My (German) wife came back yesterday after ten days away travelling with work. Naturally we spent a fair bit of time catching up with what had been happening in each other's lives. When it came to my turn to talk about the week I'd had I thought I'd mention that I'd been reading Rumpelstilzchen in German . She asked me to recount how the story went - it had been a while since she'd heard it. So I tried to explain - this is when it all got very interesting.
I realised that there are still a lot of basic grammatical phrases that I still can't use fluidly in such situations, an example being "so he asked her what she had been doing" . I was really struggling to find my way a lot of the time. In the end, though, I think I got my point across but it was a bit of a wake-up call. With a bit more fluency in these kind of connecting phrases I feel that my spoken German would be a lot better.
The outcome of this situation: I've learnt that telling stories is a great way for me to judge my current language ability. Fairy tales, my day at work, general chitchat. I'd also like to dig out the digital dictaphone I have hanging around and record these situations - will be a good way to work out where I'm finding problems. It will be equally good to find out the places where things are going well.