Flower of the Day 14.05.2016:

Roses 11.05 (1)

I always have a pot of something on the table in the front garden. My grape hyacinths have now lost their flowers and have been replanted in a bed. Roses were a special offer and so I treated myself to a pot. As you can see we have had some rain, actually we have been through a monsoon, but the plants need some rain now and again. At the moment it is again and again. When the roses are finished I also put them in the garden. They grow afterwards and I now have a row of small rose bushes.

Flower of the Day 14.05.2016: Roses

Daily Prompt: Underestimate

I was not going to write anything today. I am constantly underestimated and if I wrote something it would again be underestimated by the Pulitzer and Nobel prize comittees, indeed ignored. I have been battling for recognition since I began to blog and that is so long ago, I cannot remember when it all started. It must be at least 10 years, but I was not always here. The first two blogging sites decided I was too much for them and they collapsed, one even became bankrupt. I have had a bad conscience since. They do not want me, do not like me, catastrophes and destruction follow me all over the cyberworld. On the other hand, perhaps I am too good for them, but I do not want to overestimate myself as it might spoil my chances of becoming estimated as what I am: a genius, the best blogger of all time, the answer to all blogging theories.  I came to blog, I saw the blog and I conquered the blog (in the words of Julius Ceaser, they just translated it wrongly).

But today I proved them all wrong, I was even on the verge of underestimating myself. I felt as a failure and was on the verge of a blogging exit. On the other hand, I would disappoint my disciples and fans who are searching for the meaning of blogging life daily on my pages of wisdom and I cannot do that. I am a human being deep down, if you wipe away the layers of blog, grids, challenges and hope of being something and achieving a pinnacle in the scope of our possibities to blog, reaching out with our keyboards into the unknown and eventually finding the meaning of blogging life.

“What did you say Mr. Swiss? I am overdoing it. Oh, there are always those that are perhaps jealous of our talents, who spend their time on the computer organising their music sessions somewhere in a  far off place called iTunes. I say everyone to his own. Today I had a breakthrough, I achieved something. I could open the curtain of failure, of underestimation, I shouted Eureka and Mr. Swis found I might annoy the neighbours, but this is mybreakthrough.

russian

This is my alternative keyboard on my iPad, but let me begin at the beginning.

A blogging colleague informed of a site called Duolingo. It costs nothing, is free and is the key to learning other languages. As I know most other languages, I skipped over the European choice, and settled for a Russian refresher course, as I learned the language for 12 years. I have got out of practice in the meanwhile as Switzerland is not populated by a ethnic majority of Russians, You only meet them in St.Moritz or Gstaad when they stay in the 5 star hotels or their expensive chalets. There might be a chance encounter on the Zürich Bahnofstrasse when they are checking on their numbered bank accounts. Suffice it to be said its is mainly the rich and famous that can affod to live in Switzerland.

Undaunted I had a look at this Russian language revival for me and foud that 5 minutes of my percious underestimated blogging time could be managed to revive my Russian knowledge. I began the exercises which were written in english letters and then I arrived at the part where you should write the tranlsation yourself in cyrillic letters. My iPad did not have cyrillic letters and I have never changed its language, worrying that it might not find the return journey. I did not want to remain in a cyrillic alphabet for the remainder of my iPad days. I discovered a programme to download, which was full of warnngs about the secrecy of what you write. Your secrets would be disclosed to the KGB probably. The solution was quite easy. Just a twitch on that gear wheel icon on your iPad and choose your keyboard style. Her is a photo of my Russian keyboard, with one of my translatios written on the top left. If you press “check” it confirms that I wrote the right answer. There is even a mysterious voice reading the words for the correct pronouciation.

Switching keyboards is so easy that even an underestimated genius like myself can do it. You can see the two arrows over the keyboard. The third from left sign is not an arrow, but a sort of double square with a black line at the top. Just press on it and your keyboard is back to the good old alphabet that we all know. You can also dowload Arabic, although I decided that would be a little tooc omplicated. I learnt the language for a year once and decided it was not my thing.

I have a revived hobby. I will now spare 5-10 minutes of my day in the iPad world of Russian. You really have to love this computer stuff, every day a new obstacle. I now have to find the five minutes. An hour blogging, and hour or two dealing with photographs and now a Russian study, not to forget my longing to read a book now and again and perhaps a conversation with Mr. Swiss if I find the time.

My underestimations are slowly becoming overestimations. What we do for a Pulitzer/Nobel prize. There is also something called a Man Booker prize I believe. Must see what the qualifications are, but probably I am overqualified.

Daily Prompt: Underestimate

Good morning

meat

And a normal day begins in the Angloswiss household. Stay calm, it was not full moon yesterday and I was not wearing my black cloak visiting the local graveyard. My teeth remained their normal size, although they do tend to grow on full moon nights, and my faithfull werewolf was busy chewing on a bone,

The photo is today’s dinner, I am boiling beef. This is the raw state of course, no vegans or vegetarians here, although I am quite partial to a carrot or a leek which I will be cooking with this piece of meat. Actually it is quite comfortable to cook. Just boil the water with bouillon and a bay leaf, drop the meat in and let it cook slowly for 3-4 hours. An hour before eating I add carrots, celeriac and leek. One of the easiest meals to cook, because it does it itself.

beef

Here it is cooking and filling the kitchen with enticing smells – who needs to be a vampire when you can have it all in the comfort of your own home.

And now for something completely different. I was sort of blogging away yesterday and had a comment from a fellow blogger. We got into a small conversation about foreign languages and she gave me a tip which was a site known as Duolingo where you can learn languages online. Learning languages is another hobby of mine, although today I seem to be spending more time on blogging, housework and photography, but why not. So I had a look and was impressed. It is free, costs nothing, just 10 minutes of your time daily or more if you want to.

All the European languages are included, but who wants a European language, I can do most of them, not perfectly, but can ask where the toilet is or how much something costs. The rest takes care of itself with sign language and a few english words said with the accent of the country you are visiting. I decided to go for it. I learnt Russian many years ago and attended the class for at least 12 years. At the beginning there were 12 of us, but after the first course we dwindled and eventually we were 4-6 people – the hard core. The first learning book we had was still based on good old  communist Russia, learning about the young citizens and their life in the youth camps. Of couse there was a little Russian culture thrown in with the Russian father Christmas and even some words remained. I so remember the word for dog which is “sabarka” written in our letters. A dog barks, what more can you need. A cat is “koshka”, which shows that not all words can be associated. When we reached the third learning book it had at last been renewed, as communist Russia no longer existed and it was all about normal daily life. Even the word  for comrade, “tovaritch”, had been replaced with grajdanin, which I believe means citizen.

The problem with learning Russian is that you have no-one that speaks it in your neighbourhood to practice. In the meanwhile I found a shop assistant in the local supermarket working on the cash desk that is Ukrainian and so we tend to exchange a few words. Up to now the Swiss secret police have not arrested me for spionage so I assume my Russian is not good enough.

To return to the subject, I had a look at this Duolingo site. I chose to brush up my Russian and began yesterday evening with 10 minutes, anwering questions, tranlating to discover where my level in the course would be and I was surprised, I got 90% of the trial questions correct, mainly translating. There is even an accompanying voice for the words from my iPad. iPad told me that I do not have cyrillic letters enabled, but gave a link that it would be enabled. I am still thinking about it. I reflected on my learning days of Russian and I had the Cyrillic alphabet on my lap top of the time. I even had little labels to stick on the keys that I knew where the letters were. I could order the stickies online.

Anyhow being impressed that I can still do it, I decided 5-10 minutes per day was not a great sacrifice of time to maintain my language. You never know – perhaps Vladimir Putin might visit Switzerland to check on his numbered bank account and an interpreter might be needed. In the meanwhile I will continue to talk to the lady in the supermarket.

And as we say in the old country до свидания , хорошего дня!