A photo an hour: Sunday 12 June 2016

*I tried to write this post yesterday, but WordPress was having none of it, so let’s try again!*

Sundays are always the worst photo an hour days, mostly because there’s nothing to do in Switzerland. I’m not even supposed to hoover! (Although I sometimes hoover the bathrooms anyway since the fan in there is louder than my hoover and nobody would tell me I can’t shower on Sundays!). So welcome to the most boring photo an hour ever 😉

10:30 a.m. Starting the day with a cuppa. One of these days I’m going to start reusing pics from previous photo and hour posts to see whether anyone notices 😉

11:30 a.m. Folding some clean clothes. Can’t put them away yet since Jan is still sleeping…

12:30 p.m. Making scrambled eggs for lunch.

1:30 p.m. Herbal tea time.

2:30 p.m. Watching the news (also, I feel the need to point out that I showered between the last photo and this one. I wasn’t smelly all day!)

3:30 p.m. Jan put football on, but this was the match I had least interest in that day (sorry Turkey and Croatia!) so I only half paid attention to it while colouring in my new colouring book.

4:30 p.m. Still colouring, now with tea!

5:30 p.m. Starting to make some healthy snacks for a picnic type dinner.

6:30 p.m. Snacks!

7:30 p.m. Courgette crisps… kind of. They weren’t all that crispy. More experimentation needed. (I suppose you can call them zucchini chips if you like, but I prefer alliteration!)

8:30 p.m. Ready to support Ukraine! (Sorry Germany – I’ll support you again in other matches)

9:30 p.m. Watching football.

10:30 p.m. Football still on… keeping me up past my bedtime. Disappointed that Ukraine didn’t manage even one goal.

11:15 p.m. I didn’t want to wait up an extra 15 minutes for the hour, but I needed an even number of photos 😉 Didn’t really know what to take a photo of on my way to bed, so this is my glass of water on the bedside table.

That’s all. Told you it was boring!

Linking up with Jane and Louisa, as always.

Winter Reading Challenge – final check in

The 2015 winter reading challenge ended last night, so it’s time for my final check in. Aaand… I actually managed to complete it! I finished reading my final book on 24 January, So here are the books I read for the last few categories:

10 points: Read a book that someone else has already used for the challenge. Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery (read by Emma from Ever Emma). I read Anne of Green Gables years ago, but never got round to reading any of the other in the series, although I’ve wanted to for a while. So when I saw that Emma had mentioned this in her check in, I decided to take the opportunity. Nothing much really happens in this book, but I enjoyed it anyway. I love Anne and her imagination. I gave it 4 stars.

30 points: Read a nonfiction book and a fiction book about the same subject. Megan said she would be fairly lenient with this category, so I’m hoping my “subject” counts.

Non-fiction book: Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine by Anna Reid. Long-term readers may know that my grandad was Ukrainian. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to learn more about his country, but barely any books came up when I searched Amazon. Then the whole Russia taking back Crimea thing happened and suddenly there were loads of books! This one was actually originally written in the 90s (so why didn’t it show up before?!), but has been updated to include everything up to 2014. I thought it was a good introduction to the history of Ukraine for those who know zero about it (which, much to my shame, includes me!). I also liked that the author was actually there and included a lot of personal anecdotes – I just can’t get on with history books that are all about facts! I gave this one 4 stars.

Fiction book: Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov. This is a weird book about a Ukrainian writer/journalist who lives in Kiev with his pet penguin. When the book begins, he’s struggling to find work, but then a local paper recruits him to write obituaries… for people who are still alive (so the newspaper has then on hand instantly when they actually do croak). When the subjects of his obituaries start to die, thing begin to get really strange… I actually enjoyed this book, weird as it was. There’s just something about it that makes it fun. And I loved Misha the penguin. 4 stars.

The subject, in case it wasn’t obvious, is Ukraine.

So, that’s that. Now I shall read whatever I want until it’s time for the summer reading challenge.

35 before 35: Item exchange

I have decided to exchange the “Vist Ukraine” item on my 35 before 35 list. While I do still want to go there, I’m thinking it may not be the best idea right now! And since I don’t know if/when the situation will improve, I’m removing it from the list as a precaution.

I wanted to replace the item with one that is at least vaguely similar, so as of now the first item on my 35 before 35 list will be “Visit Belfast and see whether I recognise anything”. For those who don’t know, I lived in a place caled Holywood close to Belfast for two years as a child (dad/step-dad were posted there with the army) and we used to visit Belfast for things like shopping. We left when I was 7, so it would be interesting to see whether I recognise anything. (I’m ptetty sure I would recognise things on my actual estate, but as it’s an army barracks I wouldn’t actually be allowed in! So Belfast is the best I can do).

To see all the items on my 35 before 35 list (including what I’ve already completed), click here.

Why go halfway round without ever dicovering my own country?

I know so many people who have saved up to take what they described as “a trip around the world”. Except it wasn’t really. None of them went to Russia. Or any part of Africa. I suppose the fact that Australia was involved means they technically did travel across the world, but you don’t see many countries while sitting in an aeroplane! Personally, I’ve never understood the appeal of such far-flung places. Yes, it’s an adventure. And the photos I’ve seen of Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the like are all beautiful. But why would I want to fly all the way to Sri Lanka when I’ve never even popped across the channel to Ireland? Or go out of my way to visit the Taj Mahal when I’ve never seen the Colloseum in Rome? Is a perfect sandy beach in Greece somehow inferior to one in New Zealand purely because the flight to get there is only 3 or 4 hours rather than 24? I think not! Not that I have any problem with people wanting to see the world. All other cultures are interesting, and can definitely see how a trip to India would be amazing! But personally I would prefer to get to know what’s on my own doorstep than focus all my energy on getting to places that are as far away and exotic as possible. The first item on my list of places I want to visit is the Ukraine, because my Grandad was from there, closely followed by Sweden and Norway. And I also want to go to Austria again (read that last one carefully… it’s the one without the kangaroos 😉 ). The one exception is Canada, which I’ve wanted to visit for a while.  Right now, though, I’m concentrating on seeing as much of Germany as I can. It is my chosen home, after all, and my little corner of Baden-Württemberg is far from all there is to it. Deutschland, here I come!