March 2020 recap

Hello friends! It’s time for my monthly recap. I’m linking up with Kristen for “What’s new with you?” – although I expect my answer is the same as most of yours, namely some form of lockdown. Nonetheless let me start at the beginning of the month, when life was still relatively normal.

whats new with you

1st March was Jan’s 40th birthday. He’s didn’t want a proper celebration but there were gifts and I made malted chocolate cake. We walked into town and had a coffee then in the evening we ate at one of the few restaurants in Basel that’s actually open on a Sunday. At that point Basel carnival, which was to have started at 4 am the next morning had been cancelled a few days earlier (along with other events with over 1,000 participants) but there was no indication yet of how much worse things were going to get. We briefly spoke to the staff about the situation and they were mainly worried about what they were going to do with the extra food and beer they had bought.

cake

The Friday after that I went into the office in Germany, then on Wednesday 11th June we were supposed to take a night train to Vienna and then continue on to Poland. After having mild cold symptoms starting on the Monday I woke up that day feeling much worse and called in sick to work. That day Poland also announced the closure of all museums, galleries, libraries, etc. Right up until I was supposed to leave for Zurich I was debating whether to risk travelling, but when I read that Poland were conducting health checks at the borders I decided not to  – also because I really didn’t feel up to spending 10 hours on a night train just to have to turn back. My temperature was higher than normal (when you’re infertile you get to know your normal temperature very well!) but never higher than 37.3ºC (a fever would be 38ºC). The next day I read that the Czech Republic  – which our train would have passed through  – had closed its borders for non-Czechs. Jan cancelled his holiday and worked from home on the Thursday then went into the office on Friday while I went to the doctors on the Thursday (who agreed I had nothing more than a cold) and got a doctor’s note for two days, which meant I got those 2 days of holiday back. I kept my holiday for the following week though since part of it was days I needed to use by the end of March anyway.

My family decided to still fly to Poland on the Friday since their flight wasn’t cancelled. An hour after they arrived the Polish government announced that bars and restaurants would close and there were also plans to close tge borders. Any foreigners still in the country at midnight on Sunday would have to go into quarantine. So on the Saturday MY family headed to the airport and were initially put on standby for the lsst flight out that day. Ryanair then announced two rescue flights so they were taken off the standby list to be placed on a rescue flight only for the employee to realise the flight was already full and put them on standby again. For a rescue flight where anyone who had managed to get a place was in the actual airport. So how exactly could there be standby places? Anyway, they also booked a place on a bus to Berlin for the next morning only Flixbus to also cancel all bus services to and from Poland. After hanging out at the airport all day they were finally told all flights had gonr and they should leave the airport. Luckily they were able to go back to the apartment they had booked! They had also managed to find a taxi driver who was willing to take them to Berlin and booked new flights from there. The next day there was briefly talk of them being dropped at the border between Poland and Frankfurt an der Oder then walking into Germany and taking a train to Berlin but the taxi driver then decided he would drive them all the way  (good people are out there! I hope he’s got back into Poland without issues!). After a night in a hotel in Berlin, my family caught their flight to Düsseldorf and transfer to Newcastle without issues. In the meantime Germany had closed its borders with Austria and Switzerland but flights to the UK were unaffected at that stage.

Meanwhile,  here in Switzerland, my canton  (Basel-Landschaft) became the first to announce that all bars and restaurants and all shops except pharmacies and supermarkets had to close. The national government then announced on the Monday that the rest of Switzerland had follow suit. I was supposed to have a dentist’s appointment in March but it was postponed until May! Emergency treatment only (no pain = no emergency) and that dentist isn’t actually able to open at all – only designated emergency dentists can see patients for urgent cases.

I spent my week off work mainly making Easter cards for PostPals  – with no idea how long the postal service would continue functioning or what delays there may end up being I wanted them all out as soon as possible. I also managed a bit of reading  (but less than I would have liked). And I copied all the necessary documents and sent off the form to renew my residence permit. Who knows when it will actually be processed now though! Jan’s work announced that anyone who could work from home should, so on the Monday he got a car and went to Zurich to fetch all the equipment he would need and then set up the spare room and has been working from there ever since. For most of that week the furthest I went was the post box (probably 3 minutes away) and a single trip to the supermarket (approx. 5-7 minutes walk), but on I think the Wednesday I had to take a tram to near the train station to pick up a prescription – I have a repeat prescription at the chemist next to my doctor’s surgery (the ones for IVF stuff are near the fertility clinic but I obviously won’t be needing any of that for a while!). The tram was basically empty but there were about 10 people at the pharmacy (queuing out the door since they had to keep their distance and there was a system in one place where you entered through one door and left through the other).

Weirdly, during that week it was the one year anniversary of my due date. So if things hadn’t gone wrong I would have had two 1-year-olds now and been returning from maternity leave in the middle of this pandemic. Not sure how I feel about that. It’s weird. However, I will say that I am sick of people either making “hilarious” jokes about a baby boom in nine months or complaining about being at home with their children – and I get that it’s hard being stuck inside and struggling to entertain them while the whole world seems to be collapsing, but those aren’t the complaints I mean. If you’ve seen them you’ll know.

Anyway… I went back to work on the 23rd and discovered that by then all my colleagues were working from home. Luckily that’s always an option so everyone already had everything set up. I also found out the company would be applying for “short term working” at some point and on the Friday my boss spoke to everyone via a Skype call and explained that they would be applying from 1st April and exactly how it would work, although I later learned they can’t apply for me. Luckily I’ve had plenty of work so far – currently I have enough to last until the end of Monday and I also have 24 hours of overtime I can use. That week (which was last week) I went out twice – to the supermarket on Thursday where I bought enough for a week and Jan and I went for a walk on the Saturday. As soon as we reached the field we wanted to walk around I felt guilty for adding to the masses  – I’ve never seen so many people there!

And that pretty much brings us to the end of March. The one other thing I have to mention is that I called the fertility clinic on Friday only to be met with an answering machine message stating they are closed and all current and future treatment is cancelled until further notice. I was expecting it but it’s still a bit of a blow. Who knows when we will be able to try another transfer now? I don’t expect it to happen before the summer anyway.

Let’s end this with something good… on the last day of the month I received mail that I didn’t remember ordering. It turned out to be a colouring book from my good friend Naomi with the message to make it pretty while stuck indoors. I know her in real life (from school!) but she has a blog, which you can read here.

And so endeth the first of my lockdown diaries.

How have you been keeping yourself occupied at home? Or are you one of those that still has to go out for work? (In  which case THANK YOU for ensuring that society keeps running, and if you work in care of the health service for looking after those in need. I for one appreciate your efforts).

One more thing – don’t forget check out the link up!

Recent doings #31

Hello lovely readers. I don’t know how it was for anyone else, but for me August went fast! I can’t believe it’s September already and time for another round-up of what I’ve spent the past month doing. As always on the first Thursday of the month, I’m linking up with Kristen for What’s New With You? So, here’s what I did in August.

whats new with you

Eating. This is really bad, but I ate so many plain (as in just salted) crisps in August. So many. I’m not proud. Also tinned soup.

Drinking. Ice tea… the shop bought kind that’s full of sugar. Again, not the most nutritious. But it’s refreshing and it’s been too hot for normal tea. I’ve also been drinking Rhubarb juice – I found it when we went to a supermarket in Germany and I was intrigued so into the basket it went.

Reading. I read a lot in August, and managed to finish Erin’s reading challenge. The longest book I read was probably Outlander. Unnecessarily long if you ask me…

Watching. We went to the open air cinema and watched the new Jumanji film. I really enjoyed it. I liked how they made it recognisably related to the first one but a different concept so it didn’t feel too repetitive. And I thought the brief mention of Alan Parrish (Robin Williams’ character in the first film) was a nice touch.

Cross stitching. Birthday cards for my brother and my godson. Both have their birthdays in September, so their gifts needed to be sent off in August to make sure they arrived on time.

Making. A pattern I stitched in July into a birthday card for a friend’s son – sometimes I stitch things then take ages to actually do the card-making part!

bear birthday card

Seeing/hearing. The original Blues Brothers! They were at a free music festival in Basel so obviously I had to go and see them.  Then Jan and I went to a performance on Friday (31 August – so just about last month) featuring someone Jan is in a choir with. Even when Jan isn’t directly involved I have to go and support his choir members 😉 It was bizarre but very cool.

Celebrating. My birthday! I was working during the day and in the evening Jan had his first choir practice after the summer break the day of my birthday so he couldn’t really miss it, but I treated myself to cake and we went out for a meal the following evening. I got some lovely gifts and enjoyed relaxing and having control of the remote for a change 😉

Winning. At mini-golf… as you will know if you read my last post. One item off the 40 before 40 list already. Woo hoo!

Buying. All the books…. I’m so bad. And soup… I placed an order with British Corner Soup and the day it arrived I immediately had Scotch broth for lunch. YUM!

Also, a few updates ago, you may remember me hinting about something else that was going on around here that I couldn’t tell you about yet. Well, after multiple rounds of interviews with various increasingly higher up people, I can now reveal that Jan has a new job! He starts in November and it will be in Zurich, but we have no plans to move – at least for the moment. We both love living in Basel and he thinks the commute will be similar to his current one so we’ll see how it goes.

I don’t know what else to tell you about August. Jan was away one weekend for a choir practice weekend. I was pretty much just here and mostly working. As I mentioned in the intro, I feel like the entire month went by in a flash… but I’m okay with that. Next Friday we have visitors coming and I have the last two weeks of September off work so I’m very much looking forward to the next few weeks.

How was your August? I hope you all had a good one! Check out the link up to see what’s new with Kristen and all the other participants.

Recent doings #27

Hello friends! I am writing this introduction before work (I did the rest of the post yesterday so it was almost ready to go). In a few minutes, the washing machine will be finished and I can go and get my clothes… I finally managed to do laundry after getting up extra early yesterday only to find the machine in use. I have no idea which neighbour had stolen it since clearly my name was on the sign-up sheet. (Well, technically Jan’s but same thing). Roll on the day that I have my own washing machine! So now I’ve been up extra early two days in a row, and tomorrow I have to be up even earlier since it’s my Friday to be in the office. Whinge, whine, complain, etc. Anyway, it’s the first Thursday of another month and that means it’s time to link up with Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You? Here’s what I got up to in March.

8fdf5-whats2bnew2bwith2byou

Eating. All the bad things. Honestly, you don’t even want to know how much sugar I consumed! Other than that, I was trying to eat fish twice a week in March but I only actually succeeded on two weeks of the month.

Drinking. Way too much (normal, i.e. black) tea. I really need to cut down on my caffeine consumption!

Reading. I will tell you all the books I read next week, but I feel like I can’t mention often enough that I actually finished Anna Karenina!

Watching. We actually watched a lot in March… way more than usual. Jan kept wanting to watch films, so we ended up watching A League of Their Own (one of my favourites but he had never seen it!), In Bruges, The Imitation Game… I feel like we watched another film but I don’t remember what it was. We’ve also been watching Young Sheldon. We still have last week’s to watch though, since Jan was away. Hopefully it recorded… I forgot to check.

Celebrating. Jan’s birthday. Well, he never wants to celebrate properly but I have him gifts and bought a little cake for us to eat after dinner.

Making. Birthday cards for Post Pals children, as always. Side note: the balloon dies I used for the card below may just turn out to be my best purchase of the year. So useful!

balloon card

Cross stitching. A card for a Post Pals child.

Buying. What did I buy, apart from books, which is too obvious to mention? Stickers. Washi tape. Oh, I bought a yoga mat. Not that I plan to take up yoga, but Jillian Michaels’ DVD has parts where you have to lie on the floor and I’m hoping the mat will be more comfortable than our living room rug. I’ve had the thing for 2 weeks and haven’t actually tried it out yet.

Booking. My first ever Airbnb. I mean, I’ve stayed in Airbnbs before, but it was never me organising them. This one is for us to stay in when we go to my cousin’s confirmation near Munich in May.

Burning. A candle called Rainy Day Reads. The scent is supposed to be Fresh rain, ginger, lavender. I have no idea what fresh rain is supposed to smell like. I mean, it’s basically water so doesn’t it depend on where it falls/what’s in the air at the time? (The candle smells good though.)

Seeing/hearing. Jan perform with one of his choirs… the same one he is currently on a trip with. It was an interesting program and they performed one of the songs I like best. Plus I got to go for pizza with them all afterwards, so that was cool.

That’s it. If I did anything else this month I don’t remember it. And the part of Easter weekend that was in March I pretty much spent spring cleaning my flat. So… what did you get up to in March? I hope you had a good one. Go check out the link up to see what everyone else got up to in March (and add your link, if you feel that way inclined).

Making cards with stickers (and stencils)

Recently Kezzie wrote about some easy cards she had made using stickers.
It just so happens that there are a lot of Post Pals birthdays in October – too many for me to cross stitch a card for all of them – so I, too, have been making cards using stickers… and stencils. Here are the few that I actually remembered to take a photo of. Apologies for the blurriness of some photos – I think my camera is officially dying.

unicorn card

 

football card

 

Happy birthday

 

lion-fox card

If you’re wondering where the stencils come in the “Happy Birthday” on the unicorn card (including the frame around it) was a stencil (that card is also the only one that doesn’t include any stickers) and on Harrison’s card both the banner and the speech bubbles were drawn using a stencil and then cut out.

My favourite of these is Samuel’s – I especially love the 3D letter stickers. The one I’m least sure about is the football one.

Do you make cards using stickers? Any tips for me? And what do you think of these ones?

If you would like to send a birthday card to a sick child, go here and scroll through the list to see which pals have birthdays coming up. And to make life just a little easier for you, here are two links: Rida and Harrison both have birthdays on 8th October – plenty of time for you to choose and send a card!

Recent doings #16

Another month has passed (it’s already April!), and that means it’s time to link up with Kristin and Gretch to talk about what I’ve been up to recently.

whats-new

Here are my March doings:

Reading. So many books. So, so many. First, I finished the bonus round for Erin’s challenge. Plus I read The Day of the Triffids intending for it to be my book for “a genre you rarely read” (science fiction), except then I had to change it because I didn’t have 5 previously chosen books on my list. And I read the next three books in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, two of them on the same day. That’s how much I love them! In total I read 16 books in March and started another.

Watching. Some film called “Planet 51” that Jan found while flicking through channels. It was cute. Also Come Dine With Me (guilty pleasure!) and I recently discovered the Father Brown TV series so I’ve been watching that occasionally, when I manage to catch it.

Learning. About Wales, but no Welsh yet because I haven’t got to the language portion of my OU course. Also to loom knit – my latest hobby. I have made a few practice hats that wouldn’t even fit a newborn and also one sock for myself. It is recognisably a sock and even fits me, but I haven’t made the second one yet because I ran out of wool – or I suppose I should say yarn now like people who know what they’re talking about.

Celebrating. Jan’s birthday, on the 1st of the month. Not that we celebrated much since he doesn’t care about his birthday (weird, right?) and went to work, but he got gifts and I baked cupcakes so there’s that.

Attending. Fasnacht stuff, including the fire parade in Liestal and the 4 a.m. parade (“Morgestraich”) in Basel.

Trump lantern
Morgestraich. Trump featured on quite a few lanterns…

Eating. Do you know what… you can just look here if you haven’t already. That’s basically our diet, with a few other dishes thrown in (three bean chilli, various soup/broth type things, curry, cottage pie…).

Drinking. I’ve kind of given up on the caffeine avoidance and been drinking a lot of ordinary black tea… I will get better at that again, but lately I’ve been so tired that a proper cuppa in the afternoon has been the only thing that kept me going long enough to actually make dinner!

Buying. Uhh… what haven’t I been buying more like? Books, wool (yarn), crafting supplies, a turtle necklace (too cute to resist!), a Mother’s Day gift for my mam. I have been very bad and I should feel bad, but I really don’t. Must curb my spending this month though…

Seeing. Or hearing? I’m never sure what to say when it comes to concerts! Anyway, we finally saw The King’s Singers, which I gave Jan tickets for at Christmas but the concert was only this month. Plus Jan performed with his choir so of course I went to one of those performances (but not all 4 because seeing the same concert four times would have been slightly excessive!)

Hosting. One friend who came to stay for the weekend just to see us and then four people from Jan’s former choir who came to watch him perform with his current choir.

And I think that’s all. At least nothing else comes to mind. It should give you a pretty good idea of how I spent my time in March anyway.

What have you been doing recently?

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – Round 3

Moving on with my cross stitch guessing game…

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

guess-the-cross-stitch

And here are your guesses:

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

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

Jowi guessed a train.

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

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

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

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

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

Why don’t you give this picture a go?

guess-the-cross-stitch

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

 

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – round 2

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

Here’s what you had to work with:

guess-the-cross-stitch

 

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

Erin guessed a castle.

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

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

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

guess-the-cross-stitch

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