Back from Holiday!

Actually I was back already on Monday evening but it is not until today that I actually get some time to finally write a post about my holidays. I am 4 book reviews behind on my Books & Movies site as well.

Well I guess that I have some catch up to do but that will not happen tonight though. You see I picked up my new toy just before lunch. I have been pondering about upgrading my old Playstation 3 for some time. I have been sitting on the fence a bit as to whether I should go for PS3 or Xbox One. I had almost decided to wait for the Xbox One X to come out and go for that one. However, my daughter has been giving me some various, more or less subtle (usually less), hints about new games. Most of them for PS4. Well, what the heck, a PS4 goes for 399 Euro here in Europe which is not a huge amount. I am sure everyone outside of the European Union will disagree of course but unfortunately it seems to be impossible to get rid of the worthless, tax greedy, wankers in Brussels.

Anyway, I ordered a PS4 Pro which I, as I wrote, picked up today and this evening it’s going to be install time. The Xbox One X? Well, it is not coming out until fall and then we have to see if there are any first generation issues but next year I might get one of those as well.

I believe I mentioned holiday in the title so maybe I should say something about that as well. It was the, more or less traditional, visit to grandpa and grandma for the kids. CERN pays for a “home leave” every second year but of course I have to go on it in order to get any money so the last Friday of July me and the kids boarded a plane for Copenhagen.

At the Artillery Museum in CopenhagenWe spent two full days in Copenhagen going to the Botanical Garden, the Artillery Museum, the Zoo, Copenhagen Aquarium and last but not least Tivoli Gardens. We had booked two junior suites at a great hotel just a few steps from Tivoli Gardens and with our rooms on the 15th floor we had a great view as well. The kids did enjoy themselves even if they complained about too much walking. I’d say that they have been spending too much time on the couch so some physical movement is just what the doctor ordered.

After our days in Copenhagen we went on to Sweden for their visit to their grandparents. Apart from spending time with their grandparents we also went to Glimmingehus to see black powder cannons being fired and to Tykarpsgrottan which is actually not a cave but an old chalk mine.

At Glimmingehus watching black powder gun firingAll in all a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. Of course I took a bunch of photos which I uploaded to my Flickr account. This time I brought my SLR camera. Usually when flying I take a smaller camera but I have not been doing much photography lately and felt I wanted to catch up on that so I went for the SLR even if it is bulky as hell on the plane.

The photos are uploaded to the following albums:

Botanical Garden Copenhagen

Copenhagen Zoo

Copenhagen Artillery Museum

Tivoli Copenhagen

Copenhagen & Sweden 2017

The last album contains mostly photos of interest for family and close friends.

Bags packed…

So the bags have been packed. Luckily I usually do not bring too much stuff when traveling. Out of three suitcases I managed to squeeze myself into a half one. The rest went to the kids and Cassandra did not even pack all the stuff she brought with her from Bellegarde.

Anyway, now we are set for our trip to Denmark and Sweden. The kids have chosen The Revenant for tonight’s film-time and then tomorrow morning it is off to the airport. Fingers crossed that we will have good weather, especially at Tivoli Copenhagen.

The featured image of this post? It is grilled chicken pieces with a Greek salad that I made for lunch.

Long weekend in Malmö and Köpenhamn

Yesterday I came home from my long weekend in Malmö and Köpenhamn. As I mentioned in my previous post I went there with my girlfriend to attend a wedding.

We took a few extra days as well so that we could spend some time and relax. We had to visit a bunch of family of course but we also had reserved one of the days to go over to Köpenhamn and visit Tivoli there.

It was a quite enjoyable long weekend. After my difficult times last year it was really nice to actually spend some time enjoying myself and do things that I used to do before.

I uploaded a few of the photos I took to Sweden 2017 Wedding on Flickr. Some of the photos are a wee bit poor though since they are taken with my phone.

Lots of thing happening this weekend.

Wow, there has been a lot of things going on this weekend. Not only was it a long weekend due to the Monday being a holiday. It was also the weekend of Fete de I’0iseau in St Genis. On top of this I also, finally, got the furniture, that I ordered four months ago, delivered last Thursday and Saturday.

My new dining tableThe furniture delivery was a bit of a frustration to say the least. About two weeks ago I went to the furniture shop to ask where my stuff was. They had said there was to be a three months wait before delivery but it was already three months and two weeks by then. They told me that they had already received the sofa and was waiting for the dining table and the chairs and those should arrive within two weeks. Great I thought. So I was quite happy when they called Monday last week to say that they where going to deliver on Thursday.

My new sofaHowever when the delivery guy came he had a dining table and the chairs but no sofa. What the fuck? What is more the guy told me that he came from the company that made the table and knew nothing about any sofa! Why the fuck did the make me wait for the table before they delivered the sofa if it was not going to be the same guy doing the delivery anyway? So on the phone to ask what was going on. To make a long story short it turned out that some lazy pencil pusher could not be bothered to do his bloody job properly and had just pushed the button to deliver the table and chairs when they arrived without bothering to actually look at the original order. That is what you get in a system where you cannot fire people that are lazy or incompetent.

Well I finally got my sofa at least. After asking what the fuck the were doing they promised to deliver the sofa on the Saturday which they did. Something the kids promptly took advantage of.

My new sofa

Well, once that mess was over and done with me and the kids enjoyed the weekend and the Fete de I’0iseau. As usual we went down to the attractions in the afternoon when they opened. This weekend was a bit special though since I now live in St Genis. As a matter of fact I can see the highest of the attractions from my balcony. I pretty much lives next to the fairground.

Fete de l'Oiseaux 2017 By nightSo we had planned to go down in the evening as well when it was dark and all the lights were on. Unfortunately it just had to star to to rain, heavily, in the evening. We had pretty much given up when the rain almost stopped. By then Cassandra and Timothy were already in bed but me and Jonathan did a quick tour. Due to the rain it was, sadly, rather empty on the fairground but Jonathan went for a ride on one of the attractions anyway just to have done something in the evening.

The "Carnival" at Fete de l'OiseauThe next day was the day of the carnival so we went down to have a look at that and then we went for another tour at the fairground. That took most of the afternoon. Once back in the apartment we sat down watching TV for a while. The kids did not want to ride in the car to Bellegarde right away since they were afraid to get carsick after the attractions

So that was a pretty full weekend. The Monday I started with a sleep in. Okay, I only slept to about 8:30 but still… Then I went to Botanic to start to get some pots, soil and stuff for my balcony. I want some flowers there but most of all I want some herbs so can have my own fresh herbs for my cooking.  Speaking of cooking, I made a really simple to make dish for Sunday lunch. Chicken filet with fries, tomatoes and a cream sauce with fresh basil. Simple but it was so good with the basil sauce.

The rest of the Monday I spent in Geneva with my girlfriend.

Well, now it is almost midnight and it is back to work tomorrow so I guess I have to add photos and post this tomorrow.

I uploaded a few more photos to Flickr in my Fete de l’Oiseau 2017 and my St Genis Pouilly alums by the way.



Long weekend with the kids.

Last weekend the kids were not at my place as usual since my ex was on holiday and had the kids for the entire week. This weekend we kind of compensated. Last Thursday was Ascension so it was a holiday and I took the Friday off to make it into a long weekend so the kids came over from Thursday to Sunday.

Weather ForecastThe weather has been great as well, sunny with temperatures creeping up towards 30 degrees and more, so it has been a really nice weekend. On the Friday we went to Balexert so the kids could do some shopping for my ex’s birthday and then we went on to Val Thoiry so I could do the grocery shopping. Jonathan wanted to have fish for dinner so we got some nice Filet de Perche which I fried and served with French fries and a salad.

Filet de Perche

Yesterday my girlfriend came over for lunch and later in the evening we went to Balexert again to watch Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 at the cinema. My girlfriend was really nervous about meeting the rest of my family. The kids seemed a bit intimidated as well so they did not speak very much. Well, I guess they just have to get used to it. It was not exactly me that chose to go down the path we did.

As for the movie. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. It was in 3D but “regular” 3D and not the IMAX 3D that we experienced when we saw the latest Star Wars. I really did not like it. The image was a mess most of the time and the, too exaggerated, 3D effects more of a distraction than anything else. I will not write a review on that one before I have watched it again at home on Blu-ray … without 3D of course.

Lunch at the balconyAfter the movie we had planned to go to one of the restaurants at Balexert to eat but we discovered that all the restaurants except CrapDonalds closed when the shops closed. That’s bloody Swiss for you! So we drove back to St Genis and went for a burger at Le Brasserie instead.

Right now Jonathan is getting his weekly fix of Science Fiction, Star Trek Voyager to be specific, and I am relaxing a bit before it is time to prepare lunch. I had actually planned to go to Le Brasserie today for lunch but yesterdays change of plans obviously had repercussions on that. Thus, I had to go out in the morning to do some more grocery shopping. Luckily in France shops and restaurants are usually open when the customers actually need them and not at the convenience of the staff.

So, I picked up some pasta, tomatoes, herbs and shark meat. I was actually looking for tuna but they did not have any so I had to improvise on my improvisation. I guess we are about to see how that goes.

The next weekend the kids have asked, actually more demanded, to stay for the full weekend again. It is Fete de l’Oiseaux in St Genis and, since I now live in the village, they want to take the opportunity of staying over so we can go down in the evening and enjoy the fairground and all the attractions when it is dark and the lights are on.

Looong weekend with the kids.

The kids have been staying at my place since Thursday for a really long weekend. It is their first week of the school holidays so they are alternating between my place and my ex’s place. I took Thursday and Friday off to spend some quality time with them.

This time I tried to not have them vegetate in front of the TV all the time. It was not that much of an effort on Thursday and Friday since we had some stuff to do anyway. On the Thursday I took Jonathan and Timothy to the barber. Timothy did of course play Mr. Grumpy the entire morning since he never want to do anything that has to do with things like the barber, buying clothes and so on.

Yesterday we went to Balexert to buy some new clothes for Jonathan. He has become quite a fashion guy which I do not mind at all since he is going for the smart kind of fashion. We got him a new gray jacket and a shirt.

Lunch at Fiesta MexicanaSince we were going to Balexert I planned in a lunch at one of the restaurants there as well. More specifically the Fiesta Mexicana. It was quite nice as always. I got something that they labelled as a “pre-peruvian” dish. Well, it sure as hell looked ancient with Tequila barbecued shrimps served in a huge bowl made out of volcano rock and with peppers, pimentos and other traditional South American things to go with it.

Today we are going to go back to Balexert after lunch to watch a movie at the cinema complex there. I finally got to get the kids to agree on a movie. Actually Jonathan and Cassandra gets together and agrees quite easily. Timothy however always finds something to complain about. That annoys me to no end.

Unfortunately what the kids chose was the new Power Rangers movie. Oh well, I hope it is better than the TV-series at least.

Yesterday I made some grilled chicken with wedge potatoes and salad, a half chicken per person, and the kids were so stuffed that despite me having bought dessert they did not want any. Oh my.

Grilled chicken with thyme, wedge potatoes and sallad

For tonight there will be tuna with pasta on the menu. I got some fresh tuna steaks from the shop this morning as well as some pieces of dead cow (beef fillet) for tomorrow lunch since it is the last day this time. We might get some guests tomorrow as well. Remains to be seen. I guess I have to binge eat beef fillet the coming days if not since I am sure as hell not freezing beef fillet.

The obligatory stop at LolipopOh, by the way. There is no way the kids will let me get away with going to Balexert without a visit to Lolipop.

Easter Weekend with the Kids.

Well, as the title says, I spent the Easter weekend with the kids. Actually I am still spending it with them as I write this. We have half a day left of the weekend and then I am driving them back to Bellegarde. I took the opportunity to jot down a few lines while I was waiting for my meat pasta sauce to simmer away.

Easter Lunch with Swedish herring, eggs etc..It has been a good weekend. Well, I think so at least. I hope the kids have enjoyed it as well. They look happy so … fingers crossed. Yesterday we had a traditional (Swedish) Easter lunch with Swedish herring, eggs, sausages, cheese and “charcuterie”.  Afterwards we watched the last of the Hunger Games movies. Somewhat underwhelming unfortunately.

Poor Timothy wanted to install his birthday game on the PS3. He almost did not get to play anything since, as usual, the publisher had pushed an unfinished game onto the disk so the first thing it did was to download about 8 Gb of patches and stuff. Since I only have a 30 Mbps VDSL connection (they are in the process of installing fiber in the village thank good) it took well over an hour.

Now he is trying the game JJ gave him on his PC and that one wants to download 66 Gb. What the fuck!? That is about 14(!) DVDs worth of data. Seriously game developers, get your act together!

Well, I guess Tim has to practice the waiting game for a while.

Time for some Easter lamb.For dinner yesterday we had some lamb shanks. It is Easter after all so having lamb at least one of the meals this weekend was more or less a foregone conclusion. I made six of them together with a Ratatouille like vegetable concoction and wedge potatoes. I got one of the shanks and my three kids downed the other five. I guess it was to their liking. There will be no recipe links this time since made all the meals inventing the recipes as I went along this weekend. After dinner we watched Batman v Superman. I am said to write that this movie was the worst pile of crap that I have watched in a long time. There will be a post about that one on my Books & Movies site for sure.

I did not manage to finish this post before it was lunchtime. Cassandra wanted me to create a PSN account for her so she could play a game that required a PSN account on my PS3 and that took some time. So I scribble down these last words while resting a bit after lunch. In a couple of hours we will take off for Bellegarde. Tomorrow is a day off for my ex so she will have the kids. They will come back to me on Thursday next week and stay until Sunday. Then we will see what we do the week after. The two small ones have another week of school holiday while JJ’s holidays ends next Sunday.