Bathtub Beats #2: Down On The Upside, Soundgarden

Well, this wouldn’t have been my first choice album to listen to in the tub …


Down On The Upside

Not exactly a relaxing, chilled-out kind of vibe. Pretty heavy and morose. I’m unsure how Down On The Upside even made it onto my computer, because I’ve never listened to it before! But that’s the beauty of Bathtub Beats – close my eyes, swipe to scroll down on the list of albums on my phone for a few seconds then randomly stop, then open my eyes to “discover” an album to listen to in its entirety in the bath. The first Bathtub Beats review is here.

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Working in the new garden


Midday in the garden area. Not much love happening here

Last Friday, I had a spurt of energy, thanks to glorious sunshine, to get the garden into shape. The new apartment has these garden rows in the complex and we were told by the real estate agent that two were free (really? only two? they all look unloved!), so, of course, never one to do things slowly, I’ve dived right in to set up both of them. Continue reading

Novelty factor

This morning for breakfast, we had no milk. So I walked to the local supermarket and back.

This short expedition, after living “in the wilderness” for so long, has a high novelty factor – and probably will for a fair while longer.

I was very, very tempted to buy some of the beautiful potted flowers and herbs while there (the shop sells everything from horse blankets to outdoor furniture to baked-on-the-premises bread), but patience is required. The balcony needs to be cleaned before anything else can be added.


A few days ago, I was almost knocked off my feet when leaving the house. The fields nearby had been fertilised and the whole village smelt like a giant cow poo.


Said fields – thankfully less on the nose today! We used to live about a kilometre further behind those houses


Neat rows and blue skies


Wishing you a wonderful day.

The handbag challenge


To be sure, to be sure …

We were in Dublin last weekend! Woo hoo! I love Ireland – I love the Irish humour, the accent, their general craic for life, the countryside, oh and their beer!

Packing (you know how I love to pack!) gave me the perfect opportunity to fulfill a personal challenge I’ve been itching to do for ages – travel with just my handbag as luggage. And I’m not talking about a giant sack of a bag, I’m talking about my everyday handbag – a small, short-handled nylon bag, which is perfect for me because it weighs nothing empty and has a cross shoulder strap.


Ready for the train from Bern to Zurich, then the flight to Dublin, and then the bus to the B&B … See why I was keen to carry as little as possible?!

We were going to Dublin to watch my cousin referee the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy. The flight arrived at 21:30 Friday night, and we flew home at 16:15 Sunday afternoon, so the time was limited and no ballgowns were needed. We would spend most of Saturday at the match with family (over from Australia to cheer Angus on too), and Sunday walking around the city.


The bag. Klein aber fein, as they say in German. It’s about 25cm long at the base, the zip is about 33cm long, the height is about 20cm and the width is about 16cm

On the plane over, I wore pretty much everything needed for the weekend, with an extra t-shirt, spare undies and socks and another silk scarf packed in the bag.

Merino wool garments make this so much easier I think. They breathe well and don’t smell much, and dry quickly if you need to wash them.


Overall, it was a raging success but I could have lived without many things!!

  1. The red plastic wallet with printouts of boarding passes, B&B booking etc – I need to get with the times and put everything on my phone. Save a tree! Save space!
  2. The iPod mini and earphones in the gold pouch – didn’t listen to any music
  3. The grey pouch with the iPhone camera lens – didn’t do any fancy photo tricks
  4. Gloves – wasn’t cold enough. The temperature in Dublin was supposed to be around 13 degrees Celsius both days, which turned out to be true, thankfully.
  5. Beanie – wasn’t cold enough (although I was happy to have it on the 20 minute walk to the car when we arrived in Bern at 21:30 Sunday night).
  6. Umbrella – it didn’t rain
  7. Second scarf – although it was nice to change up my outfit with this, it was an ‘unnecessary’ luxury! But it was so small it was hardly a bother.

On Saturday, I wore a black long-sleeve merino t-shirt under a black and white cardigan with jeans, black leather ankle boots and one of the scarves.

On Sunday, I wore what I wore over on the plane – the long-sleeve merino t-shirt underneath a black and white polka dot blouse with cardigan, jeans, boots, plus the other scarf. And when outdoors, always the coat!

Total things taken: –

Worn: bra, merino singlet, black merino long sleeve t-shirt, black and white spotted blouse, black and white cardigan, coat, undies, jeans, socks, boots, watch, two rings, necklace, ear rings, belt, silk scarf.

Packed: merino t-shirt (which I wore to bed – the B&B was freezing), spare undies, socks, second silk scarf, umbrella, gloves, beanie, red plastic wallet, passport, wallet, phone, electronics pouch, plastic bag with toiletries, handkerchief, makeup pouch (plus two hard boiled eggs, an apple and two sandwiches for us to start the journey!)

Leo also packed very light – a small 18 litre backpack. Wish we could always travel like this! I can’t wait to do it again. It’s a giggle of a challenge, and works well if the weather works in your favour. Although, saying that, all bases were pretty much covered. The beauty of denim on such a short trip came to the fore too – while carrying a tray of Guinness back to our seats some sloshed onto my jeans. I washed it with water and it was all fine. The only problem travelling with jeans on a longer holiday is they weigh a lot and take ages to dry! But for something like this, a long weekend or what have you, they’re the perfect option.

But enough about the packing, here are a few shots from the weekend. It was Leo’s first trip to Ireland and I think he’s keen to go back, even though he’s not keen on Guinness! Ireland won convincingly and Angus did a great job on his first Six Nations call. It was so lovely to see so many family members too! Many tears were shed on goodbye.


Wishing you a wonderful day.

Bathtub Beats #1: A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Coldplay

In the new apartment (here’s a photo tour if you haven’t been here before), we have a bath. I had a bath in Sydney before I moved to Switzerland, and for the past four years have made the most of holiday soaks to satisfy that chilling-out-in-walm-calm-liquid feeling. (I’m a Pisces – we need water!)

Tonight was my third time in the tub here, and I’m thinking it should become a regular Sunday feature. Normally I would read while warming ma bones, but this time, I listened to music. Leo gave me a Sonos Play 1 speaker for my birthday. (No affiliations, I don’t get any money from products on the blog.)

I was a bit miffed when I saw the box, not knowing what it did, but it’s a little powerhouse of sound which links to your own music via your iTunes collection or the music on your phone etc and it also links to radio stations.

So how about this for being the perfect present for a music lover who doesn’t listen to anywhere near as much music as preferred?! We set up the speaker in the office, but because it’s so small and light I transferred it to the bathroom, with the plan to listen to an album from start to finish.

When was the last time you listened to an entire album? I think the only time I’ve done it since the invention of the MP3 player was for Radiohead’s In Rainbows, in 2007. Not only is it brilliant, but also the first time a major international act released an album where the buyer could download it and pay what they thought it was worth. I love that album still (and happily paid about AUD$20 for it!).

I digress …

Using the app that you need to download to work the speaker, I went to “All Albums” and closed my eyes, scrolling down for a few seconds and eventually stopping on A Rush Of Blood To The Head by Coldplay, released in 2002.


Coldplay’s second album

There are some great, award winning songs on this album, including the main hits “Clocks” and “The Scientist”.

But by about song eight, I started thinking I’d heard the song before. This same feeling hit me when I saw Coldplay in concert, turning to my mate Phil and asking “Haven’t they played this already?” It becomes a bit samey-samey! When Chris Martin sang the final words of the final song “Amsterdam” 55 minutes after I first lay down, I too was ready to be cut loose. And not just because my fingers were pruning.

It was the first time I’d really listened to Martin’s voice, and I like it for its imperfections. The acoustics in the bathroom weren’t too bad, and while in corpse pose I really started to relax. Maybe that could have something to do with the excellent smelling bath bubbles too.

Hopefully, my blind scroll will take me on another hour-long, start-to-finish, listen-to-how-it-was-intended-to-be-heard musical adventure again soon. It was great to lie back and think of England …’s aural talents and enjoy the start of an album, before willing the end to just hurry up and come. “Ooh err, I say, missus!”

Here’s the track listing, to jog your memory about A Rush Of Blood To The Head, if you, too, know the album, but haven’t listened to it for ages.

1. “Politik” 5:18
2. In My Place 3:48
3. God Put a Smile upon Your Face 4:57
4. The Scientist 5:09
5. Clocks 5:07
6. “Daylight” 5:27
7. “Green Eyes” 3:43
8. “Warning Sign” 5:31
9. “A Whisper” 3:58
10. “A Rush of Blood to the Head” 5:51
11. “Amsterdam” 5:19
Total length:

Wishing you a wonderful day, and apologies for my terrible 70s British comedy gag!

How the mind works

Isn’t it crazy how the mind works? One minute you’re laughing at yourself and the next you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.

This morning, I was brushing my wet hair into this configuration … Not because I wanted to, but that’s just how it looks following a shocking haircut in Fuerteventura after Christmas …

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 11.58.15 AM

“Dumb” Donald Parker, from the Fat Albert cartoon show

And within seconds I went from thinking fun things about Hey Hey Hey, It’s Faaaaaat Albert and his friends, including Dumb Donald, to Bill Cosby to Cardinal George Pell, and that made me hope there’s a hot corner in hell for people like that.

Australian songwriter Tim Minchin penned and recorded a song in less than a day recently, raising funds for the victims abused by five of Pell’s Catholic church paedophile cronies in Ballarat, Australia, in the 1970s. Here’s the YouTube video of his song “Come Home Cardinal Pell”.

If you’re not familiar with what Pell has done, or hasn’t done, or can’t remember, or wasn’t much interested in, here’s a recent story.

Amazing what can flit through/inhabit you mind in less than five seconds. I’m on a mission to rid my mind of revolting Cardinal Pell, and the best way of doing that is with Minchin’s masterpiece about Christmas. Here’s “White Wine in the Sun”. I think I may have mentioned it before.

Wishing you a wonderful day.