Daily Blog -Nice weather, nice walk

Mistletoe 16.02.2017

It was another wonderful day today in the Swiss flatlands, so I took my camera, grabbed my cane, waved goodbye to Mr. Swiss, who was clearing the remains of the birdfood in the garden, and I was off. However, before I left I gave Mr. Swiss a few short instructions about my helleborus plants which really now need the old leaves being cut away, as the fresh new shoots have now appeared.

This time I had the zoom lens on the camera as I wanted to get some close-ups of the ducks, chickens and geese. The photos I took last time were OK, but a bit unclear because of the fence in between. With the zoom I  can focus  better and of course, can get better close-ups. When I saw the tree in the photo, I found it looked strange with the light green growths. When I uploaded the photo at home (1-1/2 hours for the work uploading 70 photos), I discovered that the light green growths were fresh shoots of mistletoe. Although it is a parasite, we have a lot of mistletoe spread on our trees in the neighbourhood, and yes, they make a good photo.

Ducks 16.02 (7)

And now to the ducks. They are new arrivals since last year and now I managed to capture them in their full beauty. I think they belong to the Mandarin Duck category, although I am not an expert. Anyhow they are really colourful and posed for a group photo for me.

Geese 16.02 (10)

I then moved onto the geese. They still have the same two geese, who were busy pecking in the ground. Now and again they had a conversation, quite loud, but I could not understand what they were saying. I just love those geese. Perhaps some goslings might arrive this year, who knows.

I then met my friend Billy on my walk. She often takes a walk to the stables in the fine weather. She also needs support when walking, so we always have a lively intereaction about our walking problems. We are both diabetic as well, which gives even more to share. She is a lovely lady and we get on well together. She is actually a long known friend of Mr. Swiss.

And then I heard a cluck, so I knew that Harold, the rooster, must be near.

Chickens 16.02 (18)

And there he was testing the air for a visit. His ladies were already outside and I supposed he was missing them and had to make sure they were not up to any mischief, like trying to cross the road. As you can see two hens were waiting for him, probably his favourites of the day.

Horses 16.02 (1)

I moved onto the horses. They were all ourside in front of their pens, or whatever you call them, sniffing the air and generally enjoying a horsey life. My friend Billy always has an apple or carrot with her to feed them. There are signs telling people not to feed the horses, but Billy is an exception. She has been doing it for many years. When she arrives they know that there is extra food and she can enter the stables to let them have their extrras.

I then heard the church clock signal that it was time to go. Mr. Swiss did not want to come with me, but if I take too long he gets worried, although I am always connected with my iPhone. It is now still quite light in the late afternoon, which gives me more time for a walk.

I made me way home and took a last look at our “house mountain” the Weissenstein in the Jura.

Jura Feldbrunnen 16.02 (3)

The Great Escape

Feldbrunnen 12.02.2017

 I have been in semi hibernation from November until now. The only break outs I did were the visits to the supermarket. Today was the day, I decided this morning I would escape, throw my cares aside, ignore the daily prompt, and take the camera for a walk. The sun was shining, nothing luke warm here, it was cold, but with a warm coat and shoes there was no danger of freezing. I even managed to coax Mr. Swiss to come with me, but which way? We decided to take a short walk to the stables and visit the horses, the chickens, the ducks and the geese.

Jura from Feldbrunnen 12.02.2017

There were still some remaining patches of snow left on the Jura mountains, but not too much and I managed to catch a murder of crows winging their way across the landscape. I could say flock of crows, but it seems they prefer to be called murderous, although we survived with no pecking injuries. It is not so easy when you need a cane for support and have a camera to handle at the same time, but I can be very inventive. I can stand on my own, so I hang my cane into the opening of my jacket at the top of the zip and find a comfortable tree to lean on. I then manage to take my photo. As we moved on there were no more trees to lean on, just bushes where I could hand my cane and eventually there were no bushes. That was when Mr. Swiss insisted that I give him my cane to hold to prevent any accidents happening.

Ducks 12.02 (2)

We soon arrived at the stables where they now have a few additional ducks, but not just any ducks: sort of special ducks. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, but there is a fence in between under electricity, although a few chickens managed to stray out without getting roasted  and ducks can fly in any case.

Chickens 12.02 (6)

They still have the chickens producing eggs for the village population. I should really try them some time. When you know the chicken that laid the egg it gives it the personal touch.

Pony 12.02 (1)

They now have a pony in the stables, a male pony it seems, for giving rides to children.

Horses 12.02 (1)

This horse got very curious as I took out my camera, so I decided to do him the favour of taking his picture.

Mr. Swiss decided after almost an hour it would be time to return home. My left leg was giving me a signal by not keeping up with my right leg. The ducks and chickens and the horses all waved goodbye to us. It was a real re-union after so long. Although when arriving home, we were both tired, but happy. It really made a change to get out into the fresh air.

I have now been busy uploading my photos, all 70 of them. That was the main reason I really wanted to get out, to take photos of something different.

We had a voting day today in Switzerland today, nothing dynamic as we have them often, so as soon as we arrived home the TV was switched on to see what the politicians felt about the results, although I retired to my computer.  In such a small country, results arrive quickly. I will not go into details about why we voted, because I do not have a political blog here. My idea of blogging is too have fun and not discussions.

I am looking forward to some more excursions into the wild, now the weather is becoming more sociable. It seems this week will remain snowless.


Yes, we have no bananas

I write a blog every morning, if possible. This morning, due to what I wrote, it seems I have insulted the banana. I really did not mean to, it just happened, but bananas are not just bananas. How I remember the song which was written some time in the 1920’s due to a banana shortage from Brasil, so google tells me. My memories are more from my mum in the 2nd World War, when there were no bananas in England due to a 5 year import stop. I remember one of my teachers at school, she was jewish and immigrated to London some time at the beginning of the 20th century where she saw and ate her first banana. Bananas are not just bananas, they have become a symbol over the years. If bananas are available, then the world is OK.

I am far from being an expert on bananas, but I like them and they are healthy. It seems they are not so good if you are diabetic due to their sugar content, but things change and I now eat my banana every day for digestive reasons.

Fruit flies like bananas as well. They do no peel them, they land and do whatever they do to enjoy them. This is where my dilemma began. What to do with a bowl of fruit containing bananas? Everytime you remove a banana you have to go into combat with a flock of fruit flies who are being interrupted with their banana absorbing session. After all they want to eat their bananas in peace and not have a clumsy human with hands and fingers causing a disturbance. For this reason I/we (Mr.Swiss gave me his full support) decided to put the bananas in the fridge.

This is wrong, wrong, wrong. It has been proved that keeping your bananas in the fridge causes them to turn brown quicker. As my bananas were already turning brown before I put them in the fridge, I cannot judge on this matter, but am sure it is undisputable. However, help has been offered by my followers and there are suitable net covers available to place over my bananas outside to prevent the fruit fly invasion.

These covers have been available for many years and I was even in the possession of one some years ago, but somehow it was lost in various moving sessions. Today is Sunday and I ate a  banana this afternoon which I took from my fridge. It tasted OK, although I removed it about an hour before I ate it to let it arrive at room temperature. The shops are closed today and tomorrow I will not be availble for a shopping tour, as I will be in another town. However, I will keep my eyes open for this wonder tent to cover my bananas and I will promise you all faithfully, that as soon as the opportunity arrives I will buy an anti fruit fly banana tent to protect my bananas and to ensure that they will no longer take up room in my fridge slowly turning brown, after all I have other more useful food to keep in the fridge.

In the meanwhile, yes, we have bananas, perhaps no longer as yellow as they should be, but beneath the skin they have kept their banana shade of yellow. 🙂

Computer and banana

Good Morning 04.09.2016

The Sphingidae

This evening Tabby my feline was sitting in the garden looking up and engrossed in something very feline it seemed to me. Who knows what they see and what they think, only the felines follow the vibrations in the air which urge them into unknown territories.

“Tabby what are you staring at?”

“Shhh Mrs. Human, quiet, otherwise it might go away.”

So I took a look and what did I see – yes a Sphingidae – ok I got the word from Wikipedia because I only knew it under the German name of “Schwärmer”, but it is a lepidoptera, also known as hawk moth in english.

Of course Tabby was in pouncing position No. 1, but to no avail, the hawk moth is faster. My camera was at hand, the big DSLR and I switched it on to a “transport” settikng for a moving object. I am not so good in all the intricacies of setting the dials. I did a course, but the lepidoptera does not wait for me to decide which dial to turn and which lens to tune into. Anyhow out of three not so bad photos, I discovered one was quite good. The hawk moth was flying around my buddleia. There must be something with that plant as it attracts all sorts of moths and butterflies. One of the reasons why I have it in the garden. Here is my Pulitzer prize suspicious photo, although probably everyone has one in their photo collection somewhere.

Hawk moth 09.07 (1)

I am still here

Albert Stanley Relf – 24.09.1915-22.06.2016 – photo taken on 90th birthday celebrations in London.

First of all I would like to thank everyone for their kind comments on the passing of my dad. It is very much appreciated. you are not just people that happen to blog here and make a like, but a real part of my life.

I was expecting to depart for London already, but based on organisatorial grounds, things do not move so quickly in London. My family in London are helping me with arrangements, and as soon as I have definite dates I will board my plane. I have learned to be patient over the years, especially with the british system of getting things done.

In the meanwhle I am sitting in Switzerland, twiddling my thumbs, which is not really me, and trying to put my mind onto other matters for the time being and so now and again I will be writing, until I suddenly disappear, but not without warning.


Good Morning

Crow on roof 20.06 (2)

At last it looks like the weather forecast is correct, for a change, and it will be one of those nice sunny days where temperatures climb and we are all complaining that it is too hot and uncomfortable. Even our local crow pair arrived on the roof opposite and stayed for a photo. Well one them did, the other one flew off. They are there regularly, seems to be their look-out. I only have my mobile phone camera handy and discovered that it is not so good for close ups. I have to go to my office to get my big DSLR camera for a close up and by the time I arrive at my lookout post at the kitchen window they have usually disappeared in the meanwhile. This time I was lucky and one remained so I shot a photo while the going was good – not perfect, but the best up to now.

The crow colony have always been here, something like the ravens at the tower of London, but no so well-known. Now and again they have a fly about all together, accompanied by their cackling choir recitals. Sometimes they might take a walk in the meadow opposite, but never stay long enough for a photo.

Otherwise it seems to be a normal calm morning, no visits to be organised to the dentist or arguments with the national telephone people. Today I want to have a nice relaxing day. Actually my visit to the dentist was one of the best visits I had ever had. I got an appointment in the afternoon at a sensible time to allow me to have my golden oldie sleep before going. It was just a small piece of the old filling cover that had decided to break off. I did not even need an injection. Of course you cannot void the drill, but that was only to shape the edges of the hole. Afterwards the filling, then the coating, polishing and all was done. In between I even had a conversation with my dentist and assistant. I have known the  assistant for years. I used to have the owner of the dentist surgery but he is now retired – we all get old together it seems. It is a very nice lady dentist I now have and we get on like a house/tooth on fire. Anyhow I survived, was out after an hour and now have a perfect front tooth without its bottomless pit behind it. I even paid the bill before I left – they have a card machine. That hurt most of all, but not as much as usual.

And now to plan my eventful day. Mr. Swiss will take me to the supermarket for a safari as the cupboard is almost bare and I am designing a few 5-star survival menus. The European football tournament continues, although I have not really been watching it. All I know is that somehow, by a football miracle, the Swiss team have qualified for the next round.

I will now proceed to the next round,  accompanied by my faithful and trusty vacuum cleaner. My alarm on my mobile phone did not go off this morning as I switched it off yesterday and forgot. Why does a golden oldie need an alarm? A question I have often asked myself, but somehow it brings organisation into the day.

Time to go for my next adventure.

Good Morning

Let’s keep it short because it is absolutely not a good morning. I have just spent the last hour talking to the Swiss com (Swiss telephone organisation), and my Post office account people and shaking my head thinking am in Disneyland. I will not go into details, but the post are having problems seeing the forest because there are too many trees in the way. I have now sorted it all, lost more than an hour of my blogging life and am only now eating breakfast and am feeling very hungry. One young lady at the post will definitely never forget me.

I am sorry, but I have no time left to visit all my blogging colleagues and read their posts. I hope to return this afternoon when I have digested the stupidity of beaurocratic organisation and something called data protection which is becoming an excuse for not doing the job properly.

See you around



Good Morning

Weekly Photo Challenge Curves 17.06 (17)

I decided this photo (a close up of my garden snail ornament) fitted the mood of the day. Yesteday evening as I was thinking about moving to the horizontal position in bed I felt that something was different with a front tooth: probably a particle of food which is easily removed. I decided to make a closer examination and discovered a filing cover had to dislodge itself, leaving me with a crater behind the left front tooth. After a further examination I discovered the crater was actually much smaller, but things on teeth always seems bigger.

I had no toothache, so I eventually fell asleep with thoughts of organising a dental visit and trying to work out how to get there if my appointment would be in the morning and organising the shopping, although Mr. Swiss is very independent with shopping: it would be a matter of planning a food list and neither of us have a clue what we want to eat today. My oldest son is also at home on the feeding list, as at the moment he is working short time.

Luckily my dentist is open at 8.00 a.m. and so I was poised with my mobile phone to call. It seems the dentist still had the automatic telehone answering machine and I had to listen to the details of opening times first of all, still prodding around at the place where the tooth used to be complete. He said they were open at 8.00 a.m. and it was already 08.05. I tried again, was successful and spoke to his nurse and now have an appointment this afternoon at a sensible time. I can have my golden oldie afternoon sleep and afterwards go to the dentist. As said, no pain, just inconvenience and I am sure it will just be an hour’s work, with a little bit of drill carving, filling and a  cover afterwards. The only pain I will probably feel will be in my bank account. The dental surgery even has its own bank/postcard machine for immediate payment. This does not reduce the pain of paying, but you get a small reduction for immediate payment and it is done with.

Sparrows 19.06 (8)

Yesterday afternoon I had one of my brilliant ideas. I had clean windows in front of the computer. I threw a handful of bird seed outside within camera range and waited for them to arrive and they did. Not more than two at a time, but sparrows are always ready for food, they are not fussy. I took many photos, but was quite successful. There is always the first sparrow which can hardly believe his luck, and hops around the food to make sure no-one is watching. When he is certain he takes a peck, flies off and returns immediately realising he is still alive and there is more. Now sparrow No. 2 arrives for a free risk-free meal with no complications – and of course me sitting behind the window taking photos.

And now I have other things to do. It is Monday, a new beginning to the week, although every week seems to be the same since reaching the golden oldie status, with a few more doctor appointments in between. I will sharpen my walking cane, and venture into the unknown world of the supermarket. I must remember to buy washing powder, I have none left.

Be kind to your computers, and remember they also have feelings. If they do not do what you want them to do, a bad workman always blames his tools, although I am sure even Bill Gates would utter profanities now and again if a link did not work.

Good Morning

I decided to take a walk through the village yesterday, just half an hour, in the surroundings. I had  been warned by various articles in the local newspaper and by Mr. Swiss that things are changing in the village. We are under siege from the state road repair service. It has been decided that our road surfaces are no longer coping with the increasing traffic, although our motorway has been extended to shorten journeys and to relieve the pressure of traffic in the quiet Swiss villages – go figure.

Building in Feldbrunnen 18.06 (3)The first thing I saw was this barrier on the opposite path to my home. You can walk through of course, but it is showing the shape of things to come. I decided to turn left towards the main road. I could already see the next barrier looming in the distance. There was no longer access to the main road. You could see it and traffic was normal, but no way could you cross the road. On the other side of the road there is the path to the local castle, but this was now out of bounds. Crossing the main road was a no go, at least in this part of my village world.

Building in Feldbrunnen 18.06 (5)

The sign is showing that pedestrians can walk towards the right or the left, but straight ahead is a no go, although on this photo I managed to capture a brave jogger who was running towards me. Did he break the law by crossing the road: a very brave man. I decided to take my life in my own hands, if he could jog on the path, there must be a possibility to walk straight ahead. I discoverd at the top of the path, I could turn right and walk along the fresh new surface of the street

Building in Feldbrunnen 18.06 (12)until I arrived at another point of no return. I came from the direction ahead and realised I was in danger, confronted by a raw surface of stones and rubble where the workman had left it for the week-end: again I had to turn left this time towards the village. However, I was now becoming a rebel. Despite walking with the support of a cane, I was defiant. I live in this village, it is my territory and no sign will tell me what to do.

I would also explain at this point of my journey to the unknown, that taking photos with a cane needed for support in one hand is not easy. I had my smaller Canon camera and it was suspended around my neck which was no problem. The problem arose when I actually took a photo. I needed both hands for an exact focus and one was occupied with a cane. I discovered leaning against a wall was helpful, if I found one. Otherwise resting the cane against my legs was a good method, however, if I happened to move my legs the cane slipped in a downwards movement to the ground and I had to pick it up afterwards. Another opportunity was to wedge the cane on the branchs of a bush, if there was a bush nearby. In spite of all these interferences, I took quite a few photos to document my journey. When Scot of the Antartic left his shelter for the last time, he also left some documentary eveidence behind. Mr. Swiss said if you go for a walk take your mobile phone in case of danger, a good piece of advice. He was also on a walk, but somewhere in another direction.

Building in Feldbrunnen 18.06 (13)

I continued, undaunted and disovered that it was now becoming a patchwork path, some of it had been renewed and some was waiting for renewal. We have our local railway running parallel to the main road which does not help. I noticed that borders had already been placed to show where the future railway walking path would be. Somewhere along the way I discovered that our underground tunnel connection to the other side of the road still existed, which was a possibility to get to the other side. I remembered the joke, which is for me no longer a joke, “Why did the Chicken cross the road” although the answer “to get to the other side” was no longer appropriate in our outpost of road repairs where civilisation ends and your are confronted with the realities of the real world. Did the chicken survive, or are the eggs still waiting to be hatched?

I decided I had seen enough of this brave new world, where you had to be brave to walk along it, and turned into the village. I saw this as I turned the corner.

Building in Feldbrunnen 18.06 (21)Not only was our main road under siege, but the enemy was slowing encroaching on the village. Too many building sites are not good for me. I wanted a nice little walk, take some photos and no stress. I decided enough was enough.

To put you in the picture our village main road is being renovated, but we can still use it, although only until the end of June. It will then be closed for a month – no problem. It seems one exit to real life will remain, the one at the end of our estate thank goodness. We had visions of making a detour in the other direction adding half an hour to normal a five minute drive to the supermarket, although this is more heresay that an actual fact. I am now restricted to walks only on my side of the main road as crossing over using the tunnel is too far for me to go alone – perhaps with Mr. Swiss, but it would not be fun.

These things pass eventually, and I can show my photos to my descendents about the day when Feldbrunnen was isolated from civilisation and how we survived. Survival? – we do not even have a village shop, it closed a long while ago because people never found it.

Good Morning

Unknown Bird 16.06 (2)

birdsMy bird friend returned again yesterday. She visits often and I always see her from my window when I am on the computer. I always leave a handful of birdfood on the porch for her, which disappears, although I never see her eating. In the meanwhile Mr. Swiss produced a small booklet, Birds in Garden and Park,  which has been in the family for years and we found her. It seems to be a phoenicurus ochruros, which in english would be the black redstart, although there is a similar bird known as phoenicurus phoenicurus which is the common redstart. They both look alike, but according to a photo where the chicks are being fed by the mother it looks like the black redstart. The male is more black and the female less colourful.  I even got a recording of their song on internet, although this example does more a subdued croak than sing. She is quite inconspicuous with her greyish feather and the red tail feathers. According to my research in internet, it is a younger version of the black redstart.

Unknown Bird 16.06 (3)I am not an bird expert, but I like to know who visits my garden. She is quite timid and usually perches a distance away when she sees me, so I have to get my super DSLR camera with the zoom lens for a good photo. Growing up in London, I only really recognised sparrows and pigeons. Living in the country we get all sorts of visitors on wings and I like to be able to recognise them.

Sparrows are everywhere, the scavangers of the neighbourhood. You have to be careful where you spread the food as they are the first to arrive and grab it all for themselves.

Yesterday I ventured out on my first walk for a long time. I discovered my walking ability is now reduced considerably, but I took my time. I even manage to climb 70 steep steps on my own from the river bank to the top of the slope. Naturally I did it all with help from my new super walking cane with the jungle pattern. I could hold onto the banister with my left hand and support myself with the right hand and found it much easier. Before I realised my handicap, I would do it sideways, gripping with banister with both hands. The doc told me that exercise was good for me. I suppose he is right, but I am still thinking about it.

Today is Saturday, the day when I do what I want/should. Mr. Swiss has been organised to bring me a fresh supply of Twinings breakfast and Lady Grey  tea and an extra bread to be frozen. As I was falling asleep yesterday I remembered we had not bought any bread as we had cheese flans for tea and did not need bread. I need bread for breakfast, so crawled to the freezer after midnight and took out the frozen bread I had. We no longer have any frozen bread, so an extra loaf is now on the list. I do not go shopping on Saturday, Mr. Swiss does it all and combines it with a coffee somewhere in a café.

Am now off for my occupational therapy, with the support of the vacuum cleaner, mop and other such assisting devices. Have a good start to the week-end everyone, and if you are bored, then be happy, it is an honour to be bored. Spare a thought for the people working in the supermarkets or in the MacDonalds, they have no time to be bored.