11 July, 2007

Working on the chain gang

It's that time of year again. B will be heading off to first grade in the fall and I have again paid for a bag full of confetti that, when reconstituted, should magically resemble a Schultütte. This one has a race car theme, but up until this morning it just looked like something that had passed through the rear end of a shredder.

Being the non-crafty non-German that I am, I still lack a glue gun in my life. So I bastelte at the kindergarten this morning and mooched off of their supplies. And, surprisingly, I had a great time.

I know all the kids pretty well by now through the English lessons I give there on Fridays. This morning I sat at a table in the corner and they came and pulled up chairs and chatted about important topics like their own Schultütte, and a school visit they made yesterday. They were full of advice as to where I should put the glue and they were suitably impressed with the sparkly glitter accents that came with my kit.


Speaking of sparkle, what is it with Germans and the chains they stretch across their driveways? We live on the outskirts of a glorified village. There is no thru-traffic on our street, and aside from squirrels and the occasional garden snake there really isn't any danger of trespassers.

So it's a complete mystery to me as to why several of our neighbors insist on hanging up a chain to block off their driveways. They actually have to take it down each time they pull in or out, and then afterwards they get back out of their cars to hang it up again.

Could someone PLEASE explain this to me? Because unless you just want to trip up the mail carrier or your clueless American neighbor it really serves no purpose, does it?


Chui Hsia said...

On my road trips through Germany I like to pull into un-chained driveways and sit in my car imagining that this is my house. It is very unhelpful when the homeowners hang chain across their driveways as it denies me this simple pleasure.

Betsy said...

So in other words if I want to get you to come visit I should take the chain down?

christina said...

So both your babies will be in school come August! What fun!

I don't really know why they have those chains - haven't seen much of that around here, but people do put up those "Einfahrt freihalten" signs a lot so I suppose it's the same thing, just a bit more forceful and territorial. They also may not want delivery trucks and such using their driveways to turn around in.

Chui Hsia said...

I only like driveway tourism in places I don't know. So if I came to visit you I would not worry about whether your chain was up or down. However, if one of your neighbours left their chain down (gasp!) I would be straight in there, parking and enjoying the view.

:slinks off to do something useful, like check on dinner:

Martina said...


the chains are so that nobody uses their driveway to do a 3-point turn back in the opposite direction. Especially heavy trucks, but even cars. Really. Believe me on this one. Germans (I know I'm generalizing big time, but for a vast majority it holds true) do not want a stranger pulling onto their driveway for a few seconds. Period. They paid for that piece of property, so they decide who uses it.

Note: we don't have one of those chains, but have a rather long gravel driveway, and you should see my husband get antsy when he hears the gravel crunching and we're not expecting visitors. To be fair, though, once somebody must have turned around on our driveway, and hit our mailbox-pole in the process, knocking it down, and didn't bother letting us know.