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.

Three days with the kids…well kind of.

Okay, last week/weekend I spent three days with the kids… kind of. So you ask, what do you mean “kind of”? Well I had to work so the kids have been here since Thursday and I  came home and made lunch . Then I went back to work for another four hours.

It’s a good thing that I live about ten minutes from my work. , unless there is one of these all too common traffic jams caused by the total incompetence that the green communists responsible for traffic planning in Geneva possess that is. Then it is more like half an hour and good forbid that I have to go downtown Geneva.

So it was a bit of a different experience actually going home for lunch and cooking lunch for the kids as well as not coming home to an empty apartment after work. Also, the kids being there on the weekdays meant that we had plenty of “filmtime” in the evenings. We went through Kong: Skull Island and Logan. Unfortunately we were not exactly impressed by any of them.

On the Saturday we wanted to go to Val Thoiry for a haircut but when we came there there was a two hour queue (drop in only, no reservations) so we decided to just go around and do some shopping and then we went to Leon de Bruxelles for lunch (request from Timothy).

Birthday Weekend

Okay, okay I will refrain from going into a rant about how much more I liked my birthdays before. Just insert some random “I hate being reminded about becoming yet another year older…bla bla, rant rant” here and we are done with it.

I have to say that this birthday was a lot more pleasant than my previous one though. For one it was on a Saturday so I celebrated it with the kids. Also, on my previous birthday I was still in the middle of a depression and had crawled into a bottle. Actually last Friday I celebrated 8 months of “back to normal”.

Anyway, back to the weekend. The kids came over already on the Friday. Actually I went more or less straight from work and picked them up in Bellegarde since my ex was working until around 19:30 in the evening. Nice to have a movie evening with the kids on a Friday for once. John Wick 2 was on the menu. Not as good as I hoped but you cannot have everything i guess.

Swedish Midsumme Eve Supper.
Midsummer eve Swedish buffet

Another thing that was on the menu was some traditional Swedish food. It was midsummer eve, or Midsommarafton in Swedish, so I had stocked up on some pickled herring, Gravlax, Swedish meatballs, Swedish cheese and sausages etc… The two small ones were not too enthusiastic about the fishy stuff as usual but Jonathan and I digged in.

 

View towards Lac de Divonne outside Le Rectiligne.
Lac de Divonne-les-Bains

On the Saturday I had booked a table a Le Rectiligne, a fairly posh restaurant in Divonne-les-Bains that serves classic French Haut Cuisine with a touch of modern experimenting. It was quite excellent, as usual. I had told the kids to bring some decent clothes since it is a posh restaurant after all, which they did. However Timothy, having his head in the clouds as usual, had just grabbed a pair of trousers without looking. Of course they were too small when he tried to put them on so he had to go in some scruffy sports trousers. Arrrggghhh!

Sorbet on the Rocks (yes it is a block of ice)
Sorbet served in a block of ice

I could not help myself snapping a photo of the desert. We sat on the terrace so it was not that much of a breach of etiquette. The desert itself was good but nothing too special but the bowl it came in was a solid block of ice.

The weather was great as well. Around 30 degrees and sunny. Perfect for a lunch at the terrace. The evening became another “filmtime”. This time Underworld: Blood Wars which was a bit more like I hoped for than the Friday entertainment. Review will come up later on my Books & Movies site.

As I am writing this it is Sunday so there’s not much planned. I got some Swedish cheese left so I am planning to make a Tarte aux Fromage et Lardons avec des Herbes out of the cheese for lunch . Then later in the afternoon/evening it is time to drive the kids back to Bellegarde.

Holy crap, time flies. Yet another weekend has come and gone.

I cannot believe how fast time flies right now. It feels like the previous weekend was just yesterday and  yet another one has come and gone. I did not even get any time to write something on My Ramblings until now.

Weather ForecastWell, the kids were in St Genis for the entire weekend again and it was another fairly calm weekend. The weather was (and is) great and the forecast for the week is pretty darn good as well.

We went for lunch at Palais de Asie, one of the favorite restaurants of the kids. Asian buffet, all you can eat. As usual it was pretty good. No stars in Guide Micheline of course but freshly made and quite tasty for a buffet restaurant. The kids love being able to take what they want. The drawback is that everyone gets completely stuffed (all you can eat remember…) and just dozes off in the sofa when we get back.

Well, we livened up the spirits a bit with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter later in the evening. Not great but okay and lots of satisfying violent special effects of course. A review will come later on my other site.

Preparing to play Hexagonal chess.

On the Sunday we got around to do some family activities in the form of playing cards. I have not played cards a lot lately. It was great fun. I used to play cards a lot when I was young. After all that was a time when telephones were big clunky things with a rotary dial and computers had 25 by 80 characters and a green monochrome screen so entertainment was strictly non-digital.

After the cards Jonathan lured me into a game of Hexagonal Chess. Also quite fun but he had obviously practiced before (I call that cheating) so I lost.

For lunch on the Sunday I made a Saumon au Chili, Citron Vert et Orange avec Pomme de Terres et Salade (featured picture). I thought it was excellent but the two small ones were not impressed. They raided my snacks storage later in the afternoon. Sigh…

Well, it was a good weekend anyway.

Calm and relaxing weekend.

The weekend that just passed was a calm and relaxing weekend indeed. Especially compared to the one before that with the Fete de l’Oiseau and all that. The kids only stayed for the Saturday this weekend and I had not really planned anything in particular to do.

Jonathan asked if we could drive to Balexert to have a wee look around at Fnac so we did just that. Actually we ended up having a wee look around at MediaMarkt as well on our way back. He is pondering whether to go for a new Desktop rig (which he really doesn’t need) that he assembles himself with custom parts or a new lightweight laptop (which he actually do need). Guess which one he decided to go for in the end 🙂 .

three beef tacos with cheese, lettuce and tomatoesI had promised the kids to make Taco’s now when I finally got my dining table so we did not have to sit cramped up at the low table in front of the TV so that is what they got. I tried out the new basket shaped Taco shells from Old El Paso. The one’s that has Danny Trejo (Machete) in their commercials. Nothing to write home about I am afraid. They were made from wheat instead of corn and were kind of semi soft. I am really annoyed that you really cannot get the hard corn variety of ordinary Taco shells in France anymore. I guess too many people put convenience ahead of taste 😦 .

Clematis JackmaniiWell, enough of that. Since, as I wrote, the kids were home only for the Saturday I took the opportunity to go to Botanic on the Sunday to get more stuff for the balcony. I picked up some herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Basil and Piment de Cayenne) and a flower pot for the herbs. I also picked up a Clematis Jackmanii to put in a pot that I had already bought the last time I was at Botanic. I hope to get it to cling to the balcony railing and go all the way to the other side.

It was a nice sunny weekend so it was perfect for some “gardening”. The forecast for the next 14 days appears to be great as well. Sunny and temperatures in the 28 to 32 degrees range. Okay a few of those days are “confiance 2” meaning pretty uncertain but … fingers crossed.

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.