Nestled in the Mountains

The landscape surrounding Geneva is stunning. The Swiss Alpes line three sides of the city and on the fourth side is Lake Geneva. The setting ensures inspiring views of nature are never too far away.

Mountains complete the view down a Geneva shopping street

Mountains complete the view down a Geneva shopping street

A lower mountain range wraps around Geneva

A lower mountain range wraps around Geneva

Unexpected Recommendation

Automated systems tend to produce unexpected, odd, and sometimes concerning outcomes. Amazon’s recommendations in the UK and US stores tend to be useful or even unnervingly helpful. I suspect the large volume of sales ensures the system has a good corpus of previous purchases to work with.

So, when Amazon.fr recommended a replica gun after we bought an induction hot plate, I have to wonder, how is the French store doing in comparison to the UK or US stores?

Amazon.fr recommends a replica gun after buying a hot plate.

Amazon.fr recommends a replica gun after buying a hot plate.

We have noticed Amazon.fr lacks the stock and competitive prices of other Amazon stores. The left-field recommendation only goes to reenforce my suspicions that local Internet shopping has not yet taken off for Amazon.

Singing

There have been more than a few disturbed nights since moving to Lyon. Noise from the street or neighbours disrupting my much needed quiet.

I have learned to love silicone ear plugs. I can not sleep well in them but they let me rest, sleep for a while, and come out as soon as possible. I recently tried wax ear plugs but they did not match the noise blocking or comfort of the silicone equivalents.

What surprised me is the cause of noise. Obvious noises of a party I expected: chatter, occasional shouts, and music. What caught me out, and continues to leave me wondering, is the singing.

The locals, at least here, like to sing in groups in the early hours. We first heard them singing in the bars near our temporary accommodation. Older men singing in drunken unison. Powerful voices singing timeless songs.

That seemed endearing. A group of older men getting slowly tipsy during the night and then joining as one for a song before ambling home.

What then of students singing.

Graffiti covered doorway near Croix Rousse

Graffiti covered doorway near Croix Rousse

Our peace is broken by the odd party next door – or somewhere close by in our apartment building. Young students throwing a party that starts too late and goes on until shortly before the sun rises. Suitably unrespectable hours by all measures.

They started sining the other night. Without obvious reason or trigger. But not timeless classics; they sang the words of recent dance music favourites. It was both brilliant, hilarious, and captivating. Funny partly because the words were English and occasionally the group would fade as the lyrics became too difficult to sing but returning with force for the chorus. Captivating because the group split the roles by gender. In some songs the girls sang one part, the boys another part.

I think at least one song was older and taught to them as children. The university students sang this song particularly well.

I struggle to imagine a mixed group of students bursting into song at a party in Australia or UK. Too self aware or too constrained to risk making a fool of themselves. Drama students – absolutely. A group of female friends – absolutely but maybe not in a pub, club, or larger party.

Something charming about the singing but I wish it would not intrude during the earliest hours of the morning.

So Many Flowers

Each visit to our nearby Parc de la Tête d’Or brings a new wave of spring flowers to delight in. Our walks are filled with little detours as I wander across the grass to investigate a hint of purple here and a flash of yellow there.

A sea of daffodils

A sea of daffodils

Crocuses

Crocuses

Violets

Violets

The shaded grass beneath the trees is riddled with delicate violets.

Pink flowers

Pink flowers

Hyacinths

Hyacinths

Hyacinths. These are one of the first flowers I remember growing as a child.

Red tulips

Red tulips

These red tulips stood out amongst the predominantly purple and yellow colour palette.

Choosing Our Boardgame

As Graham mentioned, we recently bought our first boardgame since childhood. When Graham first suggested we watch TableTop, I was sceptical. The idea of watching other people play boardgames didn’t seem that interesting.

Well, I was wrong. Not only was the show entertaining in itself, it left me wanting to play. It opened up a world of games I didn’t know existed. These were not the games I grew up playing with my sister where you roll the dice and move your counter around the board. These games were more complex; they involved strategy and decision-making.

Delicate foil sculpture

Delicate foil sculpture

Deciding I wanted to buy one of these games was easy. Deciding which one to buy was difficult. I started with the list of games we had seen on TableTop. I ruled out the ones that needed more than two players, and anything involving zombies or sci-fi references I wasn’t likely to understand. I started reading through descriptions and reviews on Amazon, and came across other games to add to my list. I eventually managed to narrow it down to a handful that appealed most.

My final shortlist is below. The full list is also available.

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