Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Blog Nerdery, part 2

It's that time of year again, when I pinch someone's idea about putting together the first sentence (or sometimes two, if the first sentence was useless) from the first post of each month and see what my year was like.

Last night at the NYE party that I went to we were all thinking of what our highlight of 2007 was.
Well, I'm back.
Well, depending on whose opinion you listen to, it's either not summer any more (yay! That's my opinion), or it's still winter (also yay! That's Reto).
Congratulations to Reto, who is rejoining the world of employed people today!
All my best intentions of sleeping in were thwarted this morning, not only by my mock-insomnia, but also by the band (as in group of people with uniforms and instruments) of morons (as in people who go wandering the streets at 7am making a racket) wandering down our street and making a racket!
The potatoes have had their day, look who coffee is celebrating now!
Sigh. Reto's been off killing people (or whatever it is they do in the army) for a good day and a half now, and I am apparently incapable of coping without him.
Note that I chose that cat for its William-Tell style enthusiasm for apples.
I'm orf on my honeymoon.
Happy temporary unemployment to Deonie!
Well. Recent(ish) reasons for not doing any blogging: nothing much has been happening except me being full of french-rage, and that's not very interesting.
Just when you thought you were getting a coffee set for 6 people for your birthday, it turns out there's actually a possibly drunken cat in the box instead!
Hmm. I think I preferred last year's verision. Although it's nice that 2008's list started and ended with nice things.

Monday, 22 December 2008

More Of The Same

Well, it's been more of the usual lately. A quick trip to France with my parents and sister to find the grave of my great grandfather who died near there during the first world war,a bit of enjoying people's insane christmas lights (these ones were opposite the hotel we stayed at in Rouen, and involved Santa in a hot air balloon, santa in his toy factory and santa with his reindeer, as well as an inexplicable dancing pelican), looking at space cabbages (I don't know what they actually are. They look sort of like cabbage-related items, but they're CRAZY, and everyone knows that CRAZY things probably come from space) and various other charming sights in Paris.
In other news, I read American Psycho while I was away, and it was the most horrible and disturbing thing I've ever read. Normally violence in books doesn't bother me so much, but this was so grisly and so graphic and so lacking in humanity ... aagh, don't read it.

Monday, 15 December 2008


I was just out buying a bottle of wine and a bottle of kirsch for a fondue tonight (part of the ongoing process of Swissifying my parents, and now also my sister who is too jetlagged to object. Interestingly, yesterday when I suggested to Reto that we have a cervelat salad for lunch he made a comment about how swissish I've become. Which was odd) and the woman in the shop asked me for ID. Hee hee. That hasn't happened for ages.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

In Recent News

1. I just got my results from my DELF exam, and happily I passed. Quite badly in the oral bit, quite well in the other bits (which reflects the reality of my french knowledge/usage). The results weren't due until the end of Jan, so that was a surprise. Unfortunately passing that test doesn't really mean anything useful for me (like that I'm a proficient french-speaker), but I do have a piece of paper. Or I will have (when they post it to me).

2. It's been snowing here non-stop for almost 2 days. Not very heavily or anything, but constantly, so it's really accumulated and every trip outdoors involves inadvertently standing in a puddle of slush that you thought wasn't there. Don't forget your waterproof shoes, Steph.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Tourist Frenzy

Oh how I am looking forward to my day off tomorrow. Since mum and dad arrived (a week ago) I have given them the grand tour of Fribourg (which comes in several parts and as it turns out can take days to complete. Jet-lagged, luggage-free days, but still), I've taken them to Grindelwald and the (invisible due to cloud/fog/snow) Eiger*, to Zermatt and the (pleasantly visible) Matterhorn, we've done the "here's our former home" tour of Aarau, and we've spent a few days seeing christmas markets and raclette and Stein am Rhein with R's parents (only half of whom share a language with my parents, which makes things tricky. Although I have to say, Reto's parents cope extremely well with the fact that two of their three children have married native english-speakers who are both a bit other-language challenged (since french is definitely my dominant non-native language now and not a very useful one in the in-laws setting) and whose parents are all uselessly monolingual. Fortunately the remaining unmarried sibling looks likely to stick with his Swiss girlfriend and thus save his parents from too much more intercultural incomprehension and expensive plane fares). Tomorrow it's officially been decided that no one's doing anything, which means I will be staying home, doing laundry, trying to read my stupid french road rules book and maybe going to Ikea to buy some curtains for the spare room before my sister arrives and has to sleep there for a month.

Not so relaxing after all, then. Grr.

* Sorry Steph. We heard that you wanted us to wait so we could go there with you in the evening after we'd got back. I'm sure we can go again, though, since we saw NOTHING the first time round. And maybe mum n dad will be such experts by then that I won't even have to go with you!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Happy Birthday Léo!

Just when you thought you were getting a coffee set for 6 people for your birthday, it turns out there's actually a possibly drunken cat in the box instead!
Hurrah! Just what every 1 year old needs!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Biscuit Crisis

About a month ago I saw that possibly the only christmas-themed biscuits I really like (pfeffernusse) were being sold by the bucketload in the supermarkets here. I thought to myself "It's far too early to be buying christmas-themed things! If I start now it'll just turn into a non-stop 2-month-long scoffing frenzy" and sensibly I decided not to buy any until December.

And now they've vanished from the shops. Where have they gone? The shelves are flooded with every other imaginable festive biscuit and I'm tormented daily by Reto's hideous zimtsternen (which he loves and I hate) and IT'S MADE ME REALISE THE TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF SELF-DENIAL. I won't fall for that one again then, will I?

No Photos

R and I went to Locarno this weekend (celebrating our last weekend of freedom before my parents arrive for an extended visit. They're supposed to be flying via Bangkok but fortunately have been rerouted) and had we remembered to take a camera I would have so many pretty photos to show you. There would have been heaps of the HUGE amount of snow we came across when we popped out of the tunnel in Ticino and all the huge snowflakes that were falling and of all the excellent fog that prevented us from seeing more than about 10m away (which doesn't necessarily make for a good photo, I suppose, but it was ridiculously beautiful nonetheless). There would have been some of the skating rink (complete with mirror balls and unattractive christmas decorations) that they're in the throes of putting up in the main square of Locarno. There might have been one of me in this ridiculously furry hat I'm thinking of buying (actually, there's no way I would have taken a photo of me trying on a hat in a shop, but you don't have to know that). There would have been some of these excellent trees we kept seeing, which were all brown and leafless and wintery-looking, but they all had mysterious orange blobs on the ends of the most inconveniently-located branches. I assume they were just apples or something (although they were much more the colour of oranges) that the tree-owners hadn't been able to reach, but they looked hilarious.

And there might have also been a photo of me looking all cranky and cold and being rained on. It's nice to be home (where there's almost no snow and absolutely no rain).

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Asia Meets The Mediterranean

That's twice now in the last 2 weeks or so that I've mistaken the balsamic vinegar bottle for the soy sauce bottle. And not in a pleasantly "I'll just slosh this into an empty cup and make a sauce and then add it to everything else that I've already painstakingly cooked" kinda way. More in the "straight in the pan with you, soy sauce!" way. Which causes problems.

Soy sauce might start living in the fridge from now on. Although the fridge isn't really big enough to accommodate the bottle. Oh, Switzerland.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Bien Conduire? Hah.


I bought the road rules yesterday (you actually have to buy the book! You have to pay to be able to learn the road rules!). As it turns out, there's an awful lot of vehicular vocabulary (in french) that I don't know. And I have to learn it all and pass the test (in french) in order to get a Swiss license, and I have to do it all within the next few months.

In case it's not clear what I'm talking about, apparently Switzerland changed the rules a little while ago (like a few months or so). Before the rule change, I would have been able to get a Swiss license by just turning up with my eye test results and saying "gimme a license, yo" or something like that, but now I have to not only do the eye test and say "gimme a license, yo", but I also have to pass a theory test in a national language. Which for me means french. And I have a relatively limited period of time to do it in. Fortunately we Australians are exempt from having to do a practical test, which is both idiotic (changing sides of the road? If I do ever get around to driving a car in this country I'm sure it will be in a VERY UNSAFE MANNER, even if I do know all the road rules) and great (I don't want to have to do one).

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Happy Birthday Taylor!

But for yesterday,which was when you were born!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma! And Nat!


Things I've Learnt This Weekend

England is grey, miserable and rainy. Huh.

There's a bunch of people in London. I live in a tiny town in a tiny country.

Just because the flight is only an hour and a bit doesn't mean it's quick and easy to get there. 7 hours passed today between leaving the Hotel Kizzy and arriving back at our place.

I'm an atrocious public singer.

No big surprises anywhere, then.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Long Weekend

I'm going to London any second now! For the hen's night of a friend (which is filling me with a certain amount of terror, but more about that later)! It's going to be super, I think - speaking english to EVERYONE, buying newspapers in english and for a reasonable price (as opposed to the 7 francs I very occasionally pay for the Guardian International weekend edition or whatever it is. Which is an outrageous price and the paper is usually chockers full of middle-aged paranoia about private education and ethical gardening and stuff like that. I used to be such a paper-reader in Australia, but here I've turned into the sort of moron that relies on 20 Minutes (and the internet, obviously) for her news)! Seeing people I know! Errm ... I'm not really sure what else one does in England that one doesn't do here, but either way, I'm sure it will be super.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Getting Older

Today I killed the gnome that Reto gave me for my birthday. I dropped it on the neighbour's (2 floors down) balcony.

The other day some of the groceries I bought at Migros didn't make it all the way home (who knows what happened. Maybe they fell out of my bag, maybe I never put them in. Who knows).

And I've lost my favourite beanie. Now I only have the blue one that makes me look enormous-headed.

Normally I never lose anything. Possibly I'm turning into my sister. Did I ever mention the time she lost her glasses and I found them (undamaged!) in the gutter, hidden under leaves, on a major road about 5 blocks from where we lived?

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


Well, it's mandarin season. Which means that we buy some, I eat perhaps one, and just when I think "hmm, another one would be nice" I find that there are none left because RETO HAS SCOFFED THE LOT.

In other news, my current favourite recipe is this chestnutty/brussels sprouty pasta (apologies to southern hemisphere people who aren't currently drowning in chestnuts and brussels sprouts):

An onion, sliced
Some bacon, chopped into wee bits (I use maybe a rasher or so, but I don't particularly like bacon)
Brussels sprouts, yuckier outer leaves peeled off then the rest sliced (I use about 200g, possibly)
Chestnuts (cut a cross onto the flatter side with a sharp knife. Bung them in a saucepan of cold water, bring it to the boil and as soon as it does (boil), take it off the stove. Take them out of the water a few at a time and peel off the shell and the skin. It gets harder when they are cooler (ie. it's harder to get the skin off), but when they are hot you burn your fingers. So you really can't win. Then slice them up a bit. I use ... maybe 12)
salt, pepper, a splash of oil

Chuck all the ingredients into a frying pan. Cook them until they look delicious (10 minutes or so?).
Meanwhile, cook some pasta. Serve in the traditional fashion (probably with grated cheese, too. I like gran padano). Yum.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


Remember how ages ago we went to Leukerbad and saw a former Miss Switzerland swanning about in her togs and being filmed by a camera crew? Well, it's an ad on telly now for Leukerbad! And sadly/happily, we're not visible at all.


In case I haven't already outed myself as a grandmotherly-type saddo, here's a blanket I'm currently crocheting:
It's taking me forever. I started months ago and am progressing slowly, so I imagine it should be finished by the time summer rolls around (which is handy). I started crocheting years ago when a friend of mine had a baby and I thought it would be nice to make her something as a present. Since then I've decided to give up on baby blankets, because a) I don't know that they're particularly useful, and b) I think I appreciate me having a proper-sized excellent blanket far more than some baby appreciates having yet another thing it can vomit on (or whatever it is that babies do).
I also do a rather awesome range of crocheted finger puppets, though, so if you're a baby-owning friend of mine you may well end up with that as a present one day. Try to look surprised.

Stuff Lately

Well. Recent(ish) reasons for not doing any blogging: nothing much has been happening except me being full of french-rage, and that's not very interesting. More recent reasons for me not doing any blogging: I've been far too busy being on french holidays (as in holidays from french) and doing charming things to waste time here with you lot.

In reverse chronological order, I've been: off at film festivals. Just the one, actually, a short film fest last night, which we left early because we were both knackered and it was never going to end (really, we left at 1am or something and there was at least an hour and a half left). But it was super, and we saw some excellent flicks including quite a few Swiss ones, which was nice (because normally you never see anything Swiss, or if you do they're normally crap/weird/incomprehensible. Sadly enough, possibly the only Swiss movie I saw before moving here was this odd thing about an insane woman who was in some sort of rambling manor house type place in french Switz and there was a would-be-murderer and some possibly-incompetent policemen and a lot of fog and they all ran around like nutburgers. If anyone knows the name of it, please tell me). Anyway, that was nice but verrrry,very smoky and today all my clothes stink.

We went to the thermal pools at Yverdon-les-Bains, which was a lot less charming than it should have been. We went on Thursday, when it was freezing, but sadly not freezing enough to be snowing, and if there had been any snow in Y-l-B it had all melted by the time we got there (which decreased the potential charm enormously). Because I'm a relentless optimist I didn't take an umbrella. This was a bad decision, because apparently the bus system in Y-l-B is atrocious, so we ended up walking around in the rain for aaaages. Anyway, the pools themselves were okay, but not really warm enough, which is a strange problem to have in thermal pools. When we were in the outdoor pool (in the cold cold rain), I was cold. Sitting in a thermal pool and having goose bumps from the cold? Stoopid.

I've eaten mountains of chestnuts. By which I actually mean I've had them about 3 times in the last week, which really isn't very much, but in relation to the number of chestnuts I've eaten in my entire life it's heaps. The first time I had chestnuts was when I was about 15. I was in London and for some idiotic reason I thought they were horrible. The second time was probably about 10 years later, in Germany, and I thought they were great. The third time was probably last year, and I haven't looked back since. Living in a country where they are readily available certainly makes a difference. That being said, I hate the way that pumpkins are considered primarily to be decorative items in this country.

I bought 2kg of Lindt balls from the Lindt factory shop the other day. Then I hid them from Reto, becuse if I don't he'll scoff the lot before I can get a look in.

Thursday, 30 October 2008


I actually have every intention of doing a proper post at some time in the semi-near future (tomorrow, perhaps), but in the meanwhile, let's all enjoy the fact that I just got an email that addressed me as "Sir". This email wasn't even spam! It was from a hotel, confirming a booking that I made, and I specified for them at the time of booking that my title is Ms (or possibly Mme. I think they only gave me french options).

Sir. At least it's a promotion from Mr.

Monday, 27 October 2008


Unusual things I did today:
Had porridge for breakfast. For the first time in years, and it was super. I had it with sliced banana, milk, sugar, a smidge of nutmeg and some chopped almonds. Yum.

Had a pleasant post-lunch rendezvous with people from french (class) and had a surprisingly lovely time. Not because they are normally not nice people to spend time with (far from it), but because I am normally so packed full of french-rage that everything associated with it annoys me. We're on holidays for a week, though, and this was lovely.

Bought a magazine about philosophy. In french (as in the magazine is in french). Look at my non-rage!

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Reto just came back from Coop (supermarket) with a surprise for me - a seasonal orange and pumpkin (!!) flavoured yoghurt. And it was surprisingly non-disgusting. Huh.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Pigs Might Fly

Today a couple of friends of ours came and visited us, and we took them on the tour of the town and discovered a charming cafe that somehow I've never noticed before (in a chocolate factory, no less. How come I didn't know there was a chocolate factory here with a lovely cafe and cheap chocolate for sale?), and we had an excellent lunch (with booze, which is always nice, drinking in the daytime), and we walked all over the place and made silly conversation and it was all really lovely and charming and stuff, but ..

.. the high point of the day was still, without a shadow of a doubt, the bit where a helicopter carrying a life-sized sculpture of a giraffe flew over the town. I can't begin to tell you how sad I am that I didn't have my camera with me.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


What's the etiquette about dakking strangers?

Not that I want to sound like a whiny old enemy-of-the-youngsters or anything, but today I saw a dude at the train station who was wearing his pants practically around his knees (in this manner, although admittedly not quite so low. That "knees" comment was an exaggeration:
). Which, as I explain for my mother who may well read this, is the fashion in some circles. And much as it may be a stupid way to dress, I'm hardly going to go around getting all huffy about it and carrying on about young people today, but this guy at the station, his pants were actually falling down a bit with every step he took.

Had I been a totally different person, I would have dakked him. It would have been a sensible thing to do, and it would have made a good point. Reto doesn't agree.

Stupid Heating

Our heating is stoopid.

When we got back from Norway (just after it had turned FREEZING here, although as it turned out that only lasted for a moment and now it's high-teens or so every day), we found that our heaters had been turned on. I don't really know what's considered normal in this country, but in our flat our heaters aren't really under our control. You can turn them up or down but never entirely off, and so our flat is always heated in the months officially dubbed "cold". You wouldn't think I would have a problem with that, what with my constant whining about being perma-freezing and having numb fingers (which I home-diagnose as Raynaud's disease, by the way) and so on, but as it turns out I do.

It's not cold at the moment, we don't need heaters, and as it turns out my problem isn't that I'm always cold but that I have no powers of homeostasis. When it's cold, I'm cold (and I get colder and colder and never warm up), and when it's hot, I'm hot (and I get hotter and hotter and never cool down. I like to put my feet under the cold tap before I go to bed in summer because otherwise my feet feel like they're burning).

It's too hot in our flat. I'm sleeping really badly and having a lot of idiotic nightmares (which happens when I'm too hot). I'm drinking about 8 tons of water a day and still feeling dehydrated. And I totally disapprove of me getting around in a tshirt (and jeans) in the middle of autumn.

Then again, it's still better than being cold.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Karaoke Kwestions

If you found yourself in the unlikely situation of knowing you were going to have to do some drunken karaoke in a few weeks, and HAVING TO CHOOSE THE SONGS IN ADVANCE (which I put in capitals because IT'S SUCH A STUPID WAY TO DO IT), what songs would you choose? Bearing in mind that you're probably a fairly atrocious singer and have no desire to hog the limelight. Oh, and also the songlist seems to be really England-heavy, ie. full of bands and songs you've never heard of.

At this stage, ABBA and show tunes (from Annie Get Your Gun, because I'm still in the As) are looking like the best options.

UPDATE: No, the song list seems to have EVERY SONG KNOWN TO MANKIND, including Hats Off To Larry (which I always said would be my karaoke song because I was always sure it would never be on any karaoke song list. I'm pretty sure I stole that idea from my sister, actually, song and all), and songs from the musical episode of Buffy. Huh.

Sunday, 12 October 2008


We spent a charming weekend in Moléson, which is a town/mountain about an hour from here (on bus/train/bus, or bus/bus, anyway. If you drove yourself it would probably only be half that, but then again, if you drove yourself you might have got caught in the big stupid traffic jam on the way home and spent ages being annoyed. Our bus driver knew better, though, so we didn't miss our next bus and we could spend our time being tired instead of annoyed) with little to recommend it other than mini golf (closed), some sort of bobsled/luge thing (closed), a fromagerie (closed) and a bunch of nature (not closed). Oh, and free accommodation, of course, because we went with a friend who has a flat there.

We didn't do a whole lot. We walked up some mountains and down some mountains

not those ones

we did walk up here though

We looked at parapenters taking off.

We went in a funicular (or something) and a big scary cable car.

We ate a lot of fondue (no photos of that, unfortunately, nor of the sad, sad ending where no one could manage to scrape the delicious burnt cheese off the bottom of the pot. I don't know why it happened, but my theory is that it had something to do with the fact that the caquelon was made of metal instead of ceramic). Also no photos of us watching "Benissimo" which is some crappy Swiss lottery type TV show that's apparently on every 6 weeks or so, and is hosted by this Beni dude who seems to be the Daryl Sommers of Swiss (german) telly. Reto and Cécile seemed to think that making me watch Benissimo would make me more Swiss, but really ... if that's what being Swiss is about, then I don't think I'm interested. I did enjoy the fondue though, which I suppose is a step in the right direction. Or at least in a direction.

One of the most civilised things about Switz: on top of every mountain, there's a restaurant.

Anyway, all in all we had a charming weekend that felt like it was miles from everywhere (certainly miles from home) but was actually still in the same canton.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Happy Birthday Kristie!

But where's the cat? And why do I never do real posts any more? Have a super day!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Happy Birthday Sarah!

I hope you have a super day! And not only because I'm going to be there for a significant proportion of it!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Yay! Boo!

Hurray, it's over! And also, boo, it's over! The film fest, that is, and although it's not actually true, because the fest doesn't finish until Sunday and I still have one flick to see tomorrow, it feels like it is.

I've seen 16 or so movies. I've spent about 25 hours on the train travelling between Fribourg and Zurich (including last Friday night when something stupid went wrong with the train signalling or something and I spent 3 hours on the train instead of 1.5 getting home again, grr). I've spent a lot of time embracing the awfulness of being a refugee or hoping to be recognised as one, of being stalked by psychopaths in the dwindling hours of life on earth, of being in flailing relationships, of having mentally unstable family members, of being in comas, of being a Dutch teenager stuck between cultures (that one was really crappy), of being a Norwegian train driver (there was no awfulness in that one. It was charmingly bizarro and pleasantly familiar, what with having spent so much time on Norwegian trains lately), of being kinda nutso and prone to bursting inappropriately into song, of getting too involved with other people's lives of crime, and now I'm looking forward to getting back to the non-horror of my life.

Which sadly means getting back into all-day french lessons and becoming paranoid about this stoopid exam thing I've signed myself up for. Sigh.

I miss the film fest.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Happy Imminent Unemployment, Deonie!

Happy temporary unemployment to Deonie!
obviously this cat has recently resigned
By which I really mean "happy last day at work!". Although it's actually tomorrow that's her last day at work, but in my defence, 1) it's already tomorrow where she is, and 2) by the time I get a chance to post this post tomorrow my-time, it probably won't be tomorrow her-time any more.
Happy leaving! Happy post-job holidaying!

Saturday, 27 September 2008


Festiness has begun! Yesterday I saw Ballast (a relentlessly depressing American movie about dysfunctional relationships and crime and poverty and so on. Incidentally, the programme seems to be full of relentlessly depressing movies, and also heavily concerned with suicide bombers. I think it's going to be an arduous week), and then Das Herz ist ein Dunkler Wald, which was also kind of relentlessly depressing but in a much more charming a wacky way. It was nice, too, to see a foreign (ie. non-english-language) movie for a change.

After the second movie, we were all hustled out a side door and into some crappy alley (nb. much less crappy than the State Theatre's alley) because there was a red carpet thing going on out the front of the theatre. Apparently Sylvester Stallone was there (because the fest is having some sort of Sylvester Stallone flashback retrospective) and they didn't want us rabble getting in his way. Flattering.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Sunlight? Overrated!

Good news!

I was having some sort of crisis of personality, where I was doubting whether I really wanted to watch that many movies, and whether I would be able to cope with going to Lausanne every morning and Zurich every afternoon, missing half my french lessons and not getting enough sleep, but ... happily I have now read the Zurich Film Festival programme in english (instead of struggling through the stupid german version that I found at the airport), and am REALLY EXCITED about lots of films, and I don't care at all that it will involve sitting on a train for something like 4 hours a day! Yay for me!

And in other funny festy news, there's a movie on at this fest (Beaufort) that I saw at the Sydney Film Fest last year. That's slow.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Happy Leaving Day, Olivia (and Fosty)!

I hope the flight is nice. I'll miss you both.

Monday, 22 September 2008


Well, as I said, Norway was super, and as I also said, it's a bit of a far-distant blur now. The story, therefore, will be heavily assisted by photos.

We spent a day in Oslo. Oslo is a city basically without charm, and I say this as Norway's biggest fan. We visited what may be the premier tourist attraction in Oslo, Frogner park, and found that the premier tourist attraction in the premier tourist attraction, the enormous statue of naked bodies all intertwined into a big phallic totem pole, was entirely hidden behind scaffolding for its once-in-a-blue-moon cleaning. So that was some fairly bad timing.
The good thing about this holiday, though, was that both of us have been there before, and so it really didn't matter.

So. That was Oslo, along with overpriced accommodation, surprisingly cheap (but still overpriced) curry, and lots of wandering around and failing to find this really lovely statue of some long-dead Norwegian king (I saw the statue last time I was there, and although I remember it well, I'm really not sure where it is).

Then we sat on trains and more trains and boats for a really, really long time. Which was far less arduous than it could have been.

And then we arrived in Stamsund,and spent a week and a half loafing about and doing pleasantly non-arduous things. We looked at a lot of sheep

Apparently the Lofoten islands are known for the delicious lamb they produce. I ate some, and I'm pleased to say it was delicious (although at those prices it really should have been. Everything in Norway is constantly shockingly expensive. Which we were expecting, but somehow that didn't lessen the shock. It was strange to arrive in Sweden after a few weeks in Norway and to think "wow, everything is so cheap!". I don't think Sweden is known for being a bargain basement holiday destination).

We sat around a lot.
That's obviously a cat loafing. When we were loafing, we were loafing properly, not taking photos of ourselves. And we weren't cats.

We said hello again to everyone's favourite Norwegian ice cream pirate.
Yes, he is very icy. He doesn't normally look so creepy.

I went fishing. And successfully caught 3 (or was it 4? I don't know) wee saithe,
not my fish
which were later contributed to the world's most delicious fish soup. The idea of fish soup has always seemed a bit horrible to me (much like fish curry. There's nothing I like less than fish curry) but this was really, really delicious. And made by a genuine Swedish chef, which probably helps.

We rented a car and drove around a lot. We saw a lot of white sandy beaches

and a lot of enormous rocky mountains

and a lot of charmingly colourful houses. If I was going to live there, I'd paint my house blue.
I wouldn't go for white window sills, though. I'd seriously consider dark blue
Obviously there's also the possibility that you could paint your house whatever colour you like wherever you live, but a) I don't have a house, and b) Reto tells me that in some places here there are rules about what colour you're allowed to paint your house. For example, apparently where R's dad lives, there is some sort of rule to protect the historical charm of the area and R's dad is basically obliged to paint his house white*.

We saw a bunch of fish-drying racks (minus fish).

And of course there were also all the northern lights. Which didn't actually look anything like they do in the photos, but were still ridiculously awesome.

In reality they were a lot less green. Plus, I think the photos were taken over something like 20 or 30 seconds, so that's a lot of accumulated light and movement in one photo.

I remembered how much I love Norwegian food, too. The butter there is unbearably delicious. And the bread, far more so than in Switzerland. And it's nice to eat jarlsberg cheese for a change. And I love all the fish and the blueberries. And we had whale a few times, which I feel like I should feel guilty about but I don't at all. Actually, I don't really feel like I should feel guilty about it, but I feel like everyone else expects me to. And I ate heaps of the yummy danishes that the Norweegies seem to be so fond of, and I finally got around to eating a hot dog there (apparently Norwegians eat more hot dogs than anyone else. And, even better, you're not obliged to eat them in one of those disgusting hot dog buns. I had mine in a lompe, or whatever they're called, a flat potato bread thing, and it was DELICIOUS. And I don't even like hot dogs!).

And that was about it. Then we sat on some more buses and trains and planes and thing for a really, really long time again,
Swedish trains: not as good as Norwegian ones

and then we came home and my head exploded.

It was super. I love Norway.

* Also note that I am paraphrasing from a vague conversation Reto and I had, and I'm not sure how much I was listening at the time because I was too busy being OUTRAGED at the idiotic amount of control Switzerland sometimes likes to have over people's lives.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


Remeber all my holiday zenness where I was all relaxed and happy and optimistic about everything? No? Me neither!

I've been back for slightly over a day and in that time I've already been thoroughly traumatised at having to wake up at the crack of my alarm clock, I've managed to go to twice as many french lessons as I was expecting (apparently our tiny and relatively happy class has been melded with another one that's more advanced than us, so to catch up to them we're doing an extra 3 hours of classes in the afternoon!), I've been told that I'm doing some sort of DELF/DALF (or whatever it's called. Some sort of internationally-recognised french exam) thing in November, which is probably a good thing but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it, I've realised I actually have forgotten everything I ever knew, and I have discovered that I have no clean clothes.

Remember how happy I was last week? Sigh.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Well, we're back. And exhausted (thankyou to 6 hours on a bus, 22 hours on trains, 2 hours on a plane and 7 hours of being woken up a lot on an uncomfortable couch in an airport in Stockholm since Monday morning). Fortunately we had an excellent time and the weather was super (so much warmer then icy Fribourg, which half killed me when I finally got off the train this morning) and it was the best holiday I've had in ages, which made all the endless travelling worth it.

Happy birthday cat, meanwhile, to my mother-in-law (whose birthday was last week some time) and my tiny new nephew Dominic, who was born last week. Honestly, you leave the country for 5 minutes or so and all sorts of things happen.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


I'm orf on my honeymoon. Back in a few weeks.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

My Version

It was four years ago today that Reto and I met. In general I don't remember these things, but since we were both on holidays, since I was keeping a diary at the time, and since he was taking squillions of photos all the time, it's easy to look back and remind myself what the date was.


We were in a town called Stamsund in far, far northern Norway. I had already been there for a week or so, and had planned to leave but then, fortuitously, I twisted my ankle while out bushwalking and decided to stay for a while longer.

Not Stamsund. I think this might be Reine, which was apparently voted the most picturesque town in Norway

The first I remember seeing of Reto was at night, when a bunch of us were sitting outside waiting for the aurora borealis to show up. I'm sure the story would be far more charming if the northern lights had have arrived and we had fallen hopelessly in love under their glowy magnificence or something like that, but instead we sat out in the freezing under the black night sky until we couldn't stand the cold any more, and then I explained to him how to use the washing machine.

What we didn't see. Actually, I saw them for the first time the night after Reto left

We spent the next few days together, sitting in the sun and wandering around and eating blueberries (which were growing all over the place. There's nothing more delicious than fruit you've picked yourself), swimming in the idiotically cold arctic water and eating the icecream that would become our namesake. I spent a good part of this time being kind of confused about what Reto's name was, being constantly sure I had misheard (because what sort of weird name is "Reto" anyway?) and thinking it was rude to ask for clarification.

Our ancestor. Sort of.

Reto left, and our habit of chasing each other from one country to another began, a habit that was to continue for a couple of years before we decided to try spending time in not only the same hemisphere but the same tiny apartment. Actually, there's also a whole bit of the story that I've left out because it involves me hitting Reto over the head repeatedly to make him realise he was hopelessly in love with me, but I don't really like that bit of the story and so it stays out.

And then we lived happily ever after.

It's my story and I say only the best bits stay in.

thankyou Google Images

Friday, 29 August 2008

Happy Birthday Eric!

Slightly belated, but since you can't read anyway I suppose it doesn't matter too much! I hope you had a lovely day!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Not A Moron

Today I was mocked in my french class for not knowing what "brushing" was (in the context of going to the hairdressers). "Don't you know the word in english?" the teacher said to me. Well obviously I do, but I suspect it's not the same thing because no one pays to have their hair brushed. And whaddayaknow, it's a blow-dry.

My teacher allegedly speaks english,but I secretly suspect that she doesn't at all.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Alone At Last

Olivia left yesterday. It was really nice having her here. She kept doing the washing up (which was excellent because it saved me from having to nag Reto about it). She got hilariously drunk after a single gin and tonic. She was atrociously bad at bowling and at Ligretto, this card game that R & I were given a few weeks ago, thus saving me from having to lose at everything all the time (which was a nice change and yet still didn't manage to make me enjoy myself). She helped with the cooking and had ideas about what we should eat (which was great. I hate the fact that Reto is so blank when it comes to food). Oh, and she gave us the gift of toast! Olivia asked us what we wanted as a belated wedding present and we said "a toaster!" and, surprise surprise, she gave us one! And it's all fancy with its buttons and knobs and croissant warming rack, and I have a tube of Vegemite at the back of the cupboard that I haven't eaten any of in aaaages (what with the lack of toast-making facilities) and now I've had toast two days in a row! And it's great!

Olivia: sucks at bowling. Although embarrassingly enough, she did beat me once.
Her camera is kinda crappy too.

Friday, 22 August 2008


I have a sporting injury! Yesterday we went tenpin bowling (I am atrociously bad at it, but as it turns out not quite as bad as Olivia. Did I mention that Olivia is my friend who has been staying with us for a while? Oh the luxury of having a spare room! Anyway, at least you can drink beer while you bowl, which gives it a definite advantage over most other sports. Plus I rather like the shoes). I mysteriously managed to cut my thumb and mangle my knuckles a bit, and today I've noticed that my left buttock is in agonies. Obviously its muscles haven't done anything quite so active in a while. I feel so sporty!*

* Obviously if I was actually sporty the minor exertion of three whatever they're calleds (games?) at the bowling alley wouldn't be enough to make my muscles wince. Since I am obviously not sporty, though, the reminder that I did anything vaguely more active than go for a walk makes me feel like some sort of super athlete.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Friends Frenzy

I've been in a bit of a frenzy of socialising lately. My french class has suddenly gone all friendly, meaning that I spend an afternoon each week (as well as 5 mornings a week) making semi-incomprehensible conversation and drinking a lot of coffee. My Australian pal Olivia has recently come back to Switzerland after 7 months of being harrassed and having food poisoning in Egypt (she also had a good time, but she does seem to have a lot of harrassment/vomiting stories which sort of take the shine off but add a lot of interest), and she's staying with us at the moment. I've got back into the swing of my weekly chats with the upstairs neighbour (did I ever mention those? He wants to improve his english, and the price he pays is having to suffer hearing my french).

Actually, that's about the extent of my socialising lately, but it's more than usual.

Friday, 15 August 2008


I've seen about 4 people on roller skates this week. All of them on their own (as in, I didn't see 4 people rollerskating together, which would have been less odd). And when was the last time I saw someone on roller skates? In the 80s maybe?


Thursday, 14 August 2008

Happy Birthday Kim!

Doesn't he look like Turbles! At least sort of! Well, he's the right colour, anyway.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Today we had a really excellent afternoon swimming in the river in Berne (along with about 8 million other people). There is a local pool complex thingie down by the river (which, unexpectedly, is all free to use), so off we went and we ditched our towels under a tree and we walked off up a path along the side of the river. At the place where we decided to get into the river (about 500m from where we started), we took the option befitting our advancing years and unreliable swimwear and leapt in from the stairs on the river bank (as opposed to all the teenagers who were jumping off the bridge, which was only a drop of a few metres but I really doubt that my togs would have done their best to retain my modesty if I had subjected them to that sort of exertion). The water was freezing*. Actually 18 degrees, but cold enough to take my breath away when I jumped in.

Anyway, the current, which is pretty zippy, carries you back those 500m that you walked, then you have to swim over to the side of the river and grab onto one of the strategically located poles to get out. I'm not sure what happens if you don't make it to a pole. I gather there is another option for pole-assisted getting out another 250m away, but after that? I think there might be a weir. Which doesn't sound like too much fun.

Anyway, it was super. And surprisingly exhausting, what with the shock of the cold and then the constant minor struggle to keep nicely afloat, and swimming over to the side and so on. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who finds themself at a loose end, with cossies and a towel, in the general vicinity of Berne. Although possibly that description really only applies to people who live in the general vicinity of Berne and who therefore probably already know about it or have done it.

* I have no tolerance for cold water and am a complete wuss about getting into it. It really wasn't that bad, but I carried on a lot.

Things On Our Living Room Floor

A rug (recently vacuumed. Our normal standards of tidiness don't warrant photographing):This rug was a wedding present, and a much appreciated one given the Swiss loathing for carpeting. All of our floors are hard and cold and not at all pleasant for sitting on, so this rug (which is really thick and densely furry) creates a lovely oasis in the living room.

The other interesting thing on the living room floor at the moment is this:

Which is the beginning of a blanket I am making. Which I suspect might take forever to finish, and I also think that I might start to regret the uneven size of all the squares and the boring arranging I have to do to make the edges all neat and even (hmm, maybe I won't make the edges even. That's an intriguing idea), but hopefully one day it will be all pretty and useful and finished. The purple is much more purple than it looks in that photo, too.