FOWC with Fandango: Royal

Royal Envelope

If there was anyone qualified to talk about being Royal, I suppose that would be me, being a Brit and growing up with Queen Elizabeth on the throne of the United Kingdom, apparently even overtaking Queen Victoria’s years. I was never really a fan of the royal family. They did not have to wait for their hospital operations for weeks, or even months, they were treated immediately: no national health service involved there. Some of the older members of my family did not even survive to get an operation.

My dad fought for King and country in the second world war for five years, not because he really wanted to, but because he was ordered to. Dad was never a fan of the royal family until the day when he became 100 years old. Of course this was something special. He was then living in a care home. He had his own appartment there and there were carers that looked after his needs, the washing, cleaning, ironing and personal hygiene: for me and dad,  they were the real royals.

One day the lady in charge found he should get his telegram from the Queen on his birthday which all centenarians were entitled to in England. Naturally the Queen did not know about my dad and so you have to make an application, which they did at the care home.  When the great day came, I was naturally also there. I flew over from Switzerland on my annual visit, not wanting to miss the great occasion of dad becoming 100 years old.

The card arrived by telegram.

Dad's 100th Birthday

As said,  dad was not a royalist, but he was impressed that the Queen thought of him on his 100th birthday. This card was on his side table, but every five minutes he picked it up and had another look and he mentioned “that the Queen would think of him on his birthday” not realising that it was his right to have a birthday card from the Queen when he became 100 years old, even if you have to remind her.

Dad's 100th Birthday

This is the inside wording of the card, but I am not sure if it is really an original signature or sort of photocopied onto the card. Dad would not know as photocopies and such were not something that existed in his 100 year old world. He saw the signature and knew that the queen had sat down at her desk and signed especially for him.

This was now three years ago, he became 100 years old on 24th Sepbember 2015. He passed away a year later and the card is now in my possession as his only child.

FOWC with Fandango: Royal

Feline RDP Saturday: The birds and the feline

Tabby

Gather around kittens. Are you sitting comfortably? Good then I will begin. Today we are talking about birds. No Tiddles, I said talking and there will be no free samples. I know  they are tasty. We are not here to discuss the various flavours.

I love birds, they are such wonderful little creatures. They flutter around in front of your nose and the perfume is wonderful. Yes I am a real bird lover, I could eat them for dinner and tea and even in between. I usually eat them pure, straight from the tree, but if Mrs. Human happens to be cooking one of the big ones, which is more than just a bite, like a chicken, I usually sit and wait. How can anyone resist my eyes that show how I suffer when she is serving her food and I have non in my bowl. I have made it quite clear to her that I prefer the chicken pre-chewed to make it easier for me to swallow.

Of course there are some birds to be avoided. Sparrow and tits can be swallowed in a few moments, but if you see a crow then forget the whole thing. They will probably swallow you in one bite.

And how do you persuade the bird to participate in your next meal. You do not. There is no point in trying to talk to the bird, but you must act as it it did not exist. Observe the bird out of the corner of your eyes (plural form, we have two eyes) and follow every movement it makes. It might be flying. No Tiddles you do not jump and clap your paws together hoping it will be sandwiched in the claws. That would make far too much noise and frighten them all away. You wait until the bird is resting on a branch within jumping distance and then you slowly creep along the ground, making sure that no grass stalks are bent in the process, and pounce. Afterwards dinner is served.

For this weeks homework you will put the training into practice and each one of you will bring the beak left from the bird to show you success. “Your have a parrot at home Tiddles? No parrot beaks, we begin with the smaller birds, a sparrow is enough.”

RDP Saturday: Bird

I grew up in London and birdlife is restricted to pigeons and sparrows, nothing romantic. Of course we had a budgerigar at home, nearly everyone did: he even spoke, his name being Bill he constantly said “pretty Bill” and spent most of the day looking in his mirror and talking to himself. He would grip the mirror with his claw as it was suspended in his cage: one of my childhood memories. Today I would have a guilty conscience if I had a caged bird. I now prefer to see the birds in their natural surroundings.

In winter I have a birdhouse outside and regular customers for their bird seed. I live in a place where a river runs through it and what would a river be without a few ducks and swans. Our neighbours are magpies and a crow colony and between them they tend to have quite noisy conversations.

My No. 1 son’s boss has a cockatoo.

Patrick at work

The name is Otto and is now about 30 years old. Otto is part of the company where my son (in the photo) works. He is quite at home in the factory and is here looking over my son’s shoulder whilst he is working on the machine.

The boss takes the cockatoo to work every day. He has a nice big cage but is usually hopping around or sitting on his owners shoulder. He is not only confined to the factory. Outside there are a few trees and now and again he makes the most of a little freedom he has. A couple of weeks ago I was passing by and met the boss outside. He said Otto is also outside if I want to take a few photos.

Cockatoo 24.10 (3)

And there he was siting on a fence and cleaning his claw.

I know in some countries cockatoos are regular daily appearances and if you live down under in Australia they are no exception. By the way this is the cockatoo sort with the little bits of yellow under the wings. Here you only see cockatoos as pets and Otto is the only one I know.

RDP Saturday: Bird

Good Morning

Amaryllis

This is a later morning today. It is Saturday and I really needed some rest and relaxation and so I ignored my timepiece, which happens to be my mobile phone next to my bed. I had my eye on this amaryllis in a pot in my garden for some time. Amaryllis are a Christmas thing in Switzerland, and the stores get the first selections usually during November. I decided to keep them and train them to flower again, which they have, now and again.

I was speaking to my gardener last week and he laughed a little at Mrs. Angloswiss horticultural ideas about the resuscitation of the amaryllis and found that they are now so cheap in price, you would be better trashing the old one to make room for the new. I decided that my four pots of amaryllis waiting for Christmas were taking up too much space and giving me extra work, but then I saw this one. It had decided to flower at the end of August which has saved its life as the survivor.

Yesterday I visited Heidi, my hairdresser. It was really time, but there was so much happening in between that I had to postpone it. I usually go every two months, but it was getting now near to three. Mr. Swiss came with me to make sure I did not have any unwelcome accidents on the way. My walking powers are gradually getting less and my wheelchair is too big and complicated to put in the car, so I hobbled from from the parking place to the saloon with my stock. After half an hour I was a new person with my short back and sides. I was thinking of posting a selfie of me with the new look, but forget it. Selfies are the least flattering of all photos where you seem to look like a Stephen King creation.

Emptying the garbage containers 06.09 (3)

I saw something interesting when I was in town a couple of days ago I heard quite a noise on the other side of the river and when I looked over the local authorities were emptying the special garbage containers for glass etc. Usually you only see the stylish top with the space for the bottle or glass, but below there is a large container and with a crane attached to a truck they lift the whole thing from the ground, open the bottom and the glass arrives in the truck – very clever. I told Mr. Swiss and showed my photos, but he was not impressed. He had seen that happening often.

Cheese Days Solothurn 06.09 (15)

Otherwise I was still indulging in my memories of our local cheese day in town. It is not very often you see a collection of cows standing on one of the town squares on a bed of hay with a local grocery store in the background.

Cheese Days Solothurn 06.09 (11)

As I was wandering through the stalls on the market, I had to make room for a group of lamas to pass by, although no, we Swiss do not make lama milk, or who knows. Perhaps it might be something new. I would have preferred a front view of the lamas, but it was one of those surprise visits.

Cheese Days Solothurn 06.09 (21)

And now to move on, I have other things to do, although nothing that I do not usually do. It is Saturday, like week-end, although golden oldies do not have a week-end. It looks like it will be a sunny day and I just might embark on a new wheelchair adventure this afternoon. Have a good week-end and make the most of it.

Clouds 06.09 (1)