Before anything else, I was shocked 😉 to discover that not everyone has seen my video introducing Social Anxiety Revealed. If you’re one of those unfortunate people, here’s the link you need to sort it: [See it, say it, sorted. Don’t mind me; I’m just learning the lingo. See below.]

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“It’s been an awfully long time since you last wrote a blog post,” said everyone.

“I know,” I replied, “and I’m awfully sorry, but life got in the way again.”

“You haven’t been travelling again, have you?” said everyone.

“Actually, I have.” I gave a sheepish grin. “I’ve literally spent like the last six weeks in various like places in the UK.”

“Picked up the lingo, too,” said everyone.

“Just trying to blend in. I didn’t like it when two people I met in Cardiff thought I sounded foreign. I mean… well… if I don’t sound British, then what do I sound?”

Making Welsh Cakes

Making Welsh cakes in Cardiff market

“Weird?” suggested everyone.

“Yeah, but apart from that.”

“What have you been up to?” said everyone, clumsily changing the subject.

“I went geocaching around Wittenham Clump. I did belly dancing and zumba. I walked in Devon, Cambridge, the Lake District, Chess Valley and Richmond. I travelled in cars, buses, trains, planes, a bicycle and a boat.

Cycling in Devon

“I got detrained in Newark. I know I did, because the guard said so, so I don’t care about that red squiggly line that’s appeared below the word. (And no, I don’t want to change it to detained, retained or restrained, but if you annoy me any more, Spelling Checker, you may have to restrain me to prevent me from getting detained.)

“I spent five days at an Arvon retreat and have some great ideas about how to complete one of my works in progress.

Totleigh Barton

“I ate in various restaurants, including Mexican, Italian and Indian. I ate sandwiches a little too often. I ate food on planes that I didn’t particularly like. I enjoyed home cooking that I didn’t have to prepare. The most delicious thing I ate was cheesecake in a Turkish cafĂ© in Chesham.

“I visited art museums and an old house. I saw a musical, two plays and a film.

“I read books, including one that I loved: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I also read from one out loud, while taking part in a book festival.

Reading

Reading from Neither Here Nor There

“I had two dogs and a cat on my lap… at different times. But most of all, I met and talked to lots of people and had a great time doing it. I hope they enjoyed my company, too.”

Swansea

“Sounds wonderful,” said everyone.

“It was!”

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We’ve been to Switzerland many times, with and without children. This time we did what we we always do. We rented an “apartment” – in this case one room the size of a small hotel room but with cooking facilities – and we went hiking, using our Swiss Pass to the full to get around the country on trains, buses and boats.

We had a lovely time. As we walked, we greeted the people we passed, and this is one of the fun things about Switzerland. Most of the time, we were in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, although German here is very different from the German I learned at school. The usual greeting is “Grussech” which apparently stands for “greetings to you”, but sometimes they say “greetings to everyone” or several other combinations. Some days we travelled to the French-speaking area and switched to “Bonjour.” In the Italian area, we said “Bonjourno.” The strangest walk was from the German-speaking to the French-speaking area, when we switched mid-walk.

But I want to tell you about three special encounters this time. The first was with one of the natives, and while I didn’t venture too close to her…

Me and Cow…the holiday wouldn’t have been the same without this one and all the others, crossing our paths, their bells dingling.

The second encounter was with someone you all know.

Me and Sherlock

We had a most interesting conversation together, but I couldn’t interest him in my bookmarks. I had to admit that there’s no crime to investigate in my book.

The third encounter was with this couple:

Cable car from Grindelwald to MannlichenWe got into a cable car for four and they followed us. The man said, “My country is Kuwait.” We smiled and D said, “We’re from Israel.” A few eyebrows were raised. They smiled when D spoke a few words in Arabic. We took photos of each other. That’s all.