August 12: Last of the summer sun

I think a change is acomin’ … the last of the summer wine, I mean summer sun, could have been today. Maybe we’ll have a bit more tomorrow morning, but then it’s changing to the low 20s instead of the low to mid 30s. Hello autumn.

This change reminded me of the Sam Cooke song, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Listen to it here if you like. What a tragic end to the founder of soul’s life at just 33. What a voice.

After work today, I soaked up those blessed rays in and by the pool with Lotti, Fritz and Liliane. It’s been such a fantastic summer, and I know it has to end soon, but maybe the blow will be softened a little bit because … drumroll … I’m flying to London tomorrow for five days. Ahhhh!

My good friend Bronwyn from New Zealand will be there, so we’re ‘getting the band back together’ so to speak, with friends Carla, Cara and Mike. We’ve been friends since we all lived in London in 1995. Wow, I hadn’t really thought about this being a 20-year reunion, but it will be. The last time we were all together was in 2013, and Leo was there, but unfortunately he can’t come this time. I feel very lucky to be going at all, to be honest, only having just come back from Sicily.

So I don’t think I’ll be blogging while I’m in London (never say never!), but more than likely I’ll do a wrap of the long weekend when I get back. I’ll be seeing a few other friends while I’m there too, which is also very exciting. The days are full.

Tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll bore you silly with a “What I’m taking to London” post. Hopefully not much! A jacket and long pants will definitely be required, because it’s going to be rainy and in the low 20s there too (I’m chuckling, thinking about those temperatures being an Australian winter).

Oh and I haven’t mentioned it – Bruce the Töffli is running like a dream! When I was leaving work, I walked a part of the way (pushing the bike) with Pastora. A little boy in a pram called out “Töf!” when he saw it. So cute.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

August 8-9: Winding down at home

Coming home from holidays is always a mix of good and not so good, don’t you think? You’re happy to see friends and family and sleep in your own bed, but the adventure is over. Sadness.

This weekend we’ve been very low-key, getting back into the rhythm of ‘normal life’ and preparing for work tomorrow. Liliane’s mum, Hertha, went back to her house on Saturday – to prepare her for the shock of not having everyone around, we bought her some yellow roses to brighten up her living room. She is such a lovely and lively woman. I told her I’d visit soon, and hope Bruce the Töffli makes the one-hour trip with ease.

On Friday night, sitting around the pool, Rene asked if I’d been on Bruce yet, which I hadn’t. He then surprised the life out of me to say he’d had the bike serviced, with new spark plugs, while we were on holidays! Liliane had the keys to our house, and he remembered the jacket I always wear on the bike, so he put his hand in the pocket (it hangs with the other jackets near the kitchen), found the key and with help from Liliane and Lene they took it to the mechanics for some fine tuning. I was gobsmacked! I’d wanted to do it before we went on holidays but the mechanic wasn’t answering his phone. Gosh, I love our neighbours! Bruce looks all spruced up and clean too; I’ll add a photo tomorrow.

Saturday we mooched around the house and garden, I went for another swim and finished the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (review to come), had a barbecue dinner with the neighbours and played cards til about 10pm.

Today, the weather turned cold and cloudy, so it was the perfect time to finally write some blog posts! And watch the first episode of Montalbano again, so we could shout, “We’ve been there! We’ve been there! We haven’t been there!” 🙂

It’s also time to be a bit more focussed on ‘nutritionally fit’ again – Leo ate his weight in aranchini and I ate so much calamari and ice cream in Sicily – so despite being happy little piggies, it’s got to stop!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

July 31: More sunshine

Here’s last night, today and tonight in picture form.

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Italy’s behind those palms, just a few kilometers across the sea

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Taormina at night, with Mt Etna

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One of the main squares in Taormina

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Leo being a merman

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Me being silly and not wanting to open my eyes underwater

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Chilling under the umbrella

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Lovely dinner on a restaurant balcony under the full moon

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Leo getting a haircut at 11pm

Wishing you a wonderful day.

July 9: Girly afternoon

Sonja, who I met in Paris in 2011, came to visit today. She’s a German orthopedic surgeon who’s been living in Switzerland for 10 years. We haven’t seen each other for about 18 months, if not more, and her company was wonderful medicine!

We drank Aperol Spritzeseses and gas bagged and swam. I didn’t go to work today as we had made these plans a while ago. It really was a great afternoon just hanging out at home.

The doctor was just what the doctor ordered. Brilliant for my mental fitness.

Speaking of doctors, René came home from hospital last night which is good news. I have a feeling he’s not a great patient – very grumpy when he’s told what he can and cannot do!

Can you relate to that too? I know I can!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

July 6: Stop horsing around!

We’re all full of the joys of summer in Switzerland right now. It’s the tail end of a heatwave, everyone’s cooling off in the nearest pool of water, sleep deprivation hasn’t quite kicked in yet because of the humid nights, but, for me, I think the horseflies have stolen the show.

I’ve seen a new side of The Usual Suspects. A relaxing afternoon by the pool becomes an interpretive-dance fest. Everyone’s slapping and squirming and yelping and jumping out of their seats. They’re vicious little creatures, the swatters and swattees!

In German, horseflies are called Bremse. In Swiss-German they’re called Breme. The verb ‘bremsen’ in German means ‘to brake’, and these blighters certainly put a handbrake on proceedings! We seem to have plague proportions around home at the moment.

I’m currently sporting six fresh bites from today, and a few old ones from the weekend. All the welts will fade if I leave them alone. After being bitten so many times recently, I can safely say the bite on the back of my leg from a few weeks ago wasn’t a horsefly. These welts are tiny in comparison, hardly itchy and aren’t on fire!

Work went well today, Bruce the Töffli ran smoothly, I visited Rene in hospital and he’s pretty well, and I only lost one round of cards this afternoon against Lotti, Eve and Paul. And tonight we watched a cracker of a tennis match between Djokovic and Anderson, which stopped at two sets apiece because of bad light. I thought Djokovic was a goner having lost the first two – I want him to be gone to give Federer a better chance of becoming the first man to win eight Wimbledon titles!

Swimming was my fitfor15in15 today. About 15 minutes of laps – some breaststroke, mainly freestyle. I really enjoy, but am quite hopeless at, swimming and may look into finding a bigger pool to do some more serious lap workouts!

Had a bit of a blowout on the no-sugar program, by eating a mini ice cream tonight. It hit the spot, I have to say! 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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.

July 1: Back on the horse

From the beginning, I’ve always said JUST 15 minutes a day. The simplicity of fitfor15in15 originally focused on doing just 15 minutes of exercise a day. Then I fell out of love with that idea for some reason – my motivation went south.

Some goals had been reached, I felt better and fitter, and then I just stopped caring. I think half of that hard work over the first four months of the year was lost in just a few weeks. So, it’s time to re-start the engines, jump back on the horse, re-join the circus … however you’d like to describe it! And it will be slowly slowly.

Have you thought about what you’d like to achieve in the next six months? I’d like to get moving again, get back into doing my stretches and go for more runs in the forest. I’d love to run 10km by the end of the year. Not in a race, just on a nice forest trail. And I’d like to return to the workout/exercise videos that I really enjoyed at the height of my fixation!

It’s 27 degrees inside the house (with windows and doors open!) at 10.30pm – now’s as good a time as any to start again, right?!?! I’m about to do 15 minutes of stretches and lunges with the hand weights. This is going to be interesting (and sweaty)! I thought about going back to January 1 and re-doing everything from the beginning, in the same order, but it’s too late to go walking now!

My friend Leonie and her kids Maya and Sebastian came over for a swim this afternoon. It was 26.5 degrees Celsius in the water. The Aare river is already 20 degrees too, and with the warm weather predicted for the next week, it may even reach about 22 degrees – not bad for a river coming directly from the Bernese Alps. Could the pool reach 30?!

We had a great afternoon and not one photo to show for it. I really enjoy Leonie’s company and not just because she’s a fellow Aussie. Lotti and Fritz joined us in the shade of the tent as well. Lotti told me Rene is back in hospital – they think he had a little stroke a few days ago, so he’s staying in for observation. I really hope he’s going to be ok. The doctors are worried a bigger stroke might follow.

On that sombre note, I’ll sign off … wishing you a wonderful day.

June 27 and 28: Weekend wrap

Saturday and Sunday served up plenty of sunshine so we made the most of it by being outdoors.

Saturday we worked in the garden and I did some small things around our house and Liliane and Rene’s too. Even though we’d spent the previous evening at dinner together, we all joined forces again in the afternoon for cards and dinner around the pool (for the first time ever, I didn’t lose a game!). I still find it so amazing to only turn the lantern on at 10.30pm.

Today there was an airshow in a neighbouring suburb, so we all stood in the garden and gawped at the heavens, watching the nine small planes do all their spectacular stunts. A forest blocked some of the view, over the Wohlensee, but all the loop-the-loops and high-up action kept us entertained for 20 minutes, and then they just all flew away again. It was almost sad – the way they couldn’t even wave goodbye!

We walked to Lotti’s house for her birthday gathering this afternoon, a good 40-minute wander in the sunshine on the path that I only ‘discovered’ earlier this year, that’s directly behind the house. Once home, a quick dip in the pool and a play on my new toy (see the last photo), ready for tomorrow’s commute to work, and two episodes of House of Cards wrapped it up.

Overall, it was a very social weekend, with maybe not the right sorts of foods consumed (Lotti’s birthday cake and a few other small sweeties) and not enough exercise completed to counteract the beer calories consumed, but wonderful fun.

In case you missed my post from yesterday, please click here to read the latest guest contribution to fitfor15in15, from personal trainer Richard Wheeler. He has some excellent tips, which I will be taking on board, for (re)starting your fitness!

Signing off with a mixture of photos from the week. Some wouldn’t load a few days ago, but most are from this weekend.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 13: The first swim of summer

Fitfor15in15 could have some new workouts in the pipeline – the pool is finally reading for swimming, and today, after Leo took the robot cleaner out, I made the most of the sunshine (and 23 degree Celsius water temperature).

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The juxtaposition of a Swiss flag and a pool always makes me smile. I don’t think of pools when I think of Switzerland but I’m very grateful for ours

Of course, Leo was there to prove I didn’t just get my ankles wet. Normally, our neighbour Liliane’s friend Lotti is the first to swim every year, but she’s on holidays in Tuscany and I couldn’t wait until she got back. We won’t tell her, ok?

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Go!

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So refreshing!

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Happiness is a pool on a warm day

I did about 15 minutes worth of freestyle laps. I only breathe twice on each lap, because the pool is about eight metres long (I think). Looking forward to more days like this in the next few months.

Before the swim, I baked a chocolate cake for Pastora and Leo’s birthday (our married friends who were born on the same day in the same Spanish hospital; Leo three years before Pastora) but I won’t be eating any at the party tonight. The I Quit Sugar program would frown upon that! (I may have licked one of the beaters … normally I would have licked both.) 🙂

And now, we’re off to the celebrations. Party! Vamos!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

p.s The wasp bite is getting better. Not as red and angry as yesterday, thanks to some cooling gel we bought to bring down the heat. Phew. Still can’t squat down properly though – feels like the skin behind my knee will split! – and it’s still ever so itchy. Grrrr.

p.p.s Big addition of plant names for the 30-Day Challenge coming on Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully 🙂