Daily Prompt: My Own Elixir

Tractor 23.02 (1)

I live in the country and that is my elixir. Since February the farmers have been busy spreading their wonderful elixir over the fields to enrich the soil and our noses. You get used to it eventually, especially when evening approaches and the waft of the freshly spread muck creeps into your nose. It feels good to know that our farmers are muck spreading and look after the soil to make sure everything will be growing during the year. There is nothing more appealing that a truck full of the raw stuff.It is all recycling produce from the cows that eat the grass in the fields that have been fertilised with their own recycling products, the elixirs of life.

This afternoon I decided to take one of my famous walks with the camera to visit a few of my friends at the stables. My elixir is my camera to capture the signs of nature. First of all I passed this tree, which I believe to be a white magnolia.

Unknown Bush 28.03.2017 (2)

It was flowering in the garden of a small cottage I always walk past on the way to the stables. I walked further along the path and realised I was in the right place when I heard the geese making theirselves noticeable.

Ducks and Geese 28.03 (13)

There are two geese that live at the stables, so I a wondering, it being spring, whether they will perhaps become parents of gosling. Now that would be an elixir for my camera taking photos of the offspring. It seemed to be a lazy day today, as I noticed the ducks were also taking it easy. The owners of the stable have now built a shed next to the pond , so who knows, perhaps it is a nesting shed: a nice safe place for the eggs to be hatched.

Ducks and Geese 28.03 (4)

They have three ducks, so I do not know how that is going to work: two males and one female. At least Mrs. Duck will be well cared for by her men.

Horses 28.03 (2)

I walked further to see that one of the horses was posing for a photo. The colleague in the next pen also wanted to get into the picture. He or she seemed to be sniffing some horsey elixirs, but everyone seemd to be happy with the situation.

I decided to leave the animals to do their own thing and turned back on the path to take a walk to the top of the hill in front of the castle where there are three benches waiting for a rest. It is also a good opportunity for some camera shots over the Bernese plain. Today was sunny, but the atmospherics were not so clear, otherwise there would have been a few alps to be photographed.

Feldbrunnen village 28.03 (9)

The village you can see at the front in the photo is the North side of my village Feldbrunnen. We live across the main road on the south side. The road passing through the village would be the connection from Geneva to Zürich, although no-one would take this road for such a journey, as we have a motorway for such long distances.

I heard the village church striking 4.00 p.m. and decided it was time to return home. As I am a very slow walker I go on my walks on my own, my only companion being my camera and my cane. I did not meet many people on their way today, but everyone I met had a dog with them. We live in dog country. I noticed the cows are not yet on the pastures, but I am sure they soon will be. The weather is now quite pleasant, and  the time for my bemudas is approaching. I have been wearing t-shirt for a couple of weeks now and I no longer need a jacket.

After returning from my walk I felt awake and ready to go. I need the fresh air and the countryside, it is my elixir.

Daily Prompt: My Own Elixir

Daily Prompt: Symbiosis with my camera

And we have another one of those wonderful words with deep meaning, prompting me to write in symbiosis with WordPress, but I am not so sure it will work. After the initial shock of actually seeing the word, I decided to flee with my camera along the river bank. Ducks were non-existent. I have a feeling they have now met their partner for the season and are busy in symbiosis with each other, laying eggs and all that sort of thing.

I walked along the river bank, camera with symbiotic zoom lens draped around my body, to see if there was anything worth a photo or 2 or perhaps 20. I saw two swans appearing in the distance. Swans tend to live in symbiosis with the same partner all their life, so no big deal. I took my first shot as the come to sight around the bed in the river.

Swans 26.03 (14)

And then something struck me when I saw this photo. We all seem to live in symbiosis with something. I have a river with two swans, trees on the river bank and a farm in the background. The swans swim on the water and find their food in the river. The trees are a resting place for the birds, produce seeds which are eaten by most animal, sometimes humans if the nuts are edible, and they probably do something for the fresh air (am not an expert). So there we have it, a symbiotical photo.

And then I found my favourite bench and now was the time for me to get into symbiosis with the camera. In the meanwhile the swans had caught up with me and were on the opposite bank of the river.

Swans 26.03 (11)

I then got the swan show, for my symbiotic camera and that was all.

I was still searching for my lost hour’s sleep so decided to return home. There were a few cyclists on their way along the path and joggers doing their fitness tour.

Daily Prompt: Symbiosis with my camera

Daily Prompt: It is all meaningless

River Aar 24.03 (17)

An empty bench on the top of a hill: meaningless to some but to me life rescuing after walking the steps to reach the top. Someone even decided to paint the bench with meaningless graffitti, but it is a place where I can sit, relax, and perhaps even take a few photos from the top.

As you get older a lot of stuff becomes meaningless. I still have a cupboard frull of clothes, mainly shirts and trousers, some comfortable sensible shoes and, of course, something for a special occasion. Actually I am covered in clothing for all emergencies and the wonder of it all is that I no longer have to be a dedicated follower of fashion: just the basics are enough. My figure no longer allows itself to be dressed in a skirt (waistline disappeared and sunk to the southern region)some time ago or a dress (only straght dresses with no form or figure can be worn). Yes, fashion is now a meaningless subject for me. As long as you do not stand out in the crowd, and have the appearance of “mutton dressed up as lamb” which was one of my mum’s favourite sayings, then why spend money on clothes, I have a cupboard full.

I no longer need a super meal in a restaurant, because it can be a big disappointment. If you order a hamburger in Macdonalds you know what you are getting. If you order an expensive steak in a restaurant with all the trimmings, it does not mean that expensive is the same as good. And after eating a meal in a reastaurant you cannot relax on your armchair and take it easy because you are amongst the public. Eat your own cooked meal at home and you know what you are eating, and afterwards you can relax in your own surroundings: put your feet up and perhaps have a short nap to relax, or follow it down with a cup of tea or coffee – no problem.

When I think of it, I need no luxuries to keep me happy, perhaps a new computer with the latest microsoft or apple software or a new iPad which I have. Yes the meaningful items in a golden oldie cyber life are the important things to keep you happy and busy.

“Have you seen, there is a new iPhone, model 7” said Mr. Swiss this afternoon and sent me the advertising email from his iPad. Actally there would have been no need, because I had received the same e-mail – yes, “i” and all its attachments know us.

I had a look as I had been thinking about updating my iPhone (which was a model 5) to a 6, which Mr. Swiss already has. I had been weighing the pros and cons, but wanted a new iPhone with a better camera and all the trimmings. The new model 7 has it all. When I take a walk with my non meaningless camera (another hobby) I have to decide whether to take the zoom lens or the normal lens. This will no longer be necessary with the new phone. Its camera is perfect for the close ups and can be taken everywhere with no problem and the photos upload direct into my photo programme online. This means that I can take the camera with the large lens and the phone, which I always have with me. It will be perfect.  Next week I have planned an excursion to the local mobile phone shop, where they have everything, to make my purchase. My old iPhone No. 5 has become meaningless, when I get a new iPhone No. 7 with all the photo trimmings. I forgot to mention, I can even make telephone calls with it.

Computer toys

Daily Prompt: It is all meaningless

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