July 3-5: Weekend wrap

We’ve had a bit of a heatwave here in Switzerland and for the past few days the thought of sitting in the office and writing at my desk has made me wither further. So, here’s a wrap!

After Thursday’s ‘disaster’ day, Friday went very smoothly, thank you! Work, then home for a swim with The Usual Suspects who were here to enjoy the pool and look after Boy, the dog, while Rene is in hospital and Liliane is at work. We played cards (we’re addicted to rummy) and sat under the tent, and jumped in the pool often. What would we do without the pool? Because the temperature has hovered in the mid-30s for a week, I’ve been jumping in water as often as possible!

Friday night we went to Kanjana and Sandro’s for dinner which was great fun, then yesterday we rode the Vespa to meet Iva, Marko, Pastora and Leandro at the karate dojo for an afternoon catch-up and swimming in the Aare.

We did the swim twice. You walk a bit upstream and then the current takes you down the river quickly. In this section of the Aare, near the dojo, the water flows slower than where I was on Thursday with Claudia. It was Pastora’s first swim in the Aare ever! She did well to control her fear of the rushing water. On the second pass, Leandro, Iva and I jumped off the steel footbridge into the water. I managed to touch the bottom of the river with my feet and emerge with bikini intact.

Last night we met The Usual Suspects (Lotti, Fritz, Eve, Paul, Liliane, Rene) at home for dinner under the tent, and more cards. Rene was allowed out of hospital for the night, so we all enjoyed sitting and talking with him. The full moon – a glorious orange – came up just after we called it a night.

Today has been another lovely, outdoorsy kind of day. My sister called to say hello (and to check if I was alright, seeing as I hadn’t blogged for three days!). Thanks for calling Judy! Then Leo and I booked the first part of our holiday to Sicily. We leave July 26 and come back August 7. We’ll rent a car (hopefully a Fiat 500!) from the airport in Catania and drive to Leo’s dad, who has a holiday house at the foot of Mt Etna. We’ll stay with Tony and Bossy for three nights, then head north to Taormina for three nights. That part is all sorted. Then we’ll have seven days to sort out where we go. We’re big fans of the Inspector Montalbano series so we hope to see a few of the villages where the show is filmed.

It’s 8pm and still 32 degrees. We sweltered eating another barbecue dinner with The Usual Suspects and swam all afternoon. Rene has just gone back to hospital and after I finish this, I’ll swim with Liliane when she’s home again. I really think she enjoys having company when Rene isn’t here. He’ll have more tests tomorrow. The two mini strokes could have something to do with him being bitten by a tick in Alaska a few years ago. He’s had a lot of problems since then.

Here’s a random collection of photos from the week that was. I’ve swum for the past three days and that counts for my fitfor15in15 – especially the Aare swim which is very active. I like swimming against the current to slow down – if you swim with the current you’re at your destination way too quickly!

Hopefully we’ll be able to sleep well tonight. The mosquitoes have been out in full force and seem to find my head, and ears especially, a great place to buzz around. Plus it’s been close to 30 degrees in the bedroom every night, which makes sleeping under the covers hard. I always have to have something over me to combat the mozzie bites!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 19: Work and play

I didn’t write the blog yesterday because I was having too much fun! 😉

Work went well, I was there for four hours and played around on the ‘back end’ of the website, learning what does what. I’ll go back again on Monday to learn about the email orders.

Afterwards, Pastora, Iva and I went to Cafe Pyrennes, our favourite bar, and had another excellent afternoon which turned into early evening. Sandra and Kanjana joined us as well, and we saw Marion, who we’d met there a few months ago, and met Werner, who at 70 is still fighting fit and working as a stage designer in European theatres. All very interesting people!

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On the way to the bus. I think that’s potatoes growing?

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So many slugs and snails on the walk!

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Looking back at the steps down to the Dojo. There’s another set this long at the top, to the right. They’d make a good workout

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Recent rain has made the Aare brown again

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Can you see the patterns in these pieces of wood embedded in a fence?

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Iva and Pastora on the footbridge over the Aare

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Sandro with Pastora. I forgot to get a photo with Kanjana, silly me

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Werner, the theatre stage manager/designer

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Pastora and Marion

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Cows on the way home

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Corn and lovely light over Wohlen

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 17: Possibilities?

One of my friends from German school, Iva, is married to Marko, who is a karate Dan. He has a karate Dojo and wellness centre on the Aare river in Bern. I’ve mentioned it before, when I did a yoga class there earlier in the year.

Marko has asked me to do some work for him on one of his websites, enso-shop.ch which deals with the selling of karate gear. On Friday, I’ll go in and learn the ins and outs of the website from him, and then eventually, I’ll be responsible for all things to do with the site. Neither of us are sure how much work this will involve, but he wants to push the site more than he’s been able to, because he’s so busy teaching.

This means I’ll be working in the office with Pastora as well, which will be fun. She works there five mornings a week. This could be my chance to get back into the swing of things and help promote his website, which thankfully is mostly in English. I’m very excited and hope I can do enough to make the orders soar! Learning more about how websites work will keep me mentally fit, too. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, that this could be a job with possibilities.

Being in the city today (to meet Marko) made me realise how much I’m missing sugar. I’m in week two of the I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program, when we can’t eat any fruit either. I was bombarded with people eating ice cream, Berliners and other sweet stuff that normally I wouldn’t think twice about buying. Grocery shopping, and seeing all the lovely bananas and watermelons etc was even harder. They’re healthy! But I’m committed to giving this sugar cleanse a real go. In week six, fruit is reintroduced. It was a dumb time to buy that cherry tomato plant – they’re all looking so ripe and yummy, Leo will have to eat them all!

Here are some other photos from my walk to the bus and time in town.

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More corn growing near us, with my favourite farmhouse on the hill

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This looks like silverbeet perhaps?

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A close up of the silverbeet?

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Healthy geraniums at a house on the way to the bus

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A lovely veggie garden on the way to the bus

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How cool is this bug? Love the colour!

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This is the path I take down to the river on the way to the Dojo

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The building on the right side of the river is where I’ll be doing some work

I use a running app on my phone, called MapMyRun. Today it sent me an email to remind me I haven’t been running in a month. A month! Oops! How did that happen? (Well, um easily – busy in the garden, raining, lack of motivation!) Will try to fix that asap.

The 30-Day Challenge with the plant names has also taken a backseat. I think I had a bit of burnout, searching the web for the plants I have in the garden, not knowing where to begin other than a generic description of what the plant looks like – the images always offered up so many options. I’m learning some Latin herb names now, starting with thyme – Thymus vulgaris.

Rather than searching for three to four each day, I’m going to scale it back to one from now on – I’d bitten off more than I can chew! Hopefully that isn’t the case for the website job with Marko!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 13: Yoga

My friend from German school, Iva, kindly invited me to try out a yoga class at her husband’s fitness, training and wellness centre, which specialises in karate. Her husband, Marko, is a very important Dan in the karate world. Maybe, down the track, I’ll try a karate lesson at Maru Dojo?! I’m open to everything.

Last night’s yoga was a wonderful re-introduction to all the past yoga courses I’ve loved and tried. And ultimately forgotten. Some of the moves feel so convoluted, until you look around and see others doing it with style.

The teacher was lovely, patient, and (importantly for me) had a nice voice – even if I couldn’t understand everything she was saying. She was speaking the Bern dialect of Swiss German (there are also Basel and Zurich dialects). I’ve only learnt High German (spoken and understood in Germany and Austria too) which is what the Swiss read and write in the Swiss German parts of the country. (The other official languages spoken in Switzerland are French, Italian and Romansh – the latter being a very old language spoken in the mountains to the east by a small, but proud, group.)

Oh, I know, it’s darn confusing. Swiss German is officially a spoken language, not a written language. All the written materials are in High German, such as newspapers, magazines, pamphlets and so on. My partner tells a crazy story (for us foreigners) about speaking Swiss German in a meeting at work with colleagues, clients and business associates, then going back to his desk to write them an email … in High German.

The class was a little package of relaxation and energy all rolled into 90 minutes. The time went really fast. The room was just the right size, and the mood was calm. My balance is shot, but it was a great challenge and I look forward to going back again. I joked with Iva I’d like to be able to do the bridge move by December. She agreed – by December 2017!!

Here’s a photo from the yoga section on the Maru Dojo website. This is the room we did our practice (ohhh, fancy terminology and all!) and she was our teacher too.

I slept very well last night and enjoyed my morning routine this morning. Finally – a few good habits!

Wishing you a wonderful day.