Plant people – what are these?!

This is a garden update with questions … do you know what these two plants are? They’ve popped up out of nowhere in my garden plot and I don’t know if I should dig them up or let them grow?

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Working in the new garden

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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

August 19-23: Finding a rhythm after holidays

Going to Sicily and London were lovely additions to this year’s fitfor15in15 escapades, but it’s taken me a few days to get back into the swing of blogging every day. I don’t think I needed a break, but it was lovely to just enjoy the time for what it was.

At home, the grass has turned green again and the weather is cooler but still nice.

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Leo outside our house. Look at all that green grass!

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Not sure if we’ll use the pool again this season – the water is now just 17 degrees. Too cold for most and definitely too cold for me!

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A beautiful sunset on my way home on Wednesday night

I went to work on Wednesday then went back again in the evening to celebrate Maru Dojo’s 10th anniversary. Congratulations to Marko and his team for a great event, and 10 years of success. Here’s to the next 10, 20 …

Thursday, I spoke with a friend in Australia about some writing work he’d like me to do and Leo’s friend Dani came over for dinner. I made a baked chicken pasta dish which was mostly made up, and thankfully it worked!

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Leo and Dani

Friday I sent in further documents for a job application that’s currently on the go, and helped Rene in the garden pulling weeds, using the electric trimmer and finishing off the mowing. It’s been a while since the lawn’s been mowed, because it was burnt to a crisp over summer. Leo was feeling poorly with the flu on Friday night and didn’t come to Fritz’s birthday party. I was only supposed to go for an hour, but Rene ended up staying much longer than he intended, so I got home about 10.30pm instead of 7.30pm. Thankfully, Leo didn’t mind!

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Freshly mowed. Friday was a lovely sunny day

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Dinner with Lotti, Fritz (hidden), Rene and Paul

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Ueli and Anna-Marie celebrating Fritz’s 78th birthday

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Eve, Liliane and Hani, laughing at the boys because …

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They sculled a shot of whisky! Rene said it burnt his nose and throat

Saturday, I cleaned the pool and enjoyed some warmth, then The Usual Suspects came over for a barbecue and we played cards for most of the afternoon and evening. Poor Eve, who is normally very good, lost six times. She was devastated! I managed to only have to pay once (two Francs, which goes into a kitty to be used on holidays in November) so felt pretty chuffed. Leo joined us only for the meal as he was still feeling rubbish with the flu.

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Sleeping beauty, where he spent most of Saturday afternoon

Sunday, Liliane, Leo (who was feeling much better) and I walked the lovely path behind our house (which I only ‘discovered’ this year) to our favourite restaurant in Wohlen, Restaurant Kreuz. They were having an outdoor lunch celebration with a traditional brass band, so The Usual Suspects met once again for another afternoon of laughs. For some reason, this one turned into a riot. The restaurant owner decided we should all have shots, and because we oohed and ahhed about how nice they were (a warm caramel/amaretto and cream concoction), we bought another round, and then another, and then he gave us something different to try, and then we had Red Bull and Jägermeister drinks and and and … Phew. I’m glad it wasn’t necessary for me to go into the Dojo today. I feel fine but riding in the rain with a slightly foggy head wouldn’t have been the smartest plan.

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10am in Wohlen bei Bern, looking at the Alps

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Liliane and Rene’s dog Boy joined us on the walk to Restaurant Kreuz

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Luckily when we walk to the restaurant, there’s lots of downhill

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Liliane said this red berry clump was quite rare to see in the wild. The leaves of the plant were long thin strips, but I can’t find any references on the internet

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What an amazing, massive hibiscus in the garden with all the decorations, which I’ve mentioned a few times

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Liliane in the elaborate garden

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This was one of the smaller blooms

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Boy with ball = happy Boy

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The band played in slight drizzle but it cleared up after lunch

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We moved our table under the tree so we wouldn’t get wet. Cheeky!

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All the other tables

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The gang. This is the first time I’ve sat outside at Restaurant Kreuz

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Leo killing any lingering germs with a Jägerbomb

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They call this drink a ‘Flying Deer’ here, because Red Bull apparently gives you wings

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Lotti enjoying the warm shot with cream. I can’t remember the Bern-Deutsch name for it, but it means Marmot Fart. Charming!

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Eve isn’t normally a dairy fan, but she thought this was pretty tasty!

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Rene pretending to be our waiter

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I had a shot at being the waitress, but the first friend of Rene’s I spoke to said, “Can’t understand a word” because I spoke to him in German and not Bern-Deutsch. Ahh, the daily challenges!

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Restaurant owner Peter handing out more drinks … really? Really? I’m well over them by this stage!

Overall, it was a great social weekend, but I’m looking forward to some quiet days ahead!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

July 13: Getting organised

I’ve been a bit slack on all fronts recently, and today was the day to sit down at the desk and get organised. I’ll only be working Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and took the chance today to reply to comments on the blog that I’ve neglected, send some emails to people who I’ve neglected (still many, many more to be sent!) and write some posts on this neglected blog.

There was also the chance to lie on the lounge by the pool and start a new book :). I thought about resurrecting Monday Runday, but that idea quickly faded. Too hot, too unmotivated, too many things to do … too many excuses!

The grass has turned from a rich green to a golden yellow/brown. Walking across it is like walking on hay. We certainly need some rain (but can it come at night, so it’s cooler to sleep?!)

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Dry yellow grass

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Hydrangea coming along nicely! It didn’t flower at all last year

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The crocosmia is starting to flower!

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The poor old blue delphinium isn’t as majestic as it was last year

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The glads are nearly flowering. They’ll be white and orange

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The snapdragons, which I thought were goners, have come good again

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I didn’t plant this gladioli here, it just sprouted on its own

I did send a job application off today too, so that’s something. Fingers crossed!

And you know what else I did? Deleted the card game off my phone that stops me from reading books. Mum and I are addicted to card games, it must be in our genes, but today I decided enough was enough. It’s distracting me from doing things I want to do, like be in contact with people, learn new things, read new books, write some stuff, generally get moving and out of the twilight zone, which I seem to enter every time I open that app on my phone. Not good! Not good at all! Sure, there’s a place for some relaxation, but I was becoming way too reliant on it as something to do, when there are so many other wonderful things to be doing.

Nutritionally, I’ve been a bit naughty too. I’ve eaten ice creams. And chippies. But hey, all’s good. I’ve realised it’s incredibly hard to quit sugar, and I’m not quite ready to do it just yet!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 24: Mixed bag of goodies

I’m typing this again, because, for some reason, my original post went missing! Arrggghhhh! Not what you need at 11pm!

Didn’t fall asleep on the couch this afternoon, because I didn’t sit on it!

Came home from work, put on my daggy clothes and helped Rene in the garden. The two new front wheels for the lawnmower arrived last week, but the weather’s been terrible so no chance until today to put them to the test. Many trips to the compost were made, because the grass hadn’t been cut for two weeks (since I broke the front wheel).

After whipper-snippering around the edges, I finished off the mowing. Then I weeded around the garage (damn nettles!), dead-headed Liliane’s roses and the pots around the pool, and then I thought I’d have a rest. Sat on the terrace for two minutes and saw a plant which I really don’t like the look of, and never have, so I pulled it out. Then I had to give the soil a bit of a scratch to patch up the hole, then I thought I ‘mose well weed that garden bed too. Oh and why not my main garden bed as well, while I’m in the swing of things?! All up today, three hours in the garden and one hour of walking. Not too shabby.

I managed to snap a few pictures in Bern’s Botanical Gardens. After yesterday’s 30-Day Challenge plant name, my eye was drawn to another Allium strain, Allium fistulosum. In German it’s common name is Winterzwiebel, or winter onion. In English, it’s the Welsh onion. I thought the stems would smell oniony, but nothing.

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The Welsh onion in Bern’s Botanical Gardens

Even though I really didn’t feel like it, I cooked another I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program dinner and finally flopped on the couch for two episodes of House of Cards. Didn’t eat a sweet thing all day! After 2.5 weeks of much less sugar than normal, I’m finding it easier and easier. The natural yoghurt for breakfast seems sweet enough. Never thought I’d say that! Berliner doughnuts were on special today in the supermarket – six for the price of four – and I walked straight past (while shooting daggers at the man who grabbed a packet so nonchalantly!)

All up, a nice mixed bag of goodies today. I hope you achieved too. And as always …

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 18: A ceremonial swapping of the tools

The Kärcher is being replaced by the computer tomorrow.

Finally, the concrete around the main farmhouse AND our Stöckli is now clean. Another four and a half hours with that powerful jet spray machine has knackered my wrists again. But the end result, and knowing I won’t have to do it again for another two years, is nice.

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Clean as a whistle!

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The cement in front of the house didn’t scrub up as well as the terrace

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My little garden, just because …

It feels like I’m having a ceremonial ‘swapping of the tools’ – the yellow Kärcher beast is all packed away, and now I’ve taken out the travel case for my computer. It’ll be coming on the bus with me tomorrow for my ‘first day’ on the job. I wonder how many hours a week it will involve? All will be sorted out soon enough, I imagine.

Fell off the no sugar bandwagon this afternoon and ate … *gasp* a cherry tomato!! They just looked tooooooo good to not try one.

We’ve started watching House of Cards on Netflix which I’m really enjoying. Kevin Spacey is brilliant. Just brilliant! It’s definitely adding to my mental fitness.

My plant for the day is another herb. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is my favourite because it goes with lamb. Mmmm lamb. (I love how the thyme was vulgaris and this is officinalis. How official!)

Time for bed. I actually have a very good reason to get up early tomorrow! Yahoo!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 12: A busy but pain-full day

Liliane and I achieved so much today. It’s now 11.30pm and I can’t believe I’m still awake!

We went grocery shopping at 8.30am, then bought a mosquito screen for the upstairs office door so we can have some flow-through breeze when it’s warm. Why hadn’t we thought of this years ago?! Also bought another basil plant and a cherry tomato plant.

Then we trimmed the little fir trees, or whatever they are (still need to look that up!), surrounding the terrace. That took a couple of hours, including clean up. Looks great, and one of them is clear of the house and guttering now.

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Tops lopped off so they grow a little wider

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The one on the right no longer grows into the gutter

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And the one on the left is a ball shape again. I think it’s a lilac tree

After a short lunch break, we collected rubbish from both our houses for the council depot drop off and loaded up the wagon I used when filling the holes in the lawn. It was full! Liliane threw away an old table, we had stuff from the cellar, there were old plastic plant pots and so on and so on. And now – clean and clear!

And to finish off, we finished mowing the lawn with the small, normal mower, seeing as the ride-on will be out of action until early next week. It was good to finish what I’d started.

When Leo came home, he put up the hanging mosquito screen (and I’m now sitting in the office enjoying the cool breeze. Winner winner chicken dinner!). Then I cooked dinner and we watched four episodes of Ray Donovan on Netflix. I’m enjoying the series but not as much as at the beginning.

I had a terrible sleep last night. Yesterday, while mowing, I was bitten by a wasp. At first, I thought it was a horse fly, but it’s so swollen, so hard and giving off so much heat that I think it has to be a wasp. And man it’s itchy! I woke during the night scratching and even after several antihistamines today it’s still giving me grief. The skin texture has changed too. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

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That swollen red patch is damn itchy!

Once again, no plants. I’ll cover the backlog next week perhaps. I’m flailing (but not failing!) on the 30-Day Challenge. Oops!

Wishing you a wonderful day.