No, not a car, not a beer, but a supermarket chain!
Now, some might find this difficult to undestand, this particular supermarket brand seeming to be at the lower quality end of the market (A point I dispute). But I am a great fan of Lidl. Firstly, you always know where yu are with a Lidl. Anywhere in the world you go, the layout, brands and stock are exactly the same. If it is gardening stuff in Southmead, it is gardening stuff in Amsterdam. If it is skiing equipment in Munich, so is it in Madrid.
I cannot go into a Lidl without spending at least twenty quid I had not intended.
Its cheerful germanic enthusiasm and misplaced happy pragmatism is a universal constant, like G or the speed of light. I always want to speak german in there and indeed, frequently do. And polish sometimes too. Oddly, I do seem to meet a lot of germans in there and this is strange since i didnt know there were that many around here. Its good for the practise and the looks on their faces when you address them in your best Hochdeutsch.
Over the years i have bought many splendid things there:
an inflatable kayak (very good actually unless there is surf)
A spade with a handle LONG enough!
Lebkuchen at Christmas (Oh joy! How germanically festive)
Cycling stuff galore (its very good, especially the SPD shoes)
Underwear! (yes! Really! And I can attest that it is VERY supportive!)
A blood pressure monitor and heart rate monitor (ten quid each!!!!)
A Dremel copy for 20 quid (fantastic!!)
A mini-greenhouse for my chillies (afermentioned in previous scribble)
oh, i could go on all day!
Oh a vast array of stuff have I purchased and NONE of it have i been disapointed with (although the fishing sonar for detecting fish apparently always registers the same four fish at 2m down).
I have two local Lidl's: one is a mile from home and one is in Bad Lippspringe near paderborn, Nordrhein Westfalia where i seem to find myself too often. The stock is exactly the same, the only difference being our prices are pounds where theirs is the same in euros.
But everywhere I go, if I see a lidl, I head for the middle aisle of undiscovered delights and always come away with something that really cheers me up. Retail therapy actually does work.
So, if you want good tools at prices which other shops only offer tools with the cosnsistency of Cheddar cheese, if you want real German sausages or a splendid stylish pair of shoes (well, alright, maybe i do get carried away a bit), some perfume reminscent of that which elderly female relatives gave away at long forgotten christmases, big thongs or a wakeboard (??), you know where to go.
Oh, and the prunes are really good, really cheap and bring perfect germanic regularity, if you get my drift.