Sunday, January 31, 2016

Will Deutsche Bahn ever make it to London?

Rail history in the making:
Deutsche Bahn ICE3 train at St Pancras during a trial run 23 Oct 2010

A Spiegel International article published in February 2014 said: "After years of delays, Siemens' next-generation high-speed ICE trains have finally been approved by German regulators. But another hurdle still lies ahead: getting permission to run them to London" and raised the question: "Will New High-Speed Train Ever Make It to London?"

See also hopelessly optimistic statement: "German train operator Deutsche Bahn says it will run direct services from London to Frankfurt and Amsterdam from 2013" in BBC article of 19 October 2010.

No wonder a Deutsche Bahn lady was somewhat evasive (to put it mildly!) when I asked her (repeatedly) for an approximate date for the London connection a while ago...

An earlier article published in June 2013 on the German Spiegel website reckoned: "Erste Züge zwischen Frankfurt am Main und der britischen Hauptstadt rollen frühestens 2016".

Im August 2014 nahm ich einen Artikel in der Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung vom 24.7. bezüglich der weiteren Verbesserung der (auch bisher bereits beachtlichen) Zugverbindung zwischen Mannheim und Paris zum Anlass, noch einmal bei der deutschen Bahn nachzufragen, wann mit der bereits seit längerer Zeit erwarteten Direktverbindung zwischen Deutschland und London zu rechnen ist. Eigentlich hätte diese angeblich ja bereits zur Olympiade 2012 fertig sein sollen...

Hier die ofizielle Antwort:  
"Die Aufnahme von Direktverkehren nach London scheitert bislang bedauerlicher Weise an der Verfügbarkeit von geeigneten Hochgeschwindigkeitszügen, die die komplexen technischen Anforderungen einer Fahrt durch Deutschland, Belgien, Frankreich, den Kanaltunnel sowie Großbritannien erfüllen. Siemens konnte hierzu noch keine konkreten Aussagen treffen; wir rechnen allerdings nicht damit, dass dies vor 2017 der Fall sein wird. Sobald eine entsprechende Bestätigung sowie ein festes Preisangebot vorliegt, werden wir die Wirtschaftlichkeit der Direktverbindung evaluieren und eine Entscheidung treffen".
Als Trostpflaster wird auf preisgünstige Tickets mit Umstieg in Brüssel hingewiesen:
"Bis dahin steht Bahnreisenden weiterhin die Verbindung mit ICE und Eurostar und einem Umstieg in Brüssel zur Verfügung. Diese Relation wird durch unsere Kunden sehr gut nachgefragt; das London-Spezial bieten wir schon ab € 59 an".
 The bottom line: not before 2017...

Artists' stereotype of Scotland

Interesting BBC iWonder article under the heading: How did artists create a stereotype of Scotland? Quote: Any other country in the world would kill for the kind of instantly identifiable imagery that Scotland has inherited in spades.

My Heart's in the Highlands by Horatio McCulloch

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Contrary to (presumably) popular belief, re is not the abbreviated form of regarding. Therefore, it is not followed by a full stop.


Friday, January 29, 2016


An updated version of this blog post can now be found on the HE Translations blog at


An updated version of this blog post can now be found on the HE Translations blog at

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Single European tax return for multinational companies

I'm not a financial expert, but it seems to me that the concept of a European tax return for multinational companies is eminently sensible. There is (predictable) resistance from certain quarters, as reported in an article in today's Guardian under the heading Powerful Google tax opponent will urge UK to drop hostility to radical EU change.

Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In the UK it is known as Holocaust Memorial Day. January 27, 1945 is the day the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated.

Berlin Holocaust Memorial in snow
Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

Football / Fußball

Since the 'Leicester City miracle' started to emerge, there has been a degree of excitement building up in Leicester, even among people who normally aren't particularly interested in football (such as myself). The international football 'statistics' facility offered by Spiegel Online is impressive. The sreenshot below shows the league table after round 23 in January.

Seit Leicester ganz vorne in der englischen Premier League mitmischt interessiere ich mich wieder etwas mehr für Fußball und habe unter Spiegel Online eine beeindruckende internationale Fußballstatistikfuntion entdeckt. Der Screenshot zeigt die Tabellenspitze im Januar nach 23 Spielen.

Update 8 March 2016:
Leicester City fans caused 'earthquake' after last minute winner!

Update 14 March 2016:
Gary Lineker in the Guardian:
Nothing compares to this truly magical title charge by my Leicester City 

Update 2 April 2016:
From Jamie Vardy's right foot to Richard III's bones – how Leicester hit the big time 

Update 28 April 2016:
Kasabian announce huge gig at Leicester City's King Power Stadium ...

Update 2 May 2016:
Leicester City are Champions! See 40-minute video of spontaneous celebrations below.

Update 2 May 2016:
Guardian Article: The Leicester Supremacy – a triumph that was never supposed to happen

Update 2 May 2016:
Article in The Conversation: Leicester City are football champions of England: I’m tearful, incredibly proud – and full of envy

Update 3 May 2016:
Tiroler Tageszeitung: Das Leicester-Wunder: Irre Zahlenspiele: Von Leicester, Loch Ness und Sparfüchsen

Update 5 May 2016:
Article in The Conversation: Fairy tale expert: Leicester City win really was magical

Update 17 May 2016:
Leicester Mercury reports on LCFC victory parade: "It was an unprecedented day in Leicester's modern history, one that is unlikely to ever be repeated".

Update 17 May 2016:
LCFC parade features in Guardian Eyewitness series


Friday, January 22, 2016

Baldwin’s Nervous Pills

In some severe situations, when the calming power of the useful German motto: Nicht ärgern, nur wundern is exceeded, I dare say Baldwin’s Nervous Pills could come in handy.

According to a guest post on the Londontopia website, the "folks behind London Peculiar" tried to find out about the history of these magic pills, with limited success: "This original poster dates from around 1880s. After some research, I can’t find a lot out about what the pills may have contained in order to fix so many ailments...". Does anyone have any further information?

Update 5 February:
Thanks to Jacqui Birnie for providing a link to a fascinating account of The Empowered Physician: William Wilberforce Baldwin and 19th century medical therapeutics.

Further update 5 February:
If all else fails in terms of stress relief, why not try the rage room in Moscow?

Protected by a hard hat and overalls, a customer of the
Debosh stress relief service smashes household objects in a rage room
(TASS / Barcroft Media, Guardian Eyewitness picture of the day, 4 Feb 2016)

Update 13 April:
Die aktuellen Deutschland-Nachrichten der Deutsche Vertretungen in den USA verweisen auf einen Bericht vom Deutschlandfunk über den ersten Wutraum in Deutschland und bieten folgende Zusammenfassung:
Mal so richtig Wut ablassen, das ermöglicht der erste Wutraum Deutschlands in Halle. Gestresste können dort einen Raum mieten und Möbel, Computer oder Geschirr zerstören. Das ist anstrengend, aber verschafft mitunter auch Entspannung.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


An updated and much expanded version of this blog post can now be found on the HE Translations blog at

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

Alle Menschen werden... Frauen???

In the aftermath of recent events in Cologne, the British media (or perhaps it was just the Guardian?) widely reported on the (now famous?) handwritten sign displayed during the protest demonstration, which allegedly said:
You shouldn't hit a woman, even with a flower.
See Guardian article here, for example. The front page article of the current Guardian Weekly (arrived today) repeats this 'slogan', accompanied by a photo of the aforementioned note – see below.

As you can (just about) see in the photo – shown clearer in the German newspaper article here, what the note actually says is this:
Man schlägt keine MENSCHEN! Auch nicht mit Blumen!
Have written to the Guardian to point out the obvious (and therefore somewhat mysterious) mistranslation...

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie, a hero who helped to bring down the Berlin Wall, apparently

According to VICE News, the German Foreign Ministry credited Bowie with helping to bring down the Berlin Wall:
"Bowie lived in Berlin from 1976 to 1979 with punk legend Iggy Pop, where he helped produce Iggy's seminal album The Idiot as well as releasing three of his own.
In 1987, two years before the wall was pulled down, he returned to play a concert in West Berlin close to the partition so that East Germans could hear it. In German, he sent best wishes to the thousands of people listening on the other wall before launching into Heroes, a song he wrote there, sparking rioting in East Berlin".

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Pioneer

Pioneer statue, outside the UK National Space Centre, Leicester

According to the web page here, the statue (by Aden Hynes) was commissioned to mark the Centre's tenth anniversary in 2011. It shows US astronaut Ed White (1930-1967) walking in space on 3 June 1965 during the Gemini 4 mission. White later died in a launch pad fire during training for the Apollo 1 mission. The Centre's main building is made from pillows of ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer (ETFE), a strong, transparent, lightweight plastic. Designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, the building houses the British Blue Streak and American Thor Able rockets.