Flower of the Day: 2nd May 2016 Borage

Borage

I have borage in my garden. Some say the leaves go well with a cucumber salad, but I have never tried it. I bought a paket of seeds about 3 years ago, and now it does it all itself. It seeds up about three times a year. This particular plant had buds in November and I never thought it would survive the Swiss winter, but it was a strong one and did not give up. We also had a mild winter, less frost and not very much snow. This is the result, a simple plant, but a wonderful splash of blue in the garden.

Flower of the Day: 2nd May 2016

Share Your World 2016 – Week 18

Who was your best friend in elementary school?

class-of-56-57-11-years-old TeesdaleFirst of all I had to see what elementary school is. It seems from 4-11 years old – we called it infants school in my time in England. I had a few friends. Looking back on it all, some I could count as a friend, and the others were more sort of swaying with the wind. One day they were a friend and the next they might become your enemy. Here I was about 11 years old, second row from the back, 8th from the right and this time no bow in my hair. Mum at last gave up and I had a haircut. We were a big class, baby boom years after the war when the soldiers all came home to their waiting wives.

What things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?

Funny thing about this. The only person that does things for me are family, my son and Mr. Swiss. Otherwise I am fairly independent. On a bad day I might slip and fall, and with the problem that I am no longer able to get back on my feet afterwards, unless there is a chair or something near to help, the person in question must try and put me on my feet again.

The last time it happened I was taking a photo of a horse, standing on a small slope. Ok, it was my fault, I should take photos of horses with the zoom lens. As I was obeying the laws of gravity I grabbed the nearest thing to stop me which was a fence under electricity to prevent the horses from escaping. I gripped it three times before I landed on the ground. Actually it was just pins and needles and not a bolt of lightening making my hair stand on end. Afterwards we called a taxi and I was off to the ER in the hospital. The taxi driver did it. I had to hug him and he pulled me up and put me on the seat in his taxi. There are heroes amongst us all the time. Oh, no bones broken, just a rainbow coloured foot afterwards for a week or so and now endless examinations to find out my balance problem.

If you could make a 15 second speech to the entire world, what would you say?

Anyone here speak Esperanto?

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?

I nearly missed this one. I cannot dance and I am an amazing singer, at least I think so. I would say amazing is the word to use. I hit notes that are not even known by others.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week – that I survived

This week – My pension money

Share Your World: 2016 Week 18

Daily Prompt: Music

music

Of course I like music. From the days of my childhood listening to family favourites on the radio on Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon listening to Pick of the Pops with Alan Freeman, I loved it all. I progressed to opera as a teenager and often visited Sadlers Wells Theater in London at the Angel for a nice juicy opera. I discovered Verdi and Rossini, Puccini and all the rest. Of course Covent Garden would have been better, with all the famous stars, but a teenager in London in the sixties did not have the money.

Instead of boring you with YouTube videos of my favourites which are probably not your favourites, I just took a selection of the CD’s I like to listen to and took a photo. I know today we all do streaming. I had to ask Mr. Swiss what it is called, as I am still an old fashioned golden oldie. His computer is full of music, mine is full of photos. All the same I could not resist. On the top left we have Best of Udo Jürgens who suprisingly passed away last year. Ok he was knocking on 80, but could still do a good song with his piano accompaniment: nice little songs and no problem to listen to. In the middle at the top Paolo Conte, my all time favourite Italian singer. I have all of his records and my workmates bought me a ticket (actually two, one for Mr. Swiss as well) for a concert in Bern for my birthday. It was great. Next to him on the right we have a young Billy Joel, they were all young when I listened to them. I must admit I never actually bought the record, it was again a birithday present from my son. Bottom left Tom Waits, need I say more: a great composer, singer and also poet. I am sure my blogging colleague Martha would agree. On the right at the bottom Arlo Guthrie. Actually I only got the CD for “Spirit of New Orleans” but soon realised that it was just the tip of the musical ice berg. The complete CD is a great work. This is just a summary, we all have our music tastes.

Do not ask me about todays hits as I do not have a clue. It might be that I am losing my understanding of modern youth, but I do not find it so much music as a sign of the times. Rap is ok (I like it in french), but it can be exhausting to listen to, although I have two colleagues, twins actually, who have made quite a name for themselves in our local rapping world in Switzerland. Hip Hop and Punk is also not my style, but when you are approaching 70, you prefer things quiter and less exciting. I do not think that it would benefit my muscular aches and pains.

013The man on the drums on the left is Mr. Swiss, so you can imagine what a musical world I live in. He began playing as a teenager, and still plays today as a golden oldie. He is the proud possessor of two drum sets as well as an electric one,  for the sake of the neighbours when he practices at home. He can always wear the ear phones. Otherwise he has a room in our local town where he can send out the beat to his contentment. The photo was taken at a local jam session. A friend has a farmhouse and used to have jazz concerts. The room is still there and there is often a session. This is the other part of my music education, jazz. Not the traditional stuff, but the real thing, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and his brother Nat and many others. After 47 years of marriage I would said I know all about it and it has grown on me. Mr. Swiss also meets regularly with a few colleagues for a practice. Now and again there might be a gig. The problem is when playing drums, that you cannot put them in a little case like the trumpet player and go to a concert. The drums have to be transported, assembled and when the evening is finished, again dismantled. Eventually arrive home in the early morning hours, worn out not so much from playing but all the moving work. When you are young it is no problem, but as the years go past, you tend to slow down.

I am the coincidental expert in jazz I suppose. I like a bit of everything, you have to in my family. My oldest son has a couple of thousand CD’s covering the pop music from the sixties, seventies and a bit further: so many records, I have lost touch. My youngest also has his music. I remember when he bought the CD of Nirvana, Nevermind, with the baby on the cover. It was something completely different and his mum was quite astonished. It must have been almost 20 years ago, as when searching for some backup info on this blog I just read that the baby is now 20 years old.  Nirvana: Nevermind. Yes, my son is now approaching golden oldie age, although I remember him buying the record. He must have been one of the first in Switerland to have the CD. I also remember when he was once at home recovering from an illness and spent the boring time phoning the Swiss radio station guessing the recording years of certain records. He won a token to buy records twice, but eventually gave up as he found the questions too easy, and decided he might be overdoing it.

And now I am sitting outside on the porch listening to the sounds of the birds and Mowey, my automatic lawn mower. There is music in everything really, you just have to listen.

Daily Prompt: Music

Good Morning

Fridge

The Swiss national sausage, the cervelatIt is Monday morning and the cupboard is bare. Not quite, although there is still some room. I do not think that carrots and eggs washed down with cola or milk would be ideal. Just a moment, I can see a pair of Swiss cervelat in the door. They are the ideal sausage for the Swiss. They always arrive in pairs, no sensible swiss person would ask for one cervelat. The Swiss are lost without their cervelat. It is very versatile. If you want go hiking in the Swiss mountaines, or perhaps just a path into the unknown, your are always safe with a cervelat in your Rücksack. Hunger overcomes you, you are exhausted and need something to sustain you. Take the cervelat from your backpack and remove it from the pastic packing, but do not eat it yet. First of all you have to remove the skin. It is then ready, no cooking or preparation, perhaps just a squirt from the mustard tube which you also have  with you.

There is a thing about the cervelat skins, the only part of the cervelat which is not Swiss. The skins come from Brasil as the Brasillien skin tolerances are the only suitable accompaniment to cover the cervelat. They maintain the beauty and the firmness of the Cervelat. Imagine a cervelat without this exotic skin. It nearly happened once due to a cow illness BSE when the EU (bad boys) forbid the import of these unique skins from Brasil. The Swiss wanderer was despairing, along with the Swiss housewives and the sausage filling was also worried. Even the army had problems – more later.

Cervelat saladToday everything is back to normal the skins are are again arriving from Brasil. The nice thing about a cervelat is that smeared with mustard, it can be peeled and eaten – no further preparation needed. Of course, you can fry them as well. You are always safe if you have a pair of cervelat in the fridge.  You can even make a salad with them. Prepare your dressing, peel the cervelat, slice it and into the salad bowl with it. Mix it with the sauce and you have a perfect tea for the evening. It is one of Mr. Swiss specialities. I can do it as well, but being only a paper Swiss, I do not have it in the genes.

It is the standard b-b-q lunch for a Swiss soldier. The soldiers are on one of those 25 kilometer marches and the officer tells them “Take a break men and eat”. Quickly a fire is made with branches of a tree, the cervelat is pierced with a short sharp twig, cut from a tree with a Swiss Army knife of course,  and the men sit or stand around the fire and roast their cevelat. What could be better. They might even sing a song or two to make it more enjoyable.

And another Swiss folklore episode is again blogged. Must go now, it is shopping day. Who knows, perhaps I might cook cervelat with baked potatoes for lunch, but then I will have to buy another pair of cervelat. There are three of us, and I only have 2 Cervelat.

Daily Prompt: Scars

You want to see a scar, then brace yourself. It is not pleasant and left a deep mark physically as well as mentally although me personal physician did his best with a touch of plastic surgery.

wood scar

It happened during my cooking efforts in the kitchen. I too the guillotine from the cupboard to chop some innocent parsley and it fell out of my hands. A lot of things seem to fall out of my hands these days. It left a curel brown mark in my nice white kitchen cupboard on its way down. It decided to bounce off my  cupboard door leaving a dent on the way. My beatuful cupboard door was no longer perfect, it had a scar. It left a deep imprint also on my sense of perfection. I studied this mark for at least 2 days desparing at the imperfection of the cupboard door, then one day I saw Mr. Swiss with a small bottle in his hand conntaining some sort of white fluid. Yes, this is the result. he painted the dent with white nail polish. I have never used white nail polish and neither has Mr. Swiss of course, but he once bought a small bottle for painting over small cracks. We now have an interesting dent on the door, but the colour matches the rest of the door.

scarReal scars are something completely different, but they have their positive aspects. If you have a scar you are somebody, you will be admired, people have interest in you.

“Where did you get that scar?”, “That is quite a scar you have there” “It must have been painful when it happened” are some of the remarks you collect. There is nothing better than a neat little accident. Broken bones bring the best reaction. The more complex the break, the better. If you have the luck to have a steel plate screwed onto the bone with 15 screws (as I do), even better . You will be admired, treated as a hero and then you can tell everyone aout it, you reach the pinnacle of attention.

broken arm 2Here you can see my scar that I incurred on the upper arm when I broke it. It looked much better when it was fresh. A red lined thread together with so-called stitches. I also have a photo, but found there might be a little too much technicolour to show on a children friendly web site. I just found the x-ray photo of my broken arm, fantastic. Our hospitals always give you a DVD of your scar causes as a souvenir, what a great idea. You can even invite your friends to a dia evening.

I was the center of attention and everyone wanted to see my arm when I returned to work. I also broke the lower arm a few years before. That was also very interesting as it was held together with steel wire at the elbow. Ufortunately the steel wire was removed after some time, as I fell on it and squashed it flat, which was causing a certain amount of annoyance. Yet a second scar after the wire had been removed. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the event. There is one advantage, that the scar on my upper arm continues  with an interval of a few centimeters on my lower arm. It really makes a perfect picture and completes forms a certain symmetry.

These are the scars you can see. The two scars that are hidden are more interesting and would be a great cause for admiration. They were both due to the removel of my twin brother or sister, which I deicided was not going to happen. I fought against it since I was born, but he/she only began to complain when I reached the age of 50. Let us stick to the medical name of teratoma. My teratoma was a friendly one, but decided to grow and so it was removed. It did not scream or complain but was adament and so a few years later there was a second operation because he/she decided to make a comeback. I now have a horizontal scar on my lower back through the solar plexis, very interesting,  and a verticle scar on my stomach. It is the product of two operations, one 3 hours and the other 7 hours.  I am a murderer, I paid a medical doctor assassin with my medical insurance to remove my teratoma, to kill it. The surgeon assured me that he checked it all with a microscope and there is no chance that it would regrow again. This was after he had removed the stitches on my stomach and I asked him if he wanted to sign his work or art. Some how he did not get the joke. Surgeons are humourless persons. I think he sold the story to Stephen King afterwards, but am not sure.

I quite enjoyed this blogging subject. I just love to talk about myself and the heroic deeds I have overcome in my life.

Daily Prompt: Scars

Good Morning

Dyson

Let us spare a thought on this May Day to the vacuum cleaners, here a close up portrait of my Dyson, who will be working even if it is a day of rest, known as May Day.

Today is 1st May, known as May Day in the english speaking world. In my little world which is Swiss German speaking, although we also use real German, it is known as “Tag der Arbeit” which is very controversial to my anglo translating mind as it would mean Day of the work. No-one works on 1st May, except for housewives, hospitals and other general life enhancing places. Even our police are distributing fines to falsely parked cars and ensuring that no-one robs a Swiss bank.

There are many customs attached to this day and every country has their own. In the olden days when I was still living in England, it was not celebrated by the masses. Only civil servants were rewarded with a day off work, meaning that my local library and the town hall was closed. As time went on, the workers in GB wanted what the rest of Europe already had. They looked to Moscow with their wonderful May Day parades, showing their latest rockets, tanks and other weapons, and decided what they have we want as well. GB have now joined the rest of Europe after all they are in the EU – at the moment. I do not really know what they do to celebrate, but I imagine maypoles decorated with flowers, Morris Dancers with bells on thei shoes and young maidens dancing around the Maypole. Perhaps I am wrong and everyone just does nothing.

We also have a few interesting customs in Switzerland – perhaps they also exist in other European countries. The first words from Mr. Swiss this morning were

“Everything is still OK in the garden, no mess with odd pieces of furniture and nothing taken.”

Just one of our customs where the male youth of the village remove anything we leave in the garden and collect it and perhaps replace it with the rubbish of the others. There is usually a notice somewhere telling everyone that any furniture articles missing might be found on the village square. It happened once to us a few years ago. We have a very small village square so everything is piled up. Something like this.

P1020811

Not quite. This is a photo I took of our twice a year discarded items for the special rubbish collection where you can throw anything out. Generally most of is disappears  before the garbage men arrive. There are certain groups of people touring with trucks collecting what might be useful for their own use.

The village square is a five minute walk from our home and Mr. Swiss collected it all after rummaging through the pile. I think he needed two journeys to gather it all. There is no point in reporting it to the local police, they are too busy searching for their own belongings. Perhaps a few bicycles and hats, “Now where did I put my gun?”.

There is a more civilised custom where the male youth of the village (again) put up a May Pole. This Pole is very high, almost as high as a house. On it there are photos of all the ladies of the village that achive their 20th birthday. You see them dotted all over the Swiss landscape in the villages on 1st May.

And now Mr. Swiss is celebrating the day by hoovering the living room. My celebrations also begin soon by starting to cook Sunday lunch. Today it is a veal ragout, and I like the meat to cook slowly, preparing it in my usual 5-star method.

Enjoy your May Day wherever you are, Inuit and Lapplanders, as well as our friends in deepest The Gambia. Everyone is entitled to a May Day.