Flower of the Day: 5th May 2016 – Apple Blossom

Apple blossom

Once upon a time there was a lady (me) that liked to eat an apple (Gala species) for her morning break at work. She had a plant on her desk and there was some space in the earth, so she planted the apple seeds in the pot. One day the apple seeds began to grow. After a year they became too big for the pot and the desk, so she removed them and took them home and planted them in the garden. They continued to grow and 5 years later she had two small apple trees. As she already had an apple tree in the garden, she was sure that when her apple trees had flowers they would be pollinated from the other apple tree and bear apples.

The lady waited many years, about 12, and nothing happened. The trees grew and were  the tallest in the garden, but had no flowers. She was pruning the trees every year. One day the gardener arrived and pruned the trees (this year to be exact) and what happened? Yes, she found one branch on one of the trees with flowers. According to this photo she might even have four apples this year. She remembered her original apple tree that now has at least 100 apples annually and now has hopes that this Gala apple tree, that grew from a seed in a pot on her office desk, might also be as fruitful. My flower of the day/year.

Flower of the Day: 5th May 2016 Apple Blossoms

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: HEADS OR FACIAL FEATURES (HUMAN OR ANIMAL)

Wienercafé

Mr. Swiss in a Café in Vienna sutdying a book

Eye of the horse

A horse at the local stable

Tabby

Tabby, my feline – one of her studio photos.

The chicken

One of our local chickens

CEE’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Heads or Facial Features (Human or Animal)

Daily Prompt: Beach

What is a beach? Just a moment I believe we have a few in Switzerland, not really known as beach, just places next to our lakes where there might be some sand which arrived by some magical transport system. It is all done for the tourists. If you want to earn money in the holiday branch you have to offer everything and what you do not have you do it all yourself. Now you are all waiting for a photo.

Beach Volleyball Dornacherplatz, Solothurn

I found one. I said if you do not have it you make it.  Everyone plays beach volley ball, even the Swiss. It was decided that the Swiss should not be deprived of the fun, and so they implanted a beach volley ball site in our town for a few months. You can see the little tractor they used to do it all. I knew I would have a beach photo somewhere, just insert the word “beach” in the search window for Flickr (my photo hoster) and from my more than 10,000 photos a few arrive where the word beach was used.

The problem is that when Switzerland was created it was the left overs of Europe that no-one really wanted. A place full of mountains, cows and lots of snow and ice. The guy that planned it all forgot about something called “coastline” and so we all had to make the most of it. Of course you get beaches around our lakes, but you have to have a lake. There are a few dotted around. Our nearest is the town of Biel, then a little further there is one in Neuchâtel and Geneva. In between there is a smaller version in Murten. I have seen them all and yes, they have beaches, but more something done with the land surrounding the lakes. In the mountains there are a few, but more mega poinds from the melted wated of the glaciers which are slowly shrinking. Yes a large planning mistake was made with the construction of Switzerland.

In the Italian part of Switzerland, known as Ticino, they have big lakes, Lugano and Locarno, the holiday place for the Swiss that do not hunt for their beaches in Spain or Italy. We tried it often when the kids were young. The problem with their beaches is that you have to find them first of all and when you do there is no room left. You can visit the lido, which is usually on the shores of the lake, but you encounter another problem. The Ticino people are convinced they invented swimming pools. My kids jumped in the cooling water and were promptly dragged out by a bathing attendent who told me, as their mother, that they were not allowed in the water without a swimming hat. My sons were 6 and 11 years old at the time and did not even know the word for swimming hat. It was also not included in my vocabulary, in Swiss German, French or Italian which was spoken in the area, although with a strange intonation (the were Ticino Italians).

Deprived as we Swiss are of beaches, the first encounter my eldest son made with a beach was on our holiday in Mallorca. The place was surrounded by beaches and of course there was a coastline to go with it. My eldest, who is autistic, had absolutely no fear of the water. I was surprised he did not actually take a walk on it, but perhaps someone did it first and it mind have caused a sensation. I have never been a good swimmer. Luckily Mr. Swiss was better, and so I sent him to call my son back to the safety of the beach as he had now become a faint spot in the distance on his way to the African coast. Mr. Swiss also gave up, but my son returned cool and calm and decided, yes, he liked the beach.

Growing up on an island as a Brit, I did not realise that not all countries had beaches. We had many in england, some sandy, some stony and some just mud. There was even a beach at the Tower of London, that was mud, but I was not a spoilt child. I remember going there as a kid with my mum. We had deck chairs to sit on and could swim in the River Thames, although due to the pollution it became a dangerous task. If you did not drown, it might be that you had some sort of blood poisoning from the water. Even the fish gave up and no longer swam up the River Thames from the coast. I believe fish have again been seen in the Thames since the docks were closed.

The last time I saw an english beach was about 10 years ago. I was visiting my dad in London and went for a trip in the evening with my friend and her boyfriend. We arrived at a place called Shoebryness, near Southend.

Shoebryness beach, Essex

Note the beach huts on the right, every seaside town has them in GB. To own one is quite expensive, and it is only the selected few than have one. They remain in the families for generations apparently. Otherwise you have to undress and dress with awkward contortions on the beach, hiding your private possessions beneath an XXXL towel.

River Thames at Rainham, London

The Diver, Rainham, River Thames, LondonThe River Thames Estuary at Rainham also has a sort of beach, but I would not advise to go swimming there. That is not a swimmer on the left of the photo, but a metal construcion known as the diver. See my photo on the left. Rainham is not exactly a holiday place, but is interesting. In the distance you see the tall buildings of the London docklands area, which was where I grew up. Yes, our family had quite close connections to the beaches of the River Thames. I had two uncles that were dockers, unloading and loading the ships when it was still used as a harbour.

And now for something completely different. How do I explain to my feline Tabby about beaches?

Daily Prompt: Beach

Good Morning

Rose Beetle in Magnolia flower 03.05.2016

I was on a field trip this week, only in the garden. I seem to have accidents if I go further. I took my mega sized Nikon camera with me as I was in home territory and not trekking across the wild lands over swamps and cutting my way through the underbrush and lianas with my machete. Yes, it is a dangerous trip to take a walk on the footpaths of the Swiss countryside. You could be attacked by a cyclist or groups of others taking their dogs for walks. The dogs are usually very well behaved, but often their people can be very complicated.
Small Magnolia TreeI wandered over the border of my territory through the wild meadow of savannah grass to take a photo of the magnolia tree my neighbour planted two years ago. It is still small, but can always grow. It bears a few flowers in Spring and I decided on a closeup.This was the beginning of the magnolia tree in its first year when it was planted on the left. Imagine my surprise when I focussed with my macro adjustment and a rose chafer/beetle looked up and smiled for the photo. Afterwards he continued doing what rose chafers do in magnolia flowers. I quite like those clumsy members of the beetle world. They often make the mistake of flying into my super clean windows on a pseudo kamikaze flight. There is a crash and they land on my table to recover.

And for the grand finale, here is the daddy of them all, the magnolia tree around the corner.

Magnolia

In the meanwhile I have finished my breakfast and Mr. Swiss has emptied the Dyson vacuum cleaner, so we are ready for action. Mr. Swiss just said to write a blog “how to empty your Dyson without getting dust in your lungs”. He still reflects to the good old days when vacuum cleaners had disposable bags. I told him he must go with the times. He is otherwise quite modern and takes walks with his ear plugs to listen to the music from his iPoddy thing, just like a teenager.  I think he definitely has something against Dyson vacuum cleaners.

Today is a holiday as I said yesterday. It is Ascension day. I already ascended from my bed this morning and in a few minutes will ascend from my computer. It will not be such an action packed day, as my housework is completely up to date and just have the normal tour d’habitation.

Let us see what the blogging day holds for us and the sleepers, dream all about it. I think I should replant my grape hyacinths in my pot on the garden table, in the garden today. I will then have a nice show next year. I wanted to buy something new for the table yesterday in the supermarket, but they only had left over remains of the mothers’s day roses. I want something better. I was thinking a nice example of a Venus fly trap would be decorative and keep the flies away.

See you around later.