George Clooney calls in for a coffee

Nespresso coffee machine

Here it is, my chance to see George Clooney. It all started about a week before Christmas. We had visitors and as usual a coffee was served. I do not drink coffee and Mr. Swiss just likes a cup of instant, nothing special, but the next day we had a conversation.
“I think it would be a good idea to buy a coffee machine. One of those small Nespresso machines. The Migros (local Swiss Tesco alike) has a special offer.”

“But I don’t drink coffee, it doesn’t agree with me and you only drink instant.”

“I know, but every time we have visitors we more or less have to apologise for serving instant, because we don’t have anything else.”

This was where I really had to agree. Our visitors are polite visitors and say “no problem, we like instant” but they are Swiss visitors usually and have real bean coffee flowing through their circulation. They drink our instant, but I have to put the coffee powder in the cup, pour in the boiling water, add milk (no cafe cream) and sugar or those non sugar tablet things. A neat little machine would be much more handy, your visitors have a choice and after all even my youngest son has one.

I then remembered the advertisement on the TV


Now what lady in her right mind would miss the chance of having George Clooney for a coffee.

So Mr. Swiss and I visited our local supermarket. We found they had about ten different colours for the machine we wanted. We chose the steel blue look, finding it looked quite professional. The assistant said they only had the model in that colour which was on show, but no problem. He would fetch the box and pack it for us. After a ten minute disappearance, he returned with the box. Mr. Swiss asked for the coffee capsules and we were told you can only buy them in a Nespresso shop (where I might meet George Clooney?) or order online.

It was two days before Christmas, so we knew that online ordering would not be possible for Christmas. Who cares? We were happy with our instant and me with my tea and George Clooney probably had other things to do at Christmas. We ordered the coffee on line and had a gift voucher for fifty Swiss francs, which would be enough coffee for our consumption to last a year. The coffee has not yet arrived.

Unfortunately our little town of Solothurn does not have a Nespresso shop. My son visited at Christmas, he was guest for a sleep over and informed that in the town of Biel, where he lived, they had a Nespresso shop and he could get the coffee capsules for us with no problem. Biel is only a 30 minute train journey from where we live, so we could even go to Biel ourselves with the train or car and buy our refills (and I had a chance of meeting George Clooney in the Nespresso shop?).

We are now the proud possessors of a Nespresso Pixie machine. Mr. Swiss has even drunk two cups of the coffee. All the different sorts have names, but he naturally had to try the Voluto, the one that John Malkovich likes. I had a sip and found not bad at all. In the meanwhile we even have cafe cream in little capsules, for professional serving of course. Up to now we have used one. Must check on the expiry date.

So George Clooney I am ready for your visit.

Daily Prompt: Use it or lose it

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence:

“I thought we’d never come back from that one.”

Selfscanning Migros

“Look mum, what’s that machine for?”

“That’s that new system they have in the shops to save time. After shopping you don’t have to wait for the lady to ring it up on the till. You just run that thing over the bar code on the wrapping and it does all the work.”

“You mean you won’t have to pay any more. That’s a good idea, everything for free.”

“Not quite Sara, you put your credit card in the slot at the end and it takes the money from your account. Just makes things a lot quicker.”

“Aha, but what about the lady who does the work on the till?”

“What do you mean Sara, the lady is still working on the till, but she does the work for the people that do not want to use the new machine.”

“But mum, if everyone uses that new machine, then she won’t have any work any more. I don’t think it is such a good thing.”

“The lady will still have work with the people that will not be using the machine.”

“But mum….”

“It’s modern Sara, think it comes from America. Don’t ask questions, you can even help mummy by doing it for her. I will collect the shopping and you can scan it with the machine.”

“What’s scan mum?”

“Don’t be complicated, just run it over those black stripy lines on the packing and it will register on the list. OK?”

In the meanwhile Sara and her mother were being watched by Chug and Flig on their screens on planet Floggle. They were quite excited.

“What do you think Flig, will it succeed?”

“I am sure Chug, we beamed our workers into the supermarket during the last earth night when the shop was empty. They planted the Floggle made chip into the device at the bottom left and that is exactly the one that Sarah’s mother took” said Flig

“We only have to hope that they buy the right food. I am so looking forward to my Floggle food with mayonnaise. Earth mayonnaise tastes so much fresher than Floggle mayonnaise. I am sure it is because earth chickens lay round white eggs. Our eggs are so complicated being square and green” answered Chug.

“Probably has something to do with earth chickens looking special, although I could never understand that chickens have feathers and a beak. Ours are much sweeter covered in scales with nice pointed teeth. Look Chug, the smaller earthling is walking around with our beamer, looks like we will have success.” Flig was happy, now the miniature earthling just had to choose the right article.

Sarah was quite pleased with her new toy. Now she could do the shopping for mum.

“What do we need mum?”.

“Coffee, there is a jar, just hold the machine over the bar code. See it has now registered so now to the next one.”

“That’s easy mum.” And so Sara and her mother made their was through the supermarket scanning this and that until they arrived at the shelf where the mayonnaise was.”

“How many mayonnaise do we need mum.”

“Just one.”

“But mum, something is wrong. Everytime I press mayonnaise, it turns into a hundred.”

“Perhaps you are pressing too hard.”

“Silly machine” said Sara and there was a puff of blue smoke and Sara was gone, accompanied by one hundred tubes of mayonnaise. She had quite a soft landing on planet Floggle.

“Chug, I think our technical people have made a mistake.”

“I think so as well Flig.”

“Who are you, where am I and I want my mum.” Shouted Sara.

Chug and Flig had to do some quick thinking, they could hardly keep up with the words being uttered by this minature earthling. The simultaneous translating chip in their brains was working as fast as it could.

“Don’t worry little earthling, we seem to have had a small mistake in our beamer.”

“What beamer, and who are you. I have never seen anyone with three eyes before. You both have three arms as well, and just one leg with three feet attached in a sort of triangle.”

“We are just normal Floggles, you humans look funny with your two eyes, two arms and two legs. We only wanted the mayonnaise, not a human into the bargain. Seems there was something wrong with the beamer.”

“All I was doing was shopping with my mum and using this new thingy for buying the stuff. I want to go home” and Sara started to cry.

“What shall we do Chug.”

“Looks like we will have to return this extra terrestial to her planet earth, back in the supermarket” answered Chug

“You mean beam her back” said Flig

“It is the only solution, but we will have to go with her. Let’s put her to a forgetful sleep. We don’t want this miniature earth specimen telling her fellow creatures about us, now do we?”

So Flig and Chug beamed themselves to earth with Sara. Sara was happy to be back on her planet once again.

Flig and Chug were not so happy. When the people in the supermarket saw two three eyed, three armed, one legged Floggles with three feet arranged in a triangular way, they were not treated in a friendly way.

“Sara, thank goodness, I wondered where you were” said her mother.

“I just sort of fell asleep” said Sara “don’t now why”.

“Did you find those two specimens. Look like they are in a fancy dress.” Everyone in the supermarket was staring at the two Floggles and then the chase started. Flig and Chug started running as fast as their three footed one leg could carry them.

“Where’s the beamer Chug? Beam us up.”

Chug searched in his head box (all Floggles had a box set into their head for important objects). He found the beamer and switched it on. They fell into their office again on planet Floggle, squashing a few mayonnaise tubes as they landed.

I thought we’d never come back from that one” said Chug as he licked the mayonnaise from his three feet.

Of course Sara’s mother did have an argument with the saleslady at the supermarket when she found that she had been charged for one hundred tubes of mayonnaise that she did not buy. She only wanted one tube.

Daily Post: Use it or Lose it

Daily Prompt: The Early Years

Write page three of your autobiography

Me, mum and dadMe aged 15, mum and dad

Where did pages 1 and 2 go?? Never mind, who on earth could be interested in my baby and infant years. I even found them boring. Life started with becoming a teenager. You discovered there was another sort of human (they gradually started to shave and had deeper voices). Of course, before I got to that part, a lot of other stuff happened.

“That’s the school uniform department” said mum as we entered the shop in Central London. I was not really interested in that part of the shop, they had such a wonderful section selling pets, like mice, guinea pigs and budgerigars. OK, mum was calling the cards, and was frightened of mice in any case. Looking around I saw shop dummies of children wearing green everything. There was a sort of beige blouse with a very unfashionable square collar to be worn under the green dress. And mum started buying. There were even green knickers. If I had known that going to a grammar school meant a life clothed in green I would have failed the exam. Green was just not my colour, I was more a blue type.

It could only get better. A few weeks later I was sitting in a large hall, surround by some more greenly dressed girls, singing hymns and listening to my new school headmisstress telling us this was your new school (like it or lump it?). This new school became quite old with time, six years exactly. My uniform had to be replaced now and again, as six teenage years meant you grow and grow and grow. There were a few other changes in my figure as well, but mum found explanations were not necessary. It was true, I picked up all the information that was necessary in my growing years from the older girls at the school.

Of course, I had a private life. School was out some time in the middle of the afternoon. There were a few hours for homework and then I was free, more or less. I was not really the happy go lucky dancing queen of teenage life, but now and again I had a fling. During the week I would spend the evening at home reading, looking at the TV and arguing with mum – she just did not understand the requirements of teenage life. It was Beatles and Rolling Stones days. I would be taping all the latest programmes from the radio. I even had a band full of Beatles that were discovered some years later in a BBC basement and a newly discovered record was issued. Unfortunately, although I still had my tape, it had disintegrated over the years, otherwise I might have been able to make some money out of it.

In between I would visit the local library to fill up on my reading material. The library had a good selection. Books were too expensive to buy. I was quite interested in literature even then. I sometimes wondered where I got all this information from. I think I had read every John Steinbeck book available at the time. I remember when John Steinbeck died.

“Hey mum, John Steinbeck has died” after reading it in the newspaper.

“Who’s he?”, so there we have my cultural background.

I had a very good friend at school. In spite of the distance between Switzerland and England, she is still my friend, and I usually stay with her when visiting my dad in England as she lives in the same area. We both developed a taste for football. Her father supported Leyton Orient and mine supported West Ham United. Our Saturday afternoons were spent either at Brisbane Road, where the Orient played, or West Ham’s Boleyn Ground. We could afford it, entrance fees were cheaper at the beginning of the 1960’s. However, it was tight in calculations.

“Why not walk to Brisbane Road, it would save a couple of shillings on the train fare?

So we left after lunch and walked for an hour until we reached the ground. It was quite a nice walk along the River Lea. Little did we know that some fifty years later the whole area would be hosting the Olympic games. We also walked back.

We would cut out match reports and photos of the players and stick them in an album. We played land hockey at school, because it was the nearest we could get to football. My teacher did look a bit strange when she discovered a photo of the West Ham United team on the class notice board. She never asked, but I am sure she knew it was me.

Then there were the Saturday evenings. We “backcombed” our hair until it stood a foot high on our head (it was fashion). Dressed in our mini skirts which were so tight you spent quite a time climbing into them. I was always tall, but was even taller with the stiletto four inch high hills which were fashion at the time. There were two main colours, bronz or gunmetal. I went for the bronz leather (or plastic?). We would hop on the underground and arrive at the Mecca dancing temple, in London, usually Leicester Square.

You were even asked to dance by some members of the opposite sex. The problem with Leicester Square was it was quite international. It was not my problem, but I knew I could not introduce a boyfriend to mum that basically spoke with an Italian, Maltese, or Persian accent. She would just not understand. One Saturday evening I met Eric. He was English and had a car. I was just a little bit taller than him, but I had got used to that problem. I was taller than most people.

Remember the school holidays, where we could go abroad with the school class. It was the beginning of foreign journeys and the kids whose parents were a little better financially situated, went on every holiday. I never even bothered to ask, as I knew it would not work with the money. However, one day there was a Baltic Sea cruise offered, and preference would be given to the girls that had never been on a cruise. I decided this was it. Mum said we cannot afford it (I believe it was £43 at the  time). So I found a Saturday job in the mens department of the local co-op. Every penny I earned for a Satuday job went on the cruise. So in my last year at school I was off to Russia, Sweden and Denmark. That was 1964 – and that was not the Russia of today. I had my first taste of communism.

When I returned from my first holiday abroad, school was out forever. Working days had arrived. Shorthand typist for the P & O shipping company in the pay department was my first job. After a year I worked a month in an office for car insurance.

This was all too boring for me and so I joined a temporary agency. Every week a different job in a different office and you only got an hourly salary, but the salary was twice as much as the average, so I did not mind. No holidays, or no holiday pay. I just was not bothered. This was all in the city of London. I already decided then that England was not my country, I wanted out. I wanted to learn and use my foreign languages. It was my favourite subject at school. I had learnt five years french, two years German and privately I had enlisted for Italian (two years) and a year spanish.

Around this time the first boyfriend Eric decided to go to other pastures. At first great disappointment, but a day later I was glad. I was free.

By chance I saw a job advertised in the newspaper for Switzerland. I applied and on my twentieth birthday I arrived in Switzerland with a work permit. Now that would be page 4, my learning and wander years in Zürich – but that would be more than one page.

Daily Prompt: The Early Years

Daily Prompt: Un/Faithful

Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.

St. Urs Cathedral, Solothurn (1)

It doesn’t, so that was an answer to the question. I quite like to visit old churches, they have an interesting architecture and are wonderful subjects for photography. Their history is also very interesting.

Some years ago, when the world was recovering from a second world war, I was born. My dad fought in the war for five years, came home on Friday and married mum on Saturday. Now that was faith, not having seen his bride for five years and only meeting once five years before in the pub. Mum sort of believed and it was a big white wedding with dad in his army uniform as he had no other clothes at the time. Youth clubs did not exist, discos were not yet invented and dance halls were too expensive, so you got your entertainment where it was. Social life in my part of London was organised by the church at this time. The Church of England to be exact. It was a natural developent that I was christened at our local church known as the Red Church, because of its red brick construction. The church had been standing just across the street where I grew up for many years, built 1844. So I never really asked questions and accepted my religion, as everyone believed. Today the church still stands as a building, has been deconsecrated, and has been converted into appartments.

I would just mention that the area where I originated had a very large jewish population and even my school served two meals, one kosher with their own crockery and cutlery (had a “K” engraved) and one “christian”.

As a child I was a regular visitor on Sunday morning to the church, as they had children’s services. There were various youth groups attached to the church of which I was also a member. It was still our one source of social life. Our local chuch also had nuns. I was used to those ladies in their long black clothes, and strange headdress I never had a problem. At Easter we did something called stations of the cross, where we met in the evening at the church and looked at paintings of the crucifixian and got a stamp on a card. Palm Sunday, we were giving crosses woven with palm leaves.

As time went on, a friend of mine at school joined the local Mission and asked me to come along. This was something completely different. They had a way that you really learnt what was in the bible, most of it by memory. You got little pictures to put in you bible as book marks. At the same time my grandmother and aunt became pentecostal. I once attended a pentecostal baptism. As an eleven year old this made quite an impression, and I started to think “Who is right”.

As I got older, I really only attended church for weddings and christenings and the odd funeral. I left England for another country. I spent the first two years in Switzerland living with a family that were moslem. The father was Pakistani, the mother Swiss and the family religion was moslem. This was more than forty years ago, and I had no problem. The food was Pakistani, they had an Indian restaurant, and I would not say they were completely orthodox. Wine was served now and again, and I don’t remember being starved because of Ramadan. It was another time, there were no religious problems or disputes.

So where was I eventually? I now have a niece and her husband that are buddist. My family would be Swiss reform church, although we live in a mainly catholic area (nice to cash in on all the religious holidays they have). Looking into all this religion, I made up my mind many years ago. I did not get married in a church and have never missed wearing a wedding dress or marching up the aisle. My children were chistened in the local church. They can make their own decisions on religion. So I am very happy as I am, meaning that I just do not belong or believe. If I did choose, I would probably choose Buddist as that seems to be a harmless thing. But I would probably let them down eventually.

If we leave nature to do its work, then nature copes quite well. It is only through human interruptions that things do not turn out as they should. We all know the argument that there are too many wars in the world caused by religion, but not only. No-one is perfect and with or without faith, wars will occur.

I am quite satisfied in my atheist world. I respect religion, try to be tolerant towards all beliefs. I believe this is the first time I have officially “outed” myself in this connection. It is not a big problem for me.

Daily Prompt: Un/Faithful

Daily Prompt: That Stings

Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?

This is just the bookcase in the living room. We have another in the bedroom and three in our hobby room in the cellar.

Are you sitting comfortably, then I will begin at the beginning. I do not really read a book, I devour it. My reading capacity is about two books a month, depending on what I am reading, what else I am doing, and how the time is available. Language is a bit of a thing with me, I just like to learn them. I speak German and Swiss German fluently, can converse in French and Italian and can just about get through in Russian, if the Russians do not get too complicated. In between I did a year learning Arabic, but that was just a little too much. This means that I read english books in the original written language and German books in German.

And now to Mr. Franz Kafka and his brilliant phrase about books biting and stinging. The problem being that there is actually only one book by Kafka that I discovered that  bit or stung, and that was more a novella, than a book. I read “The Trial” and could follow it quite well, but what the accused did, why and how was a mystery still at the end of the book. Of course, Kafka was trying to get something across to us all, but it just did not reach me. The story also seemed to have about 4-5 different endings, so it seemed that Mr. Kafka himself was perhaps a bit muddled on how to finish his great work. I read “The Castle” which was also a mystery, the main figure in the book never actually arriving at the castle.

So back to my stinging and biting book by Franz Kafka, which was definitely “The Metamorphosis”. I always had a taste for the strange, and when Gregor Samsa, the main figure in the book, went to bed for a sound sleep one evening and awoke, lying on his back, as a giant beetle the next morning, you have to ask what happens next. The first problem was that Gregor could not turn to stand on his six or eight new legs. And so the story continues. Shock and confusion in his average family. At first he was cared for by his sister as the only person in the household that still stood by her brother, but eventually she also gave up, so Gregor Samsa was left on his own and sadly died, sort of faded away. I think Kafka was saying, if you are different to the rest, you are not wanted and ignored. There are probably many other deep thoughts to invest in this story. I am not a professor of literature, but the story just fascinated me.

I remember one of the most biting books I ever read, at the age of fourteen for the first time (I re-read this one many times) was Dracula by Bram Stoker. My dad’s taste in literature was similar to mine, and a member of his family was given the book as a school prize. The edition was from 1915, but not a valuable one, I already checked that on Internet. The book is now approaching one hundred years, and its cover has frayed through numerous readings, but the story is still good. Nothing like the spectacular blood thirsty films. It tells a story through diaries and letters written by that characters and it all comes nicely together. I survived and never awoke to a tapping at the window on a dark night by a figure with two fangs asking for entry, nor did I ever have two marks on my neck in the morning and pillow covers with blood stains. Perhaps because I always hung some garlic on the bed post.

Now for something completely different. The Scandinavians have got me. It all started with Stig Larsson’s Millenius trilogy. I know that many have perhaps read them or seen the films, but the German translation was published long before the english. I started to read them one after the other and had long finished before they were published in English. I found the translations of the titles a bit weird in english, but the content was the same. The first book was the best for me, the second was also good, and there was a grand finale in the third, although I found it a bit long drawn out.

Scandinavians write very good criminal stories. Henning Mankell from Sweden and his Kurt Wallender police detective series, which have also been filmed for the television, are just brilliant. I read and do not watch the television so much, at least not before I have finished the book. There is also the Norwegian Jo Nesbo with his police detective Harry Hole, who tends to look a little too deep into the whisky glass now and again, but he always wins. I still have two books to read in that series. Let us not forget Denmark. Jussi Adler Olsen is just unique with his books on the Q Department of the Copenhagen police and Carl Morck, his detective. Again I have had the luck to read the books when published in German, as it takes some time until the english translation arrives.

Now to the American police, I think I have a soft spot for Harry Bosch and his half brother Mickey Haller who operates from his Lincoln car. Michael Connelly created the Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch, and the lawyer Mickey Haller. There are many books but I still have a couple to dive through.

Otherwise I love the classics. Have been catching up on Charles Dickens over the past year, after all he did have a 200th anniversary to celebrate. I at last read the “Pickwick papers”, which I really enjoyed. Not all books have to sting and bite, some can just be very amusing. I now have “A Tale of Two Cities” on the shelf. Of course, I know the story of the book, but I really want to read it from cover to cover.

Am I boring you with my book collection? I will draw to a close, but not without mentioning the fact that the Swiss also have authors worth reading. Martin Suter is probably a name that is unknown to most,  a comparatively new author. I do not even know if his books have been translated into english, but they are good. His first success was “Small World”, the main figure being an elderly gentleman that has the first signs of Alzheimer. There are connections with a successful family who have more than one skeleton in the cupboard. “The Cook” is also a very good read. The central figure is a gifted cook from Sri Lanka who is working in Zürich and turns his hand to aphrodisiac cooking with success. Of course there are many twists and turns in the story.

What am I reading at the moment? “Allmen und die Libellen” (Allmen and the dragon flies) also by the Swiss author Martin Suter, his first attempt at a detective novel.

And now to finish this blog, so that I can relax with a good book.

Daily Prompt: That Stings

Daily Prompt: Immortalized in Stone

Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?

Blog cat side view

“What do you think Mrs. Human? Seems to me that Gatto Michelangelo captured my wonderful sleek body well.”

Nera the cat was awaiting my answer.

“Uh, sorry Nera, I do not quite understand. Who is Gatto Michelangelo and what is that model of a black cat doing next to your cat cushion in front of the photo of Garfield.?”

“A model of a black cat!!! That is me in my full beauty Mrs. Human. As I live, I, me and myself. I think the great master captured my aura very well. Gatto Michelangelo is the artist for sculpturing feline figures, the best. He made a special price as he recogised my feline beauty.”

“Just a minute Nera, this object cost money? I think you had better explain.”

“There is nothing to explain Mrs. Human. I was busy with my catpad and found his web site. He is the artist for felines. All I had to do was send a photo via Internet, and pay in advance. I found your credit card and did the financial details using my CatPal account. No problem: the statue arrived today by Federal Express. Of course, it did cost a little more by using a courier service, but you have to be careful with such fragile goods. They could break, especially in the catmas post.”

“Is that your statue Nera made by the one and only Gatto Michelangelo. He really did a good job, but how comes that everything is so slim and streamlined. I thought you sent a realistic photo as your model.”

Tabby, Nera’s litter sister was now examining the figure.

“You mean I paid for this work of feline sculpture?” I was feeling quite annoyed. “And since when do you have your own CatPal account Nera.?”

“That was the easy bit Mrs. Human. It was advertised in Pawbook to join. All I had to do was fill in the details and find a sponser. I used your name and it seems that you were credit worthy.”

“You mean I financed this object?”

“It is not an object, but a work of art. Hisssss, Tabby stop sniggering behind your paw. This is a serious matter. It shows my wonderful body as it is this year, I think he has captured the sparkles in my eyes very well. You are all just jealous.”

“No, sorry Nera, but I do not think so. I have no problems in walking through the cat flap, but it seems that you have to sort give an energetic push to enter our home. How old was the photo you sent the great master. Must have been a kitten photo before your figure started to expand.”

“Tabby you are asking for a swipe of my paw.”

“All we need now is to hear the bit about it all being fluff and not fat.”

“It is fluff, and stop laughing. I find it looks very good next to the photo of Garfield with his pawprint. I might even become famous as a cat model.”

“Dream on Nera” was Tabby’s remark.

“And I am supposed to pay for this black china object. Nera, I think you went a little too far this time. The catpad was paid for with my credit card, as well as your Garfield fan club subscription. I really must agree with Tabby, it is not such a good resemblance.”

“It’s true Nera, but it is quite a significant statue. It shows how you could be if you ate just a little bit less.”

“Nera, stop scratching Tabby, that is not very nice. Tabby do not retaliate by biting Nera’s ear. Felines cool down.”

“What’s that cat figure doing on the table. Looks like that feline that does the television advertisements for that special energy food, the food you can eat as much as you like, but you stay agile.”

Fluffy, the youngest feline had arrived.

“Fluffy, that is my statue. It shows how I am. It is a pièce de résistance made by the one and only Gatto Michelangelo.”

“Errr, Nera, you mean it is you? Is this Gatto whatever short sighted, or did he lose his glasses?”

“Felines that is now enough. I now have fur all over the carpet. Stop fighting. Nera you will remove this unique statue of a slimline cat. According to the bill, it seems you will have tuna fish restrictions to your diet for the next few months, and there will be no extra goodies in between meals.”

“But, Mrs. Human”

“No buts, I have made my decision. Your catpad will be locked away.”

Nera walked off in a huff. Did I hear Tabby say to Fluffy that when Tabby’s portrait arrives, painted by the famous Picasso Chat, it will be hdden under the feline cushion until the fuss dies down???


Daily Prompt: Immortalized in Stone

Daily Prompt: Gimme

Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received? What was it?

Max sitting in the snow

Patsy was so excited. She could hardly sleep. Christmas was in two weeks and tomorrow she could visit Father Christmas and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. Mum and dad told her that Father Christmas always did what he could to fulfil all the childrens’ wishes all over the world, but she could only have one wish.

She awoke early the next morning.

“Mum, what shall I wear?”

“It’s cold outside and you will have to wrap up nice and warm.”

“But Father Christmas lives in a grotto in the big shop in the city. He only has a red jacket. I have never seen him wear a long winter coat.”

Patsy’s mum had to dig into her psychological clever answer brain to answer Patsy’s questions. She was very inquisitive, although only six years old.

“Father Christmas does not need a Winter coat Patsy, he lives at the North Pole and is used to the cold.”

“I thought there were no humans at the North Pole.”

This conversation was becoming complicated even for Patsy’s mother.

“Of course there are no humans at the North Pole, but Father Christmas is something special. He lives in his special grotto under the ice most of the year, getting the Christmas presents ready for the children. No-one sees him. He only comes out of the ice in December where he collects his reindeers and mounts his sledge.”

“Aha, but how does he get the sledge into the big shop in the High Street. I have never seen a chimney there where he can arrive.?

“It’s all magic Patsy. One of Father Christmas’s secrets.”

Later in the afternoon it was time to go.

“Help me into my coat mum, can we go?”

and Patsy was out of the front door with her mother running after her.

“Slow down Patsy, Father Christmas is there until this evening when the shop shuts.”

Patsy’s mother took her hand and they walked along the road to the underground station which took them to the centre of the city. Patsy just loved this time of the year. Decorations were hanging across the road, sparkling gold and silver.

“Look mum, the Christmas gnomes have put stars across the street”. She was so excited and then she saw the entrance to the Christmas grotto where Santa was living. Patsy was just a little bit disappointed.

“Mum do we have to pay to see him?”

Another difficult question: “Of course dear, Santa has to buy food for his reindeer and he needs money for that.”

“But I thought we always put out a bowl of milk and leave some biscuits for the reindeer when they visit us at home.”

“Yes Patsy, but there is still two weeks until Christmas, and the reindeer need food before they visit.”

“What are all those other children doing here? I thought Santa was just going to see me today.”

“That wouldn’t be a good idea. Santa just does not have the time to spare seeing only one of the children. He has to make sure that no-one is left out. Otherwise it would not be fare.”

and Patsy gripped onto her mother’s hand and waited patiently until the other children had told Father Christmas their wishes. It was now Patsy’s turn.

“Mum, can I take my coat off, it is warm here, and I cannot sit comfortable” She gave her coat to her mother and walked up to Santa.

“Ho, ho, ho” said a booming male voice from somewhere behind a bushy white beard, its synthetIc wisps reflecting the light of the colourful lights surrounding his throne.

“Hello Santa, where am I supposed to sit?”

“On my knee of course, little girl.”

“But my mum said I shouldn’t get close to strange men.”

Father Christmas looked across to Patsy’s mother, who was holding the Winter coat and had a worried expression on her face.

“Patsy it is OK. Santa is not a stranger, all the children know him” said her mother.

“Ho, ho, ho, of course. Now come and sit comfortably.”

“Santa, you smell like my dad. Do you smoke as well, my dad smokes and smells sort of cigaretty.”

“You are inquisitive little girl. Now let us not worry about things like cigarettes. You are here to answer a very important question. So tell me what would you like me to bring you for Christmas.”

“Santa. I live with my mum and dad and sometimes it can be a bit boring at home on my own. So I thought it would be a good idea for me to have a baby brother. When he grows up we can play together.”

“Oh, well let’s see” answered Santa, throwing a long glance at Patsy’s mother, who was still holding the Winter coat in front of her. Not only Santa looked at her mother, but all the other parents waiting in the queue decided to see if it was just a wish, or perhaps reality. Patsy’s mother dropped the coat suddenly, more out of shock than anything else.

There was a silence for a few minutes, and Santa’s face seemed to turn red under his beard.

Then he spoke to Patsy. “How about a nice doll for Christmas. I am sure you would love a doll with beautiful golden locks.”

Patsy turned her head and looked into Santa’s eyes and said in a nice clear loud voice “but I want a baby brother”.

“Now that is a big present little girl. I am afraid you will have to wait. I am sure when you visit next Christmas, your mum will be holding a baby brother in her arms, instead of your Winter coat. “

He looked across at Patsy’s mother and gave a sly smile through his beard.

“So time to go Patsy” she said and dragged her daughter out of the Christmas grotto.

“What do you think mum, will I get my baby brother next Christmas.?”

Patsy and her mother travelled home in silence. Patsy looking forward to next Christmas visiting Sant in his grotto with a brother in a pram,  and her mother with mixed feelings. Yes, she would have to have an intensive conversation with her husband in the evening. Decisions will have to be made.

Daily Prompt: Gimme

Daily Prompt: High Noon

At noon today, take a pause in what you’re doing or thinking about. Make a note of it, and write a post about it later.

Christmas 2012

And our Christmas decorations  just stayed cool and our Santa looked on at the stress in the kitchen.

I believe it is called “living for the moment”. At least that was my doing and thinking at noon today. It seems, however, that the Daily Prompt gurus do not realise that the countries of the world operate at different times. I receive notice of a Daily Prompt at 14.00 hours, two o’clock in the afternoon to write about my condition at midday, meaning that the time in operation on this WordPress system is two hours later than mine.

Today is Christmas Day, the day when many families, and mostly women, are busy with the final preparations of the turkey, or whatever you eat on this special day. Living in Switzerland I have all this behind me, as our main meal is Christmas Eve in the evening. I had my stress yesterday evening, cooking meat, frying potatoes, preparing and cooking brussel sprouts and vichy carrots. Why? Because it is something called Christmas. This whole thing is getting out of hand. In the olden days people were just statisfied with less. Now it is one big competition to see who serves the best meal, organises the most presents and of course the right wine has to be served. The gourmet feeding seesions continue over Christmas and I have the complete family at home, my external son will be leaving us this afternoon after lunch.

At midday today, I was cooking my Christmas Day lunch. I had just one single thought, the meat will be ready in thirty minutes, the water is heating in the saucepan to cook the noodles. I just did not have the time to make a study of the weather or solving intellectual problems. Day dreaming was not possible, as I had an oven full of meat cooking and the water was approaching boiling point. The noodle packet was opened ready for the dive into the boiling water. First of all add salt and then let the cooking process take its course. At 12.30 the dinner will be served and afterwards,perhaps a desert,  a coffee or tea and another stress process comes to an end.

If it was a normal midday, a normal week, no Christmas stress, then I would have finished the meal by midday and might even have had thoughts about what to do today. Go out to town, take a walk through the countryside, even read a book, but no chance. It is Christmas and we are all trying to do our best to please all the people all the time. I really do not need this holiday marathon. No chance to take a pause or think, just work.

At least Gary Cooper could have a shoot out with the baddies and rid himself of unnecessary trouble. He won the gun battle and everyone was happy. I will have a shoot out with the meal and afterwards recover with an hour’s sleep, before the carousel starts again.

Daily prompt: High Noon