Posts Tagged ‘parents’


Sometimes everything just goes right. 

For months, we’d been planning for my parents to come over and spend Christmas with us in our place in Switzerland.  I booked their flights on Lufthansa, connecting in Frankfurt and then onto Basel.

About three weeks before they were supposed to fly, I got a phone call from Lufthansa telling me their initial flight had been cancelled and that they’d been reaccomodated on a flight via Munich.  What a saving grace that ended up being.  Flights across Europe were cancelled due to the heavy snowfalls, and Frankfurt airport ground to a standstill, but Munich was open and operating as per normal.  My parents managed to arrive in Basel about 15 minutes behind schedule, but otherwise without incident.

We brought them back to the house and a week of gluttony began!  On the 23rd, the snow arrived and it continued snowing until Christmas day, about 8” in total and the first white Christmas in Basel for many, many years.  It was the perfect setting for a traditional Swiss Christmas dinner – roast goose, spaetzle, and red cabbage.

The next morning, the sun came out and it was a spectacular day for walking, so that’s what we did, before heading off for two days in Germany to visit old family friends.

And then it was time to send them home again, this time via Frankfurt.  While the airports in the north of Europe were all buried in snow, Frankfurt was open again as the snow had melted off.  They got back home right on schedule. 

I should have such luck every time I fly!

Our first fondue in Switzerland! (Well, the first one we did at home. We’ve had a few in restaurants…)

Eating fondue

Our first Christmas in Basel was a success.  We spent the day at home with Aude’s parents (not that there was much choice – pretty much everything shuts on Christmas Eve and stays shut for the next three days).  I’d stocked up on firewood, and we had a fire in the fireplace most of the day.

Aude and her parents went out for an early-afternoon walk in the countryside, leaving me at home to get started with the Christmas dinner.  I opted for a traditional German / Swiss Christmas dinner of roast goose, stuffing, spaetzle, and red cabbage.  In the end, I had to make a small concession to our Swiss kitchen: my oven is too small to take an entire goose, so I roasted two goose crowns and two goose legs.  In the end, it was a better compromise as there was plenty of meat to go around.  The last time I cooked a whole goose, I ended up with about three slivers of goose meat per person and an enormous pile of bones.  I was certain that wasn’t going to happen again this year.

Daisy by stool
We’ve made an example out of Calypso. Here we are showing Daisy the consequences of misbehaving.

Aude hiding
Once again, it becomes clear that Aude was never top-of-her-class at hide-and-seek.

Christmas table
The Christmas table

Christmas table
The Christmas table

Christmas dinner
Roast goose, spaetzle, stuffing and red cabbage

Daisy by Christmas tree
Daisy gets into the Christmas spirit.

Sylvette reading a book

 Catching up on some holiday reading

Fire in fireplace

The new firepalce got a good workout all week



Sylvette in front of the fireplace


Aude with dessert

Aude presents the dessert


Aude’s parents have come to visit us for the holidays. The shopping is finished, the tree is decorated, and we’re all ready for the big day.  After a week of very cold, snowy weather, it seems like Aude’s parents have brought the warmer weather from the South with them.  It’s turned much warmer in the past few days (and is expected to stay this way for the rest of the holiday season), unfortunately with quite a lot of rain.  Still, it gives me a good excuse to stay inside and keep the fire going.

Day five of the vacation, and time for me to head back home. Owing to the unexplained disappearance of our gardien, we found ourselves with no one to look after the cats while we were away. Rather than the more orthodox approach of asking a neighbour to look after them (all the neighbours seemed to be away on vacation as well), I flew my father in for the week from Paris.

For him, it was a chance to explore a city he hadn’t visited in nearly twenty years. I cut my trip to the south of France a few days short and came back to spend some time with him.

The only downside? My cats seem to hate him.

Jim in Paris
Jim finds his road


Relaxing in the Jardin du Luxembourg
Relaxing in the Jardin du Luxembourg


On the Seine
On the Seine


Look at me!
Look at me!


By the fountain
Posing by the fountain. Seconds after discovering that the wind was blowing and getting drenched with the spray from the fountain. Oh, how the other tourists laughed and pointed!!


Holding the Eiffel tower
Holding the Eiffel tower. Look, I am a tourist!




Striking the casual, pointing stance in the Marais.


Aude & Jim
Aude & Jim


Jim & Matt
Jim & Matt in front of the Centre Pompidou. The ugliest building in Paris, according to my father.


Jim in front of Paris Plage


Matt & Jim
Matt & Jim in front of Paris Plage


Matt & Aude
Matt & Aude in front of Paris Plage


My first real update in more than a month. Needless to say, August has been very, very busy. I am spending most of my time right now travelling between my client’s various sites around Europe, and August has meant trips to Ireland, England, Switzerland, France, and Spain. Deadlines are looming and people are becoming more and more stressed.

Early in August, I did at least get the chance to take a week off. Aude and I spent a week with Aude’s parents and brother in the south of France. It was my first real vacation since we went on our honeymoon nearly a year ago, and even the few days of sun were a welcomed break.

View over the pool

A nice swimming pool and view over the houses

Aude in pool

Aude takes her first dip in the pool

Relaxing by the pool

Relaxing by the pool

Swimming pool

More views over the swimming pool. I could get used to this view every morning.




More flowers

Aude in front of the pool

Aude in front of the pool

Matt in France

Matt begins to relax by the pool

Travel books

Aude’s parents are beginning to plan their trip to the US

Preparing dinner

Preparing dinner

Beginning to relax

Beginning to relax


Ah – it is because she has a cocktail in her hands!

In the kitchen

In the kitchen