Friday letters

Guuyysss… how on Earth is it Friday already?! This week has gone so fast! I was shocked when I realised it was Thursday yesterday and not Wednesday like I thought. This weekend I’m mostly going to be finishing off a cross stitch, but I’m hoping I’ll also find some time to relax since it’s the last weekend for a while that we don’t have either visitors or plans (or both!).

letter box

Dear wardrobe. We love you! It’s so nice to actually be able to find all my clothes! And that new wood smell you’re still giving off is also nice.

Dear chocolate. Stop tempting me! There’s a pretty dress I need to fit into in a mere two weeks.

Dear Switzerland. Would you like to explain to me why most supermarkets make you ask for pine nuts at the counter. Are they particularly dangerous? Addictive? What? Inquiring minds want to know!

Dear BBC Big Read books. I’ve said this before, but seriously why are most of you so long?!

Dear crumpets. I think I need to dig out the recipe I have for you and make you again. Toast just isn’t the same!

Enough for today. I need to go and drink a cup of tea on my balcony:-)

Happy weekend, dear readers!

 

Allschwil, Basel-Landschaft

Okay, now I’ve finished telling you about New Zealand, it’s about time I recorded my last few outings for #take12trips 2016 (in case you missed it, I’m redoing the take 12 trips challenge).

There are two branches of the Müller drugstore chain in Basel that I know of, and both are equally awkward for me to get to! But sometimes I really want to, because they sell things that I can’t necessarily get at the supermarket (and also their shower gel is cheaper). One of those Müller branches is juuust in Allschwil, a town in the canton of Basel-Landschaft that borders on the Basel-Stadt (the city). (I promise there is a point to this story!). Usually I get there by walking to near the zoo, taking a bus that goes through part of Basel city and then walking for another 15 minutes to cross the border into Allschwil, but one day I decided I was going to walk as far as I could then take a bus the rest of the way. The result was that I ended up on a bus that went through the centre of Allschwil and discovered that it’s actually quite a pretty little town. I knew then that I would have to go there one day with my camera. The opportunity to do so came one day when Jan and I had been to IKEA, which meant I had a day ticket. Jan had a choir practice in the afternoon so I decided to make use of said day ticket and go an explore Allschwil. It was a fairly rainy day, but that actually worked to my advantage – fewer people around to tell me off for taking photos of their houses! (Not that that’s ever happened but I’m always afraid it will!). Here are some photos of the town centre:

I thought there were people standing outside the church, but when I got closer I saw that they weren’t real!

More photos:

Once you get away from the town centre, the buildings become fairly “ordinary” and there isn’t really anything to photograph, but it was worth the trip to see the half-timbered houses photographed. There is also a water tower in Allschwil, about a 25 minute walk from the centre. For the price of 2 CHF you can take a lift up and enjoy a view of Basel, the Black Forest and other surroundings. It’s only open on Sundays and bank holidays though, and my trip to Allschwil was on a Saturday so no water tower for me!

I enjoyed my trip to the centre of Alschwil, but I was left with just one question… why don’t I live in such a pretty house?!

Today I’m linking up to Monday Escapes with My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase
Allschwil was my April trip for #take12trips 2016.

I read (very few of) my books!

Like many readers, I am definitely guilty of buying many, many books that I find going cheap and then not actually getting round to reading most of them before buying more. This problem is currently being exacerbated (yeah… I had to look up the spelling of that!) by the BBC Big Read list. I keep buying books from there without even checking what they’re about then taking one look at the synopsis/length/teeny tiny writing and putting them off for another day. So when Erin announced that she was co-hosting a challenge for people to actually read their books I was all for it!

I already briefly mentioned it here, but today is the day of the official linkup where we let everyone know how we did, so you’ll just have to put up with another post on it😉

Read My Books (1)

I went into the challenge thinking it would be easy. Like I said, I already own lots of books that I’ve never even opened, so all I had to do was pick them up and read them. I got off to a good start with Amity & Sorrow for the Semi-charmed Summer Reading Challenge – it wasn’t the best book, but it was a fairly quick read. Then I decided to start The Magus… and that was my downfall. I started it on 10th June and only managed to finish it on 5th July! That book draaaagged! Towards the end of the month, I quickly read A Good Talk, which has been on my shelves for so long that I don’t even remember buying it! So that brought my total up to about 2 and a half books. Not a result I can say I’m proud of, but at least I managed to make room on my bookshelves for two new books (I didn’t particularly enjoy either of the books I finished so they’re off to a free bookshelf somewhere to hopefully find someone who does like them).

Since then, I’ve read two books that I technically owned before the challenge since they arrived at the end of May and one that I only bought in June (hey, just because I’d agreed to only read my own books didn’t mean I couldn’t acquire new ones for after the challenge was finished ;-)). If the challenge had been over two months I would have done sooo much better!

Do you read everything you buy straight away or do you end up with many books accumulating on your shelves (or e-reader) like me? And, if the latter, how do you convince yourself to actually read the books you already own instead of buying/borrowing/downloading more?

It’s wardrobe Wednesday!

In April, we finally managed to find and order a wardrobe that we liked. We were told they had a slot for delivery in June(!!). Three weeks ago, the wardrobe finally arrived, but without the back wall so it couldn’t be put together. Today, two men from the furniture company turned up with a back wall and finished the job! After a year and two months in our new home, I can finally finish unpacking my clothes!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

wardrobe

Last day in Auckland

Okay, I’ve been home for over three months now so it’s about time I wrote my final New Zealand post!

On our last full day in New Zealand, we decided to actually stay in Auckland. It also turned out to be the only day of our entire stay that we had rain! Oh well:-)

We started the day with a harbour cruise. There are two per day, and we chose the morning one. With your ticket you also get a free return ticket to Devonport and the price also includes a free cup of tea/coffee and a muffin on the boat. The cruise takes about 90 minutes and includes a stop at Rangitoto islandl. You only get about 10 minutes there, which is just about enough time to walk up and see some of the historic baches (pronounces batches, what New Zealanders call their holiday homes), but we saw a Fantail there, which was pretty fun since the room we were staying in at the B&B was called Pikawaka, which is Maori for Fantail. The commentary on the cruise was interesting at the time, although I remember nothing of it now! Oh well, you only come here for the pretty pictures, right?

After the cruise we met my aunt for a drink – she managed to pop out between meetings to see us – then we decided to use our free ferry tickets to go back to Devonport and buy some chocolate for me to take to my colleagues. Then we took another ferry back to Birkenhead where we had parked the car. As we went under the Harbour Bridge we actually saw some people bungee jumping!

My cousin had recommended Mount Eden as a nice place to get a view over Auckland and its surroundings. Mount Eden or Maungawhau is a dormant volcano and the highest natural point in Auckland. There’s also a crater, approximately 50 metres deep, which is where the volcano erupted from.

It was chucking it down by the time we got up there so visibility wasn’t the greatest, but luckily we had already seen the view from the Sky Tower the day before. It’s difficult to get a sense of the depth of the crater from photos, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was deep😉 Also notice that someone had been down to the bottom and arranged stones to say HI!

By this time my feet were soaked, so we headed back to the B&B for some dry clothes. We had planned to meet my cousin for dinner again, but she had a headache so we ended up just going to a place near where we were staying, The Good Home in Birkenhead. I chose fish and it had its head still on! I was brave though and ate it all.

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The next morning we drove around looking for a place to post some postcards (the stamps we had were for a specific type of post box, not the normal NZ post) then ended up at some bay that I don’t know the name of but it was pretty and we saw sea birds there! On some grass near the bay we then saw a Pūkeko (a kind of swamphen). I had been trying all week to get a photo of one but they kept running away so we parked the car and stalked this one until I kind of managed to get a photo😉

The afternoon was spent with my cousin, watching her boyfriend’s football team play in their first match of the season. Then it was off back to the airport  where we had dinner and waited around for a while before catching the looong flight back.

On the way home, we had a ten hour layover in Dubai so I shall leave you with the one and only photo I managed to take there before my camera battery died. At least it was a half decent  one😉 (We went up the tower but Jan has all the photos from there)

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And that’s it! I can’t believe my New Zealand tales are actually over! To sum up this epic series of posts I have only four words to say: Go to New Zealand!! (I promise you won’t regret it)

Recent doings #7

Ugh, I’m behind on my blog reading again! If I haven’t commented on your blog recently I’m so, so sorry! We had a weekend away, then visitors and more visitors. This weekend we get a brief break but I need to get the flat sorted for the next round of visitors – Jan’s mum and her partner are here on 16th/17th July.

Anyway, it’s time for another “What’s New With You” linkup… which means another month is over. Where are you going, 2016? I wish I could pause you for a while to catch my breath…
So, what did I get up to in June?

What's New With You
Reading. I already did a check-in post for the summer reading challenge, so I’m not going to repeat myself here😉 I will, however, say that I’ve now finished The Magus! Woo hoo.
Watching. The news a lot immediately after the EU referendum. I still can’t believe the result. Why you so stupid, Britain?
Travelling. To the Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) with my mum and brother. Jan and I also went to Graubünden at the beginning of June, so I’ll have lots of travel photos to share with you once I’m done with New Zealand. Here’s a sneak preview:
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Rheinfall
Cooking. Horse steak so my mum and brother could try it. Although technically Jan cooked it on the barbecue. I just made the veg😉
Waiting for. Our new wardrobe. Actually, we ordered it in April so I’ve been waiting for it a while, but it was finally due for delivery in June. Then it finally turned up but the back wall was missing, so I’m still waiting! The missing part is supposed to be coming next Wednesday…
Buying. Clothes. I went to Germany and purchased a skirt for €6 and a dress for €9 – you wouldn’t get clothes that cheap in Switzerland!
Drinking. Cocktails. We found a cute little bar that does interesting cocktails, so when we met up with two people we’ve been kind of hanging around with in Basel (yeah, I maybe made some friends?) we took them there and then took my mum and brother there as well.
What have you been doing recently? Check out the linkup to see how everyone else spent June.

Summer Reading Challenge Month 1 + Read My Books

During June I was taking part in two reading challenges – Megan’s Summer 2016 Book Challenge and Erin’s #ReadMyBooks challenge, which basically meant that as well as sticking to Megan’s categories I had to read books that were already on my shelves waiting to be read. I did ask Erin whether it would be cheating to read almost all books I already owned since I didn’t already own books for every category, but the point turned out to be moot seeing as I only managed to read a total of 2 and a half books in June. Why must The Magus go on so?

So, checking in for the #SCSBC16:

30 points: Read one book with a good word in the title, and one with a bad word.

For my bad word, I read Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley (full review here); brief summary: it could have been good but was ultimately confusing and lacking in detail. I’m sure there are better books on cults out there! Two stars.

For my good word I went very literal and read A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation by Daniel Menaker. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, but what I got was not it! It is neither particularly helpful for improving my awful social/conversational skills nor is it a particularly good explanation of what conversation actually is. The chapter on the history of conversation was boring and the analysis wasn’t very insightful and the “humour” had an air of trying too hard. Another two star read.

I’m currently reading The Magus by John Fowles for my book with an unappealing cover (the cover of the copy I have doesn’t appeal to me). Goodreads tells me I’m 58% of the way through (it doesn’t half drag on!) so maybe I’ll get some points for it next month? As it stands, I earned a total of 30 points in June.

As for reading my books… Erin’s challenge forced me to have a look at what actually is on my shelves! Amity & Sorrow moved to Basel with us but managed to get lost on the bottom shelf, I have no memory of buying A Good Talk but I must have since it was lurking on the non-fiction bookcase (yes, we have an entire bookcase for non-fiction) and it’s not something Jan would buy, and I finally reluctantly picked up The Magus, which has been lurking ominously for while wanting to be read for the BBC Big Read but being just long enough (and with an unappealing cover to boot) to put me off actually picking it up and getting started. Now I’m part way through, I have an incentive to actually push on to the end so I can cross another book off my 35 before 35 list.