Testing Time

First time in two months that I could have a relaxing week day start (& usually Saturday). No builders possibly turning up at 7:00am, no dashing around to get the horses done first, fit in the dog walk and try to work out what to cook the lads for lunch.

Have to say it was pleasant but couldn't get rid of all the daily routines - Angie had managed to persuade Robert to leave the building site radio for a day or two. He of course knew that it could only be a day or two before the battery ran out and we couldn't recharge it without the Hitachi charger. The radio was the first thing to start work in the morning and the last to quit in the evening with the final words "Presented by Hitachi Power Tools"

Radio Bayern 1 running all day (sort of equivalent to BBC Radio 2 of the 70/80's) and the most listened to programme in Bavaria according to latest Media Control survey. Plays mainly English/USA hits of 70/80/90's all day long and interrupted from time to time by usually quite interesting short topical reports on events in the World, Germany, Bavaria and our local Swabia.

And then the odd funny bit such as one last week when a moderator phoned a hairdresser asking if they could cut his pony tail. The shop didn't get it even when he asked if they had sufficient parking space for his trailer ....... Little things please little minds.

In the late afternoon took off for Memmingen. Would have liked to have had a pint of Guinness but I had a date in the building next door - the adult education centre. It was time for my German history/culture/politics test which all those seeking German citizenship have to take. Actually quite easy for anyone who has spent a bit of time in the country.

There is a catalogue of 300 questions which you can read up in paper and online form beforehand. In the test you get 30 questions on Germany and 3 specific tests on the state you live in (Bavaria) . Of these multiple choice answer questions, you need to get 17 correct and have one hour to complete.

Sitting in the classroom with 11 others, I would guess about 8 from European backgrounds and the rest from warmer climes. The adjudicator told us the rules and before handing out the individual, paper form, test sheets, said it was no point trying to look over shoulders as each paper was individually prepared and nobody had the same set of questions.

He then said the record time was 3 minutes, a candidate had to catch a flight - they did pass. I had done a few online practice tests this morning and had got it down to 6 minutes but on hearing about the record, thought I would take my time.

Think I was finished after 5 minutes but thought I should double check it all and left probably within 10 minutes but I wasn't the first. Two before me.

I am sure the papers and questions are very individually prepared. I didn't have any of the questions in the catalogue that deal with basic customs about how to treat children, how many wives one can have, how to treat  women and police officials or what does one paint at Easter and what does one decorate at Christmas.

My questions were highly political and history biased. I asked a few questions of German friends afterwards and got blank faces. One single question had puzzled me and as I left the room it suddenly dawned on me what was meant and I knew I had answered it wrongly. It was an old problem of mine - should have recalled my old friend Nogbad's advice I have heard for 30+ years : "Read what is on the paper and not what you think you want to read".  Did it again Nigel - sorry!!! The question was connected with the German President's duty controlling the German Chancellor/Parliament.

Having said that the test was "fixed", i.e. to reflect one's background, I do wonder what the official/computer thought of having a Trinidad born Brit to set the questions for.

Being a highly bureaucratic country, the test papers which came from the State Dept for Immigration and Refugees in Nürnberg are sent back there where some poor person has to check them all and we were told the results would be sent to us in three weeks. I guess it probably creates jobs but the whole test and results bit could be done in a school room using electronic devices/PC with immediate results.

Now I need to sort out the German language test. A much longer one lasting a whole day. I have for physical reasons a problem with this, so need to try to find a way around this. Assuming of course I passed today's test.

PS Kelly's Irish pub, the newer of two in the town, is according to friend Kathi who lives in Memmingen, very good. I didn't have time to check it out as I had to be home to do the animals evening duties,

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