CHRISTMAS WRITING PROMPT 4: BEST PRESENT

There was a time when the kids were growing out of being kids, I was working, Mr. Swiss was working and things were looking good. It was then that Christmas presents became a theme.

Swiss Court near Leicester Square, London

We are a small country, but each Kanton (state/county) has its own symbols. Our Kanton is just two red and white horizontal stripes, but others have perhaps a goat, or a an eagle. Here they can all be seen, photo taken on Leicester Square in London, at the place where the Swiss Center was. Solothurn, where I live, is on the third row from the bottom on the extreme left.

watch 006

It is not often that I see something that I really like, but when this watch appeared I knew it was made for me. It was designed by Michael Jordi in a Swiss ethnic style in different versions, one design for each Swiss Kanton. I dropped a hint at home that I would like one, I was never a person for flashy jewellery or expensive watches even, but this watch was a reasonalble price as watches go, had a battery, and I just loved the design with the cows walking around the dial. The watch bands were available in black, red, green and blue, as well as grey.

So on Chrismas evening 24th December in Switzerland, I had my watch nicely wrapped under the tree. Mr. Swiss had given me the version made for Kanton Schwyz with the snow flakes, for Christmas 1991. Jordi stopped making them, but I still have mine and still wear it. I had a general revision once and at least three new straps. Although the watches can no longer be bought, it is possible to get spare parts and the straps.

I would say the best present I ever had, I just love that watch, even today.

Jordi watch

CHRISTMAS WRITING PROMPT 4: BEST PRESENT

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Rock Paper Scissors

Balm and Günsberg

You don’t get them more rocky than this. On an excursion to a nearby village situated at the base of the Jura Mountains, there is the remains of a very old fortress built into the rocky cliffs, from the middle ages. A gift for a camera.

Toilet paper

There is paper and paper, but there is paper we use often during the day. We probably could not do without it. There are just some things we seem to take for granted.

Scissors

Sometimes I just do not understand Mr.Swiss. It is all in the name of photography, a simple challenge, and even a children’s game. I had to spend at least 5 minutes coaxing him to put his finger on the scissor blade. I just love original photos. I wonder if Ansel Adams had such problems with his photos. I mean the subject could have been guillotine.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Rock Paper Scissors

One Word Photo Challenge: Dodge

Feldbrunnen to Langendorf 25.11 (11)

I followed Jennifer’s tip with this one and did some dodging in a photo programme known as Ribbit. Ribbit has all the basics of Photoshop, also with the “dodge” function and costs me only a few francs per year. The  mess up on the number plate of the car was done in the standard photo programme on my Microsoft computer.  Not everyone likes to see their car specifically shown on a photo on a computer page. I once had Photoshop, but it has become too much of a good thing for me, very expensive and half the stuff I do not need or understand.

I often take photos from the car when Mr. Swiss is driving and even getting stuck in front of a traffic light is a good opportunity to take a photo of the car in front. I now “dodged” his back lights to make them brighter.

One Word Photo Challenge: Dodge

Daily Prompt: Don’t rain on my parade

Birthday
No, not today. I got there, fought my way through life and now I have arrived and I do not intend to become a martyr, because I am a survivor. I survived birth, which was not an easy task to begin with. I was exhausted when I arrived and I spent the first few months sleeping it through to recover. Now and again I had to eat and drink, to give my body what it needed and then I had to sleep again to recover from the exhaustions of breathing.

I fought my way through various educational processes, and that was not an easy task. They were all against me. I was  forced to a question and answer martyrdom, only those with the right answers managed to exist. Now and again we lost a few on the way, but they were not matyrs, just giver the wrong answers. I discovered this whole life thing was one fight for survival. A sacrificial fight to be the best, but I made it and today I can look back on it all and ask “Was it worth it?”

Martyrdom is never  worth it, because usually you do not exist to reap the benefits. How many martyrs are around now to tell the story of how they became martyrs, none of them Nobody remains to talk about being a martyr, because they the probably got killed in the process of becoming a martyr. It was always a dying profession, stopped before it begins. Of course there a few pretty paintings of those that became martyrs, being hacked to pieces, burning at the stake, perhaps having their heads rermove, but none of them remain to tell us all about it, or whether it was worth it. If you ever ask your children what they want to be when they grow up and they say “a martyr” then do your best to deter them from this choice. It is really not advisable to become a martyr.

I decided from the beginning that I did not want to become a martyr. It had no future, was not worth it. Writing daily prompts since at least eight years does not make you a martyr. There is no danger of dying whilst you are writing, unless, of course, your computer has a short circuit with the electiricty. You become a computer martyr, klled whilst writing a WordPress blog in the line of duty. You can be glad to get an obituary form WordPress “Died in mortal combat in service of the grid, she will never be forgotten”. Of course I will not be forgotten with over two thousand blogs to remember me by. But this is just a fluke of nature, I did not die for my country or my beliefs, just for my computer – that will not count.

I am a photographer, just amateur, but I never leave my home without a camera. Perhaps I fall into the river whilst taking a photo, I might fall whilst trying  a photo of a snail on the ground and no longer be able to stand, but I will survive – or not. But I will not be recognised as a martyr, there are no amaterur photographers that have become martyrs. It is usually their own fault for trying to take photos in difficult places.

And now I must go, there is a knock on the door. Perhaps it is a member of the Swiss government with my birthday card and medal for surviving to the age of 70 today. Or perhaps they only award them posthumously. No it was someone that pressed the wrong bell at the door.

Daily Prompt: Don’t rain on my parade

Good Morning

Santa sack

I made it. After 70 years of hanging around I got to be 70 years old today. I arrived in Switzerland on my birthday, after travelling on the night train from London, via Calais on the French coast, through France and arriving in Basel in the early morning hours. It was 1966. Little did I know then that this excursion would develop into a permanent stay, getting married on the way,  becoming a paper swiss and have two kids into the bargain.

As an immgrant at that time, the Swiss did not let you in without a few obstacles to overcome. One was to have a medical examination at the border. You had 2-3 days to get it done, but it was the easiest solution to have it dealt with when you arrived as you were passing through. The medical station was opposite the railway station in Basel. When I arrived I realised there were about 100 others from all over the world waiting for the same process. I had to give up my passport, had a blood examination and an x-ray of the lungs. I asked for my passport but was told, come back in 2 hours when we have the results. Big deal, a cold and frosty morning in Basel, nowhere to go and nothing to do and wait 2 hours. I picked up my passport at 10.00 a.m., my examination was a success. There were a few dramas at the medical station where a couple were told they were not healthy enough. I remember on American lady, where they had found something on her lung. Funny after 50 years how these things remain.

Afterwards I caught the train to Zürich where the wife of my future chief was waiting for me at the station. I had lodgings in the house that she owned in Zürich. I remember looking out the window of my room and for the first time seeing a statue of Ulrich Zwingli, one of the church reformers of Zürich who, up to that point, I had never heard of. Today I could probably write his life story. I was living opposite the local Swiss Reform Church and also in the same street where the largest crematorium in Zürich was situated. What a birthday that was, but I wanted to go and there was no stopping me.

The following week was full of appointments at the local “Kreisbüro” to register in Switzerland and organise the documents to register my work permit. I also visited the British Embassy, or was it a consulate, to get registered in Switzerland. If there was a war the British would help me to get to a safe place, was the idea, although Swiss wars were mainly fought in the banks, so there was no danger. I also had a sickness insurance to organise, but I was soon on the way to become a legal alien. Today I have the Swiss passport. Mr. Swiss tells me he often has the feeling I am more Swiss than he is, although he can still speak the language better. I am also quite good at it.

What I did not realise at the time was that I would be sharing my birthday with all of the children in Switzerland, and most of the children in Europe. This day also happened to be St. Nicholas day, a children’s Christmas celebration on behalf of Santa Clause who was originally deemed to be St. Nicholas. On this day Parents mainly present their children with a sack full of various Christmas chocolate, gingerbreads, tangerines and of course a mixture of nuts, mainly peanuts. I took the photo in the local store. We always constructed our own selection of goodies, but today you can buy everything for the price of almost ten Swiss Francs. My birthday was famous, although when I had my own family I had to share it with my kids and St. Nicholas.

And now I am 70. Have aches and pains that no-one told me about when I was 20 years younger, write daily blogs, and have become a cyber golden oldie.  I do not go anywhere without my camera, usually in my bag, and also my walking cane for the past year. Yes, there are some things that you wish did not appear, but it could be worst.

And now to continue as usual, cleaning, cooking and tending to my two computers. Thankyou all for the various birthday wishes I have received. I will be back later when the english colony across the pond is also awake. Have a good day everyone and do not eat too many nuts, save some for the birds.