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)