Good Morning

Back garden

Our home life at the moment is circled around what we have to do when the builders arrive next week. After re-reading the instruction papers that we all received I discovered that we have quite a few things to do, mainly shifting stuff to other places.

Yes we received instructions, or are they threats. I am slowly getting the feeling that I have been enlisted into some sort of building army, where I have to follow orders. Our porch must be cleared and we have two porches. It actually says the places where we sit. Two men will arrive tomorrow to move our overlarge heavy table into the cellar. We will shift the chairs ourselves. That leaves an oversized window box which we might, or might not, have to move. We await further instructions, no commands, when they arrive.

Hedge

Now that is a heavey window box and I have everlasting sweet pea that climb during the summer and a climbing rose, although the rose has its roots in front of the neighbouring hedge. This might get complicated, as all hedges will be removed which does not bother me so much. The hedges were already there when we moved in and they are privet. Who likes privet? I do not, they are boring and good for nothing. I do not really need a hedge around my garden, but as said we are in the army and have to fall in with instructions, otherwise we might get detention. We have got detention, the command says that from April to November we will be under siege from the builders and there is no escape route to the outside. I am not sure if we have to show our identification to leave and enter.

I spent some time with my camera yesterday taking photos of the present condition of the home, not barracks as it has now become. If I am going to write building blog of the year, I should have some photos. All going well, and not being sentenced to exile by the building army in the meanwhile, I have planned to bore everyone with a separate almost daily building blog. It will be better on its own, as otherwise it will ruin my concept of blog for the next half a year. My next door neighbour has already lamented the fact that we will be incarcerrated for a complete half year, not being allowed out to sit or even eat our midday food outside. That is also what will be my problem. I think I will call my blog “The Lost Summer”.

Horse Chestnut and Hostas

I also have a growing chestnut tree in a pot on the porch on the other side of the appartment. This tree is my baby, grown from a chestnut that I planted. It has never flowered in the last ten years, but you never know. I will enlist the help of my strong son to shift the pot into the middle of the front garden, which is more suitable, as this porch must also be cleared it seems.

Yes it will be a fun summer, I cannot wait. I am still thinking about how to break the news to my cat. Tabby will be disappointed when she no longer has a comfortable place to sleep outside and she does not like noise. Mr. Swiss said yesterday there will be a lot of building noise, but being an ex-London person, that does not bother me so much – I grew up in noise.

And now to a normal day with a shopping trip to the supermarket and planning on meals to serve for the next two days. Today is a stay at home afternoon as I have a shower to clean and do not have the strength to go for walks daily.

Enjoy youselves, see you around

Good Morning

Daffodils 27.03 (2)

Daffodils everywhere in the garden at the moment. Must be Spring. It also seems that Easter is just around the corner, although according to the supermarket it was beginning after our carnival season at the end of February. The shelves are full of chocolate bunnies and eggs.

When the kids were kids I remember colouring our own hen’s eggs and hiding self made “nests” in the appartment full of chocolate goodies that they would search for – and find – on Easter Sunday morning. The stress days of Easter are now gone, and everyone does their own thing, which for me is very little. I do not mind a chocolate bunny, or an easter egg full of chocolate, but my taste has got refined over the years. I prefer the “special” chocolates from the best shops  and bunnies have to be the black chocolate. I am a Chrstmas grinch and probably an easter grinch as well. The only contribution to Easter from me will probably be a walk to the local stables and making a few photos of their chickens.

I have at last caught up on my sleepless night and yesterday slept deep and long. My strength has now been replenished and I am ready for the bathroom cleaning ahead of me.

We are now preparing for the big makeover on the appartment house facade beginning next week. Our mowing machine had a short visit this year, as it is again the cellar. There is no point in mowing a lawn every day when we are not sure how it is going to work. At least our heavy unmovable table has been taken care of. The guy with the shop delivering our new curtains spontaneously said that is part of his service for us and two strong mem will arrive on Thursday to do the necessary.

We have floor heating in our place, driven by gas somewhere in the depths of the cellar. The newest crackpot idea is that the heating pipes should be flushed through, which is also not necessary according to an expert we know. These things belong to the old days and there is no reason for it to be done, but who are we to say no. We are just the golden oldies that pay for it. Yesterday there was noise in the early morning as a “specialist” had been requested to clean the paveing stones outside on our estate. Another way to spend money for nothing, because whe the workmen are finished in half a year, you can begin all over again.

Looks like a sunny day today, so another reason for a walk with the camera this afternoon, although I am getting short of new things to photograph. Perhaps I might visit the local cemetery again to see if anything new has happened. At this time of the year the gardeners are busy replenishing the grave decorations with new flowers.

And now to do something worthwhile, like a cleaning inspection of the apparment. I really seem to lead an uninteresting, boring life. Next week it will change. The invasion of the building site workers begins, there will be action with construction of a metal cocoon outside and I can take lots of new photos of strong building workers drinking their coca cola in the breaks. I am still wondering what Mr. Smarty Pants neighbour will do with his cat, as he is apparently going on a 6 week holiday.

Enjoy the day, have fun and remember, every cloud has a silver lining – you just have to find it.

Plane 16.03 (2)

Good Morning

River Aar

Went for a walk along the river yesterday and had my zoom lens on the camera which is only really good for the objects in the far distance. However, I always have my phone with me, so took this shot with the phone camera which is OK as an alternative.

Today looks a sunny day, but I have no big plans. Just a shopping tour this morning and sorting out stuff for organising our porch for the big makeover next week. We are to clear everything away from the outside and are still trying to figure how to move a wooden table 90 cm x 1 meter something into the cellar. Mr. Swiss has back problems and I am not able to lift stuff. I even have problems lifting myself out of bed in the morning. We will have to get outside help and the job must be done by the end of the week.

Next week the building company arrives and put our appartment block in a cocoon with scaffolding. The job will be finished in October, meaning that I will be cut off from possibilities of sitting outside. Indoors is not fun in the summer. We have to cover the windows to stop the hot sun beating through the glass and as the blinds are also being removed until October, that will not be an easy job. I have a thing about being indoors during the summer, I do not like it. Probably originates from my growing up days in East London where we only had concrete to look at and the only chance of a comfortable place outside was the small back yard. We were street kids, making the most of what we had. When I was a kid it was in the fifties and London was still full of the bombed housing remains, so at least we had an adventure playground.

We have also now heard that all our hedges will be removed at the sides of our garden. That does not bother me so much, although might bother the birds, but they do not have anything to say in the matter – neither do we. The hedges are privet which is nothing spectacular. My problem is why. I assume that the men want to carry the scaffolding from the side to the front of our building, meaning they will be trampling over my flower beds which I am not happy about. We have been told that a gardener has been commissioned to put everything back as it was when the work is finished, but you cannot replace hostas and other plants that have been growing in the ground for the past 10 years or more. They have established their right to grow and treading on them in the growing season is the best way to destroy them.

Yes I am annoyed, and there is nothing I can do about it. I have decided to write a daily report on the work for myself – who knows, by the time October arrives when it finishes, I might have enough for a best seller. I do not think the workers will be happy to see a lady constantly taken photos of what they are doing.

So I am off. I did not sleep very well yesterday, if at all, neither did Mr. Swiss. We just do not need this reduction of our quality of life at our age.

One bright moment, our local Japanese Cherry tree is now blossoming.

Japanese Cherry Tree

Good Morning

Helleborus

It is not really a very good morning. First of all I lost an hour’s sleep somewhere in the middle of the night and this morning the weather is dull, dismal and very unfriendly. I can only hope it will get better on the way. Yesterday we had to alter our clocks and turn them back an hour meaning that my beauty sleep is not what it should have been. I slept well, but would have slept an hour more had it not been for this stupid daylight saving time, or whatever it is called. What difference does it really make if I get longer daylight in the evening? The Brits are always an hour behind us Summer and Winter, because they change their clocks differently. I should know, I used to be a Brit and it seems we did everything differently to the rest of Europe.

Mr. Swiss was quite astonished to find me already up and no longer hugging my bed. If you cannot beat them join them. Just because I have lost an hour, it does not reduce my housewife duties and breakfast was calling. The Brits are celebrating mother’s day today,  which makes them again different to everyone else, as the rest of Europe celebrate it the first Sunday in May. I do not celebrate it just one day in the year, I live with it all the time. Being a mother for one Sunday in a year is not my thing.  I remember at home when dad would be getting nervous and buzzing around me making sure I would be giving mum a box of chocolates or something for mother’s day because mum was not happy if she got nothing. Of course I remembered it, the shops were full of reminders. Today we have Facebook full of mummy stuff, so how can we forget.

Yesterday was a day at home, as I had not time for anything else, but today I may take a walk this afternoon as who knows, the sun might break through and it can only get warmer.

At least the hyacinths are flowering in the garden to add a splash of colour on this grey day. And now to move on and try to forget my lost hour’s sleep. At least my WordPress appointments will again arrive at the normal time and not an hour earlier, although it is no big deal, I just wrote them an hour later.

Enjoy your Sunday

Hyacinths

Good Morning

River Aar 24.03 (16)

My “good” mornings will probably become “Bad” mornings from the week after next until October. Our appartment block(s) will have the front and back refurbished with paint and improvements on the facade, meaning we will be in a cocoon of metal scaffolding for half a year. We are on the ground floor and our porch will be rendered unfit for usage.

There have been many suggestions and meetings, but the samartypants won the decision and decided that the most expensive method must be the best. Many clapped their hands, generally the inexperienced younger member of the tribe, others do not own their appartment, as we do, so had nothing to say. The golden oldies with more building experience found it is really not necessary to do such a rigorous job. The majority decision wins the race, so all is left for us is to go (not at my age living in such wonderful surroundings) or pay our share. Last week I notice two guys walking around outside and entering my patch of garden, looking intensively at everything. Mrs. Angloswiss was in the kitchen writing her wise Good Morning words and saw them.

“Hello, what are you doing?”

“I am the project manager” said the guy in charge, his attachment said nothing.

“Good” said I, “then you can tell me how long our blinds will be missing” (another part of the luxury replacement plan which is not necessary because  it was decided we also need new blinds).

“Until October, it was all discussed yesterday at the meeting.”

“Meeting? they do not interest me.” which was probably the wrong answer, but I am passed caring. Mr. Swiss and I did not go to the meeting, because we found it lost time in the evening.

There were many things discussed at the meeting and yesterday we got the official letter from the company that looks after the official appartment affairs. Next week all furniture on the porch must be removed, our hedges on the east side will be removed (and replaced after the work is finished by a gardener). This means basically that during the summer months we will not  be able to use our porch for eating meals outside, for relaxing and reading a book or using the computer, because there will be no furniture or seats left to use.

Our reaction: wait and see how it really looks. The scadffolding will be placed at the edge of our garden up to the top of the building.  It means that our heavy table will have to be put into cellar storage. No problem, we have the room, only my golden oldie husband cannot shift such a table and neither can I. My son is capable, but not on his own, so we will have to organise help, and proably have to pay for it. Our blinds will be removed during the summer months and we have permanent sun on the West side, so we have now organised those panel stripes as curtains to be fitted. We never really had curtains, but it is not lost money as what we are having done is a very good solution and will remain afterwards.

We have a smalller plastic table and the general plastic outside balcony chairs still in the cellar which I can perhaps put on the porch when I see how the whole experiement develops. They are quickly organised and removed afterwards. Where there is a will there is a way, and no-one prevents me from sitting on my own porch for the next 5 months. Our motto now is “wait and see”. One guy that lives here is moving somewhere else for the next half year. He is on the resident’s committee for the whole show and mainly responsible for the miserable plight that we now find ourselves in, but he will be away, so does not have a problem. I am wondering what will happen to his 15 year old cat in the meanwhile, because I am sure he will not take it with him.  Others have balconies, so they are not so much affected as we are with our garden. We are basically two appartments that are mostly affected, two parties that were against the whole gold plated idea.

One advantage, I will be inundating you all with photos of the progress of the work, of scaffolding, of workers in overalls with their wheelbarrows or whatever they use. And of course I will keep you up to date with any discussions, arguments or fights they might break out in the meanwhile, perhaps an occasional murder.  Oh yes, Mrs. Swiss is annoyed, very much so, with the ignorance of some people.

And now to calm down and concentrate on the daily problems. This morning my server was on a slow speed on my iPad and I scarcely got into WorPress. As it was all apple, it was the safari server that was not doing its job. I hate such inconvenience, especially in the morning. It confuses my itinery completely. I have two iPads and they both decided to go slow. Suddenly all was back to normal and so I could finish what I urgently wanted to do. It should now be smooth running, after all it is Saturday and I do not have to go places and do things.

I must go, otherwise nothing will be done. Enjoy the day

Front Garden 23.03 (2)

Good Morning: 8.00 a.m. here in Switzerland (for Scottie)

Feldbrunnen to Subingen via Derendingen und Gerlafingen 23.03 (21)

MoweyYesterday they let me out again. Our automatic lawn mower, known as Mowey by us, is now in service again. We released him from the cellar, plugged him in and he now does his daily half hour patrol cutting the grass. However, he needs a renewal of the sawblades. Mowey was delivered to his agents in a place called Subingen, where we found him. For this reason Mr. Swiss decided to pick up the sawblades. There was also a long screw missing, although probably we have not yet found it in the cupboard. I accompanied Mr. Swiss as I am always glad for new photo material, although this was an industrial park: a long road with companies on each side. However, it was country as you can see from the top photo with the masts. We were not quite cut off from civilisation.

Feldbrunnen to Subingen via Derendingen und Gerlafingen 23.03 (27)

The village was just across the neighbouring field. Whilst Mr. Swiss was dealing with the business deal, I took a walk around the car park for some photos, but there was only garden machinery which was not very interesting for my camera.

Feldbrunnen to Subingen via Derendingen und Gerlafingen 23.03 (50)

On the way to Subingen we passed through the mini village of Attisholz, which is just along the River Aar from where we live. It has quite a good restaurant on the country road which we used to visit for a pleasant drink on the terrace on week-ends, but no longer so much. The photo shows the Cellulose factory from this village where paper used to be manufactured. It used to be a busy place, but for many years is now empty and becoming one of those factory ruins. There are many of the older generation in my area who once worked there, their fathers before them. In a way another lost relic of the days gone bye. However, it seems a buyer has been found that is in the Gentech business, Bio-Gen,  so perhaps the factory will live again somehow.

After completing our Mowey business, we returned home. I noticed my camera was full of industrial photos. Yes, Switzerland is not only a country of mountains, yodelling and cheese, but some of us actually work for a living. These industrial places are usually together somewhere in a village so as not to interrupt the natural beauty. I mean who wants something like this in front of the door.

Feldbrunnen to Subingen via Derendingen und Gerlafingen 23.03 (24)

Something came to my attention this week, so just a quick remark. My english is not perfect, far from it. I do not even speak the language very often as I have been living in Switzerland and speaking Swiss German for the past 50 years during the day (which is also not perfect, but it is OK). I cannot write German very well, but why should I. As long as I I can get through with the spoken language no problem. My spoken english is understood by english speakers. My written english has lost some words of vocabulary so when I write my prize suspicious blogs, often I must look into an online english-german dictionary (usually LEO) to find the expression I need. So bear with me please, you can even laugh. You can point out my mistakes, always willing to do it the right way. I get used to my own way of writing. We ex pats might lose touch with our original language. I know a few other english girls here and there where I live. When we meet, we talk english, but often use a Swiss German word because we have fogotten the english word.

This especially applies to new inventions over the last 50 years for me. When I left England we girls wore stockings, which became “pantihose” or “tights” in the english version and I had to look that up in Internet, as I only got to know them as “Strumpfhose”. Just saying, so please bear with me.

And now to other important things, like shopping for the week-end. Mr. Swiss just praised me for my excellent cloud shopping list. I discovered that little photos of what I write appear, like a loaf of bread, a pig’s head for pork, mushrooms, bowl of soup and french fries/chips. I even have a tomato, a pizza and a bacon emblem. Yes I have illustrated shopping lists. I do not have to have the pictures, but little things please little minds.

Who knows, I might take another walk this afternoon, am still thinking about it, as Saturday is reserved for other things.

Look forward to the week-end if you have one, and have fun.

Feldbrunnen to Subingen via Derendingen und Gerlafingen 23.03 (25)

Good Morning

Back Garden view morning

Yesterday was a day at home. We had really miserable weather, rain in between, but everything so grey in grey. My only excursion was in the morning for a shopping trip to the local supermarket to make sure we would not starve and the afternoon I had a job to do (shower cleaning) and otherwise I was free to do what I wanted to do.

I could at last spend a reading evening without having to watch anything on the TV. I only really watch my soap “East Enders”, although it is not exactly the be all and end all of spectacular events. It all takes place in the East End of London, where I grew up, and it seems that everyone is somehow related to the others, mainly by marriage. Lately they have  been bringing double episodes to compensate for the soap fall out on a couple of evenings due to some other less important programme, meaning that I was forced to endure TV in the evening. Anyhow, yesterday there was nothing worth watching. I was glad, as I seem to have something against the TV. I would rather get lost in a book than some sort of TV series where you see the same actors all the time playing other roles, at least on the German TV this is the case.

Yesterday was one of those days when bad things happen. I was in the middle of writing my daily blog, when I got a flash report on my phone that there had been an attack in London, so I checked in to see what had happened. Growing up in London and being a Londoner, the places where it all happened were well known to me. No-one is safe today: be it an organised terrorist attack, or a mad loner that thinks he has a purposes in his miserable life, people die. It is so easy today. Just sit in a car, put your foot on the gas pedal and drive into a crowd of people. Perhaps some groups of terrorists might jump on the band wagon afterwards and tell everyone it was theirs.

My son works for the swiss government. He spent three years as a diplomat in Brussels and Brussels is not exempt from such attacks. Strange coincidence was that yesterday the annual day of the terrorist attack in Brussels was being honoured in Belgium. Was this a coincidence, or a planned terrorist attack? There was always a Damocles sword hanging over my head with my son’s job. He now works in Switzerland, but it only needs a maniac to decide to attack a government office and he could be innocently doing his daily job where it happens. Now and again he travels abroad for conferences, and not exactly to the ideal countries. I grew up in the cold war time, the iron curtain, but terrorists were not part of the game, just politicians threatening each other with words.

Switzerland also had a problem, although not comparable. In the Luzern railway station a train derailed. No-one was killed, perhaps a few passengers jogged around a bit, that had to wait an hour until they could leave the train. The train also managed to break an electricity mast with the result that no trains were moving in Luzern. Luzern is quite an international place at the station, where the trains through Switzerland travel to Italy.  OK, no big deal, but the station was no longer working and this morning the latest news is that it is still not working and it might be fixed by this afternoon. In other words if you want to travel by train in Switzerland today, make sure of your route before going anywhere. Our station lays on the main connection Geneva to Romanshorn, so it does not go through Luzern.

And that is the daily news from Switzerland. I must now move on, close down the computer and think about the situation in my appartment.There are places to go and deeds to complete, with the vacuum cleaner. There will also be a window cleaning adventure involved, but you cannot just sit around and relax. You must keep fit – I suppose.

Enjoy the day, be back later – have planned an afternoon walk with the camera and hope the sun keeps shining. The weather looks good for today.

Forsythia 21.03 (1)