Friday, 29 January 2010


While I've spent most of this week flailing about and being sick as a dog (well, I've had a cold), the dogs we saw last weekend were adorable and not showing any outward signs of illness.
(not sick)
We went to a cold mountainy town (Kandersteg) and watched some dog sled races, and it was really surprisingly fun. I don't know anything about dogs, but they all seemed to be having a nice time and were going COMPLETELY MENTAL jumping around and straining at their harnesses and making a racket while awaiting their turn to go hooning off around the track.(some dogs were hooning less than others. Admittedly this was uphill, and it was freezing in the shade, and teams of less than about 6 dogs really seemed a lot more knackered by the end, but yes, that is the sled person running along behind, and yes, that dog on the right looks like he might be wondering about a shortcut)
Particular marks for adorableness go to the samoyeds (for being so furry),
(not samoyeds, because I figured they were already overrepresented in the photos below)

to the dogs in boots, to all the dogs that turned all cute and puppyish while gawky spectators gave them a pat (some of these dogs looked like they'd prefer to bite their own legs off than submit to the indignity of being patted, but I didn't see one that maintained its steely-eyed glareyness in the face of actual affection), and, most of all, to this dog in goggles, who seemed to be the favourite of all the spectators.Special mention also goes to the person who got so keen about taking photos that he kinda went onto the track and then got run into by one of the teams of dogs. Stoopid.
(not this person. It wasn't Reto either, by the way. Or me)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Enjoying The Dread

The other day we sprayed our squeaky bathroom door hinges (and front door hinges, although they were much less squeaky than the bathroom ones) with some WD-40 and now they are silent. My quality of life has improved enormously. The squeak had been getting worse for the last few months, and reached a frenzy of Psycho-ish, high-pitched, fingernail-down-a-blackboardyness last week that finally drove us to action.

Nowadays, when I am about to open the bathroom door I am usually swept up by a sense of dread ("nooo, not the noise!"), and the subsequent happiness I feel at not hearing the squeal is out of all proportion. It really makes my day, which is especially nice since trips to the toilet are becoming ever more frequent.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Bad Cheese

Having been reasonably diligent for the last 6 and a half months at avoiding booze and rare meat and oysters and all the other yummy things they tell you to avoid when you're pregnant, today as I was eating a piece of emmental cheese I happened to look at the packet and notice it was made from raw milk (which is another thing on the list of foods to avoid). "Oops", I thought, then cut myself a piece of gruyère. And as I was eating it, I noticed it is also made from raw milk. Hmm. I would say I've eaten these two cheeses (as in these particular brands of them) on average every single day that I've been pregnant (clearly that's an exaggeration, but only because I spent some time out of the country).

That being said, Reto's just done a bit of research and found that apparently hard cheeses are fine even if they are made from raw milk.

Guessing Game

Reto stopped at a bakery and bought some bread on the way home last night. He also brought me a present.

Me: Ooh, is it from the bakery?
Him: Yes
Is it bread?
Is it cake?
Is it a biscuit?
Is it a pastry?
Is it fruity?
Is it custardy?
Is it chocolatey?
Is it savoury?
Is it really from the bakery?
Is it ...

[hours later]
Is it an incomprehensibly Swiss occasion-specific specialty that I will never ever guess?
Um .. no
Did you really get me a present from the bakery?

And eventually I gave up. Apparently the correct guess would have been "is it something like a madeleine but in the shape of a bear?". Which I would say actually counts as a cake.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


I'm often concerned that I won't recognise Reto when I have arranged to meet him somewhere crowded, and instead of looking for his face I look for the clothes he's wearing or for the bag he has carried pretty much every day for the last 7 years. Clearly this is ridiculous and obviously I am pretty familiar with what he looks like, but I remember being worried the first time he came to Australia that I wouldn't recognise him at the airport (I hadn't seen him for 6 months or so) and my concern doesn't seem to have abated much since then.


Yesterday we went out and bought Reto a new bag for Christmas. I had bought him a different new bag for Christmas, after he had spent forever going on about how his old bag was on its last legs and he needed a new one. He decided he didn't like the bag I gave him (fair enough; it was deceptively small and not super terrific) but it wasn't a complete loss because it provided the impetus to end the complaining and actually go and buy a new one. And so we did, and although the new bag is the same make and brand as the old bag (Freitag. Apparently I'm not Swiss enough to understand why everyone here loves them so much) it's a different colour and he looks completely different carrying it than he looked with the old one.


I can't button up my normal winter coat any more. This problem was clearly getting closer and closer before our Christmassy sojourn in Australia, and now that we've got back and it's so freezing all the time I've been forced to retire the old green one (which I've been wearing constantly for the last 2 and a half winters) and embrace a less charming but more spacious brown one that I found in the cupboard. Yesterday as we were walking through a crowded train station, Reto and I were slightly separated (by no more than a metre) by people walking in the other direction. The crowd thinned and I was moving back over towards Reto when I noticed him looking distractedly out past me into the crowd. Had he seen someone he knew? No, he was looking for me. He didn't recognise me because I wasn't wearing my green coat. This (I hope) also explains why I saw him making a move to hold the hand of a stranger the other day during a similar crowd-separation situation.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Pregnancy - A Bit Dull

I would write an exciting pregnancy update post, but it's just not that exciting. Apart from having made christmas a bit sad (what with all the booze and oysters and things on offer that I mostly valiantly said no to) and made my legs swell up like elephant legs on the flights to and from Australia (really, you should have seen my knees! I might have anticipated swollen ankles and feet, but my knees! My calves! My thighs! Fortunately everything was back to normal after a nice night of lying down) there hasn't been that much going on. I have put on 11kg or so, which seems like more than I should have gained at this stage (28 weeks), but last night I was told by a gaggle of semi-strangers that I'm looking "tiny" (which I don't think I've ever been called before in any context. And one of them may have implied that she didn't really believe that I am pregnant, or possibly that I am as pregnant as I am), and most of the time I am still wearing my normal non-pregnant clothes (although I have retired my tighter jeans and tshirts).

All the necessary shopping is also starting to loom a bit dauntingly. I'm not a big fan of shopping at the best of times, and the fact that this baby shopping requires me to do research into what I need (and where I can buy it) is incredibly off-putting. As is the fact that it's too cold to rustle up much enthusiasm for going outside to do things I don't want to do. I had planned to do some baby-stuff research in Australia, where it would be easy to pump shop assistants for information, but my unenthusiasm meant I didn't get around to anything more than buying a baby sling and a few adorably cute clothes (as well as being given some other adorably cute clothes by my mother). Nappies are my main torment at the moment.
On the less complainy side, though, the idea of having a little person is pretty exciting, and feeling her rolling about and doing whatever it is she's doing in there is really lovely, and we bought her a completely excellent toy wombat a while ago. And a mobile with whales on it. And not having spent the last 6 months vomiting or being exhausted or having haemorrhoids or any of that stuff is probably a fairly good thing.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

So Furry

Adorably cute kangaroos, as seen from my parents' garden.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Getting Things Done

Jet lag makes us efficient.

Which isn't actually true at all, but it does mean that we had woken up, lounged around in bed, had a leisurely breakfast, called my parents, been indecisive about what to do today, done some googling and made a decision, organised ourselves, left the house and caught a bus by 8am (that was after waking up at 4am, so really it took us ages). We went to a thermal pool in Charmey, a nearby-ish town, and it was great. We arrived in time to have a coffee and a croissant (normally I loathe croissants and only eat them if I'm starving but this one was actually ... edible. If not slightly enjoyable) before the pool even opened and still be practically the first ones there. Unusually, the entry price (which was relatively cheap) included all the novelty pools (by which I mean saunas in various styles and temperatures, and a coldcoldcold pool and a foot bath too, I think, none of which I used because apparently these things are verboten during pregnancy. Well, not the foot bath but the rest of it). The main pools (one indoor, one outdoor) had a few of the bubbly/jetty things that are always fun at a thermal pool place, but not so many that the whole thing would be a magnet for little kids who like to frolic mindlessly and kick you as they don't watch where they're going. There were pretty mountains around to look at. The walls and floors were all covered in really nice green mosaic-y tiles. On the down side, we caught a very inconvenient bus to get home again and spent an hour and a half following some tortuous route through the smaller towns of canton Fribourg, but I guess you can't win them all.

And then we had a fondue as a very early dinner, and now I'm wondering how early I can possibly go to bed. I suppose I should try to stay awake and get rid of the jet lag, but bed seems very enticing.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


Yesterday I was worrying about getting sunburnt at the beach and the dilemma of having to potentially pack wet swimmers in my suitcase for the flight back to Switzerland (you'll all be pleased to know they dried in about 2 seconds after I hung them on the line), today I struggled not to fall over in the snow slush on the way home from the train station with my giganto suitcase and in my summery shoes. Sigh.

In other news, when we were going through the metal detectors in Dubai, one of the staff asked me "are you pregnant?". I said yes, and she directed me around the side of the machines and over to some woman who took me into a cubicle and frisked me (in lieu of being metal detected). I think most options are better than being frisked (including those nudie scanners that are causing such controversy lately), but this was the first I've heard of avoiding metal detectors during pregnancy. Which is possibly not ideal, since I've gone through at least 4 of them in the last few weeks.