Monday, 12 December 2011

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

But it's hard sometimes.

I have found myself lying to our neighbours in the past about our shopping. I don't know if it's because all of our neighbours tend to shop daily with bi-weekly trips to the market for fruit and veg, but none seem to do a weekly supermarket shop, and if any of them catch me unloading the car and loading the lift with a weeks worth of groceries they tend to have something to say about it. Most times I tend to get caught when we have visitors coming, and then I suppose we do have a bit more shopping to do, but with 4 adults and 2 kids (or more) in the apartment that's only to be expected, right?

The first time a neighbour commented on the quantity of shopping I was loading into the lift I felt really guilty. I have no idea why, it wasn't any more than a normal UK weekly shop - less even than a full trolley-load, but when someone actually says to you that you seem to have bought an extraordinarily large amount of groceries, well, I can't help but feel that I have somehow made an error. So I lied that time and said that we not only had friends staying for a week (true) but that was our groceries for the month, totally not true, but it seemed to satisfy her.

Anyway, we have friends staying with us again this week, and I went off to buy the shopping. I was just taking the last of the bags into the apartment and was heading out of our door and up to the lift when I saw our upstairs neighbour eyeing up our crate of beers. I said 'Hi!' and she said "That's an awful lot of beer!" in a quite accusing manner. I did that quick look across, look up multiplication and saw that I had bought a crate of 20 as requested, but still felt the need to say "We have friends staying for a week this week" - totally making sure I said friends in German in the plural. And she looked at the crate of beer in my hands again and said "That's still an awful lot of beer".

What can you do? I haven't the patience to even say in English "5 beers each does not make us alcoholics", so I just smiled and said goodbye.

Later that evening Lucy, our unlucky downstairs neighbour came upstairs to collect the kids to take them back to her apartment so that they could feed the cats. I have mentioned Lucy before as she is one of the 'Canadians' a race seemingly much loathed by the rest of our neighbours. I told Lucy about the beer thing. She told me that I'm lucky that they like me enough to even speak to me. They just get cheeky notes through their door and if they get a 'Guten Morgen' on the stairs then they're lucky. We don't really know what it is that has made our neighbours despise the various Canadians that have lived here, but maybe they shop and drink even more than we do. Good grief!


  1. So this was just one crate of beer? Not like 20 full crates? And they call themselves German! Pffft, with the amount of alcohol Uwe's parents have in the cellar I think we could open our very own Getänkemarkt. It's not like you're going to drink it all at once, although you might have felt like it after talking to her lol.

  2. I might drink it all at once and then pop upstairs for a visit. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll get one of the Canadians to do it....I'm a bit scared of the neighbours.

  3. "...they tend to have something to say about it."

    It may be a cultural thing. There's a right way and a wrong way, a good way and a bad way, and it leaves little room for a "different" way.

  4. I just never seem to manage to do it their way! Though I am grateful beyond anything that I have the Canadians who manage to seemingly find a worse way!! ;-)

  5. My German in-laws have cases and cases of beer and wine in their kellar. Perhaps the right way is to have Getrank Hoffman deliver? And I used to think we were the only ones doing a big shop, but at the Kaufland, we are not. What you are seeing is people who spend their time like conspicuously consumed money.
    Sent you an e-mail, if you have time, give me a call.

  6. Well you neighbors sure sound like a bunch of irritating busy bodies. Too bad you seem to be attempting to keep the peace with them (well, actually, quite nice of you, but still, incredibly tolerant). I'd like to see how they would react if you told them what you bought at the grocery store was none of their god damn business.

  7. That is so odd - not to mention totally rude!!

    Kitty (Moore)


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