An old photo from the Swiss family Angloswiss

Fritz, Rudolf, Hans, Oscar Gerber 1

One of the Gerber dynasty published a book about our family Gerber, tracing their developments throughout the ages. The family originates in the Emmental area of Switzerland and can be traced back to the 16th century, They were farmers, were butchers and involved in cheese production. The photo shows my husband’s grandfather on the left together with his three brothers.

This photo interested me as it shows the direct family of Mr. Swiss and was taken on 1st August 1914, the evening before the soldiers were sent to protect the Swiss borders in world war I.

The Pingbacks might return

Now do not get excited and jump up and down for joy, but me being me I leave no stone unturned and by every opportunity I asked the forbidden question. This week we were informed be WordPress How to Take a Holiday Hiatus (How to Take a Holiday Hitatus) when your days are full of Chrismas celebrations and generally making merry. A box for comments was reserved, so I jumped at the opportunity and here is a copy of the dialogue between WordPress and me.

Angloswiss: First of all thank you for the helpful hints. I post regularly at least once a day, mainly on the daily prompt, and now and again a blog in between, but like all there are times when you cannot be permanently where you should be. I host two sites on WordPress.

In connection with this I am pleased that WordPress are assisting us to inform our readers that we are absent On the other hand it is strange that no-one seems to be caring about the daily prompt. Since almost two weeks the ping backs are disabled. There is a permanent notice on the site informing that you are working on it. The grid is disabled. I miss having contact with my fellow bloggers on the daily prompt. I am used to publishing my blog and reading others. It is interesting to see what others have to say about the same theme and over time we have got to know each other and even friendships have been formed, which is the idea of a good blogging site.

Are WordPress thinking about discounting the daily prompt? Luckily we have the Reader to see what others write. I have also noticed that fewer and fewer people are contributing to the daily prompt because they feel neglected and are disappointed, having the impression that no-one cares at WordPress.

Could we perhaps have an update on the progress of the pingback system and whether WordPress are seriously considering to drop the whole thing.

Thanking you for your assistance

WordPress Editor Michelle W: Pingbacks are not disabled because they’re being abandoned, they’re disabled because they’re broken for an increasing number of bloggers and we want to make sure we get them up and running for everyone. As pingbacks fail for more people, people stop participating, so the hope is that by getting them fixed across the board, blogging will pick back up. Our developers are actively working on getting them working; it’s a persistent, WordPress-wide issue that, unfortunately, doesn’t have a quick solution. They’re currently testing some patches that we hope will fix them, at which point we’ll turn them back on for everyone; in the meantime, the Reader is your best bet. We know it’s frustrating — we’re frustrated too.

Angloswiss: Thank you for your quick reply, it is a reassurance that you are dealing with the problem. We realise how important they are, when they are no longer there.”

That is the news I now have. There seems to be a glimmer of light on the horizon, who knows? At least we have a reaction from the powers that are in WordPress and perhaps an encouragement to continue whatever.

Daily Prompt: In Due Time – the day when there was no deadline

What’s your next, most pressing deadline? Are you excited, stressed, or ambivalent about it? What’s the first thing you’d like to do once you’re done with it?

Building Site Berufschulhaus Vorstadt Solothurn

I suppose the guys working on this building site will have a deadline to complete whatever is being built, but it seems there is no-one around. They were probably taking their z’vieri (the four) which is Swiss German for an afternoon break. they are building a new school for the youngsters that are learning a trade. The old school was demolished a couple of months ago and shifted somewhere else until this one is completed. Yes, the youngsters have to meet their deadlines to complete the training for their various professions.

What is with the golden oldies, people like me that no longer work. Huh! Of course I work. This morning I cleaned the kitchen and the shower. Generally I clean the kitchen in the morning and the shower after my golden oldie sleep, but today I decided to take a risk and do it all in the morning. Mr. Swiss visited his drum room in town for a practice and I was left to my own devices. Out of boredom I decided to do it all in the morning and it worked. I even had time for a fifteen minute relaxation in a horizontal position on the bed after the work was done. That is organisation, but not a deadline.

Deadlines are something for the work force, those that have to do something and in time. I worked thirty years in export, delivering stuff all over the world, writing the export papers and organising the shipments, whether by post, rail, sea or air. I got used to it and although deadlines were 95% of the work, I took things one at a time. I never lost any sleep over it, but then I was not in charge of the department. I was just part of the working force. Was I glad to be rid of it – oh yes, I do not miss the rush and the telephone calls from customers under pressure from their bosses or companies where the machines would be on down time because something did not arrive. I remained cool, and just muttered a few profanities about the customers in silence to compensate for the stress.

One day it was all over, work was finished, you were thrown on the heap of the happy senior citizen grounds and now I could do what I wanted to. This condition has formed my life for the past six years and I am not unhappy. Deadlines are something for the newspapers, for the journalists, for the boss on the building site, and for the customers and manufacturers and that’s life.

My next deadline would be lunch for the family on Saturday. Son No. 2 and girlfriend will not be here at Christmas so we are having a pre christmas meal this week-end, but it is not a deadline, it is a family gathering, no stress.

Christmas has become a deadline for the general public over the years. In the days of my great grandparents it seemed to be a day of getting married. When I look at all the marriage certificates in my family ancestry, they all married on 25th December. This was probably because it was one of the few days during the year that they all had a holiday.

Times change and today Christmas is one of the main deadlines during the year for many. It is a deadline for business to get the orders out, to finalise the financial side of things and even the Christmas dinner in the office has become a deadline, squeezing it in somewhere between the general Christmas customs. Presents have to be bought, packed and organised – all in the name of Christmas and deadline stress. Food is arranged, but not just food. The biggest and best turkey, the best piece of beef filet and all the trimmings: order the meat a week in advance to ensure that you have it in time. Do not forget the drinks, yes, we must all drink at Christmas and invite the family. Eventually you sit beneath the Christmas tree with a well cooked meal and distribute the gifts afterwards. There are some that might even fall asleep beneath the tree after the meal, being exhausted from the preparations, mainly the females that cooked it all.

With age you begin to wonder if this is really necessary. Was it the real meaning of Christmas to go on a spending spree and logistic organisation of the presents, meal and festivities. I am an atheist so I watch on, but participate. Who am I to say I do not do it because I do not believe. Others believe and it is tradition and it is not my aim to disappoint. Perhaps I am cynical, but the Christmas deadline is really not necessary. Great grandparents Jason and Emily married on Christmas day because they were working all year. Ok, in the following January their first son was born, the first of many (16 in all approximately), but they had to wait until Christmas because all the other days were deadlined with work on the fields (Jason was a farm labourer).

Those with deadlines at the end of the year, take it easy, one day you will no longer have them. Those that are already in the golden oldie group of “no-more-deadlines”, enjoy it a long as you can. I am enjoying it. Oh, I forgot, of course I have a deadline daily, the prompt.

Daily Prompt: In Due time – the day when there was no deadline

The Grinder

Grinding on Berufsschulhaus building site

Is he planning to break into a Swiss bank, grinding his way through the thick walls? He is disguised so that on-one will recognise him. I noticed the thick clouds of dust rising and I decided to take the photo of all photos. He had a knife. He was prepared, anything could happen. This is evidence. There was a sudden pause in the work. The grinding operation was stopped and silence reigned.

“Hey Walter, is this enough?”

“Not yet, needs a few centimetres more. But time for a cigarette break Hans and a nice cup of coffee.”

“I’m with you Walter” and Hans the grinder, arose and joined his fellow workers for a break on the building site.

He lit a cigarette and coughed a few times.

“Sounds like a bad cough you have there Hans.”

“No, not so bad, must have swallowed a few mouthfuls of dust despite the mask. Will be glad when this is done and done with Walter.”

“Yes, I can believe it. Two weeks break for the Christmas holidays and then you can start  flattening the floor.”

Hans coughed some more, said a few profanities and continued grinding, still muttering under his breath.

Daily Prompt: The Object of My Dejection – the unfinished symphonies

Tell us about the object of your dejection — something you made, a masterpiece unfinished, or some sort of project that failed to meet your expectations. What did you learn from the experience? How would you do things differently next time?

Snowdrops

For the past ten years or more I do not do “made”, the computer moved in and the knitting and dress making moved out. I could tell you of the pullovers that were knitted as gifts for people I had not seen for some time, so I had to guess the size. Unfortunately someone may have shrunk in the meanwhile and knitting size XXL no longer fit. I could have saved the time and wool.

There was a time when I made all my own clothes. This was due to the fact that my size was not “normal”, but something that had not yet been seen. My arms were not even the same length and so the shoulders had to be especially formed on the garment. I also discovered that my waist line was not a line but sort of dipped at the back and rose at the front. It was annoying having to alter those standard patterns for the woman with the perfect figure. I persevered for many years and luckily I was in a group where the lady showing us how to do it was very understanding. I finished everything and the objects met my expectations. Unfortunately my body did not, it was changing all the time.

I made many quilts from garn. My mother-in-law showed me the pattern. It was just plain crocheting, two rows of the same colour and then change. It was all recycled produce from the wool of old pullovers which was unravelled and again re-used. Not a bad idea. I had at least two or three of these giant quilts, but eventually I had more quilts that places to put them on. One day I had to make room and they went to the happy quilt hunting grounds, dejected and no longer used.

As said, all these fruitless experiments with made to measure clothes and pullovers came to an end with the invasion of the computer. Computers also became dejected, replaced by something new. I remember the first computers, known as Commodore 64 and it seemed that was in 1982. I was then young and lovely, in my forties. Actually son No 2 wanted the computer, but as soon as he decided to do something more worthwhile, I took over. We soon progressed to the Commodore 128 which was perfection. Son No. 2 would insert a floppy disk and play for hours which was before the hard disk arrived. I would sit in the living room waiting for his bed time and then I would be in action. I discovered so many rifts belonging to the world of Koronis. The day of the mouse had not yet arrived and it was all done with a so-called joy stick. I cannot remember how many rifts were on this game, and I know I was always knocked out after visiting two or three, but as always little things please little minds.

My favourite game was Whizzball. An evil magician had stolen the colours from about 4-5 sceneries and the idea was to collect the colours and redo them all. First of all son No. 2 coloured them and when he was finished I did a repeat job. Who needs dejected objects when you have a computer. I do not know what ever happened to commodore. I should have kept the various computers I had at the time. The last one was an Amiga, which was more advanced. Then some guy called Bill Gates came along and it was all finished, we had to work with windows.

A current object of dejection is my super bird house, a work of art. I bought it last year and deposited it in the front garden, as the back garden already had a birdhouse hanging from the branches of the apple tree. In the meanwhile we had both gardens refurbished and decided that the mini bird houses were not suitable. The birds are untidy creatures and did not collect the seeds deposited on the ground. We had a forest of strange grasses – did I see a few cannabis plants in between? This year we did some rethinking and decided the front garden would remain barren with no bird house, but our super bird villa would be placed on the wild flower lawn between the houses. This was fine, there was room and the trees opposite were full of birds. Unfortunately the birds decided it was not within their safety range of cats and humans and sat in the trees watching, but not eating.

This morning, I had a brilliant idea. I moved the bird feeding station next to the apple tree on the other side and I had success. The birds were fighting for a front row place and my cats were watching with mouths open, although they had their own idea – The Bird House.

By the way was it my imagination or was it when I awoke from my golden oldie sleep after lunch, that there was no daily prompt. Had it been banished forever was my first thought. I was patient and in the meanwhile cleaned a few cupboard doors. When I returned to my iPad I saw it had appeared, with a different author, but who cares. The pingbacks are still lost, but we have the Reader. And now I have better things to do. I have received a few Christmas cards from various relations and friends but realised mine are still waiting to be written.

Daily Prompt: The Object of My Dejection – the unfinished symphonies

Daily Prompt: The Language of Things – I, me and myself and ……..

You have to write a message to someone dear to you, telling that person how much he/she means to you. However — instead of words, you can only use 5-10 objects to convey your emotions. Which objects do you choose, and what do they mean?

Orchids

Hello me, yes let’s be selfish. Mr. Swiss buys what he wants, my kids are also well supplied with objects of their desire and if something special is to be honoured, I could write out a few Swiss bank notes. My 99 year old dad says he needs nothing and is always asking me if I need anything, so there will not be and 5-10 objects floating around on my blog for others.

I like orchids, I collect them actually. I am always on the lookout for a special offer at the local supermarket so send me a few orchids. I would love a blue orchid. I saw them once on sale, but I was at the beginning of my orchid collection mania and did not realise the importance of a blue orchid. I always have space for them, they do not need a lot of care, just once a week a shower and once a month a dose of fertiliser. We have them in the kitchen, on the dining table and in the living room. At the last count it was 18 orchids. Mr. Swiss will not allow them in the bedroom.

Please no cut flowers, like roses or carnations in a vase. They are a nuisance. I have to renew the water and after a few days they begin to wilt and often stink. They also sprinkle their dead and dried whatever all over the table. No, orchids are my thing. They keep their flowers for 1-2 months and never die. Now and again one might stop breathing, but that is the way it is. Life is not forever and neither are orchids. I have a three year old specimen in my collection, but only possesses leaves. Perhaps I might give it the breath of life one day and it will make a new branch bearing flowers.

My next object is a new Kindle. I will buy this myself, am still saving, but all donations are gratefully accepted, If you are an Amazon member, you can just click on it as a gift for me. I also need one of those new plugs and a cover would complete it, preferably in dark blue. I know the one I want. It has to have 3g to enable me to upload books when I am in a train, in a bus, or stranded in a forest or in a different town. Think of the problem finishing a book and you are on a long journey. You have nothing more to read to pass the time with. If you are on a plane your seat neighbour might find it would be a good opportunity to strike up a conversation. What if he speaks no english, just Chinese or Urdo. Exactly, so if you have a Kindle with 3g just press a button and upload something new to read.

As I bought myself a new computer a couple of months ago, and a new iPad, you do not have to bother with that, although perhaps the newest version of Photoshop would be a good idea. I do not really need it, but why not. I love playing with computer toys.

Talking of suscriptions I saw that Apple/Mac have their own magazine, MacWorld. Something else I do not really need, but why not. I have to keep up with the newest developments.

And of course, dare I say it? My blogs seem to be examples of repetition at the moment. There is really one thing that would show what I mean to someone, or an organisation.  I miss it so much, and it would be the crowning completion of all my wishes.  I have given so much to have it. I am not asking for something that I have never paid for, in nerves, in thoughts, in my ideas, something that money cannot buy, although money is also involved once a year. I am sure you know what I want for this prompt. Good health is important, enough money to live on, but most of all, yes, my bloggy friends, here you have it – Pingback. I want a pingback. I am not greedy, just one would be enough with a direct link to the magic grid. I had many, but they were stolen, went to an early grave. I cannot give them to myself, as they are disabled. If anyone reads this please from the heart and my cyber self, then it would mean so much. I am overdoing it again? OK, you can always try after all it is all in the name of a daily prompt. And do not forget the grid, that is part of the deal, the wonderful great idea that someone had in a land far away.

Daily Prompt: The Language of Things – I, me and myself and ….

The Christmas Tree problems

Christmas tree wrapping machine

I was at the local supermarket today all on my own. Mr. Swiss had to go to the dentist and I was trusted with the car. I combined my shopping trip with a photography expedition and here are the Christmas trees ready to be put in the living room outside the supermarket. You might be asking what the machine is at the front of the photo. Perhaps it is a Swiss invention, or perhaps they are all over the world, something we imported from our American colony? It is quite clever. You put the tree in the hole on the left and push it through. At the same time the plastic net covers the tree and is sealed when the operation is finished. You have a neatly packed Christmas tree to carry home or for the boot of the car.

’Tis the time of year again, where we slaughter a few thousand Christmas trees for the annual festivities. Ok, I am not innocent. When we had all four kids at home, we had our Christmas tree in the corner with the usual decorations. On Christmas Eve, our Swiss christmas, it was surrounded with parcels with the presets and everyone was happy. It is not so custom in Switzerland to put up the tree at the beginning of December, no it is decorated and placed in its place of honour on the afternoon of 24th December. I do not know why, perhaps the Swiss reform church decided to postpone the tree until last. The reformers were not well known for being happy and festive people. They were more on the serious side of things.

I remember the first time that my mum and dad arrived in Switzerland from England for Christmas. Of course it was all a bit different, having the big meal in the evening of christmas Eve, but food is food. The only problem that my mum had was the Christmas tree. You see, we have genuine candles on the tree. None of those colourful electric strings of light flashing on and off constantly, We had about 20-30 candle holders on the branches and we lit the candles in the holders. It was very pretty to see, the flames flickering in the living room when all the lights were turned off. Only mum got nervous. She was constantly throwing glances towards the tree waiting for it to go up in flames.

Honestly speaking the firemen in Switzerland do have somewhat more to do over Christmas: quenching a flaming Christmas tree, or a Christmas wreath which has four king-sized candles. If you forget the burning candles, you might have a burnout at Christmas. We always had a bucket of water hidden behind the tree if it began to burn. Did it burn? Oh yes a few times, but you hear the crackling of the twigs and smell the delicious scent of the needles on the tree. Generally we only lost a few needles or twigs and we all survived.

Now we have a mini tree with about 8 electric lights. My two felines would prefer a full sized tree. They find it is a multi purpose claw sharpener and training column for climbing. I told them they can go climb a bush outside, but they decided it was too cold.

Enjoy your trees if you have one, otherwise you might have a tropical plant in the living room which you can decorate. I remember we had one in the office where I worked and I had the brilliant idea of hanging Chrismas chocolate on the branches. My boss was at first not so happy, but when he saw what was hanging on the branches he changed his mind, he was a chocolate lover.

Enjoy your trees and don’t forget the bucket of water if you dare to have real candles.