Alpine Mummy

A new life in the middle of nowhere


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On the road with Alpine Mummy

Giving up life in the UK and moving to the Middle of Nowhere, Lost in the French Alps (my official address), was supposed to result in a healthier, more outdoors-y life, away from the smog and grime and roads and cars and traffic that is London life.

That has half worked.

The great outdoors is so much closer to our great indoors now – we can walk and ski and cycle mountains galore without needing to ever drive for more than four and a half minutes (I’ve timed it).

But recently, I have spent a LOT of my time sitting in a car – and it makes me wonder if we can ever leave the world of traffic behind us…

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Alpine Mummy’s carefree life…

Life isn’t exactly carefree at the moment, that’s for sure.  I leave home in the dark, at 7.23 each morning, before the kids are up.  I get home in the dark, any time between 7.45 and 8.15 each evening, just as the kids are going to bed.  Well, actually, just as the kids are successfully avoiding going to bed by joining forces (for once) to create as much noise, naughtiness and general chaos as possible.26102014391 Continue reading


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Feeling forever foreign

Well I made it through my first week at work in one piece.  Bonus.  I’m absolutely exhausted (I’m really not used to this full-time work malarkey, never mind with a 3-and-a-half-hour total commute added to each day).  And a bit grumpy (nostalgically remembering what a jammy life I had before, working three days a week from home in my jogging bottoms).  But mainly, it’s just fine.

A new job in a new country has, however, made me feel funnily foreign.  All over again.

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On the move again…

I start full-time work tomorrow. Gosh.

Midweek Alpine Mummy fun will be no more. Gone are the days of frolicking in the mountains on a Monday afternoon, or cycling round the lake on a Wednesday, or spending the entire day eating cake and drinking lots of tea with other English mummies every Tuesday (and Thursday. And Friday. And… OK – I do more cake-eating and socialising than I do mountain-frolicking and cycling. Life is tough).

I think I can cope with having to wear vaguely presentable clothes every day, rather than the knackered jeans and holey t-shirts that have become my usual uniform (on the days I actually get out my pyjamas…). I can probably even cope with brushing my hair every day (I got it all hacked off on Friday to ease this pain), and I am certainly looking forward to speaking to grown-ups about things other than sick, poo, sleep, poo and sick. (Forget career aspirations – I’ll just be proud to get through a day without threatening to put my colleagues on the naughty step, or absent-mindedly spoon-feeding my boss at lunchtime…)

Anyway, all that will be fine. What I’m not looking forward to is my commute. I live about an hour and a quarter away from Geneva. More (a lot more) at peak times. I am working a full day. Every day.  I will never (and I mean never) see my kids if we stay here.

So the Alpine Family are on the move again… But where to?

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Eat, Poo, Love

Well Alpine Baby is here! Our beautiful girl made her way into the world at the end of March, bringing with her a sense of family completeness, total happiness, and constant sleeplessness.

She’s already a true Daddy’s Girl – with a headful of dark brown hair she looks nothing like me or either of my other children, and I’m constantly waiting to be stopped in the street and accused of kidnapping her whenever Alpine Papa’s not with us.

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The nine circles of hell (otherwise known as… pregnancy)

 As Alpine Papa will attest, I am not very good at being pregnant.  Not at all. 

You know those people who glow their way through pregnancy like a sunbeam, with nothing to slow them down except too much damn gushing about how they “luuuurve being pregnant” and “isn’t it amaaaaaazing”?  That’s not me.  Not at all.

Don't get confused - that's a sunbeam, that is, it's not me...

Don’t get confused – that’s a sunbeam, that is, it’s not me…

Alpine Papa is no help.  I don’t think he believes any of the suffering I am genuinely going through to bring this beautiful new life into the world.  In fact, when I moan (admittedly for the 40th time that day) about how crap being preggars is, he immediately takes great delight in pointing out how desperately I wanted to be pregnant each time, and how I would whine any time anyone I knew would dare get pregnant before me.  “Ooooh , it’s not fair”, he mocks (apparently that’s how I talk).  “So-and-so is pregnant, how come I’m not pregnant? I want to be pregnant. It’s not faaaaaaaair.  Why can’t I be pregnant? I want to be pregnant!”.

I would like to point out, though, that he is wrong.  Very.  I have never said “I want to be pregnant”, or moaned about not being. I have often whined about the fact that I want another baby and I want it now.  But that’s entirely different.  I have never had any desire to be pregnant. Why would I? It’s rubbish.

Hell in fact.  Nine months of hell.  Must have been what Dante had in mind.  Here are my nine circles of hell:

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Warning, may cause homesickness

Far from home...

Far from home…

(Note for my non-UK readers – I imagine that several of the references in this post will not make much sense to you… if so, check out the Glossary of Terms below…)

Sometimes, the warnings on medicine packets (drafted by cautious lawyers with an aversion to getting sued, no doubt) contain warnings which make you wonder if it’s actually worth taking the medicine at all.  Ibuprofen tablets, for example, tell you that one side-effect of this particular painkiller is… um, headaches.  And bottles of emollients (used to treat eczema) warn that the product may cause skin irritation.  Go figure.

And I’ve discovered that the same can be said for homesickness remedies.  I have been taking a few of these recently and have found that the side-effects do seem to include (yep, you’ve guessed it): homesickness. Continue reading


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A moment of Epiphany. With cake.

It turns out that a lot of European traditions are very similar, albeit with certain national differences.  I like that about the world – we’re all the same, really, we just pretend we’re not…

Anyway, a fellow expat blogger, Piglet in Portugal, posted recently about Boli Rei, which turns out to be pretty much the same idea as the French Galette des Rois – a tasty cake to mark Epiphany on 6 January.  Any tradition involving cake is a good thing in my book.  Hhhmmmm, cake….   Continue reading


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In which Alpine Boy gets squashed by a trolley

Cooking

Half-term holidays – cooking with Alpine Boy

Alpine Boy is currently on half term holidays for two weeks so I’m pushing my parenting skills to the limit to find something new and exciting for him to do each day.  I’ve been spoiled by two months of handing over my son to someone else between 8.30am and 4.00pm each day and, despite the fact that I love him to bits (and yes, blah blah, I know I said he saved me from loneliness etc etc), I do find myself desperately looking forward to his nap time, when the entertaining can stop for an hour or so.  Is that really bad of me?!

Anyway, I’m actually rather proud of the holiday activities I’ve provided so far (yes, ok, it’s only Friday of week one.  And yes, ok, yesterday was a public holiday so Alpine Papa was around to assist.  So that’s only four days of entertaining.  But still).  We’ve been for walks in the snow, and walks in the rain, and walks in the sunshine.  We’ve been to visit friends, we’ve had friends visit us.  We’ve made things and drawn things and painted things and stuck things and put Play-Doh all over the sofa and in our hair (well someone has.  And it wasn’t me).  We’ve cooked things and eaten things and watched DVDs.  But still, the most exciting thing to happen to Alpine Boy this week?  The supermarket trolley fell over.  With him in it. Continue reading


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Missing Corrie. Concisely.

Still raining

I am notoriously (and annoyingly) wordy in my blog-posts (why use one phrase when three will do…?).  I am therefore taking this week’s writing challenge VERY seriously by doing something completely different – cutting out ALL superfluous words.  Grab those scales – this blog is on a diet!  (OK, hang on, I’ve not started yet…)

So here it is – this week’s post. In Haiku.  Ish.

Rain and Tears, by Alpine Mummy

Raining non-stop for
34 hours, and there’s no
Corrie on TV.

Enough said.

(PS In case you don’t know, “Corrie” is the UK’s (best and) longest running soap, having been around for over 50 years.  I have been watching it obsessively for about 28 of those years.  Until now, that is, as they don’t bloody show it in France.  Unless you know me, you cannot imagine how painful that is…)