What I Did On My Holidays, by May Aged 34-and-nearly-a-half

It’s me! I’m back! I’m alive and everything! In fact, I got back on Wednesday night, and have very rudely ignored the internet altogether while I dealt with the Great! Big! Annoying! issues that were waiting on the door-step for us. Here, for example, we have a letter telling us our water was being cut off, because we are, apparantly, to my astonishment, moving house. Cue me falling to my knees and wailing ‘but we only went to Switzerland for a week!’ while H does all the sensible things like calling the water company and repeating to them over and over and over, ‘no, there’s been a mistake. We are not moving. We are staying here,’ until some tired call-centre jockey in New Delhi confesses that an utter numb-nut had entered the wrong address on the internet database. And here we have a letter from my creative writing course people, asking me to enroll and pay my fees, you know, the fees I paid over a week ago already, also, I am totally enrolled, and I have a tutor and everything, I have emails from said tutor, and a work-book, and lectures on CD, so, seriously, WTF? And we had tickets for two concerts on Thursday. Oh, and laundry. We’d been hiking for five or six hours a day, for a week. Hoooo, boy, there is laundry.

Anyway. To Switzerland!

Holiday High Points:

  • Let us begin with the Red Menace, as I could concentrate on very little else for the first two days of the trip. The tranexamic acid worked. I bled a decorous medium-heavy amount, and brought most of my sanitary supplies untouched back to Blighty. And I did not faint or vomit at any point at all. I was feeling pretty fine by Friday morning. But see also low points.
  • Swiss public lavatories. They are so clean. They smell nice. They have toilet-roll and soap and hand-towels and air-freshener. Even on top of a freaking mountain. Even in a freaking train (though the sight of the sleepers rushing away at the bottom of the toilet-bowl is… disconcerting. As is the breeze when you sit down).
  • The old centre of Zurich is very, very, very pretty. Very. And clean. We saw one (1) sweetie wrapper lying in the street. We actually stopped and stared at it. And the swans on the lake are as white as driven snow, unlike London swans, who are usually on the Tallulah Bankhead end of the driven frozen water products spectrum. We then looked into the lake, and realised we could see the bottom. Ah. Well then. Blimey, this place is clean.
  • The view from the balcony of the Chalet of Terror. Oh. My. God. Every single time I walked past the window and caught sight of it, I’d stand transfixed. The chalet is built on the knees of a mountain, looking straight down an alpine valley dotted with little steep-roofed barns and geranium-lined farm-houses, and dinky nearly vertical patches of meadow in between the cliffs and pine-forests. At the end of the valley, a snow-white medieval church with a spire stands tiny and perfect against the blue-green slopes of the distant alps.
  • The Chalet of Terror itself. It is very nice and very swanky, and my step-Dad has thoughtfully filled it to the brim with books.
  • Hiking down the mountain for a couple of hours, to a village of enchanting prettiness, collapsing in the garden of a beautiful old hotel, begging for cake, and being bought a slab of plum tart the size of a roofing-tile, smothered in a mini-alp of collapsing whipped cream.
  • Swiss cakes generally.
  • Despite which, I lost three pounds.
  • My Mum and I got on very well indeed, and apart from a brief tantrum because I needed the loo and she needed to look at boots in shop-windows, we were thoroughly pleased with each other.
  • Being woken every morning at dawn by cow-bells as the herds go out to pasture.

Holiday Low Points:

  • My period. Though I bled much much less, the cramps were still pretty much in Torment of the Damned league. The mefenamic acid did, I admit, take the edge off, so I could walk upright and talk, but failed to restore my sense of humour, or sense of proportion, or fresh rosy complexion (I looked like curdled milk for three days. So adorable). Every time I made the mistake of thinking the mefenamic acid was a total con and a barrel of shite, it’d wear off, sometimes hours before I could take the next dose, and I’d slowly curl up like a dying leaf and stop talking altogether.
  • H and I had a Discussion, alas at about 1 am, when we were both too tired to make any sense at all. But this one probably needs a whole post of its own. (We’ve kissed and made up, don’t panic).
  • The morning I woke up after a three-and-a-half hour descent from the top of the peak opposite, all down a 4:1 grit track of extreme skiddiness, and realised I couldn’t straighten my sodding legs as my calves had seized up completely.
  • There were moments when I am not sure what prevented me from running round the living room shouting ‘will you all just go away and stop talking to me!’ These tended to occur mostly when I was trying to read a book and my In-Laws treated this as an invitation to tell me all about how they haven’t had a cold for two years thanks to the power of, possibly, smugness (I can’t be sure. It may have been healthy living and Chinese herbs. I was trying very hard not to listen).
  • Also, that little tantrum I had when on a day-trip to the nearest big town, because Mum and H were cheerfully ignoring my increasingly desperate pleas for a) a pee and b) lunch and carrying on photographing random street-corners and cooing over shoes. I am a little ashamed of just how tantrumy and adolescent said tantrum was. Nobody over the age of 21 should be allowed to say ‘no one ever listens to me!’ in public, especially not in that tone of voice.
  • Being woken every morning at dawn by cow-bells as the herds go out to pasture.

Holiday WTF Moments:

  • Swiss teenagers all carry guitars. And when school is over, they sit about in the square or on the train and play guitar at each other. However, nearly peed self laughing at sight of three youngsters playing ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ quite loudly but singing the words in teeny tiny little shy embarrassed voices. They were almost inaudible and they even had a mike. Ohhhh, bless.
  • Waking up at 3 am every single night, in a muck sweat, despite lovely fresh air wafting in from the window and absolutely everyone’s reassurance that the heating really didn’t come on in the middle of the night. My Mum has the exact same thing, but, people, she’s menopausal.
  • Seeing Boris Becker sitting at the next table when we stopped for tea in Zurich. Really! He was even limping (BB has recently had a hip operation). We acted all classy and smooth and pretended we hadn’t a clue who he was. Except for all the excited whispering and long thoughtful stares.
  • In German, I can say the following: ‘Bitte, Danke, Toiletten, Kaffee, Scheiße.’ As you can imagine, I was a conversational rock-star in Switzerland.
  • Being woken every morning at dawn by cow-bells as the herds go out to pasture.

So, I think, Red Menace 1, Chalet of Terror 0.

12 responses to “What I Did On My Holidays, by May Aged 34-and-nearly-a-half

  • Heather

    You ate cakes and lost weight…

    Even more jealous.

  • a

    That’s a good vacation – good, bad, odd, cakes, and weight loss!

    Glad you survived the Chalet of Terror.

  • Ben Warsop

    Selfishly, it is good to have you back.

  • QoB

    some more sentences for your German repertoire:

    Ich brauche eine Frauen Artzin
    (I need a female gynaecologist)


    Meine Oma hat zufiel Benzin getrunken und jetzt sie hat ausgeflipt.
    (My grandmother has drunk too much petrol and now she has exploded).

    what a quality language.

  • Womb For Improvement

    I don’t feel like I am in Europe until I have witnessed the obligatory teenagers sitting in a square / on steps with a guitar and singing Knocking On Heavens Door.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    *wipes sweat from brow*
    Darling, you survived! It appears that H was right after all.

    1) I must investigate this mefenamic acid on my own account, I think.

    2) Swiss toilets sound divine, and a distinct improvement on any of mine.

    4) 3lbs is fantastic. Surely your target weight loss must be very close now?

    5) *I* listen to you, sweetheart!

    6) I love tinkly cowbells. In their proper place, which is usually in the late afternoon as they return from pasture.

    7) I am glad you have water.

    8) I am relieved I did not cut off your leg, after all.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    It made my 8 into a smiley emoticon, the bastard thing!

  • Bexx

    Must say I had a giggle at your tantrum. Reminded me of when I petulantly stamped my foot in Tescos and whined like a teenager because hubby wouldn’t do something I asked of him. I was 26.

    He smugly reminds me of that “event” whenever I get in a strop and I now make a concerted effort to keep my feet firmly on the floor.

  • Twangy

    Mm, cake! Mm, mountains of cream, and actual mountains!
    That all sounds wonderfully fresh and alpine.

    I feel like going there myself, now.

  • Betty M

    Coming super late to this. I just love Swiss cows. I always think they have the best meadows all those fab flowers and great views. English cows have no such luck.

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