Flower of the Day: 13.12.2016 – The Day of the Triffids with a few body snatchers in between

Triffids

“Hey, need a new plant?”

“Who said that?”

“I did, take my photo.”

“Ok, but what are you.”

“Who me, what a question. They wrote books about me, made a film and I became famous. They all loved me, but no-one wanted to put me in the garden. Now I am waiting for someone to love me, to nurture me, and to give me loving care. What about it? All I need is a nice warm place inside. My name is triffid”

“And I am mandrake. I might be small but I will grow.”

“Shut up you lot, I am the biggest and the best. My mummy lived in The Little Shop of Horrors.”

“I am not sure. What do I have to feed you on?+

” We are not fussy. Do you happen to have a cat, or a dog will do as well. Better still, any kids around?”

“I have somehow changed my mind. By the way which one of you is talking to me, there are so many.”

“Makes no difference lady, we all need the same loving care. You can have us all for a special price.”

“I will think about it. In summer I might have some room in the garden, if you don’t mind being outside.”

“No problem, we love to mix with humans, especially in summer. That is when they taste best of all.”

Flower of the Day: 13.12.2016 – The Day of the Triffids with a few body snatchers in between

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Chutes and Ladders

Tabby on her ladder
Tabby only uses the ladder to descend. Ascending is easier to take a jump from the table to the top of the cupboard.

Climbing the roof to clean the window 21.05 (3)

Always have a camera near, you never know when it might be useful for one of those interesting photos. There might be work to do on the roof of the house opposite.

Playground in snow Migros Langendorf

I found a chute and I really thought I had none in my collection. It was taken at the local supermarket playground next to their restaurant on a Winter’s day last year.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Chutes and Ladders

One Word Photo Challenge: Dog

English Bull Dog

I do not have dog, have never had a dog, but three cats, so I suppose to compensate I take photos of dogs whever I see them and each photo has a little story behind it. Mr. Swiss had to pick our car up from the garage after the annual service, and the garage was now on the outskirts of town in another village. He deposited me in a street cafe to wait and after I had finished my drink I took a walk through the village. I was walking across a bridge over the River Emme, whe I met a man with his dog.Now if you see a dog like this you must take a photo. It is a British bulldog, a real genuine one with family tree and everything.Yes I had a very interesting conversation with the dog’s owner.

Special dog

As said, I have many interesting pictures of dogs, some sweet,some pretty and some probably knowing who their ancestors were, all on a document of course to prove it, but this dog has a special mention. He was accompanying a young lady in the supermarket who obviously had a sight handicap. She could see, but had to hold everything very close to read the prices and so the dog waited patiently  until she was finished. I had never seen a blind dog in action and so I asked the lady if she would mind if I took a photo of the dog. She was very nice and said of course. This dog deserves a medal and has a special place here under the simple heading “Dog”.

One Word Photo Challenge: Dog

Christmas Writing Prompt #9: Favourite Christmas Song

What is your favourite Christmas song and why?

Every year we are confronted with popular Christmas songs. My first Christmas song was Bing Crosby singing White Christmas I think. We have a record at home with various old Chrismas songs and this is also featured on it. We used to give it a play when we were eating our Chrismas evening meal, something to enhance the atmosphere.

St. Urs Cathedral from Vorstadt, Solothurn

The modern Christmas songs come and go, some are OK, but over the years nothing really remains, until my son joined the local cathedral choir. His school teacher was the leader of the choir, Singknaben der St. Ursen Kathedrale (the boys choir of the St. Urs cathedral). The Swiss Kanton where I live is a catholic Kanton and so we are the seat of the Bishop of Basel and have our own cathedral in the town of Solothurn, which is just along the road from where I live. So the school teacher auditioned the boys of the class, they were then about 11 years old, and my No. 2 son was found to have a good voice (took after his mother of course) and so he was invited to join the choir. The choir covered all religions, so although we were basically Swiss reform church (I think) No. 2 son could join. Practice was once a week and now and again they sang at church services on Sunday mornings, or high days and holidays as we would say in the cockney area of London.

And so it came to pass that their speciality was the Christmas Oratorium from Bach, although not the complete work, just three parts. It was performed in the Jesuit church of Solothurn, as well in two external churches, they went on tour at Chrismas. Son No. 2 had to practice his part, which was on a contralto level, as son No 2’s voice had not yet broken. It was all very technical, and I spent many hours on the piano accompanying him as he practiced his part. I knew this work by Bach almost by memory eventually.

However, songs come and go, but Bach did it for me. When I hear the opening notes of the first part, memories return of a little boy dressed in blue trousers with a blue plush pullover to match, with a St. Urs. Sangknaben badge on it. They were once invited to the Swiss TV studio for a recording to accompany the Christmas time on the telvision, 4 weekly programmes. Anyhow here it is, sorry that it is not one of those modern popular songs, but Bach did not go for that, he was more into the serious side of things.

Christmas Writing Prompt #9: Favourite Christmas Song

Daily Prompt: The Bespoked Wardrobe

Sewing machine

I had to pay a visit to our hobby room in the celler before I began to write. The photo is the reason why. Many years ago, I was about 35 years old, perhaps a few years younger. my mother-in-law gave me an old sewing machine. It was an antique almost, altough not a valuable antique, and it was a mechnical machine, not eletric. My mother-in-law was clearning some stuff out, and as she had her own electirc machine she decided she no longer needed it.

I was then mother of 4 childres, two step and two of my own and although I quite liked to knit, sewing was more a necessity than anything else. And so I began to use this old machine. It was all I had,  did not have an electric driven pedal, but was operated with a lever at the side moved by the knee, if you can imagine it. Why sew, basically to save money. Clothing 4 kids and myself was not cheap, so I decided to try it myself. My first efforts were not so good, were almost useless  and then I signed up for an eight week sewing course, which developed into a 20 year course. We were about 8-10 women that met once a week in the local evening school. The lady in charge was a qualified local dress maker and she was good. She had patience, took time to show us the ropes with the result that I made my own clothes for 20 years and many trousers for the kids. I made blouses, trousers, costumes, evening wear and my pride was a dark blue cashmere coat. We bought a pattern, and the material and would begin to sew. Sometimes a pattern was not necessary. Our “teacher” would ask what we wanted and she would help us to make our own patterns.

Why go to all this trouble? I was wearing clothing that atually fitted my strangely formed body. I realised that my waist was about 2 cm higher at the front than the back. I was too tall for the customs clothing lengths, and sleeves according to a shop size, were always too short for my arms. I could also put a lining into everything I made if ncecssary. And so I became bespoke, and the kids always had enough to wear. We had a local factory that produced material, and I could buy lengths of material at a reasonable price.

As you can see from the photo, with time I progressed from my second hand mechanical machine to a so-called Bernina (Swiss make) machine in a swing box. This machine is still in perfect  condition after so many years. It was very useful as the box was attached and I could easily stow it away after the work. I once had it revised, but now only use it for emergencies. Buying trouseers and tops is no longer a problem for my size. I am now in the golden oldie oversizes and now nothing has a real shape: it is all straght down and wide enough, with assistance from elastic fibres.

The word bespoke was not a mystery to me. I was reminded of the short film “The Bespoke Overcoat” which brought back a memory from 1955, based on a book from Nicolai Gogol

Fender is a lowly clerk in the warehouse of clothing manufacturers Ranting and Co. His one ambition is to have an overcoat of his own. Refused one by the cold hearted Ranting he asks a tailor friend, Morry, to make him one instead, but dies of cold before he can take delivery of it. Unwilling to give up his only desire even in death, he returns as a ghost to persuade Morry to steal him the overcoat he so coveted in life.”

I would love to see this film again, as now I am older and would have more understading. I grew up in an area of London, the East End, where jewish tailor shops were a main feature of the East End. We had a large immigrant jewish population skilled in tailoring. The two main roles in the film were played by two actors from the East End. David Kossoff, who came from Hackney, a neighbouring area, and Alfie Bass who was from Bethnal Green and lived only a few streets away from where I grew up.

I was also influenced slightly by my dad. He worked in the tailoring trade as a shop salesman, in the “50 bob tailors” which wa a shop where you could buy a suit for 50 bob, bob being the slang word for a shilling at the time. Dad knew a lot about making men’s clothing and had a sharp eye for quality, although he was not a tailor, he just picked it up. And so much for “bespoke”, a word that has perhaps lost it meaning today, but a word that returned some old memories to a golden oldie like me.

Daily Prompt: The bespoked Wardrobe

Good Morning

Teddy bears

Meet the three new members of the Angloswiss family. They are feeling quite at home and looking forward to a spoilt time with me and Mr. Swiss. Sometimes supermarkets have good ideas and ours does. I already have a collection of six easter bunnies from the special offers of the last two years at Easter, and now I have the teddy bear family, all three of them, from the Christmas offer. I visit the supermarket three times a week, and Mr. Swiss visits in between for what we forgot to remember. For each 20 Swiss francs you got a sticky label for a special card.When the card is full you can choose your bear, there are three sorts of bear.

Teddy Bears

Here they are, all waiting for a new family. If you have enough, or do not want a bear, you can make a “x” on the card and your bear will be donated to a hospital or children’s home. I am now on my way to bear No. 4. I could give it to the neighbour for her little girl, but probably she also already has a selection as I often meet her in the supermarket on my shopping safaris.

Another charity event is approaching its end perhaps. We have a weekly lotto in Switzerland, as in most countries. Of course you have to buy your lotto card to have a chance of winning. It used to be once a week on Saturday to discover if you were successful. It was then changed to twice a week for the draw, Saturday and Wednesday. It was then I stopped joining in. I discovered I was winning a lot less than what I was paying, and over the year was making a loss. And now there is lotto excitement in Switzerland. For some time no-one has picked up the jackpot and it now stands at an all time high of over sixty-four million swiss francs. You can imagine the queues at the kiosks of people suddenly deciding to join in the lotto experience. I have not even thought about it. From the winnings at least 40% is deducted for the Swiss tax, I mean the country also profits. You still have enough for a Rolls Royce, a Swiss chalet in the alps with all the trimmings, and perhaps you can even afford to go to the new year’s party at the Hotel Palace in Gstaad, rubbing shouders with the rich and famous.

I know it because when Mr. Swiss was making music on the side, he had an engagement there with the band. He saw Curd Jurgens, Roman Polanski, Shirly Bassey and a few other prominent people, although I don’t think they noticed him. He was even given 100 Swiss francs by an arab who wanted them to play his favourite song. That was a few years ago when all four kids were still at home, and we needed the extra money. Most of the rich and famous he saw are now in the happy hunting grounds, so you see money and fame cannot buy everything, although perhaps you have a star on the walk of fame or whatever.

So, where was I, ah yes, the lotto millions. I have everything I need. An appartment in the Swiss middle country, a supermarket within driving distance and a town within local railway distance. I have food on the table, and now three teddy bears for Christmas. I have a computer, two actually, a mobile phone and a few cameras so what more do I need. I cannot buy health unfortunately and of course I have Mr. Swiss – he is priceless (but so am I).

If I would win the lotto I would not have to say, I must go now I have some hoovering and mopping to do and a bathroom wating for extra care today.  I would have a cleaning lady, no a team, to do it all for me. On the other hand, life would be boring with no daily chores on the programme. Just sitting around, playing with my computer and reading books is not my thing. Now and again I must have action to fulfil my wish after lunch for a golden oldie sleep.

Am now on my way to make other experiences in life, cannot sit on the computer all day. If you have done the lotto this week, good luck, but do not forget, at the moment it is only worthwhile in Switzerland.