RDP Monday: Bravery

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Bravery? I once asked my dad, bottom right on the photo and on his marriage day with mum top right, if he did not think of being a conscience objector. He said there were a few soldiers that had such ideas, but he was not one of them. It had nothing to do with bravery to be a soldier. He said he got his marching orders and so he joined in with the others. Refusing would have been more complicated he found and many were even imprisoned for their beliefs.

And so dad assembled with the others and was transported to the highlands of Scotland for his first training as a soldier. Even that was going abroad as he had never been to Scotland and he said he  did not understand a word they spoke. Eventually he was sent to Italy and took part in the landings at Salerno, where they arrived on the beaches in an amphibious craft. Then he had his first meeting with the enemy. He said he and the men were marching and they noticed the earth kept spitting at them, in small pieces. They asked the officer what it was and he said it was enemy fire. Dad said he had never seen the men move so fast into the surrounding trees. Bravery? Yes brave to be there, but everything has its limits. He also remembered the descent from Ravello on the Italian coast. There were German snipers on the way, so the men hid behind the donkeys carrying the equipment. Both man and donkeys showed their bravery.

He told me about the day in Italy when it had been raining and the earth caved in because the local farmer had built an underground cellar for his wine bottles. Again the men showed their bravery by helping to empty the cellar. Dad said there was not a sober soldier left in the regiment and they heard the first Italian swear words from the owner of the cellar.

There was the time when the famous opera singer, Beniamino Gigli visited the troops in their canteen to give a concert. Whilst he was singing the Military police made themselves busy to lock all the doors and afterwards did a paper inspection. Dad said that they found a record number of deserters in the audience.

But that was dad, he never told of the bad things, the things that war was made of. Only when I was older did he once tell me of a march where some of the men walked on a mine field. Many were killed when the mines exploded.

By the way the other two soldiers in the picture are my No. 2 son top left. All able bodied Swiss men are soldiers. They have their first training at the recruit school at the age of 18 and afterwards they are called up annually for three weeks a year for service until they had served their days. I think my son was released around the age of 30.

And the last remaining person on the photo, bottom left, is my grandfather Relf, dad’s dad. He was not in a perfect medical condition when he was called up to serve in the first World War, although again no-one was given a choice For this reason he was in the medical corps and his work was collecting the men that were mortally injured on the battlefields in a lorry. One of the shadow sides of war.

Everyone was brave in their own way. Medals? They all got their medals, but not the medals presented by the Queen. When dad was finished he got his service medals to prove that he was there and did it.

Fritz, Rudolf, Hans, Oscar Gerber 1

And let me not forget the Swiss side of the family. Here are Mr. Swiss uncles and grandfather as young men, all ready to embark on defending the Swiss borders in the first world war. Although Switzerland has always be neutral in war time, their men were also enlisted to serve, mainly defending their borders. Some saw action, but that is another story.

RDP Monday: Bravery

November Photo a Day Challenge: Lonely

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This poem came to my mind when I saw the theme for today by William Wordsworth. My mother was not very poetical but this was her one and only poem that she knew from the school

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

November Photo a Day Challenge: Lonely

Good Morning

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This is not this morning’s sky, but yesterday afternoon when we actually had clouds and a little bit of sun. This morning we are back to the grey lid over the area.

I happened to have a few wakeful minutes around 3.00 a.m. and decided to have a look on my iPad. Suddenly I got a message from No. 2 son, with photo, showing my  granddaughter, Klara Catharina  that arrived at 03.11 am.  Mr. Swiss was sleeping next to me so I woke him to tell him the good news. Two more photos followed. Everything went well and I am now for the second time grandmother. What a wonderful start to the day. Son No. 2 is staying at the hospital with his wife until she is ready to come home and his other son is staying with a neighbour in the meanwhile. Everything is so well organised. When I had my two boys there was no question about rooming in at the hospital for Mr. Swiss. You had your visiting times and that was that, although visiting times in Switzerland have always been quite flexible and you are always allowed in unless it happens to be a doctor visit.

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Otherwise life goes on as usual, although not quite I suppose. I continued clearing up the garden yesterday and it is almost done now for the Winter. I also continued with my cupboard organisation and have yet another 60 liter bag full of shoes to throw away. It is always good to buy something new, but one day they are no longer new and I realised that I have not worn these shoes for at least 10 years. I no longer go for walks, and what is the point of wearing smart shoes when you have walking difficulties and need support from a walker, or a wheelchair. Anyhow the shoes are now sorted and the next step will be the many clothes that I no longer wear. The problem is it all take space away in the cupboards which I could use for something more suitable. I think I just need some chores to keep myself occupied.

Mr. Swiss picked up his two new pairs of glasses last week and yesterday one broke at the part where the holder is attached to the frame, not really broken, but got dislodged. He has his second pair thank goodness,, so this afternoon he will be acompanying me to the store where the opticians are. Our store always notifies me of its special offers for this week by message, the problem being that the offers only begin on Tuesday and that it not a shopping day for me. It is most annoying as there are a few things I would need today. However, I have done some replanning and will pick them up on Wednesday.

And now to continue with the normal daily routine. The next disruption will be on Thursday morning with a visit to the dentist with Mr. Swiss. It means again changing the bed linen on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I am really becoming a person of routine. I suppose I should be more flexible.

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So have a good week everyone