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 new apartment photo tour

The grand reveal. Are you reading, Mum?!

While we’ve been getting used to things like hearing people walking up the stairs or coughing in neighbouring apartments, I have been love love loving the brief walk to the bus and home again! The trip to work is a grand total of 20 minutes, instead of 40 minutes. Who doesn’t love a 50% reduction in travel time?!

Even without all the luxuries, like the grass, forest and pool, from our previous “castle”, we feel very at home here. Amazingly, despite upsizing from 2.5 rooms to 5.5 rooms, we didn’t have to buy too much stuff either. We bought a higher bed to see out the bedroom window (in the Stöckli we had a low bed because of the slanted roof), a cupboard, a clothes rack and two standing lamps. Everything else (except for the hammock!) was from inside the Stöckli too. It was a veritable Tardis!

So without further ado, here’s our new apartment. Sorry about the lack-lustre photography. I’m home with tonsillitis and couldn’t be arsed making art. And speaking of art, all the art work is by Leo. Clever chap!

So there you have it! Everything, apart from the balcony, is pretty much finished. Not bad for two schmucks doing it all on their own over three weeks. I think that’s contributed to my tonsillitis though. We’ve worked hard, carrying everything up two sets of spiral stairs to the front door and another set to the gallery level. No fights were had either, I promise!*

I’m really looking forward to working on the balcony and getting it established in spring. We’ll have an outdoor table and chairs and hopefully that vertical garden wall!

We look forward to welcoming guests. Will you be coming over?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

* I lie.

Warm and cool glow

Being a relative newbie in Switzerland (I think the locals consider you to be a newbie even after 20 years, let alone four), I still get a kick out of snow. It’s finally started to hang around, and combined with the welcome sunshine these past few days, it produces some lovely light.

Yesterday morning I took photos about 8.45am, with a warm glow bathing the Stöckli, and today I ventured out at 11.15am when it was clear and bright. I like both lights; they have a certain (but very different) mood that is pleasing. Warm and cool.

The countdown to the house move has well and truly begun … I’m still making the most of every minute.

Do you prefer warm and cosy or cool and crisp?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 26: Strolling in the neighbourhood

Like a couple of old wanderers, Leo and I walked around the neighbourhood this afternoon for more than an hour. I have to admit it was at a very relaxed pace.

(Writing ‘walking in the neighbourhood’ reminds me of this Sesame Street classic. And can you believe? People think kale is something new and funky but here it is mentioned in … what … the mid 1970s?! Love Bob too.)

Back to the walk … We went to the tulip field, up the hill to visit the cows at my favourite farmhouse, said hello to what felt like half the village during peak hour in the forest, then along the horse trail, past fields of Urdinkel, into the neighbouring village, patted the little horses and up through the fields to home.

All in all, a very nice way to spend the afternoon before the rains came. Tonight we chowed down on Leo’s lasagne and started a new TV series called Bloodline. This is much more to my liking than Braquo. I am a major Kyle Chandler fan, which helps.

  • Physically Fit: A leisurely wander
  • Mentally Fit: A leisurely wander; saying hello to all the animals
  • Nutritionally Fit: Last of the chocolate cake and too much lasagne
  • Minimalism: A leisurely wander. It really does tick all boxes other than food.

Here are some photos from the walk.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 15: New 20-minute HIIT routine with a happy trainer

I chose today’s workout because of the trainer’s magical striped socks! How cool are they?! It’s called Burn 200 Calories in 20 Minutes (I don’t care so much about the calorie element) and it turned out to be no easy-peasy, candy-coloured workout. Sweat was dripping and I couldn’t do all the exercises properly.

The push up inch worm ones were especially tough and my balance was really out of whack on the lunge to knee lifts. Overall, I really enjoyed this workout and look forward to doing it again, and going deeper into those lunges. It’s a great beginners-intermediate HIIT routine and at the end, the instructor was also feeling exhausted, which is pretty cool – it shows she’s human! And she had an infectious fun outlook during the whole routine.

Right now, I’m in the library in Langgasse using the free wifi on my iPad. I still haven’t worked out where the exclamation mark is, so from now on you’ll be spared the excitement.

Part of my Christmas present from Leo was a membership at the Kornhaus Bibliotek (library) in Bern. I hadn’t been an active member of a library for years and it was strange how comforting it was to walk back through the compacted rows of books. Today’s the first time I’ve come in here to work *in inverted commas but I don’t know where they are on this tiny detachable keyboard either. And now I can’t find that star again to close the train of thought. The first one was a fluke. Grrr …

Do you have a library you regularly use? I’ve found books I’d normally never look for, which has its pros and cons of course. Not all of them have been winners. See the Books section in the top menu for book reviews. I’ll be adding another one tomorrow.

Free libraries are popping up in unexpected places, but not everyone seems happy about them. A free library is a box on the corner with a “take me or swap me” sign on it. Would you like a free library in your area? Should they be allowed to be free? Here’s a story about them being banned and here’s a lovely story from Free Our Kids about one that is thriving.

I met Claudia for lunch today and stayed in the city to meet Sandra for a drink after she finishes work. The sun is outrageously glorious again – I’ll post photos when I get home tonight. Here are today’s photos:

  • Physically Fit: Today’s workout; walking to the bus
  • Mentally Fit: Meeting Claudia and Sandra; being in the library
  • Nutritionally Fit: A healthy day until this evening’s beers
  • Minimalism: Using the library for travel guidebooks and novels

Wishing you a wonderful day. Now … where’s that exclamation mark?

April 6: Walking the favourite new path again

A very late post – again – because we binge-watched more episodes of ‘The Killing’ TV series on Netflix – again. My eyes are popping out of my head as I type this, but we’ve finished season one! Yay. (Where’s the bed?!)

It turned out to be another sunny, cold and windy day today, so we decided to walk the new path behind the property again. The first time we walked, and ‘discovered’, this path, there was still plenty of snow, but now it’s all gone and the grass is a sweet green.

A well-decorated house made our jaws drop. Last time it had Christmas decorations everywhere, but we didn’t have a look at the actual exhibition. Today, we checked out the Easter offering, and I’m glad we did, because I won’t forget it in a hurry. Wow. How many years would it have taken to collect it all?

The round trip took just over an hour, I think. Our favourite restaurant wasn’t open, so we didn’t stop for a soft drink on the way home. Three men were playing boules in the gravel pit and kids were using the swings, so despite being closed, it still felt alive.

Here are a few photos.

We’re off on a driving holiday to the Alsace region (the capital is Strasbourg where we went for my birthday) on the border of France and Germany. We liked it so much we thought we’d spend a few more days there, exploring and walking. I hope to have time to write a post or two. Never fear, I’ll be doing my exercises too!

Wishing you a wonderful day … and maybe a wonderful few days.

March 28: Sightseeing and the 7-Minute Workout

Tonight at 8.30pm, wherever you are, is Earth Hour. Do you ‘celebrate’ Earth Hour by turning your lights off at home and having a romantic evening with candles, for one hour? We’ll be at Eve and Paul’s house, so won’t be celebrating at home, if at all! Next year hopefully.

Sunshine and a free day were enough to push us out the door to go exploring, with a drive to the area around the Lake of Biel, and a small village called Erlach. You can reach St Peters Island from Erlach (we walked out there with our friend, Liz, in 2013 when it was covered in snow) but the town itself is also worth a visit.

Nearly all the snow’s gone from low-lying areas now, but it did look like there was some fresh stuff on the westerly mountain range near Neuchatel. It’s still such a spin out when I see mountains like that, and even more wonderful knowing that another country is on the other side. We joked about going to France for the day. For Australians, that sounds so decadent, but in reality it’s like driving from Sydney to Wollongong, or Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.

We walked around the village of Erlach for about an hour, but I still wanted to do a fitfor15in15 workout. Even though we leave for Eve and Paul’s soon, there’s a workout that’s easy and effective that gets the job done – The 7-Minute Workout. Do it twice, with a minute of jogging or skipping on the spot, and the workout is done! When time is tight, you can still do something to raise your heart rate. No excuses!

Wishing you a wonderful day (oh the bliss of having the Internet at home again! This is a ‘simple thing in life’ which is grander than I would ever thought I’d want it to be!)

And here are some photos from our sightseeing trip to Erlach (where I also had the best rhubarb pastry with vanilla custard that I’ve ever eaten, yummo!)

Update: I’m posting this at 12.22am. The photos didn’t upload in time before we went to Eve and Paul’s, so it’s being sent now. No time to write detailed descriptions, sorry. Had a great night (no lights were dimmed for Earth Hour) and we laughed a lot. I even managed a joke or wisecrack (or two) in German, which makes me happy.

March 14: Five-hour walk from Aarberg to Wohlen bei Bern

Apologies for this late post … we had an internet issue last night and nothing would send, nothing would upload, nothing would save … and after a few hours of frustration, nothing could stop me muttering “I’ll just have to do it tomorrow.”

So, a day late, here’s what we did yesterday …

After Tuesday’s walk into town with Pastora and Iva, Leo was also keen to get back into the walking swing. We did some walks in winter, but not many of length, so with the sun trying to shine (and a chilly two degrees to start the day) we caught the bus just after 9am to Aarberg, a beautiful little village further along the Aare river.

Unfortunately we didn’t go into the old town centre, so I have no photographic proof of how quaint Aarberg really is – we just walked straight off the bus onto the path to Wohlen. I’ll do a photo post about Aarberg in summer, when the trees in the main square have leaves. (*oops, didn’t manage to do that!)

There are many different wanderweg trails from Aarberg to our house, but we chose to go through Lobsigen, Baggwilgraben, Elemoos, Wahlendorf, Meikirch, Uetligen and then home. A surprise change of plans meant we ended up walking through Lobsigen, Baggwilgraben, Elemoos, Wahlendorf then Sariswil and home.

And what a lovely excuse it was – a Bernese mountain dog became our guide through the forest just after Elemoos. She became totally overexcited when we met her, and ran to the path to lead the way. It was like she knew what to do, so we thought she was walking home and encouraging us to follow her. She kept turning back and checking if we were still there and then running ahead, on the exact path we were planning to walk. Then she’d run back to us for a pat. When I was deleting old photos off my phone because the memory was full, she ran down to see what was holding me up, and barking as if to say “Come on, hurry up, what’s keeping you, let’s go!” The surprise and comfort of walking with a dog was so sweet, even though we kept encouraging her to go home.

Turns out her name is Luna and home was where we first met her, when the track dissected some farm buildings. We found this out from the closest vet surgery, in Sariswil, where we went to get her microchip checked. The vet said Bernese mountain dogs love company and love to explore. Her owners were on a day-trip to the ski fields, so she adopted us as her family for the afternoon to keep her entertained. Oh, the lovely Luna. The vet waited with her until someone, arranged by the family, came to take her home. She was unsettled as we left, and I was too. Really makes me want a dog even more!

All up, a great day. We saw so many animals – dogs, cats, horses, sheep, goats, ducks, cows, chickens …

So enough from me, I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story. I think the internet crashed last night because I tried to upload so many!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

The first woodpecker for 2015

At the beginning of my morning routine (10 minutes of meditation and five minutes of stretching), I lost concentration on my breath for a few minutes because of a wonderful sound.

The woodpecker is back! He or she lives somewhere in the forest behind the house. Spotting him/her has always been impossible, so I have no idea which species it is. According to Wikipedia, there are quite a few different varieties of woodpeckers in Switzerland.

I’d like to think it’s this one, because it’s so pretty!


Photo credit: “RO B Carol Park green woodpecker crop” by Andrei Stroederivative work: Amada44. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

The sporadic sound, like gunfire, is surprisingly quite soothing. That’s a nice way to start Friday the 13th, don’t you think? Maybe later I could sit somewhere in the forest with binoculars and … no, no …