FOWC with Fandango: War

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When the subject of war comes up and you live in Switzerland, you have to search for something worth showing as a symbol. The Swiss do not fight, they are neutral, but they are prepared. This war memorial in our local town always seemed to be a bit strange to me. A guy with no clothes holding a sword with a helmet. I suppose it symbolises something, but I am not quite sure what. OK, as a brit I suppose I have a bit of a different opinion with a father serving in the World War 2 and a grandfather in World War 1. My dad summed it up. No-one asked us to go, we just went. I know he was glad to come home again. We had no heroes in our family.

Fritz, Rudolf, Hans, Oscar Gerber 1

I always liked this photo showing Mr. Swiss great uncles and grandfather ready to fight the enemy in the first world war. It was all very new to the Swiss but armed with their swords they were ready to defend their country. During the second world war again they were defending the borders, but it was then rifles. I think the swords were then in the museum.

Every able bodied Swiss is a soldier today. They are called up at the age of 18, go to recruit school for a few months and then serve annually for 3 weeks a year (perhaps more if you are an officer). Eventually you have done your duty and are discharged. I remember son No 2 when he was in the army doing his time.

And here are my family.

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Top left son No. 2 when he was a recruit, top right mum and dad on their wedding day (it was 1945 and dad had only just arrived home, hence he only had a uniform to wear) and bottom right dad again when he was in the army. Last but not least my grandfather bottom left. He was in the medical core.

FOWC with Fandango: War

RDP Wednesday: Island

Islands seem to be my fate. The first 20 years of my life were spent living on an island, called Great Britain, although we Brits were not really aware of the fact as such. Of course there was water everywhere, and we were something special (according to the opinion of the genuine Brits). One day I left this island and decided to discover another country. I was not really bothered which country, just something completely different and so I found work in Switzerland. Switzerland is not an island is it? It is surrounded by other countries, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein (now that is an island if ever there was one), not forgetting Italy and France. We Swiss are in the middle. Not only that but we are not even European, although all the countries surrounding us are. We are something special, we are Swiss: have our own money (no € here) and our passport is Switzerland, Suisse, Svizzera (to compensate we have 3 basic languages and a fourth Romansch). We have never had a Brexit (or Swexit) problem because we voted against joining the EU.

But where I live in Solothurn we have our own island.

Island River Aare

The river Aare flows through our Kanton (State) and along the river, after leaving our town of Solothurn, there is an island. I took the photo from the top of our house mountain, the Weissenstein, but you can see the island in the middle of the river and yes, I have been on this island.

It is quite interesting as only one family lives there and that is the farmer who grows crops and has cows, just like any other farm, the only difference being that his livestock have to be transported by boat to reach the local market or to arrive on the island. He also has another lucrative source of money. On week-ends in summer you can spend a day on the island. Food is provided from the bar-b-que and you can go for a swim in the river or just take a walk around the island.

We once spent a Saturday there. We had to drive to the boat station on the river and the farmer would come and pick you up and pull you to the other side. The boat was fixed on some sort of chain system. In the meanwhile this has been replaced as it was deemed unsafe by the authorities. After spending a pleasant day on the island with good food and drink we departed in the evening, again on the boat. The farmer has a wife and children and when they go to school, or shopping in the nearby town, they first of all had to take the boat. It is only a five minute journey, but something interesting.

RDP Wednesday: Island

Good Morning

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Actually that bright spot behind the trees near the middle is the sun which decided to flood my bedroom with light when I opened the blinds. I quickly closed them again and he who will not be mentioned decided to return to hugging the bed after a coffee. I braved the new day and did the usual chores like clearing away the linen from the wash stand and generally making light in the apartment. I also opened a few windows to let some fresh air in.

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I just love seeing the view from the kitchen window in the morning as I am sitting at the breakfast table with my computer. It is really an inspiration and invitation for daily action. Daily action today means yet another shopping trip to the store., which reminds me to add a couple of items on my shopping list.

This evening it will be yet another romantic candlelight supper with Mr. Swiss and I, although without the candles as it now stays light until about 8-9 pm. No. 1 son will be picked up by car with a couple of others to see Roger Hodgson, the ex lead singer of Supertramp that are no longer. I quite liked Supertramp myself in their day. We will be alone this evening, although at the ages of 80 and 73, we like to take it easy.

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Yesterday afternoon was exhausting enough as Mr. Swiss had to see the eye specialist. It was not so far away, just in town on the other side of the railway station, but I had to squeeze my little car into a space in the parking lot, and I do not like parking at the best of times, especially when there is no choice and only one space available. I told Mr. Swiss to go ahead to the doc and I would put the money in the machine for the parking space. Somehow he got lost and I had to search for him, but after being together for 50 years, you have a built-in tracking device for your partner.

At least I had time to take a photo of our railway station from the window of the waiting room. The eye examination confirmed that Mr. Swiss has advancing glaucomas and they will both be operated in July, two operations in two weeks. It is now a fairly routine op, takes about half an hour, and can be done with local anaesthetic. We are both glad that it can be done locally and that he will not have to go to another hospital further away.

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After my daily garden inspection this morning I discovered yet another new arrival and this one I am certain that the gardener did not plant. According to check (and I really did not recognise this one), it could be the product of a rape seed. They resemble a yellow cloud when the grow in a field, and are for oil production. This seed might have found its way in my garden: perhaps it is not rape, but looks very much like it.

And now time to go, although no stress today. I had enough yesterday. It is still quite cool outside and the sun has now disappeared, although the weather experts tell us that summer is arriving with temperatures up to 30°C at the week-end, but I will believe that when it happens.

Make the most of the day perhaps it is a perfect day, just a good day, or not so good. See you later. Have a sniff at my photo with the blue flowering thyme on the right (the other plant is my sedum).

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FOWC with Fandango: Pick

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There used to be a time when there was not such a choice of vegetables and fruit. There was always enough to eat, but we were not spoilt.

Today it is all spread out in the supermarket so help yourself. Sometimes this can get a little overwhelming. Even the tomatoes have different shapes and sizes, although they are still red: but they can be long or round, mega sized or mini. I generally have a look at the price before I decide.

There are experts amongst us. I was interested in the conversation held by a married couple last week over the choice of a melon. At the moment the season is beginning. A melon is a melon, but not quite. This is where I go for the special offer. The married couple I saw were experts. She took it in her hand, gave it a tap. Afterwards she had a good sniff and a push with her fingers. She was a full professional. Eventually after exchanging a few words with her husband, she made her decision and put the melon back where she found it after handling it. It was the special offer melon and not good enough for her table.

When she was finished with this expertise, I also decided to have a melon for tea. They can be very tasty together with Swiss or Italian dried ham. I decided to try it out, but all those melons looked the same to me and also smelt the same. And giving it a feel and a push did not help. They all resisted. Eventually I  chose, but not the one that the lady had examined, out of grounds of hygiene. the lady was still hovering around. Did she shake her head  and laugh? I have no idea, and also no interest. Not everyone is an expert melon chooser.

FOWC with Fandango: Pick

RDP Tuesday: Spark

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Two years ago we had quite a sparky time in the building where I live. We were being renovated and there were certain metal bits and pieces that had to be removed. What a feast that was for my camera, I manage to get some nice close up shots.

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That was just the beginning, and a few months later they even brought some flame throwers into the act. What could be better.

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That was until when this guy arrived. He was really throwing the sparks everywhere and I was standing next to him, taking my photos, until he mentioned that I should stand back a little. It seems that he was worried that a spark might hit my camera lens and even worse, might hit me.

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The next day her arrived with this. What could be better, this was the real McCoy and the noise was fantastic. Yes it was a sparky life I was living at the time.

RDP Tuesday: Spark

Good Morning

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Not such a good day today, it’s raining and unfriendly weather. I am a little later this morning as my cleaning lady is here busy in the kitchen, shower and bathroom. It is also a bit of a stress day because Mr. Swiss has an appointment at the eye doctor straight after lunch and I will have to bring him with the car. I do not know how long it will take. He will have to have an eye operation for a glaucoma, but today will probably be just examinations. I am hoping that it will not take so long.

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At least my hostas seem to be enjoying the rainy weather. Those on the left have been in my garden since 20 years, and the smaller variety I had to replant three years ago after they renovated my garden, but hostas seem to be indestructible: just have to keep an eye on the slugs.

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I have also had these mega leaved variety since 20 years and for the first time I have seen on the right a small hosta leaf. I have always left the seed pods to do what they will and it now seems that new little plants are appearing on the right, they are moving in and taking over. There must be a triffid influence somewhere.

Yesterday it was a shopping excursion, which went quite well. I manage to get everything and can now relax with the shopping tour until tomorrow. Thursday is a holiday for ascension day and the shops are all closed in Switzerland, but that is no problem for me as Thursday is not a shopping day. Tomorrow I buy enough to cover until Friday afternoon. I remember such days when I was a working woman and Mr. Swiss and I had a different routine. We would enjoy those free days in between and even perhaps make a short excursion including lunch as a trat. Who would have thought that many years later and with retirement, you just cannot manage to get the energy together to make the most of those days. We are both glad to relax at home now and have no stress.

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My iris flowers are now in full bloom and make a good contrast to my Japanese Maple leaf bush.

And now I must move on. I still have a window to clean and have completed all on the East side of the apartment. I still have my daffodils to plant in the garden, as they finished flowering a month ago and I want to keep them for following years.

Have a good day everyone, I am not off and hope to be back this afternoon, although I am not sure how my timetable will be with my extra excursion with Mr. Swiss.

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Here is an animation of photos I took on a flower walk. It seems Google does this for me, but a little too fast for my taste.