On top of that are all the fun things I want to squeeze in so that I don't feel as though all I ever do is get up, go to work, come home, rinse and repeat. Just lately though, the "other things" seem to be all happening at the same time.
This weekend we went to see a very good production by the Geneva English Drama Society (GEDS) of Ben Elton's "Popcorn".
I'm not sure how Ben Elton would sum up his play but to me it was a very clever take on how nothing in current society is anyone's fault - it is always someone else's. You have a Bonnie-and-Clyde type pair of murdering thugs who break into the home of a wealthy film director, famous for making very violent films. While not wishing to spoil it for anyone who may want to see the play, the thugs blame the film director for making them kill people - it's never their fault you see - but according to the film director, nor is it his fault, so it must be society's fault .... and on and on. I realized after a short while that I had actually read the book and while I tend always to prefer the book to the film/play, it was very well done, particularly given that they are all amateurs.
I got home about 11.30 pm and then got stuff ready for the next day where I had to be up at 4.30 a.m. to get down into a local town for a trip to Turin in Italy. The local bus services regularly put on trips to Turin as seemingly quite a few people like to go shopping there. Turin itself is only about 250 km from here BUT they are 250 mountain km so not exactly a 2-hour jaunt, more of a 4-hour stomach-churning exercise.
We went via Chamonix and the Mont Blanc tunnel - a very impressive feat of engineering I have to say, and then down through the Aosta valley and lovely Cormayeur.
I guess in total it took us 4 hours to get to Turin market. The original plan had been to visit the cathedral but since the Pope was due to visit the next day all visits to the cathedral were cancelled for security reasons. I can't say I minded though as we had a lovely time going round the market. It is what I would call a "working market" as opposed to a "tourist market" - i.e. your fruit and veg market with a separate area for fish and meat and another large area for clothes. Things were so much cheaper there than they are here in France and the fruit and veg stalls were wonderful.
Asparagus was €1 a kilo (as compared to between €5 and €8 per kilo here) and everything was so fresh and tasty. I guess the Italians bring a lot of it up from the south in the earlier part of the year as it really does appear to be sun-ripened and not picked while it is still green and left to "ripen" (i.e. become tasteless) in transport trucks. (As a side note, in 2003 a Turkish friend of ours organized a long weekend in Istanbul. It was FABULOUS, all the more so because our friend was from Istanbul and obviously knew where to take us. The food was so tasty and well prepared that apart from the tomatoes that I grow myself, I don't think I have eaten a shop-brought tomato since as there is just no taste to those perfectly-formed plastic monstrosities that they try to pass off as tomatoes in so many of the shops.)
Anyway, I bought so much stuff I ended up having to buy myself a "granny bag". Man are they great! The only thing was, I wasn't sure if it was the wheels that were squeaking or my knees!
Top all that shopping off with a lovely (cheap) spaghetti carbonara in a local restaurant, and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven!
On the way back we again stopped off in the Aosta valley at a hypermarket where many people wanted to stock up on wines, spirits and cigarettes etc. I just bought some mozarella and parmesan, which was lovely and so much cheaper than round here. So we got back around 9 pm tired but having spent a very pleasant day in Turin.
I wouldn't do it often but I think I may take the trip again just before Christmas to go to their Christmas market. Should be so pretty in the snow.
Of course, just to add to the "busy weekend" the next day was our local "neighbourhood clean-up". Once a year the group of about 25 houses in our little housing plan get together and spend a couple of hours cleaning up our own yards and common areas and then we all have pot-luck lunch together. It really doesn't take long when you have maybe 30 people pitching in and the whole area looks so nice at the end of it.
Our houses are built around a small island so that is where we all set up camp and ate together, and since the weather was great we had a lovely afternoon. Time well spent indeed, although I was glad to get back to work for a rest!!