Thursday, 24 September 2009


When Reto got home last night:

Him: I've got a present for you!
Me: [understandably suspicious] Really? One you deliberately got for me or is it something someone else gave you?
Him: ...
Me: Did someone give it to you at the train station?
Him: No, it's better than that...

He hands over a nice little box of fancy handmade biscuits

Me: Ooh, yummy!
Him: A guy at work gave them to me.
Me: Why?
Him: Because I let him borrow my pants*.


* Reto has a suit at work for the occasions when he needs to look respectable. Apparently his (similar-sized but slightly taller, hee hee pants that are too short) colleague doesn't.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Electric Tea, Anyone?

A friend gave me a book a while ago about how to be more environmentally friendly when cooking. There's lots of interesting recipes in it, and all sorts of guilty-making statistics about how inefficient ovens and stoves are and how we should all be using toaster ovens instead, and then there's the very peculiar section on "electric teapots".

"Mention an electric teapot and most Americans are clueless. But to the tea-loving British, electric kettles are everyday appliances..."

And so on, about how kettles are great for making hot drinks and boiling water for making couscous and rehydrating mushrooms. Seriously? Kettles don't exist in America? I always thought it was weird that Reto's family never had a toaster, but no kettles?* Is it really true?

* Actually, now that I think about it, they don't have a kettle either. Which makes me wonder if it's us kettle-owners that are the odd ones out. I mean hardcore green cooks.

Monday, 14 September 2009


Yesterday I saw a blurb stuck on a tram window about how not to get swine flu (or any sort of flu, I suppose, but I guess swine flu was what inspired it), an ad on telly about how not to get (swine) flu, and a 12-step set of instructions in a museum toilet on how to wash my hands thoroughly.

Other than that I had a delightful day that was in no way blighted by the spectre of disease and death. We went to the Tinguely museum in Basel (which was sort of bad timing because it's mostly closed at the moment, preparing for new exhibitions which are opening next week. Still better that going to see the Van Gogh exhibition at the Kunstmuseum, though, because oh my goodness there was a massive ticket queue there both times we went past. Reto and I saw the exhibition on the easter weekend, which you would think would be a moronic time to go to something like that, and it was pretty crowded when we were there, but apparently the last weeks before it closes are much worse.), the high point of which was a toss up between this (the Meta-Harmonie 2, a giganto machine with all sorts of drums and keyboards and cymbals attached which, unsurprisingly, makes a bit of a racket when you press the "go" button and not in a delightfully musical way, either, in case you were getting your hopes up. More in a random banging of drums way) and lunch, which was veal with proscuitto and parmesan cheese and a red wine risotto, and although in general I completely disapprove of the mixing of meat (as in two or more types at once), this was ridiculously delicious. And the salad was great, and the coffee was great, and the restaurant itself was also charming. And then we went for a pleasant stroll along the river in the afternoon sun and watched children and dogs and the occasional adult frolicking in the water, and then we almost froze to death in our bed overnight when the temperature suddenly dropped about 45 degrees (possible exaggeration. I was forced to close the window, though, which I normally never ever do). So that was mostly delightful.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Not a Man

As I may have mentioned, I subscribed to french National Geographic a while ago, in a vague effort to inspire myself to read things in french more, and to look at all the pretty pictures. Getting them to send the first edition to me was a nightmare, because after about 6 weeks of nothing in the letterbox and several annoying-to-write emails (because they were in french) from me, followed by several annoying-to-receive emails (because they kept telling me that my address doesn't exist and the magazine is therefore undeliverable) from them, several editions turned up at once, and since then they've arrived regularly each month and there are no more dramas.

Unless you count the fact that they've suddenly become confused about who I am. The first 4 magazines that I got were addressed to Madame Robyn Surname. The most recent one was addressed to Monsieur Surname Robyn. Why? Why would they suddenly decide to change my name and my gender for me? Why? Why? I used to find this whole gender confusion thing that all these idiots over here have with my name funny and inoffensive. Not any more. NOW IT IS RELENTLESSLY ANNOYING. Just stop it, people. Grr.

Actually Still Summer

In spite of what I said the other day about it being like autumn these days, it's not really. I'm still happily getting around in tshirts and putting on sunscreen and not feeling cold. So imagine my surprise when I went to Coop today to buy an avocado and saw VAST QUANTITIES of christmassy biscuits offering themselves up to me in the biscuit aisle (actually it was the chocolate aisle. They always put the seasonal biscuits there instead of in the biscuit aisle, which seems odd)! Yes yes, everyone knows that supermarkets go mental putting out their hot cross buns in January, but really! It's still [here in crazy upside-down world where the seasons are not only at the wrong time of year but they don't even change on the right days either] summer! And not in a sensible summery Australian christmas (where seasonal biscuits are not invited) kind of way, either!

Anyway, all these giganto bags of my favourite version of pfeffernusse (the ones without the crappy chocolate coating on the bottom) were gazing out at me from the chocolate aisle and I thought to myself "This is ridiculous! It's still summer! That's half a kilo of biscuits that Reto doesn't like (he only likes the zimtsternen and I think they suck) and I'm never going to be able to restrain myself from scoffing the whole packet and feeling sick" and passed stoically on by with only my avocado to console me. Which I think was the right decision, but if I end up with a repeat of last year's debacle, where they eventually stopped selling my biscuits and only sold the crappy chocolate-bottomed ones before I had managed to have a scoffathon, I'm going to be VERY ANNOYED.