Lausanne and Morges

Lausanne is an interesting city, the old town is perched on the top of several hills, there are bridges and walkways connecting the different areas of the city. It is slightly confusing at first but once we had wandered around for a while be began to get our bearings.



Sadly, the 2nd January is a holiday in Switzerland it seems. We had checked online and were informed that only the 1st January is a holiday but when we arrived in Lausanne we found not just the shops were closed, there were also very few cafés or restaurants open.

We wandered around then went for coffee in Starbucks, aside from Macdonalds, the only café open

After coffee we headed back towards Geneva, this time on the B-roads and discovered the lovely town of Morges. Situated, like Lausanne, directly on the banks of Lake Geneva, Morges is a small but very picturesque town. The pedestrian zone boasts pretty decent shops and we will definitely head back over some time to have a proper look.

The beautiful promenade along the lakeside was full of people, obviously a
popular destination for day trip

Creativity in education

While reading this blog I stumbled across a speech by Sir Ken Robinson that I first heard a few years ago at a conference. The audience at the conference, teachers of English as a foreign language, were mesmerised and inspired by Sir Ken.

I must remember to listen to the speech once a year to keep it fresh in my mind.

Santa Claus House – Le hameau du Père Noel

Today we headed over to France to Santa Claus’s house, Le hameau du Père Noel after a tip from a friend.


It was well worth the trip, a truly magical house filled to the brim with interesting things for the children to discover.

Outside in the Jardin de lutins (the Elves Garden) the sleigh awaits the big night.To assist Rudolf and his crew, there is a large ramp at the end of the runway.

Inside the house, the children were fascinated by the kitchen – cookies were being made, the recipe book open on the table.

In the elves dining room the table was set for dinner, and when we moved through to the workshop the children’s eyes were as large as saucers.

Around the top of the room a tin train circled, toys were everywhere, some finished, some half made. Wooden blocks were transported along a conveyer belt to a ‘toy machine’ and out of the other side came wooden cars.


Santa’s room was divided into three sections: office, bath room and bedroom. The big man himself was snoring in the bed, even the loudest appeal of the children could not wake him.


The children were very concerned about poor Rudolf, who was confined to bed after a nasty car accident. He suffered two broken paws, a sore head and 1 bois foulé. Swiss choc to anyone who can translate that, my translator suggested a wooden crown which sounds a bit strange.


My daughter explained to her brother that the reason that Rudolf did not have a red nose, was because he was ill.

Nothing to do with the fact that he was a dead stuffed animal then.

Morning in Switzerland

Sometimes I open the shutters in the morning and the first thing I do (after shouting OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THAT) is grab my camera.

This was one of those mornings.

Escalade Celebrations

This was taken down in the village, early evening. I love the colours in this picture.

We were down at the Salle Communale for the village celebrations of the Escalade.

The football club had invited the children and their parents to a procession and disco. It was great fun for the children, and the adults were able to relax and have a glass of wine (or three).

A chocolate cauldron called a marmite was lowered to the floor and smashed, the filling of marzipan and sweets spilling all over the floor to be snatched up by the waiting hordes.

The disco afterwards was great fun, the DJ was great and played everything from the macarena to ADCD.Some of the young lads from school practiced their air guitar skills.

Kind old ladies, aren’t they just lovely?

I recently took the children to Manor in Vesenaz to buy a comic each. They hummed and hawed and the old lady who works in the newsagent came over. I was worried that she would be annoyed at them taking so long and looking at all the comics.

She started to chat to my daughter about what kind of comic she liked and if she liked Barbie. I listened fascinated as I always do when my children speak French, I cannot believe how fast they have learnt.

When we were leaving my daughter asked for sweets and I said that since we had already bought comics, we would buy sweeties another day.

The lovely lady asked my daughter what were her favourite sweets and when she answered ‘Fruit Mentos’ gave her a packet free. She said that they were very well behaved children.

It made my day.

Autumn in Switzerland

Abondance Abbey

We spent the day in the mountains, in Abondance and Châtel. The Abbey in Abondance is beautiful. The sun shining through the stained glass windows made for colourful shadows around the church.


Wonder what you can buy in this shop

Ok, so I am easily amused.

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Maltese Terriers – vicious with ex-presidents

Who knew?

Little Daphne could turn into a dangerous dog.

Ex-President Chirac’s Maltese Sumo took the move from the Elysee Palace to an appartment in Paris hard and severe depression turned him from “an innocent white fluff-ball into a ferocious attacker of ex-Presidents”.

Sumo has been rehomed and now lives on a farm. When I was a girl sending a dangerous dog “to live on a farm” was a euphanism for euthanasia. I hope that this is not the case for poor Sumo.

La Galoise

The children were fascinated by the villagers in their Asterix and Obelix style dress at a festival in a local French village. Not quite sure what it was all about, but it was fun! 

Fête de la chasse – Hunting Festival in Machilly, France

Quite by accident, we stumbled across this festival. Or rather, my husband cycled past in the morning as they were preparing for the Fête and we decided to go after breakfast, thinking it was a car boot sale.

When we arrived we realised that it was a festival for hunters.
Hunting horns, hand made in France
The wine bar was busy, as is normal in France.
We decided to have lunch there, and were pleasantly surprised by the food on offer. No greasy fry-ups here. The 3-course meal was:
Bread and Cheese
Roast of Pork with Potato Gratin
Chocolate Eclair
Afterwards we had a look at the puppies that local breeders were showing. The Springer pups were gorgeous, and prone to escaping their cage.
Lucky that we already have Daphne, the kids were absolutely besotted by the little puppies and would have loved to have taken one home.

Fète de Genève

We went to the Fête de Genève today, a massive carnival that runs right around the lakeside. Geneva is busy busy busy, lots of tourists come especially for the Fête, and this years Guest of Honour is the Sulanate of Oman. We have heard that they are talking about moving next years Fête from the traditional start on 1st August as it will clash with Ramadam.

My son enjoyed the rollercoaster; his sister slightly less so. After the second circuit, she had enough and spent the last couple of circuits yelling that she wanted to get off.
After a couple of hours we were exhausted and skint so headed for home. We had seen less that half of the carnival but it was enough.
From our side of the lake we could see this incredible carousel, I am not sure how high it is, but it ranged far above the houses underneath.

We were amused by the offer of “Barbe à papa” – aka Papa’s Beard aka Candy Floss

1er Août 2009, Fête national suisse

On the 1st August 2009 Switzerland celebrated the country’s 718th anniversary, referring to the creation of the country in 1291, although independance came some time later in 1648.
The population voted in 1993 to make the 1st August a day of celebration and a public holiday and since 1994 the Swiss have celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and lantern parades
How fab is that, that the population can vote to have a day off?

Daphne gets on her bike

Or rather on mine.

She was a bit wary but seemed to enjoy it.

(Please take note of the Glo-bag on the back of the bike)

The tale of Boris the cat

I am looking after the neighbours cats while they are away and when I went to bring them in there was no sign of Boris the tabby.

I called and called and even got the emergency tuna bribe out of the cellar. Still no Boris.

After we had our meal I had another look. I was beginning to get worried as it had started to rain, with thunder and lightning.

Another hour passed and I was out again, scouring the neighbourhood for bloody Boris.

Dad shouted from our house that they had found the cat. He had been hiding under Mum and Dads’ bed and when Mum went down to do some packing, he had come racing out, scaring the beejeezus out of Mum.


I then had to search our house before finally finding him in Catriona’s wardrobe. The tuna was finally put to good use to entice him out. I juggled the cat (and he is twice the size of Daphne) the tuna and the house key while trying to put the alarm off.

He can bloody well stay inside tomorrow

On the plane to Scotland

I am on my way to Edinburgh for SIL-to-be’s Henny Night. Tonight we will get down and dirty at the Boyzone concert in Glasgow.

It is a bit strange, travelling without the kids. I have time to look around me and notice things.

Like the couple ahead of me in the queue to get on the plane. Snazzy red trousers, Bavarian jacket and golf gloves. Or are they driving gloves? You know the thing I mean, beige gloves made of leather and mesh material with the Velcro fastening on back of the hand.

The weirdest thing was that his wife was wearing a matching pair of gloves.

He is sitting on the opposite side of the ailse and has just taken a wet wipe out if his pocket to clean his hands after eating his sandwich. His red socks match his red trousers and the red piping on his blazer. Very dapper.

I have consumed my sandwich (without wet wipe usage) and a cup of tea. I did think about a glass of wine but will wait until mum and I get to Glasgow for that.

Got to get some frilly knickers to throw at Ronan. D’you think John Lewis stock something suitable?


You Can’t Take them Anywhere

Son caught in the act by daughter using my mobile phone.

Yesterday we were invited to husband’s colleagues house for Kaffee und Kuchen and in that time DS managed to terrorise our dog, draw on their glass coffee table with felt tip pens (wiped off luckily) and then finally hid the key of the loo.

Soon the colleagues and I were outside in the neighbours’ garden, searching the hedge where he told us that he had hidden in, while husband tried to get son to tell us exactly where he had hidden the key. I was on my tummy on the ground searching the undergrowth when daughter told me that he had really hidden the key in the green bin. I held him by his ankles and lowered him into the bin (there was just garden cuttings in there) to get it out.

There was much drinking of wine yesterday evening.


Puppy Makeover

Daphne went to the “Toilletage” for the first time this week and was transformed. She went in looking rather bedraggled and came out looking so cute. It took 2 hours and cost more than my hairdresser.
Maybe I shoud get husband to do it the next time.


Papa’s new career…

… as a hairdresser since son does not like going to the salon


Mer de Glace – Sea of Ice

Did you know that cut into the glacier at Chamonix Montblanc, there is an Ice Grotto?

To get there we travelled on the Montenvers Train, which was built 100 years ago. The train takes around 20 minutes and travels just over 5km, taking passengers from Chamonix up to the edge of the Mer de Glace at 1913m altitude. The construction of the line required 118,000 m3 of earthwork, including 33,000m3 of rock and 32,220m3 of brickwork. 35 mules each day carried between 80 and 150 kg of materials.

In 1960 a cable car was constructed to transport the tourist part of the way to the grotto, there is still a steep climb with lots of stairs to come back up though. Husband and daughter were not so happy with the cable car. Daughter says she has “höhenangst”. Son does not have “höhenangst” he told us he has “runterangst”

In 1946 a Grotto was cut into the Glacier so that tourists could see inside of it. The grotto has to be reconstructed every year as the glacier moves and changes.

Guess who has been digging in the garden…

One very mucky pup.

Rolls for breakfast

I am feeling rather smug this morning after baking rolls for the first time. They look delicious, lets hope they taste as good.

Daphne and her brother

Daphne was the smallest of the litter, and Obelix the biggest. They met today for the first time since leaving their mum and had a great time. She is less than half the size of Obelix but gave as good as she got.

After our wee adventure yesterday, where we got lost in the woods of France, she is not so keen to go out for a long walk today. We walked for over an hour before I remembered my trusty iPhone has GPS navigation system that lead us back home safely. It was a beautiful day but very cold and Daphne was not impressed.

Today I am meeting the American Womens’ Club walking group for a walk in this area. I must remember to take my camera. The weather is beautiful again today, but still bitter cold.

Happy Valentine’s Day



Jingle bells, Jingle Bells…

I know it is too late for Christmas songs, but this was one that we should have been singing today as we dashed through the snow on our 2 horse open sleigh.

We were in Gstaad today and husband suggested a spin in a horse drawn sleigh. You can imagine that he did not have to ask twice. We were snuggled up together, including Daphne, under a couple of big warm blankets. The weather was cold but wonderful, and we enjoyed the sleigh ride very much.
Afterwards we retired to a lovely cafe to warm ourselves with tea and hot chocolate. From our window seat we could watch the passersby. Sadly, there were no VIPs to be seen in Gstaad but we did see several chic ladies with Maltese Terriers. Daphne was in good company.


As I have posted, DD was soooo excited to finally be a Wackelzahnkind. She spent ages wobbling it back and forth, hoping it would fall out.

We went out for a meal with Oma and Opa when the visited and when DD bit on a bit of pizza she said that her tooth was really sore. She stuck to the spaghetti bolognese after that, but was very happy to note that her mouth was bleeding.

On our way home in the car, DD gave a shout, “MEIN WACKELZAHN IST DRAUSSEN!” and proudly showed off her tooth and the resulting gap.

She was even more excited to realise a day or two later that she had another Wackelzahn, so now that one is being wobbled.

Last week DS said that his mouth was sore and further investigation showed that he too has a Wackelzahn.

I can see the toothfairy is going to be busy in Switzerland in the coming months.

Escalade and Marmite pots

Geneva celebrates the Escalade each December to commemorate the defeat of the troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy in the night of 11/12 December 1602.

During that fateful night the Genevoise were alerted to the troops gathering just outside the city walls and fought alongside the town militia.

Legend has it that Mére Royaume, a mother of 14 children grabbed the cauldron of soup that she was making at the time and poured it out of the window, killing one of the attackers.

To celebrate Mére Royaume, the Genevoise now smash a chocolate pot, or Marmite, that is filled with marzipan vegetables, while reciting “Ainsi périssent les ennemis de la République! ” (Thus perish the enemies of the Republic).

Introducing Daphne

This is the newest member of our family. Daphne Sparkle. She is a Maltese Terrier x Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, born on 24th September and is absolutely darling. This photo was taken on Christmas Eve in the mountains beyond Geneva when Daphne saw snow for the first time.
The kids are delighted, I am besotted, husband is resigned.

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