Life of Ryrie

Adventures in family life




Ascension Day meant that in our Catholic canton the children were off school for a long weekend.  We decided to make the most of our central European location and take a short(ish) trip over the border into Austria and explore Innsbruck.  I have to admit that the only thing I knew about Innsbruck was the hosting of the Winter Olympics (which the city has done twice, the last time being in 1976) but my husband has happy memories of childhood holidays spent in Igls, just 5 kilometres out of the city at the foot of the Patscherkofel mountain.

It took us about four hours to make the journey from Steinhausen; wending our way through the small, but perfectly formed, gem of Liechtenstein, before threading our way round the Arlberg Pass, rising to a height of just over 1,800 metres, and arriving in the heart of the Tyrolean Mountains at Igls.  It’s easy to imagine the bustling, hyperactivity of Igls in the winter as it seemed that every street had places to hire skis, snowboards and sledging equipment with a cable car station for the Olympic resort just a few hundred yards from the centre of the town.  However, what with it being May, skiers had been replaced with hikers and cyclists, a far more sedate crowd.  We stayed at the Sporthotel and any hotel that greets its guests with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine gets my recommendation every time, the perfect antidote to four hours in the car with the children!

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Sparkle & Shine

The children have just been lucky enough to enjoy a couple of days off from school (Ascension Day break) and so Steve and I decided to make the most of our geographical position and nipped over the border (through Liechtenstein) to Austria.  Three days, based in Igles, visiting the location of the 1976 Winter Olympics, Innsbruck.  The full account of our trip will be blogged later this week but in the meantime here is a post (written by T) about Swarovski Kristallwelten which we visited on our final day and which is twenty minutes outside of Innsbruck in Wattens.

T took along her notebook and what follows is her report on our visit (along with photos taken by both T and J)…

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Geneva Calling

“EasyJet fly direct to Bristol from Geneva.  Why don’t we go from there instead of Zurich?”  I’ll tell you why not, because it’s a three hour car drive from Steinhausen.  However, Steve and I optimistically decided that we’d be able to make the trip in about two and a half hours, just a little over the time it would usually take to travel from Gatwick to my parents home in Somerset, so the flights were duly booked.  In fairness it took us just under two and a half hours (at four in the morning) for our outbound flight.  Coming back? more like three and a half.  Before our delightful (or not) return journey with two over tired children, we did manage to make a whistle stop tour of Geneva.

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Say ‘Goodbye’ to the SHOUTY house

The last week in the UK was all about goodbyes – apologies it’s a bit late appearing on the blog but with  a week at the parents and then no internet access and general stuff happening I’ve only just got around to updating my entries.  Anyway, first it was goodbye to the house.


The wonderfully eclectic Somerset town of Frome has been our home for the last 5 years and whilst we have loved the town, the house has not been so lucky.  You know how sometimes you have a car that you keep crashing? This house was that equivalent.  So the kids went to school on Monday morning and the removal team were there by 10am.  Thankfully the Movecorp team were booked to do a full pack and ship service.  Steve had merrily gone off to Switzerland the Saturday before and so the Sunday was stress beyond belief.  You know how it is when you still have time to do stuff and the list of stuff to do just keeps getting longer but the time gets shorter?  It was that situtation.  The list became less and less realistic too, I mean was I really going to hem curtains, clear out the downstairs cupboard, convince T she didn’t need all the bits of paper she’d kept, get the pile of charity shop clothes to the closed charity shop and…? the list went on.  Anyway, the good thing was that as soon as the removal guys arrived the switch flicked – I was done, I just had to concentrate on saying farewell to our gorgeous friends.

Bidding people farewell is never easy and I have done it several times before (leaving for Uni, moving to Guildford, moving to Frome) but this time it has seemed especially difficult.  In the 5 years we have lived in Frome we have slowly built up a wonderful group of friends.  We don’t see them that much but they are people who just seem to be on the same wavelength as us.  We find each other interesting, funny, caring.  This group of friends I have shared massive emotions, experiences and lots of tears and laughter, but I know that this takes time to build, develop, nurture.  It is this I am most apprehensive about, starting again.  Finding the people you feel at ease with, those that you don’t have to think before you speak with, those gems who you know would help you fold the laundry if they just happened to call by.  I have never been particularly good at making and keeping friends.  I have always been a bit transient through people’s lives.  I am fiercely loyal but I seem able to let people go.  This is what I promise myself, and my friends, that I won’t do this time round.

The children came back at the end of day 2 of packing, the truck had left for Switzerland and as we backed the car out of the drive for the last time T piped up: “say goodbye to The Shouty House, it won’t be in Switzerland!”.  So we all shouted ‘GOODBYE’ to the house and looked forward to a new home with less shouting, more laughter and lots of friends visiting.

Never regret the things you do…

I have a new mantra in the run up to our move to Switzerland.  It keeps running through my head, it seems to always be there like white noise which every now and then I tune into.

Never regret the things you do.  Never regret the things you do.  Never regret the things you do.  Never regret… Never regret…

I’m apprehensive, excited (maybe a bit), scared (definitely).  I have to say I don’t really want to go.  I’m a Somerset girl.  I love the rolling hills, the farmers markets, the uproar over every new Tesco or housing application.  I love that my kids go to a village Church of England School, that they are developing a rolling rrrrrrr in their pronunciation of words and that Grandma and Grandad are 15 minutes away.  Why would I want any of that to change?  

I look back to the beginning of this year and Steve and I were splitting up.  Our relationship had deteriorated so much I just couldn’t carry on.  I pushed for a trial separation.  Then Steve told me about Switzerland.  A soon as he said it, I knew that this could be our salvation.  Go through a challenge together.  Yes, yes, I know we had 2 kids together but what with his working away a lot and my heart surgery, moving house and everything else that was going on, we had somehow dealt with things alone.  None of these life events had brought us together.  No regrets though about the things we had done – produced 2 great kids, bought a lovely house, had fantastic holidays pre kids – only regrets about things we hadn’t – not talked to each other, shared our fears, admitted our weaknesses.  

So, this mantra is actually proving useful.  It is making me examine everything that has gone before to see if it is actually true and it is giving me the strength to get through the next few weeks.  The strength to support my children and to find my husband again.

She’s having a wobble

“She is definitely having a wobble.  I nearly had to send her to Miss Tatum.”

This was the Thursday before the end of term.  My poor daughter, who hates change, who has struggled with separation anxiety since ‘the incident’, and yet, who is strangely assertive and confident, finally had a ‘wobble’.  I guess we had been waiting for it.  I mean, the stress of moving home, moving schools, moving countries – it was bound to come out eventually.

It’s just a shame it had to happen at school.  The ‘wobble’ manifested itself in shouting at a friend and telling another that she didn’t want to be her partner and that she wasn’t going to hold her hand.  Both incidences caused upset to other children and consequently fell under the zero tolerance policy that the school holds with regards to behaviour.  Almost a headmistress disciplinary event.

When adults get stressed, we have a shout or a rant at, or to, someone and then we generally feel a bit better.  We make lists on how to deal with our stress, to reduce our work load, to make sense of confusion.  6 year olds are still learning how to express their emotions, and indeed how to recognise their emotions.  My little, big, 6 year old doesn’t talk about things that bother her until it explodes in some mad rage.  This has meant that she hasn’t talked at all to her friends about our pending move to Switzerland which in itself would help reduce her fears.  Her friends could then make allowances for her fluctuating moods.  She hasn’t aired her worries and so when things have finally started to change she has had her ‘wobble’ in a fairly spectacular way.

T’s wobble has allowed us to talk in a more grown up way and has shown her that it is ok to say that she doesn’t want to move, that she is worried about her new school (“will anyone like me? Will my teacher be kind.”).  However, the only way I can give her reassurance is to give her a hug and tell her that I’m scared too.

Where’s Barnaby?

T has been hankering after bringing Barnaby Bear home from school for weeks, nay months now, and finally at Easter it was her dubious honour to bring said bear home for the holidays. Whilst T’s delight was obvious mine was rather more hidden as I struggled up the hill from school laden down with Barnaby, his brother, his suitcase and the two diaries in which we would be expected to record our adventures.

The responsibility of having the class Bear was enormous and I spent the evening reading through the diary to see what other families had done with Barnaby – however I stopped when I got to the child that had taken him to New Zealand! I’m afraid that the competitive Mum took over and I began to think of ways to top this amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip.  So, we went to Legoland! Not quite the same I know but I figured that given the choice where would a 5 year old want to go – see, there is method to my seeming madness!

I know that it shouldn’t have played a part in deciding what we did for the holidays but I’m afraid it did. So, I duly saved vouchers from from the cereal boxes, booked a hotel and off we set.  Barnaby and Joshua (his brother) safely ensconced in our suitcase.  Anyway we had a brilliant time, saw the Star Wars Lego, went round the mini land, even got the children (and Barnaby, of course) on to a ‘ride’.  However the responsibility of having the class bear with us was almost overwhelming at times, the cry of ‘where’s Barnaby?’ and ‘have you got Barnaby? became the quotes of the day, indeed Steve and I were almost more concerned with Barnaby’s whereabouts than with T or J’s!

Barnaby returned to school after the Easter holidays with a full diary and I am heartily looking forward to seeing what the next parent does with the class bear!

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