RDP Wednesday: Coterie

Ducks 06.12 (1)

One female and 4 male mallard ducks: I bet she has some fun.

Living in Switzerland in the same town for 50 years I belong to the coterie of Anglo-Swiss. I arrived in Solothurn and was working as the english secretary for everyone in a  company that had many english girls over the years, one after the other. Some married a Swiss and stayed and some moved one. I was one of those that married a Swiss, working in the same company, but before got got together I was a bit isolated. One day I had a call from an english girl that worked in my job before me and married a Swiss. “You don’t know me and I don’t know you” were her first words, but she went on to say we should meet and invited me to her home for the evening.

She was my first english contact in Solothurn and through her I met some others and discovered we had a coterie, more like a witches coven to be exact. We might see each other in town, perhaps have a coffee together, but thanks to my first contact I realised I was not so alone. Later Mr. Swiss and I got serious, married, had kids, but Mr. Swiss also knew this girl that contacted me, and was a friend of her husband. And then there was another girl that married someone in the same company who Mr. Swiss also knew. You get it? the circle was expanding. The other girl lived in Australia for some years with her husband who was in charge of the Australian branch of the company. They returned to Switzerland, lived near and contact was resumed.

There was even an Anglo Swiss club in our town, although I was not a regular member, but just went now and again. It was lead by one of the high school professors whose wife gave Engish lessons to the Swiss and she was from Liverpool. I still see this lady in the local supermarket. She is now very old, and almost blind, but if I give her a hello she knows who I am.

Yes our little coterie is not a tight group, but we all have something in common, the english language. I would add that most of us have been so many years in Switzerland, that we are a bilingual group with Swiss German as well. The result is that if an english person would  be listening to us they might get confused. The words get a little mixed up, something like “pigeon english” but perhaps called “Swenglish”. Sometimes the Swiss words are more easy to use than the english words, especially if like me, you cannot remember all the correct english expressions.

Oh and my new neighbour where I live is an Australian, although his wife is not Swiss, but that is just a coincidence and he speaks better French than Swiss German.

RDP Wednesday: Coterie

RDP Wednesday: Friendship

Mentors

Meet my friends, they are all electronic
And this is where I spend my time writing on my Chronic
They do not have flesh and blood, but circuits  that connect
We have known each other a long time, they think they are perfect
I tell them what to do and they comply with most of the wishes
Like all good friends there are arguments, because of many squishes
They obey my commands, but not always as they should
Perhaps I type it wrong,  instructions are misunderstood
A bad workman blames his tools is what is always said
so I must take care of my computers, they are always a step ahead
But their feelings are never hurt, they have a solid logic
Although I must be kind to them, they can get quite demagogic
That is when I tell them yes, and they decide it’s no
and I can programme what I want, they have their way to go
But if I do not switch them on and take a break or two
They do not get annoyed and sleep the whole day through
Friendship with humans is according to the mood
A computer you do not invite to lunch, because it needs no food

RDP Wednesday: Friendship

RDP Wednesday: Brilliance

Restaurant Christmas Window 18.11.2018

Deck the shops with lots of light
It’s Christmas time and we do it right
But brilliance is not only a shine
It is also a talent of mine
Fifty years ago I moved to Switzerland
I don’t know why, it wasn’t even planned
Yes I met Mr. Swiss, and we got married
We became a pair, over the threshold I was carried
But now came the brilliant part because I became a Swiss
I then learned the language, that was almost a big miss
This country has many languages, that only the Swiss understand
So I learned Swiss German, by mutual command
It is a dialect, in this country there are many
But to understand all over the land is difficult, there are plenty
I did it after about five years, and everyone here knows it
But if I speak to someone else, then they must oppose it
With Swiss German I meet a permanent resilience
And can only talk to the Swiss who recognise my brilliance

 RDP Wednesday: Brilliance

RDP Wednesday: Recommend

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are there,  standing in a row
Which one shall I choose, I really do no know
It will be in the living room, taking up a space
It will spread out its arms, needles all over the place
On the eve of Christmas the candles burn so bright
So a bucket of water must always be in sight
We once had a burn up when twig began to singe
It smelt like a bonfire and I began to cringe
So why do I bother, it is safer with a wreath
It stays more compact,  does not burn underneath
I decided to leave the trees, or perhaps something smaller
If I forget it is burning, there might be a squaler
I recommend ignore it, next year the needles fall
But they look so neat and tidy lined up along the wall
Perhaps a plastic tree is better, I can keep it all the year
Just a dust down and vacuum and then there is no fear
Who needs a Christmas tree, you are better off to miss
Just hang up some mistletoe and seal it with a kiss

 RDP Wednesday: Recommend

RDP Wednesday: Birthday

Santa in Migros advertisement

When our supermarket had this advertisement for Christmas last year, they had to withdraw it, but I managed a photo before it disappeared. Even Santa is a human, just like us, but his flatulance results are ice crystals.

We are talking about birthdays and I have the unfortunate date of 6th December  on my documents as being my birthday. OK, no big deal, but this is St. Nicholas day and this is celebrated all over inland Europe by giving the kids bags of nuts and tangerines and all sorts of Christmas sweets packed nicely in a Santa Claus Sack. This means that since I have been living in Switzerland, I have to share my birthday with the kids. I had to buy my kids all their sweet gifts. Of course they gave me presents as well, but it is not the same is it?

It should be my special day for I, me and myself and not fade into the shadows of SantaClaus day. I feel stolen, cheated, conned or whatever. I want my day for myself. I do not want to share it with the children’s population of Europe. Did you hear me Santa, do something, shift your birthday to a couple of weeks later.

Santa sack

RDP Wednesday: Birthday

RDP Wednesday: Holiday

Holiday Italy with Sandra 1965

If I get a subject for a blog and do not really know what to write, then I have a look at my photos: in this case with the tag “Holiday” and I get a photo that brings back many memories. It was my first holiday when I flew. It was 1965 and in those days flying for an average working person was still something special. There were rare jets and flights where arrival was quick and comfortable. It was the days of package tours, no flight belonged on a time table, they were mostly chartered aircraft departing at strange airports that you never knew existed. Our plane left from Manston airport, a small airport in the county of Kent near the English coast, the airport no longer existing today. Our holiday was to be in Southern Italy with a week staying in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast.

My friend and I both chose this target, mainly because both our fathers served in World War II and were both totally fascinated by the Amalfi coast: not something that two East End Men had ever seen with its Palm trees and culture of wine and romantic scenery, although in the war there was not so much romance. They spent most of the time dodging enemy fire.

But my friend and I booked the holiday and arrived at Manston to board the plane. Direct flight to Sorrento? Forget it. The plane took us to Basel on the Swiss border. Today a flight of an hour, in 1965 almost two hours. Afterwards it was a coach journey through Switzerland, including a death defying route with the Gotthard Tremolo road, which is has now become a side road after the motorway was built. This was a danger in itself and I remember that the coach leaked gas each time it turned one of the hairpin bends and there were many.

We eventually arrived in Italy and embarked on a journey on the Autostrada del Sol, a newly built Motorway in 1965. We had a few overnight stops and eventually arrived in Rome. This was also new land for two english girls from London, but we wanted to see it all. We were both opera fans and had the mad idea to go to Caracalla to see Madame Butterfly. Rome is a big city and this was on the other side. Somehow we found the bus connections and arrived, not thinking that the opera finishes long after the busses no longer run. We found a bus that took as to St. Peters in the Vatican. What could possibly go wrong if you were being sheltered by the Pope? Actually a lot, but we found two American girls with their two boyfriends, both doctors so  if there was an accident we would be safe. They offered to bring us to our hotel, on the other side of Rome. Rome is a big city. On the way we were stopped by the carabinieri as they found the little car had too many people. Papers were shown a lot of Italian words uttered, but they let us go.

Eventually we arrived in Sorrento at our hotel and realised why our fathers loved the place so much. It was a dream for us both.

After a week the home journey began, and on the way we made a two day stop in Florence where the photo originated on the Michelangelo Square looking over the city. I am in the back row, the tall one third from the left. The young lady who was our holiday host was from Berlin and she is in the middle at the front. I have had many holidays abroad since then, even over the pond, but this was one of the first. Perhaps the seed was then sewn to move over to Europe and enjoy all it had to offer.

RDP Wednesday: Holiday

RDP Wednesday: Costume

Market Day Autumn, Solothurn

Some years ago I was in New York, as a tourist. It was then that I discovered a shop that was dedicated to halloween: everything was halloween. They had masks, ghosts and ghouls in plastic and even a doorbell that made an evil chuckle when you pressed the button. I must admit I bought one, thinking it would be a good idea to install when back home in Switzerland. I never really installed it and no-one would have laughed if I had.

Just imagine I am a halloween grinch, at least I have become one. The only halloween we might see in our area is perhaps a decoration in a restaurant, although only to look at. And now imagine I am inundated with telling ghost and horror stories and writing about halloween when I do not really know where to begin. Where I live we eat pumpkins as a vegetable, perhaps turn them into a soup. Our only concession is a carved pumpkin with a candle for the kids to have a procession, but nothing tricking or treating or making a big thing of it.

It is not lack of trying. Great Britain was also a halloween free nation until it was discovered that they could do it as well. In the last few years it has gained on popularity encouraged by the various commercial enterprises that realised they could earn money with it. And then it spread a little to Europe. Catholic countries had always had a hang to it, through their various festivals, but it was a no go in Switzerland. No-one was interesting in transforming their garden into a plastic graveyard, or decorating their home with ghostly articles. And so it happened that the whole idea was forgotten and you could get the various ornaments at half price in the shops, or even less. It was a failure and died a slow death.

I have nothing more to say on this, I have been scraping the bottom of my halloween bowl to find something to tell you that would be enterprising, but nothing happened. I do not paint my face with the colour of blood, nor wear false vampire teeth, When I look in the mirror I see enough horror. Tonight I will go to bed as usual, have my sweet dreams and not be spooked  or have constant ringing at the doorbell for tricks or treats. One mother here, who had American connections, tried it with her kids, but most people did not know what it was about, and even if they did they had not stocked up on various caramel skulls or sugar eyeballs, which were not even available here. I really felt sorry for the kids that were left standing with empty bags at the door.

So I wish everyone a happy halloween if they have a party and dress up, I will be dressing up in my nightdress.

October Monthly Market 10.09 (22)

RDP Wednesday: Costume