Recent doings #28

Before I start this post can we just take a minute to think about the fact that it is now June? The sixth month of the year. We are almost half-way through 2018 and I feel like I have absolutely nothing to show for it. Although I have read 87 books so far this year, so that’s something, I suppose. Anyway, today I am here to tell you about the month that’s just ended. So without further ado, here is what I got up to in May:

whats new with you

Reading. I read 11 books in May and finished another that I had started in April. You’ll find out all about them on Tuesday. I also continued with Pillars of the Earth but I’m still not even halfway through.

Listening to. We hired a car to drive to where my uncle lives near Munich and listened to Welcome to Night Vale on the way there. Coming home, we listened to part of the audiobook of M is for Magic, written and read by Neil Gaiman.

Watching. We are still watching Young Sheldon, so that. Also, we went to the cinema in May – for the first time since moving to Switzerland! We saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It was odd but good. I can’t remember whether I watched anything else in May. Jan watched random stuff, as always, but I usually don’t pay much attention.

Eating. Umm… what did I eat in May? I started the month quite well with salads and whatnot. Then after putting the half kilogram I had lost back on then failing to lose any more weight I temporarily gave up and consumed way too much ice cream. The trip to Munich didn’t help either! I’m back on the wagon now, but heavier than ever. Ugh.

Making. Birthday cards for Post Pals kids. I don’t seem to do much else these days.

Cross stitching. I finished the wedding card I started last month and also stitched a goat card for a Post Pals sibling.

Travelling. To just outside Munich for my cousin’s confirmation and then to England at the end of the month for the wedding I stitched the card for. On the way back from Munich we went to the Partnach Gorge near Garmisch-Patenkirchen with my Munich-dwelling uncle plus my aunt and uncle who came over from England for the confirmation. My camera couldn’t cope at all with the combination of bright light outside/darkness in the gorge, but here’s one of the photos that turned out okay-ish.

Partnachklamm

Going. To a set of waterfalls called the Trümmelbachfälle. Basically ten glacier-fed waterfalls inside a mountain. It’s very, very cool to look at! On the way back we stopped in Spiez and were going to play mini golf but we didn’t have cash and the only banks were right on top of the hill.

Celebrating. My cousin’s confirmation. There was a long church service then we went for a three-course meal. I did not, however, celebrate my friend’s wedding in May because it didn’t happen until June 😉

Buying. I put myself on a sort-of mini spending ban in May, but still bought four books because I could not resist. That’s a lot less than usual though. I also bought shoes, which was a necessary expense because I didn’t have a suitable pair for the wedding! And I bought two necklaces from Etsy (they were on sale and they were way too cool for me not to own them). Obviously I suck at not spending.

Walking. I tried to walk into town at least once a week and Jan and I also took a 3-hour walk from our place to the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. The final part of the walk was a sculpture trail called “24 stops” that ends at the Vitra Design Museum (or starts there depending which way round you do it). And we went for a walk along the beach with my mam and brother while we were in England (that was on 31st May so still last month). Once again, walking was my only exercise. The exercise mat I bought continues to watch me accusingly as I consistently ignore it.

Basel 24 stops
One of the 24 Stops sculptures

Seeing/hearing. A musician called Christian Zehnder who Jan performed with once. Christian Zehnder is a “vocal artist” who mainly does what’s known as “throat singing” or “overtone singing”. This time he was with another musician who was playing a hurdy gurdy. If I say it was unusual it sounds as if I didn’t like it, but I actually did. Unusual (or interesting) really is the best adjective to describe it though!

Umm, I can’t think of anything else of note that I did in May. Jan had choir stuff practically every weekend so I spent most of my time home alone either reading or cleaning/sorting. I managed to take about 25 books to the public bookshelf over the course of the month – and still have about another 30 to get rid of!

So, that’s all from me. What have you been doing recently? I’m linking up with Kristen, as always.

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A Photo an Hour: 28 April 2018

I meant to write this post yesterday, but clearly I did not. But today is a holiday (May Day) and Jan is too busy to do anything with me so I actually have time to resize all the photos. Here’s what I got up to on Saturdays photo an hour day.

10 a.m. Making breakfast… porridge and a cuppa.

11 a.m. Helping Jan look for a receipt he needed to pick up some trousers he was having mended. It turned out to be very sensibly on the notice board… where neither of us had thought to look!

12 noon. Starting some cross stitch, even though I was missing half the colours I needed.

1 p.m. I had a shower and now the walking shoes are on because we’re off out.

2 p.m. On the smallest bus ever!

3 p.m. After a half hour walk through the woods, we’re at St Chrischona!

4 p.m. We walked around the woods some more then stopped for a beer.

5 p.m. Heading home… waiting for a tram.

6 p.m. Back to my cross stitch.

7 p.m. Jan was off to a barbecue, so I heated the oven ready to make my dinner.

8 p.m. Finally food! If I’d realised it needed so long I would have started earlier. (Also, I slightly overcooked it, but it was okay)

9 p.m. I started a jigsaw puzzle while I was waiting for dinner and continued after I ate.

10 p.m. Still puzzling. Got a bit further.

11 p.m. Time for  bed, where Eeyore already awaits.

And that was my Saturday. I hope you all had a good one!

Switzerland, three years on

Basel

Today is exactly three years since we packed the last of our stuff in a van (the rest having been taken a month earlier when Jan moved), said a final goodbye to our flat in Karlsruhe and I came to join Jan here in Basel. So, what’s been going on?

I still have the exact same four friends/acquaintances as last year, but our friends who moved here from Karlsruhe will probably be returning to Germany soon and I’ll be back down to two. I was hoping Jan would make friends for both of us, but despite him being involved in more choirs and singing projects than I can count I rarely get to actually meet any of the people he spends time with. I’ve been to every single one of his concerts and even joined the performers for dinner after some of them, but once it’s been established that I don’t (can’t!) sing, the rest of the conversation goes on without me. Basically I need to find some less antisocial hobbies… and the courage to go out and meet people by myself.

Other than that, we have visited even more places in Switzerland, including Geneva (finally), Spiez (in the dark!) and Castle Chillon, tried quite a few new restaurants in Basel, watched the fireworks for Switzerland’s national day and attended both Fasnacht in Basel and the Liestal fire parade again this year. We had fewer visitors in 2017, but have already had one in 2018 and will hopefully be seeing more later in the year.

basel-rhine

All in all, I am still very much enjoying living here and I hope we can continue living here for a very long time!

Friday letters

Hello friends! (I hope none of you mind being called friends?). It’s finally Friday and I haven’t done Friday letters for a while, so I thought I would today. Here goes.

Friday letters

Dear Switzerland. A recent blog post by Kezzie and a slightly less recent one by Hazel have reminded my once again of how badly you need to up your recycling game. After being able to place basically all packaging in the recyclables bin in Germany I find it so frustrating to have to throw so much into the ordinary household waste here (and yes, I take my plastic bottles back to the supermarket but they won’t accept yoghurt pots or toothpaste tubes, for instance). Even Britain has recycling bins. Sort it out, Switzerland!

Dear unread books. I recently rearranged my shelves so that most of you are together and I hadn’t realised quite how many of you I own! I really need to start reading books I own before buying more…

unread books
I actually have more unread books than this, but I couldn’t fit any more on these shelves. Also, I excluded classics & non-fiction entirely since they have specific sections on my bookcases.

Dear water. Why is it so difficult to remember to drink enough of you? Must try harder!

Dear Basel cinemas. Why aren’t you showing the new Jumanji film in English? Just because it’s aimed at children doesn’t mean nobody wants to see it in the original language – do you know how many English-speaking children there are in the region?

Dear weekend. I’m glad you’re almost here. I’ve been very tired this week and I’m looking forward to a lie in!

Dear boyfriend. Thank you for sorting out the dishwasher and not complaining (often) when I fail to put away my lunch dishes.

That’s all for today folks. Happy Friday, wherever you are.

Autumn walk 2017

Around this time last year, I went for a walk along a stream near where I live. A year before that I had walked along the same stream and taken photos of the gorgeous autumn colours. It was only afterwards that I realised the photos had been taken on the same day. This year I wanted to take photos on the same day again, but unfortunately I misremembered the date and thought the others had been taken on 31st October. Actually, it was the 30th. Oh well…one day out is basically the same, right?

The trees have been weird this year with some of them changing from green to yellow then brown and finally losing most of their leaves all within a single weekend (a few weeks ago) while others are still looking very green even now. Two years ago I’m sure all the trees were red and yellow and orange at this stage? Anyway, here are some photos of this year’s autumn walk.

Leaving the house immediately proved worth it when I saw this guy mere minutes into my walk:

squirrel

As you can see, it was an absolutely glorious day for a walk. Hard to believe it had been freezing cold and rainy just two days earlier!

And finally, here’s a comparison of this year with the autumns of the past two years:

From left to right, the end of October 2015, 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately the photos weren’t taken in the exact same place/direction, but they are very close together and you definitely get an idea of how different the colours have been at the exact same time of year! I actually think last year was even greener… this year’s photo looks more yellow, while 2015 had all the orange. Now let’s hope we’re still here at this time next year so I can see what the colours are doing then!

Recent doings #22

It’s time for the What’s New With You link up again, and that means yet another month is over and done with. I know I always say I can’t believe how quickly time is flying, but this time the month sped by so quickly that I almost didn’t post my brother’s birthday card in time! Luckily my brain just about managed to switch from “it’s only mid-September” to “crap, it’s nearly the end of September” in time for me to get it written and posted (his birthday was on Monday). Anywaaaay… let me tell you about what I was doing in September.

whats-new

Reading. Not books from the BBC Big Read even though I should be! I read six books in September… come back on Tuesday to find out what they were 😉

Listening to. Welcome to Night Vale. We actually finished listening to the audio book before the next novel was published! A miracle. We also listened to two episodes of the podcast and as of right now we are a mere three episodes behind. Wow!

Watching. There never seems to be anything interesting on when I switch on the TV., so I usually end up flicking through then switching it back off. Jan watches MoMa (German breakfast TV) and I kind of passively watch too, so I guess that.

Eating. Pumpkins! And squashes too, I suppose (although in German it’s all Kürbis). We’ve had pumpkin stew, pumpkin and chickpea curry, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin mash. I love pumpkin season!

Drinking. Nettle tea. I’m trying to be as healthy as possible and that means cutting down on caffeine (except my morning cuppa – that has to be normal tea). Plus nettles are full of calcium – important since I hate drinking milk.

Buying. Craft supplies – mainly stickers and buttons. Oh, and shoes for my sister’s wedding. (If we work on the assumption that Jan’s money is my money then we also a bookcase and some other bits from IKEA 😉 )

Going to. Castle Chillon on Lake Geneva. And also Karlsruhe to see Jan’s former choir perform and meet up with friends.

Chillon
Castle Chillon

Making. Cards, cards, cards. All for Post Pals.

Cross stitching. Designs for Christmas cards… not long now!

Unpacking. A box of books (uni books, not the fun kind). It had been sitting in my “office” since we moved in but with the new small Billy we bought I was finally able to get it unpacked. Hurrah!

And that’s about it – the only other thing I did in September was work. I lost count of the number of times I was given so much to do in the morning that I couldn’t even think about taking a lunch break until 2 p.m. On a few of those occasions, I then had very little to do for the rest of the day. I’m hoping things will be a little more evenly spread in October…

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch, of course.

What have you been doing recently?

Shooting stars for 34 years of me!

As you may or may not have noticed, it was my birthday on Sunday. I’m now 34 – less than a year until I have to tick the next category in age ranges (why is it always 35 to something) and less than a year left for my 35 before 35. Eeep. Obviously, 34 doesn’t feel too different so far. Obviously I am another year older, but at this point I’m also only 4 days older than I was before my birthday…

Part of my gift from Jan was a trip to look for shooting stars. As you may know, the Perseids is a meteor shower that takes place every year from around mid-July, peaking between the 12th and 14th of August… i.e. right around my birthday. Since it was cloudy in Basel on the 12th, we had to go hunting for them elsewhere. So Jan hired a car, which he eventually managed to pick up in the afternoon after some mix up about where it was. Since it was still light, we went to Solothurn first, where we were just in time to climb the tower of the Baseltor before it closed.

Back down on the ground, we took a walk through Solothurn and then went for dinner (I had tuna steak. It was delicious). Then I decided since it was my last meal as a 33 year old I deserved dessert. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. Yum! I didn’t take any photos of the food, but here’s one of the restaurant we ate at:

Brasserie Federal_Solothurn
Brasserie Federal, Solothurn

After dinner, we got back in the car and drove in a generally south-ish direction, hoping to find somewhere less cloudy. We eventually got to Bern, where we checked the cloud radar and decided to move further south. We eventually ended up in Spiez, which is where we got out of the car. First we went down to the lakeside (Lake Thun for those who are interested) and then we headed up to a castle on a hill so that we could see more of the sky at once. I still only managed to spot a grand total of three shooting stars the entire time we were there, but we did see a bat, which is always cool. Midnight struck while we were by the castle, but unfortunately no meteorite showed itself to wish me a happy birthday 😉 From what I could see, Spiez looked like a nice place. We’ll have to go when it’s light some time. Here’s the castle and a church that was opposite it – I thought the moon beside it (half hidden behind a cloud) looked cool.

It was 2 a.m. by the time we got home, so all I did was go to bed, leaving my cards for the morning.

Such a beautiful place to see in my 34th birthday. Once again, I’m so glad we took the chance and moved to Switzerland.