A corner of my world

Ages and ages ago Kezzie wrote a post in which she showcased a corner of her house (if you don’t read her blog you really should!). I loved the idea of showing a tiny piece of your life and resolved to do it as well, as soon as I found a corner worth photographing. I finally settled on the corner of the living room by the bookcases, since what could sum up my life more accurately than the place the books live (plus the only other non-boring corner contains a photo of me and Jan, and he doesn’t want his photo on the blog!). I have called my post “a corner of my world” since we don’t live in a whole house and “a corner of my flat” didn’t sound good.

corner

So, what do we see here? The bookcase, of course. It’s one of four, actually – you can just see the second one beside it. Disorganised books, some in double rows, because despite having four bookcases I have more books than space!

The top of the bookcase is cut off a little, so here’s a closer look:

top-shelf

The sheep is really a doorstop, but he’s currently holding up books. His name is Sidney (nothing to do with me – that was the name on is label). I received the card on the left for my birthday a few years ago and it’s too cute to put away in a box! It’s from my godson and his parents.

You may have spotted something in front of the books on the second shelf down, so here’s another close-up:

bookshelf

The hedgehog in the middle is called Quilly (again, nothing to do with me!). The other two don’t have names – unless the Me to You Bear has one that I’m unaware of? Pigs are lucky in Germany – you give them out at New Year. Often they’re made of marzipan.

The bags on the floor belong to Jan… they contain sheet music for the various choirs he’s in.

The keyboard is also Jan’s (of course – I am clearly not the musical one in this relationship). The stand where you’re supposed to put your music holds various posts and flyers for concerts he has sung in since we moved to Basel.

The rug under the keyboard belongs to Jan as well. It’s old and worn, and one day it shall be replaced with something nicer.

Above the keyboard hangs Paddington – my favourite bear! I always loved him more than Winnie the Pooh (although I obviously enjoyed Winnie’s adventures, too). It’s one of those posters that is made up of the text from the book. Behold:

The close-up photo of the text is a bit blurry – it’s difficult to photograph with the light shining off the glass!

And that’s it. Tell me about one of your corners!

Buying things for the flat makes me happy

Close to Schwetzingen, there is a huge furniture store called Höffner. As we were leaving Schwetzingen on Saturday, Jan suggested for drop by there to see if we could find any of the bits we still need for the flat (I love that I have a boyfriend who’s not only willing to shop for furniture with me but actually suggests it himself!). When I agreed to stay I told him that I wanted to get back to sorting out the flat this year, and he obviously took it to heart.

Here’s what we got:

A cupboard to go under the bathroom sink. Jan had to saw its back legs off so it could go on the raised ledge thing that runs the length of the bathroom.

Bathroom cupboard
Bathroom cupboard

I love how neat the bathroom looks now that our toilertries are inside the cupboard and not lined up along the entire length of the ledge!

I wanted something to store wrapping paper in, so we ended up taking this:

Giant vase? Nah... gift wrap holder!
Giant vase? Nah… gift wrap holder!

I saw a beautiful umbrella stand that would have worked just as well, but I refused to pay €75 for something I planned to store wrapping paper in. (I wouldn’t have paid that if I was going to use it for its intended purpose either!)

This basket now holds all my self-help books:

Basket for books
Basket for books

They were previously stacked up under the bedside table, partly because there’s no room left on the bookcase for them but also because I don’t think every visitor to our house needs to know I have those books. It was difficult to move the pile when I wanted to hoover… now I can just pull out the basket.

A gorgeous table runner, or more fuel for my obession with owls:

Owl table runner
Owl table runner

They had bedding with the same owl on, but only in single bed size which is no goo to us.

Jan also got a frame for a poster of his that refused to stay up with simple blu-tack. It looks much nicer framed anyway!

Not a bad haul for a couple of hours shopping.

Thank god for this beautiful view

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to work from home yesterday to give my colleagues a break from my coughing and myself a chance to recover.

At work, I regularly share a room with one colleague (there is also a spare computer in our room, which is occasionally used by interns and the like, but usually there are two of us). My colleague has the window seat, while I sit by the door. Occasionally I will look away from whatever translation I’m working on to try to give my eyes a break from the computer screen. Naturally, my gaze tends to be drawn towards the window on these occasions but, being so far away, I can’t really see much – just the top of the building next door. Not that I would anything more interesting if my desk was closer to the window. Our office looks out on a concrete courtyard which is usually full of cars. And because our room is almost the last one in our corridor, we tend not to get much sun in either. In fact, at this time of year we need the light on pretty much all day. So, while working from home, it was quite nice to have something else to look at than the various postcards I’ve stuck above my desk at work. Here is what I currently see outside the window when I look over to it from the computer desk in our spare room:

At that point in time, the sky was completely white with clouds, although there had been some blue sky early in the day. But despite the clouds, there is some sun coming from a place I can’t see, causing the trees to light up in all their autumn glory. The desk in our spare room is also at the opposite side of the room from the window, but the trees are tall enough to be seen from over there. And actually, if I was to go over to the window, the view would consist of a road and tram tracks (plus some grass a little further away), so it may, in fact, be a good thing that the desk is so far away from the window. This way, I only get the nice view (plus, if I am working from home, I’m less likely to be distracted by people watching opportunities. Unless someone starts walking along the roof of the building opposite there aren’t really any people to watch!). Despite the fact that my cough was annoying me a lot, I actually managed to gain some pleasure from gazing out at the pretty coloured trees (during my lunch break, obviously. I did get some work done as well 😉 ).

Have I mentioned recently that I love my flat? 🙂

By the way, the title of this blog is a line from possibly my favourite Tina Dico song, A Room With A View. Here’s the YouTube link for you:

Where’s the magic housework fairy when I need her?

I really am a terrible housekeeper. I can just about manage to keep on top of the worst of it when Jan’s not around, but the minute he goes away somewhere I drop all pretence of being any sort of housekeeper and let the poor flat go to the dogs. Take this week as a case in point. Jan left for America on Friday. Since then I’ve:

– Failed to wash a dish
– Left all our CDs stacked in four messy piles on the living room rug (they usually live on the shelf that fell down)
– Left several tin cans standing around on the kitchen bench because I “didn’t get round to” putting a new ben liner in the bin
-Failed to hoover, despite the fact that the kitchen floor is crunchy and there appears of be dusty/gravelly stuff all over the flat from when I went out to a dusty place on Sunday
– Kept adding more stuff to the pile on the spare bed instead of clearing it ready for people to sleep in it this weekend

Life Is Short
Photo credit: Christina Saint Marche

In fact, the only thing I have done is take down the evil, smelly Biomüll – and I had no choice there. It really was that or be smothered in my sleep by some unsavoury creature. I’ve been meaning to do some cleaning all week, but I was out on Monday and Tuesday, and last night I feel asleep instead. So here I am, it’s Thursday night, I’m meeting some friends after work tomorrow and on Saturday both Jan and (hopefully) some guests are arriving. This is my last chance to get the flat looking semi-reasonable. So what am I doing? Writing a blog post. About housework. But I don’t have a problem with procrastination. Oh no, not me…

All fall down…

I arrived home from work to find my boyfriend (who is home for one day only before flying to America for a week tomorrow) hoovering up soil from our sofa. The shelf we have above the sofa fell down, for no reason whatsoever that we can figure out. Jan says he was in the bedroom at the time, so obviously he had nothing to do with it. As you’ve probably guessed, the sehlf contained (among other things) a plant – hence the soil all over the sofa…. and the rug Naturally the cross stitch I’ve been working on was also on the sofa, and has now been soiled (quite literally!). And the fabric I’m stitching on is, of course, white. I suppose this is a lesson to me about finding a place to keep cross stutch projects that are in progress rather than just leaving them wherever I was working on them last! *sigh* I’m just glad nobody was sitting on the sofa at the time… and that it didn’t happen while I was here alone. If I’d been in bed at the time I would definitely have freaked out! Loud cracks/bangs from the living room from a flat that’s supposed to be empty never bode any good! The boyfriend is currently trying to figure out why the shelf decided to come loose from its attachments, and hopefully put it back, so I’ll go and make us some food. Hopefully whatever he’s doing now will make the shelf stay up at least until he comes home again!

No rest for the wicked…

I swear I’ve used that as a blog title before, but I can’t be bothered to go back and check now, so if I have you’ll just have to put up with my lack of imagination.
Anyway… I am sooo glad it’s Friday! I’ve been tired, tired, tired all week – despite the fact that I had Monday off and only had to go to work for 4 days. What I would really like to do now is curl up and go to sleep for about 15 hours, but there is too much to do. Plus we haven’t even eaten yet, and I hate going to bed hungry. The boyfriend – who is supposed to be ill – is presumably still at work. Or at least he’s not here and I don’t know where else he should be. Yesterday (which also happened to be his birthday) he actually stayed home. Not in bed though, despite me telling him that was where he belonged! Instead he worked from home. Today he insisted that he had to go in at least in the afternoon because a student was coming in, but wouldn’t stay too long. I’m not sure what time he went in, but it’s now 8:30 pm so if he actually did go in the afternoon then he’s been there at least 5 hours, even if he didn’t go til late afternoon! As far as I’m concerned that’s almost a full working day. So much for not long! I meanwhile have been at work for the required 8 hours, done some shopping, tidied the living room and washed most of the dishes. As soon as I’ve finished writing this I’ll have to go back and do the rest, otherwise it will be impossible for me to cook tea. Both frying pans are currently dirty (world’s worst housewife strikes again!) and I need one for what I’m planning to cook. And so it goes on. Tomorrow, the first day of my so-called “weekend” will be spent doing washing, hoovering, scrubbing the shower and attempting to sort out the spare bedroom, which I promised to do weeks ago. The deal was Jan would put shelves up and I would sort out all my crafting and cross stitch stuff and make the room fit to be seen. The shelves have been up since before Christmas, so at least he kept his part of the bargain! If I actually manage to get all that done tomorrow I might actually get a chance to relax on Sunday before getting back to the old 6 am wake up calls on Monday. It’s true what they say… a woman’s work really is never done!

Let there be light!

As of yesterday, Jan and I have been together for 7 years! Time really does fly… it doesn’t feel like that long. We started the day with a nice breakfast together… scrambled eggs on toast. Mmm. Then, after we’d both had showers, Jan suggested we go to Bauhaus (DIY type place) and see whether we could find a bathroom light we liked this time. Amazingly we actually did! It’s only about th 6th time we’ve looked and either not found anything suitable or just plain hated everything available. We picked up a few other things as well, including a ladder so we don’t have to keep borrowing the one in the cellar, and ordered a mirror for the bathroom. We have to get a special size cut so we couldn’t just take one of the ones that was there. Then we came home and Jan set to work. First he put up the kitchen light, which actually came with us from my old flat, so it’s been sitting around for 9 months waiting to be put up!! We need an extra piece of cable for it, which we also picked up while we were at Bauhaus. Then he went and installed the new light in the bathroom. SO now I’m no longer relying on clip lamps for any room. We have proper lights all over the flat. Not a bad anniversary present 🙂 We finished the day by going out for a meal at a lovely restaurant just round the corner from where we live. We’ve been saying for about 3 years that we should go there at some point, and now we finally have. And it was certainly worth the wait! My starter was a rocket salad in some kind of white wine dressing with gorgonzola cheese, slices of fresh pear and roasted pumpkin seeds. For the main course I had the best duck I’ve ever tasted with ginger potatoes (delicious!) and vegetables, and I finished things off with orange parfait on chilli-chocolate sauce. Also fantastic.
Here’s hoping we last another seven years! 🙂

Introducing Clive, the sofa skunk

I mentioned ages ago that Jan had bought me a stuffed skunk who was now living on my sofa. I named him Clive… a great name for a skunk, no? I believe it was Stephanie from Please, Stop Bouncing (which I just misspelled as please stop pouncing!) who requested photos of him. And now, slightly belatedly, here they are.

How cute is that little face?And just look at that soft, strokeable tail!

Clive rocks! 🙂

Home alone

As I briefly mentioned in my last post (that would be the one that a grand total of two people read. Just sayin’…), Jan is away this weekend with his choir. So on  Friday I spent the night alone in the flat for the first time. I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to get an early night for a change. Yes, on a Friday of all days. I have to be on a train at 8am on Saturdays to go to my typing course (only one more to go though!) and I thought I could turn up feeling refreshed for once.  So by 10pm I was in bed, with my book. At 10:30 I put the book down, turned out the light and snuggled down to sleep. It didn’t work too well. Every time I heard a noise my eyes flew open. Was that creaking floorboard in the flat above or coming from the next room? Did I just hear a door open? What was that noise? I have no idea what was wrong with me. Usually I don’t even notice those noises. And after years of spending nights if not all alone then with only my little brother (3 years old at the time) for company  in various places, falling asleep in an empty house (or flat in this case) has never bothered me before. Obviously I’m turing into a scaredy cat in my old age…
Thankfully I did manage to sleep last night. At least after I’d spent half an hour chasing a bluebottle around the room because hearing it buzz past my ear every two minutes was unbelievably annoying. Couldn’t whoever invented bluebottle at least have made them silent?! Aargh!

A room for living in

It is only Tuesday, right? I ask because this level of tiredness should not be occurring so early in the week, especially not this early in the week after a week off. This is at least Thursday level of tiredness. In fact, I’m so tired that even the thought of getting up to make something for tea makes me want to weep, so instead I’m sitting in front of the computer like some pitiful couch potato (Internet potato?) hoping Jan will get home soon, take pity on me and volunteer to cook instead. And since I’m here I thought it was about time I made good on my promise to show you more photos of the flat. So I present to you living room furniture…

Exhibit A is the sofa (what? I like stating the obvious, ok!). This picture was actually taken last week. Things look quite different now. For a start there’s a lot more stuff in that corner. (Stuff that shouldn’t be in that corner I might add!). And a stuffed skunk has found a home on the back of the sofa. Yes, I have a stuffed skunk! How amazingly cool is that? He’s amazingly cute and very, very soft and his name is Clive. Errm, anyway… moving swiftly on…

Here’s some living room furniture. The middle thing and the bit on the right are actually part of a set of three. The third part is on the other side of the room. I actually have a photo of that too, but I took it after Jan uploaded my photos so now it’s stuck on my camera until I can get him to do it again. I’m still having issues with doing it myself… simply plugging it into its cable doesn’t seem to work on this computer. Mostly it just causes everything to just freeze. It will only respond if Jan does computer scientisty things to it (types strange looking commands into a black box). So two photos is all your getting for now. I’m too tired for more anyway. I keep having to delete things after realising I’m typing nonsense – like two sentences ago I originally wrote “mostly it just causes everything to receive”. Receive what is beyond me. Definitely time to log off though!