Monday, 5 May 2008

At Geneva

According to Jonathan Green's Slang Dictionary, to say someone has "been at Geneva" means they have got drunk.* Well, last weekend C and I were both a Geneva for several days, but only in the literal sense, taking advantage of a meeting that C had to attend to have what I supposed could be called a "minibreak".

C lived in Geneva for 6 months as a student about 12 years ago, so it was a bit of a nostalgia trip for us, as well as giving us the opportunity to catch up with some friends who moved out there about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately it is also about twelve years since I last spent any amount of time in a French-speaking country, and to my considerable embarrassment I found that, though I could still read signs etc., I could no longer conjure up the words fast enough to speak to anyone, or at least when I thought I could, half the words that came out turned out to be Greek, so that I ended up speaking a sort of generic "Foreign" which confused everybody, including myself. However, that aside, we had a very pleasant weekend.

On the Friday whilst C was in his meeting I spent a pleasant morning wandering the shores of Lac Leman admiring the Jet d'Eau (which owing to the imminent arrival of Euro 2008 currently has an enormous inflatable football flying above it), and taking pictures of random things which appealed to me.

In the afternoon I strolled through the Old Town and across the River, past where C used to live, to the suburb of Carouge, where I sought out Tricolaine (discovered via Ravelry), and it's very lovely owner Annelis took me in, made me tea, and allowed me to stay most of the afternoon, chatting and knitting (not that I got much done), and also sold me some Debbie Bliss cotton at a very reasonable price (more of this anon when it actually starts to look like something).

The Saturday morning was spent wandering around the Botanical gardens in glorious sunshine looking at lots of lovely flowers blooming away merrily, and trying to photograph the wildlife with varying degrees of success.

The Botanical gardens also contains the most amazing carousel, with huge creatures to ride in most of which have ropes that can be pulled to make their wings flap or their legs waggle. Unfortunately, being sadly lacking in small children I didn't have an excuse to have a go on it, but we did end up coming back in the afternoon with our friends and their two year old so that she and her dad could have a ride on a very splendid-looking tortoise.

Anna is the recipient of the cardigan of many colours which some people may remember me knitting a while ago. At the time I remember being worried that by the time I finished it it would be too small. As is the way with these things, by the time I actually got to the end it was apparent that this was not going to be the case - indeed if I had missed a few meals I might well have been able to wear it myself. Still, the advantage of knitting for children is that you can be fairly sure that they will at some point pass through the size of the garment, albeit perhaps fairly briefly, and so it should get some wear sometime.** So, a good six months after it was posted, I finally got to see the cardigan in action. Still a bit on the big side, but I'm sure she'll grow into it.

Unfortunately however, all this unaccustomed hanging about in bright sunshine caused C to take on a distinctly madder hue, and so the following day, when he was still experiencing la vie en rose, we were forced to scurry from one patch of shadow to the next like a couple of holidaying vampires. Spending a large part of the morning in the (very extensive) archaeological site under the cathedral solved a lot of this problem though, and then, after lunch in the park and a brief visit to the longest park bench in the word for old times' sake, it was back to rainy Oxfordshire, having once again contrived to miss what was probably the only sunny weekend of the year in England.

*This presumably has less to do with the place than it does with GENEVA n.1: A spirit distilled from grain, and flavoured with the juice of juniper berries (i.e. gin, the name being a corruption of Dutch genever < the Old French word for juniper).

**Unless of course the child in question turns out to be 19 before reaching the requisite size for their pale blue sailor suit - but even my sizing discrepancies have yet to reach quite that order of magnitude.