July has been an exciting month for all sorts of different reasons, but notable among these were that Ella came of age with her 18th birthday and that her International Baccalaureate exam results brought her to within a point of taking up a place at Warwick University this September. She still faces a tantalizing wait for confirmation (later in August) that she has a place. She celebrated her birthday with a pool party followed by a group rush to a Zurich night club, returning in less sprightly style at 6am the next morning. On her birthday itself we all went to dinner at Papa Joe’s. She and Jessie have been working at Syngenta, their jobs kindly generated by our friend Monty. We had a dinner party for our friend Jill, who house-sat for us while we were on holiday. We went to dinner twice at the Couronne d’Or in Leymen, and we were cooked dinners by our daughters accompanied by their boyfriends, Faron and Louis, although despite the two pairs of hands each time the kitchen became a bomb site. During the brief sunny periods of the month, Jessie, Ella and Gwen each had loud pool parties. Faron’s week visiting Jessie in Basel included a trip to Reigoldswil which involved taking a cable car to the top of a cliff then free-wheeling fast down on a seat-less mountain bike; and a visit to Todtnau in the Black Forest for a 2.7 kilometer long toboggan run down a mountain, this time also with Gwen and her friend Jenny.
Alli has been taking Pilates exercises twice a week, and it seems to be working for her, if waking up stiff and back-achey every morning is an intentional outcome (although this would suggest that I am also taking the lessons, which I am not). Talking of which, I have been referred to a specialist over my knee which continues to hinder me from achieving my lifetime dedication to a healthy and fit body. The results of an MRI scan will soon be revealed.
We spent two weeks on holiday in Andalucia, where we stayed in a villa in the hills above Malaga with our friends the Davis and Steward families. The villa had many benefits but we were content mostly to lie by the pool or visit nearby sites of interest. These included the extraordinary Alhambra in Granada, trips to the beaches in Malaga, Torremolinos, Nerja and Torre del Mar and a walk around the magnificent town of Ronda. We were near Riogordo, but its river is not fat but dry, boulder-strewn and dusty – a sign that water shortages have become the norm in the region. Ella’s boyfriend Louis joined us for the first weekend and Jessie joined us after a few days in Malaga separately with her friends. I also rediscovered my admiration for the no-nonsense Spanish and for their language.
Gwen, Jessie, Ella and Lionel, Ronda, Andalucia, August 2011