Peonies are a flower with many different faces.
Peonies are a flower with many different faces.
It’s been a long day, you’re exhausted, and you don’t feel like cooking. What’s your favorite take-out food to fill back up your energy reserves?
To tell the truth I only cook an evening meal on Saturday evening, otherwise we eat cooked at lunchtime and in the evening Mr. Swiss does the necessary with some cold cuts accompanied with tomato, cucumber and a choice of pickles.
If the situation occurs that I need a take-out it could be difficult. I assume a take-out is ordering something from a service somewhere, or perhaps a hamburger. We live in a little village in Switzerland and have no shops. Even the only restaurant has been closed for the last year and is now open, but restaurant food is expensive. Our nearest MacDonalds is a quarter of an hour drive from here. There are a few pizza courier services that I could call, but pizza is not the fulfilment of hunger for me.
My energy reserve backup would be what the fridge has to offer, or the freezer and that is more luck than anything else. My mum always said if you have eggs and potatoes you can always make egg and chips (french fries), but if I am exhausted I certainly would not begin to peel potatoes and cut them for chips. I think a fried egg on toast and a tin of baked beans would replenish my energy, if I could be bothered. Otherwise I would have to manage with a cheese sandwich. I could always have an early night I suppose.
I was born in 1946, the year after the end of World War II. I grew up in the East End of London which was heavily bombed during the war, being near to the London docklands. The photo shows the street where I spent the first 20 years of my life, an aerial view. The photo is not mine, but it was passed onto me by a colleague.
You can see the tightly knit houses and the roof with the “x” on it was our house. There was another row of the same houses at the back and the front, but they had been demolished when the photo was taken in the early 1960’s. When the bombs begin to fall you had to have a safe place for shelter. During the war My mum, my grandfather, grandmother and her sister as well as a nephew, were staying in our house. The men were serving in the army. The London population had to be protected.
One day the men arrived and dug up the little back garden we had. My grandfather was annoyed, his tulips were in a pile of dirt, they would no longer be growing that year or for 5 years afterwards. My mum told me he was annoyed and told the workers “they were cowards digging their holes to run to”, but she added that he was the first one down in the shelter when the air raid warnings were sounding. They built huts in the gardens for the people to take refuge and my mum, grandad, the grandmother and her sister with the nephew slept every night in the back yard in their little steel huts they now had in the garden. When the warnings sounded everyone looked for shelter. Some families spent the night in the underground stations of the railway. Mum said she tried it once, but it was not for her. It was closed, everyone sleeping on mattresses on the platforms and if you happened to have a touch of claustrophobia it was not ideal.
She preferred sleeping with the family in the shelter in the back garden. One evening she was at the cinema watching a film. In those days no-one had a TV. It was a good film and the sirens began to wail warning of a bombing raid. Mum knew that the warnings were timely, and she so wanted to see the end of the film. Unfortunately the bombs arrived sooner than expected and she had to run through the streets hearing bombs being dropped all around her. She managed to get to the house but not to the garden, so she spent a few hours under the table in the kitchen until the so-called “all clear” sirens sounded.
That is war and when someone talks of a shelter the first thing I think of are the air raid shelters in our few square meters of garden that we had.
I am one of the few people that had to have their wedding ring removed under anaesthetic. When Mr. Swiss and I decided to take the plunge almost 50 years ago, he reminded me that I should actually have a wedding ring. Money was a little scarce in those days. When you marry someone that already has two kids, aged 6 and 7, then you are not actually rolling in money. I remember we went to a jeweller shop in the town of Biel and I chose a plain gold band, just like my mum had. Mr. Swiss decided he did not want one, and that was OK with me. My dad never had a wedding ring. It is a bit of a custom in Switzerland, perhaps in other countries as well, to have your ring engraved with the name of your husband and date of marriage. It was not done so much in England at the time and we wanted to get married and not have an engraving session.
Now we can turn the clock onwards to about 40 years later. I was in London visiting my dad and my No. 1 son was with me. Mr. Swiss was in Switzerland and we only had contact by phone. I remember one evening my old schoolfriend and I went for a walk in the new docklands of London. I was staying with my friend in London at her house with my son. We decided to walk over Tower Bridge and then it happened. I still do not know how today. I must have tripped, fell, and saved my head by automatically placing my arm beneath it. Unfortunately I did not save my arm and it broke in two clean pieces at the elbow. Luckily my friend had her car and she said we must go to the hospital. I told her I want to go to the nearest hospital to where she lives, so we went on a half hour journey through London from Tower Bridge to Hornchurch in the car, me with an arm with two parts of a bone rubbing together.
We arrived at the hospital and my broken arm was diagnosed within an hour and I became a patient. The next day I was operated, an they told me the wedding ring must be removed. I asked how. Since 40 years it had never left my finger and the finger had actually expanded around the ring. I was sure the bone had grown as well. There was no way that ring would come off my finger. The nurse tried, I think three nurses tried, but no success. I was past caring and they wheeled me off to the operation with the ring still on my finger. When I woke from the operation I noticed I now had a silk band around my neck, and yes the wedding ring was hanging on it. I also had some suspicious black and blue markings on my ring finger. And that is how they removed my ring under anaesthetic.
I was released from hospital a day later and the day afterwards flew back to London with my son. My schoolfriend had been looking after him in the meanwhile. At one point Mr. Swiss called because he had heard nothing from me for a couple of days. My friend had the delightful job to inform him that I was in hospital with a broken arm. I told her not to phone him with the news. I did not want to worry him.
I no longer had a wedding ring on my finger, I was free wild, on the market again. After a further 5 years Mr. Swiss decided this state of affairs could not continue and one day he was measuring my finger with a strip of paper, not saying why, although I had guessed. It was around my birthday and yes, he had bought a new ring, this time even with a small stone in it. It was engraved with his name and date of our wedding and I am still wearing it today. I can even remove it if I want to, although I noticed that either my finger is expanding slowly in width, or the ring has got smaller, probably by washing. The photo is of my hand (with the normal golden oldie markings and wrinkles) and the ring.
Another misty morning, which is normal for this time of the year. In an hour we will probably have brilliant sunshine for the rest of the day. Yesterday was almost a summer day. I went for a wheelie in the afternoon in my chair, and I did not need a jacket at all, the short sleeved t-shirt was enough. I do get a little worried about this climate change thing. Strong winds in Portugal yesterday, floods in Mallorca last week and the Tornados or whatever in America are getting bigger and stronger. In Switzerland we are celebrating a second summer at the moment.
I decided to wheel into town yesterday afternoon in my chair to see if there was anything spectacular happening. Since our town fair, things have got a little boring. The first farm I pass on the way is tucked behind one of our little train stations. Luckily the fence allows for a good view. Often they have horses grazing on the meadows in front of the farm, but yesterday it was just Autumn and the farm house. They are the pictures that inspire.
I also wheeled past one of our homes for senior citizens. It is actually in Solothurn, but on the border to our village. The words say that it exists since 1319 and was renovated in 1869, but since then it has been modernised. Perhaps I will be there one day, although we have a more modern one in our village. It is never to late to have a look around, but at the moment I am content where I am. Our village is a good place to live, but we have no shops and have to get everything in Solothurn along the main road. We did have one little supermarket, but it gave up a couple of years ago. It was taken over for a year by a butcher in Solothurn, selling the basic stuff, but even that is now closed. As long as I have a car I can manage but it is a little inconvenient. Our garage had its premises along the main road, but even that has now moved to the garage city, on the borders of the town. It was a large area, ground floor, along the road and plans are to transform it into a supermarket. That would be ideal for me as I could wheel along and get what I need, but it is still in the planning stages. I have done everything in my wheelchair, but never entered a shop to buy something, so that will be the next bridge to wheel.
The first thing I see when I get into town is our cathedral. I decided on a photo of the top part this time with a few bits and pieces. There is even a bird sitting on a ledge, which I have only just noticed.
This time I did a wheel around in our so-called Vorstadt on the other side of the river. The original business school for apprentices is still there, although they have built a new one since. This arch seems to be a remnant of the old days. I thoughtit might be the old Bern gate. The gates to Biel and Basel still exist at the entrance of the town, but it is just something left from the old days. I discovered the Bern gate was demolished in the late 19th century as it was in the way of the newer road developments for cars etc. and only now exists in photos. Even Mr. Swiss did not know that. The things I find when wheeling around Solothurn. There is a movement to rebuild the Bern Gate, but the problem is they have now built an underground car park there. Even the roman baroque town of Solothurn has had to make concessions to modern day life.
This house always fascinated me. It was almost derelict, until an architect I know bought it and renovated it. It is now a wondeful house on the bank of the River. The architect had his office on the ground floor and the back of the house overlooks the River with two nice balconies. He really made something or the property.
I was very much annoyed with WordPress yesterday. They seemed to have a problem with saving my draft that I was writing yesterday morning and when I wanted to post it, it was not possible. I discovered that writing stuff on a Mac is not always ideal, so I had to retype the whole thing on my Windows machine which took up time. However, being wonderwoman, I managed it all, including the cleaning and cooking. Today everything is OK. I do not think that WordPress likes Apple/Mac stuff.
And now to the daily Sunday chores, which are OK. It will be a veal stew today which means I can begin the cooking now and have a restful morning, letting it do its own thing until lunch. I have some ironing to do and the usual walk with the vacuum cleaner and mop, although Mr. Swiss has already begun. Otherwise life is pretty good at the moment. I am off and wish you all a good Sunday or a good nights rest.
A Londoner now enjoying country living.
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