Linda helps the homeless

Me: Did I tell you I’m volunteering at a homeless thing tomorrow? 

Han: Yep. ML. 

This has been going on between us for some time. For example:

Han: I quite fancy a sherry. 

Me: OMH. 

Han: Old man Han? 

Me: Correct. I had a grand-aunt who used to drink sherry. It always reminds me of her. Auntie Peg. 

Han: Peg short for Peggy? 

Me: NEIN. Peg short for Margaret. English is weird sometimes. 

Han: Ha hahaha!

But what was ML? Magnificent Linda? Majestic Linda? Selfless doesn’t start with an “m”…

Han: Mother Linda. 

Me: Ha hahaha! 

Best I could do.

Han: JML.

Me: ???

Han: Jedi Master Linda. 

Me: Ha hahaha! 

And so, on Christmas Eve, I found myself on the S-Bahn on the way to Ostbahnhof, passing Germans on bikes, tandem bikes and scooters… walking, Nordic walking and jogging. These people never stop.

Anyway, Kälte Nothilfe – it roughly translates as “cold (weather) emergency aid” – were hosting an event at YAAM nightclub to feed the homeless in Berlin for the 6th year running; they were expecting over 1,000 people. There were several different ways in which people could help but, this year, I decided I would be hands-on and actually go there. Setting everything up would start at 11 a.m. and the guests would start arriving at around 2 p.m. At 10.45, I was walking past Stump Tower.

Not to be confused with that other guy’s tower – though an easy mistake to make.

Having never done anything like this before, I really had no idea what to expect (though visions of me in an apron and hairnet slopping some kind of gruel into bowls had come to mind). I got to YAAM just before 11 o’clock along with a few other people.

As it turned out, I didn’t have any time to worry about what I was going to be doing. Several vans were parked in front of the club and I joined the human chain carrying crates of food, drinks and various other stuff into the venue. As soon as I walked in the door, I was plunged into darkness and picked my way carefully across the floor to where people were depositing the crates on counters and tables. Seemingly, they were working on getting the lights to come on…

This went on for some time. Daylight, crate, darkness, deposit, daylight, crate, darkness, deposit until all of the crates had been unloaded and piled high in the club.

I had never seen so much food in one place in my life. None of us were really sure what to do at that point but luckily someone took charge and we started sorting everything into different “areas” – fruit, veg, sweet stuff, fresh bread, tetra pak, dairy, tea and coffee, toiletries, pet food, cigarettes… The lights also came on.

I was closest to the fruit and veg so it would have made sense for me to start there but half the time I didn’t know if the thing was fruit or veg. Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable? I figured Googling it would have looked a bit weird. And what on earth was that terrifying-looking, red, spiky thing? Clearly, I was in uncharted territory here.

Toiletries. Toiletries were safe.

Toiletries done, I appointed myself “Head of Glühwein Transportation” and starting hauling the boxes over behind the bar.

Safely transported, courtesy of moi.

I wanted to help the guy slicing the bread after that but there was only one knife. (Come on, people…)

Once everything was neatly organised, we started bringing in the Christmas trees.

The tables were set up and the decorating commenced. I realised that you can drop baubles on a concrete floor and they won’t break. Useful information. Tubs of white candy floss appeared (Weihnachtsmannbart – Santa Claus’s beard) and we draped it over the trees to look like snow. After getting through two tubs, my hands looked like Santa Claus’s beard so it was time to go to the bathroom to wash it off. Another girl was already there.

Me: Weihnachtsmannbart?

Girl: Yup. 

Even though the place essentially looks like a huge, bare warehouse, we managed to get it looking pretty festive.

I made my way to the “Garderobe” area where people were sorting out the clothing donations. I ended up working with a sweet, American, gay guy.

Mountains of t-shirts

GG: Oh my GOD! This t-shirt is soooo cute! 

(It was hideous – like someone had eaten 10 packs of Skittles and vomited the contents of their stomach onto some material.)

Me: I don’t think you’re allowed to take the stuff…

A German guy dropped a pair of trousers on the floor.

GG2: Aw, NEIN! 

Me: DOCH! (snigger)

At this stage, the guests had started arriving. As is pretty typical for Berlin, it was kind of hard to tell who was homeless and who was just artfully distressed. A Johnny Cash t-shirt that I’d just folded (badly) was swiped by a guy wearing better clothes than I was. But that was OK because I definitely didn’t have my eye on it…

I also definitely didn’t want these (sob).

By now, pretty much everything was done. The first guests were helping themselves to the food, or sitting at the tables talking and eating, and the DJ had started. I was ravenous.

As I wasn’t really sure what the policy was on eating the homeless people’s food, I thought it was as good a time as any to leave. I hit the Backwerk at Ostbahnhof and got back on the train. An old homeless man was in the same carriage. In a move reminiscent of the Latvian Snot Rocket, he pressed his fingers down hard on one nostril, expelled the contents of the other onto the floor and then repeated the procedure on the other nostril. In the reflection on the window, I could see the snot dripping off his moustache and clinging to his beard. I immediately ran over and wiped it away with my bare hands, smiling at him beatifically as I did so.

Did I heck.

I figured I’d done enough for one day and went for a glass of wine.

Happy Christmas 🙂


Have yourself a naughty little Christmas

If there’s a choice between being “naughty or nice”, I think we all know which one I’ll choose. So, when I heard about the Naughty Christmas Market, I just had to pop along last weekend and find out what it was all about.

Answer: a whole lot of vulva and a little bit of penis.

A whole lot of vulva…

If you’re looking for a nice traditional Christmas market with wooden huts, handmade arts and crafts, Glühwein and sausage, this probably isn’t the right market for you. (Actually, come to think of it, there was sausage – in ceramic form for €250. Tempted though I was, I just couldn’t really see where a ceramic penis would fit into the tasteful decor in my flat.)

If, however, you’re looking for a special gift for the person who has everything, you might consider “The Post-Structuralist Vulva Colouring Book”.

Bet you thought I was making that up.

And instead of boring old wrapping paper, why not present it in a delightful (surely this season’s must-have) cock bag?


After perusing my way through the PVC outfits, nipple suckers, nipple tassles, aphrodisiacs, high-brow literature, room of giant vulvas and elegant array of accessories…

I’m sure these will never go out of fashion.

…I hit pay dirt at the wankers’ table.

I kid you not.

Me: Bah ha haha! What are they? 

Hubertus: Wanking tissues. 

Me: BAH HA HA HA! Oh, look at the stickers! How cool are they!?

Hubertus: Take one.

Me: Free? 

Hubertus: Yes, free. 

Me: Then yes, don’t mind if I do. 

I guess Hubertus thought I looked like a wanker.

With my “I love wanking” sticker, complete with sperm-adorned heart tucked into my pocket, I felt that that was probably as good as it was going to get at the Naughty Christmas Market and left, mulling over which hapless wanker I could stick it on at some point in the future.

Watch your back.

I then promptly forgot all about it until I was rummaging around in my pockets a couple of days later. Thinking that sounded like it might be worth a chuckle or two, I fired up the laptop and headed on over.

This may be the best thing I have done all year.

Once I’d wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes (not with a wank tissue), I scrolled down to see what other treats the website had in store.

This was definitely the best thing I have done all year.

Under the section titled “The most memorable present ever”, it states that “Unwrapping a stupid tie, or a pack of socks makes speechless. Unwrapping this gift makes brains explode!” Can’t say I disagree. I was exploding just by being on the website.

Another section assures you that you will love wank tissues because “A thumbs up looks like grabbing a schlong. Think about it!”

I am! I am!

Spank Rags are also kind enough to offer worldwide delivery. “No matter if you live in an igloo, or a tent in the Siberian desert. We deliver to all our wankers!” This must be such a comfort to wankers everywhere.

There’s a segment where you get to meet “the girls” – Alexa from Germany, Kate from England, Narcisa from Romania, Sarah from Canada “and her other lovely girlfriends from all over the world”. I was a little sorry that each one didn’t come with her own back story but I guess you can’t have everything.

If you thought that the website couldn’t get any better, whenever you hover over a link, the cursor turns into a cock and balls. I’m not joking – go and try it.

After reluctantly clicking through to Amazon, I discovered that €9.99 will get you ten different girls on ten wank wipes – “10 full-colour tissues for a great night in!” as it says on the box. If you’re quick, you could probably get a box in time for Christmas. Just think how happy the special wanker in your life will be on Christmas morning…

Despite this feast of hilarity, I still wanted more so I headed on over to Twitter to see if Spank Rags have an account. Joy oh joy – they do!

@spankrags 5 May 2015 Spankrags in Scotland! Our stickers made it on top of the Loch Ness tourist sign. #ilovewanking #lochness #scotland

I guess wanking is as good a way as any to pass the time while you’re waiting for Nessie to appear.

Anyway, that’s probably as much wank as I can fit into one post without getting kicked off WordPress so I’ll leave it there. I wish all of you a very merry Wankmas and a happy New Wank. (OK, a couple more “wanks” probably won’t make much difference at this stage.)



Butter fingers

I have an appetite for Käse-Schinkenbrötchen that borders on the unseemly. I’m not really sure why as it’s basically a lump of bread with cheese and bits of ham on top. What I do know is that as soon as I bite into one, it’s like there’s a party in my mouth and I’m the only one invited.

(Image taken from

In my opinion, the best Käse-Schinkenbrötchen can be found at the Steinecke chain of bakeries. The only problem is that by the time I get there most days, they’ve sold out of this little piece of heaven and I leave empty-handed, hungry and dejected.

However, on Friday morning, I had a good feeling. I have an early-morning lesson so, by the time I get back to my little Kiez, it’s still only around 10.30. Halfway through the lesson, my students morphed into talking Käse-Schinkenbrötchen and I knew I was in a bad way.

Lesson finally over, I hopped on the train home and raced across the street to the Steinecke. Hands sweaty with anticipation (no mean feat in a Berlin winter), I pushed open the door and dashed to the counter.

There it was. The last Käse-Schinkenbrötchen. And not just any Käse-Schinkenbrötchen – no, this one was perfection itself. Smothered in cheese with evenly distributed chunks of ham, baked to perfection… I lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. This was it – the holy grail of Käse-Schinkenbrötchen. I was salivating just looking at it.

Unfortunately, there was nobody behind the counter. A note scribbled on a bit of card informed me that the errant employee would be “gleich für Sie da”. Harumph. The most delicious Käse-Schinkenbrötchen in the world was so near and yet so far away. I waited impatiently, jigging about and drumming on the counter. (I needed to keep busy so that I wouldn’t lick the glass.)

The bell on the door tinkled and another customer walked in. She had Käse-Schinkenbrötchenlust written all over her and I started to worry that the still MIA employee might serve her first. I decided that I was willing to resort to physical violence if that scenario were to happen.

After around five minutes, the comfortably-padded employee emerged from the back of the store. She didn’t look like she was in much of a hurry to get back to her customers so I thought I would jar her out of her semi-slumbering state by roaring “Käse-Schinkenbrötchen!” at her before the other woman could jump in.

I turned to give my competition a triumphant smirk but when I turned back I was surprised to see that my Käse-Schinkenbrötchen delivery system’s hands were empty.

Walburga: Es ist runtergefallen. (It has fallen down.)


Walburga: Ja, es ist runtergefallen. Tut mir leid. (I’m sorry.)

She didn’t look bloody sorry.

Me: Drei-Sekunden Regel! (Three second rule!)

Walburga: Wie bitte?


Walburga: Drei-Sekunden was??


I was pretty sure that the floor in a German bakery would be cleaner than the floor in my flat and I’ve eaten stuff off that before and survived so I was more than willing to take my chances. However, disappointingly, it seemed that Walburga was unaware of the three-second rule. She offered me two disgusting salty things instead at which point I wanted to leap over the counter and slap them from her meaty hands.

Me: I’ll take a raisin Brötchen instead.

Having paid – I noticed she didn’t drop the money – I left the bakery in abject misery, knowing that Walburga would probably eat the floor Käse-Schinkenbrötchen as soon as nobody was looking. For all I know, that could be why they’re never available in that particular store – she sits in her little back room eating them all before I get there.

The scene of the crime

Once home, I half-heartedly chewed my raisin Brötchen, every bite tasting like heartache. Would there ever be a replacement for that most perfect of Käse-Schinkenbrötchen? I’m not sure but I’m guessing that if there is, Walburga will probably get to it first. Her and her stupid butter fingers. But I guess that’s the hazard of working in a bakery…