Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Great Outdoors, Indoors

As I mentioned when we moved in, our new flat is kind of endearingly ramshackle. Every now and then the landlord pops in and fixes something, like hiding away all our exposed wiring or boarding up the crumbling bits of the walls. On Friday he came over, and since I was the only one at home and since he doesn't speak any english at all, we had a partially incomprehensible conversation in french, he took half of one of our living room windows (the one with the great big crack in the glass) off its hinges, I think he said he would bring it back that day or maybe on Saturday, and then he and the window left.

Now it's Sunday and we still don't have a window. We have a metal shutter thing that we can roll down, which is sort of helpful in terms of keeping bugs out, keeping light out and keeping noise out, but frankly, not really. If we want to watch TV, listen to music or have a conversation, we have to turn the volume up pretty high (thanks to the charming racket of main-drag living, which really is charming, but apparently only when you can shut it out with your efficient double-glazed type windows). At least our bedroom is down the other end of a long long hallway.

Anyway, since it's Sunday there's little hope of getting the window back today. Tomorrow Reto is off to the army and I am going to be out for the bulk of the day. So when will we get our window back? Never, at this rate (or possibly Tuesday, I suppose).

(not a window, but I realise it's hard to tell)

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Die Insel

Well, what a hectic week of not going to french this has been. As well as all the sleeping in and loafing around, there was also the fete de la musique last weekend, which involved lots of wandering around the town and listening to marching-type bands and this floaty sub-aquatic sounding rock, and all the jazz that came from the stage about 2 doors up from our place. Then there was the Aareschlucht and the strange meeting of Inverell and Switzerland, and then a rendezvous with my Switzerland-Australia exchange partners (by which I mean our Switzy friends who moved to Australia at approximately the same time as I moved here). And then yesterday, Reto and I spent half the afternoon sitting on a piece of artwork that's here as part of the Belluard Bollwerk International festival.

The artwork in question was this, an island that they've built near the main train station here (ie. smack dab in the middle of stuff), made of scaffolding and with a solid and grassy top, and you rent it for a few hours (for free!) and you climb up, pull the ladder up behind you and then loaf on the lawn and do whatever you like. As it turned out, what we liked was sitting around, doing some reading and some chatting and some lolling, having a bit of a cocktail hour (a thermos full of gin and tonic and various snacky items) and being stared at by passers by.

It was super. We really were an island. As it turns out, swanning about with a parasol on top of a grassy scaffolding island in the middle of town on a Friday afternoon makes you something of a target for starers and hecklers and lunatics, but it also lets you not care at all. We sat there in the normally-non-loitering-friendly centre of town (where it's all roads and train tracks and concrete and gaggles of congregating schoolkiddies) and we read our books and we drank our gin and we looked at stuff going by and felt totally disconnected from it all, and it was great. There was so much hustle and bustle all around us, and we loafed with our shoes off. I can't recommend it highly enough. And the best (/worst) part is that it doesn't seem to be very popular at all. Since we left the island last night, I haven't seen anyone else up there at all, in spite of the fact that it's available around the clock for all your loitering needs. I may well take advantage of its unpopularity to do some more top quality public loafing some time next week.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Memory Lane

I went to ikea this morning, hoping to have a bit of a consumerist frenzy and use up this $100 voucher that we have had since we bought our couch there earlier this year, and which is on the brink of expiring. As it turned out, it wasn't particularly frenzied at all, it was more a depressing wander around tons of crap that I don't really want and then an atrocious amount of confusion at the cash register (which went from the cashier woman saying that I couldn't use my voucher thingie unless I had two receipts proving I had bought a couch (instead of just the one that I had brought, which I thought was outrageously diligent of me), to her saying that I could use it but they wouldn't give me any change, to me saying "fine, I don't care about the change", to her saying "but it's $20!" and then letting me use the voucher and giving me a gift voucher thing for the extra $20. Mostly in german, too, mind you, which is a language I have been doing my darned tooting-est to forget lately. Not that that's a sensible strategy at all, but it's one I am fond of. I don't like german).

Anyway, as is obligatory at ikea, I went to the cafe and ate some hideous meatballs and some wacky Swedish soft drink and then I had a coffee. As attentive readers, and coffee drinkers in Switzo at the moment will know, the coffee cream container thingies are going through an Australia phase lately. The coffee thing I had today had this picture on it:

Which, if you look closely, looks an awful lot like this.
Which is the town hall in the wee, miles-from-everywhere, unremarkable little town I grew up in! There are no touristy attractions there, there is no reason why the town or the town hall there should be commemorated in coffee accessories on the other side of the world. And yet it has been! It's so wacky and excellent. And also extremely impressive that I recognised it.

Sunday, 22 June 2008


Sunday mornings at our place are normally a pleasant non-frenzy of watching 3 solid hours of old episodes of Top Gear on BBC somethingorother, and of getting absolutely all the food out of our kitchen, eating half of it, and putting the rest of it back. This week, though, we pulled ourselves together surprisingly early (I am fed up with eating cheese and gherkins for breakfast, which are usually the Sunday-morning brekky staples. Remind me to rant about the Switzy idea of brunch later. And the second episode of Top Gear was one that was on last weekend) and we went and wandered around some gorge instead.

Summer seems to have appeared all of a sudden. I mean, as well as having officially appeared (it started yesterday or something. Possibly the day before. Or even the day after, I don't know any more. What's wrong with starting seasons on the first of the month, like in sensible countries, I say?), it also manifested itself by bringing some actual hot weather, a change from the relentless weeks of rain and temperatures in the teens that we've had lately, not necessarily in a good way. Anyway, we decided to go and do something cool (obviously I mean literally cool, as in with lower temperatures, not cool like "cool, man" because we're not really like that) and we ended up at the Aareschlucht, which is this gorge thing that the Aare (river. As in Aarau, as eagle-eyed readers might recognise as my former home or something) goes through, in the general vicinity of Meiringen, where the nerdier of you will know that Sherlock Holmes would have met his watery end had he not not really existed.

Anyway, it was super! And cool! It was a good 10 degrees* cooler in that gorge thingie than it was out of it. It basically involved walking along this walkway thing that had been built on the side of a rockface, and occasionally through rock, by the river. Which looked very cold. Sadly, nothing very interesting happened, so I'm just going to bung up a few photos and leave it at that.

* total guess

Friday, 20 June 2008

We're Number One!

Go Team Australia, apparently we're the biggest nation of fatties there is.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Ornithology 101

When we went to the zoo the other day, we saw pink pelicans.
Huh. Who knew they existed? And look at their delicate (yet enormous, as is appropriate) pink feet! Much more adorable than the (enormous) grey gumboots that pelicans normally wear (as illustrated below).

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The Price Of Presents

My dear friend in Australia sent me a present. It arrived. A week later I got a letter in the mail saying I have to now pay tax on the present because it was worth more than 100 chf.

My dear friend in Australia (the same one) had a birthday the other week and I sent her a present. Today it didn't arrive (3 weeks after I posted it!) but its packaging did, and a nice letter from the quarantine people saying that the present has been detained because it contains "plant items of unknown origin"* and that she can either pay for them to gamma irradiate it then send it on to her, pay for them to post it back to me (funnily enough the postage costs exactly the same as the gamma irradiation, and also about twice as much as the postage from here), or they will kindly destroy it for her (I'm not sure if there's a price tag on that).

The unrelenting joy of getting a present: 0. Rage-inducing bureaucracy: 2.

* Actually of dried yellow pea origin. Given my many encounters with customs in Australia (not that I smuggle stuff in, just that it always makes me idiotically nervous when I arrive in Australia and have to wrack my brains about when my shoes may have last encountered rural dirt, or whether I have anything wooden in my bag. And I dread the day when they decide to open my suitcase and rootle through it to check I'm not hiding any eggs or iguanas or anything in it. Plus I've seen that TV show about customs people at the airport, where they reduce innocent-looking international students to tears for failing to declare the $20 000 in cash and the 18 bags of dried chicken gizzards they are bringing into the country.) you'd think I would have anticipated this and would have left the peas out or replaced them with non-plant matter. But no, apparently not.

What Do I Read?

The other day in french we were talking about the fact that I read a lot, and the teacher asked me what sort of books I read. "Urrrmmmmm..." I said (only in french, obviously), and I wondered what the answer might be. "Fiction", I eventually said (only in french, obviously. Actually, in english because I didn't know how to say "fiction" in french. I do now), and he said "what sort of fiction?" and I said "urrrrmmmm..." again and he suggested crime, and I said no. Then he suggested romance and I said no. He suggested mystery and I said no. He suggested science fiction and I said no. Someone else who apparently hadn't been listening suggested non-fiction and I said no.

What do I read? I don't really know how to classify it in english, let alone any other language. The last five fiction books I read were The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, The Wave (I don't know who that one was by, although obviously I do now that I have googled it and put in a link. I found it on Reto's bookshelf in his childhood home. Apparently he read it in high school, and it really did hit you over the head with its message in a patronising kind of way as though you were some sort of teenaged moron. Apparently blindly following a leader and oppressing people who don't agree with you is bad, kids), White Teeth by Zadie Smith and A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka. What would you call this lot?

I gave it some thought on my own and didn't come up with much. A quick zip over to the Dymocks website suggests to me that "popular fiction" is the answer, Angus and Robertson tells me to go with "general fiction", and Waterstones in the UK says "modern fiction", or possibly "general and literary fiction".

I doubt very much whether I would actually use any of these terms to explain what I usually read. They all sound a bit forced and vague. Does anyone have any better ideas, though?

Monday, 16 June 2008

New Hair

Reto cut my hair and now he thinks he owns it. It looks perfectly normal, in fact better than I had imagined it would (although shorter than I asked for, but we all saw that coming). Now I catch him staring at me quite a bit, and while I always think for a moment "aww, he's gazing at me with love-struck adoration" (today it's four months since our wedding, in case you're interested) I soon realise he's staring at my hair, and he's staring at it critically. He always comments on how uneven he thinks it is, and this morning he said he thought it looked like a boy's haircut. Which is really a criticism of him and his hair-based skills, but I also can't help but hear him saying to me, his shiny new wife "you look like a boy". Grr.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

A Slow And Cheesy Death

In other news from today, my cheese tolerance has gone up enormously. On the train on the way home from the zoo we were wondering what we would have for dinner and Reto said "let's have a fondue!". What with it being rainy and freezing and horrible today, and all our feet being all cold and pruney from having been rained on all afternoon, we both thought this was a super idea (and it's summer next week for crying out loud), so we bought all the cheese and wine and stuff, went home and scoffed the lot.

Back in my more inexperienced days of fondue, Reto and I used to struggle to get through a 2 person fondue (which is 400g of cheese). Today we were practically licking the caquelon*, and talking about what we could have for dessert**.

No doubt my arteries won't forgive me anywhere near as easily as my stomach has.

* Fondue pot thingie
** chocolate, as it turned out. Talk about Swissification.


Today we went to the zoo in Basel. As I may have mentioned, Reto is quite the zoo fan, and since I have known him I think I might have visited more zoos than I did in the other 20-something years of my life. Anyway, off we went and it was really nice, apart from all the rain. We saw lions and tiger and bears (no tigers, actually, but two types of bears and a snow leopard so that's surely enough to add up to a tiger as well), we ate an excellent cherry danish thing and a second-rate piece of lemon cake, we saw heaps of animals that I didn't know the names of (going to zoos where the animal names are only up in Foreign Languages really makes me realise how atrocious my animal knowledge is. The names were also in english in this zoo, but I didn't realise for quite a while). We also saw kookaburras, kangaroos, blue tongue lizards and various Australian snakes and spiders and fish that I feel no emotional attachment to. A mysterious old man held my hand and told me all about some iguana or something in some incomprehensible language (at least that's what I assume was going on. He said something incomprehensible to me, then grabbed my hand, made a gesture that made me think he was going to bite it, and then pointed at the mystery-reptile and said something else).

All that was very charming, and then I, in a frenzy of goodwill and politeness, held the door to the monkey house open for some man with a pram. There were two sets of doors and he seemed to be struggling a bit to get through the first door while simultaneously opening the second one and preventing his child (not in the pram) from being crushed by the first. I am generally nice, and have even been known to open doors in a professional capacity from time to time, and so I stood in the rain and held the second door open for him. Actually, I had an umbrella and I wouldn't have been able to get past him to go the other way through the doors anyway, so it wasn't actually very arduous for me, but it was still a nice gesture, and not one that anyone else was making (and there were plently of other people around who could have). And did the man with the pram acknowledge me in any way at all? Did he say thankyou? Did he so much as look at me and smile? Hah. No he bloody didn't.

Later I held another door open for another pram-driver (another man) and he didn't say thanks either. Honestly, people with prams are so annoying (taking up tons of space, having noisy and annoying children, dawdling, often travelling in packs, and worse still, packs several-abreast ie. taking up the whole footpath) that in my opinion they should be pathetically grateful when other people treat them with any amount of kindness*. In general they are, too, at least in my experience of helping people lug their prams up and down stairs in train stations (usually women and usually in Australia if that means anything, which I secretly suspect it might. As in, women are more likely to be the ones to know how annoying children and prams and unhelpful strangers are, and Australians are generally nicer than Switzies), but these two men completely failed to show any appreciation. And neither of them had the excuse of being actually too harried or harrassed to notice or to have the time to acknowledge me, they just didn't. They just dawdled through the door and ignored me.


* Please note that some of my dearest friends are people with prams, and in general I don't really mean what I say in that sentence. Although I also sort of do.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Here's A Tip

We were talking about tipping people in french this morning, and apart from the obvious ones of waiters, taxi drivers etc, everyone seemed to think it is normal to tip hairdressers and nurses. Am I really so out of the loop? Really?

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Shut Up! Or Don't ....

How seriously do we take the silent compartment* in trains?

Yesterday I sat in one for the first time in a long time. Two nuns went in just ahead of me, and they were chatting as they went in. They continued chatting (in a quiet and nun-appropriate sort of way, but still) and after a few moments the girl in the seat next to them told them to shut the hell up (or politer words to that effect). They complied in a nun-appropriate way.

Today I sat in another compartimento del silenzio (or whatever it is), and some dude spoke LOUDLY on his mobile phone. He was sitting opposite a stranger, and the stranger tried to encourage him to speak more quietly or to go somewhere else and have his conversation or to wait until later, but the man was adamant that he HAD TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION NOW AND IT WOULD ONLY TAKE A MOMENT. While he was on the phone I was wondering if I should tell him to shut the hell up, but then someone else's phone rang, and then someone else's, and so all of a sudden me and the cranky old man adjacent to me were the only ones not on the phone. Everyone hung up after a while, and it was silent again, but then the original phone man ended up having another 2 phone calls in the space of the 45 minute train trip, the last one of which he put on speaker phone (!!) because apparently the reception was so bad he couldn't hear anything any other way.

In general I don't particularly care, but this man was so blatant in his non-silence. Is this because he is a general flouter of rules (and therefore likely to react badly to being told what to do), or because he didn't know it was a silent compartment (and therefore likely to slink off with his tail between his legs when yelled at)? Should I have asked him to shut up? Should someone else? Since I was apparently unwilling to get into any sort of argument with a stranger in a language not my own, I didn't say anything. And nor did anyone else. And I don't know if I approve or not**.

* Some bits of some trains are designated silent, and there small, quiet signs everywhere telling you this in 4 languages and pictograms. In general, people seem to take the silence thing quite seriously, so you never normally have to think about whether you should try to enforce it or not.
** The very fact that I have even considered telling strangers to shut up makes me worry that I am embracing the least endearing aspects of Switziness far too much. Sigh.

Monday, 9 June 2008

You're Perfectly Normal

People are constantly talking about the soccer in my french class. Everyone seems to be very well informed about who's going to win, who should win, which teams were robbed, when we can all expect to be kept awake by victory-addled fans driving around and honking their car horns (and which fans it will be doing the honking) etc. Me and one other girl in the class aren't interested in all the sporty talk, and the teacher seems to find it necessary to constantly reassure us that it's okay to not like soccer, that even though everyone else obviously does, that it doesn't imply anything weird about us at all that we don't like it, that we're still people in spite of this hideous defect and that everyone else should still treat us just as they did before even though we have really asked for the opposite treatment by OUTING OURSELVES AS A PAIR OF MUTANT FREAKS.

I have no problem with not liking sport. I have been a non-fan of sport in a sporty, sporty nation for a good many years, but I can't remember when my disinterest was last made such a big deal of.

Saturday, 7 June 2008


What a charming day today has been. Reto's parents came over to visit our new flat (well, to visit us and to see our new flat, which isn't actually new any more, obviously, but it's the first time they have been here. Apart from when his dad helped us to move in, but that doesn't really count) and we had a pleasantly boozy lunch. By some unexpected stroke of good fortune it didn't rain in the afternoon and so we went for a wander around the town and I harrassed (ie. patted) a few cats I saw sitting on window sills. We went to a cafe and had a delicious strawberry-based dessert item (and a coffee, obviously) and watched the world's nicest looking dog be tied to a post by his owner while the owner went into some shop. The dog was very well behaved while his owner was within sight but as soon as the coast was clear the dog went into a tizzy of tangling three of his legs up in his leash and looking pitiful. Some kindly bystander tried to help the dog, by the dog didn't seem to note the kindly intentions and went a bit mental trying to leap at the kindly bystander and bite him. Happily for the kindly bystander the dog's intentions were thwarted by his short and tangly leash, which yoinked him back down to the ground quick smart.

Our street is also in the midst of some art thing. I'm not really sure what it is, but there are people huddled under awnings (ie. out of the rain) all up and down the street painting pictures of whatever's around. I think it might be some sort of competition, so I'll have to keep an eye out for when the paintings might all be on display, because some of the ones I've seen so far have been really great.

The day has so far only been marred by the fact that mean people in Sydney keep telling me what a great time they've been having at the Film Fest. I really can't express how sad it is that I'm not there.

Happy Birthday Deonie!

Happy birthday Deonie!
I'm so pleased to have all these friends who are older than me and make me look all youthful and charming. Not that I'm not.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Poor Poorly Rogy

In other sporty news (who would have thought I had this much sporty news?? Or any at all, frankly), apparently little Rogy Federer may have all this world-class sport person stuff going on, but that doesn't mean he's medically fit for military service. Or so his german wikipedia entry tells me. That bit is mysteriously omitted from the english version.

Oh SFF, How I Pine For Thee

Oh, and in other sad news, the Sydney Film Festival is on and I'm not there. For the first time since last century I'll be missing the festival, and I won't be spending a good solid 2 weeks in the dark watching movie after movie after movie. Instead, I'll be over here with all the sport nuts. Sigh.

Throwing Tanties

Much as I don't mind living here (feel the enthusiasm!), I also frequently kind of don't like it. Unfortunately I'm not going to be less vague about that, mainly because the reasons come and go and it's hard to work up the rage/enthusiasm when they are forgotten. Suffice to say that the way I seem to be coping with my general dissatisfaction lately is by throwing things. Happily I am a practical person and so my throwing usually only involves softish and unbreakable items. To illustrate, lately I have thrown:

clothes (Reto's, which were either annoying me by being all over the place on the floor or annoying me by expecting me to wash them);
shoes (again Reto's, which were in my way. Mine were also in the way but I moved them more delicately out of the way);
a bottle (plastic, which didn't actually annoy me at all, it was just handily located); and
a lettuce (which was too big to fit in the fridge. Note that that is not because it was the World's Biggest Lettuce, but because our fridge is the World's Smallest Fridge. Except that it's probably not, because tiny fridges seems to be the go here. It is bar fridge sized, though, as in, if I cut my leg off at the knee and then took out all the fridge shelves, maybe I could just fit my amputated leg in in one piece. Just.)

Yay For The *^&%^*@# Soccer

This soccer thing is starting imminently (tomorrow, I believe) and everyone's all a-tizzy about it. Shops all over the place have flags and soccer balls in their windows, people are flying flags from their cars, all sorts of merchandise is being hocked everywhere you look, and we people with blogs are complaining up a storm.

Much as I have absolutely no interest in any forms of sport at all, I'm kinda looking forward to the whole shebang. All my hazy memories of the Sydney olympics revolve around how much better it was than we all expected, and how everything worked so well and people were happy and we all watched The Dream on telly and I successfully managed to avoid having anything to do with sport (apart from the time when my sister and I went kayaking and someone yelled "go for gold!" at us, which I enjoyed enormously). That being the only sporting event I have ever been even remotely associated with, I'm assuming, possibly naively, that this will be the same. I think possibly the fact that I don't live in a city where games are being played is a bit of an advantage, because it seems that everyone who does is feeling bitter about the unavoidable disruption that sqillions of pesky fans descending like locusts will inevitably cause.

Meanwhile, something seems to be going on with the train line between here and Lausanne, with the result that all of the decent trains today were cancelled and I spent an hour longer than usual waiting in the freezing (really, I could see my breath, even at noon. It was allegedly about 15 degrees, but my fingers started turning purple) for stupid crowded, slow trains to arrive. On one of the trains, while we were in the throes of stopping for 15 minutes in a tunnel, a dude with a guitar tried to entertain everyone by singing some song about how it sucks to be trapped on a train in a tunnel, and then some woman hurled abuse at him for disturbing her peace. Actually it was all in french so I could be a bit confused about what was actually said, but I'd like to think I'm not. Anyway, those train people might want to work on repairing that before tomorrow, because squillions of cancelled trains, squillions of tourists who don't really know where they're going, and squillions of cranky locals is not necessarily a good combination.

I'm looking forward to it enormously. I do like a good whine.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Vampire Sheep

I've just finished reading Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood. It wasn't my favourite thing of hers I've read, which is possibly why the most striking thing about it for me at the moment is the totally bizarro description of stuff you buy at markets and in second-hand shops as being like "vampire sheep", as in

"How difficult these objects are to dispose of, I thought; they lurk passively, like vampire sheep, waiting for someone to buy them".

Is that what vampire sheep do? They lurk passively? They wait for somone to buy them? It doesn't sound very plausible to me. I don't think that normal vampires (ie. of the non-sheep variety) tend to lurk passively or wait for people to buy them (that's based on my having once upon a time been an enthusiastic viewer of Buffy The Vampire Slayer). I suppose normal sheep might be described as passive lurkers, but I don't think that they are necessarily waiting to be bought.

And why "vampire sheep"? Why sheep (you'll have to trust me that the vampire thing makes sense in the context of the book)? And what do vampire sheep do (apart from lurk passively and wait to be bought)? Do they drink the blood of other sheep? Or do they go for human blood (imagine waking up at night to discover yourself being bitten by a crazed vampire sheep instead of by a darkly handsome vampire person. Confusing.). I wonder if all that wool makes it harder to stab them through the heart. Buffy would have to get a whole new repertoire of moves to use on them, because a lot of her high kicks etc would go right over the heads of any vampire sheep adversaries she might meet (as would much of her witty slaying repartee, I imagine, haha).

No doubt if Gary Larson ever gives up on cows, there would be a whole lot of material waiting for him there with the vampire sheep.

Art Brut

The other day I went to my favourite museum ever, and I bought this poster.
The museum is the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, and it's full of art made by people who I like to group collectively as "crazy" (no offense intended), but who the museum far more PC-ishly describes as
"marginalised people entrenched in the attitude of a rebellious spirit or impervious to collective norms and values, those who produce Art Brut include prisoners, inmates of psychiatric hospitals, eccentrics loners and misfits. They work in solitude, secrecy and silence, unconcerned by public criticism or the gaze of others. Their works are unaffected by influences from artistic traditions and apply singular methods of representation. These creators devise their own techniques, often with completely novel means and materials."

I first went to the museum in 2004, and at the time they were having a special exhibition of the dude featured in my new poster. I can't really remember much about him, but he made these awesome wooden sculptures, lots of horses and donkies and stuff, and they were all surprisingly life-like (and life-sized) but with big goofy smiley faces turned at funny angles. The poster is a picture of him with a horse he made (which I'm very pleased to say is still in the museum) that he bunged an ill-fitting bridle on, jumped on and pretended to ride. I really wanted to buy this poster at the time, but I was a bit of a grotty backpacker back then and I doubted that the poster would make it all the way back home unmangled so I didn't buy it. And now, years later, they still have the poster for sale. It's like fate. All over our living room wall.

Other excellent stuff at the museum includes the totally awesome faces made out of shells (some dude from the 1800s, I think, who used to buy other people's collections of huge and wacky shells and then stick them together somehow to make really excellent faces), the other shell-themed thing (these semi-religious looking and extremely detailed garden-type scenes made of squillions of little shells all stuck together, painted with garish nailpolishes and lit with unnecessarily high-watt bulbs), various animal sculptures made out of sticks, and this rather excellent and creepily sweet-looking book about a planet full of adorable little children being brutalised by mean men with dogs and rescued by mysterious trans-gender kiddies who happily usually manage to save the day that they are currently having an extended exhibition on.

It's wacky and excellent and I thoroughly recommend it.

Oi, Oi, Oi!

The potatoes have had their day, look who coffee is celebrating now!