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Voila! The new village toilet offers a new pot to piss in!

… I just hope it doesn’t become a place for sharing more than neighborhood gossip…

A few days ago, much to my amusement, the guy who runs our neighborhood Facebook group shared photos of the brand new public toilet that was erected in, and now proudly graces, our Dorfplatz here in Breckenheim. If you’ve been following this blog lately, you know that building this toilet has been a long and painful undertaking, and it hasn’t been without controversy. Last fall, a radio host even tried to ask me what I thought of it, but decided my opinion was irrelevant when it became clear that I’m not a local. The local reactions to this seem to be varied. Some people love it. A lot of people think it’s… shitty. Bwahahahaha! I am getting a kick out of all of the reactions and snarky comments translated from vernacular German.

The first summer we lived in Breckenheim, we had biweekly wine stands in the Dorfplatz. It was a great place for everyone to commune together and bond over the region’s star product– WINE! But then 2020 happened, and there were no wine stands or other community events. Then, last summer, a crew of men came in and took down the kiosk, from which all of the fundraising events were operating. I was sad to see the cute little kiosk come down. At the time, I didn’t know about the big plans for the Dorfplatz, and had no clue it was going to get its very own toilet! I was surprised when I found out, but now I know the reason. It’s so people don’t have to use the Rathaus toilets or go home to answer the inevitable call of nature during community events. I stopped to take a picture of it today, and noticed that it costs 50 cents to pee there. No need to hire a Klo Frau, after all…

Edited to add: I see that our local leader has said the toilet will be free to use. A free public toilet is something to behold in Germany!

Earlier this week. The powers that be are very proud of this new development, although not everyone is a fan.

Not for nothing, though, it’s taken forever to get this work done. The Dorfplatz has been fenced off for months, making the trash can harder to access. People have been putting trash in the can anyway, and it wasn’t always getting emptied, because it was behind a temporary fence. I noticed today, the whole area is open again. All that has to happen now is getting rid of the port-a-let that’s been in the Dorfplatz for weeks. I think getting rid of the port-a-let will be a huge improvement. Hopefully, this toilet will stay nice, but having seen them in other places, I have my doubts. However, I can also say with certainty that there have been many times when I have been very grateful to find one of these when I’m out and about. I like the ones that can be “stored” underground and brought out for special events. That was probably cost prohibitive, though… and Breckenheim doesn’t really warrant it. It’s just a little suburban village, after all.

I read that they’re going to rebuild the wine stand kiosk right next to the new toilet, which seems quite large for the space it’s in. I have an image in my head of people buying glasses of wine in one building, while others process it in a similarly sized adjacent building. Below are a few photos of Breckenheim’s latest upgrade, as well as a few pretty flowering trees in my neighbors’ yards. I’m impressed by how fresh and beautiful they are, in spite of the heat wave we’ve endured this week.

Of all of the things I’ve observed since our move to Wiesbaden, I think the great toilet debate has been the most entertaining. I will also admit that I wasn’t expecting this kind of toilet. I don’t know why I wasn’t, since they’re all over the place in Europe. I think I expected something more conventional. I will also note that there were many times when we lived in Jettingen that I wished for a toilet when walking my dogs. I had to pee in the woods a few times. 😉 But the woods are in much shorter supply in these parts.

Anyway, now there’s a place to pee, and soon we will have wine stands in the right place again… and weekly farmer’s markets, too! I look forward to having a farmer’s market we can walk to. We already have a grocery store and a “kwik mart” near us. As I have mentioned more than once, you get trade offs when you exchange country living for suburban living. Maybe someday, we’ll get vending machines with local produce, too. One can always dream!

In other news, today we will get a visit from the chimney sweep. In Germany, it’s legally required to have one’s chimney examined every year. They leave little notes on your door telling you when they’re coming over. We got one this week. It’s a good thing we were home. Our last house didn’t have a fireplace, but we still got visited by the cleaner, who had to check out our heating system and make sure it was safe. Here, we have a beautiful fireplace, and thanks to the war in Ukraine, I suspect we will be using it a lot more this year.

Props to my clever German friend, Susanne, for supplying this funny clip about Schornsteininspektion… 😉

Don’t know what we’ll be doing over the weekend. I’ve been sick all week, but I feel better today. And I am in need of some fun… so hopefully, we’ll find some and I can return and report.

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Who are the people in our neighborhood? Last night’s wine stand helped us find out more…

Although there were heavy clouds in the sky last night, and the air was decidedly muggy, Bill and I decided to attend last night’s wine stand in Breckenheim. It was the first one we’d been to in awhile, since the last one was scheduled due to dangerous weather, and the time before that, I didn’t feel like getting dressed. But we usually do like to attend the wine stands, because they are held for good causes– fundraisers for various local clubs, who host them. Also, it’s often a fun chance to meet new people who live in our little suburban burg.

Our local town square (the Dorfplatz) is usually where the wine stands are held. However, the stand was held at the town hall, because the square is currently undergoing renovation. They’re putting in a public toilet. I understand the toilet idea isn’t particularly popular, especially since the Dorfplatz has only existed for a short while– by German standards, anyway– and there’s a fountain that was only put in about ten years ago that might need to be removed. Prior to its becoming a Dorfplatz, the area was a parking lot.

I guess the toilet will be a good thing, though, since it will allow people at the wine stands to stay longer, rather than either going home, or using the toilets at the Rathaus. Also, there’s been talk about starting a weekly farmer’s market, which I’m pretty psyched about. I hope that happens before we have to move again.

Anyway, because a large portion of the square has been cordoned off for the construction of the toilets, the wine stand has been moved, and that’s a good thing for us, because we live even closer to the town hall than we do the Dorfplatz. So, even though Noyzi and Arran protested loudly, Bill and I walked down the street to have a couple of glasses of wine. It started to sprinkle, but we decided to let the locals have the tables under the shelter.

After about ten or fifteen minutes of sipping Riesling and telling jokes, we met two Americans who live very close to us… Actually, they live even closer to the town hall than we do, since their house is just behind the parsonage for the church. They heard our American accents and came over to introduce themselves. It turns out that the two women have two kids, and they’re living here as ordinary residents. I was really fascinated, as one did have ties to the military, but is in the Reserves and drills back in the States. The other is a lawyer and a pastor! She told us the combination isn’t as unusual as one might think! Right now, she works as a pastor, but will soon start a new job as an American lawyer for a bank. I’m assuming it’s an American bank with a branch nearby, but I didn’t ask about the details.

They told us about the process of getting new German driver’s licenses, and what is required for that. Unfortunately, they didn’t come from a state where they could simply exchange licenses. Some US states do have a reciprocity agreement with Germany. Texas is one of those states. And their kids go to the local schools, one of which is within sight of our house. Both speak German, too, even to their kids.

We really enjoyed talking to them… I do hope I didn’t come off as too forward, though. Not everyone knows what to make of me, especially when I’ve been socially distanced for two years. But I thought they were a nice couple, and I’m sure we’ll see them around.

We won’t be at the next wine stand, which will also be held at the Rathaus, because it will take place just before my 50th birthday. Bill has plans to whisk me off to Antwerp, Belgium for the weekend. I look forward to it, since I love Belgium. There’s great beer, delicious frites, exquisite chocolates, and dirty humor… Any place where one of the country’s symbols is a little boy peeing is alright with me. 😉

Here are a few random photos from last night’s activities!

I think we’ll go out for awhile today… See if we can find anything fun to do.

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