Next to Leicester Square in London, there is a small patch known as Swiss Court. It is the opposite of me. They planted a metal tree showing all the characteristics of Switzerland, showing the emblems of the 26 States of Switzerland. There used to be a modern building quite near known as “The Swiss Centre”. The name was Swiss and it even had Swissair offices to book your flights to Switzerland. In the basement there was a Swiss Restaurant, although the only Swiss food I remember was a Black Forest Cake and that was actually a German speciality. The Swiss Centre no longer exists, is now just offices, but this Swiss metal tree remains as a reminder.
And that is where my story is similar. I planted myself in Switzerland 53 years ago. Two years later I had my Swiss passport due to marriage with Mr. Swiss, but he was just an extra, I only met him after arriving in Switerland. There is no metal tree where I live, with British symbols. The only thing remaining seems to be my strange accent in Swiss German which many people cannot really define. Some think I might be originally dutch, must be a similarity somewhere. When I admit to being originally english, they all nod in approval and find “we thought it might be something like that”.
And so here I am and what remains of my British roots? I seem to be finding them again. Over the past years of married life I adapted and submitted to the Swiss life. I could always read an english book although with the years my German and Swiss German became quite fluent. Today we are two golden oldies, and Swiss but with a little bit of British remaining. A funny thing has happened. Mr. Swiss now tends to go earlier to bed, and I am left with the choice of TV channels. I never used to bother so much, but now I am a follower of the British TV. I watch the sitcoms and get involved with the serial plays. I just love watching the antique shows they have and documentaries by David Attenborough and his animal kingdoms were always a favourite.
Mr. Swiss? That is the funny part of it, because he has also got to like the British programmes. I would add his english has always been quite fluent. Of course now and again we will watch a German police series or documentaries, but slowly the BBC is moving in.
By the way, nothing to do with patriotism. I do not stand when I see the Queen on the TV and have no time for the Royal Family. I do like British politics, it is much more fun than the Swiss politics. Not every country has a Boris Johnson with his blond hair that resembles something from the electric current flying in all directions. Not forgetting the British humour, with its black side. I have the best of both worlds, I can eat Swiss food every day and watch the BBC in the evening.