Monday, September 29, 2014

Another pretty picture

This is Basel. We were standing on the bridge over the Rhine, generally admiring the scene and particularly admiring the tiles on the church roof, when we noticed some people swimming. 

Can you see them? Little heads bobbing about in this fast-flowing river which has big ships forging their way up it? This - presumably - very cold river?

We were surprised.

The Swiss are amazing linguists, which is just as well because if you've ever heard Swiss German, you'll know that it doesn't sound anything like the German one learnt at school. And then in some places the language is French (fairly normal-sounding French) or, occasionally, Rumantsch. So I'm in awe of the ability of everyone - from the ticket collectors to the chaps selling you a sandwich - to speak good English.

Well, almost everyone. Maybe not the person who wrote this for one of our hotels:

Welcome at the hotel Holiday. You are our guest! About you is going everything. The whole year. See the region of the Lake Thun in all its beauty, enrich cultural or just enjoy. Because we know, the most beautiful moments results not by random.

It is possible for the washing and ironing of the guest laundry.

Little sew we finish off patching's within 24 hours - price after expense.

I'm not really criticising this person because his/her English is about as good as my German. (I may be flattering myself.) But if I were going to write a notice in German and put it in every hotel room, I think I might just get someone to check it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stunning view number one

Well, you know what it's like. You spend a fortnight sitting on trains, looking idly at beautiful bits of Switzerland (well, actually it's almost all beautiful) and then you get home and you have so many million things to do that you don't have time to blog.

But anyway: we were on 49 trains and a bus. Some of our party were really quite train-geeky. "Oh look!" would go the cry. "This is 39.8 coupling! And it's joining a Federal wagon to a Confederate!" (Or words to that effect.)

And people would crowd round, exclaiming, "I've only ever seen that on the Geneva line!" and write things down in their little notebooks.

Meanwhile I'd be examining the window boxes and wondering how they get their geraniums to bloom so prolifically.

Must get on.

(We didn't fall off a cliff, by the way.)

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Still not quite gone...

We're nearly organised. The house is clean and tidy, the beds are made up for the visitors, the instructions are completed, there are various informative yellow sticky notes attached to various things and we're more or less packed. You have to take a lot of socks for 18 days away. The fridge is fairly empty; there's room in the freezer for the catsitters' food; the last of the washing is done; and I think all the bins and wastepaper baskets are empty. 

I've thrown away all the flowers even though there were a few days' life in them yet - apart from this orchid sprig, which I broke from a plant by mistake a few weeks ago while trying to attach it to a stake. It's lasted amazingly well and still looks fresh, so I hadn't the heart to bin it. 

Son-in-Law 1 brought the little ones round for a final play and cuddle and meal, which was lovely. Can't believe I'm not going to see them again till the 24th. What was I thinking

Luckily the other grandparents are coming to stay with them tomorrow and Nanny is staying for a whole week, which will be lovely for all concerned. Have fun, Nanny and Gramps!

By the time we return, Scotland will have had a referendum for independence from the UK. The idea of living in an independent Scotland has a romantic appeal and it would be nice to feel more at the centre of things than we do - living up here, a long way from the south and its London-centric views. But the horrible news of the suffering caused by nationalism and sectarianism makes separation seem (to me) not a good idea at all. So friends are going to proxy-vote for us, against independence. The polls suggest that it's going to be quite close so presumably there will be a lot of unhappy people, whatever the result. The heart sinks somewhat even for Scotland, let alone the other places in the world which are torn apart by such enmity. 

Well, I'm off to finish packing. Thank you for all your good wishes, bloggy friends. I hope that railway line keeps steady as we cross it. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Going, going...

This year we've been away an unusual number of times: visiting Daughter 2 in London, meeting up with the extended family in the Lake District, visiting my aunt in Norfolk, house-swapping in York and now we're about to go to, and round, Switzerland on a train.

This is all very nice and fortunate but it's a bit exhausting - having five times to leave the house all pristine for the catsitters, with updated instructions about the idiosyncrasies of the house and the cat, and to pack at the same time. But nowadays I also have to leave my babies behind! The other holidays have all been short ones but this time we'll be away for two and a half weeks. I'm going to see them tomorrow; on Thursday we'll have to clean and pack; on Friday we're off to Daughter 2's for the weekend; and then we're off on our train journey on Monday. We return to London two weeks on Monday and then get back here on the Tuesday so that's nearly three weeks without the little ones. How will I survive?

I have a list of things to do tomorrow and Thursday:

Phone Grace about Zumba.
See grandchildren.
Lay out clean bedding so that the catsitters can change their bedding mid-holiday.
Take stuff to charity shop.
Update instructions.
Organise cards for various family events.
Plant plants I bought at Breezy Knees.
Clean house.

Actually, that's not as bad as I thought it would be.

I've already crossed off:

Cut grass (actually Mr L did that).
Buy pants and socks (I didn't have enough to last out).
Buy jacket that actually keeps out the rain (at least, let's hope it does).
Do ironing.
Go to Morag's.

Then of course there's the extra thing that I remembered earlier today while having coffee with friends and told myself to add to the list when I got home.

If only I could remember what it was... .

We will be going along a railway line which did this on August 13. The travel company says it got mended within three days. I'm not convinced that three days was enough to mend it sufficiently. So if this is the last blog post, you'll  know why... .