The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Monday, 31 August 2015

What amazing talent!

As I had mentioned in a previous post, one of the joys of being in a multicultural city like Geneva is the fact that you get the pleasure of being able to go to the theatre, concerts etc. in English, in addition to attending events in French.  While I do most of my interests/courses in French, it is also great to be able to see things in English from time to time.  So this weekend, a friend and I went to another show put on by the Geneva Amateur Operatic Society (GAOS), but this time by their off-shoot, the Really Youthful Group.  As the name suggests, the Really Youthful Group is an amateur group made up of young people up to the age of 18.  And what a wonderful job they did.  Of course, having such a classic comedy as Andrew Lippa's adaptation of the Addams Family really helps, but even given so, wonderful they were.

It is a brilliant musical, very clever, and the kids more than did it justice.  I have never actually seen the film (starring Angelica Houston I think) and don't mind at all as it was all the more of a wonderful surprise.  They weren't just "pretty good for kids" - they were pretty darn good by anybody's standards.  Where on earth they get the talent from beats me (speaking as someone without an artistic bone in my body), and on top of that having the nerve to do it.  Wild horses wouldn't get me on stage doing that, I can tell you.

What is really amazing is that these kids are, at a minimum, bilingual (English/French) and more often than not trilingual.  You can tell that just from the babble in the audience! Many of these kids are often temporary expats and are educated in international schools here in Geneva.  The majority are in the English section for that reason, with French lessons being intensive, although there are some of the longer-term Geneva residents who are educated in the French section, with intensive English.  On top of that Morticia was played by a beautiful Malaysian, Gomez was (I think) Spanish, and while I'm not sure of the other nationalities not many could be considered "English mother tongue".

At the age of 18 the kids then have the option of auditioning to appear in the adult productions (where there are fewer roles for kids of course) but many of them will then have finished their high school education and be heading out farther afield for their higher education.  But what a great time they seem to have had in the meantime.

All in all, I had a wonderful evening discovering a great musical comedy which was so well performed by truly talented young artists.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A quick hop and a skip back to dear old Blighty

I try to get home to England as often as I can, particularly lately as my dear old mom isn't getting any younger (who is)?  She will be 94 in October so even though I only go for a few days I still try to take the time to get back to see her and (some) of the rest of my family in Dorset.

I was able to take a long weekend at the beginning of August.  Flew on the Thursday night and back again to Geneva on the Monday.  But what a lovely weekend it was.  I had been nagging my kids to get over to see Nan because "she isn't getting any younger you know" and unbeknowns to me my eldest and his girlfriend (André and Lily) had also booked to go to the UK that weekend.  So I got to see them too, which was a nice surprise.  I stayed with my sister and her husband in their lovely home on Poole Bay and guess what, the weather was fantastic!! Who wudda thunk!  At least 10 degrees cooler than here in France so a really, really pleasant temperature compared to the heatwave we have been experiencing.  On the Friday my brother and I went to see mom in the wonderful care home where she lives (she has visitors every day and comes out as often as she likes - which is less and less often now strangely - but I guess she feels more secure there).  Well the conversation usually goes "How are you doing mom?"  "Aye?" "How are you doing mom?" "OK".  "Errr, so what did you have for lunch?" "Aye?" "So, what did you have for lunch?" "I can't remember now but it was good!"  You get the gist, rinse and repeat the next day.  Anyway, André and Lily arrived in London the following day and drove up to Dorset so the three of us went up to see mom on the Friday.

Cue - repeat same conversation as the previous day - but at least I am glad they got to see her.  I was also able to fit in an optician's appointment and order two new pairs of glasses that day for the grand sum of £155 (as opposed to about quadruple that price here, so definitely a good day).
On the Saturday Lily stated that she wanted to visit "Dumbledore", which we eventually figured out was "Durdle Door" (it's about 30 minutes away).  Well what a lovely day we had.  The weather was superb and the Dorset coastline and countryside didn't disappoint.  In fact, Lily, who is Swiss, wants to move to England and buy a thatched cottage in Dorset (although she probably wouldn't be thrilled to have all that tourist traffic driving right past her living room window, to be honest)!

Wow talk about pretty.  I have always loved that part of the coastline, of course, but rarely managed to get home in the good weather.  Yay me.  From there we went on to Corfe Castle, had a drink in a lovely old pub and André and Lily went off to visit the castle while I sat in the gardens listening to a wonderful, live band.  Bliss!  Corfe Castle, like many heritage places, is owned and run by the National Trust and if I lived in the UK I would definitely join up as they do wonderful work in preserving the natural beauty and heritage of the country.

Then that evening six of us went and had a lovely (and VERY cheap by our French/Swiss standards) meal in a pub on the quay in Poole.  Wonderful.  The only down side was that, not being prepared for the warm weather and strong sun on the Saturday, guess who got sun-stroke!  I kid you not.  I spent the whole of the next day in bed, but looking on the positive side, at least I wasn't travelling back to Geneva until the following day.

The kids did a lot of clothes shopping (again very cheap comparatively speaking), before heading off to spend the night exploring London where they and I flew out the next day (although from different airports).  So all in all a lovely way to spend a weekend.  Ahhh.  I love going home.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Going for the minimalist look!

Move over Marie Kondo is all I can say!  So there you have it.  Two months after my ex announced that he was upping sticks and moving definitively back to the US in five days time this is what my basement now looks like!


Great eh!  And I was just starting to get on top of things in my house a little!  I had emptied out one bedroom/junk room and dumped all the stuff into another bedroom in order to re-decorate, lay a new floor and put in "proper" furniture, rather than the temporary shelving that really is only supposed to be "temporary" but ends up staying there for - oh I don't know - 10 years!  You know the sort.  So inside the house was a tip and then this!

Since my ex left and went to the States (madly in love, gonna buy a house, yadda, yadda, etc., etc.) I have been going up to his rented 3-bedroom farmhouse and sorting and pitching stuff.  Now I know it's not my responsibility but since my youngest and his girlfriend are (eventually) going to move into a place of their own (please God), they will be taking some of his dad's stuff so it needed to be done.   Although frankly why I also ended up doing the 10 square metres of what was laughingly called the garden is beyond me.  BUUUT, I did it to help my kids out, not their dad.  Which also begs the question, why oh why did he have half a ton of expensive gardening tools in his man cave if he wasn't (ever) going to be buggered to use any of it despite the fact that he has been retired for 3 years?  Anyway, moving swiftly on, this weekend was moving day and this is just what some of my basement looks like (not mentioning the 2 fridges and washing machine in my garage)!

And wouldn't you know, the boys had rented a removal truck for the weekend but 15th August being a holiday in France the local tip was shut.  Bloody hell.  So now they are going back up with a mate and his van tomorrow to empty out what is left and needs going to the tip.  Cleaning for the rest of the week and then hopefully we are free!!!!

Hopefully now I can get back to my zen-like Marie Kondo state and start moving on with my own life.

And to think I have been divorced 3 years and still it never ends!