Monday, May 30, 2022



Last Friday night as my Mum was entertaining some guests (it was her birthday the following day) there was a wild thunderstorm with all the works (torrential rain, hail, thunder, lightening) and all of a sudden the lights went out. I went downstairs into the basement to check the fuse box and circuit breakers. Well, I could not switch one of the two circuit breakers on and it remained dark in the living room and kitchen (including in the fridge). Eventually I identified the culprit, i.e. which fuse prevented the circuit breaker from being switched on again and it was the one powering my parents' studios. We were relieved that the fridge was working again (like all parents, mine have a full fridge plus freezer stuffed to the brim with all kinds of food) and decided to investigate the next morning in daylight. It turned out that a lamp in my Dad's studio caused the power outage, so a very minor issue in the grand theme of things. It really made me think just how privileged we are to live in a place where a power outage caused by lightening or other causes is the absolute exception rather than the norm and how much we take the luxury of a consistent and stable power supply for granted. Once more I also got confirmation of how much I regard my mobile phone as my lifeline: I immediately plugged it into one of the working sockets to make sure it was charging before another outage could happen...

Monday, May 23, 2022

Expanding the Horizon


By the time this post goes live I am hopefully enjoying sunshine in Nice. Highflyer and I decided to use birthday money from my parents that was intended for a nice weekend away somewhere for an extended "nice weekend" with a capital "N".  I've only ever been in Nice in the hottest summer months and I missed visiting my happy place since I didn't go there last summer. It's also really exhilarating to show a place you love to someone you love. Highflyer only knew NCE airport, but not the town and area, so I jumped at the opportunity.
As I checked in for our flights and punched in my (soon-to-expire-anyway) frequent traveller card details I could feel the old rush of excitement coming back. Travelling was what had defined a certain period of my life and I was more than ready for a little revival.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Me, in a Nutshell

I am really happy with my tiny little garden here chez Highflyer's. I started growing some herbs, plants and flowers last spring and most of what has reappeared this year is from that first attempt, only much more luscious and abundant this season.

Gardening and "green thumbs" run in the paternal side of my family. My beloved grandmother was the supreme expert of them all, having apparently inherited a lot of wisdom from her grandmother. Both my father and his sister, my paternal aunt, are avid and knowledgeable gardeners. My mother is not a gardener and neither had I been by any stretch of the imagination until I got to spend a lot of time in a house with a garden that started out as just a backyard with a lawn. The man of the house generously donated a stretch of his lawn to my efforts and I went about sowing seeds without any method to it. I was totally overgenerous and I didn't put any labels or markers to remind me of what went where. This means that whenever new leaves appear that I don't recognise I typically take a photo and do a reverse image search and/or send it to my dad to ask for his expert advice. It could be something I sowed or a weed. It could be edible or mildly poisonous...who knows. In any case it reflects my experimental approach at pretty much anything. I don't do to-do lists, I don't project manage or read user manuals at length, I just DO. Yes, I could at least write down somewhere which side of the patch the cucumbers should appear and where the radishes, but I just assume they'll either die prematurely and never make an appearance above ground or I'll recognise them anyway. I've had great success with rocket salad, lemon balm, parsley, rosemary and swiss chard that all grow as if they're on steroids. The rest remains a mystery and pleasant surprise.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Suburban Sadness

The day I unexpectedly "moved in" to Highflyers semi-detached more than two years ago because of Lockdown I, I was introduced to the neighbour who was in the process of preparing the family pool for the season together with his teenage son. I later learnt that this was a family of five who also had a shy cat and two small dogs who were very protective of their garden and liked to defend it by barking loudly whenever someone approached the hedge. They seemed like your typical friendly neighbours (minus the annoying dog barking) and the wife also happens to be a colleague of Highflyer's. We used to hear them entertaining guests a lot during the summer in between lockdowns and the pool was apparently popular among friends of the daughter, the youngest of the family. 
In recent months we could barely hear anything from next door and the only time someone was in the garden was when the wife was out there, smoking and talking on the phone. All that was missing was ominous string music rising to a crescendo - you could feel that something was off and that life seemed to have been drained out of the garden. Before you assume that this is going to end with a murder and us being the neighbours who are quoted by tabloids as not having imagined that in a million years: no. They are "just" getting separated and have already put the house on the market, according to the husband who announced this at a recent proprietors meeting. There had been signs: her leaving alone for a yoga weekend and hime going on vacation the subsequent more eating outside as a family and now: a pool that is still in hibernation as the ultimate sign that all (family) life has been drained of house number 3. It makes me sad that right next door to our happy bubble this couple must have been very unhappy and realised that their relationship was beyond repair.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Back to Office

Last week I spent 3 days (partly) at the office and will again this week. And by "office" I mean the actual brick-and-mortar one. As I have mentioned, I am currently enjoying my freshly recovered super immunity (until a new VOC comes along) so I don't mind being in (more or less) crowded rooms with people whose "infection status" I have no idea of. It's as if a switch has been flipped and everyone is on "whatevs"-mode, pretending it's 2019 again with one exception: everyone - at least at our company - apparently has decided to squeeze their team workshops into April and May and since I am one one of few internal people who are friendly and willing to facilitate them, I have had many requests, partly at very short notice, by people imploring me to help them as I am apparently their last resort and/or facilitator of choice. While I sometimes do feel flattered I often don't see my added value and am trying to get them to do it themselves. It may be a wise decision to seize the moment (of relatively low infection rates) and get all the creative brainstorming and teambuilding out of one's system but it's pretty intense even though I really like this part of my job. Only 3 more months until my so-called mini-sabbatical will start, i.e. I will have all of August off. Can't wait!

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