Chienbäse – the Liestal fire parade

This year Fasnacht, or carnival, took place in Basel from 6-8 March. But before that, Liestal (the capital of Basel-Landschaft) kicked things off with their own event on the Sunday night – the Chienbäse. Bäse is Swiss German for Besen, meaning broom and the Chien part is apparently to do with the type of wood they use  – I’ve just looked it up and Chienholz is pinewood. So it basically means “Pinewood brooms”. What the name doesn’t tell you is that said brooms are set on fire and then paraded around the town of Liestal, which is mostly made up of wooden buildings! They even go through a wooden gate/archway, which the fire brigade sprays with water in between each group. Crazy!

There were extra trains from Basel that evening, so we set off on the 6:15 p.m. train along with a friend who moved to Basel in December and some other people we’ve got to know here. Liestal was already pretty crowded when we arrived, but we managed to find a nice spot before the aforementioned wooden gate. Most people wanted to be in the town proper, after the gate, but I actually preferred being somewhere where I could run away if anything went wrong! I’m not sure I would have liked being stuck in the narrow old-town streets…

We waited for what seemed like forever, then some musicians and a few “normal” Fasnacht floats went by. This was followed by another period of waiting and waiting and waiting, then we finally spotted flames coming down hill!

The broom carriers approached the gate and began to go through:

Even in the fourth row, the heat was intense. I can’t even imagine how the people actually carrying the fire must have felt!

More and more groups of broom carriers passed by where we were standing:

We spied some sausages attached to one of the “brooms” (really more like bundles of wood in a rough broomish shape):

I wonder if they ate them afterwards?

After a few groups of people carrying brooms, entire floats or carts of wood started to go by. The flames were pretty high and we wondered how they were ever going to get through the archway!

Once the parade was over, we lost half our group! The rest of us went looking for a Fasnacht cellar to go into (where the groups hold their meetings), but the only one we found was full so we had a beer at a restaurant then wandered around for a while before taking a train back to Basel. There, three of us went for a coffee while the other two went home, then Jan, our friend and I met up with our Finnish friend again and the four of proceeded to stay up all night waiting for Morgestraich… but that’s another story for another time.

The Chienbäse is a totally crazy event… not at all what I would expect from the Swiss, with their reputation of being sensible! There aren’t even any barriers between the crowd and the flames, and although the fire brigade is there to tell people to get back, the front row is much closer to the action than I expect would be allowed in England! If you’re not afraid of fire and you find yourself near Basel around Fasnacht I can definitely recommend going. Wear something non-flammable that you don’t mind getting smoked (you will stink of bonfire afterwards!), avoid taking very young children and have fun!

Some information for anyone who may want to go in the future: Fasnacht in Basel takes place on the Monday-Wednesday of the week after everywhere else has its Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)/Mardis Gras/Fat Tuesday/Fasching/Carnival (there are various possible explanations for this that I won’t go into right now), and the Chienbäse is on the Sunday night before the Monday of Fasnacht. The date for Chienbäse in 2018 is 18 February and in 2019 it’s on 10 March.

What do you think? Would you like to go to a fire parade?

 

A Photo An Hour: 18 March 2017

I almost missed the photo an hour link up this month! Luckily I went on Twitter and saw that Sharon was doing it. As a result, my first photo was not taken when I got up, but half an hour later… and I ended up doing photos on the half hour instead of the hour. I took part on Twitter this time, but I also wanted to record it on my blog.

Jan had to go into work for a special project/organisation meeting thing, so I was alone all day! Here’s what I got up to:

10:30 a.m. Starting late means my first photo is not tea! Shower time.

11:30 a.m. It looks grey and miserable outside, but I need to go to the post office and food shopping, so out I go.

12:30 p.m. Shopping done, heading home through the park. But where are all the children? It might have been grey, but it wasn’t raining or all that cold! DO people here take the midday quiet time that seriously?

1:30 p.m. Aaah, there’s the tea that no photo an hour would be complete without! (Well, a cup that once contained tea anyway.) Lunch done, cuppa drank. Now what?

2:30 p.m. Thought I’d better actually do a bit of my OU course while I didn’t have any other commitments. Discovering Wales and Welsh for those that were interested. It’s a not for credit short course that you have 6 months to complete. I want to do a proper Level 1 course, but the Europe price is way too expensive!

3:30 p.m. Enough studying for a Saturday! Another cuppa while I leaf through cross stitch magazines for card inspiration.

4:30 p.m. Suppose I’d better do something useful! Emptying the dishwasher.

5:30 p.m. Writing to a pen pal. Spring paper seemed appropriate 🙂

6:30 p.m. Watching Come Dine With Me – my guilty pleasure TV show. It’s total trash, but I love it. The narrator makes it for me!

7:30 p.m. Another episode of Come Dine With Me. (And an awful picture! I forgot to take one with my camera and the computer refuses to acknowledge my phone so I had to re-download this one from Twitter!)

8:30 p.m. I had been waiting for Jan to let me know whether he wanted tea, but he apparently got stuck talking and forgot to message me. By 8:30 I was starving so I decided to just cook anyway!

9:30 p.m. Pyjamas time! Also note the confetti that is somehow still in my flat even though I’ve hoovered several times since Fasnacht!

10:30 p.m. In bed with a book. Once I’ve read this I’ll have completed the bonus round for Erin‘s reading challenge!

11:30 p.m. I’m off to sleep! There’s just time for one more photo of the view from my bed… purely to preserve symmetry, obviously 😉

And that’s it for this month. How was your Saturday? Did you do anything interesting?

Linking up with Jane and Louisa, as always.

 

Friday letters

Hello everyone! This week has confused me again. I had to go into work on Tuesday and I spent half the day convinced it was Friday (not as weird as it sounds – I alternate between going on a Tuesday and a Friday, and Monday was incredibly busy this week!). Today really is Friday though, and that means time for letters!

red postbox

Dear birds. We don’t really need to feed you as much now it’s getting warmer but if we keep the lard balls until next winter they will only go mouldy so enjoy!

Dear tree by the balcony. I see your little buds! Soon you will have leaves again 🙂

Dear spring flowers. You are so pretty! Hoorah for you 🙂

Dear online sellers. How is it possible that two items coming from the UK can both be marked “sent” on the same day but one arrives within days and the other takes 2 weeks. Me thinks one  of you is telling porkies about when the “sending” actually happened…

Dear St. Patrick’s Day. Apparently you are today? I had entirely forgotten about you this year!

Dear cheese. You are so tasty, but so many calories! I couldn’t believe how much of my daily allowance a sandwich with you took up the other day!

Dear scales. I have been really good recently and finally you have decided to agree with me. 1kg down this week (probably a lot of that is water weight, but whatever. At least the number is going down!)

Okay, that’s all for today. Must eat lunch (leftovers from last night) and get back to work. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – Round 3

Moving on with my cross stitch guessing game…

Here’s what you had to work with last time:

guess-the-cross-stitch

And here are your guesses:

Elaine guessed that a yellow balloon is involved, possibly being held by a cute animal of some sort.

Storm guessed a clown, in blue plaid, holding a balloon.

Jowi guessed a train.

Beth said “I’m seeing Trumplethinskin’s golden toilet and a jail cell, which you would definitely not send to a 1-year-old.” Obviously she is right about it not being suitable, but Trumplethinskin is just amazing and needs to be shared with everyone!

Erin said she still sees a castle, but decided to change her answer to a sail boat.

Kezzie also saw a yellow balloon and asked: “Is it a boy in blue checked dungarees holding a yellow balloon?”

And finally, someone calling themselves Lana Banana said “I see a tower with a yellow ballon attached to it.”

Such diverse answers! I love that about you guys 🙂
Nobody guessed the entire thing, but I will give you this much: everyone who mentioned a balloon was correct! But what’s with the balloon?

Why don’t you give this picture a go?

guess-the-cross-stitch

What am I stitching? (Or rather what was I stitching, the card has long been with the recipient ;-)) Answers in the comments, as usual.

 

Glasgow day 1 (New Year’s Eve)

Here we are almost at mid-March and I still haven’t posted about our New Year’s trip to Glasgow. Bad blogger! I shall at least partially rectify that now with an account of our first day there (we arrived the evening before but only went out to eat and back to our accommodation, so nothing really to tell there, especially since I did not take a photo of the food).

So, New Year’s Eve. We woke up to rain, rain rain, so the decision was made to go to a museum for the day. The forecast said that it would clear up in time for the evening’s festivities, so that was alright. After breakfast and showers, K headed into town to pick up our tickets for the street party that night and some food for the next day while Jan and I set out for a wander through Kelvingrove Park  – which our accommodation was right beside.

On reaching our destination (the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, pictured below) we discovered that it was closed that day – although the website had claimed it was open!

Glasgow6

Instead, we headed to the Hunterian Museum, which is located the University of Glasgow.

How pretty do these pillars look all lit up?

We entered the stairwell that leads up to the museum and discovered a robing room. My university didn’t have one of those! (It didn’t look this pretty either. *Sigh*)

Glasgow12
Glasgow University

The first exhibition we saw was about the Antonine Wall, which was very interesting to me. It was the more northern and less famous version of Hadrian’s Wall (which of course is located in “my” part of England). The Antonine Wall was mainly turf and was abandoned relatively quickly, so not much remains. We then saw some stuffed animals in cases, an exhibition about Lord Kelvin (he of the temperature scale) and a medical exhibition, that was fascinating and slightly creepy. Some photos of the inside of the museum (plus one looking out the window, trying to be artistic):

When the museum closed we decided to head back to the apartment for a drink and to warm up before heading out for dinner. As promised, the rain had stopped by the time we went back out (hey, the weather forecast got something right!). We ate at Mother India’s Café on K’s recommendation – and I can now officially say she was right, it was amazing! No photos though… I was too busy stuffing my face.
Curry done, it was on to the Ashton Lane Street Party.

The food at the stands outside smelled delicious, but we didn’t sample any because we were so full of curry! We did enjoy drinks from a few of the bars though – interesting ciders on offer! Ashton Lane is a cute little street, and thanks to being ticketed it wasn’t too crowded. The Irish pub was pretty full, but for the most part you could actually get to the bars to buy your drinks, and the toilet queues weren’t too insane – no worse than an average night out. Overall, I can recommend paying the fee for the sake of a nice night away from the idiots who are just out to get drunk. However, a note to sponsor Heineken (not that anyone there will ever read this): THROWING YOUR HUGE INFLATABLE BALLS AROUND AT MIDNIGHT WAS A BLOODY STUPID IDEA!! They were actually quite heavy and they hurt! Not cool! Grrr.

The fireworks were nice though:

(Don’t try to take photos of fireworks though chains of lights… it does not work!).

And that was the end of day 1! Day 2 involved sun, a cemetery and lots of walking. Hopefully it won’t take me another 2.5 months to get round to posting about it…

 

Friday letters

The fact that it is Friday is so confusing to me this week! I had three more holiday days from last year that needed to be used before the end of the month and this week was Fasnacht (Basel carnival), so it seemed like a good time to take them, with the result that I went back to work yesterday and now it’s already Friday! While a two day working week is quite relaxing, it is apparently too much for my brain to take in… yesterday I spent 3 or 4 hours totally convinced it was Monday. Hmm. Oh well, on with the letters.

Mail box

Dear Fasnacht. So, you’re over for another year. As fun as you were, I must admit I will be glad to be able to go into town without being confetti bombed! (And to no longer constantly be hoovering said confetti up from my floor!)

Dear body. I do not understand how it took you a month to shed 1.5 kg and a mere three days to put every single gram of that back on. Fasnacht has a lot to answer for!

Dear Jillian Michaels DVD. I have big plans to get you out and start doing your workouts again. Unfortunately so far the project seems to have stopped at the planning stage 😉

Dear self. I know Goodreads is tempting, but you really do not need to be adding any more books to your wish list. Read the ones you’ve got on your shelves first!

Dear OU. It’s been a long time since I last tried one of your short courses. I hope I’m still disciplined enough to do the work! At least this is one I can do at my own pace – and I have a whole 6 months so that should be doable…

That’s all folks. Have a great weekend!

 

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – round 2

There weren’t many guesses for the first round of “Guess the Cross Stitch”. Is this one too hard or is everyone just busy/bored with my blog? Either way, before we continue with round 2 I will present the guesses I’ve had so far.

Here’s what you had to work with:

guess-the-cross-stitch

 

Maia thought it might be a teddy bears’ picnic, with the checked part being a blanket.

Erin guessed a castle.

Jack thought it might be a TARDIS (I knew someone would ;-))

Kezzie thought maybe a Monsters, Inc. character or Thomas the Tank Engine – both very fitting for a 1st birthday card.

And that was it. Just four guesses this time. Nobody got it right, so on to round 2. Here’s a new photo with more completed:

guess-the-cross-stitch

So, now can you guess what I’m stitching? Answers in the comments…