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.