RDP Tuesday: History

It was not Solothurn but was called Solodurum when the Romans discovered the little settlement on the banks of the River Aare. They built a large villa and suddenly children were born with a remarkable similarity to the southern parts of Europe. Every time a building is destroyed a few Roman relics might be found amongst the remains. Today the only Romans we see are either tourists, or our own citizens deciding to relive the olden days.

RDP Tuesday: History

FOWC with Fandango: History

History books

History books were part of growing up. My dad inherited 8 volumes of Cassell’s History of England, 2 volumes of History of India and 4 volumes of British Battles from his father. What a wealth of history. They were in a book case and we watched them deteriorating over the years. Eventually it was just my dad and me on a visit from Switzerland and he still had the books, but he had them packed neatly in a travelling case.

Now it was the time for the only daughter to get possession of the books, but how do you ship so many books to England. It was me to the rescue. I had been working in export for many years, knew the process of moving goods from one country to another with all the necessary documents.

I was in England and contacted a forwarding company about moving this cargo to Switzerland, about 20-30 kilo heavy. The guy at the company was quite good and said it was no problem. Eventually a lorry called at my dad’s house and picked up the case with the books. Road transport was the cheapest method of shipping them. I gave the delivery address of my company in Switzerland as we were having deliveries constantly from other countries.

Eventually I returned home and was working again in my company. One day they told me that a lorry had turned up with a delivery for me personally. My books had arrived. I loaded the case into my car and took them home.  This must have been at least 20 years ago and the books are now in my hobby room in the cellar. Of course I checked on Internet to see if I had a valuable collection, but it seems there were quite a few copies of these books around at the turn of the century.

My dad has now passed away, at the age of 100 years and a few months more, and I am now 73 years old. At least my son will only have to take them from mid Switzerland to the Eastern edge of Switzerland to keep them in the family.

FOWC with Fandango: History

Weekly Writing Challenge: Living History

Your challenge this week? Write about a current event from your own unique, subjective perspective. 

Schweiz Brasil football

As I was not present at the match, and photos from the TV screen usually have strange marks on them, I stole borrowed this photo from the Swiss Blick newspaper. The team are dressed in yellow shirts Brasil style, made especially  after beating the Slovenian team in their last match. They had already qualified if they had won or lost, so had the shirts made to celebrate at the end of the match.

Who has heard of Switzerland? Of course you all have, you know the country that has almost as many cows as people, where the people eat cheese fondue, where we have cuckoo clocks (which are made in the Black Forest area in Germany), and where we all walk around yodling and spend the week-ends climbing mountains. Where Hornuss,(farmer’s tennis – no, I will not explain that one) and Schwingen (Swiss wrestling – and I will not explain that either) are the Swiss national sports. But ….. we can also play football.

By football I do not mean that game played in an ex-British colony called America where they have an oval ball and run around with the ball in their hands, pushing the members of the other team out of the way to reach the goal posts. No, the Swiss play the game with the round ball, eleven players in each team and you get penalised if you happen to handle the ball. That was just to clarify matters, although a few years ago the Football (soccer) World Cup was hosted by our friends over the pond in America with success.  That was the last time that the Swiss team actually managed to reach the finals in the host land.

Now they have done it again. Was it a miracle, was it the talented team of dedicated men, was it the fantastic work of their manager Ottmar Hitzfeld? Who knows, but they will be there playing in one of the 12 stadiums chosen for the games, holding the flag for the Swiss.

Mr. Swiss just said, do not get to euphoric about praising our footballing wizards, those that are at the top have further to fall. So let us stay on the ground and see what will happen. The Swiss team had to qualify for the privilege of being in the land of samba and carnival. They qualified so well, arriving at the top of their section and winning all matches with the exception of one where they had a draw, that they are now in the top group in Brasil. This could be great but it seems in the same group could be Germany (ok, we know them), Brasil and Argentina (we know them as well, but that is not so good) and Spain who we even beat once in an international game.

So the excitement gets slowly dampened into a “keep your fingers crossed, and just be glad to be there” phase.

Not that I will be glued to the TV screen during the World Cup, which is actually in 2014, but I will be have a glance now and again and I am sure Mr. Swiss will keep me in the picture. I am also convinced that if and when the Swiss win a game, our roads will be full of cars with Swiss flags hanging out of the window and horns sounding all night long. Needless to say many supporters will be quenching their thirst in the many restaurants decorated for the occasion (or drowning their sorrows as the case may be).

I had a quick look at this fantastic Swiss team and discovered that most of them had strange sounding names, not very swiss. Most of the players seem to have their roots in other countries. No problem, they all have a Swiss passport. Even I have one of those, to go to prove that they are not fussy about who they give them to. One of the teams they played to qualify was Albania, and it seems that the level of language understanding was excellent between the two teams.

So there we have the good news from Switzerland and hope it remains good.

You may ask why I say nothing about the British qualification for the Word Cup finals, being born in England of English parents. That is quite easy – I always have a soft spot for the underdogs, for those that are not expected to win.

Swiss football team world cup

Weekly Writing Challenge: Living History



When Beethoven wrote it, his hearing was diminished
So symphony No. 10 just remained so unfinished
Schuberts was better, No. 8 was so short
I wanted it longer he probably thought
But Schubert had left us before it was played
It was not the intention, he would rather have stayed
Bizet had problems, he was lost for the end
He had no idea how to finish and went round the bend
Borodin was lazy and just kept it short
To write more to the symphony, he gave it no thought
Bruckner was unlucky his overture got lost
three movements survived, his nerves it did cost
Mahler’s No. 10 was almost full in print
But there exist only two movements, the rest was just a hint
Tschaikovsky started one but decided to rewrite
It was a concerto but his mind had a fight
A piano concerto he wrote, but a symphony was needed
He decided to rewrite, and his symphony succeeded
Bach wrote a fugue, his sons had it printed
It was for piano, but a symphony was hinted
It was then rearranged, for orchestra completed
It was a success and from all it was greeted
So a symphony is great, of music the best
And after my lesson I will let the history rest.

Roman Roads

Marius, my feet are aching, these leather sandals are not the best for long walks.”

“Stop complaining Julius, we have only been walking since the sunrise. Our centurion said it is just over the hills and then we are there.”

“Yes but Marius did he say how many hills. I seem to have been walking up and down hills all morning. I mean it is nice to take a journey at the state’s cost, but I wish they had said how far. Up to now I have frozen going over ice clad mountains and was so glad at last to reach the valley. Now I hear we have even more leagues to march until we reach the target of our walk. I just hope those Helvetians are a bit friendlier that the lot in Germania, they didn’t like us at all, not to mention what I have heard about some of those tribes in Gaul.”

“Attention Julius, the centurion is coming.”

“Men, do I hear a little bit of complaining?”

“No, sir not at all, we are all looking forward to our conquest over the Helvetia. We heard they are a quiet obliging folk. It seems just a few more mountain ranges and we are there.”

“That’s the spirit Marius, you are one of my best. Julius you do not look very happy. Not a very good influence on the Roman moral; any problem?”

No sir, not really.”

“Please tell me your problem, I only want happy Romans in my troop.”

“I was wondering if I could borrow one of the horses for a while, these leather sandals are not very comfortable. Someone said that the town of Solus was just over the hill, but we seemed to have crossed many hills today.”

“Julius, I have one hundred Roman soldiers in my group, but only twenty horses, that would not be fair on the other men. There are only seven ranges of hills to cross and we are at our end station. Our job is to enter the town of Solus and to take it over. The Helvetians did have big ideas of running from us but with some friendly persuasion we Romans pushed them back into their own country. After all you cannot have Helvetians doing what they want. Before you know it they would be taking over the Roman banking system and who knows what else. Take an example from Marius, he is proud to be a Roman soldier and does not complain.”

So the brave troop of Romans crossed the Jura mountain chain and entered the town of Solus. They were not really welcomed from the Helvetians, but Roman soldiers were not looking for a warm welcome, just a place to rest their tired bodies after the long march and Julius just wanted to soak his feet . A few years later we find Marius and Julius in a work troop building some Roman streets in the town of Solus.

“Marius, if I had wanted to be a road builder, I could have stayed in my little village in the hills surrounding Rome and built a few roads in Rome. Can you tell me why we have to travel hundreds of kilometres through countries I had never heard of to do the same work here. Even my wife is complaining about the working hours.”

“Julius, be satisfied. You have a reliable job, a nice wife and children and the pay is not bad. You know how reliable those Helvetian women are, the ideal wife and mother. I am sure the roads we are building will one day be famous throughout our part of the world.”

“That might be the case Marius, but I don’t really want to be famous. At least I don’t have to wear those uncomfortable Roman sandals any more. The Helvetian product is much better than the Roman one, I am sure that this country will become famous for their good footwear one day.”

“And I am sure that we Romans will become famous for our roads one day.”

Frau Heidi Schweizer climbed the slope to her little house at the end of the alley with its neat red door. It was a well kept street and was even paved with stones resembling the original Roman stones, although they had been replaced throughout the years. The town was proud of its Roman history and looked after the original architecture, the Roman arena still standing outside the town walls being an attraction for tourists. Heidi Schweizer’s family had lived many years in the town, and indeed her son, Marius Schweizer, was now town president. The name Marius was a common name in her family being handed down from father to son over many years, how many years she did not know, but in the records kept in the town hall there were documents mentioning the family in the middle ages.

This year was a special year in Soldorf. A pageant was being organised, showing the beginnings of the town through the ages. Heidi Schweizer was proud that her son would be playing the part of Julius Cesar, although there was no record of him ever putting foot in the little market town, and her grandson, Marius Junior would be one of the Roman soldiers.

On the day of the pageant the whole town was assembled for the show which took place in the Roman arena of course. The pageant began with a fanfare of trumpets played by the town orchestra and the Roman soldiers marched into the arena being lead by Marius Schweizer, Heidi’s son and president of the town. The weather was perfect, not too warm and a sunny day.

“Julius, just look at that. I always said we would be famous one day.”

and Julius looked down from the cloud he was sitting on.

“Well I never, tell Jupiter to come and have a look.”

So Marius ran to Jupiter, the chief of the Roman Gods, and there were Marius, Julius and Jupiter watching the pageant from their own little corner of the Roman heaven.

“Brings water to my eyes, Marius and to think all I was doing was making a fuss about my feet and our Roman sandals. Just look at the town, it might have another name, but all our architectural wonder works are still standing, they are even celebrating in the arena.”

“I told you Julius, and all you could do was complain. That might even be one of my descendants leading the group with the Roman costumes” said Marius.

That night Heidi Schweizer went home to her little house with the red door in the old part of the town. She had trouble sleeping that night, she kept hearing the sound of feet marching past her door, as if an army was on it way