Something that almost everyone has somewhere in Summer
Something that almost everyone has somewhere in Summer
Just one of the slopes I take to cross to the other side of the road in my wheelchair. In the distance on the other side of the road you can see our local museum. It is not envy that I have, although when I go places and mix with people I can envy the fact that some are about my age and walk quite well. They do not have to grip onto the supermarket trolley to stay balanced or belong to the ministry of funny walks.
I remember a time, just about 8 years ago, when Mr. Swiss and I would take a walk now and again together: perhaps along the river bank into town, or to our local castle up on the hill. Even in our golden oldie years we would still walk together, hand in hand. We now only go out together if I drive to the store and he comes with me in the car. Now and again we talk about the times when we were free to go anywhere and do anything. I am now restricted to holding onto my walker, travelling in my wheelchair and Mr. Swiss can go nowhere without his stick for support. He also has a mechanical wheelchair at home.
Many of us have problems when we get older, but the thought of how it used to be is there. We are not envious, it is fate, but those that are free to go and do what they want without mobility problems are the lucky people and I hope they realise it. I know, I used to be one of them and so was Mr. Swiss.
One of the things I discovered about the Swiss way of life, after getting married, was that they are fully equipped. I do not think we had anything worth keeping safe in England and keeping documents did not come into the question. Dad kept his money in his trouser pocket and mum had a purse.
And so I moved in with Mr. Swiss. It was a trial situation and there was no rush. We were getting used to each other, although a month later we got married and at the end of the year I was mother to three children (I inherited two kids from his first marriage).
And so the big metal box also came with Mr. Swiss. This box is fire proof, lightening proof, and most probably act of god proof. I was fascinated. It was kept in the bottom of a cupboard, and contained the details of Mr. Swiss life and slowly also mine. If you get married in Switzerland you get a family book. Husband and wife are entered into it and there is room for 14 kids, although we only managed two. He had a second family book from the first marriage, also with two kids. These were also in the box.
The funny thing is that I never bothered with this box. I left it to Mr. Swiss. Today I had to open the box to let the moths out. The Brits are re-organising their accounts for the pension scheme. They have discovered the magical IBAN number. I received a form to complete, but they wanted so much information that I had to go on a search for details. They have been paying my British pension money into my post office account (a paltry amount monthly because I only worked for two years in England) and now they write for IBAN, BIC, Swift and Bank Account Numbers so now I have to give them details for payment into my bank account.
On top of all this they want my National British Insurance No. Huh, did I have one, and if so it was 52 years ago. So into the box I went. Mr. Swiss had to hold it open as if the lid had closed on my fingers, I would probably have lost a couple. All I found was a British medical card issued in 1946 when I was born. It even had the doc’s name on it from Bethnal Green and I remembered him. Of course he is now long gone.
So today the box played a role again in my life. It has now been put to rest again in the cupboard: after all we now have computers. What did surprise me was that Mr. Swiss had carefully put all my GCE certificates (english school system high school) in the box. I had not seen them for at least 50 years and did not realise we still had them. Today no-one is interested how many GCE’s I got (it was 7). My best results were Biology, French, Maths and Science, yes I should have been a scientist. The worst was english, I had to take that one twice, but passed eventually. History and Geography were also not bad – oh the memories stored in that iron box.
To continue. I wrote a slightly sarcastic sharp letter to accompany the form for the Brits, although I did thank them for paying my pension (paltry) regularly up to now. Did not want to spoil my chances for an increase.
Nothing like a herd of zebras to wake you up in the morning with their dazzling colours.
I took a wheelie into town in my chair to see how our magnolia trees were progressing and was not disappointed. They were also now dazzling with their blossoms.
It’s a grey morning today, although I am sure it will brighten up slowly but surely. Our Jura mountains also showed themselves from the grey side yesterday afternoon with a fresh layer of snow remaining from Thursday. On the right you see the Weeissenstein, our house mountain, although it is now almost 2 years since I last took the trip with the gondola to the top.
It was 4-5 days since I let myself out for a wheelie, so yesterday afternoon I was on my way again into town. I was getting an attack of cabin fever at home and needed a change of scenery.
It was looking quite peaceful when I arrived in town. On Saturday morning there is the weekly market with the fruit and veg stalls everywhere and other produce from the local farms. It is cleared away at lunch time and the town returns to its usual quiet self. I remember the days of my mother-in-law. As a golden oldie it was the highlight of the week for her. She would wear her newest creation and off she would go into town to market. She grew up with most of the stall holders and there were few people she did not know. They were the days before online shopping and getting it delivered to your door by the local supermarket. The town was alive.
As I got closer to the market place, there were more people and I noticed in the distance a crowd. Of course my curiosity was awakened and as I got closer I was confronted with this.
There was another demonstration for climate improvements. The people were singing “We are the World” a little out of tune, but they were people like you and me and not a full choir. Afterwards there the leaders held a short speech and distributed chalk to the children, encouraging them to make drawings on the pavement representing the theme with flowers, animals and words. Yet another opportunity for a camera report from the local wheeled journalist, although I avoided wheeling through the crowd and afterwards took the higher street through town.
I decided to visit the storks to see if there were new arrivals. One of the adults was present and I saw a second smaller head in the nest. Was this already the new arrival or the partner? It was difficult to tell, but they seem quite settled now in their nest.
On the way home I decided to take the path along the river and noted yet another new duck I had never seen before.
It was quite striking with its shiny red beak and according to Wikipedia it is a red-crested pochard, although I am open to discussion. Wikipedia is not the authority for ducks. It was very attractive and really something completely different. I then met two ladies who I now and again see, one being an Australian and the other an American. I felt quite at home speaking my native english again and it is always a pleasure to meet people from our english colonies. The American lady said she has been over 30 years in Switzerland and is no longer certain what nationality she is. I told her that after my 52 years in Switzerland, 50 being married to a Swiss. I am definitely sure that my British roots have shrunk through lack of food and water.
I am still battling with my british pension form but have decided to write an accompanying letter. How should I know my national insurance number after 52 years being away from the GB and I find no trace of it at home. They must have known it up to now after paying my pension for 7-8 years monthly.
And now to my housewife duties. I do not intend a wheelie today, have other things to do. I might bake a Swiss apple tart this afternoon and will see how my garden is growing. The stupid red tulips are still not open, but a little more than yesterday. They are filling my already exciting day with more suspense.
Have a good Sunday, and enjoy.
At least the Japanese Cherry at the bottom of the path is having its annual Spring showtime.
Je gratte, donc je suis
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