August 25-27: Nervous …

I have a few things on my plate at the moment and am feeling nervous. I talked about working methodically but slowly, but if all goes to plan, I’ll have to start doing things much faster! Hopefully I’ll have more information about this by the end of next week. Sorry more can’t be divulged now!

The past few days have been spent at work, catching up with my friend Sonja who’s about to go back to Ethiopia to continue being a doctor, meeting my friend Leonie who’s about to move to Norway, contacting chefs and working on the four stories for my friend’s magazine, and cleaning Liliane and Rene’s house.

Relying on other people to contact me for those stories, when I’m working to a deadline, is making me feel like I’m not in control of what’s going on! I need to take 10 deep breaths, keep plodding along and find some patience. The latter is the tough one.

Here are some photos from yesterday. It was a beautiful day! I met Sonja at the Marzili, the public swimming area right in the centre of Bern, and then came home about 5pm to a lovely mountain panorama.

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Quite a few people were swimming. It was 18.5 degrees in the water

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This lady found a lovely sunny spot. Must remember that!

We thought about going in ... Sonja thought it was ok! But the belly button is always the test!

We thought about going in … Sonja thought it was ok! But the belly button is always the test! No go!

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I managed up to my knees

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So we opted to laze in the sun. Good luck in Ethiopia again, Sonja!

Clear as a bell!

The view from home. Clear as a bell!

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Zoomed in a little bit. The mountain with the mostly black face is the Eiger, then the Mönch to the right, then the Jungfrau

We face south so we get plenty of sunshine. All the mountains that we see face north; the north side of the mountain is considered the coldest (in the northern hemisphere). Brrr …

I weighed myself at Liliane and Rene’s this morning. 65.6kg. I think that might be the lightest I’ve been for a while. Can’t say it’s because of all the exercise I’ve been doing (although walking around London must have helped. The beers not so much …) so I attribute it to the ‘summer diet’. Lots of salads and not much stodge.

One thing I’ve noticed when I come home after cleaning the neighbour’s house is I want to declutter even more at our place! They have many ornaments on display and small objects I have to clean around, and I feel thankful that our place isn’t overloaded with adornments. Just a few well-loved items. Happiness.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 4: A bit of everything kind of day

Today was an achieving kind of day. So many lovely things happened.

I received my new second-hand phone in the mail and spent a few hours setting it up (but it still doesn’t seem to be complete). But, wow, does it work faster than the one I was using in the interim, after mine died. While this was loading, I spoke with my sister on the home phone for about 40 minutes. Thanks for calling, Judy!

Then I met my friend Leonie for lunch which is always a good laugh. And then I went grocery shopping, because from Monday next week I start the I Quit Sugar program.

Recently, Leo has mentioned (in a lovely way) my skin has been looking less than glowing, and I’ve also been feeling less than energetic (despite all the garden work). The I Quit Sugar blog and program has been on my radar for a long time – a long time – and until now I’ve never thought it would be beneficial had the nerve to attempt it.

But in the guise of 2015 being the year of fitfor15in15, I thought why not give it a try?! It’s another experiment, and it will be interesting to see if giving up unnatural sugars for eight weeks will make a difference to my energy levels, my moods, my skin and my general well-being.

I have been eating a fair bit of sugar lately (hello M&M Peanuts!), so after years of thinking about it, it’s time to have a go. A few months ago, I did the 5:2 Diet, which was interesting, and I did lose two kilos in that month, but it’s not so much the weight I’m worried about, it’s the sense of feeling good. And I hate counting calories – boring!

So, here’s to the new experiment. If it’s as good as all the testimonials say, then I’m looking forward to jumping out of bed in the morning and not having any afternoon slumps. (Maybe I should put down that phone first thing in the morning too!)

This afternoon, I started filling in all the holes in the lawn, where the weeds used to be. While in the back part of the garden, near the forest, I found this wonderful, small, empty, pale blue and brown speckled bird’s egg. I did an internet search, but am still unsure as to which species it belongs to. Do you know?

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Not the best quality, sorry. Can you identify which bird it comes from?

It was a lovely thing to find, while tipping and patting dirt into holes. I just hope the baby hatched of its own accord, and wasn’t eaten by a falcon! When my back was hurting after an hour of being in the garden, I lay down on the grass, looked up to the clear blue sky, and watched a falcon swirling overhead. They really are magnificent to watch … I just hope that baby bird lives!

When I called it quits in the garden for the day, I had a beer with our neighbour Liliane, sitting back and relaxing and enjoying the wonderful warmth. Alas the Alps were covered in mist and cloud, but it was still so lovely to be soaking up our wonderful surroundings.

And last but not least for today, I’m on a mission to learn new things.

With help and encouragement from Freda, I’ve decided to join the 30-Day Challenge, from zenhabits. Well, I haven’t so much as signed-up on that website, I’m just doing my own thing, so to speak. I like reading Leo Babauta’s blog, it’s one of the minimalism blogs I mentioned here.

My challenge is to learn the names of three to four new plant varieties per day. The goal is to be able to recognise and name more than 100 new plants, which is about 94 more than I currently know.

Freda was quick off the mark to help with yesterday’s post – they are white campunala and pink thrift or sea thrift.

The two new ones for today are the tiny creeping phlox ‘candy stripe’ which I have in a heavy pot as part of a mixed gathering of perennials (its flowering days are just about over for the year), and the tall and hardy crocosmia x crocosmiiflora which is in my little garden. I love the colour and its long, majestic, slender leaves.

Creeping phlox 'candy stripe' which flowers early spring

Creeping phlox ‘candy stripe’ which flowers early spring

Crocosmia which flowers July and August

Crocosmia which flowers July and August

It was quite fun typing things into Google, such as “perennial plant with long green leaves and red or orange flowers” and seeing what pictures came up. What would we do without the internet?! The creeping phlox I stumbled upon by accident (looking for another plant, which hopefully I can name tomorrow!).

Wishing you a wonderful day.