Friday, 27 August 2010

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Liebe Kate Bush

Auch in der Zeitung stand einen Brief von einem Leser an meine Lieblingssaengerin. Ich weiss nicht, was ihn aufgefordert hat so einen Brief an einer Wochenzeitung zu schreiben aber ich fand es grossartig. Und ausserdem...mir geht's genauso. Ich liebe dich auch Kate!

Liebe Kate Bush,
vor zwei Wochen hatten Sie Ihren Geburtstag. Herzlichen Glueckwunsch! Wie kann eine Frau nur so unsichtbar sein und gleichzeitig so praesent? Es gibt keinen Tag, an dem ich nicht an Sie denken muss, und wenn es wegen der Vogelstimmen in meinem Garten ist, die mich an den Klang Ihrer neuesten Lieder erinnern. Das ist Ihr Geheimnis: dass Sie uns zeigen, wie schoen die Einfachheit sein kann, ohne dass Sie die Komplexitaet aufgeben. Nur der Gedanke, dass irgendwo in England eine so unglaubliche Kuenstlerin wie Sie lebt, beweist mir, dass Menschen wunderbar sein koennen.

Edoardo Seianis, Schoenwalde-Glien, Brandenburg

Bunter Baden

In der Schweiz, habe ich mich gefreut, Die Zeit zu kaufen und fand neben Berichte ueber Vegetarismus und die Lage in Bhopal eine ganz nette Reisebericht ueber meine geliebte Heimatstadt. Der Wunder der Internet bedeutet, dass ich es mit euch teilen kann! Sehr sehr schoen und nicht genau nach den normalen Reiseberichte!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People

If you haven’t yet signed the petition to Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People, you can do so by clicking here. This 3 year campaign, run jointly by The Body Shop and ECPAT, aims to bring an end to what Anita Roddick termed the 21st Century Slave Trade by increasing public awareness of the issue and to call on governments to take action by monitoring and publicising individual countries’ progress towards three strategic goals.

Here’s a summary of the campaign and here is the full Global reportTheir Protection is in our hands – The State of Global Child Trafficking for Sexual Purposes”.

UNICEF estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked for sexual exploitation and is one of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world, and not just in the developing world as is commonly believed.

In addition to the petition demonstrating the public demand for change, progress cards have been produced for each of 41 countries to highlight what national governments need to focus on to halt child sex trafficking in the long term. The three goals are:

Goal 1 - PREVENTION – Community based prevention programmes to stop child trafficking are reaching at risk populations.

Goal 2 - PROTECTION – International Legal standards for protecting children from trafficking have been incorporated in the national legal framework.

Goal 3 - ASSISTANCE – Specialised government services for child victims of trafficking are integrated in national policies.

The progress cards provide the public with straightforward information and offer a uniform and clear means of monitoring government action. Also, they are specific to each nation. For example in the UK, we are calling on the government to introduce a system of guardianship for child victims, in Switzerland one request is for victims to be granted an unconditional right of residence and in Germany, one of the necessary actions is for a helpline to be set up to allow victims better access to assistance.

So please take some time to read about this campaign, sign the petition online and when you’re next near a Body Shop store show your support by creating a handprint as RPatz has done here!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Courgette Blossoms

I am quite certain that Japan is my favourite country. My reasons for believing this are as follows:



Kappa Maki



I dream of the cherry trees and bridges and sake that Ishiguro writes of but as I won’t make it there any time soon I have had to satisfy my wanderlust by having a go at making courgette tempura instead. Hai si ja!

The courgette came courtesy of Anna’s allotment and I also picked a few flowers from the courgette plants on our plot. The word in the office at the moment is on courgettes; everyone who owns an allotment has a glut (gardening lingo for an awful lot) and Alice and I have finally caught up. As well as the fruit, courgette plants also produce a beautiful blossom which can be eaten and is in fact treated as something of a delicacy in the foodie world due to its short flowering time and refusal to travel well. It does feel quite decadent eating these rare and very expensive treats but they do work well as tempura!

Here’s what I did: 1) sliced the courgette and sprinkled on some salt to dry out for an hour 2) prepared the flowers: cut out the stamens and gave the flowers a thorough wash, then left them on some kitchen roll to dry out 3) put 100g of self raising flour into a bowl and gradually added sparkling water (probably around 200ml) until the mixture was runny like single cream. 4) seasoned with salt and pepper and a teeny tiny bit of harissa. 5) filled flowers with mozzarella 6) dipped vegetables and stuffed flowers first in flour, then in the batter then straight into some hot sunflower oil until they were golden brown. Then ate with some sweet dipping sauce.

I burnt my tongue of course but the melted cheese inside the flowers was just unbelievable! Here're some pics.


I fell in love with this beautiful creature that we saw on the way into Broc.

Not sure if you can see it but he had the coolest fringe.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Wochenendli in der Schweiz

My fondness for Switzerland is no secret to most of you . And neither is my fondness for Oli. So I was excited about heading to Baden to see my dear, far away friend last weekend. As Oli had to work on the Friday, I spent a very nice and very sleepy day hanging around Zuerich. The city and its surrounds were my old stomping ground when I was working in Reichenburg and I used to retreat to Zuerich at weekends whenever village life became too claustrophobic! From the station I leisurely made my way to Buerkliplatz through the Altstadt, enjoying the sights and sounds of the City; the Konditoreien and Tea Rooms, where the tartes and pastries look like the ones found in doll’s houses with cherries on top; the beautiful cobbled streets; the shuttered windows and doors. And then to Buerkliplatz, where I was met by an array of colourful fruit and Veg stalls and hundreds of cheerful shoppers buying flowery bouquets. (The Swiss love flowers; practically every window of every home has a box of red geraniums and it’s the only country I remember seeing floral displays on the passport control desks). After a short, snoozey boat trip on the Zuerichsee followed by another relaxed stroll around town, I decided to find a train to Baden. That evening we decided to climb the Uetliberg and enjoy the views of Zurich from there.

Here is the view of the mountain from Oli’s window.

And here is a view of Zuerich from the mountain.

Our initial plan for the weekend had been to go hiking and camping in the Berge but the forecast of rain saved me and it fell to us to think of other ways to entertain ourselves for the weekend.

On Saturday we went back to Zuerich for Street Parade, a huge dance music festival which snaked through the city. The music was loud, the booze was abundant, and the outfits made Brighton Pride seem conservative in comparison.

We decided to head down to Kanton Fribourg on Sunday to visit the Gruyere Cheese Factory and the Callier Chocolate Factory. After a lengthy train ride we arrived at Gruyere first and were taken on an audio tour by a cow named Cerise (!) who told us about the happy life she leads and about all the wonderful things she eats to create the delicious flavour of her milk. A short walk took us up the hill into the town of Gruyere where we had a drink and a sit down and admired the medieval town.

I don’t know what came over us next but we thought it would be a good idea to walk the 5km from Gruyere to Broc, we could see the town from the castle and it didn’t seem a long journey. It was only when we were nearly at Broc and shattered that we looked back and saw just how far away the castle had been (and the footpath had, of course, taken us the long and scenic route around the castle and through the fields). It was only the thought of the chocolate at the end that kept me going. The hot chocolate I drank upon our arrival was a welcome treat and we enjoyed the chocolate themed films and the little chocolate history lesson. But my favourite part was the look of glee on Oli’s face when a peek through the curtain into the final room of the tour revealed a chocolate tasting area! Yum!

We had stupidly already eaten raw cocoa beans and little chocolate staengli straight from the production line on the way round so we weren’t able to test quite all of the chocolates but Oli put in a pretty strong effort and I managed to eat a few more than my stomach wanted to allow me.

We sat at Broc Fabrique station feeling bloated and full and happy, and exchanging knowing looks with a cheerful looking elderly couple also waiting for the train. The day finished with a delightful train ride back to Bulle on which none of the passengers in the tiny carriage knew quite where to look as grazing sheep and cows, golden fields of corn, breathtaking river valleys, galloping ponies and Gruyere Castle itself passed either side of us.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Watch this

The official website is here. Well worth a look and it also includes translations of the video into a selection of different languages.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Had a wonderful time at Grandma's, reading German Poems and eating blackberries we picked from the garden.

Monday, 9 August 2010


The 16th July was an important day for Alice and me.

It was the day we dug up our first batch of home grown potatoes and had our very first Potato Party.

We had previously put much thought into what we would do with the potatoes and finally decided on the following:

Starter: New Potatoes with lashings of butter

Main course: Sag Aloo (with spinach also from the allotment)

Pudding: Potato Wedges (accompanied by the usual assortment of condiments!)

Without a doubt it was one of the finest meals we have ever eaten!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

To do Liste

Als Alba hier war habe ich die seltene Chance ausnutzt, nichts machen zu muessen. Es war sehr schoen nicht stanedig an meine to do liste zu denken. Aber sogar bevor sie am Montag weg war, hatte ich angefangen eine Liste zu erstellen, von alles das ich zu erledigen hatte: Waesche, Einkaufen, Kueche sauber machen, zur Post gehen, blah, blah,blah

Aber nachdem wir uns verabschiedet haben, bin ich zum Strand gegangen und bin einfach ein Paar Stunden die Promenade entlang flaniert.

To do Listen koennen ja meistens warten.

The lights are on...

I spent yesterday evening in front of the telly. A welcome change from all the plans I usually make every night.

On a recommendation from Ray, I watched a new comedy by the name of Getting On. A dark sitcom starring Jo Brand and set in an NHS dementia ward. Some parts did make me laugh out loud, but I also felt a deep sadness and an awareness that as our population ages, this illness will become a part of many more of our daily lives. Back in April, in the run up to the General Election, each of the televised leaders’ debates included questions about respite for carers, highlighting that this is an area of growing national interest. Indeed, I read yesterday that 1 million people are expected to have the condition by 2025 and researchers are suggesting a focus on reducing diabetes and depression in earlier life as well as an increase in exercise and the amount of fruit and veg eaten as a way of avoiding the disease later on.

Dementia is a strange illness in that those who suffer most are not the patient but the carers. I may get angry at my Dad for the abrupt way he sometimes addresses my Grandma but she is essentially fairly content, while it’s him and Sue who have to take care of her, clean up after her, patiently listen while she tells them stories for the umpteenth time, find her teeth each morning and most heartbreaking of all, see her face drop when they have to tell that the person she is waiting to arrive at the house is long since passed.

Grandma spent the day yesterday baking fairy cakes with my sister (hope they’ve left some for me) and for the next few days, I’ll do my best to entertain her with stories and photos of camping, of work, of gardening, of weddings I’ve been to, of all the sorts of things Grandparents like to hear, although she is far from aware that I am her Granddaughter meaning I have had to revert to calling her Grandma at the end of every sentence in an attempt to remind her.

And we like to hear her stories. She often tells me of the days she and her sister spent in Brighton as children, living opposite St Nicolas’ Church, where my good friends Birgit and Ben were married last month. And when Auntie Peggy was here to visit a few weeks ago, it was a delight to see the mischievous twinkle in their eyes as they told me the story of getting in trouble as adults for taking photos in the Royal Pavilion which was strictly forbidden at the time.

One of the patients in Getting On spent most of the episode shouting to the nurses in a foreign language and eventually a translator was able to interpret her words; “I hate my life and I want to die”. It was an uncomfortably funny moment in the show, when you know you shouldn’t laugh but are caught off guard and a guffaw slips out. I just hope that that’s not the case for most dementia sufferers and that they are surrounded or at least visited frequently by people that love them or can care for them sufficiently. And I hope most of them are comfortable like my Grandma seems to be.

And most importantly for those of us that love her, I hope that my Grandma really is content and doesn’t realise the extent of the illness that is causing her mind to deteriorate further with every passing day.

A new friend

A very welcome visitor to our quarters was the owner’s dog Duster, a tiny terrier only 12 weeks old who immediately became very fond of my boot and took advantage of the attention we were paying her to have her tummy tickled on demand and hog the blanket and pillows we were sharing.

Yurting in Shadow Woods

Alba and I took a much appreciated few days out last week to go Glamping in the Sussex Countryside.

We went back to nature at Shadow Woods near Billingshurst where we found the peace and quiet we were so in need of.

This was our home for 3 days.

We were proud of ourselves for managing to get the fire going (erm actually, for remembering to take fire lighters with us)

And made some amazing dinners, some of which were burnt but most of which weren't.

The surroundings were beautiful, and by the end of the 3 days Alba was managing to control her automatic wasp reflex and not freak out every time one came anywhere near her.

A lazy stroll took us to the local pub and to the village of Rudgewick. On our journey we discovered that 2 miles is longer than you think on a hot day in the middle of the country so we had to hitchhike back.

A wonderful holiday. A joy to spend time with my friend and have time to ourselves to chat and relax.

Hopefully it won't be too long until we return to Shadow Woods.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Mister (and Mrs) Glover Lover

I hope Guy doesn't mind me using some of his pictures to illustrate how beautiful Jess and Lewis's wedding was.

Here is his blog post containing more images of the very special day and his observation that Jess did not stop smiling all day.

It was perfect.