RDP Sunday: Can’t

Stairs River Aar

I think it is easier for me, and quicker, to make a list of the things I can, because the “can’t” list grows by leaps and bounds the older I get. The stairs in the photo are the general path at the bottom of the local river. I can then climb the stairs which take me to the same level as my village above: at least I could climb them about 4 years ago.

The next phase was climbing them sideways, gripping on the supports and with a stick for support to reach the top. I managed his about a year and now I just take the photos and admire the view from the top. If I take the bottom path I have to retrace it afterwards and return the same way. Today there is no way that I could mange to get higher than the first two steps. There are 60 steps in total, I counted them once when I still could.

I take the lift everywhere and if there is no lift, I just do not bother. Going shopping is no problem, up to now, I can still lean on the shopping trolley for support. How I admire the shoppers that walk with confidence in the store, picking their goods and putting them in the trolley. “I used to do it like that” is a thought that crosses my mind. I am warned today never to take anything for granted. I have had changes in my life I never imagined it would happen to me.

Although I must add I overtake all the housewives in my electric wheelchair.

RDP Sunday: Can’t

RDP Sunday: South Seas

gulls-05.01-24

Who needs Southern Seas with a river down the path
Even sea gulls swim on it, they always  take a bath
It might be cold in Winter, you even tend to shiver
I know it’s not an ocean, just a very long river
In Winter wear your coat, perhaps gloves and a hat
but in summer they are gone, you relax on a sun mat
For reaching south sea islands you have to take a plane
The river is in walking distance, just along the lane
Pack your sun tan lotion, perhaps include some towels
You can take a swim, on the banks there are even cows
If you are feeling thirsty, then take a bottle or two
They remain cold in an ice filled bag, yes you know just what to do
So stay away from southern islands, they might be having a war
On the local river, life is a peaceful chore

RDP Sunday: South Seas

RDP Sunday: Realm

View from steps of St. Urs Cathedral, Solothurn

This afternoon I escaped into my realm. I saddled the wheelchair and was determined to visit my realm. I arrived in Solothurn 50 years ago, bringing the first two years of my Swiss life in Zürich. After 50 years of living in this area and even marrying a native eventually, it becomes part of my life. I was 22 when I arrived in Solothurn and had no plans or ideas to stay. I was young and just took life as it arrived.

However, Mr. Swiss was partially to blame for my adopting this place as my realm. I know every street, every alley, almost every stone. You tend to trip over these cobblestones and remember which ones to avoid. My doctor is here, my dentist, my bank and the stores that I know, although I must admit that I tend to shop in a neighbouring village which has a larger supermarket than Solothurn

I live in a neighbouring village, but just 5-10 minutes by wheelchair along the road, and only 3-5 minutes in a car.

When I arrived in town on this wonderful sunny Winter Day I wheeled to the top step of the local cathedral where there is a perfect view of the main street. Due to the sun I am afraid my photo was not so perfect as I was standing direct in its light.

img_5029-1

I took the photo with my phone camera which is not as good. However I have a photo taken from the top step of the cathedral  from another occasion at the top of this post. The main difference is that the photo from this afternoon has our Christmas tree.

As it was a Sunday afternoon there were not so many people strolling around the town.  Most of the crowds were sitting on our restaurant mile along the river.

Landhausquai 19.01 (1)

It is the capital town of the Kanton of Solothurn where we pay our taxes, so it can really be considered as our realm. We even pay for the streets to be kept in order and other installations.

I would add I love this little town, I feel at home here.

RDP Sunday: Realm

RDP Sunday: Buoyant

gulls-21.12-2

Let us keep afloat as these gulls on the local river are showing us. One has just landed and so is doing the balancing trick with wings. What are they doing here, they should be floating around on the ocean, but wait a minute. Switzerland does not have an ocean, just a few lakes here and there, and  our nearest lake is in a place called Biel, about 20 minutes by train or road, so the gulls make do with what they have and float on the rivers until Spring arrives again. Then they depart again for the sea.

RDP Sunday: Buoyant

RDP Sunday: Memory Lane

img_4787

A memory of Christmas Past: all my uncles and aunts united on one photo with me third from the left. I was in my early twenties on the photo and already living in Switzerland, but would always return home for the family Christmas. The complete family, maternal side, would meet at my Aunts house on Christmas day.

Oh, what memories they are. I can still remember it as if it was yesterday. It was not an easy task getting together. Only one uncle had a car, and only in later years, otherwise we we obliged to take public transport which stopped at 4.00 pm in the afternoon. After Christmas dinner, the turkey, mum and dad and me got ready for the journey to Dagenham, East of London,  where my aunt lived with her family. We managed to get the last underground train of the day to Dagenham and afterwards was the half hour walk from the station to my aunt’s house.

It was worth it. My two uncles and aunts had also arrived and we were all assembled again, as every year as long as I could remember.  I grew up with these annual Christmas celebrations.  When we arrived we kids made ourselves comfortable in front of the TV. I remember my aunt being the first in the family to have ITV, the first British commercial TV with the advertisements, something completely different.

The aunts all went to the kitchen to prepare the evening tea. There was nothing like smoked salmon etc. in the good old days. We were happy with some ham and I remember desert was tinned fruit topped with jelly and custard all in a sort of small wax form. The same every year, but who cared, it was our family Christmas. And after the food we all moved to the living room in front of the tree. One of the aunts or uncles was chosen to “pick the tree” meaning the gifts were handed out to us kids. And then party time began.

We cousins all moved on to another room where we had own own gramophone and played the same records every year and the aunts and uncles stayed in the living room and had their music as well.

img_4794

And these are my five cousins. One was much older as he was born before the second world war, otherwise I was the second oldest and the others followed the following years.

Eventually we all joined the aunts and uncles at their party and the dancing and singing began, all the old records. Piano music was a great favourite and you joined in with the words. Let us not forget grandad.

Grandad  Kit and  Steve and me
He would sit in the corner in his armchair and the patron of the family. If we were Italian he would have been il capo I suppose, but we were just a family with London cockney origins and he was happy with his cigarettes and his glass of beer.

The men looked after him and now and again he make his excursion to a certain little house, after so much beer drinking. We would all make a path through the room and he would be escorted to his destination.  After a while he returned and there was a repeat performance until he settled again in his chair. He must have been around 80 years old at the time.

Good old grandad, I remember him well. He lived in the same house as my family and was always there. Sometimes I wished I knew more about his family, his brothers and sisters and parents, although I did my research eventually and was surprised at what I discovered.

Our christmas party continued until the early hours of the morning. Sleeping arrangements were organised: two kids to a bed with two aunts. I don’t know how we managed it, but we kids did not need a lot of room. The men all slept on the floor in the living room, in the 50’s you were not so spoilt as today.

I was watching a BBC TV programme this week about how Christmas customs have changed over the years and I remember many of the changes. Was it better in the earlier days? Difficult to say, we did not expect so much. There were no iPhones or computers. I remember my cousin wishing for a Mr. Potato man. You had a your own potato and the box was full of plastic ears, noses and eyes as well as a mouth to stick into the potato and eventually you had created a potato man. He so wanted one for Christmas that he eventually got three of them from each aunt and uncle. If you are reading this Mick, you might remember.

And now to return to the present. No more old family Christmas in England for me, but I am content to have my memories.

RDP Sunday: Memory Lane

RDP Sunday: Charitable

classClass choir with music 16.05 (4)

This is a school class singing to collect money for their class excursion. Perhaps I dropped a few francs in their box, perhaps not, but I have slowly come to the conclusion that I am no longer very charitable.

Begging letters appear daily in the letter box, various groups are collecting money on street corners. Is it an honest undertaking or not? It generally is in Switzerland, but my days of giving are gone. I live on pensions, the state pension and my work pension, so does my husband,  and  noticed that if you have a little savings on the side make sure you keep them safe, because you never know when you will need them. Today I am my own charity. I pay my taxes and my bills and my rent and what is left are for the emergencies.

They are emergencies because you do not know when they happen. Repair work or health needs arrive with a surprise. I now have a cleaning lady once a week because I can no longer do everything myself. I have to pay my part of her social security as well as I am her employer.  Switzerland is not a charitable country and the authorities are not waiting to help financially. They judge you by what you have and that is used first of all. I am getting older and am still lucky enough to live in my own four walls more or less independently. Mr. Swiss is another case. He can no longer go shopping, does not drive a car and relies on the help I can give him. Sorry, but my charity now begins at home and no-one is out on the streets helping me with financial support. I just have to count my francs and see how it lasts.

RDP Sunday: Charitable

RDP Sunday: Calendar

img_4588

Advent Calendars seem to be everywhere at the moment. Even our local museum in town has decorated 24 windows to disclose a different scene daily until 24th December. It is an old custom here and why not. However, a calendar exists for 365 days a year and not only at Christmas. On my last visit to the chemists, the lady asked me if I would like one of their annual calendars and I gladly accepted. Since many years one of these calendars has been hanging on our kitchen wall showing a different photo for each month. There is also space to make notes. On the left is 2019 showing the last month of December, and on the right next years new calendar.

However a new calendar has entered my life, one that reminds me what is happening and when, the calendar on my smart phone. It even talks to me, with strange noises. Admittedly it took me some time to understand the logic behind the system, but now I have it in grips. No matter what the day, what the appointment, or what the person, I note it all and instruct this online calendar to send me the day’s reminder already at 7.00 in the morning. It shows on my telephone/iPad screen with the time and more details are available if I click on the remark, even on my Macbook. At last I have everything under control. I make a point of noting Mr. Swiss appointments as well, as I am his chauffeur and have to have it under control and now and again he confuses the dates.

img_4587

As said it took me a while to find all the places to insert the details, but now I have arrived. Admittedly I do not have a full agenda of appointments daily, and it seems for December it is mainly the dentist that I must visit with Mr. Swiss and for me. Of course the Christmas holidays are automatically marked and even my birthday slipped in somewhere (6th December). Now there is no problem of forgetting anything. I am the online woman and when my iPhone and iPad talk to each other, what can go possibly go  wrong.

RDP Sunday: Calendar