Not how I imagined making this announcement…

I don’t even really know how to start with this, so I guess I’ll just say it…

I’m pregnant. Currently almost 24 weeks, which is honestly amazing. I never thought I would make it this far. On Thursday, I’ll have officially reached viability. Babies born at this stage at least have a chance to survive… doctors will try to save them. Such a milestone!

Of course, nothing is ever simple for us. At 18 weeks and 5 days, three days before my birthday, I went for an anatomy scan where we found out that our baby has spina bifida. The one thing that was not even vaguely on my radar. I had been taking high dose folic acid since around 6 weeks and a normal dose for 5 years before that. So you can imagine it was a shock. I had to come back the next day for an amniocentesis, then we spent the next two weeks going to appointments and meeting with specialists. After an MRI followed by a very long discussion with a specialist in Zurich we finally decided on our next step – fetal, or in-utero surgery. So on 24th September I’ll be going into hospital and on the 27th I’ll undergo an operation so that they can repair the defect in our baby’s back before I even give birth, thus preventing even more damage to the nerves during the course of the rest of my pregnancy.

All that to say things will be pretty quiet around here for a while. Even more so than they have been anyway, that is. I will be able to respond to comments while in hospital and will probably visit other people’s blogs but it’s unlikely that I’ll attempt a post from my phone. But hey, at least I’ll have plenty of extra time to read for a couple of weeks!

Photo an hour: 20 March 2021

I missed July’s photo an hour day – which is probably a good thing considering how many I still have to catch up on! I did, however, manage to take part in August’s date on Instagram. So now I’m finally getting round to the blog post for March. I’m actually supposed to be doing my taxes, which explains a lot…

Anyway, the chosen date for March was the 20th and this is what I got up to.

10 a.m. Heating milk for porridge (don’t worry – the kettle was also on!)

11 a.m. I was taking part in a weekend readathon so this was just the first of many reading photos.

12 noon. Still reading.

1 p.m. Finally off for a shower! By the way, all of those bottles had been refilled at a zero-waste supermarket. Hooray for reusing empties!

2 p.m. On to my second book of the day. How creepy is that cover?

3 p.m. Put the kettle back on! This time make tea for two.

4 p.m. Two books down for the readathon!

5 p.m. Off to the post box – there’s no collection on Saturdays but I wanted some fresh air.

6 p.m. Another book… and a snack.

7 p.m. Jan offered to cook so I got to carry on reading.

8 p.m. Food, not made by me. These leek and feta pastry things from LIDL are delicious but they only have them when it’s Greek special week.

9 p.m. Decided to go for a bath.

10 p.m. Baths are thirsty work!

11 p.m. More reading before going to sleep.

And that was my day. Not the most exciting to take photos of but a day spent reading is always an enjoyable day in my book. (Ha, pun totally not intended but I’m leaving it in…)

July 2021 recap

Hello friends! Can you believe it’s August already? My birthday month! Mind you, the amount of rain we had in July you would think it was October already. At one point we had thunder and lightning every day for about 5 days in a row! I love a good storm but that felt a little excessive. I think we had maybe 7 or 8 days without any rain and probably 5 of them were sunny. Luckily we weren’t affected by the flooding that hit other areas – the images from Germany were awful! The Rhine here was much higher than normal and ships were stopped because they couldn’t fit under the bridges but overall we got off lightly. There was some flooding in other parts of Switzerland but not wide-scale destruction and I’m not aware of any deaths from floods.

The Rhine in Basel, July 2021

Given the amount of rain you can probably guess that we didn’t really do much. On one of the drier days we drove up to somewhere near Grenchen (I think) and took a walk to a view point. On the 21st I went to Germany to have a meal with my colleagues – our delayed Christmas meal. I said I would go as long as it was possible to sit outside and it ended up being the one sunny week of the month (of course on the Friday evening the rain returned just in time for the weekend and then remained for the entire rest of the month…). Since Germany has now decided everyone needs a “COVID certificate” to get in and I am not vaccinated (yet – but I now have an appointment for my first dose) I won’t be going to the office anytime soon so I’m pleased I went and saw everybody. I don’t feel like getting tested to go into work so it will be the last time I see them for a while! The trains I took were at non-peak times and nobody tried to sit next to me so I felt pretty safe.

View of the River Aare from above

I read 9 books in July, all for the 15th round of Book Challenge by Erin. More on that next Tuesday when it’s time for Show Us Your Books.

We watched football – Jan more than me. He actually went out a couple of times to watch with a friend (outdoors at non-crowded bars – they ended up leaving one place because they felt it was too crowded). I did watch the final. Ah England – so close. Penalties are the woooorst! We’ve watched a bit of the Olympics, mainly recaps since it’s mostly happening either in the early hours of the morning. I enjoyed the women’s triple jump, the BMX events and the men’s high jump. How lovely was it when they decided to share the gold medal? We have also been continuing to watch Richard Osman’s House of Games although it’s still repeats. And the other day we watched Dirty Dancing – the first time I had seen it in probably 20-odd years!

My friend had her third son on 1st July and I finally finished the birth sampler I’ve been cross stitching for months (no exaggeration). His name and date of birth are below the picture but I’ve cut them off for privacy.

I can’t think of anything else I want to say. I managed to continue going for walks most weeks during brief breaks in the rain – although there was one week that I missed entirely because the weather was just awful and I didn’t want to go out for any length of time at all.

That’s all I’ve got for you. More next month. I hope you are all well, safe, happy and staying dry or cool, depending on which weather extreme you’re currently going through (those seem to be the main ones currently…).

What I read in June 2021

I am having to type this from my phone again, and yes it’s still annoying. Especially the adding links part. But I refuse to miss Show Us Your Books day just because technology hates me! So here we are. I’m linking up with Jana and Steph, of course. Here’s what I read in June:


Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. It’s New Year’s Eve and a teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called on to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must. This is a hard book to describe. I can definitely see that a lot of people would hate it. The writing style is unusual and it’s very repetitive. I actually kind of enjoyed it though. If you go into this book thinking it’s going to be a mystery about a missing girl you will be disappointed. It’s more a story about a village, somewhat also about the people in it. The missing girl provides the starting point for the story, and she comes up throughout as people remember her, but it’s not really her story at all. I do have to admit to being a little disappointed that we never did find out what happened to Rebecca though! 4 stars.


A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens (Murder Most Unladylike #6). When Hazel Wong’s beloved grandfather passes away, Daisy Wells is all too happy to accompany her friend (and Detective Society Vice President) to Hazel’s family estate in beautiful, bustling Hong Kong. But when they arrive they discover something they didn’t expect: there’s a new member of the Wong family. Daisy and Hazel think baby Teddy is enough to deal with, but as always the girls are never far from a mystery. Tragedy strikes very close to home, and this time Hazel isn’t just the detective.. it appears she’s also a suspect! The girls must work together like never before, confronting dangerous gangs, mysterious suspects and sinister private detectives to solve the murder and clear Hazel’s name – before it’s too late. This book  is fantastic! I loved seeing Hazel come into her own and be the one who knew what was going on. I was greatly amused whenever Daisy sulked because she didn’t understand something. Petty maybe but she deserved to be shown that Hazel is just as good as her. Hazel’s little sister May is hilarious. And I loved the Hong Kong setting. It’s great to see the series back on track after a disappointing book 4. (Book 5 was great and this one is even better). 5 stars.


Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks. When Charlotte offers to take her best friend Harriet’s daughter to the school fair, she expects nothing more than a fun, care-free day. She swears she only took her eyes off the children for one second. But when her three kids all emerge from a ride safe and sound whole Harriet’s daughter Alice is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame. Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface – and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter. This is a fantastic thriller.  I was not expecting the twist (I had actually guessed something else). What I really liked was how the book described the fall out from what happened – it seemed very realistic. I felt terrible for poor Charlotte! I also liked the ending – things didn’t work out too neatly. The characters’ feelings at the end made a lot of sense and I liked that it wasn’t nicely wrapped up with a happily ever after bow. 4 stars.


Where the Light Gets in by Lucy Dillon. While working at a nursing home, Lorna meets Betty. Defiant to the end, Betty encourages Lorna to face her fears… which is how she ends up in Longhampton, the childhood home she swore she would never see again. If Lorna’s learned one thing from Betty it’s that courage is something you paint on like red lipstick, even when you’re panicking inside. And right now, with the keys to the town’s gallery in her hand, Lorna feels about as courageous as Betty’s anxious little dachshund, Rudy, trembling beside her. Lorna’s come home to Longhampton to fulfil a long-held dream, but she knows, deep down, that she needs to lay her ghosts to rest first. As Lorna – and the little dog – tentatively open their cracked hearts to old friends and new ones, facing hard truths and fresh promises, something surprisingly beautiful begins to grow around the gallery. This is a fun, heartwarming read. I was expecting a romance, but it’s more a story about family and friendships really. There are little sprinklings of romance in there with two potential love interests but it’s not really a focus of the book. I loved the doggy characters – anxious little Rudy and Bernard the border terrier, who can be a bit of a handful. Joyce is a real character and I loved the little snippets we got to know of her past. I weirdly kept forgetting the main character’s name though – I just found all the other characters so much more interesting than her! She’s one of those people that’s almost too nice and just lets people walk all over her. Several times I found myself thinking if she’d just open her mouth and communicate occasionally she wouldn’t be in this situation. The other characters made up for it though. 4 stars.


Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean. Things aren’t going great for Archie Albright. His mum and dad are acting weird, and they’re doing a terrible job of pretending they don’t hate each other. All he wants is for everything to go back to normal, to three months before when his parents were happy and still lived together. If only he could figure out what the secret is that they’re keeping from him! When Archie sees a colourful, crumpled flyer fall out of Dad’s pocket, he thinks he may have found the answer. Only problem? The answer might just lie at the end of the rainbow – an adventure away. Together with his best friends, Bell and Seb, Archie sets off on a heartwarming and unforgettable journey to try and fix his family, even if he has to break a few rules to do it. This is a wonderful book. Very wholesome and heartwarming with some funny moments. Archie’s friends are fantastic. I did feel like the story was a bit superficial in some places – it just barely scratched the surface of it being okay for Archie to be upset about his dad being gay and I feel like it could have gone a lot deeper into that. I also would have liked to see Archie have a more serious conversation with his dad – they did eventually talk but it seemed to be over in a few sentences then everything was resolved and they all apparently lived happily ever after. My heart went out to Archie’s mum – she was so supportive of her husband while at the same time obviously struggling with the loss of the marriage she thought she had. 4 stars.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1). While sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song has never had a boyfriend, she has been in love – five times. And she’s written a love letter to each of them, which she keeps in a hatbox her mother gave her. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. Especially since one letter, the newest one, is sent to Josh – the very recent ex-boyfriend of her older sister, who has just left for college! First of all, full disclosure – I had never intended to read this series. But I was looking for a book by a POC author to read and every single thing I looked up from my to-read list wasn’t available on Scribd. Finally I remembered this series and decided to give book 1 a try. It turned out to be a cute and fun read. I enjoyed that there’s a lot about family along with the romance. Lara Jean’s sister Kitty is awesome – she may be my new favourite little sister in fiction. It’s a very teenage book and a bit overly dramatic at times but that’s kind of to be expected. There were things about Peter (the main love interest, kind of) that I didn’t like but he does seem to be a good person and not your typical popular boy which was kind of nice. The ending annoys me – it’s so clearly contrived to make you want to continue the series! Luckily I actually could read the next one straight away, but I hate it when authors do that. 4 stars.


P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2). Don’t read this synopsis if you haven’t read the first book in this series and still want to ;-). Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. All along, they were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t – and now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? I  didn’t like this one quite as much as the first book. I feel like introducing yet another potential love interest on top of everything else going on between Lara Jean and Peter was a bit much – even if the new guy was very sweet. I did enjoy it though. Once again Kitty was the star for me. 3.5 stars.


Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3). Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends. Life couldn’t be more perfect! At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks… until she gets some unexpected news. Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans – but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to? I actually read the book I’m reviewing next before this one, but I thought I would keep the trilogy together here.  didn’t enjoy this one as much as the others. It’s still cute but it doesn’t really add anything to the series. There’s not much of a plot to be honest – Lara Jean is just kind of living her life: baking, hanging out with her sister and boyfriend, crafting. It was quick and fun to read but ultimately I think I’ll forget most of it very quickly. 3 stars.


I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark (Alvirah & WIlly #8). Two years after the day that her son Matthew was kidnapped in broad daylight, Alexandra Moreland is still torn between hope and despair. Now, on what would have been Matthew’s fifth birthday, photos surface that seem to show Alexandra kidnapping her own child. Her ex-husband blames her and even her good friends Alvirah and Willy seem to doubt her story. Alexander believes someone is pretending to be her. But who could it be… and why take Matthew? This  book was fine. It’s apparently part of a series but that doesn’t matter at all when reading it. The premise is interesting but the solution is a bit predictable and some of it is far-fetched – nobody can be that good a makeup artist that someone who has literally met and spoken to them both couldn’t tell them apart. And even if they looked identical wouldn’t they have different voices? I also thought the motive was a little weak. It’s as if the author wanted to write about identity theft but then couldn’t come up with a plausible but still interesting reason why someone would do that. It’s an easy read though and I did like some of the characters. 2.5 stars.


No Way Out by Cara Hunter (DI Adam Fawley #3). It’s the Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his older brother is left fighting for his life. Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?
Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true. Because this fire wasn’t an accident. It was murder. I  didn’t love this book quite as much as the first two in the series – possibly because I partially guessed the solution – but I still enjoyed it a lot. There are many twists and turns – another reviewer described it as peeling back the layers of an onion and that’s exactly right. I enjoy the way Cara Hunter always uses things like news articles (complete with comments) and social media in her books – showing how quick people are to judge a situation they know nothing about. DI Fawley is having some issues in his private life and takes a bit of a backseat in parts for this one, which was kind of nice since it allowed us to learn a bit more about some of the members of his team. 4 stars. I highly recommend this series.


And that’s it for this round.
Total books read in June: 10. By BAME/BIPOC authors: 4 (yes, 2 were from the same series but it still counts!).

June 2021 recap

Hello lovely readers! Normally I would posted my monthly recap before now but either WordPress or my internet browser (or more than likely some combination of the two) is being a massive pain and refusing to load the post editor – I just get a blank white screen. Blogging from my phone is ridiculously annoying and yet here I am. Yay?!

Anyway, I’m not sure I have a great deal to say about June. It was hot – almost too hot – for approximately 2 weeks. So naturally I decided to bake scones on a day with temperatures over 30ºC. On one of the hot days we drove to a village called Linn to go for a walk. I read that there was a waterfall, and indeed there is… but it’s tiny. Apparently the biggest waterfall in the canton of Aargau though. Bless. There’s also a giant lime tree right outside the village that’s supposedly famous – I think pretty much solely for being huge, which it is to be fair.

The rest of the month I continued going for walks locally – often in between rain showers. After those two hot weeks we got lots and lots of rain. I think at one point we had thunder every day for a week! I love a good thunder storm but it started to get a tiny bit ridiculous.

Jan actually got to perform with one of his choirs – I went to watch since it was outdoors. Luckily the rain held off until the end!

We continued watching Richard Osman’s House of Games – until the series ended and it was replaced by tennis, which we did not watch. Did we watch football in June? I can’t remember if it had already started then. Jan watched more group phase matches than me – I only really bothered with “my” teams (England, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Ukraine if you’re interested – and I only watched some of their matches).

I read 10 books in June, including the entire To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy (years after everyone else!). I will bring you my reviews on Tuesday even if it means having to post on my phone again.

I can’t think of anything else to tell you and typing on the tiny screen is annoying me so I’m going to stop here. Have a great weekend everyone! (Or a great whatever day it is when you read this.)

Style imitating art: when art and books collide

To be honest I most likely would have forgotten to check the inspiration for SIA again this week but Kezzie sent me the link saying I had to join in and when I checked it out I agreed.

Here’s the chosen piece of art:

It’s called Booky and is part of a series called Domestic Demise. The first thing I noticed (other than books!) was that there’s a lot of red in this picture. Then my eye was drawn to all the flowers so I decided to go with a dress featuring flowers. Here’s my outfit:

It seemed appropriate to pose in front of the bookcases – although mine aren’t quite as chaotic (yet).

The dress is from H&M probably 4 years ago, shoes from Primark when I lived in Germany so they’re at least 7 or 8 years old. I’m also wearing earrings my dad’s girlfriend gave me years ago and a book necklace that was a gift from my sister. Here’s a close up of the necklace:

Jan acted as my photographer and he asked me whether I had a book with flowers on the cover, which resulted in this fun shot:

I think it’s actually some kind of bag that’s covering her face in the painting but this works just as well.

I’m a bit late with posting this so you probably won’t have time to submit an outfit but if you check Terri’s blog on Wednesday you can see what other people have made of the inspiration.

May 2021 recap

Hello! Another month has passed and I still haven’t caught up on the blog posts I’ve been meaning to post (mainly photo an hour write ups). Today I am here for a May recap because that’s just what I do at the beginning of the month.

So, what did I do? Went for walks, mostly during brief gaps in the rain. Seriously, May was *so* rainy! I guess the plants/ground needed it after a relatively dry beginning to the year but it did get a bit old by mid-month. May is not supposed to feel like November! The final weekend of the month was finally sunny and now I’m boiling! I know, there’s just no pleasing some people 😉 but I would have preferred a more gradual transition. (Side note: it’s actually raining again today. It took a few days between me writing this on my phone and actually getting round to adding the photos so I could post it.)

Jan had his second COVID vaccination. That was just over 2 weeks ago, so now he has his full immunity, whatever that means for Pfizer. 90%? Something along those lines.

The UK was added back on to Switzerland’s list of risk countries (because of the Indian variant), and as far as I know Switzerland had never not been a risk country for the UK. I was hoping I might be able to see some of my family towards the end of the year but I’m really not sure now. Nobody wants to travel somewhere only to spend the entire time in quarantine!

Coronavirus cases in Switzerland dropped steadily throughout May and the daily number of positive tests finally made it below 1,000 in the final week of the month. Hurrah! Restaurants had been allowed to open their outdoor areas throughout the month (since April) but with all the rain I’m not sure how well they did. As of 31st May they’re allowed to open fully, with max. four people per table indoors.

Jan and I continued to watch repeats of Richard Osman’s House of Games (hurry up with the new series BBC!) and I watched Great British Menu. My favourite dish ended up being the overall winner at the banquet. Yay! We also watched Eurovision. I was rooting for Switzerland (genuinely my favourite song of the evening) but they ended up coming third. Let’s not even talk about the debacle of the UK not even getting one measly point despite being far from the worst of the evening!

It was a much better reading month, in terms of both quantity and enjoyment. You’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out more about that though.

I genuinely can’t think of anything else to say. We didn’t go anywhere and I mainly spent the month working. I lead a very boring life! Maybe now the weather’s getting better I’ll actually manage to do something in June. In the meantime take care and have fun!

A photo an hour: 20 February 2021

Hi everyone! Today is a holiday in Switzerland and Germany, but it’s also a Saturday so we don’t even get a day off work for it, just an entire weekend with closed supermarkets and not being able to hoover… so kind of like two Sundays in a row. Rude! Anyway, I am here to bring you February’s photo an hour – and yes I am aware that it’s now May. I’m a bit behind, okay? Anyway, here’s what I got up to on 20th February.

10 a.m. Starting the day with a cuppa, as always.

11 a.m. Cross stitch. Working on a sweet sixteen card for a girl from Post Pals.

12 noon. Making the finished cross stitch into a card.

1 p.m. Time for a shower. On Instagram, I hashtagged this with “Who is the laziest of them all?” but given that Jan wasn’t even out of bed yet I’m going with not me 😉

2 p.m. Preparing to go for my weekly walk – these books are destined for a free public bookcase.

3 p.m. Town. Waiting for the people browsing the bookcase to leave so I can deposit mine. The photo shows the Wettsteinplatz bus/tram stop. (Look how blue the sky was! It’s chucking down today and I’m wondering whether to go for a soggy walk this week or hope for better whether tomorrow.)

4 p.m. After walking back home it was time for another cuppa.

5 p.m. Time to stick on some washing.

6 p.m. Starting to cook tea.

7 p.m. Lasagne in the oven! The washing machine also started beeping at that exact second, but luckily Jan went to sort that out.

8 p.m. On to my second helping of food!

9 p.m. I wasn’t interested in the film Jan was watching so I brought my book to the bedroom.

10 p.m. Got into my pyjamas… plus some fluffy socks.

11 p.m. Getting ready for bed. Face cream and teeth brushing.

So that was February’s… stay tuned for March and April. I bet you can hardly contain your excitement ;-).

March 2021 recap

Hello, hello!
I had plans to write blog posts last month then I ended up with backache that made me not want to be anywhere near the computer when I wasn’t working. It’s better now and I’ve also started physiotherapy (thanks to my GP for the referral) so hopefully it will finally bog off completely (ha, channelling my inner Tracy Beaker there). Anyway, here is a slightly belated recap of what I did last month.

March kicked off with Jan’s birthday, which was on the 1st. Last year we went out for a meal which ended up being almost the last normal thing we did before everything shut down. Basel’s Fasnacht (carnival) had just been cancelled and I remember the waiter saying they were wondering what to do with all the extra beer and sausages they had bought. Little did anyone know that would be the last of their worries… Anyway, this year we were both working but I finished early and baked a cake, then we ordered burgers for tea – that came with so many chips that we ended up reheating them for the next two nights as well!

Speaking of birthdays, cards had to be stitched. A friend’s son turned 5 and another friend’s daughter turned 1.

I sent Easter cards to all the Post Pals families. I had bought some but not enough so I also ended up making about 15.

It was Mother’s Day in the UK – I sent my mum a card and present via Moonpig – and a couple of days later it was the two year anniversary of what would have been my due date with the twins. How is it even possible that it’s been two whole years?! But at the same time how has it only been two years? In some ways it feels like another lifetime. I can’t even imagine what life would be like now if we had two toddlers. I’m guessing messier but way more fun.

I’m genuinely struggling to remember what else happened in March. I had to take time off to use up three days from last year. On the first of those days we went to look at sofas  (we thought being a Friday there would be fewer people around so we could keep our distance better). We didn’t find anything we liked though. The second day off was originally planned as a blog post writing day but instead I went to the doctor with back ache and on the third day off I had an early appointment then came home for a nap and spent the rest of the day alternating between lying down and walking since sitting hurt my back the most. On the 31st I called my doctor again and got a referral for physiotherapy.

I continued going for a walk at least once a week (doctor’s instructions were to walk as much as possible so I actually walked home from my doctor’s appointment).

I didn’t read much in the first half of the month then took part in a 48 hour readathon and read 7 and a half books in one weekend. Book day is tomorrow so stay tuned for that. We watched Richard Osman’s House of Games every week day  – the current series ended but then they continued with repeats from previous series. Luckily we only discovered it last year so we haven’t seen most of the old ones. It’s so weird to see the contestants sitting so close together!

What else? Shops reopened at the beginning of the month but I still haven’t actually been into any other than supermarkets and chemists (which have been open all along) and the aforementioned furniture shops. At the same time museums and galleries reopened and zoos and botanical gardens were allowed to open their outdoor areas. We briefly thought about going to the zoo but then it rained for that entire weekend.  The number of people who are allowed to meet outdoors also increased from 5 to 15. Indoors stayed at 5 to begin with then went up to 10 in the middle of the month. And after having 1000 reported cases per day at the start of the month we were up to roughly 2000 per day by the end. Hands up who’s surprised by this? Meanwhile in the UK my mum got her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine and my brother, sister and dad all got their first. Progress! Switzerland remains slow – my canton is still working on over 70s and highest risk groups.

I guess that’s all. Apparently I didn’t manage to take a photo on even one of my walks so I can’t even give you that. I hope everyone is continuing to stay safe.

February 2021 recap

Hello, hello! Can you believe we are four days into March already? Time seems to be flying by again. For me at least. Maybe not for you.

So, it’s the start of another month and that means another recap post. I sometimes wonder why I still bother writing these. Like everybody else I can’t really do much at the moment. But then I think it might be interesting to look back on them in a few years and remind myself of how I got through the pandemic. Will WordPress still exist in 10 years time I wonder? Maybe I should download my posts and keep them somewhere safe.

Anyway… February. The month started with an egg retrieval. If you read last month’s recap you will know we were doing a stimulation round/I was in the midst of daily injections. At the beginning of February, my follicles duly reached the right size and my hormone levels were where they needed to be, so I gave myself the trigger injection (which is actually two injections – one on either side of my stomach – and whatever solution is in there burns while I’m injecting it! I actually took a photo of my stomach with the red rashes that appeared after the trigger injections plus the bruises from some previous injections that decided to bleed loads but I don’t think anyone wants to see that). 15 eggs were retrieved, 12 fertilised and we ended up with 6 that reached the stage where they could be frozen. So with the one we have left from the first time we have seven embryos. Seven more tries. If it doesn’t work with those that will be it. No more stimulation. No more IVF. Don’t be expecting a pregnancy announcement any time soon though – apart from the fact that I’ll be terrified to announce anything until I at least get past 16 weeks and 4 days (when I lost the twins), I have 2 months of treatment to go through before we even try another transfer. So, that was that. Moving on.

5th February was our anniversary. Of getting together that is, not wedding anniversary. We’re not married – I know some people assume we are, so sorry to disappoint you, I guess? Also if you’re bothered by the fact that we’re a) living together and b) trying for a baby without being married then this really isn’t the blog for you. Anyway… we’ve been together 17 years. In other years we’ve celebrated by going out for a meal but you know. Pandemic. So I cooked. Lamb, roast potatoes, orange carrots (roasted using some orange flavoured olive oil I was given for Christmas). Then the next day we got a car and took a trip to Stein am Rhein. We took disinfectant and kitchen roll and cleaned every surface we might think of touching in the car, then disinfected our hands. In Stein am Rhein everything was obviously closed so we just walked around. It was cloudy and cold but the town is still pretty. One restaurant had set up a grill outside so we got a sausage each then some hot apple punch (alcohol free) from another place. It was nice.

It snowed. And then it got really cold and all the snow froze over. On Valentine’s day we went for a long walk into town (the closest we’ll ever get to celebrating) and the Tinguely Fountain (or Fasnachts Fountain) was all frozen over! A week after the photo below was taken it was suddenly spring and 16°C during the day!

Fasnacht – the Basel version of Carnival/Mardis Gras – was cancelled for the second year in a row but there was a Fasnacht walk with various stations around town, including this giant “confetti” by the river.

On another walk a few weeks later we saw loads of storks and herons in a field – storks are not that unusual, there are lots of them here, but I’ve never seen that many herons at once! Here are some of them (I hope you can make them out):

I made cards for Post Pals – a 4th birthday card for a blind girl and a Sweet Sixteen card for one of the older pals. I also made a few Valentine’s cards for pals – I think about 6.

16th February was Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday in the UK. Obviously we had pancakes for tea. Savoury ones with mince and vegetables then sweet ones with sugar and lemon/sugar and cinnamon. No photo… I didn’t take one and they never look that great in pictures anyway. They tasted good though.

What else can I tell you? Not much. I read some books – 14 if you’re interested. More about that on Tuesday. We continue to regularly watch Richard Osman’s House of Games. I feel like we watched a film as well, but I can’t remember what it was. Jan constantly has the TV on (when he’s not working) but I don’t always pay attention. I also did some decluttering, sorted out loads of craft stuff and put a box outside the building’s front door marked “Gratis” (free) – a very common thing in Switzerland. It’s still down there. Most of the stuff is gone but soon I will have to bring what’s left back upstairs. Sigh. Work has been kind of slow, but should pick up again from next week – I have a couple of things planned in that are yet to arrive.

Coronavirus cases in Switzerland are stagnating at around 1,000-1,200 cases per day (we’ve yet to drop back below the 1,000 mark and numbers seem to be rising in some cantons). Meanwhile vaccination is going at snail’s pace. Actually that’s unfair to snails. Some places are doing better than others but as far as I’m aware every canton is still only vaccinating over 75s and those categorised as “highest risk”. Jan is part of group 1 b (people with chronic illnesses who are not classed as highest risk) and currently he can’t even register for an appointment! The cantons blame the Federal Government, the Government blames the manufacturers. Or the approvers. Or possibly the cantons. And so we go round in circles with hardly anyone actually getting vaccinated. Pfizer and Moderna are currently approved here. Astra Zeneca won’t be approved until Easter at the earliest, and now the Government are saying Switzerland won’t even need it and talking about selling on what they’ve ordered to another country. I’m sure it all makes sense to someone, somewhere…

That’s all I’ve got for you this month. I hope you are all happy, healthy and somehow managing to keep yourselves occupied!