Discover Challenge: Obstacles

Bipper Lisi

When I leave my home with the car and turn the corner this is the first obstacle that I meet, the local train. It is impossible to avoid the train as it travels back and forth every 20 minutes. If you want to cross the rails you meet the main road. It might be that the train is approaching and you are stuck on the rails because there is too much traffic to drive further. Now and again there is a collision between a car and train, so this obstacle is to be approached carefully.

There will always be obstacles in life, sometimes more and sometimes less. When you live in a country that speaks a different language and has a different way of life, then obstacle is just a fact of life. “Oh, she’s english you know” was often used as an excuse for my was of putting my foot in it. You do not just sit down at a restaurant or take an empty seat in a train, you ask first “is this place occupied” although you do not see anyone that wants it. It is custom and another obstacle to be overcome. Always greet someone older than you if you are on a walk and do not expect them to greet you first if you are younger: a matter of respect, no just custom, a way of Swiss life.

On the other hand I am now learning of the obstacles I am encounting in England. Since 5 years my father has been living in his own appartment in a care home, looked after by wonderful people, but with a certain amount of independence. He also had to overcome his obstacles when he moved there. He no longer lived in his house and could no longer go out. He had someone to help him, but he realised he could no longer live on his own. Things went wonderfully, and last year he celebrated his 100th birthday. I was in London at the time of course, and celebrated with him.

This year things have gone rapidly downhill and today he was moved to an intensive care home from the hospital where he has been the past month. One day the body is more a problem than an asset perhaps. I have overcome so many obstacles in the past month and there are still some to manage, but I have learnt to take one step at a time. Due to my own health problems I cannot jump back and forth to London at the moment and to speak quite frankly, there would be no point. My father sleeps most of the time, does realise what is happening, but it is not the man I knew as a dad. He needs help. I have a truly dear friend that visits my father daily and keeps me in the picture. Another obstacle to overcome, to spare expenses with the long distance telephone calls. We have discovered the Facebook messenger, for us a wonderful solution.

I have cancelled the tenancy of my fathers appartment in his care home from a another country, I live in Switzerland. This was combined with e-mails and phone calls to the responsible government department. They were very helpful and this has now been completed. My friend took care of his personal possessions, otherwise we left all his furniture as it will no longer be needed. His new home has everything he needs. I have cancelled his telephone connection and tomorrow I will organise his eletricity supply. There are so many obstacles to overcome, but gradually I am seeing an end to the tunnel.

I have my own family in the country where I live and they also need me. I have a health problem at the moment which has not arrived at the best moment. A further obstacle I will have to overcome and proably learn to live with eventually.

At the moment my way is paved with obstacles. I am a race horse that jumps over the next obstruction, only to meet another one on the way. What can you say, that’s life, you never know when the next train is approaching, so better take your time and look before going over the crossing.

Discover Challenge: Obstacles

Colour Your World: Yello


Wild yellow flower

I do not know what these are, but not dandelions. They sort of appear in my garden in March with thick stems and almost no leaves and disappear a week afterwards. They also creep along in the earth. Some sort of wild appearance.

Carlo Abarth

I am a graveyard tourist and this is the grave of Carlo Abarth buried in Grinzing Cemetery, Vienna, Austria. Carlo Abarth was a well known car designer and motor cycle racer – see link.

Colour Your World: Yellow

Daily Prompt: Mask

metal mask

We all wear masks at some time or the other, some perhaps all the time, that they no longer realise they wear a mask. This guy on the photo seems to be the black sheep of the mask family, or is he showing his true colours? I created him, made him, used my imagination to encourage his real face. He was one of those masks we use on the first aid dummies in the village first aid group I belonged to. He was kept in a crate with the others. I had the idea to take a photo. One day I had a look at the photo and saw it had changed (photo shop). Something like the Picture of Dorian Gray in the novel by Oscar Wilde. Dorian Gray could wear his mask in a comfortable way, no-one noticed it, but the painting changed. Ok, it was a good story and Oscar Wilde is one of my heros. He was forced to wear a mask, until one day his mask was removed, with the result of a prison sentence. They were different times.

Solothurn Carnival 2007Once a year in Switzerland, and other parts of Europe, wearing a mask is official. It is called “Fassnacht” in Switzerland, or generally known as carnival. From Fat Tuesday at 5.00 a.m. until Ash Wednesday evening our town of Solothurn is known as “Honolulu”, yes they even hide behind a name. It is the time to disguise and be somebody hidden behind a mask and perhaps also a costume. Some take a week’s holiday, changing the day into night and vice versa. Others put on a brave face during the day, although with black rings under the eyes and falling asleep at their work place. The main thing is to be happy, amusing, funny and be something you are not usually. For me it is one big show and I have never taken part. On certain afternoons the masked participants walk around the town throwing confetti and generally being someone they would never dare to be under ordinary cicumstances and playing silly pranks on others.

In the evening there are carnival balls: everyone dressed for the part, and of course with a mask. If you attend, you are approached by a masked person and the only sentence they seem to use is “Haha, you don’t know me do you?”. It is obviously someone that knows you, and they find it hilarious if you do not know them. It is surprising often, that it is not always a face that reminds you, but the way they walk and even talk with a disguised voice that you still see through the disguise. Solothurn Carnival 2007Of course alcohol plays a large part in the amusement, helping the victims to mask themselves with bravery. Some are often no longer so brave, when they get a little too much in the carnival mood and the local police have to intervene. I remember a colleague telling me in his younger days that in the throws of the carnival season, he set fire to a piano on one of our local bridges with his colleagues and was faced with a large fine afterwards: the idea being that everything is allowed in the carnival season.

This whole carnival epic ends with the burning of the “Böög” an over life sized dummy, stuffed with fireworks and representing the motto of the annual carnival. Oh yes, there is even a motto, and if you want to see the carnival procession you must wear your entrance badge costing 5 Swiss francs, or perhaps even more today. The special groups that take part need money for their dresses and carnival carts, even for their masks. No, masks are not free, they have a price. Our daily masks also have a price I suppose: pretending and hiding your true feelings and putting a brave face on it all if you are confronted with problems that you prefer to hide.

Solothurn Fasnacht 2011

When the carnival is finished, there are some that still do not want to leave their official carnival masks at home and continue to annoy us in the town with their music.

When the kids were smaller it was our duty as parents to accompany them to the carnival procession, to go into town on the afternoons when everyone was acting silly and stupid and as  a mother I had to put a brave face on it – special mummy mask. Today I do not even notice there is a carnival. There are advantages in being a golden oldie.

Before writing this blog I was wearing my brave cleaning mask in the kitchen. I am now wearing my serious computer blogging mask. When I am finished I have a few small jobs to deal with (small job mask) and eventually I can remove my mask and be me, although sometimes me gets lost on the way. I know who I am, but do you? – you don’t know me do you?

Daily Prompt: Mask

Good Morning

Kerria Japponica 20.04 (3)

My Kerria Japonica is now in full bloom in the garden. There is even a story behind this bush. Some years ago, 9 to be exact, I will still a member of our local first aid society doing all the accounts, being the only golden oldie at the time that knew how to handle Excel. In the meanwhile I have forgotten it all, but if necessary I am sure I could do it again. Since having my Apple computer (as well as my Windows machine) I discovered they have a completely different Excel programme called numbers. I should really learn this, but up to now have now have not had the time, and Mr. Swiss gave up with it some time ago, and still likes to use his good old Excel for our private accounts. He is Swiss so likes to get the finances organised. I am a Brit, so just pay my bills when they arrive and put the pending ones in a little tray I organised for myself.

Sorry, I am wandering again, back to the Kerria. Yes it was my 60th birthday and the golden oldies in the first aid group (and the younger members of course) gave me a voucher for the local garden center, so I exchanged it for this Kerria. It is one of the first to flower in the garden and the longer you have it the more flowers it makes.

And it is another dull overcast morning in the land of cheese, cows and money banks. Yes, we seem to have more banks than shops. Even our supermarket chain has its own bank and if you want to buy a house they will arrange all the necessary details for the mortgage. Not that you find it on a shelf in the store and just put it in your supermarket basket and pay at the checkpoint. They do it all with the usual organisation.

We even have a guy at the bank that we know personally, he has a name and telephone number. If you despair just call him. Yes banking in Switzerland is a real family thing, although I have not yet invited him to dinner.

Otherwise not very much to report. Today I wil be hunting for food again at the local supermarket. I now have to make my shopping list – on my iPhone of course. Mr. Swiss still writes it down on a piece of paper, he is not so iPhony as I am. That is one of the reasons that when I have my complete list I send him an SMS message of my list, so that he has the duplicate of my notes. Slowly but surely I am not so sure that we actually talk to each other, we have a cyber marriage.

At the moment I use the Facebook messenger a lot. My friend in England keeps me informed about my father. Today he will be tranferred to an intensive care home and we did all the organising, mostly by messenger. We call each other on the phone now and again, but can also talk on the messenger – she on her iPad and me and on my iPhone. It saves a lot of telephone costs and we have really felt the benefit of it. You can complain about the moronic stupidity of Facebook, but it does have its advantages. I could even speak to my father’s doctor with the messenger callup and no expenses incurred.

It is now just a matter of the waiting game to see how he progresses.

Not a lot to say today, although it seems even then I have something to say. By the way the Dyson secret has now been revealed. They have a hair dryer which is of absolutely no use to me. I let my grey locks dry naturally.

Have a good day/night, clean your keyboards if they are sticky with jam like mine and don’t forget to blog.