Another one bites the dust.

This week I have very little to show for my days. Highlight of today, for example, was a trip to the recycling depot. Hurrah, hurrah! Go me!

Alex had Monday off for a Swiss holiday. We walked across to Bursins, the village next to ours, with our neighbours for a Cave Ouvert event. Cave Ouvert are open days hosted by wine producers to promote their product. Typically, I think, you pay an entrance fee or for a single glass of vino and then go for your life, eating and drinking 'til your tipsy little heart is content! Typical form also has some form of entertainment {bouncy castles etc} for children while their parents sup on the free wine!

Trust us to end up at an expensive Cave Ouvert. A sit down do. Nowt free. No entertainment for the wee'uns. Funny. Here's how it looked... oh, I forgot to mention the band. Ah, the band!
At least this pair enjoyed the music! Those little gems on the bottom right are Malakoff's.

The rest of the week has been fairly below average. We decided it was smartest to flog as much of our furniture as possible before we move. Letting things go over the next few months will save a last minute panic so this week I bid farewell to my beast of a dining table and beloved sideboard. I found him at a local Brocante and fell in love. Safe to say, I'm a little devastated about selling him but he was one mighty hunk of a chunk of a thing and, well, I had this thought that, chances are, it wouldn't really work in whatever house we end up in back in Blighty. 

So, he's gone. And gone to a good home at that. A friend bought him and has assured me he'll be loved.

This is the start of it... we're really moving!

Something noteworthy was reading this blog post The Important Thing About Yelling {read it!} that a good friend shared on Facebook. I don't read many of the Facebook shares that come up in my feed but I knew this wouldn't be nonsense. It got me thinking a lot about myself. Rather it made me think about myself in a way I've been trying to avoid. I have, in recent weeks, months even, become a bit of a yeller. As my bump has gotten bigger and my ability {and desire} to jump to my feet to stop naughty toddler antics has gotten weaker, guldering, as we say in Northern Ireland, was an easy option. Carys in particular has very selective hearing and it seems that only when I shout does she stop and take notice. Sometimes not even then. Joseph gets consequences and blatent bribery so he stops and takes notice sans yelling. Today, I stopped myself yelling. My body is exhausted and my bump is sore but my mind and conscience are feeling clear.

In other 'news'...

▲ I was quite tickled to get one of these ▲

 ▲ Listened to a lot of this ▲

▲ And... learned what a 'bwoken scarecrow' looks like. And now you know. ▲



I know I've already been harping on about the downsides of Switzerland but dear GOODNESS there's SO. much. MORE! Seriously this place, their ways, their rules and laws or whatever they want to call them. I've just emailed a friend and mentioned some of what is to follow and I thought to myself, there's a post in here. Somewhere. I think. And here it is.

We live in a really lovely apartment. It is a new build, all brand spanking new. All modern and sparkly. We chose a ground floor apartment so that we could have a garden for Joseph and Carys. When I was looking around with the Regie {Estate Agent}, I mentioned my concern about the open plan garden and in particular the seven foot drop from the garden into the drive way. Y'know with toddlers, that could be tricky. He told me he'd chat with the owner and get back to me.

He got back to me. The landlord accepts that it is his responsibity to put a fence on the side of the garden that goes onto the road and is willing to do so. He is not willing to divide the garden between neighbours nor put fencing along the side of the garden but will allow you to put a fence up {where the seven foot drop is} after he approves the materials you will use. Typical Swiss. I thought it was ridiculous but the apartment ticked so many boxes we decided we'd lump it and put a fence up ourselves.

We moved in January and in March the workers showed up. Working. Working on a fence. They started along the side of the garden with the seven foot drop into the driveway. I thought, 'Oooooh, they've realised they were wrong. They've realised that a seven foot drop into the driveway should be fenced off. They've realised it is their responsibility to protect their tenants. Gosh, they're doing a good job... this fence is sturdy. This fence is concreted into the stonework.'

Cut to three months later. A letter arrives. We translate it. The Regie requests a 'contribution' towards the fence. A contribution. Five francs? Thirty francs? How much of a contribution are they hoping for?

We replied. We are unsure what sort of contribution is expected. At no stage was this option ever presented to us. At no stage was it ever suggested that you would put a fence up and request assistance with the financing. The fence is a permanent fixture at a rented property. The fence adds value to the property. The fence belongs to the landlord. We're not willing to contribute. Yours faithfully...

Some time passed. Another letter arrived. It has a pink slip. That's a bill. It's a bill for CHF3000. We translate the letter. The landlord is willing to give you half of the fence as a gift. The other half is billed to you. CHF3000. Half a fence to the tune of CHF3000. That's £2064.75. Erm no. I don't think so.

We replied. No, no. How kind of the landlord to give us half of his fence. Truly, we're touched. How and ever. We will not be paying CHF3000 for half a flippin' fence. We did not agree, verbally or in writing, to a fence being put up. We were prepared to erect our own fence. A temporary fence. One that we could remove and take with us at the time of our departure from the property. We did not agree, either verbally or in writing to paying for or contributing to a fence, a permanent feature, at our rented property. {We weren't quite so facetious but that was the general gist}

And so this has continued... every so often we get another letter with a pink slip and a threat to take us to court. Each time they add a penalty charge for late payment. Each time we reply, enclosing all the previous correspondence. We are not paying for this fence. We are happy to take this to a courtroom. Thankfully we had a bit of assistance with our last reply. Our neighbour has an architect friend who was able to help us out with some official speak and professional insight. A drop higher than two foot requires a fence. We await a response.

These Regies are renowned for being a hateful bunch. They can pick and chose tenants because the demand for property is so high. You literally have to apply to live at a property and they choose you. A very different story to the UK where landlords are just happy to get the rent in. These guys will sting you at every chance they can get. The deposits are huge (CHF11,000 in our case) so moving out of a rental is possibly one of the most stressful things to do. Stressing will we get our money back? They scrutinise every corner of the property. I get it. I appreciate they don't want their properties vandalised. We are landlords. We have a flat in London that is rented out and I'd like to think that it was being respected and well looked after by our tenants. But these guys are ruthless. I mean, c'mon.... we're paying our way here, live and let live!

When it comes to doing their job, we don't see much getting done. Let me tell you this friends. Our rent is CHF3900. That is a lot of money. That is £2685 per month. I know, right!? We haven't had hot water on weekends for over a year. It's sometimes warm but not nice to have a shower in. Not hot enough to wash oven dishes after a Sunday roast. No. Hot. Water. Every weekend for over a YEAR!? That is wholly unacceptable. Our building has five properties and we all experience this issue. We have all complained. Nothing.

Our lawn is a mess, we have a robotic lawnmower that comes out every night but isn't working. Our concierge cut the grass a fortnight ago and the grass was everywhere. All over the kids bikes and scooters, all caught up in the shutters. It just sprayed over everything and the bugger didn't clear it up.

The communal tumble dryer isn't working. It ought to have the filter cleaned by the concierge but the only person who seems to be cleaning it is me.

Have they responded to me? Have they heck!?

The fastest response we have had from our Regie was when we handed in our notice. Alex had emailed them the body of the letter with the letter attached and noted that he had posted it. They replied within TEN minutes 'you need to send the letter by recorded deliver'. EFFIN' JOBSWORTH!

If you've got this far, you're a saint. I hope you don't have much on today.


It's just me and my Trott Tots this week. Alex is in London sitting an exam. Yesterday this song got in my head and I was singing it and being a bit silly. Joseph and Carys loved it, chiming in with 'you two' when they could.

Growing up, it was something we used to sing a lot. Usually while I was setting the table and mum was cooking. I say 'we', I mean my mum and I (my brother was much of a musical number kind of kid!). It was just the three of us  when I was growing up and I likened us to the Potts family, y'know without the haphazard inventions.

I have been looking at Carys lately and wondering what she thinks and how much she understands. What will she remember of this time. My dad died a month before my second birthday and I have no memories of him at all. My brother had just turned five and has some memories but is unsure how much of them are exaggerated versions of reality and mixed up with stories he has been told. My mum was great and kept my dad alive in our minds. If we did something that reminded her of him, she'd say so. If we did something funny she'd tell us how he'd have loved it. It tickled her that we had some of his mannerisms without seeing him to copy them.

My aunt told me that she was looking after me one day, it was about a year after he died. She was wearing one of my his old cardigans and I said quite simply and matter of fact 'that's my daddy's'. It warms me to think that I did have memories of him back then. I didn't just forget him. His face just faded from my mind over the years.

I shall continue to embrace the sentiments of this tune until tomorrow when Alex gets back to us and be thankful that they are not my true reality. Looking forward to having him home and all to ourselves again!


Where do I start? We've been together for almost four years now and we've been through so much together in that time. You're lovely and you've been so good to me. But, Switzerland, you're frustrating and you make me mad as hell at times. You're pernickety little ways. But lets not dwell on that... we've had some good times, meals out, walks around the lake, remember that time we went to the zoo? You've been there for me in my early days of motherhood, watched me mess up over and over and didn't tell a soul. We have so many special memories that nobody can take from us. You are beautiful, absolutely stunning, if truth be told. Everybody says so. I could look at your beauty all the live long day but I need to be honest with myself Switzerland... and I need to be honest with you. I owe you that much. The truth is, I need more. It's not you, it's me. I need more than your mountains, your lakes, your vineyards, your ski season, your clean air and your wonderful summers. 

I need to understand and converse with the old couple admiring my children... if she is admiring them? Whatever she's saying, she's saying it with a smile so I can only assume. I need to understand the old lady criticising me for not having a hat on baby's little fair head. I'm getting her drift but I can't retort. I need to be able to tell that judgemental old crow to mind her own bloody business, that he has SPF50 on his head and that will have to do because, you see, you old bint, he keeps pulling his damn hat off.

I need to understand my mail without google translate.
I need soft play centres, however germ ridden they may be.
I need restaurants with sensible opening hours and a menu with enough choices to suit whatever mood I might be in.
I need a bakery that stays open between 12-2pm (while we're here, a word to the wise... you need to advise your local food businesses that they're really missing a trick closing over lunch time!)
I need a bag of ice that costs a quid.
I need Heinz.
I need Galaxy
I need Kingsmill.
I need Jaffa Cakes
I need to be able to pick up the phone to make enquiries about this, that or t'other without having to prepare my questions and pronunciation in advance.
I need restaurants that are open on Sundays.
I need pub grub. I need pork belly and roasties. I need roast beef and yorkshire puds. 
I need KFC. Don't you DARE judge me.
I need double trolleys.
I need a 24hr Tesco's,
I need M&S... oh sweet M&S with your profiterole stack and carrot and swede mash!
I need Waitrose.
I need shops that don't close at 6pm.
Damn it Switzerland, I need Bluewater!

My mind is made up. I've thought about it for a long time. You and I, we were never a forever thing anyway. It was always meant to be casual. You knew that. My heart has always been with Blighty. He's the one I really love. He gives me more. You know I've seen him from time to time since we've been together. I've never hidden that from you... you've seen me smuggle the car loads of bargains and treats he can offer across your borders. He knows how I tick. He knows my family and friends. He speaks my language.

So Switzerland, you beautiful beast. It's over. Let's quit while we're ahead. I'm going back.

Back to what I know and love.
He's far away from perfect but, my goodness, he's Great. Switzerland, I'm going back to Blighty.