RDP Saturday: Sanctuary

Herrenweg 05.09 (3)

Sanctuary? The whole town is a sanctuary. We have monks that used to walk around in their brown full length robes, and now and again you see a few nuns. I have never seen behind the walls, only outside.

Kloster namens Jesu Grenchenstrasse 18.08 (4)

This building is the Kloster Namens Jesu, but I do not really know who lives inside as I have never seen anyone enter or leaving. We live in a Roman Catholic Kanton of Switzerland but you get sanctuary no matter what you are.

There is a story from the war days telling when an American plane was shot down and managed to fly on and crash land in a field in one of our neighbouring areas. The pilot was confused where he actually was and the first person he saw was the local postman who was naturally dressed in the Swiss post uniform. The pilot put up his hands and surrendered thinking that he had landed in Germany and was about to be taken prisoner of war by a German soldier. The postman was most confused and probably managed to explain in his somewhat broken english that the pilot had safely landed in Switzerland. He was afterwards probably interned with the other American and allied soldiers in various camps existing in Switzerland until the end of the war. He had found his sanctuary.

And my sanctuary – home of course, where else?

Kloster

This lady also seems to have found her sanctuary. I pass her every time I take a wheelie into town in my chair. She is always looking in the same direction and the gates are always closed – although once they were open and so I could a photo without the bars, but I did not trust myself to drive in and take a photo from the other side. She should remain a mystery, there must be a reason for it I suppose.

RDP Saturday: Sanctuary

RDP Sunday: Effort

Writing

No reports on walking with MS today and wheelies in the chair, that does not need effort, just hope.

No, I was reading a blog that someone wrote about the usage of words to express yourself. I write daily 3-4 pieces, sometimes more photos than writing, but I have a problem. Of course I know what I want to write, but over the last 50 years of living in a country that does not speak english, my brain has become more than bi-lingual. Ok, of course I can still speak english, my mother tongue, although to be honest my mother tongue was cockney, the dialect spoken in East London, and they say you are a true cockney if born within the sound of Bow Bells. Although I lived all my England life within the sound of the bells, I was actually born in Hertfordshire, Hitchin, because it was after the war and there was no room in the London hospitals for mum, so she had to go to Hitchin.

But to continue, I moved to Switzerland, a country where they have four official languages, one being German where I live, but again a dialect of Swiss German (Schwyzertütsch). I speak this strange dialect all day and so my brain has now become also bilingual and it is all about finding the right word to use. Language moves on, advances, and new words are included. All these new words that appeared after I settled in my Swiss German frame of mind (1969), were unknown to me in English. Just a simple example “tights”. I grew up with stockings and then the tights appeared, and so I would buy “Strumpfhosen”. How was I to know that the english word was tights.

And so I sit at my desk with the computer and begin to write and then I have my first problem. Of course I know what to write in German, now what was the english word for it. My next step is LEO an online dictionary which I open in another tab on the computer, because I cannot remember the english expression.  Yesterday I had the word “annullieren” in German which I wanted to use in English, so I was off to the online english-german solution and found it was “delete”. Of course, how could I forget it, but “annullieren” was what my brain said.

This happens continuously, my brain is a two track mind in two languages, or is it three or four. German is what the Germans speak and so we have to know the language in Switzerland as our normal daily Swiss German dialect is not always understood by the Germans. And then I have my original cockney, although of course I also speak the Queen’s english, perhaps not so queeny.

Mr. Swiss speaks perfect english, and I speak perfect Swiss German. Our kids speak Swiss German but understand english and No. 2 son needs his English for his work, often attending english speaking conferences, although his French is just as good, so he has become sort of trilingual.

I must say I feel more comfortable with choosing a (Swiss)-German word, because I am speaking and using them daily and there are even words which I have not yet been able to translate. “Stufenlos” would be stepless, but it is applied to those switches on electronic gadgets that do not do off and and on, but gradually climb and descend – get me? Perhaps.

Anyhow it needs effort for me to write in an english that is english, at least I hope it is english. Even Mr. Swiss corrects my English now and again.

Swiss Bread
RDP Sunday: Effort

RDP Saturday: Frosted

Frost in Feldbrunnen 22.01 (2)

Frosted are the general Winter surroundings in Switzerland, except for the Italian part, where it is more the exception that the rule. They get their fair share of snow in Lugano and Locarno, but no real frost.

Where we live it becomes a magical Winter Wonderland and the trees resemble cake decorations with their white icing.

Frost

If there are still some plants in the garden, they also get the frosty look with spiky ornaments.

Frost

And the road to the supermarket is lined with trees dressed in their white coats.

Frosty Morning 23.01 (37)

I had to come to Switzerland to be a witness of the frosty days. Being a Brit it was too warm, and if we got snow it soon turned to a grey sludge from the air pollution. I do not like snow because of the road problems and walking, but I must admit, a frosty day has its charm.

Although this year, up to now, we have had no frost and the photos are from a couple of years ago. Climate change perhaps – who knows?

RDP Saturday: Frosted

RDP Saturday: Cook

Meat Pie

Do we eat to live, or live to eat – that is the question. I think I do a bit of both. Is this now the great opportunity where we can all show our recipes for our favourite food? No, not really. The women amongst us cook as a part-time profession and the men? They also cook of course. A relation was one of those expert cooks, even belonged to a club and at home he was always swinging the cooking utensils for a special meal. I remember his wife complaining that he never cleared anything away. The food was perfect, but she was wiping down the surfaces and removing all the remainders: egg shells, packets of ingredient remainders and clearing away flour and sugar etc. But he made a perfect meal.

So what is in the photo. It just so happens that on Saturday evening I cook something myself – no cold cuts here or sandwiches. This is a ground meat pie in flaky pastry with mushroom, spiced with a little paprika and other favourites of mine. As it just arrived in the oven to be baked, you can still see the egg yolk on the pastry which gives it a nice brown finish. No, I did not make the flaky pastry myself. I buy it in the store already rolled out.

My mum could not cook, although my dad was convinced she was one of the best. As long as it was meat in a gravy with potatoes and greens (english cabbage) he was happy. That the only spice she knew was salt and pepper made no difference to dad.  They said I was a fussy eater and pity “my old man” (cockney for future husband) because he would have to live on fish fingers and chips. I was not fussy, I just did not like what she cooked.

In my later life I lived in with a Swiss-Indian family for two years and learned to make a respectable curry. I once worked for two years as a cook in a children’s nursery making breakfast, dinner and afternoon break. We were looking after the kids of working mothers, but no-one got poisoned and I never ever once cooked fish fingers.

I like cooking and have my own little dishes and Mr. Swiss and the kids (I had four in the first years of my marriage) survived. Mr. Swiss can cook if he has to. I would visit my dad once a year in England for a week and he had to play housewife when I was away. He survived but I am not sure if he actually cooked anything.

And now I have to go and see what my meat pie is doing – I can smell it cooking.

Cooking pasta

RDP Saturday: Cook

RDP Saturday: River

River Thames at Rainham, London

In my life there was always a river running through it somewhere. If you grow up in London, as I did, the River Thames is not so far. This photo shows the Thames in the lower reaches at Rainham on its way to the sea. My part of London was near the London docks. I had two uncles that were both dockers all their working lives. The London docks began just below Tower Bridge. The ships would come and go with their cargoes. When a docker finished his daily work he would travel home with the smell on his clothes from the goods he had been uploading from the ships. Showers at the docks for the men? No, these were the days after the war, 1950’s and 60’s and so the men travelled home from the work. Uploading fruit and other food was not so bad, but uploading fertiliser, known as guano to the dockers, meant that my uncle would have a thorough wash when he arrived home as it stunk for use of a better word. After all guano is the excrement of birds used for fertiliser and not just a few pieces, but tons of it.

At school we were taught all the uses of a river, mainly the Thames. We even had a beach when I was a kid, at the tower of London. I remember having a day there with my mum. We would swim in the Thames and it is a wonder that we survived with all the impurities the river had, but they were the good old days, before health and safety was the daily word.

River Aar 12.04 (2)

And now I move on to Switzerland, the River Aare. It flows through our local town of Solothurn. It is the longest river enclosed in Switzerland and eventually arrives at the River Rhine from its source in the Aare glacier of the Bernese alps flowing also through the capital town of Bern on its way. Something different from the London Thames, although the Thames also has its agricultural areas. The Aare flows just along the path to where I live and I often wheel along the banks in my chair into town. Just today I met two men who greeted me and I saw that they had oxygen tanks that they were putting into their car. They were also dressed for the role so I asked if they are going to dive in the river. They told me they had already been in the river. They were probably members of our diving club.

Of course even the Aare has its industrial part. It flows through Basel, a Swiss town and where most of the chemical companies are situated, Novartis, Roche and BASF to name a couple. This is the reason why now and again the clear bluish water of the Aare might become green in that part of Switzerland and not advisable for swimming.

In Switzerland you are never far from a river. My son lives near Schaffhausen, place of the famous Rhein Falls.

Rheinfall 06.08 (6)

I took the photo when we were visiting my son and wife. We made an excursion to the falls and you can see there is a bit more than just a river running through it. You can also see industrial buildings high above the river. Where there is water there is industry.

Of course we harness our water in Switzerland for hydro electric power, as in most countries.

If a river runs through it, it can be fun.

RDP Saturday: River

RDP Saturday: Three

Three King's Cake

Some-one ate the Three Kings cake, leaving only pieces two
One of the pieces contained a plastic king, but it had fallen through
It was then that Johnny began to cough and said he was feeling queasy
He stomach was aching, he felt so sick, and life was not so easy
Mum and dad were very worried and saw that he was ill
Johnny was taken to hospital, but there was no cure with a pill
He said he had a stomach pain and so he was given x-ray
The doctor called his mum and dad and showed them the digestive way
They saw a very small plastic figure with a gift enclosed in its hand
So Johnny was given cod liver oil and this was very unplanned
He had swallowed a King from the three Kings cake which put him into bed
But the King soon appeared when the oil did its work, so he wore the crown on his head

RDP Saturday: Three

RDP Saturday: Abstract

Wichtel - Imp

Abstract is what? something that does not really exist, although of course it does in the mind’s eye. Try telling the Swiss kids that the Wichtel family do not exist, in english translated would be the Imp Family. Of course they are real, nothing abstract about these dolls.  The photo is from a photo, I have no imps at home.

They have even become TV stars especially when one little imp goes on a dangerous journey to reunite with his family.

Mothers everywhere in Switzerland, customers of a certain supermarket chain, are collecting stickies for a card (one sticky per 20 Swiss francs spent). When the card is full you can choose your little imp and eventually you have the complete family. What a wonderful idea. Every time I am at the cash desk I am asked if I am collecting stickies for an imp. I tell the lady to give my stickies to the next person behind me. And if it is a grandmother, or mother, they almost get down on their knees to thank me. Yes I have a grandchild, but he is at the tractor stage at the moment and thank goodness is not yet exposed to the world of public relations.

There is a reason why I do not collected my imps.

Ornaments

I have no room because the spaces are occupied by Easter bunnies and teddy bears that I collected during the last three years by sticking stickies on a card, that no-one really wants. There is no longer space in my sticky cabinet.

RDP Saturday: Abstract