Daily Prompt: Pat On The Back

Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SUCCESS.

Moon 6

I was a little bit proud of this photo. I had a new camera for everyday use. I tried it on a moon picture as I am not so good at moon photos – too much fiddling around on the DSLR and this was the result.

Now for the bare truth: what do you want to read? Yes, I am proud of my kids, proud of my husband and proud of me. I am not going to write a blog laudation about how fantastic and marvellous everyone is. It would be embarrassing to the people concerned and it would be boring. I am not going to paste photos of the family everywhere, it is my blog, I write it and I will do what I want.

I can really be a selfish piece of work sometimes, but the subject of this prompt is just not my thing.

I did a quick check and saw that I discovered the daily prompt last year in November and since have written a daily contribution without missing a day or a prompt. Now that is really something to be proud of. I have done it, in spite of the fact that I have three felines to feed and spoil, a Mr. Swiss who also gets fed now and again to make sure he survives, and a son at home who mostly does it all himself. I also clean the floors every day (we have a tiled floor, with the exception of one carpet and that is Mr. Swiss department). I shop three times a week with Mr. Swiss to make sure that we stay alive. At the age of 66 I began Tai Chi once a week.

I make sure that my garden does not die from drought, or is blocked with weedy appearances.

I even learned how to drive a car at the age of 38 and they all drive on the wrong side of the road in Switzerland, although everyone does. It is only Great Britain and I think Cyprus that drive on the other side of the road. I had 95 lessons before taking the test, but I passed the first time. We were all proud of me then as we were all convinced I would never do it.

I learned how a computer works. I did not grow up with bytes and I remember my first attempt at gaming with a floppy disc and instructions from son No. 2. Eventually he had to wait for mummy to finish with the computer before he could play a game. What a great invention. I decided to broaden my knowledge and took a course to learn how to make web sites. I was no Bill Gates, but I completed the web assistant and then gave up. At least I can still understand html.

I found out how a camera works and photoshop.

Etc. Etc. I could go on for pages about how good I am and what I have achieved. And I speak Swiss German all day which is more necessity than choice.

So that’s that. Now I am going to cross post this blog on FB and Blogger and afterwards will wipe down the doors in the apartment to free them of various paw marks and the odd finger print. A woman’s work is never done. Afterwards I will have a read on my iPad and then it will be time for something to eat. Mr. Swiss does the evening food, I do the midday food. Sometimes I do the evening food if there are technical problems with the preparation, although that is only once a week when I prepare something out of this world and gault millau suspicious.

Oh, life is one big stress when you are so perfect. You have so many goals to keep up with.

Daily Prompt: Pat On The Back

Daily Prompt: Drawing a Blank

When was the last time your walked away from a discussion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us HEATED.


This is quite a professional grill at our local first aid association where I was a member for many years. We often had a b-b-q in the summer evenings at a get-together.

The only time today I get heated today is if someone somewhere decides to have a b-b-q which is a common state of affairs in Switzerland in summer. The evening air is not filled with smells of nature’s flowers, not even cow dung on the fields, but, yes, you have it. Almost every garden, and even apartment on the balcony, has meat sizzling over a hot charcoal/gas grill. I remember when a new neighbour moved in and her first proud possession was a gas grill in her garden. She was still an amateur so the smells were not so refined as the full professionals. She still had a lot to learn and this was the result.

Smoke screen from neighbour's grill

I sneaked the photo from my garden, an event never to be forgotten. Needless to say it was her first and last attempt. The smell of burnt meat lingered in the air for a few days.

And me, not really, I cannot be bothered. We did have a little electric grill when we moved in to keep up with everyone else. Being on the ground floor, we had a garden with patio so plenty of room. We I cooked a few meaty dishes, grilled to perfection, but the cleaning of the grill was too much bother. Where is this grill now: long gone to the eternal rubbish grounds? It was stowed away in the cellar for a few years and eventually I threw it out. I Prefer to cook my meat in the kitchen which borders onto the patio in any case and does not attract all the livestock in the area, including insects with wings and felines.

I know I am a bit off the subject, but at my age the discussions are usually harmless like “What shall I cook for lunch”, or “What book are you reading?” upon which follows a discussion on literature. Yes, we are quite an intellectual couple. It might get heated up if we discuss sport, but there we are usually the same opinion. If Switzerland plays again England in an international football match I take the side of the Swiss. I always feel sorry for the “underdogs” and Mr. Swiss supports the Swiss in any case. Mr. Swiss might be interested in a boxing match on the TV, but that is no cause for discussion. I do not bother to watch.

We both like a programme on TV called Master Chef, where you have contestants cooking dishes for the first place. At home I usually cook and Mr. Swiss eats, so there is not a large basis for a discussion about who wins. I decide who should win and Mr. Swiss agrees.

It seems that we have the perfect system. No-one walks away and comes back later with the killing sentence. At our age we have a long distance memory, so can only remember discussions that took place many years ago and not a few hours ago. Mostly the subject matter is already forgotten. Of course we have slight disagreements now and again, otherwise life would really be boring, but the place for details is really not a blogging site and life is too short to think about the hit line.

When I was a working woman, there were not really disagreements. The boss made the decision and it was accepted, even if you did have a few teeth-gnashing moments afterwards or found what a stupid idea he had. The best policy was say nothing and eventually he would realise that another decision would have been better. You just had to twist it so he was convinced the the alternative decision was his idea in the first place. Oh, the wisdom of experience and years!

You want a winning line one way or the other? I have a winning word “whatever” or “it is not important” which leaves the opposite party wondering what it was all about in any case. The best method is to let the arguing party just argue into emptiness. I learnt that one at a work course about “how to keep your client cool and calm on the telephone when he is annoyed” and it worked.

So after this blog I will now relax. We have had almost two days of non-stop rain and everything has now cooled down at last, so nothing heated at the moment.

Daily Prompt: Drawing a Blank

Daily Prompt: State of Your Year

Write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us NOW.

Wild flowers

The state of my year? I am still here, which is the good news I suppose at my age you never know, so I am thankful for every day. Enough of these morbid thoughts, always look on the bright side of life. Now that would be a good title for a song: I know, someone did it already.

Something positive: the wild meadow next to my garden grew again. One of those “keep nature alive” efforts our local community. As it is a Swiss wild meadow, it is an organised meadow. It is not allowed to be mowed down until sometime end June/beginning July to ensure that the seeds find a place in the earth for the next year germination.

This year has been a year of organisation. Someone once said live as if you would move house every week. A very good motto, which now and again is neglected, but I do my best. I have a washing room in the cellar for my washing machine and washing lines. This room had never seen a coat of paint except for the floor which was painted green. I hate green and this year I decided now or never. I commissioned a painter to paint the walls white. Afterwards I had the floor tiled. This all happened by May/June and now I am the happy owner of a nice clean washing room. Not that we live in the room, but it is done. Of course, I had to shift a few shelf contraptions out to make room for the workers, but these went to the cellar in the meanwhile.

I then realised that the cellar could also do with rejuvenation. We are not messies, and have an organised unorganised cellar, so that is the next on the list. We discovered that our collection of wine consisted of bottles here and there. There was no organisation. We are now the proud possessors of a wine cellar, which moved to part of the washing room as the climate is cool and we had the room. Not that we have bottles of Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France laying around, or give dinner parties every week to the crème de la crème of society, but you always find a special offer at the local supermarket, or receive a bottle here and there as a gift. I must admit I do not even like wine very much. I am partial to a Montepulciano (which I call cemetery wine as it is a heavy red one and I find it has a strong earthy taste). I also like a lambrusco, which the experts look upon as a fizzy nothing to wash the food down. However, our wine collection has now been organised.

Back to the cellar: I have not yet found any skeletons, or dead mice (the mice are usually deposited in front of the window during the night by my felines to show how clever they are). There is a rolled up carpet in the cellar. Mr. Swiss and I are still debating whether to keep it. I tend to throw everything away, but Mr. Swiss finds it might come in handy. I grew up in a family where we lived with things that might come in handy. They were everywhere, so I now tend to throw everything away. A small dispute arose and the carpet is still there.

We also have a hobby room in the cellar. It is ideal for keeping things that are too big for the apartment. It has a window and this year I eventually had a laminate flooring laid. Actually when we took over the room it had fitted carpet. I do not like fitted carpets. Unfortunately a year later we were flooded by continuous rain for three days and nights and the carpet had to be removed (I was not sorry). I will not go into details, but having three centimetres of water in a room is not fun. You have to pump it all out, find somewhere to put the furniture until it dries. Anyhow now the flood problem has been fixed. It was more or less the complete basement that was affected and a drainage system has been built.

So now my hobby room looks good: another organisatorial improvement in the Angloswiss household.

During the renovation and clearance operations Mr. Swiss asked why I have almost one hundred flower pots in the garden cupboard. I used to think they would come in useful, but I decided Mr. Swiss is right; my gardening days are now dwindling due to various back pains, leg pains, and lack of enthusiasm. My garden is now a collection of perennials, the ones that grow every year, or plants which seed out themselves. Each time we fill a refuse bag I always put 2 or three pots in the bag so the collection is dwindling. Unfortunately I have six eternite flower boxes as well. These are now in the cellar waiting for my oldest son and Mr. Swiss to pile them into the car and transfer them to the rubbish dump. Yes, even the land of mountains, cows and super cleanliness has rubbish to dispose of.

So that is my year up to now. Personally things are OK. I have more grey hairs, the thumb on my left-hand has a dodgy suspicious pain now and again according to how I move it, and I am on a watchful diet to keep my sugar levels under control. It seems Mr. Swiss and my diabetes doctor were right. Eating crisps/chips every evening complemented with salted peanuts and other such cholesterol filled goodies is not exactly the way to go. I have reduced my average sober sugar level before breakfast in the morning from 12.0 to 7.0 if that says anything. I am not on the needle (yet), but my tablets have increased in strength.

Otherwise the felines are healthy (getting fatter and well fed as always) and Mr. Swiss feels his back now and again, but it can only get better.

That is the state of the nation year up to now. I also intend to have my best-selling novel published this year, but unfortunately I have not yet started writing it, so I will probably postpone it until next year. I will continue to Daily Prompt blog, although probably with a pause in October when I visit my father in London. I hope you will not all be too disappointed as I know it is the highlight of your blogging day  It will only be a week of abstinence.

Daily prompt: State of Your Year

Daily Prompt: Life After Blogs

Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us WITHOUT.


This photo of part of my kitchen looks bare. Has no atmosphere, something like a hospital ward. It is dead, no life. Now if you could see my computer sitting on the breakfast table in the morning, it would live.

Who needs a computer? Life without one is no problem. I would arise in the morning, go to the kitchen, make some breakfast (usually cereal), a cup of breakfast tea, sit at the table and ……… Yes well, I would eat my breakfast of course, look out of the window and find the world is OK, Everything in its place, but not quite. I would have restless fingers, restless eyes and worst of all a restless brain. Switching the radio on is not the same. So where is it? The part of my breakfast life which has accompanied me since the invention of the lap top.

I have to check to find out what has happened in FB, e-mail life, and my blogging sites through the Swiss night. Did anyone actually make a click on yesterday’s masterpiece of blogging literature, did someone stray to my blog and decide their day would be incomplete without reading the wise words of Angloswiss. Proably not, but I can always hope.

There is now a further problem. There is no Blog, no e-mail, no words from the Facebook universe, because it all does not exist. I sit at am empty table, spooning my breakfast cereal and sipping tea. Something is missing. Yes, the milk stains on the black shiny surface of my beloved computer. There is no computer. Ok, no problem, of course I can be without. I stopped smoking 15 years ago, so everything is possible. Me a computer addict? Never. I would eat my breakfast with an incomplete feeling in my body and carry on with my daily housework chores as usual in the morning. Did I run the crap cleaner, the spyware doctor before closing down my faithful, trusty friend, the computer. You see, I have more time because there is no computer and all these trivial routines are no longer necessary.

“Are you ready to go shopping” I ask Mr. Swiss.

“No, not yet. What is going on? We have another hour and I am not ready to go anywhere” is the Mr. Swiss answer.

I have an extra hour, I have completed time saving without multi tasking. My housework is completed, my visit to the shower is long behind me and now I am bored. I could play a brainless Facebook game (Candy Crush is my favourite at the moment), but even this enjoyment is missing. I have no computer. Read a book – on my Kindle or iPad – ok, you know the answer.

Eventually lunch time arrives. No I do not miss my computer, because it is safely stashed away in its own little place until the afternoon if I have one. Whilst I am cooking lunch I like to have a peek at my iPad to see if ….. OK, forget it, iPad does not exist, so I just cook. After lunch Mr. Swiss and I tidy the kitchen and sit down to a coffee/tea outside on the patio (weather permitting): Mr. Swiss reading the newspaper and me, also reading the newspaper on my iPad of course (forget it, no news today, no iPad) and afterwards play a brainless game (you got it).

After a golden oldie midday sleep it is time to see what the Daily Prompt requests, ok no Daily Prompt, so I could do some knitting because I have not yet found the computer that knits, although I have forgotten how to knit I think. I could take a walk to the post office to pay my bills (no online banking sitting comfortably at the computer). A photo safari would be an idea, no computer replaces the camera, or does it? The happy hours I have spent uploading my Pulitzer Prize suspicious photos on Flickr, Picasa or whatever the programmes are called, tuning them up with Photoshop and sorting them are a thing of the past. I would have to take the film to be developed to a shop, which would mean taking a walk, the car or a bus.

I decide to read a book, but after five minutes it already weighs heavy in my hand, and turning the pages is so exhausting. I have finished my book, and will download another. Sorry, I will get dressed and visit the local bookshop, or the library to choose a new book.

Evening arrives; I have survived without a computer. I usually like to read in the evening outside, but must illuminate the porch, as my book does not have a built in light. You think that is a problem, yes it is. I am being eaten alive by the various flying blood sucking insects that have been magnetized by the lamp, so I flee inside. I switch the light on and continue reading whilst Mr. Swiss watches television.

“What did you say? The light bothers you.”

I go to bed.

Life without computer is really no problem, just a matter of getting used to it.

There would be no unemployment, everyone has something to do, the computer does not exist. Perhaps Bill Gates is working for MacDonalds selling hamburgers. We would all be talking to each other at the bus stop, just like the old days instead of poking around on our iPhones finding an interesting site to read or playing some sort of game. The world without computer does have a lot to offer I suppose.

And now to wrap up this Daily Prompt, that I wrote on my computer, whilst Mr. Swiss listens to music on his iPod. Oh, isn’t life wonderful when you are online?

Daily Prompt: Life after Blogs

Daily Prompt: A to Z

Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ORDERLY.

Market Party Solothurn 2007

A man walked along the street.

Black clouds started to form overhead.

Crows flew making threatening circles in the sky.

Doomsday was near.

Electric darts of lightening lit up the heavens.

“Flying catastrophes” thought the man “it cannot get worse.”

Giant cockroaches skittered across his path.

Horror upon horror.

It was time to hide somewhere; the man was frightened, he was sure it was his last day on earth.

Jumping into the nearest doorway, he was at least safe from the storm.

Kangaroos were hopping along the street, escaped from the nearest zoo.

“Like it or not” said the man, “I will have to make a run for it and reach home.

My wife will be worried.

Night was approaching, and the man almost tripped over a kangaroo that just hopped across his path.

“Oh dear” he said, “things can only get better I hope.”

Pushing against the force of the wind, he managed to turn the corner.

Questioning the situation was of no help, the weather does what it wants to.

Running was now necessary.

Suddenly everything was quiet.

Time at last to take a rest and relax.

Unusual circumstances made the man very insecure.

Vampirical shapes could be seen lurching in the shadows.

What was going to happen next?

Xanthia, his wife was waiting at home.

Yes, just four steps and he would reach his garden gate.

Zilch was the result of this adventure; the man awoke in his own bed after such an alphabetic dream.

Daily Prompt: A to Z

Where is the Daily Prompt

Nera is thirsty

Not that I am sad. We have 35°C temperature it is hot, hot, hot and my chief feline Nera has decided to take a sleep next to the water hose in case she gets thirsty.

Mr. Swiss is away on a band practice, being drummer in a local modern jazz group and I am left on my own. I could write my prompt, but it has not yet arrived, if it does. So what does a housewife, retired golden oldie do? She retreats to the cool appartment where all shutters and windows are closed. She decides to clean the shower.  Will return some time later to see if something has arrived worth writing about. Have fun everyone on this promptless day.

Daily Prompt: Back to School

If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MASTERY.

Jesuit Church, Solothurn

Not that I ever wanted to be an architect, but the ceiling of the Jesuit Church in the town of Solothurn, Switzerland is the perfection of mastery.

Photography is the subject I would like to master. We always had a camera at home in the dark ages, but they were only used for holiday snaps. No great Ansell Adams works of art. You took the film to the local chemist and had it developed. After a week the result was delivered and either you took a perfect photo of your thumb that was hovering over the lens, or you had the objects you wanted. Taking photos of landscapes, buildings, events were not the thing to do. You had a photo of mum, dad, aunt Lil, cousin Steve and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all.

Eventually my chance came, digital photography was invented and I was no longer restricted to holiday and family photos. It was Mr. Swiss that brought home the first digital camera. When he bought his second better camera I became the hand-me-down for the first camera. That was the beginning. I was taking photos of everything that moved. My turnover in photography was double Mr. Swiss turnover after the first month. Over time I progressed to a bigger better camera and enlisted for a course at the local day/evening school. I still did not have a DSLR camera, but a so-called “bridge” camera which was a sort of interim solution before the DSLR.

After the course the time had come for the DSLR. I was annoying the felines with taking photos when they were eating, sleeping, walking, and fighting to the extent that they hid when they saw me coming with a camera. They were not keen on close-ups, I was in paw distance and that could be dangerous. I was taking photos of food, flowers in the garden and even the insects started to hide when I approached with the camera.

In the meanwhile I was saving and eventually the time had come when I announced to the family and felines that I was ready for the DSLR camera. Everyone uttered a sigh of relief realising that the days when I was breathing down everyone’s neck with the camera were almost gone. With the DSLR and long range lens I could take my close-ups with a twiddle of the lens. Armed with Mr. Swiss, for support, we visited the local handler and afterwards a few thousand Swiss francs lighter, I became the proud possessor of a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera with two lenses. My felines were happy not having a camera stuck under their noses every so often. I could stand back and take my monumental prize-suspicious shots. I still have to get close for a good insect/flower photo, as the macro zoom does not work so well from a distance. Oh yes, I am saving now for a macro lens. I learnt in my course that a proper macro should be taken with a proper macro lens.

I enlisted for two further photo courses at the local school with my new camera. Both were cancelled due to too little interest, but I have not yet given up.

Of course, I had to find something to fill in the time when I was not learning to take my prize winning photos. In between I studied Arabic for a year, but had to give up. That one really got me. I learnt to write and read arabic, but unfortunately Arabic is not Arabic. Every arab country seems to speak its own dialect, even own sort of Arabic language. Learning high Arabic was OK, but it seems it is only spoken on radio and TV, or in the Gulf States.

I managed twelve years Russian while I was bringing up the kids and working a full time job: once a week for three hours in the evening. This was one of my teenage ambitions. I stopped about ten years ago, but can still read and write Cyrillic and hold a basic conversation with a Russian lady that works on the till at the local supermarket. I also found Russian to be a key to understanding Serbo-Croat, Slovenian and Serbic or how they are all called. Ex Yugoslavian languages all seem to have their basis in Russian.

What else did I learn? My cats taught me Meow, so now I know when a plate of tuna fish is required and when the cat tray has to be emptied. I even learned to cook and enjoy it; Swiss/French/German/Itallian style and can still knock up a plate of fish and chips English style.

I attended a dress making course fifteen years, one a week three hours in the evening and at this time made all my own clothes. There was a reason for this. The boutiques and dress shops did not realised that there was a species of tall women with strange proportions, so I decided to do it myself. Today I can buy jeans in all sizes and my need for wider shapeless clothing for the top is covered.

My life seems to have been one long educational trip. I have been permanently mastering all my life. I am now in the golden oldie stage. I think I saw an advertisement at the local evening school advertising a course in quantum physics which would be something completely different.

Daily Prompt: Back to School

The Visitor

At the moment Switzerland is melting under average daily temperatures of 30°C. OK, I know, so is everywhere else in Europe and from what I hear even the States. We do what we can to keep temperatures pleasant inside. Mr. Swiss is an expert. Me being English originally, I amwas used to opening all the windows, not closing doors and making sure that a nice cool draught blows though the home. This is wrong says Mr. Swiss. Blinds down, windows and door closed; this way temperatures stay cooler in the home. Generally I am convinced what I say is right, but in this case credit given where credit due. Mr. Swiss is right. Through his Swiss system, inside we have pleasant temperatures. I would add for the benefit of my American viewers, we do not possess an AC. We checked on what this machine would cost, but found it very expensive and the electricity consumption would make the whole thing twice as expensive. Europe is not ready for this yet, so we do what we can without an AC.

Towards evening, when things cool down a little bit, all windows and blinds are opened causing a light cooling breeze to enter our apartment. Where is this leading to, you might think? Yesterday around nine in the evening Mr. Swiss opened all windows, including our bedroom window to ensure that temperatures during the night were pleasant.

This morning after breakfast, we did our usual cleaning through routine: making beds and cleaning floors. Afterwards blinds and curtains were closed: it was then that I saw it. It was dark, but not too dark to notice a large shape on the bedroom floor next to the window. I blamed the cats, thinking they had left something where they should not (although this generally does not happen). It was then that this dark shape moved, slowly, climbing up the side of the window. I took a closer look and then called Mr. Swiss.

“There is a toad in the bedroom!”

Mr. Swiss came to the bedroom and decided to give the toad a push. It moved. A decision was made to return the toad to the garden from where it originated. As usual in our household, Mr. Swiss had to wait for permission from me. My first reaction was to fetch my DSLR camera, for an exact close-up of the toad. It is not every day you have a toad in the bedroom. Admittedly it was not the first toad to enter, but usually I find them in the kitchen next to the open window, sweet little nobbly toads that have entered  from the garden. This time it was a monster mega toad, probably holding the size record for all toads in our area.

After the photo session, Mr. Swiss was allowed to open the window and he even did a voluntary hop into freedom. Did he wave a webbed foot as he left? I do not think so, but it was the visit of the Summer.

Presenting Mr. Toad

Mr. Toad