Category Archives: World

Keeping my promise

Is there anyone still out there?

It’s been a while but I made a promise to myself and thankfully I’ve kept it. We came back from our four week Australian/Tasmanian extravaganza at the end of January and I decided not to post again until I put the photos from the holidays online.

Of course, when you take 1,200 photos and 6 rolls of film it takes a while to sift through them and pick out the best bits. We’ve edited the collection and I’ve put a select few up for your perusal. You can have a look at them here!

Normal service will resume, but life is hectic at the moment making up for four weeks of beaches, wine tastings, walking, wildlife, beer, friends, camping, fishing, fairy penguins and tennis!

Bear with me!! 


A little side project

You may have noticed a little addition on the right of the page. The Daily Male is a new blog set up by 73man who has kindly invited people to contribute. So I joined up and will now do most of my venting there I think and the Swiss Job can get back to what it was created for in the first place, i.e. Switzerland and everything Swiss.

So pop across to the Daily Male and subscribe to it. Better yet, drop him an email and join in the fun. You know you want to!

Ps. The Daily Male is an equal opportunities blog and encourages applications from men, women and any combination thereof. 

Mot du jour…

I know, it’s an easy post, but I’m up against it at the moment. Here’s today’s top word:

stekelvarken – porcupine (in Dutch)

Closely followed in second place by:

schnupfen – cold/runny nose/sneezing without the wheezing! (in German)

So if you come across a dual-nationality, bilingual porcupine breeder with a poorly animal, you’ll have the necessary lingo to get by.

Don’t say I’ve never helped!

Hang on a second…

I’ve just been perusing my blogroll and reading today’s posts. I nearly choked on my mandarin segment when I saw this story on The Newish Journalism blog.

The Basel based Welfare Group for Disability and Sexuality has started recruiting “volunteers” to have sex with disabled people? My image of Basel has suddenly changed! Can a welfare group recruit people to have sex with other people? If that’s legal then where’s the line between that and everything that goes on in the red light district?

So many questions!


In my continuing efforts at international relations here in Switzerland I have been teaching the members of the lab aspects of the English language that you don’t necessarily pick up at school. This, I feel, is the least I can do to prepare them for moving abroad and to avoid the numerous pitfalls I have experienced since moving here. I’m all heart!

Obviously first up was swear words. This was the easy one and soon they were f-ing and blinding like the best of them. What they hadn’t considered was combining swear words in different combinations to get their feelings across. Soon they were stringing four to five words together in the middle of a sentence. They even came up with a few I had never even considered. I was very proud.

After, that we went through slang in various situations, we tried jive-talking (inspired by the brilliant scene in Airplane via YouTube), touched briefly on cockney slang (Lock, Stock and two Smoking Barrels, again via YouTube) and had a long listen to the dialect from my home county of Monaghan. Worth a listen:

Next up is surfer/hippy-ese. Not an area I’m that familiar with but I have been, like, totally doing my research on words like “radical”, “bodacious”, “awesome” and “totally”. Soon they’ll be cursing in a strange blend of surfer lingo and Monaghan-ese!

Review of The Pinguin

Schutzenmattstrasse 21,

The Pinguin Bar is a real hidden gem here in Basel. Located quite centrally but tucked away in a small shopping arcade, it boasts 100 beers from around the world (and the largest mustard collection of any restaurant according to the Guinness Book of Records!). We’ve frequented this place before but decided it was time to go back for an official review. So, here are the votes:

Date and time: 30/10/07 around 7.30 – 10.30pm

Location and ease of access: Located on Schutzenmattstrasse, just down the street from the Spalentor, it’s marked by a small sign and a row of beer bottles above the entrance to the arcade. As it’s still in the old town, it’s well within walking distance of the city centre. 8/10

Beer selection and prices: You can’t get much better than this! The selection is extensive and presented to you in a comprehensive menu the size of an encylcopedia. You can get everything from African banana beer to open fermented Belgian beverages. It’s like a Willy Wonka’s beer factory. The prices are suprisingly reasonable, the only drawback is that the selection on tap is poor. 10/10

Atmosphere: Generally quiet due to it’s “secret” location, there were two or three other groups in there but it’s got a sort of hidden away feeling about it which is good for a quiet few beers. 7/10

Service: The barman and I presume, owner, is a character (you’d have to be to stock 100 beers and the largest mustard collection!). He generally wanders round and talks with the locals and is responsible for getting you the beers. I’ve never seen anyone pour and present a beer with as much detail. He also tried a bit of English with us! 8/10

Smokiness: None to speak of. Top marks 10/10

Snacks: There were packets of breadsticks at each table but we didn’t try any. Not sure what other snacks were available, but I think they serve food during the day. 4/10

Furnishings: The ceilings and walls are covered with beer glasses and tankards. There are also old photos of Basel and in general an eclectic mix of beer advertisements and such. The seating is comfortable but a little too like a restaurant for my liking. 6/10

Music: No music in the background so more top marks. 10/10

“The John”: This was a real find! Possibly the best “bog” we’ve come across so far. They’re clean and decorated with brilliant cartoons of a lurid nature! Well worth a visit just for the toilets alone. They are however locked so you need to get the key from the bar counter. It’s the one with the tennis ball with “H” attached to the key! 10/10

Rated 5/5 on Nov 08 2007 by The Swiss Job
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I’m a mince pie fugitive

The top ten stupid laws in England as listed by the law society:

  1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
  2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down
  3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store
  4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned
  5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter
  6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman’s helmet
  7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen
  8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing
  9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour
  10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow

I’ve only broken one of those. See here for the list of top ten most stupid international laws. Lawyers Politicians really have too much time on their hands.