I haven’t been able to cross stitch as much as usual this year, but amazingly I did manage to get a few birthday cards out. My friend’s daughter who turned two in April had to make do with a card from Moonpig but I have managed to stitch and send out a total of 6 cards so far this year! This post will feature three of them for birthdays up to July – there should have been a fourth but I apparently didn’t take a photo of it (and now I’m questioning whether I actually stitched it at all. I’m sure I sent one to my friend’s son but I have absolutely no memory of what I actually stitched…).
Card number one was for my grandma. Her birthday is in January but the image I chose feels very autumny. I just thought it was cute, okay?
Next is a friend’s daughter, who turned 2 in June. I chose a cat for her. It’s quite pink!
Finally, another friend’s son turned 1 on 1st July. I love this panda bearing a gift! I’ve previously stitched another panda from the same set – that one was holding a cake.
I have just posted my brother’s card for his 16th birthday on 1st September and am working on the next birthday card. After that it will be time to start turning my attention to Christmas. This year is going way too fast!
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.
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.
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…).
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 ;-).
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.
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!
Hello lovely readers! I’m juuuust sneaking this post in before the end of the month. The chosen date for the final photo an hour of 2020 was 12th December. I didn’t actually realise until I belatedly chanced across a tweet though, so my photos start halfway through the day. Let’s have a look at what I did, shall we?
12 noon. Cross stitching one final Christmas card.
1 p.m. Shower time. Yes I was in my pyjamas until then. Sssh – this is a judgement free zone!
2 p.m. Dressed and heading out.
3 p.m. Walked into town, now to drop off some books (goodbye and good riddance Truly Devious series!). I get quite a few of the books I read from this and the other free public bookcases dotted around town – particularly older books and German ones. I found The Bell Jar in this very bookcase!
4 p.m. Picked up some shopping, now heading home. Cue awkward bus photo – although it was surprisingly empty.
5 p.m. Home, shopping put away… time to hoover.
6 p.m. Finally writing a long overdue blog post (this one, if you’re curious).
7 p.m. Peeling potatoes for tea.
8 p.m. Food is ready. I may have made too many peas!
9 p.m. Back to cross stitching.
10 p.m. Determined to finish a book before going to sleep! I had 120 pages left.
11 p.m. Final photo of the day… joining Eeyore in bed. I took my book with me and did indeed finish it, but didn’t take any more photos.
And that’s it. Not a particularly exciting day. But then again, they never are. Until next year, photo an hour fans!
Hello friends! Today I am bringing you a round-up of my photo an hour from November, in the hope that I might actually get December’s posted before the end of the year… hahahaha. We’ll see. Anyway, here’s what I got up to on November’s chosen date:
10 a.m. Washing some dishes while I wait for the kettle to boil (that spoon is one that failed to get clean in the dishwasher!)
11 a.m. Quickly getting some hoovering in before quiet time starts at 12.
12 noon. Getting on with some cross stitch… not long left to finish those Christmas cards.
1 p.m. Went to get the mail and this book had arrived. Yay!
2 p.m. Jan got up (about 15 minutes before I took those photo), so I could finally put on some washing.
3 p.m. Tea break! Green tea for me since it’s ever so slightly healthier (maybe) and we’re hoping to be able to carry on with fertility treatment soon.
4 p.m. Waiting for Jan to have a shower so we can go for a walk. I was literally just standing waiting so I had no idea what to take a photo of!
5 p.m. Walking through a park. This is the entrance to a Kindergarten!
6 p.m. Home… time to cook tea.
7 p.m. Corned beef hash doesn’t look very attractive but it tastes good!
8 p.m. More stitching – it’s getting there!
9 p.m. Making hot chocolate. Yum.
10 p.m. On to the back stitch!
11 p.m. Final photo of the day. Off to bed with a book.
As always, photo an hour was hosted by Jane and Louisa.
Hello friends! On Saturday (which was *somehow* almost a week ago!) I took part in November’s photo an hour, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t even written a blog post for October’s one yet! So that’s what I’m doing now. The chosen date was Halloween, but that isn’t actually a thing in Switzerland so for me it was just a normal Saturday. Jan was out at choir practice for most of it, leaving me to clean the flat…
9 a.m. An earlier start than usual since Jan had to be at his rehearsal by 9:30. Starting the day with tea, of course – in the best mug!
10 a.m. Getting started on another cross-stitched Christmas card.
11 a.m. Enough sitting around… time to change the bedding.
12 noon. Emptying the dishwasher (so that I can refill it…)
1 p.m. A quick break for lunch. Lentil hotpot thingy.
2 p.m. I missed the morning window for hoovering (should have done that before emptying the dishwasher!) but now quiet time is over so I’m allowed.
3 p.m. Another task that had to wait until after quiet time – taking away some recycling.
4 p.m. Home – after a stop at the supermarket. Now to clean the bathrooms.
5 p.m. “Make apple and blackberry crumble” wasn’t on my last of things I *needed* to do that day, but I made one anyway (and it was delicious).
6 p.m. Back to cross stitch while dinner cooks. (I have no memory of what we actually ate).
7 p.m. Persuaded Jan to watch Heathers with me while we ate. I don’t think he was impressed, but I still like it.
8 p.m. Still watching Heathers while cross stitching.
9 p.m. Still stitching away. Nearly finished!
10 p.m. In my pyjamas, about to go to sleep. At 10. On a Saturday. Because apparently I’m 90.
And that was my Halloween 2020. Maybe I’ll actually get round to posting November’s photo an hour soon… not that it’s any more exciting than this one but I like having them.
Hello friends! Kristen isn’t hosting her link up this month because she has too much going on, but I wanted to write a recap anyway because I like having them to look back on.
Switzerland decided to allow large events with up to 1000 people – including allowing crowds at football matches – from 1st October even though coronavirus cases had been steadily creeping up throughout September. So we started October with an average of around 300 new cases per day and ended it with around 7000 cases per day… a fact which surprised absolutely nobody except, apparently, the Swiss Government. It took until 28th October for them to finally hold a press conference and introduce stricter measures (although individual cantons had introduced their own stricter measures before that). Those “stricter measures” ended up being masks to be worn in all public buildings (shops, museums, etc.), night clubs to close, bars and restaurants only allowed 4 people per table and have to close at 11 p.m., a maximum of 10 people allowed to get together, events back down to a maximum of 50 people, stricter rules for contact sport and choirs, and universities had to switch to virtual classes. That’s it. While the rest of Europe went into some kind of lockdown or “lockdown light”, Switzerland’s shops remain open, many employers still insist on everyone coming into the office (even if they could theoretically work from home) and plenty of people are continuing to go to bars and restaurants as normal. Yay Switzerland!
Four days before the new measures were announced, one of Jan’s choirs had a concert. In the days leading up to it a few cantons introduced measures banning choirs from singing, but Basel wasn’t one of them. So the concert went ahead – with a live stream as an option for those who didn’t want to risk actually going to the event. Obviously I had to physically be there and show my support though. I had a ticket for row 9, which was the first row – all the seats from rows 1-8 had been removed, so there was a huge distance between the audience and the choir. Before entering the building everyone was asked to keep their distance from other people and wear a mask, and the entire audience had to wear masks throughout the performance as well – although I was disappointed that they hadn’t separated the seats so different groups were still sitting right next to each other. Luckily there was an empty seat on one side of me, so I made sure to face in that direction throughout the entire concert (I faced the front/towards the choir, of course, but at the same time looked towards my right if you get what I mean?). A friend of ours had a ticket but chose to stay home and watch the live stream.
Apart from the supermarket, the fertility clinic and my weekly walks, the day of the concert was the only time I properly left the house and went among people in October. Knowing the new measures were coming in 4 days, I went into town on the day of the concert to try and pick up a few Christmas presents while it was still possible. I also stocked up on craft supplies for all the Christmas cards I have to make.
Speaking of crafting, I finished making all my Halloween cards to send to post Pals families and got them posted out, then I started on Christmas crafts. Post Pals is having an auction soon to raise money so I made some things for that (cards and felt Christmas tree ornaments), made a start on my own Christmas cards and also stitched a birthday card for my little cousin in New Zealand.
A friend of Jan’s who he knows from choirs has been staying with her boyfriend throughout the pandemic and she was struggling because she couldn’t concentrate on her studies. He lives in a shared flat and someone was always around making noise, etc., so Jan offered for her to come to our place to work (don’t worry – he did ask me first whether it would be okay!). Since we moved our dining table into the spare room back in March to make an office for Jan, we had to fetch the other table in from the balcony – it’s technically also a dining table, but since we don’t have balcony furniture it usually lives out there. It looks exactly the way you would expect from something that’s been out in the weather, so I decided to buy a tablecloth for it. When I asked Jan what he thought his response was “It’s a tablecloth” but whatever, I like it! (And it was reduced to about a third of the usual price, so bonus.) It’s kind of big but I’m hoping to one day get a nicer and possibly slightly larger table that it will fit better.
So now that table/room is in use a few days a week. It’s all very coronavirus restriction-compliant – she has a mask on when she comes in and we stand apart from each other (no hugging!), she gets the dining room area all to herself (Jan and I each have separate “offices” to work in), she brings her own water bottle and if she has a cup of tea or coffee she places the cup in the dishwasher herself. And of course we have plenty of soap and disinfectant for hand cleaning. It’s probably safer than some actual workplaces!
At the end of the month I went on my usual autumn walk along a nearby stream, as I have every year since we moved here. Despite the lovely sunshine I saw precisely one person, sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette. The photos for that will be up soon once I get around to sorting and resizing them.
Apart from that I read – although not as much as usual – and we watched Richard Osman’s House of Games regularly. I also persuaded Jan to watch Heathers with me on Halloween. He didn’t seem impressed, but oh well. I still like it. It’s better than some of the crap he’s made me watch (*cough* Indiana Jones *cough*).
And that’s all I want to tell you today. The days are getting shorter and shorter and cases of coronavirus are higher than ever (over 10,000 on two days last week!) so I will most likely be leaving the house even less in November, but we’ll see what I manage to report next month. Until then stay safe and keep smiling!
And just like that September is over! I feel like it’s flown by, even though I didn’t actually do anything. Seriously, I have no idea what I’m even going to write in this post! Obviously I did not manage to find the time or energy to blog… sorry about that. I didn’t mean to promise holiday photos and then disappear for a month. I will try to get something up soon. But today it’s the first Thursday of the month so I’m going to give you a recap, even though the What’s New With You link up doesn’t seem to be up yet. I hope everything is okay with Kristen!
So what is new with me? Honestly, nothing much. In September I read a lot – a total of 18 books, or I read 17 and listened to 1 if you want to be precise. I cross stitched a lot. My godson turned 8, which is scary. Surely he’s still a toddler? I made Halloween cards to send to Post Pals children (I still have another 10 left to do!).
I watched Richard Osman’s House of Games almost every week night – except when they moved it because of stupid athletics. On Tuesday I went to the office in Germany for the first time since March because a colleague was leaving and I wanted to see her one more time and say goodbye. It was fine. The trains weren’t too full – the one on the way back was more full than on the way there, but not to the extent of people standing in the corridors, crammed in like sardines (I specifically took an earlier train home because my usual train one is of the sardine variety).
I had to have more blood tests to rule out certain things after every attempt at IVF so far has either failed entirely or ended in miscarriage. When I first had it done back in July one value came back high so the tests had to be repeated. This time all was normal though, which means I don’t have to inject myself with blood thinners every day if I ever do get pregnant again (yay!) but also means we’re back to having no real explanation for why things aren’t working (boo!). I guess most people would give up at this point and say the universe doesn’t want them to be a mother, but we have two embryos left and I have every intention of using them!
I am continuing to going for walks once a week, even if it’s raining. Most of September’s weren’t too exciting though – I just went into town and stopped by the free public bookcase to drop off some books. One Sunday Jan came with me and we went for a walk in the woods, stopping to say hi to the horses.
Switzerland added the UK to its quarantine list, but it doesn’t matter because Switzerland was already on the UK’s quarantine list so I couldn’t have gone there anyway. It’s lucky we spent last Christmas in England since who knows when I will be able to see my family again? Germany added some parts of Switzerland to its list of risk countries, but Basel is currently okay. Cantons Geneva, Vaud and Fribourg are currently on the list.
And on a non-September related note, my brother turns 30 tomorrow (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!), which makes me feel ancient! So annoying that stupid covid means I don’t get to celebrate with him.