local colour in Geneva

On a recent day trip to Geneva, I went to a classic shop Caran d’Ache.

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http://www.carandache.com/m/index.lbl

It’s a Swiss business that’s been around for over a century dedicated to good quality pens and coloured pencils and crayons. Very classy art materials. All the colours are sourced from nature and everything is hand crafted.

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I remember the delight of opening a tin of coloured pencils for colouring in as a girl. That feeling returned when perusing this shop. Such beautiful colours.

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And it’s that old school style of shopping where they take pride in their product, individually wrap purchases with great care and hand you a lovely bag with corded rope handles. Happy customer!

theatre transfusion

Last weekend we took the train to Geneva and saw a fantastic piece of theatre. Slowly dying inside from lack of experiencing live performance, I think I worked out it had been coming up to 6 months since seeing a live show of any description. Waaaaaaay too long.

So, after some research, we got tickets to a production at Am Stram Gram, a theatre in Geneva mainly focussed on performances for kids.

http://www.amstramgram.ch/

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and saw this show, “Echoa”

http://www.amstramgram.ch/#echoa

It was a great piece with no dialogue, mainly dance & percussion. 4 performers, 2 marimbas on stage & 2 drum sets set up low and above head height so the performers almost had to dance to reach them. All the performers were dancers & percussionists, making rhythms out of anything they could find, including their bodies.

It was magical. As an audience, we were completely engrossed & entertained. Full house of kids & families – such a refreshingly responsive & honest audience. And looking around, we were joking about picking out and “recognising” people. We didn’t actually know anyone there, but we recognised people as very similar to friends back home. And without meaning to sound like a wanker, we kind of felt “amongst it”, with our tribe.

Again, I felt a sigh of relief. After the show, we hung about in the foyer, basking in the afterglow that a good performance leaves you with.  The foyer was decorated with huge colourful mobiles.

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Trivia for the hand clapping games enthusiasts amongst you:
“Am Stram Gram” is a clapping rhyme similar to Eenie Meenie Miny Mo and it goes like this

Am, stram, gram,
Pic et pic et colégram,
Bour et bour et ratatam,
Am, stram, gram.

Mais comme le Roi [et la reine]
ne le veut(veulent) pas,
ça ne sera pas toi !

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Am_stram_gram

coffee in Chexbres with my french crew

So after French class today (with my international classmates – both fabulous, clever, funny professional women and Mums), we went to Chexbres for coffee, the village where one of them lives with her family.

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And here’s one of the delights that was on offer at the patisserie:

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A little stroll afterwards in the sunshine and heading down into the vineyards, you get these kind of vistas.

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Some lovely terraces and balconies to soak up the sun, enjoy some local wine perhaps?

Chexbres vineyard view

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Sick of shots of mountains, lakes & vineyards yet?!

I’m not tired of seeing them, as they really are breathtaking.

the magic of train travel

It has to be said, the train system here really is superb. Clean, regular, punctual and super efficient – all the cliches are true. We’ve done a fair bit of train travel so far and it’s been a pleasure.

On a recent early morning trip to Zurich, I took these few shots

Vevey waiting room – with loud fluro buzzing ambience not captured on film

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Misty view from the window

 

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and here is a shot that didn’t work out the way I intended but it kind of captures that blurry hypnotic looking out the window  day dreaming state that train travel induces.

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misty Cully

Today we caught the train to nearby Cully (pronounced Coo-yee) which is about half way to Lausanne (10 mins on the train).  We have discovered a great gluten free bakery where we can freely buy bread and treats for Dylan.  There’s a lovely playground by the lake where we enjoyed our croissants.

Cully is at the foot of the sweeping vineyards of the Lavaux region, which apparently were set up by monks centuries ago.

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It provides another stunning perspective on Lac Leman.

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and is home to many creatures & living things

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Can you hear the drums Fernando?

We’ve been having a bit of an ABBA fest lately. We watched a BBC special on ABBA on New Years Eve – that’s right, we went off on NYE! In all their glory, white vinyl pants suits, lip gloss and platform white boots (and that’s just Benny & Bjorn). What a treat!

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And this morning the girls put on the Mamma Mia DVD & sang and danced through the whole thing. Now we’re all humming Chiquitita in the shower or forlornly wailing Fernando doing the dishes or if the moment takes you, Take a Chance, take a chance take a chka chance chance down the hall.  Or Voulez vous if you want to practise your french.

Can’t you imagine the art department on this shoot – “I know, foil!!  Let’s wrap them in foil!”  Of course.

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By far my favourite comment from the girls is that Bjorn looks like the mayor from Horton Hears a Who.

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I took much pleasure in telling the girls (after a couple of glasses of Veuve on NYE as you do), that in Mamma Mia, we used to sing “Yes, I’ve been broken hearted, blue since the day we FARTED” snigger snigger. I’m looking at you, Emily! So ribald, so naughty when you’re 7 or 8 and of course that’s exactly how old our girls are now. At last they have entered the golden age of childhood, when they can appreciate and celebrate toilet humour. Hallellujah!

Now how to get those damned songs out of my head…

forced anonymity

You know it’s a funny feeling walking around somewhere where you live not really knowing anyone. I’ve been so spoilt growing up in Sydney, always being so close to family & friends also Sydney born and bred. I’ve become accustomed to the usual pleasantries of bumping into neighbours, locals, friends and people you see around your neighbourhood that you get to know.

Here, as Vevey is a small town, there is the familiarity of getting to know the local chemist (as you become on a first name basis do when you have children), or the local grocer or the mums at drop off, or the kids/parents at the park.

But what I’ve noticed doesn’t happen is when you just run into someone you haven’t seen for a while, which frequently happens in Sydney. Sometimes, I’ll be out and about and see someone who looks a bit like someone I know and I think “Oh! That’s so and so…” and then realise of course, it’s not, …what would they be doing in Vevey?! And that’s a strange feeling, knowing that I don’t know people and that they don’t know me.

Having said that, it’s kind of a relief too as you can be completely anonymous and there’s an element of freedom in that as there are no expectations. And a relief the other day when I couldn’t be bothered changing out of trackies all day – something I would rarely do at home. No one here knows me, who I am, what I’ve done or experienced or not…and it’s kind of tempting to invent a new self. When we first moved here, we had to create a new Swiss identity. New drivers licence, new Swiss ID cards, health insurance, local loyalty cards etc etc. Perhaps I should have taken that opportunity to reinvent myself completely, but who would I have become?