And I am not alone, despite the fact that Zoe is off trying paddle boarding in the lake.
I am surrounded by plant life.
Ever since I randomly went to an inner city gardening exhibition in Manchester some years back I have fancied myself as a bit of an urban Alan Titchmarsh, though I've never had an outside space to give it a go. Now, however, even with just a small balcony, my green fingered dreams are becoming a reality.
I actually now have quite a collection of promising vegetables growing outside our living room. At Zoe's request we did have some flowers too, though, perhaps as they don't hold as much interest for me (and because their window box is in constant sun), I couldn't have killed them quicker if I'd tried. That said, a few surviving sunflowers I grew from seed look like they are about to burst into life.
The veg crop, however, is going strong, though only thanks to the help of some very kind supporters of my new-found passion. Zoe's brother Andrew and his wife Sarita kindly provided a set of young plants to get me going. The baby tomato plants they gave me are now starting to show signs of bearing fruit and the golden courgette plant looks set to be on the verge of a bumper crop. The 'Jack-o-Lantern' pumpkin plant I was give is also doing well. Perhaps, in fact, a little too well.
A creeper, it began to escape its pot some while ago and is now threatening to take over the balcony and perhaps even the building. I think we may have a horror story on our hands if it continues this rate of growth into autumn – a pumpkin carving a building up for Halloween would be a first!
In addition, my mate Paul in Bern is a seasoned veteran of the urban veg-growing scene – he has horror stories about slugs and "tomato blight" that would make your kale un-curl! From his bumper collection he has generously provided three new varieties of tomato and a selection of chilli plants: tabasco, rueben and jalapeno.
With some coriander seeds (also from Paul), basil seeds I was given by Zoe's parents coming on well and a mint plant in fine fettle I have quite a nice little urban oasis going on within the boundaries of our little terrace. The only problem will be if Zoe keeps tripping over them, in which case my kitchen garden could become a recipe for relationship disaster. That's if the pumpkin doesn't get me first of course...
Mike Stuart moved to Switzerland in 2013 when his better half Zoë landed a job in Zurich.