Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The vegetarian eats a snail

One of my first discoveries upon arrival in Geneva was that my
command of the French language falls into the category of “not good enough to understand anything said by a group of school children, but sufficient to conduct simple conversations at a relaxed pace with long-suffering shop assistants”. I ended up in an interesting conversation this morning about snails when I ordered a pastry entitled "escargot avec raisins" (snail with raisins). The good news, for me and for the Genevoise, is that free French lessons are part of our “training”, so I look forward to slightly more intellectual discussions, about a variety of animals, in the future.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Taking a turn in the garden

When one is engaged in serious and important activities such as training and "preparation", it is necessary to ensure that one keeps up one's fitness. I am finding that a brief turn in the gardens morning, noon and night will generally do the trick. Tucked away on the outskirts of Birmingham, Woodbrook provides an environment of tranquility and Jane Austin-esque beauty. The most impressive point to make about the gardens here at Woodbrook is that they are indeed practical as well as beautiful. The delicious stuffed squash that I ate for supper last evening was grown in this very garden.

Also, it is interesting to note that Gandhi stayed in this very building when he came to England in 1931. The Quakers are rather proud to announce that he burnt the carpet in Room 12 when attempting to cook his dinner in his room.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Traveller in my home city

I think it's important, when you're about to be a traveller somewhere else, to practice in your home town. So Pete and I have been doing a bit of travelling of our own. I spent a relaxing afternoon having a massage in easy Eastwood, followed by a day getting lost in busy Bondi Junction's multitude of malls. We also spent the weekend in magic Manly. We caught the ferry there, and spent a warm afternoon on the beach. In fact, the weather was so warm that we were able to take our shoes off and wiggle our feet in the sand. It was great to be able to relax and put the worries of Swiss visas out of my mind. But now that my visa is secured everything seems in place for travel outside of Sydney...