It seems that life has been keeping me rather busy since January. My memory of the last few months is a blur of moving into apartments, going to work, trips back to Oxford to visit Tara, going to work, IKEA, move logistics, cat transportation, going to work some more, zipping off to New York (okay, I only zipped once), both Swiss and British bureaucracy, etc, etc. I'll try and cover at least a few highlights which probably deserve their own posts.
Having stayed for most of January with some extremely hospitable and generous friends who I now feel bound to cat-sit for as required for about the next decade I finally got the keys to our apartment at the end of January. The relocation company had told me that the handover would be at 5:30pm. This is Swiss 5:30, of course, which means that you'll arrive punctually at 5:30 and everyone else will be there waiting. In fact, it turned out that the relo company person had done most of the checklist already.
The place, I noticed, was clean. Not just any old clean, but that special Swiss sort of clean. This is actually pretty nice - having on one occasion moved into a place in London which still had all kinds of grime in it including a thick coat of dried talcum-powder-and-damp emulsion on the back of the bathroom door I can relate to the Swiss obsession with making sure the place is clean when you move out. It seems only fair to me that you should leave the place in a fit state for the next occupants to be able to move in and not have to immediately spend a week cleaning. Indeed, as I walked through the door and didn't take my shoes off (the floors are wood laminate) I was politely reminded by the relocation agent that any dirt I happened to bring in with me was now my responsibility. Everyone else, I then noticed, was in their socks. I guess that maybe next time I should wear one of those white paper oversuits and boot-covers.
I still like the apartment. It's on the ground floor and has whitewashed walls that are about a foot thick. The amount of space is ridiculous - the usable floor area inside is getting on for twice that of our house in Oxford which is mostly halls and landings, and we have not one but two outdoorsy bits. First there's an enclosed yard out the back, which is fairly useful but a little close to the motorway that runs near the back of the place and therefore quite noisy. (Not a problem the inside suffers from, due to the aforementioned foot-thick walls and ferocious Swiss double glazing.) Secondly, out the front there's a good-sized patio with a lawn that's seperated by a metre-high hedge from the rest of the world. What's even better is that although it's our private space, we don't have to maintain it - someone comes and mows it and takes care of the hedges.
Now, all we need is the rest of our furniture. I've been sleeping on a futon since the beginning of February.