The Revenge of the Dodder

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (12)

Thanks to a colleague on WordPress, the truth is now known which invader  is attacking my basil plant.

To begin at the beginning, it was a harmless basil herb that I bought in the local supermarket. They arrive every year in small pots, but this year they were selling a king sized pot. My tomato mozarella salads were saved for the summer season. Basil is a sensistive herb and you never see it in Switzerland in the winter months. It prefers the warmer days and does not survive the ice and snow.

I put my basil outside but left it in the pot. It is no good transferring it to the garden where it serves as breakfast, dinner and tea to the slugs and other insects that attack with their knives and forks, figuratively speaking of course. And so my basil began to grow and we had a harvest. One day I noticed fine strands of hairlike formation growing from the top of the plant. I thought it was spreading out roots and making a new plant. However after removing this strange growth I realised it renewed itself in other places.

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (7)

And so it grew and stretched its little arms out searching for an anchor. I received some suggestions from online colleagues. It is bindweed some said, which I could agree on. We have bindweed in the garden, but the vines are thicker and they have white flowers. My mum called it convulvulus and removed it immediately if it grew in our garden, as it would quickly conquer everything. Another colleague decided it must be a parasite so kill it. She was not wrong. In the meanwhile our own gardener arrived to trim our hedges. Mr. Swiss has back problems and can no longer do the work, and my problems with MS no longer permit strenuous gardening work. I asked the gardner and he said he had never seen anything like it, which was not exactly helpful. In the meanwhile the plant performed a few more curves. It seems it is probably the only existing example in Switzerland. I am still thinking about telling the local newspaper “Dodder Invades Switzerland” would be the headlines on the front page.

Yes it was growing with an aim. Yesterday the mystery was solved. An expert saw my blog and said it was most probably dodder in his words “It is a nasty parasitic plant, and is quite contagious to other herbaceous plants” confirming my suspicions. Wikipedia calls it Cuscata and tells me it is mainly found in tropical and subtropical regions, and often in California (death valley comes to my mind). There is a European variety, but I have a feeling this one somehow smuggled itself onboard in the  earth delivered to the supermarket chain from somewhere else (a secret weapon perhaps, although Switzerland is a neutral country and quite harmless). I do not know where my supermarket gets these plants, perhaps from a guy wearing a long cloak with a hood and carrying a scythe – who knows. I suspect some sort of strange magic. They are now probably growing and developing all over Switzerland. “Houston we have a problem”.

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (4)

In the meanwhile it grows regardless. It seems that seeds could be slumbering in the earth waiting to develop and pounce on an unsuspecting plant. My main worry is now that they could take a flight and arrive in my garden, attacking everything and spreading its feelers out, stifling everything in its way. I can no longer sleep at night worrying if the tap on the window is the rain or the dodder trying to find an entrance.

Today I made a decision. I shot a few more photos, as a memory and it will be transported into our communal green garbage container. I have my own container, but this maruding villain will not be granted entrance. It could infect everything. I am now even suspicious when my cat has a scratch.

I would like to thank once again all assistance and advice, expecially the person that gave me the correct solution. I am saved from a close encounter of the third kind.

Basil and Dodder 23.09 (1)

Good Morning

Clouds

And another day dawns on a small village somewhere in Switzerland. We have blue skies, some clouds and an icy wind that makes you glad to be inside with a nice cup of tea and something to eat for breakfast. Otherwise life goes on as usual, no not quite.

On Monday we had two builders that fixed the steps to the outside windows. They did have a problem because it seemed that the “How to do” instructions were missing and they were puzzled. They disappeared and  returned with a measure to get the size I assume. This operation often repeated itself throughout the morning, shaking their heads in between. In the afternon they returned again and now the steps have been attached with the help of magical builder’s glue. On Tuesday they returned to add some finishing touches and since they have not been seen. Mr. Swiss made a tour yesterday and confirmed that he saw two builders on the roof. They have now diappeared. It is a little disappointing that I will not longer seen my new friends. They have now drifted on to a new building site with new victims.

We are now left on our own, with just a skeleton of scaffolding. However, next week the team of painters will arrive, the Michelangelos and Picassos of the building world, but painting makes no noise. Reflecting on th odyssy of renovation, it seems we have overcome the worst. Even the stone cutting machine has been removed. Slowly we are getting our real life back again.

I am still trying to work out this new iPhone 8 thing. I have an iPhone 6, Mr. Swiss has an iPhone 7, because his 6 broke. After a lengthy scientific discussion with Mr. Swiss this morning he suggested that I get an iPhone 7 when I need a new one and not iPhone 8. Of course he is very wise. Apple are still selling the iPhone 7. On the other hand why buy an older model when you can get a new one. I do not need face recognition as I am sure when iPhone 8 studies my golden oldie contrours, it will perhaps explode or have a permanent blank screen. I never switch my phone off in any case, too complicated.

A telephone is bascially to contact people, but the only people I contact are my doctors and they are the only people that contact me. Most of my connections are done with the computer and the Facebook messenger system, which I also have on my telephone. I dont really need a new iPhone as the one I have functions well, but we all like to have something better. The only advantage I see with a new phone, even the iPhone 7, is that the camera has been improved. However, it is only the new iPhone 8 X that really has the super camera with all mod cons, but it does not do more than my handy Nikon D3300 camera which I always have handy. Of course 256 gb is something different to the 32 gb that I now have. I could upload apps to infinity. The conclusion is why am I bothering with these trivial details. It is all in the mind, clever psychology from the Apple insects.

They want to sell their new, wonderful, revolutionary telephone. You have the feeling you are missing out on something if you do not spend your one thousand francs on the most modern development. You see, a golden oldie has nothing better to do than study a new mobile phone possibility the she will not buy this year in any case. There is also a development with the iPad. I have a wonderful iPad, and it obeys all my commands. I have 256 gb, so what could possibly go wrong.

I should really go for camera walks to take my mind off these problems, but the days are gradually getting shorter and I do not know where to take my camera. I have registered everything in the area where I live and going to far places is not my thing.

Today is a relaxed day. I might clean a few windows. That is an advantage of waving goodbye to the builders. Life returns to normal and the windows no longer get dirty five minutes after cleaning them. We will soon have our metal blinds, probably next week, so life again returns to normal.

And now I am off to enjoy my day. May the weather be with you wherever you are.

Road to Langendorf 13.09 (22)

Good Morning

Weissenstein 23.08 (7)

We did it. After so many years gazing up at our local mountain Weissenstein from our back yard we decided it was time to again conquer the slopes and arrive at the top of its 1,395 meters above sea level. No we did not walk, we took the new gondola. When the kids were kids and Mr. Swiss and I young parents, we would now and again make an excursion to the mountain. Sometimes we even walked to the top (a day’s excursion) and ride down. We had also driven to the top with the car as it has quite a reasonable road for a mountain.

It used to be a chair lift to the top, but even chair lifts have signs of age and today it is a modern gondola railway. The basis station is quite a modern building We could park the car at the basis and enter to get our tickets. There is even a perfect lift to the ticket office as I am not so good at climbing stairs. The lady at the ticket office was an old friend of mine, a coincidence. She even looked that the gondola we were taking slowed down nicely for me to climb into with my stick. And so we were on our way.

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The cabins are quite comfortable with room for at least 6 people. It was just Mr. Swiss and I and a young man that asked politely if he could join our cabin. He had his bicycle with him and was dressed accordingly with all the bike gear. The cabins are made so that you can just hook your bike to the outside. He left us at the middle station, Nesselboden, to do his bike exercises to the top. We were very comfortable and I was naturally snapping away with the camera most of the time.

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After 20 minutes we sighted the restaurant and hotel at the top. From ground level you can see its outlines at the top of the mountain, but today we were within reaching distance. It is also a favourite place for glider people to start their journeys, although today we saw no-one. The weather was perfect, sunny and pleasant temperatures. There was no clear view of the alps however. I had my camera with the “normal” lens but also took my 300 zoom lens – you never know. Mr. Swiss was an ideal lens carrier. You have to have this boys with you when you are on safari.

We made ourself comfortable on the terrace of the restaurant with a wonderful view. As it was already afternoon, we did not bother with food, just a drink to keep us alive.

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I was surprised with the result of this photo looking down on our town of Solothurn. You could even see the cathedral in the middle as well as the railway station – the wonders of modern lens techniques.

>Weissenstein 23.08 (92)

I also captured the River Aar as it meanders through the Solothurn countryside with its little island in the middle. The island is farm land and the farmer now has problems with the development of his farm. The state are not giving permission for various extensions that he wants to make and he will probably move away eventually. I have been on the island and it is paradise. Groups can book the island for a day with food bar-b-q and places to relax: even take swim around the island.

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Another rewarding view is of the Lake of Biel, which is about 30 kilometers by road from where we live. From a height everything seems so near. Here you can see the lake with the St. Peters peninsula in the middle. On the other side you can see the lake of Murten.

After a little more than an hour we decided on the descent. Actually we are quite near and decided to do this more. About 10-15 minutes to the basis station from where we live, and 20 minutes ascent was not so long.  Mr. Swiss said it is also a wonderful place in Winter, although I am not so sure that I would manage so well walking on icy surfaces.

Weissenstein 23.08 (94)

Here we are entering the station on the descent. Unfortunately the photo has some reflections from the sun light, but you get the idea. You can see the parking spaces below where we had left our car. On busy days you would be lucky to find a space for anything. I am not keen on long journeys, but this was feasible. We were back home in no time. I spent more time on processing my 150 photos in the evening that the actual visit, but it was worth it and we will be back. Of course more will follow of this memorable afternoon but now I should do other things like housework.

Again I am spared with window cleaning because we have no windows. The workmen are covering them with plastic to protect them from being plastered with resideue from the walls which they are smoothing down.

Have a nice day everyone, I will be back.

Good Morning

Sky

Looks like the beginning to a nice sunny day. The clouds are only there to remind me that they exist, otherwise it is a pleasant morning and so I am ready to go: not quite. Unfortunately I do not think I will be going anywhere today.

Yesterday evening my blogs were written, everything was ready for me to depart to the outside world with my camera. However, the best laid plans of mice (me) and men etc. etc. I did a movement that should not have been done resulting in a strange clicking noise in a bone somewhere around the left knee. I made an agonising noise. However, everything more or less under control and nothing is broken. My left leg has not been doing what it should for some time, but I could walk on it, even if the foot tends to be at a 45° angle. Nothing remains perfect when you get older.

I cancelled my walking appointment with the camera and stayed at home. I was rather disappointed as I had not been out the whole week, not feeling up to it. Now I was ready to go and knew it would be a dangerous undertaking to go anywhere. I managed to hobble around in the evening. Mr. Swiss looked after the washing machine. My main problem was standing and sitting, the material surrounding my left knee kept reminding me that things were not so good. Mr. Swiss said he had also had that (we like to share in our family) and it would go away after a few days, which is relative. It is now Sunday morning, I slept as well as usual with no pain, and it really seems it is only certain actions I must avoid. I can only hope it will get better as the day improves.

In the meanwhile I hope to conquer my task of cooking lunch and other daily events like a little bit of cleaning and a little bit of ironing.

Yesterday morning I had an achievement. I had a large window box with plants that the workmen had to shift when they arrived. It was standing on one of my garden paths and no longer looked good. It used to be in front of a garden wall.

Hedge

The wall is also part of the renovation plan, it will be painted and spruced up. The box was now in the way and I did not have the heart to replaced it in front of the newly painted wall, so I decided it must go. The roses are not part of the arrangement, they grow at the side in the garden, but tend to climb over. Otherwise the box only had some everlasting sweet pea and a few tulips. As I am not so active, I did a slow job emptying it over a couple of months and throwing the earth onto my garden. Yesterday the box was at last emptied. I gave it a quick wash with my hose and then called No. 1 son. He is the strong one, who can move everything. He easily picked up the box and shifted it to one side. I am so glad. Now the workmen can do what they like with it, I do not care. I do not want to keep it, so either it disappears in a workmen’s container or disappears in the next big unwanted objects rubbish collection.

And now to move on, although moving is not really my thing at the moment. It can only get better. At the moment my leg is still attached to my feet and I am hoping for the best.

Have a nice Sunday everyone, I must now prep my red cabbage and get the ham on its way. The potatoes will be the grand finale.

River Aar 20.07 (21)

Good Morning

Clouds 28.07 (2)

The mornings are always good when you notice that there is the possibility of a blue sky today. I think it is the first morning there are no remains of the rain to be seen, because we had a dry night. Not that I have anything against rain. We golden oldies with a garden now enjoy the rain as it means we do not have to spend valuable time watering the garden. because it waters itself. It seems the summer will be returning next week with nice heat wave temperatures: another reason to complain about the weather, too hot and uncomfortable and close the windows to keep the heat out.

In the meanwhile we are now builder free until Wednesday for an extended week-end. Tuesday is 1st August which is the Swiss national day and so no working. It only happens once a year, and so all good Swiss families will be celebrating by perhaps having a grill party in the garden and letting off fireworks. We will not be celebrating, we celebrate daily all sorts of things, like being retired and every day is 1st August for us. All good Swiss cats and dogs will be hiding somewhere to escape the flash bangs of the event.

Road to Langendorf 28.07 (15)

Talking of cats, Mr. Swiss and I were driving home from our shopping excursion yesterday and in the distance saw this brave feline crossing the road, so I took an action photo. He got to the other side safely. Cats lead dangerous lives as they appear from nowhere, but always have a aim to go somewhere. Perhaps that is why they have 9 lives. I am glad our Tabby keeps to the familiar paths where we live, although she is now an elderly lady and prefers to observe instead of participating.

I have been leading a secluded life this week, but did not really have the energy to go places and see things. After having my ears syringed by the doc on Tuesday due to a waxworks that cut off my hearing facilities, I decided that was enough adventure for the week. What a boring life I lead.

Mr. Swiss will be on a quest this morning in the supermarket  and I will stay at home like the dutiful housewife I am, cleaning, ironing and cooking. Enjoy the week-end, and make the most of the two free days you might have. If you are bored then look in on Twitter. I am sure someone somewhere will make a tweet about something important to the world.