Spring is here, so naturally I picked up a bout of man-flu but I need to keep working on the very smallholding. One urgent item on the jobs list is to find out exactly what we are (and are not) allowed to do with the land, which meant calling the local government office.

Why I thought that trying to talk coherently to people in my second language was a good idea when my head was working like a bowl of damp spaghetti I don’t know. I probably should have given up after dialing the wrong number and nearly booking the town hall for a conference, but by the time I realised the nice lady had connected me to another nice lady who connected me to the secretary of the planning authority (Baurechtsamt) who told me to call back that afternoon.

That afternoon I called again, this time without any long discussions with the booking secretary, and spoke to one Herr Schmidt who couldn’t help. Apparently each piece of land has a number and without that number they don’t know where it is, and if they don’t know where it is, they don’t know what they have decreed we are allowed to do. Or not do.

Which raises the question: if they don’t know where the land is, will they notice what we’re doing?

Anyway, I emailed the Landowners son, M, who fortunately speaks fluent English so I was at least spared the trauma of writing German.

It took me three attempts to write an coherent email in English.

At this point I decided to go back to bed.