

Photo from

I have been keeping up with my running/jogging though, going out for 30 minutes or more every two days.

I am getting slightly less slow and my average heart rate is becoming a little lower whilst running so there are small signs of progress, but I won’t be worrying Mo Farah any time soon.

“Massive run effort” sounds quite cool!

Klaus and I have both also been a bit more careful with our food this month (being stricter Keto) and I have lost 5kg and he 3kg so that is going well. I had added a few kilos after our München holiday earlier in the year plus my weekend in England so it was time to shift them by being a bit more aware of what I eat, and it is working well. I shall carry on a bit longer, see where I end up on the scales.

Other events

November was meant to be the date of Klaus’s divorce (which had already been rescheduled 4 times) but unfortunately his lawyer caught COVID-19 a few days before so it was postponed again. He has a new court date which is early January so we hope it will go through then.

Home Office

As I mentioned, I have been working from home now for about six weeks, with Klaus also regularly working beside me.

Helen’s workspace on the left, Klaus on the right

Over that time it’s become clear that I had to improve my workspace slightly. I had a normal Apple QUERTY Keyboard with number pad which filled most of my roll-out desk space so I had to have the mouse at a higher level than the keyboard.

This meant over time that I was sitting twisted a lot of the time, so I ended up investing in an Apple Magic Keyboard with the German QUERTZ layout (makes it much easier to produce the letters öäü and ß). This keyboard is much narrower so I can have the mouse on the same desk level as the keyboard. I then bought a separate bluetooth number pad for times when I might need that, and it works well as it also doubles-up as a desktop calculator.

As you can also see from the photos, I had to buy a chair as Klaus and I had previously been sharing his office chair (not very efficient when you both work from home) so I got another Back Chair/Kneeling Chair. I have had them for over 20 years and get on really well with them, plus I can hide it under the piano if I don’t need to use it for a while.

I like working from home and as I did it for nearly 10 years before when freelance I am good at structuring my day and working efficiently. However, I do miss meeting my colleagues and am often a bit out of the loop on work things, but I don’t expect to need to be back in the office in 2020 (unless someone else is ill) so I expect this will carry on for longer. Which I don’t mind.

More gadgets

As Lockdown will be around for a while I decided to get the final remaining Apple product that was missing from my system…. you can see it at the bottom of this list (please note my Airpods Pro are not listed on here)

I seem to be well-supplied with iGadgets

But of course the next issue was that the television is pretty small so Klaus decided to use his Christmas bonus on upgrading that, from a 32 inch to a 55 inch, and I chipped in too. All TVs now are Smart TVs and this was not necessary for us as the Apple TV takes over that function, but it seemed you can only by TVs with these features.

Anyway, we bought a good QLED Samsung TV and then realised that it does duplicate almost everything that the AppleTV gadget does, so I decided to send back the AppleTV – it was nearly 200 Euro after all. The Samsung remote control is much less nice than the AppleTV one, plus we could steer the AppleTV through our iPhones and iPads which was great, but this convenience is not worth 200 Euro.

Klaus’s daughter also asked for contributions towards an iPad for her Christmas present so Klaus ordered the iPad Air for her and also an Apple Pencil (she will use it at school for note-taking) and I will get her a mini bluetooth keyboard for Christmas. Her gadget will fit in well in our household, although her phone is a Huawei so she will have to learn a new operating system. But she’s a teenager so these things are almost automatic!

The Outdoors

Poppy has continued enjoying all our attentions and lots of walkies.

What’s been interesting on our walks and runs is seeing the progress made with the cable laying for the glassfibre which we should hopefully have fairly soon. The cables arrive on giant cotton reels and are laid beside the road and then the verge is dug up (usually relatively simple round here as there are just roads with fields either side), the cable is buried and the trench covered up. It’s a team of Dutch workers doing it (well, their vans have Dutch number plates) and they seem to manage a fair amount each day.

A cable end left waiting for some connectors

In our hamlet we also had a COVID-safe version of St Martin, a local tradition where normally there is a big procession through the town/village with children with home-made lanterns. It’s a really big thing in Kempen normally but of course this year most events were cancelled. However, there was a very small socially-distanced procession in our hamlet. I went out just before and saw the preparations – banners, lanterns, people waiting outside to see St Martin go past on his horse with his helpers.

As you can see, despite being November we have had largely blue skies. It’s been rather cold though, so it’s been a bit bracing with the winds when out on walks.

There aren’t that many events to write about as of course we aren’t really allowed to go anywhere because of COVID-19. However, when I knew I had my appointment to get my passport and ID card I knew I’d need to get some new passport-sized photos. So I arranged with a photography place in the centre of Kempen to go there on Saturday morning at 10am to have my photo taken.

Klaus and his daughter Lara came with me, and Klaus took a photo of the bustling centre of Kempen, a popular town for shopping and cafes.

It’s so sad to see the town empty because of COVID.

The cinema is shut of course.

And the bakery, where we bought Lara’s rolls for breakfast, had rather a lot of signs on the door warning you of the dire consequences of not fulfilling the COVID requirements…

Although eating Keto means generally not eating out/take away I wanted to celebrate hearing I had got my German citizenship so Klaus and I arranged for a delivery from Ela, one of our favourite restaurants in Kempen. We always eat the same thing there, the Vorspeiseteller (starter plate) for two, and I wondered if we would get it in lots of individual pots as a delivery. No, we got it on a full size proper plate!

The Pide bread was wrapped in the foil but the Vorspeiseteller was just arranged and then covered in cling film. They told us to give the plate back next time – and we will definitely order again as it was very tasty and they delivered quickly.

Cakes this month

We didn’t have many cakes this month as we were being stricter Keto and also not going out on the bikes much. But there were a few…

Keto Blueberry Soufflee by Helen
Keto Cheesecake by Helen
Pfirsich Schmand from Büllhorsthof
Keto soufflee with more blueberries!
Keto blueberry mascarpone cake by Helen

And I have to say, the Keto blueberry souflee is a triumph. It’s not very strict keto (has Puddingpulver and milk in it) but I can fit it in to my daily carbohydrate allowance as I am luckily able to eat up to 80g carbohydrate a day and stay in ketosis, so I am enjoying this as a treat now and again!

I am finishing this blog off on a cold and windy Tuesday afternoon, and have just heard that my colleague has tested positive for COVID-19 so it is still doing the rounds in this part of the world. Klaus and I have stayed at home most of the time and we hope that we might manage to miss the illness and that the vaccine will be available too. We want to do more travelling next summer so really hope we can visit Berlin again, once holidaying is allowed.

One comment

  1. Congratulations on the Citizenship ! My wife is pursuing her Irish passport, my daughter has her NZ passport. But I was born in Kenya – what use is that !

    We went ot the St Martin parade in Witten-Heven pre lockdown so , yes hundreds of kids and a brass band !

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