Daily Prompt: Stairs

River Thames looking North, LondonI have climbed many stairs in my life, so many that my body now cringes and refuses to do it effectively. We had stairs in our home, it was a simple house built in 1884 and there were two floors. We lived on the top floor, grandad on the bottom floor, so we had to climb the stairs to arrive. There were even three further stairs leading to the bedrooms. As the house was built in the years without gas or eletricity, the gas cooker was added as an extra and it was perched on the top of the three stairs. Oh how mum complained every time she had to cook. Once she knocked her foot on the stairs. Now in addition to a bunion on each foot (caused by cheap shoes as a kid), she also had a so-called “hammer toe”. Mum did not believe in doctors or hospitals, so these things were just left to develop.

My first experience of real stairs was St. Pauls Cathedral in London. Mum and paid a visit now and again. There was a stairway into the dome. It began quite nicely: big curve and wide steps which was misleading. As you reached the top the stairs had diminished in width. Inside the dome there was seating lining the inside walls. You took a seat and put your ear to the wall, I was now in the whispering gallery. Due to its construction the guide would whisper something to the wall and it carried around the inside of the dome. You could understand every word. I think mum enjoyed the experience more than me. The staircaise continued to the smaller dome in the middle. You had to pay more to cotinue and once we did it. It was not exactly a great experience. It was an open staircase suspended in the middle. We only did it once as we decided it was not worth the fear of falling to immediate death. Pictures of the   Hitchcock film Vertigo came to my mind. It remained a unique experience.

I have climbed many stairways in my life and have also fallen down quite a few. I even knew where it was a good place to fall and where not. We had a small staircase in the company where I worked. I was descending, slipped and fell.Actually I rolled down the stairs. This was an advantage as it helped to avoid broken bones and similar injuries. When I arrived at the bottom I checked and found I was still breathing and could move. I looked up to a familiar face, it was the owner of the company. “You could have been dead” he said, probably wondering how good our insurance was and whether I could sue him for neglect. I stood up, he helped me. He was concerned. Luckily the only injuries were bruises, which I did feel for some time afterwards.

Stairs from Church St. Niklaus, FeldbrunnenSwitzerland is a country of slopes, but now and again stairs are constructed, probably for golden oldies like myself. The photo on the right shows the stairs to our village church on top of a hill. Luckily you can avoid these death defying stairs, by walking along the curved path (I though we had curves yesterday) to reach the actual church. I do not really have problems going up, it is the descent where I tend to lose my balance. Sometimes I can even lose my balance just by standing, especially when I am taking a photo at the same time.

Stairs River Aar

If I go for one of the quicker walks along the river I climb the stairs in the photo. It is half hour walk. If I take a longer walk along the river, I still climb these stais to reach home, so it makes no big difference. Mr. Swiss finds it would be better if he walked behind me. If I fell he could catch me. They were the days gone by when he was stronger and heavier than me. He is still stronger, but I now beat him by about 5 Kilo. There would be no point if I fell and dragged him with me (something like the conquest of the Eiger mountain). There are approximately 70 stairs to the top and if I grip the banisters with both hands and walk sideways I can do it without taking a break. Parallel to the banisters there is an electric fence to stop people getting in, or the animals getting out – I am not sure. There is a feeling of success when you arrive at the top and see a bench waiting for you. Be careful when approaching the bench, there is a small slope to climb and if your legs are still shaking from the climb, it could be tricky.

Steps to Tower, St. Urs Cathedral, SolothurnWe have a cathedral in our local town of Solothurn, it also has a dome and guess what? Yes, you can climb to the top and have a wonderful view over the town, our river and the hills beyond. Now who could refuse the opportunity. I lived in Solothurn for at least 10 years before I tried it. I did it all on my own. I was in town, Mr. Swiss at home. I saw the sign “Gallery open – entrance 1 franc” so decided now or never. It was quite good at the beginning, but these things always are. Now and again I paused. I would mention I was again wearing leather shoes with higher heels. As the stairs were narrower than the length of my foot I had to walk with a sort of sideways step, but I arrived. The last part was quite exciting. After the belfry. I arrived in a room where there were other climbers and a man at a desk taking the money for the trip and selling postcards. I was still a little shaky on my legs, so naturally fell, pushing his table over on the way down. This was quite an embarrasing moment, but undaunted I proceeded to the outside balcony to appreaciate the view and take some photos. Of course after helping to collect the postcards scattered over the floor.

Here is a photo of the view from the top to prove I did it. When I arrived home I did not mention my little accident to Mr. Swiss, no point in making him nervous was there?

Röti Bridge, River Aare, Solothurn

I remember the words of my last boss when I was a working woman and we had moved into a new modern office building with a staircase and a lift. Everyone was walking up the stairs to maintain their fitness probably. He said “Mrs. Angloswiss you will take the lift” Yes, my reputation as the great stair climber had reached him as well.

Daily Prompt: Stairs

Good Morning

No it is not a good morning, not at all. I woke up in my usual jolly mood pouncing on my iPhone, switching it from flight mode offline to online and reading a few quick announcements. Plugged it in to feed it with energy and proceeded to my iPad that was also ready and waiting. Now it was all systems go. Checked through the nocturnal messages and pressed a few likes. The world was ok. I was relaxed and happy. I was half an hour ahead of my morning schedule and still in bed. Tabby, the feline that owns me, decided to join me laying on the duvet, what could be better. She manouevred herself into sleep position No. 1 and somehow I joined her. It was a perfect Saturday morning. I even had a few dreams, nothing special like a night with Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Who am I kidding I am too old for such ideas and would probably have my first system collapse.

To procede: the alarm decided to signalise that it was 7.30 a.m. I do not really need an alarm, but it gives me an idea of my status. I was rudely awoken, then nature called, so I entered the real world. I should have stayed in bed.

Breakfast

I arrived in the kitchen and began to prepare my breakfast, when I noticed things were not as they usually are. There was the remainder of a loaf of bread, but if I had attempted to cut a slice I noticed it would have been a risky business as I did not have a lot of play room and could have sacrified a finger or two in the process. I decided to play safe with toast. I like toast, but had to put the toaster into operation. We have two, I decided on the two slice toaster, the other is the four slice toaster when more is needed.

My water was boiling and I poured it onto the tea bag. In the meanwhile I noticed the butter was slowly in its end stages so had to take a second butter to have enough to cover two slices. This was becoming a mystery tou, anything could happen. The next obstacle was the jam. I had bought a new jam yesterday as my blackberry jam was only a scraping in the glass. I choose a different flavour each time. I like some excitement in my breakfast life. Yesterday I chose elderberry jam, something I had never tried. I quickly realised it is not jam, or jelly, something in between, Very sticky, but manageable until you cover the toast. It tends to slide in all directions and I even dropped my slice of toast. Of course the pull of gravity made sure that it landed elderberry side down, but not on the floor thank goodness, no on my slipper. Could things get worse?

I now spent the next five minutes wiping elderberry whatever off my slipper and also from the spreading space. My mum always said things happen in threes. I fell asleep when I should have been preparing for the day’s excitement. My toast fell on the floor and now I am waiting for No. 3.

I will now take a tour of the computer, have a few comments to acknowledge. It will then be vacuum cleaner and mop time and after my daily ablutions I am allowed to iron the bed linen and prepare lunch. Oh, what an exciting eventful day this will be.

Keep safe everyone and remember, do not drop your bread on the floor jam side first. If you cannot avoid this, then choose a cereal for breakfast. Bread and jam is a risky business.

 

Photo Challenge: Admiration

Dad's 100th Birthday
I have admiration for the people that are so-called carers and work to make life easier for the elderly. My dad was in a care home for a few years and this lady was always there for him. I cannot express my thanks enough. She is representative for all carers who work often more hours than they have to. They are the people I admire. This photo was taken on my dad’s 100th birthday last year.

Dad's 100th Birthday

And another photo of the event with some other members of the home. My dad was the oldest in the home. He has now moved on, as he now needs constant care. I shall never forget how much I am indebted to this lady and her co-workers. They do more than just a job.

Photo Challenge: Admiration

Daily Prompt: Curve

Close up of tree in Feldbrunnen

This local tree seem to make a lot of curves in its life. I used to have curves as well. I was not really a curvy person, but after entering the phase of mother hood with bumps that developed into kids, my figure decided to go curvy. At the beginning it was fine, I was never well known for having the perfect proportions, but I got them. I took a size larger in everything, but that was where the problem began. Curves are nice to have but somehow they tend to get overbalanced and gravity takes over. I still have curves, lots of them, but in the wrong places and some are even travelling South. My hour glass figure now resembles more one of those sitting sacks, you know the comfortable chairs which are just material with filling. They bulge at the bottom for comfort.

Tremelo road TessinAfter living in Switzeland for many years, you realise that they have a lot of curves, mainly on the roads.  There are also quite a lot of mountains that get in the way. Of course with time the Swiss authorities have carved a few tunnels, but before the tunnels existed they constructed roads. One very famous curvy road was the Tremelo which you had to overcome to arrive in the Italian part of Switzerland where the sun is waiting to welcome you. It is our holiday area and very popular for summer holidays. When the kids were still kids family Angloswiss also decided to take on this ordeal in summer. It was a 6 hour drive at the time. On the photo you can see the Tremelo road. It was a steep ascent and with the curve system it was easier to overcome. Admittedly nerves were somewhat blank at the end of this part of the journey. It was built to overcome the Gotthard Pass. Of course when you got to the top, there was a restaurant waiting for you to recover, before beginning the descent, which meant you also had to cross Monte Ceneri if you were heading for Locarno or Lugano which most people were.

Today this has all been replaced by new motorways and the journey shortened to 4 hours, but if you take a glance over your shouder on the way you can still see the Tremelo, a sort of route 66 of Switzerland, now showing weeds and grass in the curves. No-one really uses it today, unless you happen to have one of those quaint old Tessin houses hidden somewhere on the side.

I remember when I took my driving test, at the age of 38. I was a late starter, but I passed after 95 lessons, an achievement. Even the driving teacher drew a sigh of relief and made a cross in the air. It was the end of a long friendship. I was now ready to go and it was a week before our annual holiday. This time we were again heading for the mountains. It was decided that it would be good for me to drive as much as possible. I had learnt on flat roads, our local mountains are all on one side, and you do not have to overcome them. Our holiday place, Crans – Montana (just see the name) was pure highlife when it came to going up and down, it had all the curves. I was quite happy taking walks and laying in the sun in the garden of our chalet, but Mr. Swiss decided we should go places with the car. He had a brilliant idea, Anzère was not far. Actually if you were a crow it was quite near, but there were a few many curves and slopes in between. Anzère is also well known as being a winter sport place. Luckily it was summer and the snow was only on the mountain peaks.

I must say it was a good road, quite wide, but full of curves and our car was a Simca and power steering (or whatever it is called in english) was still in the infant stages. Our car did not have it. I really had sore muscles in my arms when we arrived. That we arrived in one piece was more luck than judgement. I felt like a racing driver on the road. We did have a few discussions on the way about cutting corners, but I thought they were there to be cut.

deskOf couse today I have it all under control. I only actually drive two routes, into town and to the supermarket. For longer journeys we have a train. The only curves I take today are learning curves in my computer world and on my mobile telephone. I can do that at my desk. There are no curves outside, just nice comfortable straight lines. I have a curve phobia. I avoid them where I can. They often tend to cause accidents when walking, although it seems I am the one producing the curves, walking straight lines no longer seems to work.

Daily Prompt: Curve

Good Morning

Migros Supermarket, Langendorf

shopping list
It’s Friday, the birds are singing, the sun is shining and it is the great shopping safari day. Of course, just going shopping does not complete the task ahead. You have to think about it, plan and organise. The brainwork began yesterday when we called a family conference, Mr. Swiss and I, to discuss what we actaully wanted to eat over the week-end. The shops are open also on Saturday, but we prefer to organise the master plan on Thursday/Friday. There is nothing worst than standing in a supermarket, surrounded by a variety of various meats and vegetables, and not knowing what you actually need or want.

There is an advantage is planning. First of all you make a menu plan and secondly you check in your fridge and cupboards what you actually have and what you will need. This saves money. There is nothing more annoying than purchasing 1 Kg of carrots in the supermarket to arrive home and discover you still have a kilo in the fridge untouched but thinking about going soft and mouldy. These tasks must be organised.

For this reason, apart from checking my iPad and e-mails in bed this morning before arising, I wrote my shopping list – in bed on my iPhone of course. Over the years with the cyber invasion in my life, I have sort of forgot how it is to actually write something with a pen, or even a pencil. My wrist begins to ache, I have to begin at least three times and there are so many cancellations by lines and squiggles that eventually I cannot read what I wrote.

Since I discovered how to organise my appointments and lists on my phone, I am a different person. Mr. Swiss sometimes worries that I am no longer the person he married. He married a chaotic person, although organised. Now he only has an organised person. Actually, don’t tell him, but it is because in my golden oldie days I have noticed I tend to forget more.

Every evening I take my tablets, but iPhone tells me with a signal. Once a week Vitamin D drops, iPhone sends me a message. I have a doctors appointment – yes thanks to iPhone I do not forget. Above all I know when I have to give replace my fertiliser tabs in my orchids, every three months, and when my diabetes tablet perscription needs renewing (every 6 months). Yes I am a grey haired cyber woman and I am not ashamed to admit it.

Now I am ready for battle in the supermarket. I will finish my breakfast, return my computer to its resting place and then prepare myself for the battle ahead. Of course I will send my shopping list to Mr. Swiss iPhone when completed, that we both know the battle plan and details.

Things are not what they used to be today thanks to Bill Gates and the gang. We are organised. Now where did I put my phone? I know if I call myself with Mr. Swiss phone mine will send a signal and I will find it. I hope he knows where his phone is.

Colour Your World: Yellow Green

#c5e384 color image

Walnut Tree with Catkin - planted by me from a walnut

I once planted a walnut in a large pot and it grew. I even once had two walnuts. A year later it produced this strange growth, which sometimes happens on walnut trees. My walnut tree is not longer. It gave up one year, but I still have a few photos in memory of my lost walnut tree.

Romford Cemetery

Romford cemetery, Essex, East of London

Colour Your World: Yellow Green