A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for January, 2008

On Skiing, Mountains and Vagabonds

Looking at what people are searching for in my Blog,like; ” How the hell do you stop when Skiing”?,or “How do you learn to ski”? maybe I should carry on the story of my learning to Ski. I did eventually learn, even reached the 5th class in the Swiss Ski Schools, which in actual fact means I can ski pretty fast and perhaps with more style than people who didn’t go to ski classes.
We did make it at last from London to the Club Vagabond in Leysin,Switzerland. (see post “On Skiing”) It took an age, as we somehow drove through the Ardennes, and stopped in Luxembourg.We even managed to get over the Col des Mosses during darkness in a snow storm with only summer tires on the car. But at least it was a better ride than the others had with a smashed windscreen in the mini bus.

I can’t remember how many days I tried to learn to ski,at least until I was absolutely full over bruises and it was torture to even try and bend my knees (The Alpha and Omega of learning) because any pressure to my shins was agony, caused by the hard leather tops of the boots at that time.

But then I discovered, hot Swiss chocolate, citron pressé and the sun terraces of the Tour d’Ai, and decided to postpone skiing and develop my après part of it instead.

Leysin, had it seemed a mountaineering school- mountaineering,another subject which I knew nothing about, but a new found friend from the Vagabond introduced to me to a couple of his pals who had just come back from doing the “Haute Route” from Chamonix to Zermatt. Whatever that meant exactly I didn’t know, seemed it was something remarkable in Winter.

I can remember we all sat on the floor of an old chalet in the village,and talked of mountains for most of the night.

They sowed the seed which has lasted until this day. Dougal Haston, Chris Bonington,and a nice South African called Brian Fraser.

Foto with thanks to Booby Edwards


On Muffins again

A kind fellow Blogger gave me some good advice on how to make Muffins. Although I say it myself I’m quite a good cook,but I still can’t make Muffins.

I took his advice and started out once more on the Muffin adventure,being quite sure he was right,I was mixing the ingredients to much.

There are hundreds of recipes for them in the net, but considering what I had in the kitchen decided New York State Apple Muffins were the best choice.

I can hear a few of you thinking I should have stuck to a plainer variety and you would be right. To me cups of things are a bit of a problem,being used to grams or ounces,and I ended up with much to much mixture and not enough tins.
I don’t have a Kitchen Aid type of mixer,I depend usually on elbow grease or an electric hand mixer which has served it’s purpose till now.

I took his advice and made the first batch just mixing the wet and dry ingredients with a spoon until they were combined.

In the oven they went,and out they came twenty minutes later hardly risen.!

The remaining mixture which had had to wait for a vacant place in the tin was by this time much softer,so I mixed it a bit more and baked that too.They rose a little higher. The rest of the mixture that had been made about 40 minutes previously was by now fairly fluid, probably due to the apples, so I took my electric mixer out and mixed it for a couple of minutes until it was like a normal cake mixture. Into the tins it went,and would you believe it, the muffins came out looking tasting and feeling like muffins.

Now I did something wrong there,and I still don’t really know what. Could it be that American all purpose flour is self raising like most of it is in the UK and I had been using plain flour with just baking soda.? Or should I stick to good old British Fairy Cakes.

The Best Hot Chocolate in Town

Yesterday was a wonderful Spring day in the middle of January. We decided to go into the city and stroll around. My husband prefers to do this on a Sunday because the shops are closed.

Zürich presented itself at it’s picture postcard best,blue sky,shimmering lake and the south wind just blowing enough to make the snow covered high mountains,so clear and seem so near that you felt that at the end of the lake you would be able to touch them.

Outside the Cafes people were sitting in winter clothes but enjoying the already warming sun. Still a bit too cold for me so we decided to have a drink where I knew I would get the hottest ,biggest and best hot chocolate in town. (Starbucks you havn’t got a chance).

At Cafe Schober,in Zürichs Niederdorf.

Now if you are ever in Zürich this cafe is an absolute must.

Situated in the old part of the city it is small, old, and unbelievably “Kitschy” On entering the low narrow door you think you have taken the time machine back a hundred years or more,for you are inside a confiserie crammed with chocolates,sweets and cakes voluptuously decorated with colourful crepe and tissue paper by the chocolate firm Teuscher. To anyone who knows their exclusive shops I needn’t say more, except that Cafe Schobers two cellar like floors have barock style tables and chairs and are completely decorated with flowers and branches like a chocolate box from Teuscher.

Their cakes taste home-made, and their hot chocolate is to die for. Take it without whipped cream and don’t ask the price. Believe me , it’s worth it.

Club of Rome

The Club of Rome has indeed been rather quiet lately, they have been reshuffling ideas and goals, one of which I hope is to speak up a bit.They would also like to transfer their headquarters from Hamburg in Germany to Zürich.

On the 24th of February,we now have a referendum in Zürich as to whether the people want to give the Club of Rome 1,82 Million Francs and allow them to move here. The money would be used as a financial help until 2012. Who is paying the rent for the partial use of one of the historic buildings of the city direct on the Limmat River I do not know, it doesn’t really matter anyway 1,82 Million seems like peanuts to me for the possible prestige it could bring us. Think of Davos.!

Naturally they would be profiting from us too; our University with its renowned Environmental Science Department, our Banks, just down the road if they needed a little more support of that kind. An Airport that is an international hub and such a good public transport system so they could say they didn’t need their Mercedes.

On paper the work that the Club of Rome does reads very nicely. I hope that as an International think tank they will have success in Zürich.

I am going to vote yes,and I hope we hear more of them.

“Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new

John Milton,1638.

Ski Fever and Downhill Skiing

We might live next door to them, but I think I can safely say the Swiss don’t like the Austrians. I think personally that this has got a lot to do with envy if not even jealousy. For as far as I am concerned (even though I married a Swiss) the Austrians have everything the Swiss don’t have.

For most of the year though we have a peacefull co-existence ,except for a few digs here and there,but then the World Cup Ski racing starts and the rivalry between the two countries gets out of hand.

There are probably just two downhill races on the European circuit that share the crown, because they both demand courage, technique,experience,and respect for the piste. One is the Lauberhorn run in Wengen,Switzerland and the other is the Hahnenkamm run in Kitzbühel, Austria.

For the last it’s almost a national tragedy if an Austrian doesn’t have the highest place on the podest in Kitzbühel.The Swiss don’t really care who wins the Lauberhorn just as long as it isn’t one of the neighbours.

Ski Fever is epidemic here until these two races are over.

Last Weekend I invited family members over to a belated Christmas Dinner as we had been away over the Holidays.

“What time”? was the astounded question when I suggested 12pm . Had I forgotten the Lauberhorn?

Yes, of course I had, and it meant replanning the whole three course meal around the race. The last change of plan was made at 10am on that day because the race start had been postponed for an hour due to bad light. Surprisingly enough it all tasted very good but even so everyone disappeared from around the table between the second course and the Trifle.

The day was saved though because an American won, followed by a Swiss and a Canadian.Not an Austrian in sight. Gott sei Dank.

This weekend I’m planning Beans on Toast.They are racing the Hahnenkamm,and Daniel Albrecht was the fastest in training.

Brush your teeth and save a face lift


Even at my age,I don’t have many wrinkles (nasty word). I have always put that down primarily to good genes, the fact that I have never smoked,and my attitude towards life.

I am rather vain,although I know vanity is a sin.I wouldn’t dream of going out the door except to the post box without lipstick to say nothing of lip liner.

I have nice looking teeth,and I brush them at least fout times a day.

I believe that women who feel down in the dumps (a minor state of depression) should go to the hairdressers rather than wasting money on clothes they don’t want.

Good Hairdressers are wonderful people. They can listen, give advice,and take ten years off your life if you are over fifty.

It was during one of my regular overhauls by Claudia that I read an interesting article in one of the womens magazines there.

The article was on Facial Yoga,and it stated that by doing certain excercises regularly,like blowing air into your cheeks and areas between teeth and gums the effect could be better than a face lift.

Naturally I hid my head behind the magazine and hoped nobody would be look while I tried the ideas out.

Would you believe it,the feeling was like cleaning your teeth without a toothbrush.

So now I know over the years applying lipstick and brushing my teeth really paid off .

Winter Scenes

We had snow where I live before Christmas,but then the seasons seemed to become disorientated and as we left for Canada the 18th of December was like a day in Spring.

The Holidays have come and gone but the snow still hasn’t arrived, at least not 600 meters above sea level in Switzerland.

Today I went to my Watercolour class again and it brought back happy memories of snow in the cottage country of Northern Ontario.

Funnily enough I don’t find painting snow so difficult,maybe because I love the colours that I need to use, soft and vivid blues,pale pinks, light greys and yellows.

Of course we were painting from photos ,and luckily nobody suggested going outside to paint a warm winter day (you all know that I havn’t really got enthusiastic about painting outside.I did try it again in Thailand but the paint dried up)

So painting today was the best of two worlds. Being warm and cosy in the middle of snow.

I am enjoying my hobby again,and I think at last I might even be improving.

Painting by David Gibbins U.K

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