Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

Surprisingly, the Swiss are beginning to embrace Halloween. I really didn't believe it would be their thing. However it is probably lead by the large number of immigrants from Halloween happy countries like us. I've put out the door-sign which plays a hammy organ and says 'Beware' in a super spooky voice, a little row of skeletons and a trail of mini spiders up the stairs to our flat - we don't get many trick or treaters living off a main road and being at the top of the block of flats but the girls collar kids from school and pull them up all the steps where a big bowl of jelly frogs and some 'blood' laces. There are some good pumpkin carvings going on. I've nicked this picture (left) of an amazing creation of a friend of a friend on Facebook. How great is that? I love the film Pan's Labyrinth - a perfect Halloween movie, very violent in a couple of places but not too scary for a wus like me. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

And then autumn fell with a crash!

We were in no way prepared for the icy temperature which suddenly befell us yesterday morning - cue a mad dash home to retrieve woolly hat and gloves for my youngest at forest school. A few days ago we were in shorts and t-shirts and then this! However, I have been enjoying the headlong march into this 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' - the colours have been fantastic and we have enjoyed many  a treck through the woods, accompanied by a river side fire here and there. My son, Zac, has a wonderful eye for a picture so I have posted a few below for you to enjoy. Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Amazed and in awe at Technorama

I recently met a lovely Swiss lady and her two gorgeous daughters who invited us to accompany them to the Swiss Science Center Technorama in Winterthur today. I shouldn't have put this off for so long as it really is an amazing place but I'm glad we had such enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides for our first visit - it would be easy to miss out some of the especially good bits in one visit due to the facility's vast size and tremendous amount of interactive exhibits.

We first headed for the brilliant special exhibition 'Soundscapes' featuring the world of sounds and tones, where they come from and how we perceive them. You can make music with balls, tubes, colours, pictures and a host of other objects and there is even an audio bar where the barman serves sounds and encourages guests to join in a spontaneous jam session! The exhibition is expected to last until this time next year.

Then onto the main halls which draw amazed gasps from all first timers. It really is a visual spectacle of wonders. There was the Sound of Wood featuring giant ball runs of increasing complexity which involved a variety of imaginative methods (seesaws!) to progress the motion of the balls. The 'Magneticity' section was magic! From hovering objects (!) to Ferrofluid 'hedgehogs' showing the three-dimensionality of a magnetic field, the children were indeed spellbound.

There was Mathemagics (maths is seriously good fun) and outside a pendulum-generated swing, a floating faucet, a dancing water snake and a thoroughly entertaining wind tunnel. There were beautiful arty type moving sculptures and an amazing 'Zen' area where you could sit entranced by a ball constantly in motion trailing geometric shapes in a giant bowl of sand.

Incredible and inspiring. And the best way to get children (and of course adults) interested in maths, physics and of course, science in general.

If you haven't yet visited, do so without delay. The No.5 bus from outside Winterthur HB (opposite side of the road) leaves every 15mins Mon-Sat and takes 17 minutes, dropping you off right outside. Visitors using public transport are advised to use RailAway combined ticket offers.

Parking is free but get there early to avoid a long walk.

Admission is 27 CHF for adults and 16 CHF for children aged 6 - 15 years (0-5 free)

If you live local an annual pass is great value - 75CHF for adults and 40CHF for children.