Friday letters

Ah Friday… you wonderful harbinger of the weekend! I’ve been having trouble falling asleep all week, so you’re even more welcome than you would have been anyway. To celebrate, let’s have some letters.

Friday letters

Dear Yankee Candle. That is not what a crackling wood fire smells like! Have you actually been near a fire lately?

Dear weather. I take it you are trying to convince me that it really is November and not May at the absolute latest, as my brain is still convinced it must be? I can think of no other explanation for this constant rain πŸ˜‰

Dear baked potatoes. I will never cease to be amazed (and grateful) that something so simple is so good.

Dear blue tits. Hello! How nice to see you gracing the balcony again. I’m not sure where you disappear to over the summer, but I’m glad you’re back! (But please stop trying to eat my parsley!)

Dear Christmas. You are sneaking up way too fast and I really need to decide on gifts for my family before it’s too late…

That’s all for today. Happy Friday everyone… and happy weekend!

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Think I’ll go and eat (meal) worms

In May of this year, the sale of insects as food for human consumption was approved in Switzerland, with one Swiss supermarket chain (Coop in case you’re interested) announcing that they would be selling insect burgers. Jan got very excited when I sent him an article about the burgers and announced that we would have to try them. I was maybe slightly less enthusiastic, but I’ve always said I’ll try anything once, so…Β  The launch of the burgers actually ended up being delayed due to a lack of approved insects, but eventually, in August, I saw an announcement that they were going on sale. Only at select branches, as it turned out, and not at our local one. A colleague of Jan’s told him that the big supermarket behind the train station was selling them, but every time Jan went they didn’t have any. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, he came home with this:

insect burgers

I opened up the packaging to reveal a burger-like entity:

insect burger

We fried them in the pan according to the instructions:

Then served with some Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes) and cherry tomatoes.

To be honest, they didn’t taste any different to a veggie burger. Jan bought a “spicy” variety (he isn’t sure whether a “normal” version exists though since he just grabbed a pack) and they reminded me a bit of a spicy bean burger a vegetarian friend used to eat when I was about 10. Would I eat them again? Probably, although they aren’t the cheapest.

Originally, this was going to be the end of this post… but then we went to the autumn fair at the weekend and discovered the same company that makes the burgers selling their insect wares there. (And if you’re squeamish you may not want to look at the next few photos…)

Not only were they selling burgers, but also “Heuschrecke” skewers – which I thought were grasshoppers but apparently it’s the general term for grasshoppers, crickets and locusts and these particular ones were actually Eurasian Migratory Locusts. So there you go. I wasn’t brave enough to try a skewer, but we ordered a locust burger each. They also had actual, real, recognisable insects to try:

While we waited for our burgers, we got a little “trial plate” of insects to share. I ate a mealworm first, thinking they looked less scary (no legs!). Considering I find giant prawns creepy with their eyes looking at me you can imagine how I felt about locusts! But I managed to eat the weird shrimps on sticks in Taiwan (scroll to the end of the linked post to see them) so after Jan ate a locust and claimed it tasted nicer than the mealworms I gave it a go. Verdict: I’m not about to start eating dried insects as a snack any time soon but they didn’t actually taste too bad. The salted mealworms reminded me of the inside of a pistachio shell (you know the bit that sometimes comes off with the nut when you take it out?) while the locusts didn’t taste of a great deal, really. Jan preferred the locusts. And for any doubters πŸ˜‰ here is photographic evidence that I actually ate a mealworm (or at least put one in my mouth):

go and eat worms

After a while, the burgers turned up. They looked a lot like the mealworm ones we had from the supermarket. A bit thicker maybe? And they came with locusts for decoration, of course πŸ˜‰

Again, they tasted like veggie burger and the only identifiable thing I could see inside was tiny cubes of carrot. If nobody had told me they actually contained insects I would have had no idea! At 12 francs it costs exactly the same as a beef burger does at the stands along the river in summer, so fairly normal there.

So, would you eat insects (or have you already)? Only in burger form or would you be brave enough to try the skewer? Are insects the food of the future?
And, a question for any vegetarians and vegans out there: how do insects fit in? Do you think eating a locust or mealworm burger is the same as eating a beef burger or pork chop? Or is eating insects okay? (I am genuinely interested so please no arguments/riots in the comments! Constructive criticism is, of course, always welcome – and by constructive I don’t mean telling me I’m evil for eating things with eyes!)

Friday fun

It’s Friday again and I’ve apparently been MIA since last Friday. Sorry about that. Partly I’ve been busy, but if I’m honest mostly I just couldn’t be bothered to sort out the photos for the post I’ve been planning to write. I’m off work next week though, so hopefully I’ll find lots of time for my blog then.

In the meantime, here’s a tag thing that’s been going around Facebook. I didn’t do it there because that’s not my style, but my blog readers are fair game for such annoyance πŸ˜‰

On Facebook it says “Can you fill this out without lying”, which is just silly. Why would I feel the need to lie?

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Tomato and Marscapone soup. Sadly not home-made, but it came from the fridge section so that’s at least healthier than a tin, right? (Actually, the technically correct answer is probably a spoon, but whatever.)

2. Where was profile picture taken?
My Gravatar picture (which is what you see when I respond to your comments) is from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

3. Worst pain you‘ve felt?
Probably when I had my wisdom teeth out.

4. Favourite place you‘ve travelled to?
New Zealand or Taiwan.

Taiwan
Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

5. How late did you stay up last night?
10 pm. Not very rock and roll but I had work today.

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be?
I like it here and I don’t want to move again for a while, so pass.

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
Only every New Year since Jan and I got together πŸ˜‰

8. Which of your Facebook friends blog readers live closest to you? (Yeah, I altered that one)
Probably Our Girl in Zurich. (She’s awesome – go say hi).

9. When was the last time you cried?
Not sure.

10. Who took your profile pic?
Jan.

11. Who was the last person you took a picture with?
You mean had my picture taken with? Also Jan. Before that my mam and my brother.

12. What’s your favourite season?
Late summer/ early autumn. I know that’s not a real season, but I like it when it’s not tooo hot but it’s also not dark/cold/rainy/miserable yet.

Basel-autumn
Basel in autumn

 

13. If you could have any career, what would it be?
I always wanted to be a writer but my writing just isn’t that good, so translating someone else’s words is the next best thing.

14. Can you go a day without TV?
I went without a TV for 5 years, so I would say so. Even now it’s rarely me that switches the TV on…

15. You have the remote. What are you watching?
Pointless or Come Dine With Me. The latter is more likely to actually be on since they show about six of them in a row.

16. Does pineapple belong on a pizza?
Absolutely not!

17. Was yesterday better than today?
Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday. That alone gives today the edge. Other than that they were about the same though.

18.How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
I have no particular feelings about it, but I think the last time I drank it I was about 14!

19. What are you doing right now?
Seriously? I’m on question 19 or 20… what do you think I’m doing? Obviously answering the stupidest question ever!

20. Who do you think will play along?
Nobody – it’s really not that interesting.

Okay, that’s it – I need to get back to work. Happy weekend everyone.

50 questions you’ve never been asked

Posting twice within a matter of days? Oh my! The world must have gone mad! (Actually Jan’s still asleep and I’m taking a break from cross stitch ;-))

I found this on Kezzie‘s blog, and she borrowed it from Emmamereta who got it from someone else. And so the world of blogging goes. I’m not sure these are all questions I’ve never been asked – I think I’ve been asked about the countries I’ve visited and favourite childhood TV shows before – but there were enough interesting ones in the mix for me to want to give it a go.

What’s your favourite candle scent?
I like apple and cinnamon around Christmas and I like fresh linen scents, but not always. Some brands smell nothing like fresh linen

Which female celebrity do you wish was your sister?
Do authors count as celebrities? If so I would love Joanne Harris! Oh, and Mara Wilson (who played Matilda but is now all grown up and voices a character in Welcome to Night Vale)

Which male celebrity do you wish was your brother?
Eddie Izzard, even though he’s the same age as my mum so that would be weird! I think we would have fascinating conversations though.

Do you know a hoarder?
My dad keeps a looot of stuff but he’s not an actual hoarder (like surfaces piled so high you can’t enter the house and refusing to even throw away literal rubbish hoarder). I probably keep too many things that have sentimental value, although I’m pretty good at getting rid of clothes (and replacing them with way too many more…)

Can you do the splits?
Nope. I’m the least flexible person in the world. Can’t touch my toes either!

How old were you when you learnt to ride a bike?
6 I think? I know it was in Northern Ireland anyway. I remember my little blue bike πŸ™‚

How many oceans have you swam in?
The North Sea definitely (is that an ocean?). And the Mediterranean in Spain. Ooh, and the Irish Sea in Wales.

How many countries have you visited?
Well, I have lived in England, Northern Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, so there’s five to start with πŸ˜‰ Plus: Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the USA, Taiwan, New Zealand, Dubai. I think that’s everything. So 24?

Feldkirch
Let’s split this up with a picture… Feldkirch, Austria, where I lived for 10 months

Is anyone in your family in the army?Not any more. My dad was (as was my step-dad).

What would you name your daughter if you had one?
There are a lot of girl’s names I like. I think we’ve maybe narrowed it down to one we would call our daughter, but I’m not going to tell you here because if we do have a child I will not be using his or her real name on my blog for the entire world to see! I will tell you that I love the name Beatrix because that’s one we definitely won’t be using.

What would you name your son if you had one?
I find male names a lot harder, and we have the added difficulty that whatever name we use has to be pronounceable in German and English (which seems to be easier with female names!). I always loved the name Tristan, but I don’t think we’ll use that.

What’s the worst grade you got on a test?
I got all Ds for my A-levels. That’s pretty bad.

What was your favourite TV show as a kid?
Button Moon when I was really little. Later I loved The Raggy Dolls, Byker Grove, SuperTed, Dangermouse, Sabrina the Teenage Witch (although I guess I was a teenager when I watched that).

What did you dress up as on Halloween, when you were 8?
I don’t think I did? I only remember dressing up for Halloween once as a child, for a party in Northern Ireland and we moved back to England before I turned 8. I know I never went trick or treating.

Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight books?/em>
All the Harry Potter books (the actual series, not Fantastic Beasts or whatever other spin-offs are out there), none of the others. I’ve been advised not to bother with Twilight.

Would you rather have an American accent or English accent?
Definitely English! Sorry Americans, but I find a lot of your accents annoying

Did your mother go to university?
She did, in her 40s! To become a nurse (you go to university for that in the UK – I know in other countries it’s not a degree). So proud of her.

Are your grandparents still married?
Both my grandfathers are dead now, but they would have been I’m sure.

Have you ever taken Karate lessons?
No.

Do you know who Kermit the frog is?
Are there people that don’t?

What’s the first amusement park you went to?
Not sure, but I was fairly young when I went to Thorpe Park and Chessington so maybe one of those?

What language, besides your native language would you like to be fluent in?
Ukrainian! My granddad was from there and I would love to be able to speak his language. Other than that Spanish. And I would like to achieve native-speaker fluency in German but that won’t happen (my German is pretty fluent but not enough to be mistaken for a native speaker).

Do you spell the colour grey or gray?
We have to translate into both British and American English and I’m forever getting confused over which spelling to use in which language! But grey is the British spelling, so in everyday life I use that one.

Is your father bald?
No, far from it.

Do you know triplets?
Yes. My grandma used to child-mind them.

Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook?
I don’t think I’ve seen The Notebook.

Have you ever had Indian food?
Yes!Β  LOVE it!

What’s the name of your favourite restaurant?
I don’t have one. I like to try different places.

Have you ever been to Nando’s?
Once, because I met a friend at The Gate in Newcastle and it was chucking it down so we didn’t want to leave the building! It was okay but not amazing enough for me to understand all the fuss.

Do you belong to any warehouse stores?
No.

What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender?
I have a vague memory of being told I would have been a Philip if I was a boy, but I may have imagined that. (Mam, am I right?)

If you have a nickname, what is it?
Bev. Fairly boring. Sometimes Bee.

Who’s your favourite person in the world?
Jan. Is that really soppy? Other than that my friend K and my godson.

Would you rather live in the countryside or city?
I’m not a fan of big cities, but I’m not sure I would like to live right out in the countryside – unless I learned to drive. But even then being forced to drive everywhere would be a pain. I like where we live now – it’s within walking distance of the city, but also within walking distance of a farm, the woods, etc. Best of both worlds.

Can you whistle?
No.

Do you sleep with a night light?
No.

Do you eat breakfast every morning?
Umm, no. (Sorry mam!)

Do you take any pills or medication daily?
Yes. No, I’m not going to elaborate.

What medical condition do you have?
None that I know of.

How many times have you been to the hospital?
I was taken to A&A for stitches when I fell down the loft ladder as a teen. Other than that never as a patient (except for being born in hospital).

Have you ever seen Finding Nemo?
Yes.

Where do you buy your jeans?
I don’t actually own jeans any more, but the last pair I had came from C&A.

What’s the last compliment you got?
Umm… about two weeks ago someone said they liked the dress I was wearing. Huh, I had to think about that one.

Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning?
I remember quite a few, especially if I wake up in the middle of the, I tend to have vivid dreams.

What flavour tea do you enjoy?
Tesco chocolate flavoured black tea. I also like Orange and ginger, spearmint and Alnatura’s Sunshine Tea, but technically those are all infusions πŸ˜‰

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Between 10 and 15, I think.

What religion will you raise your children to be?
None. They will be allowed to choose for themselves once they are old enough to make a decision. They will also be able to choose for themselves whether to formally enter any church and thus have to pay church tax if they end up living in Germany or Switzerland. I highly object to people having to pay church tax because their parents made the decision to have them christened as babies!

How old where you when you found out Santa wasn’t real?
7 or 8 I think?

Why do you have a blog?
My very first ever blog was on MSN spaces and I can’t remember why I originally started it, but I kept it up while I lived in Austria to update people on what I was doing over there. I started this blog because MSN Spaces (which by then had become Live Spaces) had closed down, I had hardly any friends and a lot of free time and I needed a place to get me thoughts out of my head – hence the tag line of my blog. Of course, I could have just written them in my diary, but I had always liked the interactive element of my old blog so I decided to send my thoughts out into the world, although my blog has always been primarily for myself. These days it also serves as a record of things I’ve done. I like to look back on places I’ve been and also remind myself of how far I’ve come over the past however many years (I don’t even what to think about the actual number… when did I get this old?)

If anyone plans to do this, please let me know. I would love to read your answers!

Merry Christmas everyone!

christmas-cat

Today is my last day at work (and I have a lot to get finished… but let’s not talk about that). All my clothes and gifts are packed (Jan’s clothes aren’t, but he has today off), the flat is almost tidy – I just need to do the dishes and clean the kitchen – and our flight to England is booked for 7 am tomorrow – and the baggage handlers strike has been called off. So all that remains is for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful start to 2017. I will be taking a blogging break while I’m away, so Confuzzledom will be back in the first week of the New Year (not saying which day of that week though…).

Happy Christmas, dear readers! With love from Confuzzled Bev

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!

Three Things

I am still pretty tired from the weekend (visitors and concerts are fun but there wasn’t much sleep involved!) so today’s post is a relatively easy one. I still need to catch up on travel posts, but the idea of sorting out photos is just too much right now!

I stole this post from Kristen who got it from Steph, as these things go in blogging. Kristen said she copied it because 3 is her favourite number. My favourite number is 13 – I just liked the look of this post. (On a (totally irrelevant) side note, a similar sort of thing called “four things” was going round on Facebook again recently and one of the categories was four places you have lived. A girl I went to school with had the town our high school is in as her only place. I can’t even imagine having never lived anywhere but a town of 16,000-ish residents ever!).

fountain
Three things I’d never give up

Books, tea, travel.

Three favourite vegetables

Everyone is saying potatoes, but in my world they’re not vegetable vegetables, so excluding potatoes: butternut squash, leeks, aubergines.

Three shows I watched faithfully from beginning to end

That is actually really hard! I watched E.R. right to the end, but not from the beginning (I was like 11 when it started but I only discovered it in around season 7), I watched Dawson’s Creek religiously for ages but never saw the episodes where they had all grown up and left home, I stopped watching Buffy in protest when Oz was written out (what? I’m in love with Seth Green!). I only watched Bad Girls until about series 5 or 6. Basically I can think of nothing! I mean, I’m all caught up on Sherlock (just release the next series already would you!!) but I’m guessing that doesn’t count since it’s still running. Plus I watched series 1 all at once on DVD rather than when it came out on TV.

Three places I want to visit inside the US

Umm… there aren’t any. If I was going to the US I would probably be able to find places to visit, but there are no places I would go to the US specifically to see. And now every American hates me. Sorry!

Three places I want to visit outside the US

Iceland, Canada, Japan (wow, it was hard to narrow that down!).

Three things I always have with me

Residence permit (you have to have it on you at all times), keys, purse (the kind for money, not the container for all your things. That’s called a handbag!).


Three things that are always in my car

Can’t drive, don’t have a car. Next!


Three most recent phone calls were to/from

Jan, the doctor… ummm… probably work.


Three books I read and loved in college

American college, I presume, so university as opposed to sixth form. Um, apart from books I used for research, which I obviously didn’t read all the way through, the only books I read were for my German culture module and I hated all of them, so I’ll have to do books I read while at university but not for university. It’s Okay, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers by Louise Rennison, Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontΓ« aaand, ummm, what else did I read around that time? Oh Emil und die Detektive (Emil and the Detectives) during my year abroad for a course I took on detective stories for children. So there is one I read for my studies. Sort of.

Three most often used makeup products

Lip gloss is the only makeup product I really use regularly. Sometimes I feel the urge to use colourful eyeshadow. And that’s it. I own other stuff, but only use it on special occasions so it’s all used equally (in)frequently.

Three things that make me laugh

The Big Bang Theory, my godson (or rather the things he says that his mum posts on Facebook since I never actually see him!), other people laughing at puns/jokes that really aren’t funny but somehow are (the more they can’t stop laughing the funnier I find it).

Three things that make me cry

Any books where anything even a tiny bit sad happens (except The Fault in Our Stars. I am possibly the only person that didn’t cry at that book.), stories about animals doing amazing things for humans, when I’m really, really exhausted and there’s no way I’m going to get near a bed for a long time.

Oh, that was the last category. Why did it have to end on a sad note?!

Anyway, it’s your turn now! Answer in the comments if you don’t feel like doing a whole post on it.