One of the joys of not owning a car is being able to spend hours on the internet, searching for 'deals' which may or may not bear some resemblance to the price you paid the last time you wanted a temporary conveyance smelling of pine and new plastic. Living in the centre of town we've opted for the 'let's rent one when we really need one' school of thought and up till now it's done us proud. That way, we get to test drive a regular variety of the industry's finest smaller offerings in readiness for the day when we may actually get one of our own. The difference in the prices offered are extraordinary and unearthing a bargain becomes almost a pre-bedtime mania. Until it gets so bloody boring that you just want to hurl your computer through the nearest window before going off to do something mildly more interesting, like reading 'Hansard'.
Still, the car search means one thing, and one thing only: we're getting ready to travel, get some fresh input in our daily lives, catch up with relatives and eat motorway food. Germany has a novel system in place in motorway service areas: you pay 50 cents for the use of spotless loos and receive a coupon to that value which you can then redeem for goods and services in the rest of the complex. It's a decent, if somewhat macabre idea: "Here, my two craps and a pee for that bottle of apple juice and a Mars Bar". In handing over your coupons you basically inform the cashier that you have evacuated your bowels and/or bladder not fifty feet from where you're now getting a newspaper and a sandwich. I prefer to keep that kind of information to myself when out and about, but, financially speaking, those bodily functions add up.
Sorry to have mentioned that, but the Fingernails have been perfecting their Jackson Pollock tributes, again. It's gastro-bug time in this fair southern city and our two haven't been spared. Nor have the duvets, sheets or pyjamas for that matter. Nonetheless, they're over the worst and our washing machine hasn't yet stormed out in disgust, so we can consider ourselves lucky.