bigger…smaller

the EU just got bigger today…hmm…that must mean that switzerland just got smaller, if we look at it from the other side of the fence.

question: how much smaller did switzerland get?

answer 1: before 1st may we had 15 EU members, so switzerland’s political “size” was about 6%…now we have 25 members, hence, its “size” has dropped to 4%, a loss of 40%.

answer 2: according to the eu enlargement website the 10 new EU members contribute about 105 million citizens, that’s 475 million after (and 370 million before)…so, switzerland has about 7.4 million (rounding up) …meaning that before it was population-wise about 2% the size of the EU, after it’s at 1.56%…a shrinkage of 22%.

answer 3: also, again according to the eu enlargment website before 1st may, the EU was about 3’154 thousand sq km, switzerland is about 42 thousand, which comes out at about 1.3% the size of the EU before…the EU grew by about 34% area-wise, which means switzerland now is about 1% the size of the EU…a loss of 25%.

so, over night switzerland became between 22% smaller population wise, 25% smaller area wise and 40% smaller political.

unfortunately, my taxes will probably stay the same ;=)

bushworld…

just stumbled over a very fitting op-ed in the nyt: “bushworld” (requires free registration but worth the reading)

In Bushworld, you don’t consult your father, the expert in being president during a war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can’t talk back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political purposes. (new york times)

the yoghurt bread experiment: one or two slices from it are quite ok, but a whole bread is definitely pushing it…(too much of the olive oil taste coming through, on the second day it becomes a bit like rusk, on the third day it starts lingering again…)

cleaning the windows…

the weather is fantastic: mostly sunny…the trees in front of our apartment are all of a sudden turning green — as if they’ve suddenly taken a look at their watches, realized “oh no, it’s almost may!”, and have frantically, over night it seems, put on their summer clothing.

after breakfast and having done the shopping, i decide to follow the hint of my wife that now would be a very good time to clean the windows: out with the steam cleaner and en garde, dirt!

three hours later, quite a bit knackered, even i have to admit that there is a difference between before and after

experiment of the day #1: yoghurt bread

experiment of the day #2: grilled chicken with lemon, garlic and rosemary, served with puy lentils

result #1: yoghurt bread: not yet known, lingering on the table…

result #2: a real winner, we added a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt to the recipe (when serving)

p.s.: yep, we definitely had daylight longer today than yesterday…amazing what cleaning the windows can do…

even nature takes a break in britain…

just stumbled over this interesting fact on german television (ard): some of the migrating birds who spend spring and summer in germany are not flying towards the south anymore but instead spent the winter in…the UK! scientist reckon it’s got to do with the climate change…i think it’s got to do with the beer…

17th anniversary!

today is our 17th wedding anniversary! the idea is to get the 9:35 train to zurich, change to the 9:07 to romanshorn, take the 10:35 ferry to friedrichshafen, then the 11:25 boat to meersburg — hopefully the weather will concur, the last couple of days it’s been the prototypical april weather: rain, sleet, snow, sunshine…though, to be fair, it’s also been a rather interesting sort of weather: constantly changing, at times, when the sun was running interference with the rain clouds, also very dramatic! — and we are lucky: the sun breaks through in zurich and, alternatingly chasing the clouds and being chased by them, stays with us all day mostly.

to celebrate the day i’ve obtained first class train tickets and we travel in comfort and style to romanshorn…not a lot of people are on-board the train, so it’s nice and quiet. the landscape — as ever — is beautiful, rolling hills (not really what the swiss would consider mountains yet), and early blooming trees in full swing. the ferry in romanshorn is not yet there when we get there. while we are waiting the crowd grows and soon it’s not just a few (as, for example, on a friday afternoon) but a sizable group waiting to board the ferry. we are lucky in that we manage to obtain a table in the restaurant area of the ferry for a cup of coffee…but…very quickly the restaurant fills up completely (and still people arrive from the car deck to get a table) and we end up sharing the table with others — who are a bit ennerving as they are of the logorhea variety: yackity-yackity-yackity-yackity-yackity-yackity-yackity…but: the weather is fantastic, the view towards bregenz in the east has a very turner-esque quality to it (late turner): it’s a “rainbow” of whites spanning from the surface of lake constance up to the sky …(i take a couple of pictures , but i guess i should really get a good circular pol filter: also captured a couple of reflections from the windows).

in friedrichshafen we change from the ferry to the bsb boat to meersburg…it’s become quite windy and considerably colder now, so we stay inside. still the light is fantastic and we try a couple of photos from inside but face an uphill battle against the window reflections. oh well.

in meersburg the quay is chock full with people! somehow i hadn’t realized that for most people today is not a church holiday but just a plain holiday with not much to do — except sightseeing…we fight our way through the throng of people, up to the gutsschenke where we have reserved a table to celebrate our 17th anniversary…

all in all a very, very nice day!

p.s.: i have ordered a pmc circular pol filter since…