Saturday, 31 October 2009

New necklace

A few weeks ago I spent a very pleasant day in Zürich with my friend Jennifer, whom I know from Basel. Zürich is a throbbing metropole, with shops everywhere. In fact, I felt that my head was on a swivel, I didn't know what to look at first, and that was even before I'd got out of the railway station! I need to get out more! Anyway, alot of chatting was done, quite a bit of walking, several minutes admiring the lake, a nice lunch and then a wander around the narrow streets. It was there that we chanced upon the Bead Box bead shop and thought we might as well pop in (well, it would have been rude not to). A few beads were purchased and this is what I made with them.

cord necklace

I have been meaning to make something like this for a while and thought that knotting a bit of cord around a few beads would be mega straight-forward. But, actually, it was quite fiddly, as I kept thinking of things to add and then having to undo all the knots I'd made. Duhh! Still very enjoyable though.

You can see what Jennifer made with her beads here.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, 26 October 2009


I'm posting this story (apologies to those who have heard it), as it is typical of the sort of thing that happens to me. As you may know, we have recently moved to a new area. A few weeks ago, we invited the neighbours round one Saturday evening for drinks. We just invited our "row", which was the lady next door and the couple from the other "end" house, with their 12 year old son, so very small. I knew the man at the end house was something to do with hunting as, having been in their house briefly, I have seen they have antlers hanging on the wall etc. So I asked him if he had a hunting lodge (Jägerhütte), knowing this would fascinate my son Alex. BTW I thought a Jägerhütte was one of those things on stilts that hunters observe from. Anyway, yes he had a Jägerhütte and after the first drink he invited us all up to the Hütte the next evening to do some shooting (!?). He also mentioned he is often called out when deer are hit by cars and has to look for the deer to put it out of its misery. Bear in mind that we are now in Züri Duutsch (Swiss German, but Zürich area Swiss German) so I am not sure if I am getting the right end of the stick. So the invitation was accepted and times were arranged etc. I was beginning to feel a bit apprehensive about this shooting thing and also if it was suitable for children. I thought we might have to dress up in plus fours and camouflage etc, not that I have any plus fours, but you know what I mean. So, next day, late afternoon the neighbours came round to check that we were ready and said they just had to get the guns ready etc! CRIPES!! We set off in convoy, drove around 7km down country lanes and through sleepy villages before arriving at the hut in the forest. It was a proper Hütte, a little wooden house with benches in, a kitchenette etc. So now to the shooting part. Imagine the look on my face when 2 tables were set up. One for us to sit round with drinks and snacks and the other one with the AIR RIFLES ON, with little targets set up in the space in front of the Hütte......

The moral of this story - although I have lived in Switzerland for over 8 years and think that I am quite proficient at understanding the language, I still don't always get it!!

I was pretty relieved tho' ......

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Castles and Cakes

The children are on the second week of their Autumn half-term holiday and we have quite a busy week planned, as it is my son's 6th birthday on Thursday. We are off into town today to spend his birthday money - when I asked him what he wanted to spend it on, he cooly replied that he would see what he could get for that amount! Logical really. Then tomorrow we are making the Birthday Cake for the party on Thursday. Now, as I have mentioned before, I am not naturally domesticated and things like making a birthday cake can, quite frankly, send me into a flat spin. This time last year was a good example. I asked my son what kind of cake he would like for his birthday, thinking along the lines of chocolate or carrot. "A Knights' Castle one", he replied. Aha. So I thought about it for a while and reckoned I only had to make 2 loaf cakes to make a castle with 2 towers. I had got the 2 cakes in the oven when I had a horrible thought. I had cleaned the oven the day before and realized now, when the cakes were beginning to rise, that I had forgotten to clean the stuff off the oven door!!! Well, that was that. I couldn't use those cakes and risk poisoning 8 children. So the cakes were dumped and the oven door was scrubbed to within an inch of its life. Now, at this stage, a normal person would have just gone out and bought 2 loaf-shaped cakes, cut them up and decorated them. However, 2 of the children coming to the party had a wheat allergy, so I had to make the cakes again myself using non-wheat flour. Duhh!! It took me until 11pm and then I spent the whole morning decorating the cakes to make them ressemble a castle of sorts.

After all that, my son, over-excited by his presents and his friends, barely gave the cake a second glance. And the wheat-allergy kids? They didn't want a piece of cake. I can assure you that this year's cake will be a simple affair with 6 candles...

Monday, 12 October 2009

Back from our hols

We have just come back from a fabulous holiday. Did we go to the Med., Disneyland or do a sophisticated city break? No, we went to the Bregenzerwald. Booked true to style just 2 days before going, the Bregenzerwald is a mountainous region situated in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, which is the western-most province in Austria. Less than a 2-hour drive from home, we had booked accomodation on a farm. This was a first for us, as I have always imagined these farm holidays to be pongy and rather dull. NOT SO! It wasn't pongy, but peaceful and it wasn't dull, but delightful. Our accomodation was a very comfortable apartment on the first floor of the farmer's home. These were the views from the apartment:


Our Bregenzerwald card (included in the price of the accomodation if you stay for 3 nights or more) entitled us to ride free of charge on various mountain lifts (cable cars and chair lifts), so we did and marvelled at the spectacular views:


Every evening there was "children's entertainment" in the form of watching the cows being milked in the modern cowshed and feeding the calves and pigs. Bliss for our 5-year old son. Plus we watched cheese being made, went to see how traditional wooden tiles are made to insulate the houses and dangled from ropes in the trees in a specially build adventure playground. Dull? Definitely not!


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