RDP Sunday: Picture

Crow 13.04 (1)

I know, I am taking pictures all the time. I never go anywhere without a camera, although since I am now at the steering wheel of the car I can no longer take my pictures from the passenger seat. I have committed the sin of taking photos when I am waiting at a red light, but I am not getting any younger, so avoid it when I can.

We are surrounded by crows where I live. Their caws are an accompanying tune to my daily life. Now is nesting time, although I have never seen any nests here because the trees are too tall. However On my trips to town lately I notice that there is a colony next to the river and the trees are full of their nests.

Crows and nests 13.04 (4)

They do not often actually sit in the nests, but on a near branch.

Yesterday I went for a wheelie in my chair and had the delight of being able to take photos of a crow close-up. They usually fly away at a certain distance, but this particular crow seemed to be on a quest. He was strutting around with his head bent low and suddenly success..

Crow 13.04 (5)

He/she found what it was looking for and had discovered a piece of bread in the meadow. I am reading everywhere we should not feed the birds with bread. I usually put some bread rests out in Winter for the crows, but this piece of bread was in a lonely meadow, and that is out of human control.

The problem of taking photos of crows is that they are so black and the camera does not always give them the credit they deserve with their individual feathers. Since getting my new camera a couple of months ago the quality of my black photos has improved and in the right light I get some good pictures.

Crow 13.04 (6)

I stayed a while and from my position in my chair I manage to get a few good close-ups of my crow, even with feather coat details. They do seem to be scavangers and I do not think they are bothered what they have in their beaks as long as it is edible. This morning I even had one of the big black birds in my garden.  It was strutting around, a big one, but I did not have my camera handy an was still in my nightdress. Half an hour later I saw him/her again with a king sized worm hanging from its beak. It was a succesful quest it seems and afterwards it flew away. There were probably a few hungry mouths waiting for dinner in the nest.

This was a great experience for me and the camera and in the 20 years I have been living amongst the crows, it was the first time I had managed to get so close. Of course the photos are with the zoom lens, but even then the closer you get, the better.

Crow 19.02.2019

RDP Sunday: Picture

RDP Sunday: Chest

Chest

One of the things I discovered about the Swiss way of life, after getting married, was that they are fully equipped. I do not think we had anything worth keeping safe in England and keeping documents did not come into the question. Dad kept his money in his trouser pocket and mum had a purse.

And so I moved in with Mr. Swiss. It was a trial situation and there was no rush. We were getting used to each other, although a month later we got married and at the end of the year I was mother to three children (I inherited two kids from his first marriage).

And so the big metal box also came with Mr. Swiss. This box is fire proof, lightening proof, and most probably act of god proof. I was fascinated. It was kept in the bottom of a cupboard, and contained the details of Mr. Swiss life and slowly also mine. If you get married in Switzerland you get a family book. Husband and wife are entered into it and there is room for 14 kids, although we only managed two. He had a second family book from the first marriage, also with two kids. These were also in the box.

The funny thing is that I never bothered with this box. I left it to Mr. Swiss. Today I had to open the box to let the moths out. The Brits are re-organising their accounts for the pension scheme. They have discovered the magical IBAN number. I received a form to complete, but they wanted so much information that I had to go on a search for details.  They have been paying my British pension money into my post office account (a paltry amount monthly because I only worked for two years in England) and now they write for IBAN, BIC, Swift and Bank Account Numbers so now I have to give them details for payment into my bank account.

On top of all this they want my National British Insurance No. Huh, did I have one, and if so it was 52 years ago. So into the box I went. Mr. Swiss had to hold it open as if the lid had closed on my fingers, I would probably have lost a couple. All I found was a British medical card issued in 1946 when I was born. It even had the doc’s name on it from Bethnal Green and I remembered him. Of course he is now long gone.

So today the box played a role again in my life. It has now been put to rest again in the cupboard: after all we now have computers. What did surprise me was that Mr. Swiss had carefully put all my GCE certificates (english school system high school) in the box. I had not seen them for at least 50 years and did not realise we still had them. Today no-one is interested how many GCE’s I got (it was 7). My best results were Biology, French, Maths and Science, yes I should have been a scientist. The worst was english, I had to take that one twice, but passed eventually. History and Geography were also not bad – oh the memories stored in that iron box.

To continue. I wrote a slightly sarcastic sharp letter to accompany the form for the Brits, although I did thank them for paying my pension (paltry) regularly up to now. Did not want to spoil my chances for an increase.

RDP Sunday: Chest

RDP Sunday: Pickle

A speciality of the Spreewald in Germany
Here they are, my all time favourite pickles: the Spreewälder Gurken. Never heard of them? The good news has not yet spread across the pond or reached other countries in  the world? Only we privileged Europeans can taste their benefits?

There was once a film  concerning the re-unification of West and East Germany Goodbye Lenin telling of a mother that is dedicated to the socialist cause and falls into a coma shortly before the 1989 revolution. When she is revived eight months later, her son attempts to protect her from fatal shock by concealing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. That is the basic story, but you can read it yourself in the link and I would highly recommend the film which is also available in the english language. One of the articles the mother wanted was her favourite pickles, the Spreewald cucumbers, a speciality of the area known as Spreewald, which is a forest area with many streams.  The son found an old glass, bought normal pickled cucumbers and filled them in an empty glass attaching the label from the old glass showing that they were original Spreewald  pickled cucumbers.

It was a good film, I watched it a few times, but what was so special about the Spreewald cucumbers, so I decided to find out.

I was working at the time in the export department of a Swiss company and newly liberated East Germany were now our customers and we had visitors. I was dealing with them and spoke about the Spreewald cucumbers. Of course they told me they were the best and on their next visit they would bring me a glass. A month later I had my Spreewald pickled cucumbers from ex East Germany as they were still being manufactured. The girls in my department were also interested, so we were all sampling these special cucumbers in the office. It became a custom that every time we had a visit from our representatives in the area, I was presented with a glass of Spreewald pickled cucumbers. These are memories you never forget.

So lets have a listen to Arlo Guthrie and his Motorcycle song, concerning a pickle now and again.

RDP Sunday: Pickle

RDP Sunday: Closet

Cobwebs

I was ashamed to show this photo, I even marked it private in my Flikr album. No, it is not my closet because my closet belongs to me and no-one anywhere in the world wide web. I know what I have, am constantly sorting everything and a golden oldie no longer buys new clothes to match the fashion: trousers and a long top (preferably with short sleeves) to cover what has gone south. And the trousers have an elastic waistband, so what more is there to know.

But someone mentioned Spring cleaning which is not something that really exists for me. I am constantly cleaning something, so why postpone it to Spring. On the other hand the shadows of Spring showed a long thread hanging over some picture frames I have on the wall. I looked up and discovered that I had a new decoration on the ceiling: thin black threads. I then noticed that these threads had grown and the angle showing between the ceiling and the wall in the complete room was no longer an angle because it had been decorated by more of these web like designs.

I soon discovered there were laws governing the removal of these fine decorations. Do no use a duster because it will smear the webs transforming them to black lines – see photo. A feather duster is even worse, because it spreads the ghost train effect even more.

And so I selected my Dyson vacuum and removed the head. I was left with the tube and it sucked the threads into the inside of the machine. I would emphasise that no spiders were harmed or killed during the operation, because I did not see a spider. They had abandoned the decorations long ago. After the removal in the bedroom (yes the bedroom where I slept with these decorations hanging over my head every night), I moved to the spare room and horror, another haunted house scene. There were also two cat cushions on the top of the cupboard. Mr. Swiss managed to climb a ladder and I carefully sucked away enough cat fur to weave a carpet.  Afterwards I realised that our cat did not look at these cushions with his tail for at least two years and so they arrived in the garbage.

I moved on to the living room – not so bad, but it could have been better, especially in the corner above the TV cupboard – will this never end? The corridor came next. After an hour I was web free. Yes I did it. I can now show my photos to the world wide web with no problem – until I took a closer look at our bookcase which covers a complete wall. To be quite honest these are the things that Mr. Swiss would look after, but things have changed and he no longer can move like a teenager. Neither can I, but I have long arms and a nice long duster and we now have a dust free book case.

What I still do not understand is that I have never seen a spider.

RDP Sunday: Closet

RDP Sunday: Bail

So what about a harvest bail? I have never been in prison (up to now), I have never had to bail anyone out and I did not flee from England, I went of my own free will. But I live in the farmland surroundings of Switzerland.

Hay Harvest 06.09 (2)

And here they are continuously harvesting something or the other. In the early days they would make hay stacks, large piles of hay looking like miniature houses, They would perhaps tie the crops in bundles, all done by hand of course, making interesting shapes on the fields.

Maize Harvest 12.09 (6)

Today it is all done mechanically with the farm machinery and the result looks something like this. This bale was even used for advertising purposes for selling second hand children’s clothes in the local town.

Crops 25.06 (3)

Or this

Crows 13.07 (2)

where the crows gather waiting to see what is left for them.

It is no longer the good old days of farm hands with their pitchforks pushing it all nicely together and creating various shapes. . Now we have machines that bind the crops and throw out the results either packed in squares or in circular designs. Even agriculture has now become automated. Farmers are no longer required, more mechanics. These are my bails.

RDP Sunday: Bail

RDP Sunday: Trial

Amthaus 1, Solothurn

On a square in our local town we have the official buildings, Amthaus I and II. The photo is Amthaus I and is now mainly local legal offices.

Amthausplatz, Solothurn

Amthaus 2 is the more modern building with a bus stop outside, although not new and where the action usually takes place for a trial, but it is a small market town. Note the fountains in the middle of the Amthausplatz.

The big stuff all happens in the larger towns. My son studied law and being bilingual with an english speaking mum (me) he sometimes acted as an official translator for a court case involving spoken english whilst attending the university. The victims were mainly asylum seekers from other continents whose mother tongue was usually some strange African or East European language. That was not an easy job and you really had to be careful how you translated.

This was many years ago and now No. 2 son is now a qualified media lawyer working for the Swiss government, so his field of action is no longer in this direction, but more in connection with news, TV and publications etc. and his english knowledge is now more in use at various international conferences.

But my dad had his experience with the British law courts. In England there is a jury system, and you can be chosen to sit on a jury if the rent book of the house where you live is in your name. So one day dad got his summons to sit on the jury. Actually he did not mind: a few days off work, paid for, and with food and drink included. All he had to do was to sit and listen to the evidence, and afterwards reach a decision with the others on the jury.  He took it quite seriously. I remember him telling me of the various cases they had and explaining why this or the other guy was guilty or not in his eyes. OK this is naturally all very confidential, but dad passed away three years ago at the age of 100 years, so I assume that the cases he tried are now all over and done with, if the accused are still amongst the living.

Otherwise I am a law abiding citizen, with perhaps one or two fines for driving a little too fast, although this no longer happens, with speed limits of 30 kph you no longer push on the accelerator.

RDP Sunday: Trial

RDP Sunday: Colour

Impressions of September monthly market in Solothurn

How many different colours can you see? There are so many you cannot count them all. Now my dad would probably see only half of the colours because he would have difficulty to sort out the browns from the greens, perhaps even a red might be confusing. Yes, he was colour blind. My mum would have to take a good look before he went anywhere, just to make sure that his feet were both wearing the same coloured socks. Perhaps he might have a brown sock on the right foot and a green one on the left.

And now let us turn the clock forward. My youngest son was a teenager and had a sight test at school. It was then that they discovered he needed glasses. No big problem, many need glasses. Mr. Swiss had glasses when I met him. My glasses came later in life due to a computer most probably. At school they were very thorough with sight tests and so my son was given the dotted pictures in various colours where numbers were shown: perhaps there was a 5 in pink dots with a brown background of dots and No. 2 son had to recognise the number. Sometimes he saw a shape and sometimes he saw nothing. In other words it was proven that he was completely colour blind  – history repeats itself. Now and again he would also be dressed for school and I had to inspect his feet to make sure that they matched in sock colour.

His dad was not colour blind and I was not colour blind, but my dad was colour blind. Now it was all my fault that No. 2 son could not see the difference when choosing the socks to wear. I base it on socks, because they always arrive in pairs – if they are the same colour. I was a carrier of the gene.  My colour blind son passed the driving test and I asked how he could see if the traffic lights were red, yellow or green. He said quite easy, they have different shades (note shades, not colours).

Now we have to go into the details of the problem. Women are rarely colour blind, although it can happen but daughters from a father can carry the colour blind gene and I was a carrier, so No. 2 son was colour blind. He has now become a father to a son, so I am wondering how this will turn out.

I asked how does a woman become colour blind, it is possible. She must be the daughter of a father that is colour blind and a mother that is a carrier, like myself- Yes life’s colours can be complicated. Apparently animal eyes are not even capable of seeing colours. My cat says who cares, If it moves and smells good, then eat it. Colours make no difference, they don’t smell or have a particular taste.

RDP Sunday: Colour