November 1-3: No!vember

How’s this for a plan … we change the name of this month to No!vember, because no one can believe another year is almost gone. No! No!vember!

The fog is thick and heavy in the mornings, and the walk home at night is dark. There are no street lights for 70% of my walk from the bus, and the path by the little stream is kinda spooky in the dark. When I use my phone as a flashlight, the fence post shadows look like they walk towards me as I walk towards them … weird and slightly off-putting … *brrrr*

It’s going to be interesting walking in winter, but for now I’m enjoying it – so much scenic variety! Plus I feel like I’m doing a little bit of fitfor15in15 each day still. The walk home is a nice decompression after the day too, once I get over the spookiness of the situation.

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Cloudy layers on our Sunday walk around “the block”. It felt like 1000 people also had the same idea – soak up that sun!

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Can you see the Alps? This is the path by the stream. Fine in the morning, or on an afternoon like this, but scary dark at night!

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Daisies, sugar beets and fog

Do you feel like shouting No! in No!vember?! I don’t think I’m the only one who can’t believe it’s only blah blah many weeks until Christmas and all that jazz!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

This is my 250th blog post. Should be more (that was a shocking effort in October!) but yay anyway!

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.

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.

June 26: Feast or famish

Sorry I didn’t post this yesterday … busy having fun again!

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This is the photo I mentioned previously where the tractor driver stopped. I thought he was going to get mad at me for taking a photo, but he just wanted to talk about the good weather!

I’ve been forgetting/don’t have time in the mornings to make my breakfasts for the I Quit Sugar program, so for the past week I’ve been making do with a tub of natural yoghurt and a small sunflower seed bread roll on my walk to work.

At CHF2 from the supermarket, it’s not too hard on the wallet but it’s lacking in thrills. So tonight, after a good morning putting together an inventory of karate clothes at work with Pastora, and a few quick beers together at Cafe Pyrennes afterwards (fast becoming our Friday ‘welcome to the weekend’ ritual!), I was really, really looking forward to dinner with our neighbours and their friends at a nice restaurant in another village 10 minutes drive away.

A juicy steak promised plenty of song and dance but wasn’t all that entertaining – this time the Angus beef came from the property of one of the members of the Swiss band Yello (they had some big hits in the 90s, including Oh Yeah). Not really a smash hit this time ’round, despite plenty of veg to make it a feast, so our last meal there remains my favourite.

After dinner, Eve, Paul, Lotti and Fritz came back to sit around the pool with Liliane, Rene, Leo and I in the beautiful twilight (would be amazing to go walking in that light), and the men demolished (and yes, I am using this term with confidence) a bottle of Montenegro that Leo’s dad gave him for his birthday. We’re glad it’s gone! We don’t really drink hard spirits or liqueur at home, and the shelf in the lounge room is full. Maybe by putting the bottles on display, people think we enjoy it and they’re encouraged to buy more. Unfortunately, we don’t have anywhere else to store them, apart from the cellar. Hmm … there’s a thought! 🙂

One thing I’ve really missed with consuming less sugar these past three weeks is a glass of elderberry cordial. They love it here (it’s called Holunderbluten syrup). Feeling adventurous? You can make your own cordial here, if you have access to a tree, or if that’s not quite your style, how about elderflower wine?! Hic!

So my 30-Day challenge plant name for you today is the elder (Sambucus). We have many trees growing around the property, but I’ve never made the syrup!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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The Aare river running through Bern. I cross this bridge to go to work