November 9: Sweet and short

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A few minutes later, I had a nice surprise

When running for the bus this morning, a woman in a very fancy car stopped and asked if I wanted a ride to the bus stop in Wohlen. I was cutting it fine to make it on time, so it was such a nice surprise to be offered a lift. It’s only happened once before, and that wasn’t that long ago (from a different woman).

Maybe if I time it right, I can blag a lift to the bus every morning? 🙂

It was a day of laziness, because Leo was at his office in the city this afternoon, so I managed a lift home as well!

If this Indian summer continues as planned this week, perhaps I should dust off the Töffli? Hard to believe it’s November and temperatures are still in the high teens (Celsius).

Are you having an Indian summer too (if you live in the northern hemisphere)? Or has spring well and truly sprung for southerners?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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 10: Silly me on the Töffli

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The three motorised things in my life … the covered Vespa (which I don’t ride at the moment), the Töffli and the lawnmower

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Look at how shiny the bike is now that Rene cleaned it with the jet hose! Some paint came off as well, but hey … it’s clean …

Turned up a bit late for work today. Not because I had the first-day-back blues, but because I didn’t open my eyes. Silly me.

Jumped excitedly on Bruce the Töffli, keen to see how smooth the ride would be after his service and … spluttered to a stop after 200m. Luckily I was still close to home, so I pushed the bike back, tried unsuccessfully to start it again, accepted defeated and walked to the bus.

When I came home, I saw Rene and he said, “Oh yes, I turned the petrol switch to ‘off’ while you were on holidays so the petrol didn’t leak out.” Ahhhh yes … the petrol lever … located on the right side under the tank. If it’s pushed all the way forward, it turns off the flow, if it’s facing straight down, the flow is open, and if you push it backwards, it goes to the reserve tank, which I learnt about the hard way.

You’d think I would have thought to have a look, seeing as it’s caught me out once before? Ah, no. It seems my knowledge of bike mechanics needs a lot more work. But the short ride I did, to get the petrol flowing, felt great and the speedometer works now too! Woo hoo!

At least I can count the 40 minutes of walking to and from the bus as my exercise for the day! I walked past the corn fields, which have grown huge in the past two weeks. I always love seeing the ‘hair’ on the corn. A few years ago I saw it when it was purple and red, which reminded me of punk grandmas with bad frizzy perms. Today, the ‘hair’ was burnt brown. I wonder if it will be a good crop this year because it’s been so hot and dry, or if that makes the corn not as sweet?

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You my, brown haired corn. Singing tra la la la … (apologies, Van Morrison)

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The grass is turning green again too

After breathing a sigh of relief about the bike, I wrote a review of the first of two books I read on holidays, Bruno, Chief of Police which you can read here if you fancy.

And then I pottered around the garden for a little while. The gladioli are blooming and my geranium planter boxes on the upstairs balcony are going gangbusters.

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The glads in bloom … to the right is a small patch where the glads from last year died, and then a few more orange ones are blooming

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Healthy! The two geranium pots add some much needed colour to the brown exterior

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 2: Karma Police

Ha! What a day! I’m barely able to write this post from unindented exhaustion!

I rode to work this morning and saw police on the other side of the street, doing speed checks. So as I saw cars approaching me I motioned for them to slow down. Surprisingly, people waved or acknowledged to say thank you. Very un-Swiss for a stranger to acknowledge you!

Driving on, I laughed to myself that the Karma Police will get me for telling the drivers the radar was ahead. And then five minutes later … I ran out of petrol …

Karma … and then some.

I pushed the Töffli, which I think shall stay called Bruce, for 10 minutes to work, went to work and then afterwards set off on foot to the nearest petrol station, two kilometers away. In 32 degree blazing sunshine (not complaining, love the warmth!). Lugging my bag with my computer, jacket and helmet was a bit bothersome.

The first petrol station didn’t have the special petrol needed for scooters, so I walked on. The second further on didn’t have it either. I asked at an auto shop. No joy there but they directed me to a motorcycle shop … Further. They didn’t have it but they said try the petrol station nearby. Further. No dice there so I called it quits and caught the tram back into town to meet Claudia to go swimming in the Aare. I needed that 20 degree water!

After a lovely swim, my first of the season, Claudia and I walked to the hospital where Rene is, and I visited him for about 20 minutes. He’s in good shape and wants to come home tomorrow. He told me the bike has a reserve tank for such occasions and after learning how to switch it on via explanations and hand gestures, I jumped on the bus to go back to the scene of the crime.

Ha! Not happening. Not even one stop down the road, the cable that attaches to the overhead wire came loose (we have some electric buses in Bern) so we all got off the bus. I figured stuff it, what’s another few kilometers. So I walked back to work.

The bike worked and I drove home, stopping at the local petrol station which has the special petrol.

Rene reckons the petrol must have been siphoned out of the tank because it should last longer than four days. I’ll keep a closer eye on it next week!

When I arrived home it was 6.40pm and I jumped straight into the pool to cool down again. What would we do without water?!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 30: Didn’t that go fast?

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Clear blue skies today and …

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… the moon tonight. It will be a full moon in two days

Leo took this shot of the moon. I hope the skies are as clear on Thursday when it’s full. Loves me a good fullmaaaaoooooooon, I does! 🙂

Will keep this post short today. It was wonderfully warm and sunny, unfortunately a bit too hot for the work Pastora and I did – counting all the karate clothes and moving boxes and things while making the inventory. I rode straight home and jumped in the pool.

Still feel like a kid at Christmas on the bike, even if I was overtaken by an electric bicycle on the flat. (I keep telling myself the man had longer legs than me.) My niece suggested the bike should be named Brad, but I already have a Brad in my life and I’m well and truly over him. So far Bruce is still the leader (not hard seeing as Brad was the only suggestion!).

One of the two new plants, which I promised to mention today, has me stumped. The Celosia venezuela was easy to find because of its magenta prongs, but the second has me baffled. It’s quite tall and could possibly be another Campanula variety? The flowers are a beautiful blue and have very obvious petals. Any takers?

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New plant number one – Celosia venezuela – the magenta spiky one in front of the lavender

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And do you think this is another Campanula variety?

Can’t believe half the year has gone! How would you rate the first half of this year? I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone so far and hope you are too (and hopefully I’ll be struck by ‘exercise lightning’ tomorrow and be back on the bandwagon for the next six months!).

What will I do on December 31? I can’t very well keep a blog titled fitfor15in15 when it’s no longer 2015, can I?! Should have thought about that a bit harder.

I haven’t mentioned the I Quit Sugar program for a few days because I find it boring talking about food, but it’s going well (not perfect) and I’m really watching what goes in. As hot as it was today, I resisted the temptation for ice cream! That’s a win.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 29: Zoom zoom zoom!

The new bike, known in Switzerland as a Töffli (which I spelled incorrectly yesterday), proved to be a worthy stallion this morning and afternoon.

It takes 30 minutes to ride to work, which shaves 20 minutes off my commute time. I park at the top of those mega-steep steps, so I still get a bit of a workout. Maybe I should make a new goal to be able to run up those steps non-stop (at the moment, walking them without stopping would be a win!).

The wind was cool, the light was gloomy but the Alps were visible through the clouds, the seat was comfortable, the fumes weren’t too overwhelming and I just loved the buzz and hum of the straining engine.

Leo is slightly amused by my excitement over something that 14-year-old kids are allowed to ride to school. We also think there’s a rule here, that if you’ve lost your driver’s licence, you can still ride a Töffli. So maybe people will see me and think I’m a teenager, or a lawbreaker. I’m fine with either.

On the way home, I stopped at the shops, because I can do that now 🙂 and bought two plants to fill some holes in my garden layout, and some laundry liquid. They all fit wonderfully in that fetching plastic green basket on the back. If you missed it yesterday, here’s another angle 🙂

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I’m also particularly fond of the muffler rust, as you can tell

I overtook a few bicycles and was overtaken by everything else. There’s a long slow hill on the way into town, where I felt like running beside the bike to help with the speed, and on the way home, I was worried about the motor blowing up. S/he was flying down the hill!

Which brings me to my reader request. I think the bike needs a name. I’m quite partial to Bruce, because it’s old-fashioned and reliable. Very apt.

Do you have any suggestions for this gallant steed? Should it be male or female? I’m open to all suggestions. The bike make/brand is Alpina, s/he was born in 1983.

It’s been a day of good fortune today. This afternoon we discovered a loop hole in an electronics company’s advertisement. It said you could take all your working Apple smartphones and tablets back to them to recycle and you would receive money towards ‘Apple products’. What the advert failed to clearly state was it had to be another Apple smartphone or tablet, as if you were doing an upgrade.

So with a little bit of hassle we managed to make our point that even though one part of the ad said swap old for new, it didn’t actually say the new had to be a phone or tablet. Just an Apple product. I’m now the proud owner of a new wireless computer mouse, a green iPod Nano to carry when running (it has a workout app as well) and a CHF50 iTunes voucher. All for the grand sum of CHF16.

What’s also brilliant is we have now Kondo’d our electronics! We took in two iPhone3s (neither worked so we didn’t get any money), an iPhone4, my dead iPhone5 from earlier in the year (again, no money) and my old iPad. I have been wanting to get rid of those electronics and all the associated cables for a very long time. Clean drawer! Relief!

On that note, it’s time for bed. Tomorrow I’ll take photos of the two new plants – forgot to do that – as my 30-Day Challenge (which is sporadic at best!) continues.

I look forward to reading your bike name suggestions! 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day.