RDP Wednesday: Birthday

Santa in Migros advertisement

When our supermarket had this advertisement for Christmas last year, they had to withdraw it, but I managed a photo before it disappeared. Even Santa is a human, just like us, but his flatulance results are ice crystals.

We are talking about birthdays and I have the unfortunate date of 6th December  on my documents as being my birthday. OK, no big deal, but this is St. Nicholas day and this is celebrated all over inland Europe by giving the kids bags of nuts and tangerines and all sorts of Christmas sweets packed nicely in a Santa Claus Sack. This means that since I have been living in Switzerland, I have to share my birthday with the kids. I had to buy my kids all their sweet gifts. Of course they gave me presents as well, but it is not the same is it?

It should be my special day for I, me and myself and not fade into the shadows of SantaClaus day. I feel stolen, cheated, conned or whatever. I want my day for myself. I do not want to share it with the children’s population of Europe. Did you hear me Santa, do something, shift your birthday to a couple of weeks later.

Santa sack

RDP Wednesday: Birthday

Good Morning

Santa sack

I made it. After 70 years of hanging around I got to be 70 years old today. I arrived in Switzerland on my birthday, after travelling on the night train from London, via Calais on the French coast, through France and arriving in Basel in the early morning hours. It was 1966. Little did I know then that this excursion would develop into a permanent stay, getting married on the way,  becoming a paper swiss and have two kids into the bargain.

As an immgrant at that time, the Swiss did not let you in without a few obstacles to overcome. One was to have a medical examination at the border. You had 2-3 days to get it done, but it was the easiest solution to have it dealt with when you arrived as you were passing through. The medical station was opposite the railway station in Basel. When I arrived I realised there were about 100 others from all over the world waiting for the same process. I had to give up my passport, had a blood examination and an x-ray of the lungs. I asked for my passport but was told, come back in 2 hours when we have the results. Big deal, a cold and frosty morning in Basel, nowhere to go and nothing to do and wait 2 hours. I picked up my passport at 10.00 a.m., my examination was a success. There were a few dramas at the medical station where a couple were told they were not healthy enough. I remember on American lady, where they had found something on her lung. Funny after 50 years how these things remain.

Afterwards I caught the train to Zürich where the wife of my future chief was waiting for me at the station. I had lodgings in the house that she owned in Zürich. I remember looking out the window of my room and for the first time seeing a statue of Ulrich Zwingli, one of the church reformers of Zürich who, up to that point, I had never heard of. Today I could probably write his life story. I was living opposite the local Swiss Reform Church and also in the same street where the largest crematorium in Zürich was situated. What a birthday that was, but I wanted to go and there was no stopping me.

The following week was full of appointments at the local “Kreisbüro” to register in Switzerland and organise the documents to register my work permit. I also visited the British Embassy, or was it a consulate, to get registered in Switzerland. If there was a war the British would help me to get to a safe place, was the idea, although Swiss wars were mainly fought in the banks, so there was no danger. I also had a sickness insurance to organise, but I was soon on the way to become a legal alien. Today I have the Swiss passport. Mr. Swiss tells me he often has the feeling I am more Swiss than he is, although he can still speak the language better. I am also quite good at it.

What I did not realise at the time was that I would be sharing my birthday with all of the children in Switzerland, and most of the children in Europe. This day also happened to be St. Nicholas day, a children’s Christmas celebration on behalf of Santa Clause who was originally deemed to be St. Nicholas. On this day Parents mainly present their children with a sack full of various Christmas chocolate, gingerbreads, tangerines and of course a mixture of nuts, mainly peanuts. I took the photo in the local store. We always constructed our own selection of goodies, but today you can buy everything for the price of almost ten Swiss Francs. My birthday was famous, although when I had my own family I had to share it with my kids and St. Nicholas.

And now I am 70. Have aches and pains that no-one told me about when I was 20 years younger, write daily blogs, and have become a cyber golden oldie.  I do not go anywhere without my camera, usually in my bag, and also my walking cane for the past year. Yes, there are some things that you wish did not appear, but it could be worst.

And now to continue as usual, cleaning, cooking and tending to my two computers. Thankyou all for the various birthday wishes I have received. I will be back later when the english colony across the pond is also awake. Have a good day everyone and do not eat too many nuts, save some for the birds.

Daily Prompt: Sorry I’m Busy – although everyone else can do it better

Tell us about a time when you should have helped someone… but didn’t.

“Sorry I’m Busy”

“But you are sitting at the computer.”

“I’m working on something.”

“But you are surfing in Internet. For working things you at least need the Word programme, or even better Excel.”

These moments of Mr. Swiss concentration are to be respected.

“I was wondering if you could help me with something.”


“I am searching for the web site of that guy that repaired our windows.”

“Why, do we need another new window?”

“Of course not, but it might be that we will in the future and if I put his details into my mobile phone, I will know where to call.”

“That can wait Just a minute. Look I have found it at last.”

“Found what?”

“The web site I was looking for.”

Yes today’s modern conversation circulates on assistance and help, but no longer physical. It seems to me that everyone helps themselves if necessary.

I am very independent, although I must add that one golden oldie helps another and Mr. Swiss is very good in that connection. He has the feeling that I do not do it as good as he does. My mum was also a member of that school of thought, especially when she was moaning about what she had to do.”

“Can I help mum.”

“No, I will do it myself, then it will get done properly”, which was a great inspiration to become independent.

It was no wonder that my cooking experiences were nil when I stepped out into the wide world to do my own thing. Mum was convinced that my future husband would live on fish fingers and baked beans, but my help was never needed and so I did not learn the important things in life. Fast forward 50 years later. Profanities heard from the direction of the vacuum cleaner.

“Can I help?”

“No, I am emptying the Dyson.”

“But I know how to do ut.”

“I have the routine, can do it faster, and easier. Just leave me to it.”

You see, no-one wants or needs my help. Yesterday was my birthday. No big deal, just another year older and a few more grey hairs, aches and pains, flowing down the eternal river of onsetting age. And so the family invited themselves to dinner. I had nothing to do really, because everyone finds they can do it better, although I discovered there are things I can do that the others cannot.

“What about a dessert?”

“Make a chocolate mousse everyone likes a chocolate mousse.”

I decided that I had nothing better to do on Saturday morning that to take the time to create my dessert speciality. The big meal was on Sunday, so I could save some time.  I mixed the egg yolks, sugar and added the melted chocolate, whipped the cream, whipped the egg whites and mixed it all together – no problem. I then spent time wiping the chocolate stains from the tiles in the kitchen and cupboard doors where they had sprayed themselves from the whipping machine. Afterwards I cleaned various instruments in the kitchen sink, removing traces of melted chocolate and as a grand finale I wiped away the traces of the cooking operation from the kitchen floor, after all everyone likes a chocolate mousse.

Chocolate Mousse remains

The bowl was full before the family arrived- They helped by eating almost all and decided to leave me a remainder for the next day. You see mum, my future husband did not have to live on fish fingers after all. The main meal also disappeared, yes it was a busy day eating it all.

And I had a very nice birthday with Mr. Swiss, No. 1 son and No. 2 son with his wife.

Daily Prompt: Sorry I’m busy – although everyone can do it better

Daily Prompt: Shake It Up

You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RECKLESS.

Sky over Feldbrunnen

Were the dark days disappearing and the bright days arriving on my 12th birthday? I cannot remember. It was 1958 and according to my Internet information US lunar probe Pioneer 3 reaches 107,269 km, falls back. I had no idea what the internet was talking about , but it seems to commemorate the fact that it was my birthday and this wonderwork of modern science was launched on this day. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment. It was intended to pass the moon but fell back to the earth after only reaching 107,269 kilometres. What a disappointment that must have been. Did this influence my future life?

I do not remember falling back to Earth at the time, I was too busy learning for the school, doing homework, and falling in love with Kenneth Allsop. You do not remember Kenneth Allsop? If you originate on the other side of the Pond or in another country somewhere in Europe you would not have seen this fascinating person on the British TV. He was a journalist and interviewer on a daily news programme called “Tonight”. He was also a book author, nature lover and a sort of Jack of All Trades. He did a memorable interview on the TV with the Beatles and he just appealed to me. I remember he wore striped shirts. They were fashion at the time. Of course I was 12 and he was 38 years old at the time, so our romance was never to be. Unfortunately he died at the age of 53.

As I only just discovered the fact that a lunar probe failed on its mission on this day, it probably had no negative influence on my birthday. The celebrations continued and neither mum nor dad realised the failure of this spacecraft. I seem to have survived this day in 1958, but I have no idea what I did, what I received for my birthday present and whether I had a party. At the age of twelve I had already realised that there was another sort of human (they had deeper voices) but as I was an only child and was visiting a girls only school, my discoveries at the time were somewhat restricted.

I probably had a cake. Mum used to buy them in the local Marks and Spencers store, strawberry frosties they were called I think. She always made sure the Christmas decorations were already hanging in the kitchen/living room/television room/room for everything. Our housing was somewhat limited in space. It was just the kitchen, mum and dad’s bedroom and my bedroom, although at that time we had acquired a room downstairs in the house as Grandad was older (around80 at that time) and decided just a one room bedsitter would do him. He left the kitchen to the cat. Mum cooked for him and Aunt Lil, across the street, cleaned for him. We were well organised domestically.

Otherwise no remarkable events or memories occur to me of that special day.

If you had asked about my 60th birthday, or even 65th birthday I could have supplied more information, but my 12th? I sometimes do not even remember what I did yesterday morning, or five minutes ago, although I am perhaps exaggerating a little. After my golden oldie sleep today at lunch time I cleaned the windows, ate a strawberry yoghurt and decided to see what intelligent assignment the Daily Prompt had ready for me today. Luckily it said just ten minutes of writing, but I have been a little longer, as when I write the time runs away with me and if I cut it down, then it might be I lose the chance of my Pulitzer literature blog prize.
It is now time for a Tai Chi training session, nice and slowly says the guru on the DVD. Of course, we cannot risk any headlines in the local newspaper “Local woman breaks leg whilst practicing Tai Chi”.

Daily Prompt: Shake It Up

Shaken Up Pingbacks

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  10. Twelve | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  11. Twelve: Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  12. Daily Prompt – Reckless – Broken |
  13. My Day. | Crossroads
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  21. Childhood Birthday Bashes | Anecdotes | WANGSGARD.COM
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  23. Shake It Up: Twelve | A Patchwork Life
  24. Never having had a birthday party I worry about how to throw one for my son « psychologistmimi
  25. The amazing recollections of a nothing birthday for your reviewing pleasure. | thoughtsofrkh
  26. Wendy Karasin – Musings of a Boomer
  27. Daily Prompt: Shake It Up-Reckless | My Father’s Garden
  28. A Gloomy Birthday. | Asta’s Space
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  30. 54/365 reckless | @vannilla
  31. A blown-out candle | MC’s Whispers
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  33. Swinging in the Air | Flowers and Breezes
  35. Too Dull To ‘Shake It Up’ | Cats, Coffee, And Life At Random
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  37. Shake It Up! My Brain Has No Memories Of My Twelve Birthday. | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  38. Daily Prompt: Being Twelve! | All Things Cute and Beautiful
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  41. I’m a Dull Boring Person… on a Good Day. | My Author-itis
  42. In which I know nothing at all | Infinitefreetime
  43. At home | Life is great
  44. I’m not 12 and it’s not my birthday, but thanks anyway! | Celebrating Time
  45. Bare in the Woods | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  46. Happiness: Then and Now | snapshotsofawanderingheart
  47. Shake Yo’ Booby! | Beez Giftz
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  50. Reckless | The Land Slide Photography
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  53. My World: My Eyes – Earth’s Candle | Dibbler Dabbler
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  55. Twelve year old | Emovere
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  60. No Thanks, I Don’t Celebrate My Birthday | Schizo Incognito
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  62. A smile for a present: Daily prompt. | one hundred thousand beats per day
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  65. Are You There, God? It’s Me… | Kosher Adobo
  66. a moment in time | In The Moment
  67. You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO. | askgrampa
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Happy Birthday to Me

Santa in Migros

Allow me a few words. WordPress is a great site to blog and write and over the years I have met a lot of wonderful people.

In this sense I invite you all to raise a glass in the honour of


Yes, my simple modest self decided to invite you all to a cyber celebration. Of course I had to breathe my first breath of life on St.Nicolas day, meaning in mainland Europe that I celebrate my birthday with thousands of children celebrating St. Nicolas Day. At least it is a day to remember. I even met the two Santa Claus this morning in the local supermarket. Just as I wanted to take a photo where they were shaking my hand and congratulating, they turned their backs and walked away. Nevertheless, undaunted I took a photo and added a few decorations to make it a little festive.

This year is a quiet celebration, 67 years is no big deal.

A Bottle of Wine

“Ready Jean?“

„Just a minute, I think my mascara is smudged.”

“You look perfect, where are you going now, we are going to be late.”

“Stay calm Jack, I don’t know why you are bothered coming late. You never did like your Uncle Fred, you always said he had something funny about him.”

“No, I do not like Uncle Fred. He is a mean old man and I am only going to his birthday party because he will probably cut me out of his will if I don’t.”

“Well that is not a very nice thing to say Jack. We don’t really need the money, do we?”

“Jean there is a difference in needing and wanting. Uncle Fred is a millionaire. Remember the win he had on the football?”

“Oh that, it was a lot of money, but he never seems to spend very much.”

“That is the reason why I am going to suffer spending an evening with him celebrating his birthday. By the way have you got his present?”

“What present Jack?”

“The bottle of expensive French wine I bought in the wooden case that was lying on the kitchen table wrapped up in gift paper with a red band around it.”

“Oh that, no I thought you had it.”

“Jean if you thought a bit less about your mascara and a bit more about things that are really important, we would not be sitting in the car waiting to drive off, without the most important thing of the evening.”

“Well he is your uncle not mine.”

“Jean would you please go and get the present and bring it to the car.”

“Yes Jack, at once. I am beginning to hate Uncle Fred as well.”

“Did you say something Jean.”

“I am on my way.”

“Well, that took long enough, you only had to get the present.”

“I know, but I had a little accident.”


“Well it was like this. I sort of picked up the present and Bobbles ran in front of my feet.”

“What does Bobbles our cat have to do with it.”

“I lost my balance and the present sort of fell out of my hands and crashed to the floor.”

“You dropped a bottle of expensive French wine on the floor that cost me almost a week’s wages; wine that grows on a slope somewhere in the Bordeaux region of France, a first growth.”

“Well Jack, I don’t know about how many times it grew, but now we have a first crash, but don’t worry.”

“Don’t worry? Of course I am worried. Not only do I have to go to a birthday party for someone that I hate, but my chances of a nice inheritance have also now disappeared. You have broken his bottle of wine.”

“Well the wooden case is still ok. That didn’t break.”

“Oh, fine, so what do we do now.”

“No problem Jack, I threw the broken glass from the bottle away, but managed to save the label on the bottle.”

“I can’t give old grumpy a wine bottle label.”

“Jack, give me credit for a little bit of intelligence. I took one of our wine bottles from the cellar, washed the label off and replaced the label with the one from the special, unique first growth wine. He will never know the difference. I even put the gift wrapping around the present. It looks just the same. So now drive off, otherwise we will be late.”

“Here we are Jack, are you sure that this is the right day. Everything seems to be quiet at the house. No party noise around.”

“You are right Jean, but there is Aunt Gladys, Uncle Fred’s wife.”

“She doesn’t look very happy does she Jack.”

“No, you are right Jean. Let’s see what’s happened.”

“Oh Jack, Jean, it would have been so nice to have seen you again. Fred was so looking forward to seeing his favourite nephew after so long. I think it has been a year since you last paid us a visit on his last birthday. It is a shame that you cannot call more often, but now it’s too late.”

“Aunt Gladys why are you crying and what do you mean too late? Has something happened?”

“Yes Jack, I am sorry to say. Your Uncle Fred was getting some wine from the cellar for the party and had an accident. He fell down the stairs and, oh dear, how can I put it, he hit his head on the stone stairs, and never woke up again. His body has already been transported to the morgue and the funeral will be some time next week.”

“Oh how terrible, I feel so sorry for you.”

“Thank you Jack”

“Yes Aunt Gladys this is such a shock for us both.”

“I see you have brought a present for Uncle Fred. Just bring it into the house.”

“Well, I don’t know Aunt Gladys, It is perhaps not such a good present as it is a bottle of French wine and after what happened…..”

“Oh, Jack, it has been such a sad day, but I think it would be a good idea to perhaps drink a glass or two in memory of Uncle Fred.”

“Well that was a surprise Jack. At least you didn’t have to spend the evening at a party you didn’t want to attend and it seemed that Aunt Gladys didn’t even notice that she was drinking wine from the local supermarket.”

“You know Jean I don’t even think that Aunt Gladys was very sad at Uncle Fred’s demise. I just hope that she doesn’t turn into the merry widow and start enjoying Uncle Fred’s money.”