- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I tumbled home to Hanover from Kaiserslautern yesterday at 5 a.m. from one of the longest and round-about train journeys ever. Please don’t ask if I got on the wrong train or wrong trains.

I fell into a deep sleep in my little garden house as soon as I arrived, but I was woken by — I kid you not — a chimney sweep! The guy looked like he was straight out of Mary Poppins. Apparently, there’s a law here that all chimneys must be checked regularly. In this environmentally friendly country, where 20 million people smoke, they still want to make sure you are not burning the wrong kind of wood. And you thought the District had the corner on red tape.

• Don’t expect to see Boris Becker at Wimbledon this year. Soccer-mad Becker is here doing commentary for German TV and writing a column for The Times of London. Becker was at the England-Ecuador game in Stuggart and talked to England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, trying to figure out his game plan. Like most of us, Becker too is baffled.

John Haydon

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