Daily Post: Burnt

Remember yesterday, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind?

Koch Villa, Solothurn

It was a nice life as long as it lasted, but it did not last. Julian was one of those men with a strong heart, perfect health and he was rich, very rich. He was not the most attractive man but his bank account was. Always dressed in his suit, shirt and tie. My taste is more just a little on the wild side, but I did not marry for a wild life.I should have thought things over before I decided to tie the knot. Being thirty years younger, I calculated that he would be gone after five years of happy marriage.

He thought the marriage was happy. I spoilt him with all I could, but he was just not the type for climbing mountains (heart attack?), hiking trip in the sun (a stroke?) or even adventurous holidays in hot climates (dehydration?). He did not leave me with a big choice.

“Darling have you lost your telephone.?”

“No Julian, just put it in my bag, I will be going out.”

“You tablet also seems to be gone from its normal place, as well as your Kindle. And why do you have your camera over your shoulder. Going out to take some pictures? I will come with you, a breath of fresh air will do me good.”

That was exactly what I did not want. Julian should stay where he is. I have a very hot surprise for him.

“Just stay put Julian. I am only going down to the river to take a few photos. There is a family of swans there, so sweet. I thought I would sit a little in the sun with my Kindle and read a book. I always take my mobile with me and my tablet allows me to keep touch with any e-mails. In any case I think you should stay here, your sister said she would be calling this morning.”

“OK, dear, as you say. By the way what is that noise, sounds like something is hissing somewhere.”

“I can’t hear anything. You must be imagining it.”

That was when I got a little bit worried. I had turned the gas on in the kitchen and closed the windows. Thank goodness our gas was odourless, otherwise he might have smelt the devious plan I had.

“OK, but don’t be too long, I am sure my sister would love to see you.”

I am sure she would, she hates me and I hate her. She somehow has the idea I only married him for his money. Wonder where she got that from? I was earning my money legally before I met him, but it seemed that being a stripper in a night club was not what she expected from her future sister-in-law.

Now I had to hurry, otherwise she would arrive and I definitely did not want to be here when she pressed the doorbell. I just thought, killing two birds with one spark from the doorbell was ideal.

“Bye Julian” and I gave him a peck on his cheek, avoiding the waft of his breath. He always smelt of garlic, one of this favourite foods. Everything had to be cooked with garlic. It was a wonder he did not squash it into his morning coffee.  At least I wouln’t have that smell to welcome me in the morning. I had to put up with a lot over the years. What I had to suffer to earn a good life.

As I left I saw his sister’s car arriving. Our villa was on a hill and you could see all approaching traffic. I walked down the path to the river, went to my favourite bench and called Joe.

“How is the plan going dear?”

“No problem Joe” and before she could talk further a trememdous crash echoed sending the swans to the other side of the river, and the crows in the trees scattered in all directions.

“What was that?”

“I think that was the last we will ever hear from Julian and his sister.”

“You mean the plan has worked” said Joe.

“Yes dear, I am free. I will so miss my wonderful designer clothes and the sports car, but you cannot take everything with you. It would be suspicious. I will now have you Joe, but we have to be patient. Wait until the testament is dealt with and then we can get on with our lives together.”


Joe was satisfied. He could hold on for a few years with her and then she might have a small car accident (the brakes would be sawn through?) or perhaps she might eat something that did not agree with her (poisoning?). There were so many possibilities. Yes, Joe was not stupid, he knew when he had a goose that would lay the golden egg for him and leave it behind in the will.

Daily Prompt: Burnt

Blogger Creative Challenge 236: Gold/Golden

Neighbour outside door

Somewhere in the dark
She is waiting
Holding the candle with its quivering flame
She might have a skin of golden hues
Her heart is not golden
Just empty and black
If you see her, walk the other way
Do not ask how she lights her candle
What is burning in the flames
You will see things that should not be seen
You will hear the screams of the lost
Not all that glitters is always gold

Daily Prompt: Burning Down the House

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

Firefighter Exercise Feldbrunnen-Riedholz

“Run for your life, the house is on fire.”

“How is the insurance? Will it cover all the furniture and my clothes.”

“Yes, dear, no problem, now run.”

“So I don’t have to bother with packing anything to wear, and at last we can get rid of the old furniture.”

“What are you dithering about, go, go, go.”

She was thinking why do men just think about running away from responsibility. There are certain things that I would be lost without. My smart phone, must grab it, I have all my important apps on it. My computer? No that is just a little too big to carry but my new iPad and my Kindle. My books cannot be replaced and at least I would have something to read to pass time.

“Can we go now? What are you carrying. You will definitely not need all that computer stuff. It is now a matter of life and death, the flames are crawling into the garage. The car could explode.”

“Yes, dear, just stay calm. I have to get my camera.”

“What do you need a camera for?”

“Well our house doesn’t burn down every day, and I want some photos as a souvenir. I might be able to use them in a blog. Now that would be something not everyone has. A blog entitled “The Day my house burnt down.”

“You are thinking about writing a blog with photos of our burning house, and I am thinking about saving our lives.”

“No problem, just stay cool. I have to get my passport.”

“That is really not necessary, you can have that replaced.”

“I know, but if everything is burnt down, there is no point staying here. When you have sorted everything out and we have somewhere to live, just let me know. You can mail me or call on my telephone and I will think it over.”

“It sounds like you are glad to get rid of me. You women are strange creatures.”

So she ran out of the house with her smartphone, iPad, Kindle, camera and passport, thinking at last. That was a good idea I had. At last I have got rid of him. She took a taxi to the airport. Joe was waiting for her at the airport with her case that she had left with him the day before. Their plane was leaving in an hour, so she just had time.

Daily Prompt: Burning Down the House

Daily Prompt: Through the Window

Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you saw.

Lesser spotted woodpecker

We have Winter temperatures at the moment, it is very cold, which is not astonishing for a Winter in Switzerland. There is no snow at the moment, although a few remainders are still lying around. I only have a small garden, but have two gardens. One is at the back of the appartment and one at the front and we have a window front on both sides more or less. I just love seeing the birds that we have. Not a large choice perhaps. Blue tits, finches, chaffinches, jackdaws and crows, and a supporting cast of blackbirds. I have two bird feeders, one in the front garden and one at the back.

I chose the kitchen window as I get a good all round view of bird life: so do my cats. I have three cats and they have their own cat flap set into the kitchen window. It seems they are only bird watching. The birds are quite happy to sit in my apple tree and help themselves to the laid table I have hanging from the branches. When I looked out of the kitchen window today, I just had to take this photo. Lately we have been visited by a lesser spotted woodpecker and he was just having lunch on the mixed nuts and seeds held together by lard and packed in a green plastic. Just behind his head you can see a blue tit.  On the left a sparrow is sitting on a branch.

Watching these birds for a moment, you realise who the boss is. The tits and finches just fly quickly to the feeders, pick up a seed in their beak and fly off to the nearest tree to eat it. The sparrows are the bosses at the bird feeder. When they are feeding, no other bird has a chance. They hunt them away and even have fights amongst themselves. Under the tree I have food on the ground for birds that prefer to eat on ground level. The blackbirds and jackdaws have to make it out amongst themselves. They are not so friendly towards each other.

Now and again I might even be lucky enough to see a brambling searching for a peck, and of course robins visit as well. The robins I find are much more comfortable on the ground than pecking from the hanging feeders.

So looking out of the window my main view is birdlife. I have a few trees in the garden, but they are leafless through the Winter . The only flower I have showing its colours is my Christmas rose.

Christmas Rose

We have no traffic in our area, so everything is quiet (except for the bird twitters).

Daily Prompt: Through the Window

Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.


Not very difficult, considering that most buildings were bombed flat in the East End of London during the second world war. It was in the dock area which was a dangerous place to be between 1939 and 1945. The schools were evacuated out to the country, where it was safer. However what the bombs did not destroy the builders did although after I had left London for Switerland. The actual school was half in the City of London and was founded as some sort of charity school some time in the 18th century. Not really sure anymore why and how. It was a grammar school and I qualified for entry when I was 11 years old, having passed my 11+ scholarship exam as it was then known. I spent my school days there between the years 1959-1964.

It was a girls only school. The masculine part also existed, but in another area. Reflecting I must say we did have a good education and they did a good job of getting us through the GCE examinations as they were then known. The photo is a class photo, taken in our playground, as they all were. And me? – in the second row from the front, fifth from the left. Yes I was the tallest and I remember that when they took a class photo they always started with me in the middle and sort of planned everyone around me. It was a very old building in the middle of Spitalfields Fruit and Vegetable market. Memories remain of our morning break outside in the playground, being bombarded by soggy tomatoes and smelly oranges from the market boys thrown over the wall. It was an interesting place to go to school, just about ten minutes walk from the bank center of London.

We were all girls from the East End of London, cockneys if you like, so of course the school had the job of forming us into young ladies. I do not know if they succeeded. I still have my cockney accent if I am not careful, but living in another country I had to speak my english clearly for the foreigners to understand, although today I am bilingual in German and english, so no further problem. We had quite a high jewish percentage of girls in the school meaning that the morning assembly was divided into two places. We had our assembly in the main hall, and the jewish girls had theirs in the room. School dinners existed although I would take my own food and could eat it in a room provided for the girls that brought their own sandwiches and whatever. The jewish girls also had their own kitchen which prepared kosher food. I remember their cutlery and plates being marked with a large “K”.

The Main Hall

main hall

This hall is the only part of the school still standing, and the last I heard it had been converted into a French restaurant. The complete market no longer exists as such and has been redeveloped as one of the nicer parts of London to visit, especially if you are a tourist. As you can see the hall was also our gymnastic area. In the morning we would have benches to sit on. There was a stage at the far end where the headmisstress would read something religious from the bible, the music teacher would play the piano and we would all sing a few hymns. Those were the olden days.

As I said we had a dining room, quite large, with a stage. The teachers would eat on a table on the stage and the girls would eat in the surroundings.

dining room cfs

So farewell Central Foundation School for girls, Spitalfields. Everything has to go eventually. The fruit and vegetable markets of London have moved out of London. I is all part of modern London. I grew up playing on bombed out buildings, remember London with war ruins, but eventually all was remodernised. I still know my way around London, I am a Londoner, but it is no longer the London I knew. I left in 1966 and when I return it is a bit of a shock. Something somewhere is different. You just cannot stop so-called progress I suppose. I could have written this blog about my infants school. That still exists but is now a boy’s school. My next school was a so-called primary school. That was also in the East End of London and no longer exists. It was demolished to make way for housing, appartment blocks which I would not qualify as the quality of life. So goodbye school years.

And yes, we have our own private little site in Facebook, where I took the photos, which all have their copyright sign on them. The school class photo is mine, the only one I have from the school.

The remains of the school

Central Foundation Girls school, Spital Square

Daily Prompt: Ode to a Playground

Daily Prompt: Sliced Bread

Most of us have heard the saying, “That’s the best thing since sliced bread!” What do you think is actually the best thing since sliced bread?

WordPress Daily Prompt Inside 1

If you think that sliced bread was the be all and end all of improvement, I definitely do not. It seems that the first slicing machine which could be applied on a tasty loaf of bread was first used in 1928 and came from America. Note, before the slicing machine was invented, bread came fresh from the oven with a nice tasty crust. The invention was developed and the result was that I did not really know what a good tasty loaf of bread was until I arrived in Switzerland.

Over the years the sliced loaf was processed and eventually the only bread I knew was wrapped in plastic and more or less arrived in square slices. Just open the packet, take out the bread and spread whatever you want to spread on it. The actual delight of eating bread with no accompaniment had disappeared over the years. Bread had become a substance similar to blotting paper, soft with tasteless crusts, if you could call it a crust. Most of us were  happy with this baked, leavened substance that was still known as bread, as we knew no different. Perhaps if I had grown up in a farmers family, where making your own bread was still the daily practice, I would have recognised the value of a good loaf. As it was I just spread the butter on it and swallowed it. A lot of chewing was not necessary, sliced bread had become soft and tasteless, but we knew no different. Some even decided that the old fashioned uncut bread was just too much on the hard side, so it was kept in a plastic bag to keep it nice and soft. Was it a wonder that I eventually developed diabetes and my dental situation was not so perfect? So what was so good about sliced bread?

Arriving in Switzerland I discovered that real crusty bread still existed and was sold in all variations. Wholemeal flour, perhaps containing wheat grains, half white and white flour were used. The only cut bread I found in Switzerland was known as toast bread, to be used in a toasting machine. I found that bread could even be crusty. Something to sink your teeth into and actually chew. So to sum it up, everything is probably better than sliced bread from my experience.

In my sixty-six years I have seen many improvements and good inventions. The refridgerator for example. As a child we did not have one, but by the time I became a teenager a fridge was to be found in every household. You could buy food and not worry about it decomposing. You next step, at a later stage, was a freezer in every household: another improvement. I know someone that buys sliced bread, freezes it straight away and just pops it in the toaster when she needs bread, although not to be recommended. Another reason for disregarding the benefits of sliced bread. Who does not own a dishwasher – we nearly all have one. I remember my mum washing up after a meal. My dad even did the drying up. Even I helped as I got older, although not willingly. This is a thing of the past.

The electronic inventions have chased each other through the passing years. What began as a monster machine somewhere in the states that need hours to solve a simple mathematic addition called ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), is now perhaps sitting on our table, shrunk into a small pad, or even integrated into a telephone all with an “i” as a prefix. Digital has arrived, improved radio and television reception. We have transport, whether your own car or public. It did not all start with sliced bread, and the sliced bread could have been left out as an unnecesary invention.

It is not possible to say what the best invention is since the bread cutting machine. It depends on what you want from life. I am happy with my vacuum cleaner, my computer, my iPhone, my iPad and my digital camera(s). I am also very happy with the many sorts of uncut bread I can buy, freshly baked, tasty and healthy.

HESO, Autumn Fair, Solothurn

Daily Prompt: Sliced Bread

Woody Woodpecker

spotted woodpecker closeup

Growing up in the East End of London, in the smog and pollution, you only really saw sparrows and pigeons. No other bird ventured into the area. I am now making up for lost bird time in the Swiss countryside, although not all birds are to be seen.

Imagine my surprise when Mr. Swiss called me to see this bird eating from the food that usually only tits and sparrow eat. Thank goodness for Mr. Swiss knowledge of Swiss birds, as he said “e Buntspecht” and in english it seems it is a speckled woodpecker. I had to take the photo from a distance, otherwise he would have flown away. I just clicked and clicked and clicked and this is one of the photos. He was really big.

spotted woodpecker 10

Daily Prompt: Musical

What role does music play in your life?


Music plays quite a big roll in my life, not only mine, but luckily also Mr. Swiss. He is still playing in a band of golden oldies for fun as the drummer. He began in his teenage years, but let’s return to the beginning.

We always had a piano at home. Mainly for usage at the family Christmas and other parties. My mum and her sister, Aun Lil, would both roll out the old favourites from the twenties and thirties and everyone would sing along or dance. It was the normal family gathering. They could not read a note of music, it was all by hearing. They could play the melody with the righthand, and the left was just one-two thump on the keys and no-one really heard if it was in tune or not. We were just all having fun. My dad loved the old jazz and sort of introduced me to the qualities of Fats Waller (who he once saw play live at a concert in the thirties in London), Glen Miller and many contempories of the time.

Then I progressed to my school days and had the opportunity to join a class where we were taught how to play the piano. There were about ten of us all sharing the piano, but somehow after a year we got the hang of it. Naturally classics, nothing like pop music. Afterwards it was decided I was a promising member of the class and should have private lessons at school. As we got a special price, it was agreed (we were not wealthy) and by the time I finished school, I had six years of piano behind me and could tinkle a good classic (Mozart sonatas, a little bit of Beethoven and Chopin). I enjoyed it very much and was quite into the classics. At the same time I discovered the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, had a tape recorder, and would tape all I could. There was always music of some kind as a background at home. I had also learnt the recorder by myself and at one time did have a guitar, but discovered it was not really my instrument (I sort of had visions of being a pop musician).

I was also quite into opera. My friend had a large collection of opera records, and some real gems. Maria Callas, Jussi Björling, some Gigli and Caruso. At the same time I was lending records from the local library, complete operas. My friend and I would also visit Sadlers Wells opera company quite often, to see operas live on stage. Sadlers Wells was a British Institution and it was their rule at the time to sing operas only in english. We also got a fare share of Gilbert and Sullivan operas – the British opera composers. I just loved music and was open for all.

I then moved over to Switzerland and took my record player with me. I would buy the odd pop music record now and again. I visited the Zürich opera house a couple of times. I remember seeing Tannhäuser, one of  Wagner’s best.

A couple of years later I met Mr. Swiss. We were working for the same company. I was more or less doing the english correspondence for the complete company and Mr. Swiss had a lot of letters to dictate (it was before the days of computer) and now and again (more often again and again) we got talking about music. Mr. Swiss had played drums since he was a teenager and was into jazz, bebop, mainstream, Dizzy Gillespie, etc. etc. I had a cousin, older than myself, in England, who also spent most of his younger years in the jazz clubs of London, many of which Mr. Swiss had also visited when he was doing his England year to learn the language. I think most of his vocabulary came from the clubs and not from school. Anyhow I soon noticed that his record collection was very similar to that of my cousin. Of course in the meanwhile Mr. Swiss has got to know my cousin and they get on very well together, sharing a common denometer when it comes to music. Mr. Swiss still played now and again with a few colleagues in the local Swiss jazz club, or perhaps he had a gig in another village/town and I would go along. Jazz was not unknown to me, but after many years of marriage, I have become quite an expert.

Mr. Swiss still plays. Nearly all of his colleagues are now retired,  but they are all jazzers. The photo was taken when they played at the birthday celebration of one of their colleagues. It is in a large farmhouse, which belongs to one of his colleagues, in the concert room where often jazz concerts had been held. Some well known jazz musicians had played there.

One of my personal favourite musicians is Paolo Conte. An Italian who accompanies himself whilst singing. It is a sort of  jazz. I seem to go for the Italian pianists, the late Lucio Dalla was also one of my favourites. So basically music of all kinds belongs to my life,  I am not so keen on the very modern jazz, or the very modern classics. I like something I can hum along with, or sing to. I can sing, but I would not advise anyone to listen in, because it is not really my speciality. You can’t do everything. So I think I should close this blog with one of my favourites: Paolo Conte singing Via con me.

Daily Prompt: Musical

Daily Prompt: Dearly Departed

Write your own eulogy.

Gladiola on black background

So let’s see, I always did have a lean to the black side of life. Remembering my many trips to other towns in other countries, I think it was the cemetries that remained most vivid in my imagination and camera, but I have to start somewhere. When I am gone, I really do not want any stupid comments about she was a wonderful person and we will dearly miss her. Of course they will dearly miss me.

“Are you listening cats?”

“Yes Mrs. Human, but don’t beat about the bush. When you are gone, you are gone. That’s life or was life. If you are no longer here to feed us, then some other human slave will. You know how they all go soft and sloppy seeing cats wandering with no place to go, no bowl of food to digest, and above all no fresh water. I must say Mrs. Human you were quite good at food supplies. Mr. Human is also well trained. He also looks after our recycling process receptacle,  so I think we can cut that bit out of the speech.”

“Well I am glad cats, that it will be a short event. We do not want to keep you too long at the cold graveside, do we?”

“Mrs. Human, have a cremation. It is much cheaper and more hygenic. No body parts laying around afterwards. You know what those dogs are like. No intelligence. They just rebury everything they dig up. You might end up with an arm in the garden, and a leg down in the forest. They are not particular about their bones.”

“Felines, I think you are getting a bit to down to earth on this. It is me and my remains we are talking about.”

“We have a brilliant idea Mrs. Human. In the olden days when Bast was number one on the planet, and had the best solution. Get mummified Mrs. Human. You might eventually arrive in a museum in the future when they discover your pyramid or whatever.  Of course there is a certain process first of all to be dealt with. When that is finished you will be bound in some sort of fabric. In the days of Bast it was just plain old flax or cotton, but these days there are so many possibilities. You could organise something flame, stain and water reistant. Your remains would still be around after the end of the world. Of course a nice form could be made for your final mummified remains. You could even now organise the artist for the casket. I would go for something in the Salvador Dali line of things. I know you admire his paintings, or Margritte. A mummy container with lots of hanging clocks, or apples hiding a head, that would really be something. That would really present a mystery for future archaeologists to find out who you really were? And do not forget to have a pyramid built.”

“Cats, stay calm. I do not intend to present a puzzle for mankind years after my demise. And how did we start this morbid conversation in any case?”

“Something about writing your own Eulogy for a daily prompt.”

“I don’t think I will bother, a bit too much on the morbid side.”

“Yes you are right Mrs. Human. But you must admit the pyramid and the mummy bit is a good idea.”

Daily Prompt: Dearly Departed