Daily Prompt: Nothing out of the Ordinary

Japanese Cherry Tree 24.03.2017

Today is such an ordinary day, even the weather was ordinary – no sun, no rain, no snow, just ordinary: what a dull day. I decided as I had nothing better to do I would go for a walk to the local river and even that was ordinary. I took my camera with the zoom lens, perhaps there would be some extraordinary ducks or swans on the river waiting for a photo.

I aimed for my favourite bench on the river side, made myself comfortable and waited for the ducks and swans. They were not there, everything was empty. It was boring. The only variety was a man that was showing his dog how nice the water was, but the dog did not want to know anything. At first it looked like the man was intending to drown the dog, but no, it was just an ordinary doggy exercise.

River Aar 24.03 (13)

I decided there was nothing out of the ordinary happening. I need some excitement, something completely different. Perhaps movement would help and so I decided to climb the 69 steps (yes I counted them once) to the top of the river bank and sit on the bench at the top. On a non-ordinary day there is always something happening on the other side of the river, but there was nothing, nada, zero.

River Aar

Can you see the bench? Yes all on its own and you can see the path leading to the bench which I can climb quite well. I grip the banister on the left and use my cane in the right hand. I can even take the steps one at a time, without a pause in between. Yes, I could compete in the next para olympics and perhaps win a gold medal or two, nothing can stop me. A cane is nothing to a golden oldie, we can do it. I just have to be careful not to touch the second fence on the left behind the first fence because that is usually under electricity as now and again there are a few cows grazing in the meadow.

As you can see the path was empty, I had it all to myself. My camera was disapponted, no food for the lens. Even the sheep and cows have not yet been let out, they are still sleeping  and dreaming of the exciting days when they can go out.

After sitting on the bench, all on my own, I decided it was time to take the road home, although first of all I took a few pictures of the wild flowers growing at the top of the hill. I do not know what they are, but they were one of the first to flower this year.

Wild flowers 24.03 (3)

And that was the end of a very ordinary afternoon. Sometimes you need the ordinary days to remind you what fun the extraordinary days are.

Daily Prompt: Nothing out of the ordinary

Daily Prompt: Today everyone can be a doctor

Feldbrunnen to Subingen via Derendingen und Gerlafingen 23.03 (58)

When you get to advanced years, you begin to disintegrate somehow and your body might, in the worst case, resemble the building in the photo. Things do not work as well as they used to. Mr. Swiss and I both know it, but we can share our symptoms. He has back ache, so do I, but his back ache is not the same as mine. I have problems getting out of bed in the morning, the first steps are the most difficult. When I arrive at the window to open it and let the morning air in, my feet and legs are still attached and seem to know what they should do. They just have to think about it when I am sitting on the edge of the bed before movement begins.

I very rarely, if at all, have a headache. Oh, I used to, but since I stopped smoking many years ago, the headaches also stopped. There must be a connection, at least it was not a symptom of something worst, otherwise it would not have disappeared.

When I had my fall at the beginning of last year, I visited my GP for a checkup. She sent me to the hospital and they discovered nothing was broken. This had been going on for longer. I was always injuring something somewhere, generally because I fell, mainly through being giddy.  I never had a thorough examination, as at the age of 40 you really do not need one. It was all a matter of balance, probably from the ears. This sort of thing can happen, no big deal, but my doc sent me to a neurologist who sent me to the special department at the hostpital because she found it had been going on too long. Symptoms? I did not think so, but the result came back as MS, so I must have had a few. You have to recognise your symptoms.

Anyhow I do not want to give a analysis of my health situation, but it was I who told the neurologist it is probably MS. I mean when you get bills arriving from four different town hospitals in Switzerland you know that something is going on. He confirmed it after the results of the tests.  How did I get the idea of what it could be? Hey, today we have internet. Everyone is there own doctor. Just put in a few short hints on the Internet and you get at least ten different web sites to choose from.

Your hip hurts – you can have sciatica, a hernia, with a few others in between until it gets to cancer, which seems to turn up everywhere in the list of symptoms. Eventually what began as a quick look becomes a major tragedy. Of course, you go to the doctor and they want to be on the safe side so send you for a further expensive examinations at the hospital. Perhaps the result is just a sprain and nothing more.  I remember the wise words of my neurologist, who I now seen from time to time. He said Mrs. Angloswiss, I will give you a tip. Do not search too much in Internet about your MS. Anyone can write anything and most of it is not to be relied on.

He did add the link for the official society in Switzerland, and I told him that the British also have a good society. He was interested and asked for the link: anything else is a no go, because there are too many variations on the theme.

If you have a symptom today, the first advice you get from anyone is have a look in Internet, who needs a doctor. There are, of course, the colleagues who tell you “I have that as well”. Eventually you realise that your symptom is not something private or individual, you are sharing it with everyone else, so it cannot be so bad after all.

I no longer have symptoms, just aches and pains, but as long as Mr. Swiss and I both have aches and pains we never run out of a conversation topic.

Daily Prompt: Today everyone can be a doctor

Daily Prompt: Acceptance – a way of life

Altersheim & Church Baselstrasse 21.03.2017

Nice building, who knows, just around the corner with an attached church. It could not be better for a senior residence. I drive past often during the week when we go shopping. Only this morning I saw there  was a delivery a van full of minteral water parked outside. Yes, they look after the residents, but that is only one senior  residence, there is another one just 5-10 minutes away: more modern, even with a café for non residents. You are never isolated from the others. Just because you are a golden oldie, it does not mean that you have to only be with golden oldies. Who knows, one day perhaps ……..

Yes another depressing daily prompt. There is no question of acceptance. Was I accepted when I arrived in Switzerland by the Swiss folk? Of course not. Their food was not english style and their way of life was not english. They had different laws and even the people were different. Of course they were human beings, but what I did as a natural reaction, was not for the Swiss natural. I had to get used to them and do it the way the Swiss did it to be accepted. I am not going into details, because I am not writing a psychological treatise on the difference between the two nations. Suffice it to be said that the Swiss were not waiting for me. I was an innocent young 20 year old wanting to show the Swiss how good the british are, but they were not impressed. They showed me how to do it the Swiss way, and I learnt to accept their ways. They did not have to accept mine, as it was their country.

It is now 30 years later, and I have a Swiss passport, a Swiss husband and even my kids are Swiss because I never bothered to check whether they could become British. The possibility was there, but I was integrated in the Swiss way of life in the meanwhile. Of course I found there were british things that were better, but we were a Swiss family and who am I to change the Swiss Way of life.

It was only when I returned to England for a holiday that I realised I was not longer British. My collegaues were talking of the latest british news. On the TV only the talk was of british affairs, nothing international. Swiss TV and radio were always full of what was happening in other countries. Probably because they did not have enough own news to fill the programme.

Discussions about a new line in the local supermarket for meat pies or sausages and bread were the brtish subject of the conversation. My dad belonged to the older genration and he was constantly asking if we have this or that TV programme. I had to explain we have our own programmes, spoken in our language. He was under the impression that the whole world was endeavouring to lead a british way of life, beause it was so perfect.  I remember when he visited us in Switzerland and we would eat in a restaurant. It was not his usual food, but he summarised it all with the words “they like that sort of thing”. I asked him who “they” were, but never got a clear answer. It was as it we were from another planet.

My british colleagues asked me about my way of life, but I gave up. I noticed in their tone of conversation, they really felt sorry for me having to endure life in a different country. How did I manage with the food? Did I miss the good old fish and chips, meat pies etc. . The Swiss eat veal we heard. The Swiss tend to eat fish with boiled potato, we have our own way of cooking meat pie and it is not a Swiss speciality, but I never missed it, I did not even like it. As far as veal is concerned, the english seem to have a thing about veal. It is meat like any other. Veal is from baby cows and lamm is from baby sheep which the english love. What is the difference?

Acceptance is no problem for me, because I make an effort to understand and am always happy to learn something new.

About a year ago MS was diagnosed for me. I accepted it as I had no choice and I am learning its ways. What is the point of collapsing in despair. The illness will not go away and I have to learn to live with it. If our tax increases or sickness insurance (which it will), I have to accept. I even have a nice senior citizens home around the corner, what could be better.

Daily Prompt: Acceptance – a way of life

Daily Prompt: Minimal in the afterlife

St. Katharinen Friedhof 21.03 (9)

This afternoon I went on one of my famous walks, but with a difference. I got daring and decided to get to the cemetery if I had to crawl there on hands and knees. To reach the cemetery, I have to allow for more walking time, which means a little more than my half an hour. My camera has been kept to a minimum with the eternal photos of ducks, swans, horses and chickens, and I wanted to see something more, and I did it. I walked past the horses (took a few photos) and found that the rest was downhill and just around the next bend were the cemetery gates.

The nice thing about cemeteries is that there are places to sit everywhere, and are very rarely fully occupied. Who wants to lay down on a cemetery bench? No-one really, but golden oldies like me with a cane as accompaniment treasure every opportunity to sit down and contemplate who is new at the cemetery. I have not been there for some time, so had some catching up to do on the grave stones, but there is still plenty of room.

I noticed that in one corner of the graveyard there was work going on, but not for new graves, the gardeners were at work planting new flower beds. They do not do it with a shovel or rake, they had a small bulldozer. So there was I was contemplating the flower bed in the photo, and a gardener walked past. We greeted each other and he said “The flowers are nice, I planted the flowerbed myself this week”. Of course I congratulated him to the excellent choice of flowers, but who were they for – there were no big graves near. It was when I uploaded the photo I realised that the background was a composition of small regular sized square stones with a name and dates of birth and death. They were the graves for the cremated, the cheaper solution, just a simple stone saying “I was here”. On the other side of the cemetery there were the larger stones, with their own flowerbeds, planted by the gardener who had been engaged to tend to the grave regularly and paid for the job by the families concerned.

St. Katharinen Friedhof 21.03 (3)

Even in the after world there seems to be a sort of hirarchy. When you walk through the cemetery you admire the well-kept graves with their special flower arrangements, one better than the other. In Spring the pansies arrive, later a rose tree might be planted, and towards Autumn the heather is planted. You are not even allowed to put flowers on the stones for the cremated, although the name is quite clearly engraved on the stone. It is not wished for by the authorities that are in charge of the cemetery, they have flower beds planted here and there for the cremated. Sometimes you might see a vase with a lone flower in it balancing on a stone, and often there are grave lamps here and there.

Funny how the well known prominent people of the local town, mostly lawyer families, or doctor families, have the biggest and most ornate graves, perhaps with a sculpture commissioned by a local artist. They are the so-called bought graves. The land for the grave has been bought by the family and the grave remains for the descendents in the family. Otherwise it is custom in our Kanton in Switzerland that you only are allowed to remain for 30-40 years (not sure of the exact amount). The family if then informed that the grave will be emptied and whether they would like to have any parts of the memorial to keep for themselves.

I noticed a golden oldie lady examining the names on the cremated section of the cemetery. I  think she was just curious. We greeted each other when our paths crossed. I was really only at the cemetery for some photos. One day my final resting place will also be here, was a passing thought I had. The cherry blossom were flowering and the forsythia.

Cherry Blossom 21.03 (4)

I decided it was time to go home and walked slowly home passed the famous and the prominence who have the best places at the entrance, nicely spaced out to allow room for the trees and flowers in between.

I crossed the main road and arrived at the local station where they have a bench. My benches are all placed at strategic places on the way home to minimalise my walking time. Actually I was feeling good, no stress, just taking it easy.

St. Katharinen Friedhof 21.03 (14)

Daily Prompt: Minimal in the Afterlife

Daily Prompt: My name is Label

Sketchers shoes

My name is Angloswiss. My mum gave me something completely different as a name, but things change through the years. Names have become labels in Internet. The photo is of my Sketchers. I have two pairs, no three, because Sketchers come in the size 41 that fits my foot exactly and are comfortable. At the beginning, before Sketchers arrived, I would wear Addidas, because they were the first. In the meanwhile you can have Puma, Nike and also Reebok, but I stay with my comfortable Sketchers. I do still have an original Addida in the cupboard, and it fits. Some say one day they will be a rare item, that is why I keep them. They might be worth a fortune and I could donate them to the local museum.

Before I began to write this blog on my Apple computer, a Macbook, I cleaned the doors in the appartment with Hara: a job reserved for Monday afternoon, just half an hour. In the menwhile Mr. Swiss decided to bring our Husqvarna lawn mower, from the cellar. The Husqvarna does the job automatically every day at the same time if Mr. Swiss remembers how to organise his computer. Oh, the law mower has a name of course, we call him Mowey.

I have my Nikon ready next to the computer in case something interesting appears for a good photo. This morning we replaced our second Dyson vacuum cleaner, the one that hangs on the charger, as the predecesor was giving up the ghost. I have just eaten a Chiquita (yes, even bananas have names).

We visited the local Migros this morning to do some shopping. They now have Coca as well as Pepsi, but I am a Pepsi lover. Their choice of Kellogs has also been enlarged, but I am more into a slice of bread and jam in the morning. Marmite is definitely not my thing. A colleague of mine was telling everyone he had original Calvin Klein jeans, but everyone could see they were  a Marks and Spencers copy.

But what’s in a name? If you have to tell people that it is an original this or that, because they are not impressed or actualy realise what it is, then you could be wearing something that fell off the back of a lorry. I remember many years ago, when I was at the beginning of my teenage years and dad brought some Lamb’s Navy Rum home from work. It cost a fraction of the normal price, and you do not look a gift horse in the mouth, as dad only paid a tenth of the normal price.

Later on in the week there was a TV programme, exposing crime. The guy showed a photo of exactly the same bottle of rum that we had (I think we had about 4 bottles) and we were told they were stolen and anyone seeing such bottles should report to the police. Mum and dad were honest people, they paid their taxes regularly and never stole anything, so this was a shock to mum. She envisaged being arrested and put into prison for receiving stolen goods. Did she throw away the rum, did she hide it? Definitely not, as I said gift horses are hard to come by. She was a clever mum and soaked the bottle in warm water until the labels could be removed from the bottles.  A bottle is a bottle and no-one recognised its original contents.

There must be a moral to this story, like never buy cheap rum which is usually very expensive. Mum and dad got away with it, as well as my dad’s workmates who probably had cupboards of Lamb’s Navy Rum at home.

Daily Prompt: My Name is Label

Daily Prompt: Too much conquering going on.

Everyone seems to want to conquer today, it has become fasion. In the 70 years I have been living in this world, countries have changed their names and leaders so often, you have problems keeping up.

I remember Rhodesia which is now Zimbabwe, there was a town called Bombay in India, but that is now Mumbai, Madras is now Chennai, Peking has become Beijing. What a confusing life we live. Even my home country of England has had its ups and downs.

Walthem 15.07 (1)Last year on my visit to England I spent a day In a place called Waltham on the Eastern outskirts of London, which also has a very attractive abbey, known as Waltham Abbey. It is also the place where King Harold is believed to have been buried after his untimely death in 1066, being killed by an arrow which piereced his eye, on the beach at Hastings, in south England. He did not survive to see how the armies of William the Conquerer, the first Norman King of Great Britain, took control of the the British Isles. But this was just another conquerer for the British. They were used to it. It all began when the Romans decided to spend a holiday in England and sailed up the River Thames in 55 b.c. landing in London. They found that blue eyes and blond hair was something completely different to the Roman style olive skin and dark hair, and so when the Romans left, the british fair skinned people were parents of dark complexioned children.

By the time William of Normandy arrived, the british were used to the coming and going of other nations. Anglo Saxon was a thing of the past, they were now beginning to speak a mixture of anglo and french, with a tinge of latin left by the Romans. In between all of this action the Vikings had also raided a few towns in the British Isles for a scandinavian touch, just to add to the whole puzzle, but they stayed in the Noth, hence the local accent.

King Harald's Tomb Waltham Abbey 15.07.2016

But was King Harold to be forgotten as the King that lost Britain to a French immigrant? Of course not, In the meanwhile  King Harold’s tomb is now in the grounds of Waltham Abbey, although this is still being discussed as they are not sure whose bones are actually laying there.

Waltham Abbey 15.07 (2)Yes many have come and gone in England but Harold has never been forgotten, at least in Waltham. His image is shown on the walls of the cathedral. For me he was just another King to learn about in school. Of course the Scottish gave the british some bother as well , but the british have remained staunch. Brexit? no problem. The British have fought against so many conquerers, a little bit of EU supervision is a joke. After all my mum always said “the french don’t like us and we don’t like them”. She still held a grudge again William the Conquerer. In her younger days she made a day trip to Boulogne on the french coast. Must have been some time in the 1930’s and that settled the question for her. She discovered that the french ate horse meat and she was stung by a hornet – mum knew what she was talking about.

Me, no problem, I am international and I quite like horse meat if it comes from the right source. I can even speak French, and German and Italian and Russian. Forget the conquering, you have to melt into the background these days and like the food.

Waltham Abbey 15.07 (12)
Waltham Abbey

Daily Prompt: Too much conquering going on.

Daily Prompt: My Walking Controversies

I do not have conroversies with others. After 48 years with Mr. Swiss we just agree to disagree now and again, but no great problems. Life would be boring if we would have the same opinion all the time, and so now and again one of us might say or do someting that the other does not do or say – that’s life thank goodness.

My controversies are self made, my very own and at the moment I have a big one – for me.

Cameras

One of my pasttimes is photography, nothing special, just a little enjoyment. My first camera, on the right, was my Nikon 7000 which was fine, but on the heavy side. After a few years I realised that going on a photo safari for me was strenuous, so I got myself a smaller Nikon, the 3000: a lighter basic camera and less heavy to carry. I also have many lens of different lengths and sizes. for a shooting (how I hate that word because there are Swiss photographers that use it, thinking is is a great english word to use) I have to decide in advance what I will need for a lens and what to take with me.

I kept my macro lens on the Nikon 7000 as I only really used it in the garden for flowers and insects. However I noticed that during the Winter I did not need the macro lens, so have now removed it and put the “normal lens” on that camera and have my zoom lens on my Nikon 3000. I seem to be changing lens all the time in any case, but that is part of the fun and Nikon have a good system.

Before you want to tell me to get a camera that does it all, it is not necessary. My camera walks are not longer than half an hour and are usually accompanied with a bench in between (caused by MS), so I really do not want to carry more than one lens with me, it is not worth it. If I walk locally, one lens is OK, and if I go further it is usually with the car and Mr. Swiss comes as well, so I have a helper and I can plan in advance which lens to take.

My problem is the summer months when I travel light without pockets in a jacket to carry things. My camera hangs over my body, no problem. I can also now shoot with one hand, which is necessary when walking with a cane. Without pockets anywhere, how do I take my mobile phone with me and my key. At the moment I am still wearing my longer trousers, and they have no pockets. They are stretch, very comfortable and my favourite sort to wear. As soon as bermuda weather arrives, it will be less of a problem, as my bermudas have pockets.

The controversay has now arrived, but I am gradually getting the solution.

Holder for iPhone

Some time ago I ordered a holder for my mobile phone. It has an arm band and so I found it would be handy when taken a walk, but I have never used it, because there was always a pocket somewhere. After a search I found it and have decided this is the ideal solution. I am now carry the camera on a strap across the body, and the mobile phone will be clipped around my arm in the holder. Now the key problem, but here I have also found the solution. I will organise one of those straps for around the neck and I am ready to go. There will be no need to organise anything, we have such a key holder tells me Mr. Swiss. Since at least 10 years it has been hanging where the coats are and no-one has ever used it.

I am now ready to go, no more controversies between the camera, the mobile phone or my key. I do not need my purse as there is nowhere to spend money on my walks.

Daily Prompt: My Walking Controversies