Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Swiss Kitchen Masacre

aka: splattering a whole bottle of blackcurrant diluting juice all
over self and kitchen 8 minutes before the bus was due. Cue India,
running around like a bloody maniac, trying to find some clean clothes.
Made it - just.

It was important to me that I get to Zuerich* before ten, since we
were all meeting at Spruengli*
And since they reputedly sell the best heisse Schoggi** in Zuerich, I
didn't want to be late.

Fortified by what may well be the best hot drink in the whole Kanton, I
was fortified enough to find a bio*** butcher. Take Tram 14 Schaffhauserplatz. Of
course, it was shut for lunch so I had to find a cafe for a coffee while I
was waiting. Not only was this a local butcher like we used to have in
the UK not so many years ago, but the butcher was really patient. He could
speak English but he just waited patiently while I looked in my dictionary
for the right words - if you've never tried to speak a foreign language believe
me when I say it is frustrating when everyone tries to be helpful and
switches automatically to English.

So roast chicken for tea on Saturday (yum). French bread, cheese and olives
for tea tomorrow (cheese and olives in fridge, bread rising and about to go into

But just before I go - hope y'all are ok in the UK - I just saw on the internet
that there has been some pretty rough weather today with more on the way.

* Just in case you don't know, it is the convention to add an 'e' after
a vowel if there is no umlaut available where there should be one used.

** Hot chocolate to you and me.


Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Medical care Swiss style.

I wish I'd been better prepared. Psychologically at least. Let's just say that an exercise stress test plus ECG wasn't quite what I was expecting this morning. I survived. Just ;0)

My new doctor wants me to be on 'A little medication as possible but enough to do what is needed.' Amen! It has been a goal of mine for some time, to reduce the medication that I am on. Of course it wasn't feasible before, but now that I am 'settled' here...

Last week I went to the doctor and she needed a little time to find out Swiss equivalents. Now, about a year ago I had a conversation with a pharmacist about the 'well known appetite stimulation' that went hand-in-hand with a higher dose of Pizotifen, one of my migraine meds. 'Never heard of it,'said she. The first thing my new doctor said to me today was 'We give this medication to stimulate the appetite.' I rest my case..... Anyway, it seems that magnesium is commonly used to treat migraines in CH, so I am going to give it a go. I am a bit worried about it though. Currently the migraines are very settled and I am very anxious about upsetting the applecart.

So, moving along, today I am going to meet
Sylvie . Not only is she the dispenser of all sorts of useful Swiss information, she also sent me a box of the best truffles I have ever tasted. I have a little gift for her, too - I hope she likes it!

Off to catch the bus but I will leave you with an image of.....Scotland (Camera card can't be put into this PC...).

2006_august 017

Monday, 28 January 2008

Mission half-accomplished

In Scotland we are cossetted with our recycling service -well, at least those of us who have kerbside recycling are. But even that isn't enough to motivate many to make use of the service. In Switzerland there is a different approach. Do it, or else. Each community has a recycling area to which one must take the waste to be recycled. It's the usal sort of thing - paper, glass, aluminium foil, cans etc. Anything which cannot be recycled may be thrown into the standard garbage collection, but it must only be in the regulation waste bags, for which a tax is payable. Of course, if one throws away something that should have been recycled a fine is levied.

This morning was, I decided, the morning to do something about the growing mountain of recycling overflowing from beneath the kitchen table. Of course it wasn't such a simple trip for me, due to the cartographical challenges I face. Yep, you got it, I can't read a map. Well, that's not strictly true, it is just a particularly long, drawn out and painful process. So I'm going to draw a veil over the whole issue except to say that I did finally manage to get rid of recycle the card, cans, glass bottles and foil. The plastic? Well, that of course has to be recycled at the local Coop. I, meanwhile, was so excited with my success so far that I got straight on the bus, bringing it back with me. I don't know about 'air miles' but this plastic sure as heck with have a lot of 'foot miles' before the end ;0)

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Lazy(ish) Sunday

We didn't have any fixed plans for today - I had changed my mind about going knitting due to a sore wrist which I am trying to be sensible about. As a result we found ourselves walking into the railway and catching a train to.....

Can you believe it? We started out with a bright, but chilly day in Zürich,and two and a half hours later we were in the positively balmy town in, as near as damn-it,Italy :0) :0)

No kidding, I needed thermals at 'home' today yet was sitting in shirtsleeves on the edge of the lake.

You know, this is a hard life, but I guess someone's got to do it.

Saturday, 26 January 2008


Yep, that's me. Not only did I return to the DIY store on my own (it's off my normal beaten track so there was lots of scope for getting lost), I also hunted down matches for candles (a long, boring story in itself). As if this wasn't enough derring do done, I had one final challenge : asking, in German, to have my sandwich toasted*. But you know, every intrepid traveller needs someone to keep them on the right path. Someone else might not have taken pity on the dumb foreigner and gone right ahead and toasted what turned out to be a salad roll....

Guess you can work out where I was ;0)

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Slow, slow, quick quick, slow

My life is adapting to some new rhythms. Periods of (enforced)patience as I wait for a bus/tram, more pleasant periods spent drinking coffee, chatting to new friends, interspersed with frantic scrambling around to do 10 things before the return journey home.(There has also been one notable absence from my daily routine - my constant companion, the migraine related face pain, seems to have taken a bit of a holiday:0))

Today has been very pleasant. Meeting up with some Spooglers at 11 for a coffee, finding myself still there at know how these things go...
leisurely stroll to get the tram, catching the connecting bus home, finding a lovely gift from Sylvie waiting in my mail box. And you know, I think tomorrow is going to be more of the same. Don't you feel sorry for me?

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


Now, there's an umlaut missing on the title word, but this is how the local Swiss greet each other - friends, passing strangers, shop assistants. And if you can really believe it, even a teenage boy graced me with this salutation this morning :0)

Today has been a series of mini-victories. I went into the local apotheke (that's a pharmacy to you and me) and managed to get generic paracetamol, as opposed to even-pricier branded variety. All with my pidgin German and no English. I also managed to buy 1 stamp for the UK and 5 for Zürich. Again, all with no English - and what it makes this all the more remarkable from my point was that I what I wanted was actually what I asked for, if you see what I mean.

I also managed to get my hot little hands of some fresh yeast. It comes in little
42g cubes (very precise) which sit demurely in one of the fridges. I think breadmaking will come in useful if I happen to have a particularly stressful day....

Off to ...unpack some more boxes - what else? In the meantime here are some cows - if you look really carefully you just might see the bells. Yep, cows with bells on - I look on the bells as an early warning system. Particularly usefule if like me you've been chased more than once.


Monday, 21 January 2008


A HUGE big thank you to Global Librarian and Mrs Mac for saving the day with the telephone:0) After I dialed '3' I was even able to select an English version. Now not only will my friends anf family be able to leave a message, but when I get a German message that I can't understand, I'll at least know I've got one!


I am sitting in the living room looking across the frosty valley. The man from Cable Com arrived at 7.55 and after 5 minutes we are all set up and ready to go. This means that I have a landline also, but there is just one problem- if someone leaves me a message on the answering service I won't know how to to access it.

As you can imagine, the house is full of boxes. But there seems to be something weird going on - no matter how many boxes we unload, they number doesn't seem to diminish. Yesterday I concentrated on books and china, today I have a mission- find the can opener. So many cans, no way to get to the contents...

On the social front, I have already met up with some of the Spooglers (you know, Google Spouses!). We have arranged a standing meeting for coffee at 11.00am every Thursday. This week we'll all meet in Starbucks, because we know where it is!! Next week, it'll be somewhere else.

Off to rummage about in boxes....

Monday, 14 January 2008

This isn't just ANY banking...

...this is SWISS banking.

You know the kind of thing - the manager comes to speak to you personally, refreshments are offered, chocolates proffered, business attended to immediately...What, you don't get that kind of treatment at your local bank? Move to Switzerland, it's the only way to solve the problem.

As you can see, today was spent attending to business. Opening a bank account has been a priority. While the Swiss may be a cash-based society, that is one habit that we are not picking up. So we spent a very pleasant couple of hours (the chocolate was really nice) sorting things out. While they may not call it the same thing, direct debits (LSVs) are still utilised by those that want them.

We had a very nice lunch at the local trattoria for CHF 20 each - soup, pizza, dessert and bottled water for the equivalent of about £7.50. The lunchbreak was a necessity. Not only were we very hungry but everything shuts for lunch between 12.30 and 2.00pm.

It seems we were feeling too chuffed and relaxed, so Fate decided to put a spanner in the works . Or, rather, Cable Com decided to. Let's just say I am NOT blogging from home. I'd like to draw a veil over the whole experience but I think there is more pain and anguish to come.

Tomorrow will be another Marathon - suitcases to house, shopping trip to Ikea :0( and me trying to arrange some dental treatment (what is it with me? I hate going to the dentist but never seem to be able to stay away).

Well, that's all for now folks - up bright and early tomorrow.


Sunday, 13 January 2008


The title is a reflection of my mind at the moment - mostly blank with the occasional exclamation as somethings begin to sink in.

We met up with my parents at Edinburgh Airport today. It was much harder saying goodbye than I had anticipated. I had expected to be in a state of high expectation but my sombre mood began just over a week ago and continued on into our arrival in Zürich.

The flight left bang on 1.00pm with very few people on board. The journey was very uneventful and I managed not to have 'crash and burn' thoughts in my head whenI saw the pilot coming down the aisle to use the toilet (Look, just because I knew there was a co-pilot meant very little to me as I hurtled through space at the speed of light....). We touched down at 4.00pm local time, half an hour ahead of schedule.

Of course, this completely smooth journey seemed just too good to be true....

We went to the luggage carousel and all of our luggage was....there.

We went to customs to declare all of our worldly goods and it took...ten minutes.

We went to the taxi queue and...there were plenty

Checking into our hotel was...a breeze.

Less than an hour after landing...we were in our room.

So - it might seem to be too good, but that was how it all went.

Tomorrow we need to sort out more paperwork and arrange some bedding etc to use before our 'life' arrives on the back of a van. I will have some email contact for the next few days and I hope that we will have done all we need to get connected it at home. If folk want to contact me, email is best- it costs a fortune for folk to send/receive texts internationally as there is a charge for sending AND receiving them

I am just beginning to feel the tiniest spark of exccitement. I'm sure by tomorrow it will have turned into a raging inferno, but right now I am going to hit the hay.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

How's your week been?

Here's what was happening chez moi

Monday: 3 packers

Tuesday: 3 packers

Wednesday: 7 packers

Thursday: 6 packers

Thursday 3.30pm - One BIG truck plus drag leaves Glasgow with our possesions onboard.

Friday - frantic morning completing last minute legalities, attending Number Guy's leaving 'do', meeting up with Lilith, failing to meet up with Elaine due to said legalities, getting to Edinburgh, booking into hotel, having really crappy meal overpriced meal, collapsing into bed, failing to sleep well.

Saturday - really crappy overpriced breakfast, shopping for last-minute things in Princes street, failing to meet one friend, managing to meet another, back to hotel, reasonable tea (sandwiches form M&S!), repacking of suitcases, development of cold virus and UTI (just to make the journey more pleasant...)

Tomorrow's plan - not bothering with crappy overpriced breakfast, getting hotel shuttle service across to airport, meet up with mum & dad, check in, have coffee with parents, say good bye (trying to show British resolve and keep Stiff Upper Lip stiff(!))go through security, get on plane - let out deep breath and try to enjoy flight...

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Packing day II (or- eating my words)

Bloomin' 'eck. Next time a packing surveyor says '4 days' I promise to believe her.

The 3 packers have worked solidly for 2 days and they haven't even begun the upper floor. Another team is being drafted in tomorrow to help. I, meanwhile, am having a bit of a panic - where the heck are all these boxes going to go????

This is just about the most stressed that I have been. Trying to keep it all in perspective but I am definitely having a blue funk.

And on that cheery note, I'll say cheerio for now. Next post will be from Zürich

Monday, 7 January 2008

Impressesd or what?

I just had to contact our letting agent in Zurich. After a bit of a 'challenging' conversation due to the language difficulties, they happily agreed to some work that we wanted carried out. They gave me the name of the company who would do it, and by the time I was speaking to them about it, the email had arrived from HEV. Impressed!

It's my job

That's what I keep telling my son. Even though he is grown up. Even though he lives in his own flat. Even though he organises his own life. Even though he has lived away from home for nearly three years. Even though I'll be seeing him in a few months. Even though we both managed not to cry when he left the house today. I'm leaving the country, but I haven't resigned my post of Mum. He's my boy. It's my job to worry.

Friday, 4 January 2008

I've got a playdate- yay!!!

Ok, I'll try to be more grown up about it.

I've been wobbly today, quite unexpectedly, I dare say it's because of all that stress I was burbling about in the last post. But hey, I have coffee lined up already. One of the Spooglers answered my plea - you know the kind of thing - 'Help! I've left all my friends behind and I'm panicking!!!'

So a week on Thursday (OMG - A WEEK ON THURSDAY!) I'm going to meet a fellow Spoogler at Manor. Which also has a yarn dept! And no, it wasn't me who suggested it ;0)

Not long now...

I am definitely starting to feel the stress of the move. It's now there, bubbling away under the surface all the time,causing an exacerbation of the palpitations/stomach/migraine probs. (I have been fairly asymptomatic recently and am confident that symptoms will reduce again once we have set foot on Swiss soil).

Today I am packing the suitcases. I'm being nice and packing Number Guy's as well;0)
I am trying to add an 'emergency survival kit' consisting of needles, sock and lacewieght yarn. And some novels. And, and, and....I really want to pack my complete crafting room in my case 'just in case'.

We still have a heap of 'last minute preparations' to make. These are being hindered by lack of car - we are having ours MOT'd today. It makes more sense to stay at home and get on with 'stuff' here, but it is hard to ignore the clamouring of all the other tasks.

We managed to sort out a payment problem. We have had various bills to pay. As I may have mentioned, the Swiss do not use cheques. It is not possible to pay over the 'phone with our credit cards. Post Office giros were issued - but of course these can only be paid in Switzerland...thank goodness we have a relocation agent to help out with this kind of thing.