Flower of the Day: 28.08.2016 Orchid

Orchid 26.08 (1)

I have a new orchid. Its predecessor was no longer as fresh as it should be, was losing its flowers and so I had a look at the garden department of the supermarket and saw they had a special offer on the big orchids so I decided to buy one. I wanted a white orchid for some time, but Mr. Swiss persuaded me to go for the more yellow variety.

OrchidAs you can see it is quite big. I took the photo on the left in the garden, but my cat Tabby decided she also wanted to get into the picture.

I quite like orchids because they flower for quite a time, often up to 1-2 months. They cost a little more than a flower bouquet, but flowers in a vase might last a week if you are lucky. You can keep the orchids when they have finished flowering and perhaps they might flower again, although not always. I usually choose an orchid that still has closed buds as it means to me that they are still fresh.

Since this orchid arrived last week, three new buds have opened.

Flower of the Day: 28.08.2016 Orchid

Daily Prompt: Cheat – who me, no never, almost never.

compositions 1957

Above is a photo of my english composition file that I  wrote in 1957. I just found it and read a few of my works, but decided not to reprint them here. They were not exactly prize suspicious, but my beginnings. Note the perfect handwriting, the bigger the better was the motto in school.

I don’t cheat, I am not clever enough to cheat, I leave it to the politicians and journalists. I think they attend lessons on how to cheat. If I cheated it would get too complicated, because I would probably have problems in remembering what the actual truth was and what I made up. On the other hand I have one memory of my school days where I really, intentionally, and with aboslute no guilty conscience, cheated.

It was Friday afternoon in the school. I remember it was Friday afternoon because it was then that we always had to suffer an hour of an elocution lesson with a teacher that had a name I can remeber, but will not mention it here. It was a sort of styled French name and I am sure she only put the accent on the last “e” transforming it into an “é” to make it more respectable and not sound like an unwanted insect. I learned in later life that she actually had a studio in London for teaching perfect verbal english.

I grew up in the East End of London, as most of the pupils in my school. We were all lucky enough to have passed the examination to go to a grammar school and so we had the chance of a good education. If you wanted to learn, then you were in the right place. It was the place to go if you wanted a university education after schoo, but this is all background. I did not go to university, because I did not really know what to study in any case. I entered the commercial world of shorthand and typing.

Why did I cheat in the elocution lesson? Because on that particular Friday we had a test on everything we had learned. How to breathe when speaking, how to use the right muscles in the right places and how to sound like a perfectly educated younge lady when talking. The school did not want you to sound like an Eliza Doolittle lookalike from George Bernard Shaw’s novel Pygmalian about a cockney girl that was re-educated in her manner of speaking to show people it could be done to be accepted as a lady of society, if you only spoke proper like.

No matter how I tried, my “a” still sounded like an “ay”, to he extent many years later, when married to Mr. Swiss that he asked why I always pronounced “Wales” (the country next to England) as “Wa(y)les” which I had never noticed. I was convinced my spoken english was perfect, but there are some things that embed themselves into your way of speaking that you no longer realise.

And so the test for what we remembered on how to apply the rules to speak properly began. I did not have a clue, no interest, and actually forgot all about this test. It was not an important exmination on life and death, just a check to see if we had been paying attention in the class. I was quite good at it actually. I sat innocently at my desk with my open small notebook lying on my knees so that no-one could see. And so question for question was answered perfectly as I copied everything from my notes. I was one of the A- results. I could have got an A without the -, but I did not want to overdo it. She might have got suspicious.

Thus it goes to prove that cheating does not pay off. Although I really try today to speak english like the english, my cockney accent is still lurking in the background. Most people in Switzerland do not really notice it, because their english is also not accent free. Politicians do not copy from note books, they no longer realise they are cheating.

Daily Prompt: Cheat – who me, no never, almost never.

Good Morning

Untitled

I was sitting out on the porch yesterday evening after the evening meal and everything was suddenly bathed in an orange light. I decided to check if “they were here” and looked up. I saw no spaceship but this was the sky. Of course, I captured the moment on my phone camera. Our temperatures yesterday were heat wave similar. Mr. Swiss said that “they” (the unknown creatures) had predicted some rain later, so this was probably the ouverture. This mysterious colour soon changed into something more normal and I forgot all about it. I watered the garden as it had been very hot and my plants were sort of hanging their heads, waiting for refreshment.

Nothing more happened until I was awakened around 1 o’clock in the morning with a loud crash and it seemed that the sky had opened and we were getting a general shower. It was the first rain for at least two weeks, and it was making up for lost time. We had the whole show with bangs, rain and probably bolts of lightening, although I decided not to leave my comfortable bed to watch it all. After the first bang, we heard a rattle followed by a meow. Tabby our feline had decided on another night sleeping outside until the storm began. She was faster than a Formula 1 racing car as she entered through the cat flap. Thunder for a feline must be something like a bomb exploding. Mr. Swiss decided to have a look and said she was now indoors and not very happy.

Things quietened down and to the background of falling rain I fell asleep, but Tabby was lonely, needed attention and in the early morning hours she decided to play a tune on our bedroom door with regular stratching noises. This built up into continuous meows of the moaning kind, probably translated with “let me in, you bed is more comfortable than mine”. I was tempted, but no way, otherwise you have a moaning feline forever in your bedroom every night. Either she stopped or I fell asleep, but things calmed down.  This morning she was sleeping again outside on her favourite chair of the moment. Cats seem to have short memories.

It is another bright sunny morning and despite the night’s signals that the end of the world is around the corner, things have calmed down. The garden now has enough water and it looks like it will become a nice day, although I hope not such high temperatures in the afternoon.

Have a relaxed Sunday everyone, take it easy and if your are bored, you can always write a blog about it.

Flower of the Day: 27.08.2016 Capsicum

Capsicum

Not really a flower, just seed pods, but I have never seen their flowers. They only arrive at the flower store in pots with their pretty red pepper sprouts, at least I believe they are some sort of pepper.

CapsicumThey also had this variety. Not so long and pointed, more short and stubby. I remember years ago I had a couple of plants inside. They are not really something to plant in the garden. I do not know if they are edible, but they probably are, looking something like a normal chilli pepper.

Anyhow, something completely different.

Flower of the Day: 27.08.2016 Capsicum

Discover Challenge: Designed for me and the hot weather

I remember a time when we did not have a fridge. During the summer, milk and butter was kept in a bowl of running cold water and we had something called a “safe” in the garden for perishables, although they perished all the same in the warm weather.

The first person to own a fridge was my Aunt Lil, who lived opposite. He and her husband had taken over their complete little house in the East End of London, Bethnal Green. Aunt Lil and Uncle Arthur had no children and so they had more funds at their disposal than the rest of us working class families. It was not our fridge and I could only imagine the advantages of drinking liquids with ice cubes floating in them on the hot Summer days. I remember when Aunt Lil and Uncle Arthur went on their annual two week holiday to the sea in Englan, mum found that was great as we looked after their place when they were away and we could profit from the ice cubes freezing away in their fridge. However, Aunt Lil informed mum that they were defrosting the fridge and it would be switched off whilst they were away, so that was the end of ice cube holidays.

As time went on, and prosperity arrived to the working classes of cockney East London, we bought our own fridge. At last the days of ice cubed drinks had arrived. However, it was all in the first development stages, and the ice box was small, made of metal and you had to submerge it into water to be able to remove the mini ice blocks, nothing special.

Today we all have a fridge, even a freezer and not just a small compartment in the main fridge. The unfrozen days have gone, we all get frozen with our cold drinks in Summer. And then this was invented.

Ice

Nothing special just a plastic bag, but what a super plastic bag. The inventors had thought of everything. Even if I had designed it myself, it could not have been better. The only small problem is filling the bag with water, but practice makes perfect. You can buy this plastic bags in packs of  many and at the top there is a the entrance to fill it with water from the tap. Gradually you notice the bag filling and the water enters various cube shaped compartments. Afterwards you tie a knot at the top of the bag to stop the water draining away. There is even a choice. Some bags have round shapes, and some even small, decorative small forms: perhaps stars, little pyramids or mini squares. You can make your choice. The heavy metal boxes filled with water for a maximum of 10 ice cubes were now a thing of the past,although I believe we still have one in our cellar somewhere.

Not only this, but the square segments are lightly perforated. This means that after filling with water and freezing, you can give a tug at the bag, releasing the weak seams at the sides of the cubes and voilà you have a bag of loose ice cubes ready for the drink – see photo on the lefthand side. The days of sneaking into Aunt Lil’s home for an ice cube are gone, although Aunt Lil would turn off the fridge when she was away, probably to save on the electricity bill. We now have bags of ice cubes or other such shapes in our freezer.

The only problem today is to remember to fill up a new bag when you have finished the old one. Plain and simple, but who needs expensive inventions when you can do it all with a suitably perforated ice cube bag.

Discover Challenge: Designed for me and the hot weather

Daily Prompt: Sorry, sorry, sorry, my mistake

sun shade

I am sitting on the porch and this is the view: not exactly a view, becaue the view is covered by our sun blind. If the sun is shining you protect your eyes from the sun. You make sure that you stay cool. Of course I could remain inside where there is no sun, but here there are also rules to be followed. To put you in the picture, many parts of Europe are at the moment undergoing a heat wave, daily temperatures of above 30°C.

After lunch I take a golden oldie sleep. I need this sleep. I look forward to this rest after organising life during the morning. There was a meal to be cooked, a pile of ironing to be dealt with and after lunch, you have a drink – perhaps a coffee, in my case a cup of refreshing tea, and your head slowly begins to nod, just slightly, enough to tell you that a relaxing sleep on the bed would now be ideal, after cleaning your teeth of course.

However, there are certain steps to be taken in preparation for this sleep. To escape the heat you take this sleep inside, in the bedroom. Inside has been prepared to protect the human body from the sun and the heat. It is a well known fact, amongst some people, that closing the blinds, the curtains and the windows are the ideal way to keep cool inside the appartment. This is where opinions may vary. I agree that it would be the ideal method to keep the heat outside where it would belong. On the other hand, if you need and want sleep, the dark during the day can irritate. We all have our own methods of enjoying sleep. Mine is fresh air from the outside, even if it is warm air. Although I would now make a point of mentioning that our bedroom side of home, on the Eastern side, is completely in shade from late morning until the next day. It is the Western side that we have sun from 11.00 o’clock until evening, thus the sun blind on the terrace which helps.

Now the mistake, my mistake. I go to bed for a midday sleep, open the blinds in the bedroom, open the window and relax. I cover myself with the duvet and think that life is good to me. I can breathe, relax and from 1.15 until 3.00 p.m. usually I forget the real world, but all good things come to an end, especially when you are told that due to your sleep preparations you have allowed warm air to enter the home. Not told, it is a lecture explaining the meaning of warm air protection. You have jeopardised the chances of a cool interior, but english people never did understand the intricacies of hot air protection.

There I must agree, we did not, the only hot air we had in London were the exhaust fumes from the lorries passing through the streets. The sun was to be respected, as you did not often see it, due to the clouds of environment unfriendly fumes. We opened the windows, opened the doors and celebrated the blow of air through the gaps in the door frames and window frames. We called it fresh air. The understanding of fresh air in continental Europe is something completely different. It is the air you can enjoy around 9-10 in the evening when you are again allowed to draw curtains, open windows and shades recognising the refreshment of keeping the home protected from all outside influences during the day.

Mr. Swiss and I agree on most things, we discuss matters and generally reach a decision together. The protection of the inside cool air is not one of the subjects we agree on. At the risk of making a daily mistake, I sleep after lunch with the blind and windows open and allow fresh air to enter the bedroom. Same time, same place, same discussion. and same mistake, or was it just a slight misunderstanding? I now feel refreshed and ready to go after my relaxing sleep.

Daily Prompt: Sorry, sorry, sorry, my mistake

Good Morning

breakfast table

Here we are again, although I was actually thinking of having a  computer-free day, WordPrss, blogs and even housework. My main interest was to stay in bed this morning and not leave it all day. I did not sleep very well, but sometime between dusk and dawn I must have drifted off, and then it happened. I awoke around 5.00 a.m. with the need to visit a certain place, that most of us have some time in the night – at least golden oldies do. I was a bit shaky on my feet, which now and again can happen, and promptly sat down after trying to stand up. I reached out for my cane as a help, and wanted to support myself by leaning with one hand outstretched on the wall. However, the wall was not there, it had moved during the night it seems. On the other hand I was probably standing at a wrong angle. You know how that is when you stand with an outstretched hand and only have empty air meeting you. How I did not fall I do not know. I think I made a sly movement backwards and landed on the bed, than goodness. After this experience, I decided this morning it was safer to stay in bed.

On the other hand, breakfast was calling and Mr. Swiss had already put my computer on the breakfast table. I really did not want to blog today, really did not want to make a tour de WordPress and see what everyone had written, but old habits die hard, so here we are again. I am not going anywhere today and not doing anything spectacular, so I can just as well blog.

wordpressBy the way I noticed lately that when I make a tour of the WordPress reader on my iPad I am continuously getting a little pop-up window asking me if I would increase my database size – see photo left. I really do not intend to have 10 MB of storage occupied by WordPress on my iPad and so I cancel. After cancelling the window returns. After 3-4, sometime 5-6 cancels it disappears at last. Now and again WordPress decide to update their Reader, and this stuipid, silly, idiotic window always reappears after one of their updates. I would also mention that when they do an update I find nothing new, except that WordPress Reader no longer works as well as it should. And so they do another update a few days later, probably to correct all the mistakes they made with the last update. Another probable computer example of “why fix it when it isn’t broken”. Am I alone in this misery of the increasing of the database size, or has someone else noticed it? Also my entrance to WordPress is different. I no longer have the nice comfortable dashboard with my nice organised diagram, instead I get Stats which are of no use whatesoever. Is it me or WordPress? – perhaps a silly question.

After recovering from the excitement of an almost visit to the ER at 5 in the morning, staying in bed an hour longer, and trying to ignore stupid remarks from WordPress, I am now ready to go.

Enjoy your day/night, it is the beginning of the week-end – “no work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” in the famous words of Jack Nicholson in The Shining – yes now I know why the wall disappeared in the early morning hours.