Monday, 28 November 2011

aw romance!

Last week I had two furry people come to stay. Ceylon and Tipsy. It was a litle precarious at first as Ceylon was very shy and would not eat or drink. I spent most of  the weekend wandering about the house like a first time parent crying 'why won't the baby eat!!' Eventually I discovered if  I carried him around like a baby he became more comfortable and began to eat and drink. In fact by the end he had definitely got his mojo back as I woke up one night to find him romancing Tipsy in the bed beside me.
And honestly he was actually romancing her - none of this pounce-on-her-from-behind rubbish.
He was nibbling her neck with his paw cushioning her head and she had her paws wrapped around his shoulders. Then when they were finished he spooned her for the rest of the night!!
Now they are gone though and I am sad and alone once more. Fortunately Rita came over last Friday and we were able to chase chocolate mice in honour of the cats :-)

Friday, 25 November 2011

go the kindle

Mike Allen, editor of the Clockwork Phoenix series, is releasing the books in a kindle form. This is great news for me because I have a story in both CP1 and CP2  which means a huge launch party, lots of royalties and instant fame. Ok - no - it doesn't mean any of this but it does mean people will be able to buy a digital version of these books at a much cheaper price which will hopefully increase my current fanbase from 1 to 2.  Hooray!!!!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Divine courage, freedom and light

In yoga we are often asked to make an intention for our practice. Often my intention is just to make it to the next yoga class. Sometimes, however, my intentions are far more important than this and right now I am sending all of my energy to The Gift . In the coming days he begins a very serious battle for his life  and I wish him strength and courage and love and peace.

We have come into this exquisite world 
to experience ever and ever more deeply 
our divine courage, 
and light!


Saturday, 19 November 2011

mmm cream tea

Today I took my Russian friends to the Anglican Christmas Bazaar. They told me it was like entering  Diagon Alley in Harry Potter - a whole other world that exists around them but they cannot find for themselves. I have to say that - to me -  this particular bazaar doesn't have that much in common with the alley especially given as it is held in a particularly ugly, modern building and the most exotic food you will probably find there is Bird's Custard - but ok yes there are the Morris Dancers I suppose. But anyway for them it was exotic and exciting to be surrounded by English speakers and to try English cuisine - cornish pasties, cottage pie and cream tea. Actually the cream tea went down a particular treat ( as well it ought!)  and in fact it brought real tears to the eyes of my Russian mama friend  who said ( in Russian) that she believed herself to be at home for a while. At home in her blood, she meant.  I mean she is from St.Petersburg,  descendant of White Russians I believe, but her grandfather used to play cricket while no one around him did. She is convinced there is something  very English lurking in her blood just like I too have an Uncle Ahmed who makes perfect fattoush, an Aunty Maria who make perfect limoncello and a cousin Dimitri with his own feta cheese brand.  I understand her completely. Anyway it was a nice experience to see the bazaar through new eyes and I also managed to pick up two jars of homemade tomato chutney which always pleases the soul.


C'mon Syria-  find your peace!
I wait with a hopeful heart tonight.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Never a dull morning

Yesterday morning I told my 9 a.m. beginner class about my stolen handbag in Klein Basel ( which is where Manor is.) Their response was: 'Well it is known as Little Istanbul.' They all started rolling about laughing but to be honest it disappointed me a little bit. I  mean don't get me wrong I have my own sadness with Turkey - actually not with Turkey itself - I love Turkey - one of the best holidays of my life was in Turkey! (My own grief is actually at a deeply personal level and I would never judge a country or its people on the basis of this one experience.) But I digress-  for what I am trying to say is I hate racism  and I hate it in my classroom - I really hate it. Fortunately the students moved on from this pretty quickly with the very late arrival of my 'Mice to meet you' student who was as drunk as a skunk. As soon as she entered the room the air became thick with alcohol and she began staggering around the room giving out biscuits and chocolates. I called an early coffee break and took her down to have an espresso. She is a  poor elderly French woman and it actually saddened me to see her in such a state. I have always smelt a whiff of the sauce on her but on this morning she was clearly very very drunk :-( I don't know what I shall do if she comes like this to class again. I know it bothers the other students but I also cannot in good conscience send her out into the cold winter air in that state.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

like a bridge...

I don't know why but whenever I do the bridge pose in yoga I start crying. Maybe it is the sheer pain of it or perhaps it is  it is simply called the bridge pose  because tears always flow under you whenever you try it. I haven't been to yoga for the last six weeks as I have been doing a superb job of neglecting my body but when I returned to class today I learned that  Isabella, my  yoga teacher, is leaving Switzerland in a month. Maybe that's why I cried. Actually I already knew she was leaving because  Vi ( my waxing buddy) had warned me but just hearing it made me realise that yet another person is going/ disappearing/ leaving/ escaping/ vanishing/ bolting...

At least this weekend I will be having two visitors - of the furry sort.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

My baggy and chaz bangelis

Had my bag stolen while I was in Manor Department store yesterday. I don't usually do my grocery shopping in Manor because it is a little bit expensive for peasant teachers such as myself but I had been invited to dinner and Manor make the best little fruit tarts. ( The closest I can find in all of Switzerland to the ones you can buy in every patisserie in Italy.) The theft happened very fast because (being a finely-tuned bag-lady) I became aware of my missing appendage within minutes of it happening. The worst bit was the bag had the keys to my apartment and because  I have just moved I hadn't given the spare set to anyone yet. Anyway I am not going to bore you with the whole story but I have to say that I found  the staff and security in Manor particularly unsympathetic and unhelpful . The police were a bit better ( except for the guy at the front desk who appeared most incredulous that I should be troubling with him with a theft at all)  but I have seen kids eat a plate full of brussel sprouts quicker than the way they moved to assist me. 

zum bespiel
'Wie ist deine Tasche.'
 'Es ist blau mit eine geld Giraffe.'
A minute later, a bag is handed into the station which is made of leather and is pink.
 'Oooh is das deine Tasche?'
' Ist Das blau???'

The policeman then (almost gaily) informed me just how many hundreds of franks it would take for me to get the key service to help. :-(   Anyway after he wrote my information down on a scrap of paper I went to my wonderful Slovakian friend, Rita, and we called my mobile which was still in my bag. A while later it  called back and it was the police with the bag. All my money was gone but at least the keys were there. Thank goodness. You know it was only a bag and  while losing the money is disappointing I think what was even more disappointing was the attitude of the people around me.  My friend said this is probably an example of where Swiss neutrality is taken too far. No one wants to get involved. They throw their arms up in the air and say 'It wasn't me. It's not my problem.' I suppose with normal people on the street I can understand this ( well actually I don't - see previous blog entry ) but when store security and and (to a lesser extent) the police are so disinterested it leaves a very bad feeling in your heart. 


On a brighter note- it is chaz bangeli season right now in Basel. Chaz Bangelis are basically baguettes filled with fondue cheese. They are delicious although you should always eat them while wearing a raincoat or a bin bag because the dribble factor is incredibly high. I even have a friend who has nicknamed his penis - the chaz - in honour of this wonderful invention.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

youch and yay

So my best girl friend here in Basel is Vi and I thank the stars (and the comets too) for her.  She has been so kind to me this year even as I have wept vats of tears into her lovely homemade cappuccinos. We always speak in English  because my Portuguese consists of 'Caipirinha' and 'another Caipirinha please'.  Anyway I recently decided that I should do something to bring me culturally closer to my southern hemisphere amiga so I decided to go the full Brazilian - if you catch my drift. And Vi was such a great amiga she even came with me to hold my hand and entertain my head. In truth it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. Sometimes when I winced the Brazilian lady in charge would go ' ow...heh heh heh' or 'your husband -very lucky man' !?! The best bit by far was when it was finished and she brought out a mirror to show me my new hair cut. I mean really -what are you supposed to say at that point? 'Oooh yes. It really suits me, don't you think' or 'maybe a bit more fringe next time!'
On a more erudite note I received this wonderful email the other day from the editor of Independent Ink magazine - a literary adventure of daringly off beat short stories!

Dear Joanna Galbraith,

Thank you for sending us "Ulla's Gift". We love it and would like to publish it in the next issue of Independent Ink Magazine. 

I only include the email text because you have no idea how rare it is  for struggling writers such as myself to hear things like 'We love it' from editors.  Although this story of mine has been floating around for a while I am really glad to have finally 'homed' it. The real test for me though will also be to complete some newer pieces -to find that rhythm, that joy I lost somehow.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Terrible day

D flew to Australia yesterday.
Truly awful.

 I mean how can you not love that!

Posted by Picasa