The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Delicious Thai food!

Well my cookery course last night was just wonderful. Probably the best course so far (they aren't all good). Since I finish work at 17.30h and the course started at 18.30h I decided to walk across town, figuring it would take me about 40 minutes and I would have time to grab a coffee beforehand. What I hadn't banked on was how cold it was walking along the lake front. Crikey, it was freeeeezing! I made it in 35 minutes but I'm sure having icicles dangling off the end of your nose will never be a good look on anybody!

The group was made up of the lady instructor and nine pupils - six women and three men. In fact, one (presumably married) couple came along with their 25-ish-something daughter, which I thought was a lovely way to spend an evening together. The first dish we made was a starter of Thai ravioli stuffed with chicken and shrimp. The teacher had us all doing the cutting and smushing and so on and then all rolling our own ravioli parcels. I think she overestimated a bit as we ended up making 64, but served with sweet chili sauce they were absolutely delicious!

After that she had us cutting up rump steak and all kinds of other delicious ingredients to make Thai beef with basil, and again it was fabulous. She was very good in that she had us all doing the preparation and then we all  had to make our own beef dish in the wok, while she stood by giving instructions and/or encouragement. Just as a "by the way", it was the first time I had ever used coriander (cilantro) root on its own - not the leaves, just the roots. You live and learn I guess. At the end of the class we all sat down to eat our culinary creations and this being Switzerland there were a couple of bottles of wine on the table too! So we got to enjoy a lovely home-made dinner and then take the leftovers home too.  What's not to like!

As part of this same course we have another class next week where I think we will be making Pad Thai and - if I remember correctly - chicken soup with coconut milk. Lovely! I generally find that I am too tired to want to commit to an ongoing course but doing these one or two-off courses is just perfect for me.

Since I was on my own I didn't want to hang about too long before leaving for my bus because, sadly, as a sign of the times I am a little nervous making my way back to a pretty empty parking lot at 10 in the evening. But, everything was fine, and since the parking lot is right  next to a sports centre there are generally quite a few people about. So marks out of 10 - a definite 10 for this course.

On a totally different note, I see that the UK has just named it's first ever "Minister for Loneliness", and while it has a rather comic ring to it I'm glad to hear that some attempt is being made to address this dreadful problem. Of course, it was an issue dear to the late MP Jo Cox (who was murdered by a lunatic with "mental health issues"). I hope they really do achieve great things with this initiative because it seems to me a problem that shouldn't really be that difficult to solve. I wish I could be named "Minister for Loneliness" - my ideal job I think, but until then I guess I will just have to keep chattering on obliviously to all and sundry.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

All quiet on the western front!

It's been pretty quiet here since Christmas, hence the lack of posts! After Christmas we had what seemed like enough prolonged rain to start thinking about getting the arc ready. I mean, seriously, about 10 days of non-stop rain, which of course meant that it was snowing in the mountains. All good for the resorts of course, as opposed to last year when there was nothing over the Christmas period. Then of course the wind picked up and some of the ski resorts had to suspend skiing as it was just too dangerous, and finally some (lucky) devils got snowed in at Zermatt. Frankly I can think of worse places to be snowed in than Zermatt, although you would probably need pretty deep pockets as Zermatt's prices are pretty prohibitive at the best of times. After record snowfalls which completely blocked the access lines, some people were helicoptered off the mountain but within three days the train access was back up and running. All exciting stuff I suppose.

For we lesser mortals it was back to work and having the snow stay up in the mountains was great as I really hate driving on the blooming stuff. That being said, we have had some pretty windy days and nights and when I went to leave for work this morning I had to get the broom out of my garage and push the snow off my car before I left. The odd thing is, though, that just five minutes down the road in my little local town it was pretty much all clear.  I guess maybe just that 100 metres difference in altitude makes all the difference!

Things at work have been just ticking over. I have another couple of meetings coming up in March but they are fairly routine so I can get most of the work done ahead of time. My big meetings are in July and December and they take about 3-4 months each to prepare so that keeps me out of trouble for a while, I suppose.

On the exercise front I was pretty good last week. Managed to walk four times, either into work in the morning or at lunchtime and then went to the gym one time but I have to admit I couldn't be faffed so far this week. One of my Monday evening sewing clubs has decided not to meet in the evenings this term as some of the older ladies don't want to go out in the evenings when the weather is yucky - pretty understandable I suppose, so I have been sticking with my other Monday evening club. And guess what, the Présidente and the two assistants have announced that they no longer want those responsibilities any more so the club would effectively be disbanded, after 20 years, next June. Now I was speaking to one of the other ladies and saying it was a shame to lose the use of the room if some people wanted to continue. The local commune lets us use it for free and will even give us a small subsidy if we need to buy supplies, although to be honest with everyone paying €40 for the year we haven't needed that subsidy so far. So to make a long story short, it looks like I may end up becoming the next Présidente! Ha what a joke that is, since I can't sew. Really! I'm taking patchwork lessons but as for sewing itself - forget it. Actually, based on that logic I should probably go into politics too because as far as I can see not many politicians (whatever their persuasion) really know what they are doing either. Still, it seems it would involve just doing the administrative side of it, which I don't mind at all, so if I can get another lady to go along with me and keep the second set of keys for when I can't make it, it looks like I will have a new role shortly!

Other than that, what else is new. Oh, this evening I shall be attending a Thai cookery class, which I am quite excited about, although I find going out after work - particularly in the winter - to be very tiring. In Switzerland the big supermarket (the equivalent of Tescos or Wal-Mart) is called Migros and they seem to have a finger in every pie - supermarkets, travel, insurance, banking and evening classes, etc. so I am taking this class (and another again next week) at the Migros evening class centre downtown. When I first arrived in Geneva I lived in central Geneva as a single girl for five years and never stayed in one single evening! God, talk about staying power. I had a boyfriend and saw him regularly, obviously, but I think I did every one of the Migros' evening classes - sailing (loved it), sewing (I was the youngest by about 40 years), tai chi (burrrrk - hated it), cookery. You name it I had a bash at it. Actually looking at my mortgage pay-off figures I could well have my house paid off in two years (at which point I can retire) and like Sam over at a New Frame of Reference I realize I like structure and like to be busy, so I can see myself getting more involved in classes - mainly in France - but also at the Migros, where there is a better (if more expensive) selection, when I am retired. Although I have a couple of years to go, the planning of it all is pretty nice, I can tell you.

And finally, in a couple of weeks I will be off on my winter holiday to Costa Rica. I can't wait. I am travelling with a new (to me) group and they don't have the most direct flights for some reason (Geneva/London/Toronto/Costa Rica) but I am really looking forward to it. Having missed out on my winter vacation last year because of the upcoming wedding, I can't wait for this one as it always feels like spring is just around the corner when I get back. I just hope that holds true!

Friday, 5 January 2018

I blame it on Sam!

Only a couple of days ago Sam over at a New Frame of Reference was talking about the work projects she and her hubs were hoping to get done around the house, which to prioritize and how to go about saving for it. I pitched in with my ever-growing list of stuff that needs to be done sooner or later and bugger me, wouldn't you know it, my water heater gave up the ghost Wednesday night. I had felt the water not really heating up for a couple of days but on Wednesday morning I ended up having a cold shower! It seems strange to me that these things never seem to blow up in the summer when a cold shower would be welcome, but in January when it's minus whatever .... that was one of the quickest showers I ever had, I can tell you.  Not that I can complain I suppose as that thing must be about 20 years old but .... Anyway, I sent my (plumber) son a message asking what I should do about a replacement. My water heater's capacity is 300 litres which has been plenty for us over the years, but he told me that when it came time to replace it maybe just go with a 150 litre tank, since I am on my own. I wasn't too sure about that thinking that I wouldn't want to run out of hot water if/when I have visitors, so I was more inclined to go with a 200 litre. My house is technically a five-bedroom so I also didn't see the point in one day advertising it for sale as such with only a tea kettle capacity for hot water.

As luck would have it (for me - maybe not for them) Jordan and Jen were both off yesterday so he said he would take a trip down to Cluses where his company buys their professional supplies as he thought they were of a superior quality. In the end he agreed with me that the 150 litre tank would be too small so was going for the 200 litre tank when the guy in the shop said that for only €30 more he could get the 300 litre tank, so that's what they did.  The best bit was though, that when the guy asked them where they wanted to load it they pointed to J's little Ford Fiesta and the guy just laughed and said it wouldn't fit!  Not to be outdone, J and Jen laid the back seats down, pulled the passenger seat waaaaay forward and heaved the thing into the back, although with the tail end sticking out! Poor Jen had to ride home with her nose almost touching the windscreen, but since they are both as stubborn as each other she didn't mind.

It gave us a giggle though because I'm sure we've all done it. You know, gone to IKEA and bought a shedload of stuff and then wondered how the hell you were going to get a double bed into the back of your mini. Or bought that huuuuuge Christmas tree from the farm, shoved it across the back seat of the car and then had every passing car manage to chop bits off it as they went by, thereby leaving you with a twig by the time you got home!

Anyway, by the time I got home from work Jordan and Jen had got that bugger down into my basement and got it all hooked up in 30 minutes.  The real difficulty, of course, was getting the old one back up the spiral staircase. As I walked through the garage, Jordan and all 100 lbs wringing wet of Jen were underneath that bloody thing pushing, with my 70 year old neighbour at the top of the stairs hauling on a rope! Turns out they are all three as stubborn as each other and blow me if they didn't get that bugger out of there.  What can I say, I am just so eternally grateful to the three of them that they got it done so quickly! Oh and as an aside, J was looking at the state of my bathrooms - ok, I admit it - I somehow managed to mention what a mess they are - and he was saying what he could and couldn't do himself. I don't know if or when, but he said he might be willing to take on part of the project when he gets time! God love him. The blessings of having a plumber for a son! Now if only the other one had been a hairdresser, or a car mechanic, or .....

And finally ladies, any suggestions please? We will shortly be having our next board game evening between neighbours. At the first one (at my house) we were only six, at the next we were 10, and we may well be 12 at this next one. Since we all take a dish I was looking for an idea as to what to take. I don't mind sweet or savoury (or both), but since it isn't at my house it should probably be something that doesn't need reheating. I'm just not very inspired at the moment so any suggestions gratefully received! And on that note, I wish you all a lovely weekend. And for those of you in the north eastern US - stay safe!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Out with the old!

First of all, I wish you all a happy new year - full of health, wealth and happiness. I hope your Christmases were good too. My break was lovely with the boys and their wives plus a friend coming over for Christmas dinner. I didn't make turkey but cooked a sublime filet of beef - which was more thanks to the quality of the beef than anything I did to it - but it really was good. Because I love my kids I also tried to make yorkshire puddings but while they were better than usual they were still a bit soggy to my liking. Oh, well, keep on trying I guess.  We exchanged presents, played a few silly games and then just had a really nice time chatting and being together for a few hours. Now that's my idea of a lovely Christmas. I actually also finally showed them my blog so if they want to take a look at it they can. After everyone left I plonked my unwashed self down on the sofa and read for the next seven days as while I had all kinds of wonderful plans for the rest of the week in the end it was just too, too inviting to do bugger all. I kinda looked like Phyllis Diller by the end of the week (how's that for showing my age)!

Phyllis Diller
After that, no plans for New Year's although I did stay up until 1 a.m. French time to watch the fireworks in London and Edinburgh. Lovely, but I'm also glad it's all over too. I think it's all the celebrating/partying you do during the month of December with friends and colleagues and so on that wears me out so like many people I am glad to get back to a routine and slow down, even if it does mean back to work! 

On New Year's day I actually decided to go through all my "favourites" from my blog lists and can you believe it took me over two hours to delete those I was no longer reading (shows you how many I had been following doesn't it)! I found that my favourites list was just so long that I was getting swamped so I went through all of them and just kept hitting delete if I couldn't remember why I was reading them in the first place! It's not that I don't like those blogs any more but sometimes the blog changes and no longer suits, other times my centres of interest have changed and so on, and then of course there are some bloggers who just seemed to have disappeared - I hope they are ok. Sonya Ann over at A Mom, Money and More you are sorely missed my dear. I hope all is well. I also like a blogger who has now disappeared and who had the absolute goofiest style that I loved. Hyperbole and a Half disappeared quite some time ago but I kept her on my favourites as she was such a character. I think, if I remember correctly, she sometimes talked about her struggle with depression so, again, I hope she is ok. On the positive side, by jumping through some of my remaining "favourites" and seeing which blogs they are following, I have discovered some lovely new ones. Since I enjoy stories about Britain during WWII I am really enjoying Carolyn's blog over at "The 1940s Experiment". Not only does she have some fascinating (to me) insights into the 1940s period but she has very bravely been using the wartime "rations" diet to try to lose a substantial amount of weight. It has come off and gone back on again but she is still heading in the right direction and is a real trooper!

Browsing through other people's blogs has also, on occasion, led to their book recommendations and as I am an avid reader I am looking forward to trying out some of these books! Win-win, I guess!

Oh, and talking of other people's blogs, I would like to thank Anne over at New Happenings for organizing the "international bloggers Christmas card swap" and also Jane in Ontario (Crabapple Landing), Kylie in Australia (I'll have to check back for her blog name - but it was really weird for this blogger to get a Christmas card with Santa in a cozzie carrying a surf board!) and Sue in California (not sure if she has a blog) for their lovely cards.

Anyway, this morning it was back to work for me in the pouring rain. It wasn't cold (about +5° I think) but the rain was belting down and the wind was howling, but again the wind wasn't cold and the traffic was fabulous as the kids haven't gone back to school yet. Just as I was about to walk through the turnstyle to get into work I spotted a rather large sticker that had been stuck to the ground outside which said "Bollocks to Brexit"! Since my company is very involved in things such as Brexit I guess there can be no doubt about the phantom sticker-hound's feelings can there? Short and to the point!

On a slightly different note I was reading in the UK press this week that a "man" (if you can call him that) has just pleaded guilty to murdering his wife with a claw hammer. This "man", as it turns out, had served prison time for murdering his first wife, had then murdered his second companion, and since he was now out of jail he had the opportunity to murder this poor lady! Dear God alive, how many chances do these people get! It seems to me there is something very, very wrong with the British justice system that this piece of scum has been able to kill three women. I don't often envy the way the US does things because I think we are very, very different culturally but just for once I wish this bastard had come up against the US justice system rather than ours.

And then this week we had the announcement of the next bunch of "stars" who will be appearing in the latest Celebrity Big Brother. Frankly calling most of them "celebrities" makes my brain explode. I think this time around "in honour of women" all the "celebrities" will be women, although I'm not totally sure of that. Most seem to be reality show trash and one who was hinted at as a possible contestant was someone who "had almost shagged a (total dumb ass) British footballer"! Some claim to fame eh! Now I admit I have never watched this crap, although I tried really, really hard for about 10 minutes once but I could feel my brain frying so turned it off. The other big joke was that a "rumoured Kim Kardashian confident" might be on it! Say what! What the hell has KK ever kept confidential. I give up. But one comment I saw in the British press said "from suffragettes to this lot. Where did it all go wrong? I couldn't have said it better myself!

And finally, because I can see how long-winded I am getting, I have to mention Mrs. Brown's Boys. For those that don't know, Mrs. Brown is supposedly an Irish widow with six stereotypically over-exaggerated kids. You know, a priest, a ne'er-do-well son who has been to prison, a "sensible" one, an "eternal spinster daughter" and Rory, the gay one. It is all over the top and there is quite a bit bad language but, while I feel it has gone downhill latterly because it just isn't possible to keep up that level of "funny", I still like it - for the time being anyway. The writer and actor who plays Mrs. Brown, is a man (Brendan O'Carroll), and when the actor who played the gay son, Rory, said he wanted out of the series Brendan had to come up with a way to re-write "Rory" as he was such a popular (if over the top and exaggeratedly camp) character. So they had "Rory" getting plastic surgery and coming back with a slightly changed face. Now the new actor does indeed look somewhat like Rory but I found him a bit stiff (nervous maybe) and waaaay too camp in the Christmas Day show. He was instantly slagged off by many in the press saying get rid of him, but I think, give the guy a chance and let him grow into this or a slightly different version of Rory. Anyway, I loved the original Rory because he was such a giggler and in the TV shows they left all the bloopers in. So here, for your greater pleasure, is "Mamie" explaining to Rory how "Dermott and Maria are going to Venice for the week-end". Enjoy!

Monday, 18 December 2017

It took me over three blo*"*"*dy hours to get to work this morning!

I called my brother for a chat yesterday as I hadn't spoken to him in a while and he was asking when I planned to retire. I told him (as I say so often) maximum another three years but preferably before as though work is fine the bloody commute is killing me, and lo and behold, where man makes plans God just laughs! Though it snowed pretty much all weekend the roads were ok when I got up this morning. I heard the plough come through our little neighbourhood at 7 a.m. just as I was getting ready to leave, and although you had to go carefully, it really was ok driving. Well, that is until I hit the motorway and the tailback was massive. In retrospect, it had nothing to do with the state of the roads but more to do with a couple of accidents in Geneva. I mean, the traffic was backed up the 20-odd kilometres of motorway from the border (that took me two hours to navigate) and then over another hour to cross Geneva, where a couple of accidents had pretty much brought the city to a halt! Still, at this point, I am pretty zen about it, I was on the bus with a good book and figure I'll get there when I get there. But like I say, all it takes is one idiot not to put snow tyres on (and there are loads of them about) and the whole city comes to a standstill!

Anyway, I eventually made it and will finish up what work I can do before heading back home, although the snow has now stopped so fingers crossed.

I had a lovely weekend though. On Saturday "Père Noel" was scheduled to do a practice run to my little village. As my kids are grown it has been ages since I went to meet Santa but decided that this time I would go and it was lovely. I have to say, the Sanfys (the local community group that organizes this kind of thing) does a wonderful job. In fact, I had volunteered to participate in this group (time permitting of course as I am one of the few still working) but I guess they lost my details or something because I never heard from them! Oh well, next year maybe!

Anyway, the weather was dry but not sunny when Père Noel showed up on his practice run, only Rudolph and the team must have been having a rest as he showed up in an old red and white Citroen Diane.

It was very well done and there were loads of kids and parents from our little village waiting patiently. The Sanfys had organized all the presents plus drinks, chocolates and brioche and an organ grinder (without the monkey) at the drinks stand and were walking round handing out huge glasses of mulled wine to the adults. I tell ya, you daren't have a partially-filled glass because before you knew it it was filled back up again! I have to say though, that not all mulled wine is good but this really was very tasty - or maybe it was just all that standing about in the cold that made it taste good!

An added bonus is that just as Père Noel was getting ready to leave, one of the local farmers decided to move his flock of sheep so the whole village road was blocked off while they were herded further down the road! If they had wanted to add a bit of "reality" to the event they couldn't have done better.

You can make out the sheep in the background on the village road
And finally, I ended up chatting to Steve this weekend after a couple of weeks absence. It has been a while as Mr. S is a party animal and has seemingly been busy partying. Anyway, we had a good long chat and he sent me the following video (which from the sounds of it was filmed in either Italy or Spain). It is pure magic. Steve hadn't realized it wasn't three men (new glasses anyone?) until I pointed out that no, it was in fact one man and two dummies - so three dummies then! Enjoy!

Friday, 15 December 2017

The Armageddon Cupboard!

Does anyone else have one? Goodness knows why I have one (anymore) but I do and I'm trying to clear/clean that sucker out little by little. I don't think you can blame me though because my parents lived through WWII and the subsequent rationing in the UK, which only ended in 1954. I was born in 1958 so it was still a very real memory for them. In fact, I remember once seeing my mom's old ration card and I so wished I still had it now - for me that would be something to treasure. Anyway, since they had a large family and even if you had tons of money there wasn't, at that point, an awful lot to buy with it, mom and dad always "stock-piled" whatever they could, even when rationing was over and money was less tight. So that's what I grew up with and was subliminally absorbed by me, I suppose. So over the years of getting married and having a family I always had "extras" in the cupboard by the front door. There was also the fact that being in Geneva/France it wasn't always possible (in the early days at  least) to get all the stuff from the UK that I might want to cook with, so I "stockpiled" whenever I went home. Now, of course, it's much easier and I can get pretty much anything I want (though I still have never found peppermint essence but I've got tons of that anyway). So over the years I have been stuffing things into that cupboard on the basis that "you never know when we might run out" and also, truthfully, because I like to cook and have got into the bad habit of thinking I have to have everything available no matter what I feel like cooking. The net result is, of course, that foodstuffs get old, pantry moths appear and I can never remember what I have in there anyway. So over the past however long I have been emptying that sucker out, maybe while standing waiting for the kettle to boil, and cleaning, sorting and pitching what I can. Turns out the pantry moths don't come so much from the food storage (which I am pretty meticulous about, although they can't be avoided with certain products) but the little buggers have actually been nesting in the holes where the screws were put in when assembling the cupboard!!! Et voilà! Since I figured that out I have had every draw out and scrubbed and dug into those cupboards like you wouldn't believe. Still, it has taken a long time doing it bit by bit, but I really must get out of the habit of "stockpiling" now, especially since I am on my own.

Other than that, we had one helluva storm last night. Wind, snow, rain - you name it. I'm just glad I made it home before the worst of it hit as it really sounded like the chimney might come down. Luckily it didn't but crikey, while I love a storm that was a doozie. Then this morning, the traffic simply flew through, I tell you, there is no rhyme nor reason to it. I actually made it early to the parking lot and another lady and I were standing waiting as the bus pulled up, slowed down, and then drove straight past without stopping. We both stood there gawping with our mouths open like venus fly traps. It turns out, since 10 December the Geneva transport authorities have introduced a rule where buses no longer stop unless a passenger on the bus wants to get off (nobody did, apparently), or unless the person waiting for the bus actually flags it down. So we both stood there like lemons and the bus waltzed straight past us! A lesson learned, I can tell you!

On a separate note, we had our divisional Christmas party a couple of hours ago, which they have at lunchtime rather than in the evenings. I left after about three hours but understand they are still partying! Oh to be young again.

Colleagues from Peru, China and Japan


Colleagues from: India, France, Austria, France (x3), Denmark, France ...

The view from the terrace  - over there is where the rich people live - think Sophia Loren et al!
Secret Santa, with colleagues from: Japan, Ireland, Bolivia, France and Guinée!

It is all very pleasant but I must admit I am already tired of eating. You know how you go out to lunch with colleagues so much just before the holidays - and that's without even talking about how much you will eat during the holidays. On Wednesday I was invited out to a Japanese restaurant and while I'm not really a fan of Japanese food, I have to say it was exquisite. I can see why Japanese people are generally not fat. They don't eat huge quantities but what they do eat is beautifully prepared and delicious. Looks like I'll be re-appraising my thoughts on Japanese cuisine!

Talking of "cuisine" though, since I was cleaning again last night I defrosted some homemade lentil soup I had in the freezer. Crikey, it was so think you could cement a brick wall with it. Still, you only have to add water right, and it beats having to cook when I have other (exciting) things planned - like cleaning! Oh, what a life I lead.

Still, I don't lead a bad life at all, considering that I was reading in the newspaper this morning about the Loneliness Initiative that has been taken up in honour of the late MP (Member of Parliament) Jo Cox, who was tragically shot by a man with "mental health issues" (you don't say) a year ago. Jo was very pro the European Union and the lunatic that killed her shouted "Britain first" as he shot her. One of her projects was the Loneliness Initiative wherein since she believed that modern society was being killed from within by loneliness - and she wasn't not wrong there was she - she was trying to do something to fight it! I hope the Initiative really takes off as loneliness has no place in our society.

And finally, years ago when on the west coast of France at a place called Dune de Pilat, I bought a tacky piggy bank made out of a coconut shell. I love that piggy bank so every time I get a five Swiss franc coin (about $6) I throw it in there. When I have 250 Swiss francs I can roll them up and hand them in at the bank. Just two more coins to go then. It's surprising how quickly this "throw away" money adds up though isn't it. What you don't have you don't miss I guess. So on that note, have a lovely weekend everyone - or bon weekend, as they say here!

Dune de Pilat

Thursday, 14 December 2017

This and that!

There's not much going on here at the moment. My big meeting was over at the beginning of the month and now I have time to (leisurely) prepare for my next meeting in March. That basically means getting the five sections of the report ready, edited and off to the translators in plenty of time to allow them to plough through it. Otherwise, it is pretty much winding down with many people already heading off for the holidays.

The weather is pretty weird though. Last Saturday we easily got five inches of snow but with glorious sunshine. After that it bucketed down rain for about four days - which is fine by me as it means the snow stays up in the mountains and the roads in the towns lower down stay clear. It has been like this for the last two weekends actually and again forecast the same for this weekend. It really messes with your body temperature gauge though. I mean, yesterday morning it was -3° when I left home. I almost pulled the door handle off my car trying to open it (I did do that once), and when I tried to roll down my window to badge into the parking lot the window blocked solid. Then today, as I left for work it was +7°, so a difference of 10° overnight. No wonder you don't know what to wear!

For some obscure reason (I've given up trying to figure it out) traffic into work was again dreadful this morning. As I got to about 2 km from the Swiss border traffic stopped completely so when I actually got through the customs about 30 minutes later there must easily have been a good 10-15 km tail back. Then, while I was sitting waiting to get to the park and ride I saw a truck coming alongside me down the hard should but driving the in the wrong direction - down the motorway! It wasn't a works truck or anything like that, but assuming no-one hit him coming up the hard shoulder (they shouldn't do that but they do), I don't know where he thought he was ever going to be able to turn around. I mean, he could maybe make it to the previous exit but there was no way he was going to be able to get off there!!! I can only hope the motorway cops caught up with him!

When I finally made it to the park and ride I thought I had better use the loos there as given my luck goodness only knew how much time it would take to cross Geneva on the bus. As I was trying, without success, to badge myself into the toilets a women came running up to me, hopping about on one leg and almost in tears, she was that desperate to use the bathroom. Well my badge wouldn't work, her badge wouldn't work and another man had no luck either, so she pushed the emergency button and yelled through the intercom for them to "open the bloody door". Whereupon she pushed straight past me and charged into the disabled toilets! Poor thing actually, because I suppose we have all been there and just how embarrassing would it be to pee yourself (or worse) in a situation like that!

Still, the good weather (when we get it) gives us fabulous views of the mountains on the ride in to work.  Geneva is surrounded by the Jura mountains to the north and the alps to the south, with the lake slap bang in the middle (hence all the traffic problems caused by the local geography). Below is a picture of the Jura mountains (I used to live on the "Jura side" when I was single) and the lovely hotel where we spent our one-night honeymoon in 1985. Yep, that was it - one night - and then he had to be back to work the next day.

The Jura

View from our hotel across to the alps - I live on the  "alps side" now!
Hotel La Mainaz
The hotel was lovely, but as you can see it does look like something out of The Shining (I guess I should have known the ex would eventually go mad)!

Anyhoo, last night I finally got round to putting my Christmas tree up. I hate putting the bloody thing up but I have to admit it does look very pretty when it is all done. When my youngest and his gf were living with me I used to leave them to do it but no such luck anymore. Oddly enough I have never minded taking it down. I'm sure there's some Freudian significance to that somewhere!

Oh, and I just read in the news that the French are going to ban mobile phones for children in primary and middle school as from September. It doesn't concern high school students but for the others they will not be allowed to have their phones on them in class (obviously) but nor will they be allowed to take them out and use them during break/lunch. As they have quite rightly said, kids should be out  playing and running around, not glued to a screen all the time! I think it's absolutely right and good luck to them, but I guess we'll see how that works out won't we.

And finally, what can we say about the vote in Alabama except well done Alabama! Finally some people with sense!