Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Medicine Anyone?

Took M to the doctors this afternoon. I was pretty certain the spots on the back of his legs were Molluscum Contagiosa for which there isn't any cure really (they go after a few months even though they are contagious, hence the name!), but A wanted me to go check it out, just to be sure.

Its the first time M has been to the doctors, ever, apart from routine checkups, so it felt a bit strange, like we'd broken our record.

Anyway, there was a stand-in doctor there, who's there every Wednesday afternoon and he was much better than our usual one, who is a bit standoffish (although that could be a language thing).

We came away with 5, yes FIVE, treatments.
- cream for the spots if they get scratched to prevent infection
- drops to put in water and drunk if the spots get too itchy (can make you drowsy)
- spray for M's snotty nose
- cream for the tip of M's nose where its a teensy bit red from lots of blowing
- cough mixture for his cough (can also make him drowsy)

I don't think we'll be using everything. Seems a bit excessive, and people wonder why I don't take M to the doctors for what I see as everyday stuff.

Thank god the insurance is paying, is all I can say!

A Swiss Friend

Today was a first. M had a Swiss friend to play. This may not seem like such a big deal, but the Swiss have their circle of friends it seems, and within them they stay. Obviously this relates more to the parents than the kids, but it is very common to be going to the same playgroup for 3 years and still only know all the mothers as the "maman de *".

So, this historic breakthrough came about because of M's apparent unhappiness at atelier. A couple of weeks ago, both times when I picked him up and we were walking home, he declared that he "didn't like atelier because I don't have any friends". Near broke my heart, particularly as he has several english-speaking friends outside of atelier and I was already beating myself up a bit as they all seem to be going to the same school either this year or next.

So I spoke to one of the educatrices at atelier, C, who will happily speak in English to me, and does the same with M. Explained that I was concerned about the language barrier, and asked if there were other english-speaking kids there that maybe he could play a bit more with, or I could invite round to play (obviously without wanting to force 2 children together!). She said that she would do what she could, observe him in particular and her and her colleagues would meet up to discuss the matter.

Anyway, the same day I spoke to her, on the way home we saw E and his mum at the bus stop. I just casually asked M if he would like E to come round and play and the answer was an enthusiastic yes! This is the little boy that M complains about at the end of almost every session to me - "E hit me", "E pushed me", " E took my yellow spade". Naturally I thought that E was the devil himself and that the pair of them should stay well away from each other. How wrong can I be?

Taking a deep breath and oceans of courage I spoke to E's mum. My French is never that good under pressure but she got that we wanted them to come round and play, and was happy to do so. Apparently E is always talking about M!

So that brings us to today. I was terrified. The house was, well, not spotless, but passably tidy and M was under strict instructions to watch the television until they arrived (I figured that at the very least it should start tidy).

They arrived 20 minutes late. I was imagining all sorts of things, mainly revolving around "she doesn't like me", as the Swiss are NEVER late.
As soon as they arrived, E and M ran off and E's baby brother S tried to follow.

I decided it was time to introduce myself properly. "Je m'appelle Clare" I say, knowing that there is a proper, formal way to say these things, but I'm buggered if I can remember what it is. She obviously gave the formal reply which involved the words "presente" and "vous" and her name, S. Phew! No longer is she the "maman d'E"

Coffee made (only instant something which is sooooo English!) and we settled down for a chat. I surprise myself sometimes at how fluent my French is, but I think in everyday situations I get myself flustered easily whereas sitting down chatting to someone the conversation just rolled off my tongue.

The kids played nicely too, even though they don't speak the same language, although thank god "pirate" is just about the same!
A few disagreements, normally resulting in M overreacting and crying for a good 5 minutes like the world was about to end, something that I either need to get in quick and head off, or deal with better than I do now.

Eventually all 3 children were flagging as the disputes became more frequent, so they swaddled themselves up against the cold and rain, and went home, with the promise that we will organise another playdate very soon at their house, which is only a few bus stops away. Hurray!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Day to day

Well, the trip blog went well, didn't it?! Just as well the actual trip was fantastic! (I will try to update later, honest!)

I've decided that I am going to at the very least just list what we do each day on a regular basis, just to reassure myself that we are keeping ourselves busy (have I said that before?).

So today, after total disintegration because daddy was going to work, we did a bit of cbeebies and poisson rouge. He's definitely getting frustrated using the mousepad after more than about 2 minutes, so we really need to get a proper mouse soon. He played some Tommy Zoom and the old favourite, Fireman Sam. He played a shape game on Poisson Rouge where he saw pentagons and hexagons for probably the first time as shapes, although he did think that pentagon was a silly name. (!)
We've done a bit of size stuff too with some polystyrene packing bits, fitting them in his Happyland fence square, then seeing if his chewy bar and his snow boot will fit in too.
We did the first page of the Usborne First Numbers sticker book. M really seems to like numbers, always counting things (particularly stones that he's collected!) and has started talking about how many you have if you take some away, so I thought we'd give the book a go. The first page was counting things and putting the sticker next to it, so not too hard, but the main thing for M was keeping his concentration for the 15 minutes it took to do it. He said he wanted to do the next page (counting animals on a farm) but it was an exercise too far, so we settled with one page.

During lunch I had a look on Starfall and M wanted to have a play, so we chose a couple of letters to follow through and then looked at the calendar and gingerbread man. Again something that we really need a proper mouse for.

After lunch was naptime, and it took me a while to realise that I'd left Fun Radio on! Swiftly rectified that.

We had an invitation to go for a walk by the lake, but tbh, M has slept so little recently (A let him watch Top Gear last night) that I was hoping for a long nap.

2.5 hours, not as long as he quite often sleeps but certainly better than the last few days, and he was woken up by someone hammering.

So, we made some bourbon biscuits, but couldn't finish them as I couldn't find/had run out of icing sugar.

M then played spaceships with various bottles and things, including a metal veg steamer, which fascinated him as he could make patterns by reflecting the sun off it.

A little drawing on his magnetic board while I cleaned the kitchen and then back to his favourite game of pirates.

All in all, quite a productive day. Tomorrow we are possibly swimming and picnicing (sp). So a day out, to balance today's day in.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Day Four - Tuesday 6th August

We had planned to drive up to Skagen, a little village on the coast and northerly tip of Denmark where the Baltic sea meets the something or other sea, and then travel down to Give to spend the night, but we decided that that would really be too much, so we got in the van and made our leisurely way down to the campsite at Give. We pulled off onto a tiny side road to have our lunch at the side of a field, which I was a bit dubious about, and I was a bit apprehensive everytime a tractor went past, expecting the guy to shout “Get orf my land!”, but it was a really nice thing to do, and was miles better than stopping at another service station. We saw some great insects, all of which M wanted to hold, so a lot of scrabbling around after the little blighters ensued!
We got to the new campsite at about 2pm, and although we couldn`t camp close to the playground this time, we were very close to the toilet/shower/kitchen block and there was a large pile of large stones to keep m busy. The facilities, particularly the kitchen were superb. Although we have a 2 ring gas cooker in the van, it is a lot easier to cook elsewhere, as you have so much more space so meals for the next 2 nights were cooked in the great kitchen block.
Later in the afternoon we went to the outdoor swimming pool which has to be the coldest swimming pool I have ever been in. A pushed me in, as I was gingerly lowering myself into the water which I thought was rather unfair of him, particularly as he then refused to get in for at least another 10 minutes. M stood thigh deep in the baby pool, and kicked up a right stink when I lifted him into the main pool, and spent the 5 minutes he was in there trying to scramble onto my head to get out of the water! We finally gave up and had an icecream, marvelling at the way the Danes were happy to spend seemingly hours in the freezing water.

The site also had a selection of other toys/games etc, marketed as an adventure playground, which I guess was almost an accurate description. I was very proud of the fact that I went on everything, the trampoline (showing off the skills I learnt many moons ago at Saturday trampolining club at the Sports Centre, including a wicked Seat Drop – Half Turn – Seat Drop), the bizarre bikes with 2 handles instead of handlebars or steering wheel (a bit difficult to explain really) and another bouncy cushion (this time with everything staying intact!). They really seem to be popular in Scandinavia.

The site also had a train, so A and M went on that whilst I made dinner. I seem to have fallen into a role on this trip, a rather housewifey one, which actually I am enjoying as it means that I can have a bit of time on my own. It also means that I don`t have to do the boring things involved in camping, like moving all our stuff around constantly, and sweeping the van out and stuff.

Day Three - Monday 6th August

Today was a long driving day, but not as long as it might have been as we went further than we had planned yesterday. We made it into Denmark though! We drove all the way up to Nibe in the north and found the campsite after a few wrong turns (Gina Patricia Saunders doesn`t have all the little roads in Scandinavia at her disposal, so we were a bit lost when she stopped giving us directions.
The campsite was on the banks of a fjord, although our pitch was tucked way back, but again we were really close to the playground, so M was able to go off and play while we got on with things at the van, as we could stick our heads up and see him.
Every evening the owner gets his train out and takes the kids (and any adults too!) around the campsite, which thrilled M no end. They also had a large bouncy cushion, sort of like a bouncy castle, but with no walls, iykwim, which was great fun for all of us, well, until my pelvic floor muscles gave out!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Day Two - Sunday 5th August

M wakes up at 6.15am, asking for milk as usual. A seems amazingly awake, whilst I struggle to open my eyes.
It is usually the other way round in our house when the alarm goes off. I did have a disturbed night though, first struggling to get to sleep because of my headache, then getting cold and not being able to find the duvet. Did have a nice dream about Julie Roberts though. Not sure what it was about, just remember that she was in it.


We decide to rearrange the van before we leave, so that at least future stops may be less painful than the previous nights. I suspect that we may have a few more side-of-the road overnighters before the 2 months is up, but its not really a problem, and it does save us some money!
We may also have got ourselves sorted out properly in the van by the time 2 months is over too!

Leave the parking place at about 8am, to find somewhere to have breakfast. Travel for about 20 minutes and find a service station, with another nice restaurant/cafe. Share croissant au chocolat and phili on roll. I get my morning fix of coffee (2 in fact, to keep me going!). M charms one of the waitresses into giving him a children's coffee (frothy milk), an amaretto biscuit and a lollipop, which he ignores my pleas to not eat quite yet, and then complains that his teeth are sticking together!

M is finding this all a bit daunting I think. The van is a fascinating place for an almost 3 year old with all its switches and buttons and cupboards and nooks and crannies. Unfortunately I am so terrified that he is going to break something as it all seems rather delicate, that I seem to be saying 'Don't touch', 'No' and 'Be Careful' a rather lot. Still its just something to add to the long list of things that M seems to be currently holding against me.

My feet are swelling up quite badly, a combination of hot weather and sitting still for so long. I really hope that they aren't like this for whole of the trip. It will annoy me. Have been sitting here, trying to move them around a bit, but they still look like lumps of meat on the end of my legs. Any remedies greatly appreciated.

We hope to stop at about lunchtime and get some bread, cheese and ham for diy sandwiches, but the service station we stop at has nothing of the sort. CB radios, seat covers, dirty dvds, crisps, biscuits and sweets, but no bread.

To be continued......

….continuing this several days later so have sort of forgotten exactly what happened, except that we had planned to stop in Clausthal-Zellerfeld in Germany, but as we were making such good time we decided to continue further up the motorway to Soltau.Really glad we did, as it was a great campsite. We managed to get a pitch right next to the playground so M was happy as we made dinner and again tidied the van – its all we seem to be doing!

He managed to annoy a 9 year old by insisting on taking sand from the ramp he had just built, although the 9 year old tried to get his own back by asking us quite insistently if we had seen his blue car, looking at M all the time he was asking us!

The toilet/shower block was absolutely fabulous. Real hotel quality. The radio was constantly piped into each toilet and shower room, and they had cool family bathrooms. I can tell that I will be boring people with my appraisal of each and every campsite, of which there are going to be many, seeing as we are staying in a lot of places only one night!

Day One - Saturday 4th August

Started off at 5pm, 1 hour later than planned. Almost immediately pulled into garage as front left was looking a bit flat. Just needed some air.

After not many more kilometres, M suddenly declares that he's done pee-pee and is all wet. Sure enough, its soaked the child seat and the suede car seat. Stop to change clothes and put towel on seat. Just past Bern he does another one. Then declares that he needs a poo. Stop again. Decide that we won't make it to the first campsite until well past 8pm, so we better stop somewhere to eat. Stop at Cindy's Diner, a very authentic looking American style diner. Plans for healthy eating holiday go out the window as we have burgers and chicken nuggets and chips and things. M bullies a 9 year old into submission over the use of a Gameboy.

I feel a bit tired and have a bit of a headache, but drive part of the way anyway, because I was finding M's inability to stop shrieking at me for some reason or other rather wearing.
At 10pm we finally make it to the first campsite, but the gate is closed. Find the owner, who states that he is full, so carry on to find somewhere else. M finally falls asleep: I think he was holding out to sleep in the roof.


Decide that actually we aren't going to find a campsite, so stop at a parking layby. These places in Germany are pretty good; you can still hear the road, but some of them have toilets, picnic benches and lots of space.


Realise that we packed really badly because almost everything has to come out of the van to put the bed up. M gets posted into the roof, still asleep. A and I settle down for the night at about 11.30, after experiencing the toilet which flushes when you lock and unlock the door. Share the van with a fly and a moth.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Catch Up

Well, obviously I can't really catch up almost 6 months worth of stuff, but I can do a bit.

Starting with today:
M amazingly slept until 8am, which is unheard of (normally its 6am!) and A went into work a bit late, just cos he could.
I still haven't got dressed at 11.15am, but I don't care as we've had a good morning.
Non-existant breakfast, followed by just laying on the sofa chatting about nothing, then I read Sinbad the Sailor from Illustrated Stories for Boys which is the longest story I've ever read to M. He was flagging at the end (not really enough different pirates/dragons/monsters in it).
We then made cushion towers, and then I made us both a cup of tea and we discussed cogs in the salad spinner following on from a chat about gear sticks we had in the hire car last week.
Bringing us up to now, where predictably I am unable to type for more than a few seconds without interruptions. Why is that? And why is it that at the weekend, when A was looking after M whilst I was finally unpacking in the bedroom, A could get on with stuff in the kitchen whilst M played happily by himself. He never lets me do that!

Off to a play centre this afternoon as the weather is, once again, rubbish. Atelier finished last week - we made sure we were back from the UK in time for the last atelier session and the vernissage (an exhibition of all the kids work over the last term which you can then tear down from the walls and take home - must take pics and post) - so we have full weeks with nothing on.

Still, off to Scandinavia in 27 days for 2 months. Getting excited now. I spent a lot of yesterday (another rain-delayed day) going through the camping book we have and marking the sites on our road map, just so that even though we aren't going to book anywhere, we have a rough idea of where the nearest sites are when we are on the road. A tried to load lots of maps onto his GPS phone thingy, which worked ok until he realised that he didn't have the code anymore because he'd reinstalled it, so he had to go searching for the code to make it work. See, I still believe a good old-fashioned map is better. At least you can't lose your position due to the malalignment of the satellites or whatever it uses! OK, you can be a crap map reader, but I have more faith in my map reading abilities than in A's ability to sort out the GPS!

We're hiring this van. There seems to be so much space in it, although I'm sure I won't be saying that come the end of September! M has insisted that he won't be sleeping in the roof, which scuppers our plans a little, but we've reassured him that if he goes to sleep in the roof, we will move him to the lower bed when we go to bed. The only thing that concerns me about that is that the gas stove and the fridge, cupboards etc are in the lower part of the van, but then I would be surprised if he managed to do too much damage without me waking up, seeing as my sleeping is pathetic at the moment.

We're planning on driving up through Germany to Denmark, hoping to visit Legoland for M's birthday on the 10th Aug, then across to Sweden (on the really long bridge, can't remember what its called just now), visiting Gothenburg and Stockholm, then across to Oslo and Bergen in Norway, followed by a huge trip (probably 5 days driving) to Tromso which is in the Arctic Circle (can't quite persuade A to go up to North Cape) and then across to Finland, visiting Santa Claus at his village on the way down to Helsinki. Then take the ferry across to Tallinn in Estonia, and back home, probably going through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, and trying to avoid Russia as the van is uninsured for there. All in 2 months...... We must be mad, expecially travelling with a 3 year old who is unused to car travel, seeing as we don't actually have one!

Am planning on taking the laptop for M to watch DVDs etc, so hopefully I will be able to write a few posts about our adventures and load them up on the rare occasions we have Wifi at the campsite.

Have had a funny few days myself since coming back from the UK. I have been pretty tired even though it was a holiday (chasing around after an almost 3 year old, and waking up at 4.30 every morning in a tent is not my ideal holiday I have to say!) and M was quite grouchy as he never quite got enough sleep. Also 2 of my friends have just given birth, which while it is a fantastic occasion and congratulations to K and C, leaves me feeling a bit deflated. Being the only person in my group of mummy friends who isn't pregnant for the second time is hard to take sometimes. If it was down to nature why I wasn't pregnant, then I think I may be able to cope better, but knowing that I could be pregnant if only A would change his mind, makes it a little harder to take I think. I am trying very hard not to let my feelings show to my friends, as it is not their fault in any way, but it may be why I've been in a funny mood lately, knowing that this is the start of at least 6 births in the next couple of months.

Still, A did say never say never, so you never know!




Thursday, February 08, 2007

Where did that come from?

Sitting watching Aunty Mabel and Pippen with M, and she's looking after a rabbit.

I say that if we had a garden it might be nice to have a rabbit.
M: 'But we would have 2 bunnies, mummy'
Me: 'Maybe if we had a garden'
M: 'But I have a kitchen garden mummy'
Me: 'Really?'
M: 'A bunny and tortoise come to visit in my kitchen garden'

Where the hell does he get this from?

Monday, January 29, 2007

What did we do?

Ok, so I know that the St Anton adventure isn't finished yet, but I'll get round to it, I promise.

Just wanted to blog about what we've been doing today, mainly because I feel that if I actually write down what we do day to day, I might feel that we actually do something (or not, as the case may be, but then that may be the kick up the backside I need). Obviously, even though I say that its going to be a regular thing, as with most things I do, I won't follow through (note to self: another post might be in order here).

So today.......

Had to wait for an Ikea delivery (8am to 9.30am, they arrived at 9.05am) with new mattress. Woohoo, may actually get a good nights sleep for the first time in about a year.

Put washing in (better go get it out before it starts to smell), still got 10,000 loads to do from holiday.

Finished off the online shop that I started last night, and annoyingly (ok, so I went a little over the top with how cross I was) couldn't finish as the site kept failing and then our bb access went down. Should arrive at 7pm, which isn't bad considering last night I booked the 2.30pm slot but was convinced that I'd have to take a slot in a couple of days, and so I'd have to go to the shops, which was going to p me off even more.

Have put the new slats and mattress on the bed with a little help from M (this help consisted of him pulling the mattress over and hiding underneath, which is amusing the first 4 times, but then starts to wear a little thin).

Also semi-fixed 4 new shelves to our wardrobe which we'd ordered. We aren't really clothes hanging people, so to increase our pathetic amount of storage space, we've bought some shelves to replace the rail. I'm sure that when A gets home I will have put them in the wrong place or something.

Read M his tractor book, doing a few counting things and colour descriptions. Unfortunately there was only a maximum of 4 of any one thing in the book, so unless we were going to count fence slats (which I thought was taking it a bit far!) it was quite straightforward.

A police car going past with sirens blaring necessitated a trip to the balcony to have a look. I am so terrified that one day I'm going to throw him off, not because I feel depressed or anything, almost like I believe that some freak gust of wind is going to wrest him from my grasp and throw 11 floors to the ground below. I think some weird things sometimes.
Anyway, the police car brought forth a new word - unfortunately.
M wanted to wait outside until an ambulance and a fire engine went past to, but I had to explain that 'unfortunately they don't always travel in threes'. Cue lots of 'unfortunately', 'unfortunately' etc.

We also did some drawing which M asked to do. Sometimes I think I make things hard for myself. When he asks to do some sort of crafty thing, I believe that we have to do some fantastic creation, when really, with a small boy with the concentration span of maximum 15 minutes, something simple would probably work best.
So I got out some coloured paper (for once he chose the blue, normally its pink or red) and various crayons, pens and chalk and left him to it.

I was pretty pleased with what he did, not necessarily the drawing (although of course every drawing he does is beautiful! Lol!) but more the fact that most of the time he held the pen the right way, instead of in a fist. I think he realised himself that he had a bit more control doing it that way. His circles are also coming on, so there almost looks like some structure to his drawing. He also kept all the stuff on the table, which is a first!

We also did some train and tower building with blocks. Sometimes I think some duplo might be good, but then I know that he has more than enough toys to be getting on with.

We also listened to M's Milk and Cookies Kindermusik cd (we had to listen to one song about 8 times!). Of course if I had just said 'Let's listen to your Kindermusik cd' all would've been fine, but because I mentioned milk & cookies, I then had to go get some......

Anyway, that was a really productive morning. I think I will probably flag in the afternoon and I'm sure that A would say that I should really take a nap when M does, but the quiet time is nice. Why waste it sleeping?!

Monday, January 22, 2007

St Anton Adventure Part 1

It all started on Saturday. The 9.20 train from Lausanne. 4 train changes and 5 hours later and we arrive at our destination; St Anton am Arlberg, Austria.

The train journey was pretty good, made easier by A's DIY job on our wooden sledge. He'd taken 4 wheels from his roller blades and attached them using long screws and bolts to the runners. This meant that we had our own trolley to carry our luggage. Of course we couldn't steer it, and the sheer volume of luggage he'd insisted on bringing (we're staying in a luxury hotel, so our stay should be luxurious, apparently) meant that even on the way to the bus stop to get to the train station the bags fell off several times and we made the bus with only a minute to spare (the sight of him running up the road because he thought the no 4 that had just passed him was the no 1 was a sight to behold).

What was also good was the fact that the first train, 2 ½ hours to Zurich had a family carriage, so M could play on the slide and climbing frame to his hearts content. I find it so amusing listening to him rabbiting on at all the other kids in English, not really realising that most of the time they don't understand a word he's saying. Between A and I we understand both German and French so we can normally get the gist of what the other kids were saying. One particular exchange was particularly amusing. M was telling some small child that it was fun to hide under the slide, and why doesn't he come with M? He then proceeded to tell him that we live in Lausanne (a favourite topic of conversation with M at the moment). The poor child turned to his mother and in Swiss German said, “Mummy, why can't I understand what he's saying?”. “Because he's speaking in English, darling”. Bless her, she then asked M what his name was in English, to which he duly replied, adding to the end “and I live in Lausanne”!

The train from Zurich to Sargans, was initially not so pleasant. We only had 9 minutes to cross platforms (not a small feat with all our luggage) and I got on first with M in the buggy to find it packed out.
The entrance to the carriage was very small and there were lots of people behind me, so with M asleep I tried to go down the aisle of the carriage. However, at the entrance to the carriage proper, there was a suitcase blocking the buggy's path. There was a woman sitting looking at me, so in my halting German said, “K├Ânnen Sie...” and then indicated that maybe she could move the suitcase out of my way as I could not get past the buggy to move it, and there was a big guy directly behind me. She just looked at me and shrugged. I began to feel my blood beginning to boil. I did not need someone pretending that they had no idea what I wanted help with, someone who seemed content to let me struggle, when I knew that A was trying to get all the bags onboard, and the train was about to leave at any moment. Luckily, an English guy realised what the problem was, and cleared a path for me.
Then I had to find a seat. By this time, M was awake, albeit rather groggy. I went down the carriage and then a woman spoke to me in Swiss German and stood up. From what I could gather, she was getting off at the next stop so we could have her seats. Of course, trying to persuade M to get out of the buggy into a seat so I could fold up the buggy and get it out of the way was not an easy thing, and the young woman behind me was giving me dirty looks. By this point I almost told her that if she was so keen to get past, why didn't she just climb onto my back and leapfrog over M.
Eventually we sat down, and then I realised that the train was moving and there was no sign of A. Panicking slightly, I left a still groggy M sitting in his seat, and went back down the carriage. I found most of our bags at the entrance, but no sign of the sledge or our large case. Panicking slightly more now, particularly as A had the tickets, I went back to our seats, only to see him coming towards me. He had run out of space where we got on, and so went one carriage further up to put the rest of the stuff on!
He'd also found a spare 6 seater carriage further down the train (think the individual carriages on the Hogwarts Express!) so after all that faff of getting a seat, we moved everything, including a now sleeping M, to our 'own' carriage.

The next train to Buchs was packed, and people weren't particularly bothered that their skis, and bags were just at the right level to hit the buggy as they turned round. Luckily, M managed to sleep through it all, including the next train from Buchs to Feldkirchen.

We were expecting at some point to have to get our passports out, but it seems that no undesirables would ever imagine of doing this journey, so our passports stayed firmly in our pockets. One other advantage of going on the train was that our travel passes (giving us free travel in the whole of Switzerland on buses, trains, trams and boats) also gave us 25% discount (or was that 75% discount) on travel in Austria too, so the entire journey cost us 85CHF (about £37)!

We got off the last train in St Anton, and found our minibus to our hotel, realising with horror that we hadn't brought the carseat and once we set off, the driver seemed to tear round the corners like a maniac. We'd used the normal seatbelt to strap M in, but it was far from ideal, and something we would never normally do (I refused a lift from a neighbour from the swimming pool recently because we didn't have the car seat with us). I was concerned that the journey was a long one, and listening in on A's conversation with the driver, I was sure that he said it was going to take 10 minutes to get there, so when the car pulled up at the hotel after about 90 seconds, I was mightily relieved (turns out it takes 10 minutes to travel the length of the village).

End of part 1......(just because this is going to be long and I thought I'd tempt you with bits and pieces)