Brexit Rep Training Manual: Gold Level

What an iconic symbol. Shame that they will all be destroyed when the pound crumbles and stamps become worthless and people are forced to eat envelopes to survive.

So Brexit Day came and went, and nothing concrete has occurred. Your country is still thrashing in the water, drowning in the most famous and most large-scale embarrassment in human history. Your colleagues occasionally mention it at the coffee machine, waggishly raising an eyebrow. You engage standard protocol: a dramatic and practised roll of the eyes, a sigh, and that eminently British chuckle that signals amusement, self-consciousness and resignation all at once. None of your European friends are able to make exactly this noise in quite the way you can; it is your birth right and one of the few remaining legacies you culturally retain from your homeland.

You will have lots of practice in answering a small selection of FAQs:

– how do you feel about May?

The grim satisfaction of having expected thundrous disappointment and those expectations being thoroughly met.

– did you vote remain?

Here it is acceptable to throw out a jokey “well what do you think” or a “no of course I voted leave” and then commence another session of eye rolls and chuckles. If you’re feeling jaunty you might also throw in a comedy face palm.

– what do your parents think about you being here?

The more pertinent question is, what do you think about your parents being there, but considering that thought makes your throat tighten. Best here to say something generic about bullets being dodged and everyone in your family being Very Proud that you are doing the Europe thing.

– are you worried about whether you can stay here?

Yes, you are, and you must answer this question calmly and as generically as possible. “Oh, for sure, but no one knows what’s going to happen – I doubt they will throw us all out without warning.” You ignore the fluttering heart palpitations and the ferocious itch of the Not Knowing What’s Going To Happen, which has been plaguing your waking moments as it becomes increasingly clear that the people in charge of this dumpster fire might well cock it up so much that everyone does get thrown out without warning.

If you are lucky enough to have got citizenship you must say so with the bashful grace of a distinguished actor winning a Bafta award, trying to convey with your face alone the joy and guilt of your luckiness, of all the times you sailed through the immigration office, ushered past rows of miserable non-Europeans hoping for Visas or residency permits or asylum, the cheerful Brit-loving burocrat waving you over the threshold of her office, her heart filled with pity reserved just for you despite the fact that there are literal refugees in the waiting room trying to escape literal war zones. You try not to think about all your friends who didn’t have the chance, all those people in the waiting room for whom the paperwork will be life-long.


It is increasingly important to check the news but increasingly unbearable to do so, so you reluctantly read the headlines like unpleasant medical diagnoses, terrifying but essential. Occasionally Teresa May does something painful to watch and you must make sure to not make full eye contact with all the photos and videos that immediately appear on your internet feeds.

When you have to fly back to the UK for birthdays and funerals, people jokingly say ‘Hope they let you back into Germany!!’ with oddly consistent wording, as if there was a memo. You laugh with pinched eyes because you feel a bit sick.

In the end you are not there, in the UK, in the midst of the maelstrom, and so you should feel relieved. But instead you feel breathless about what is happening. It feels huge and blind and unknowable and impossible to understand, and it will change the face of global politics forever, and YOU made it happen. Of course you didn’t – you voted remain and literally had nothing to do with the failure of the government to Get A Grip. But you finally feel it, the connection to your country you never felt before. Except it is not patriotism but rather a grim sense of shared genetics – like being the mother of a serial killer. No matter what you do, you are British. Not only that but you are English, because people in Europe tend to think of the countries of the United Kingdom as discrete nationalities. And so you are English and you sound like a dead empire and you are the Brexit representative for your social circle and you can do nothing but cringe inwardly forever.

Maybe if you practise your accent enough you can convince people you are from the Netherlands.


Owner and Data Controller

Rosemary Tremlett, Berlin, UK

Owner contact email:

Types of Data collected

Among the types of Personal Data that this Application collects, by itself or through third parties, there are: first name, last name and email address.

Complete details on each type of Personal Data collected are provided in the dedicated sections of this privacy policy or by specific explanation texts displayed prior to the Data collection.
Personal Data may be freely provided by the User, or, in case of Usage Data, collected automatically when using this Application.
Unless specified otherwise, all Data requested by this Application is mandatory and failure to provide this Data may make it impossible for this Application to provide its services. In cases where this Application specifically states that some Data is not mandatory, Users are free not to communicate this Data without consequences to the availability or the functioning of the Service.
Users who are uncertain about which Personal Data is mandatory are welcome to contact the Owner.
Any use of Cookies – or of other tracking tools – by this Application or by the owners of third-party services used by this Application serves the purpose of providing the Service required by the User, in addition to any other purposes described in the present document and in the Cookie Policy, if available.

Users are responsible for any third-party Personal Data obtained, published or shared through this Application and confirm that they have the third party’s consent to provide the Data to the Owner.

Mode and place of processing the Data

Methods of processing

The Owner takes appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, modification, or unauthorized destruction of the Data.
The Data processing is carried out using computers and/or IT enabled tools, following organizational procedures and modes strictly related to the purposes indicated. In addition to the Owner, in some cases, the Data may be accessible to certain types of persons in charge, involved with the operation of this Application (administration, sales, marketing, legal, system administration) or external parties (such as third-party technical service providers, mail carriers, hosting providers, IT companies, communications agencies) appointed, if necessary, as Data Processors by the Owner. The updated list of these parties may be requested from the Owner at any time.

Legal basis of processing

The Owner may process Personal Data relating to Users if one of the following applies:

  • Users have given their consent for one or more specific purposes. Note: Under some legislations the Owner may be allowed to process Personal Data until the User objects to such processing (“opt-out”), without having to rely on consent or any other of the following legal bases. This, however, does not apply, whenever the processing of Personal Data is subject to European data protection law;
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  • processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Owner or by a third party.

In any case, the Owner will gladly help to clarify the specific legal basis that applies to the processing, and in particular whether the provision of Personal Data is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract.


The Data is processed at the Owner’s operating offices and in any other places where the parties involved in the processing are located.

Depending on the User’s location, data transfers may involve transferring the User’s Data to a country other than their own. To find out more about the place of processing of such transferred Data, Users can check the section containing details about the processing of Personal Data.

Users are also entitled to learn about the legal basis of Data transfers to a country outside the European Union or to any international organization governed by public international law or set up by two or more countries, such as the UN, and about the security measures taken by the Owner to safeguard their Data.

If any such transfer takes place, Users can find out more by checking the relevant sections of this document or inquire with the Owner using the information provided in the contact section.

Retention time

Personal Data shall be processed and stored for as long as required by the purpose they have been collected for.


  • Personal Data collected for purposes related to the performance of a contract between the Owner and the User shall be retained until such contract has been fully performed.
  • Personal Data collected for the purposes of the Owner’s legitimate interests shall be retained as long as needed to fulfill such purposes. Users may find specific information regarding the legitimate interests pursued by the Owner within the relevant sections of this document or by contacting the Owner.

The Owner may be allowed to retain Personal Data for a longer period whenever the User has given consent to such processing, as long as such consent is not withdrawn. Furthermore, the Owner may be obliged to retain Personal Data for a longer period whenever required to do so for the performance of a legal obligation or upon order of an authority.

Once the retention period expires, Personal Data shall be deleted. Therefore, the right to access, the right to erasure, the right to rectification and the right to data portability cannot be enforced after expiration of the retention period.

The purposes of processing

The Data concerning the User is collected to allow the Owner to provide its Services, as well as for the following purposes: Contacting the User.

Users can find further detailed information about such purposes of processing and about the specific Personal Data used for each purpose in the respective sections of this document.

Detailed information on the processing of Personal Data

Personal Data is collected for the following purposes and using the following services:

The rights of Users

Users may exercise certain rights regarding their Data processed by the Owner.

In particular, Users have the right to do the following:

  • Withdraw their consent at any time. Users have the right to withdraw consent where they have previously given their consent to the processing of their Personal Data.
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  • Have their Personal Data deleted or otherwise removed. Users have the right, under certain circumstances, to obtain the erasure of their Data from the Owner.
  • Receive their Data and have it transferred to another controller. Users have the right to receive their Data in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and, if technically feasible, to have it transmitted to another controller without any hindrance. This provision is applicable provided that the Data is processed by automated means and that the processing is based on the User’s consent, on a contract which the User is part of or on pre-contractual obligations thereof.
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Details about the right to object to processing

Where Personal Data is processed for a public interest, in the exercise of an official authority vested in the Owner or for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Owner, Users may object to such processing by providing a ground related to their particular situation to justify the objection.

Users must know that, however, should their Personal Data be processed for direct marketing purposes, they can object to that processing at any time without providing any justification. To learn, whether the Owner is processing Personal Data for direct marketing purposes, Users may refer to the relevant sections of this document.

How to exercise these rights

Any requests to exercise User rights can be directed to the Owner through the contact details provided in this document. These requests can be exercised free of charge and will be addressed by the Owner as early as possible and always within one month.

Additional information about Data collection and processing

Legal action

The User’s Personal Data may be used for legal purposes by the Owner in Court or in the stages leading to possible legal action arising from improper use of this Application or the related Services.
The User declares to be aware that the Owner may be required to reveal personal data upon request of public authorities.

Additional information about User’s Personal Data

In addition to the information contained in this privacy policy, this Application may provide the User with additional and contextual information concerning particular Services or the collection and processing of Personal Data upon request.

System logs and maintenance

For operation and maintenance purposes, this Application and any third-party services may collect files that record interaction with this Application (System logs) use other Personal Data (such as the IP Address) for this purpose.

Information not contained in this policy

More details concerning the collection or processing of Personal Data may be requested from the Owner at any time. Please see the contact information at the beginning of this document.

How “Do Not Track” requests are handled

This Application does not support “Do Not Track” requests.
To determine whether any of the third-party services it uses honor the “Do Not Track” requests, please read their privacy policies.

Changes to this privacy policy

The Owner reserves the right to make changes to this privacy policy at any time by giving notice to its Users on this page and possibly within this Application and/or – as far as technically and legally feasible – sending a notice to Users via any contact information available to the Owner. It is strongly recommended to check this page often, referring to the date of the last modification listed at the bottom.

Should the changes affect processing activities performed on the basis of the User’s consent, the Owner shall collect new consent from the User, where required.

Frankly I’d prefer a decent insult

maenner aufgepasst
“Heads up ladies – Men want you to give them compliments! And also make them a sandwich!”

Last week on the 24th of January was Compliments Day’, a highly official and ceremonious event indeed. Now, I’m not sure whether this great occasion is a national day of celebration or an international festival, but sadly I let myself down and didn’t pay a single compliment to anyone on that day, preferring to call people a buttface in a low murmur as I usually do. Luckily, however, some male colleagues of mine discovered two very interesting and useful articles helpfully put together by the radio broadcaster Antenne Niedersachsen: ‘What compliments to give a man’ and ‘What compliments to give a woman’. Suddenly I feel an urge to engage my faculties in comparative literature and do a good old compare-‘n’-contrast. Let’s first take a look at what the ladies have to look forward to next year, eh?


you're irreplacable

EN: “To me, you are irreplaceable.”

I’m not sure whether this compliment is intended for husbands/boyfriends to give to their other halves or for strung-out managers grateful that Coleen has agreed to do another double shift working the chip fryers on a Friday night. Either way, it’s a serviceable compliment but also kindof not a compliment? No one said you would have to replace me…why are you bringing it up all of a sudden? What is that even supposed to mean? Wait, who are those guys with the strait jacket coming up the driveway?

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The Field Guide to Mansplaining – Chapter Five: Specimens as found in the wild

victim of mansplaining
“Sorry – did you just try to tell me how light switches work?”


A few months ago, the other web developer in my company suddenly was released from his job as a reward for being a colossal prolapsed rectum. This meant that I became, by default, the ‘lead’ and only web developer.

Today I sat in a meeting featuring one other woman and a substantial troop of men. My new web dev project was mentioned, and immediately the testosterone-havers in the room began confidently and eloquently making decisive statements about the project. My project. Let me re-emphasise: none of these people are professional web developers who will have anything to do with how the product is programmed. Almost all of them were not my superiors. And yet they expostulated and agreed and nodded gravely as if it were a discussion in the Jedi council. When I eventually ventured a sentence myself, the reply was that I shouldn’t sweat the details. It was an absolute masterpiece of mansplaining.

Mansplaining is, particularly in the world of tech, in no sense a rare beast. You will encounter it on a daily basis, and for this reason it becomes mundane; one will probably tend to miss it when it happens, much like one may overlook the beauty of the common sparrow. And yet, like the common sparrow, we must observe it in order to understand it. And sooner or later we must tell our friends about it before we explode with rage in the workplace and end up swearing our tits off next to the printer.

Without further ado, let us take a look at some examples of mansplaining in its natural habitat.

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icelandic turf hut
In my life, even the ancient Icelandic turf huts are closed for repair

A few weeks ago, I wrote a travel blog post all about Iceland, giddy with the prospect of going there but with very little actual knowledge about the place. Then I actually went to Iceland, did the holiday thing, came back, organised a Cold-War-themed spy mission team building activity (don’t ask), and now here we are. Time for a debrief to see what I got right in my first article and what was fake news.

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Hey kids let’s complain about Blade Runner 2049

Berlin: not a dystopian future-scape, just a regular city full of pollution and porn
Berlin: not a dystopian future-scape, just a regular city full of pollution and porn

Yesterday I moseyed on down to my adorable little neighbourhood cinema/public living room to watch a film I’ve been excited about for ages. Blade Runner 2049. This film has 89% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time I am writing this; that’s pretty much 9/10. 9/10 is a terrific score. If your career performance is 9/10 you’re probably reading this on a much nicer laptop than mine in a much nicer apartment than mine drinking a glass of good Shiraz rather than the plastic cup of sugar-free grapefruit Fanta I am unashamedly chugging. If your product is endorsed by 9/10 housewives, you can bet that the last housewife will probably buy it anyway out of socially-anxious paranoia. So this film, I thought, is going to be bloody brilliant. But actually it’s not, I’m afraid to say. Let’s talk about the reasons why and set me up for plenty of lovely online harrassment.

  1. Sitting and talking. Talking and sitting.

Blade Runner 2049 is opulently spectacular. It is so visually amazing (in the true sense of the term, as in ‘oh good gravy I am so amazed’) and sumptuous that it feels somehow high-calorie. I loved every glorious second of the incredible special effects, masterful set/costume design and breathtaking sci-fi landscapes.

Unfortunately this is one of those films that might actually be better if you watched it with the sound off because all the actual stuff in the film ruins it entirely. It is SO LONG and SO LITTLE HAPPENS. The only thing that does happen is characters sitting down, having a drink and talking. They sit and drink and talk about events that we don’t get to see, events which sound like they would have been quite a bit more interesting than yet another scene of people sitting, drinking and talking. It’s like Mad Men without the retro charm and simmering sexual intrigue. The entire film is characters telling each other a very complicated story, at length, in the form of elaborate monologues, droned at each other without much actual back-and-forth. Why are we in this incredible futuristic neoniverse watching people having a nice dram and a relaxing chat?!?

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“Don’t take it so personally” – things we say to hurt the people we’ve hurt

eyes on a wall

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

“Jeez, learn to take a joke.”

“Wow, you really can’t take constructive criticism, can you.”

“Lighten up!”

“Don’t take these things so personally.”

If you’ve ever said this or something like this to another person, this post is for you. If you’ve ever had this or something like this said to you, this post is for you. If you are a human who lives and/or works with and/or around other humans, this post is for you. And also, in a pretty major way, this post is for me.

You have to have a bloody thick skin in this life. You have to be ready to deal with horrible experiences and feelings on a daily basis and still somehow be able to gird up your loins and do the dishes. I’d say that the backbone of the human condition consists of figuring out a way through a sequence of punishments, occasionally and accidentally stumbling upon joy, until you die. And yes, when you are working or shopping or in any way interacting with the rest of humanity at large, you have to just keep your head down and get on with things.

On the other hand, it’s terrifyingly easy to land in a situation where you hurt or upset someone else without meaning to, or where you are the one who is hurt. Some people deliberately engage in situations where they hurt or upset someone else while fully meaning to. (In the scientific community we call these people douchebags.) No matter which side you’ve been on, you know how it goes: everyone’s engaging in playful banter until one person gets offended about a joke that was made about them, or one of your colleagues is upset because of the funny-but-definitely-not-complimentary new nickname people have started calling them, or you admiringly describe your beefy mate Steve as a ‘big guy’ without realising he’s kinda got issues surrounding his weight. Most of the time this stuff is light and well-meaning, so the person who is upset just takes a deep breath, forgives their fundamentally decent friends or colleagues, and everyone moves on.

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Entry for the Orange Prize for Imaginary Travel Writing

ice mountain
Me standing at the solid-ice base of Mount Cragyskjolvejg, native habitat of many species of snow bees

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Except sometimes life gives you lemons and, like, kale, so you begrudgingly make a green smoothie and feel simultaneously self-righteous and deprived. Sometimes life gives you a cold bottle of artisan lemonade and you get to enjoy it in the sunshine. And sometimes life gives you lemons, bitchslaps you across the face as you are squeezing them, runs off with the juice and leaves you with just the rinds, which leaves you confused and means you now have to take out the compost bin because it was already overflowing.
ANYWAY, none of that means anything and certainly has nothing whatsever to do with the fact that I may or may not be knee-deep in an ever-worsening job crisis at the moment. At times like this one’s mind naturally wanders to thoughts of escape, freedom, a stark change of scenery; so, spontaneously and with a carefree flick of my ponytail, I packed my bags and went for a casual minibreak to Iceland.

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Years pass by, things change, but the shame is constant

tempelhof sunset
Most pictures of sunsets are metaphorical but I assure you this one is not

Hello everyone. Yes, here I go again, sheepishly squirming my way back onto this blog after another long period of doing other things. Let’s just forego all the apologetic excuses and dive right in.

For the last few months I’ve been off working an actual Full Time Job. This is the first Full Time Job I have had since 2015 when I left my old role of buying underwear for a large American man. This is also my first ever professional post as a proper actual front-end web developer. But most importantly this is my first ever proper job in a GERMAN office.

So then, of course, this immediately opens the door to the potential for thousands of blog posts about office culture over here in Berlin. What’s different? What is the same? What have I learned that makes me feel enlightened and wise about the nature of work itself? Frankly, there is so much material to be written about. I could write about what startups are and contrast that with what they claim to be, now that I am in one. I could write about how the Berliner Schnauze (the term fondly used to describe what is essentially the universal irritated rudeness of Berliners) manifests itself in a work environment. I could write about what it is like to work all day in your non-native language and simultaneously have to write code in another language which only computers speak (it’s exhausting, by the way). This is what I think about all the time: what shall I write about?

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volcano on ometepe island
Oh just look at this adorable volcano. He’s wearing a hat.

Guys guys guys! Sorry for yet another long absence, but I have an excuse this time! I’ve been on holiday in Costa Rica and Nicaragua!

And then of course the question was how to write about it in my blog, because how can I not write about going to freakin’ Central America? Except how can one write about an amazing holiday without sounding like a total arse? Also, how to write about a holiday without sounding like some two-bit travel blogger – especially since travel is not the theme of this blog (not that this blog has much more of a theme beyond ‘Expat maniac rants about vegetables’). And now things are getting even worse because this is becoming a meta-post about writing about how to write a blog entry, and we’re about two sentences away from a tired Inception joke.

Well look: I was there with my ma and pa, which ramps the coolness factor down by at least 25%, right?

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