Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some photos....

You will be delighted to know that my son has shoes for his feet. He will not be roaming the Alps with holes in his shoes any longer. A trip down the mountain sorted that one. He helped his uncle all morning and then was put to work mowing the lawn in circles this afternoon. He has now taken possession of the remote control and no-one is going to argue with that. He has been a star, as I have said many times before!

Well, I tried to write captions under the photos, and Blogger was very accommodating. It deleted the photos. So the first five photos are from the walk yesterday, and the last one are from the garden this afternoon. Marge has worked very hard on her garden and it is stunning. That is a photo of her filling one of the 79 million watering cans we filled to feed it all. It is very big. I was very helpful. I sat on a chair and filled the watering cans with the hosepipe. There is David mowing the circles. And how is that for a stunning view from the garden? I never get tired of it. The last photo is from her balcony, from under a straw sunshade I was holding. Geraniums are so Swiss. All the balconies , or most of them at least, have masses of geraniums growing in window baskets, and it looks so pretty.

Now I need to find some coffee. Yet another beautiful day is nearly over. I hope the sun is shining on all of you too!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mountain walk, cake and sons......

The weather is stunning. STUNNING! Clear cloudless deep blue skies, hot sun, and mountains and trees all green, topped with white snow. If I had got round to downloading the photos you would be seeing this. However, the cables are downstairs and I am up and ........ you get the picture. In time, people. In time.

Because I am limited in my mountain walking now, David and I took the cable-car up one level this morning, and with the trusty Leki poles, I managed to get round a little circuit. One road and 2 "wandelweg"s. Wandering paths. Through the forest and out of the sun. They are so great, because around every corner is a bench. I sat on them all. Lovely, nice benches. It is just as well I have my son with me. The child is showing signs of being a dictator. I suggested that I might just attempt walking down the mountain, and he stood there and said "Over my dead body" or words to that effect. I know he was right, but I so want to be able to do what I used to do. So we came down in the cable-car. And had a snack at Linie 8.

Then I baked a carrot cake. And here I am. Pacing myself well.

Since the weekend, the village has suddenly filled up with people. Tourists. This is a big week here - Saturday is Swiss National Day, and there is a great deal on, with races, concerts, parades, and many Swiss flags.

David decided that he only needed one pair of shoes with him this time. Hahahahaha. He wears size 14 shoes (UK size) and he announced mid walk that he needs new walking boots. He was wearing trainers. He has a HOLE in the bottom, and Swiss men do not wear size 14 shoes. We asked at one shop, who can provide him with size 14 ski boots at the moment (which he clearly would rather not be wearing in mid summer) but they have no shoes. They have offered to measure his feet and then order in some shoes. I rather suspect that this will not be cheap. So we will try in Luzern on Wednesday and if we can't find any, will have to bite the bullet and trot along to the lovely helpful lady, who may well start planning her holiday in the Bahamas when she sees us walk in the door.

Right. That cake needs to be iced wiht the cream cheese icing while it is still warm. I am off to slap icing about in an artistic fashion. Then I do believe I may have a little nap. I will be back.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We got here.......

I am here.

We are here.

And the little red train chugged up the cogs to the valley in brilliant sun, and that was a wonderful welcome. We dumped our stuff at home and then went to see Marge and Peter at the restaurant, and I had a crash course in the art of making coffee and the cash register. The jury is out on this one. My mind is like a sieve.

And then the rain came down. Horizontally. Here, there is another aspect to rain altogether. It falls so hard that it bounces up and wets you from the ground up if you happen to be standing under an umbrella. Delightful. I also neglected to bring any warm jumpers, and am just totally relieved I left half my wardrobe here last time.

But the air smells clean and fresh, and the mountains are all around me, and did you see that Roger Federer and his wife Mirka have had twin daughters??? Wonderful! I have a feeling that we will be watching the Federer girls play doubles in 18 years time. Charlene and Myla.

I have just heard cow bells.

I am definitely here.

PS: Getting here meant getting up at 3.45am. I am a zombie. I also have a great friend - Jean took us to the airport at 4am. And thank heavens for large strong sons. My boy was a total star..... he pulled 40kgs of luggage along and carried another 15kgs on his back, and never complained once. I think he is asleep already, bless his cotton socks.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just garbled words today.....

The sewing room is clean. Ish. My son has his laptop again, fixed. There is a stupid man on Countdown as I speak who asks for a "continent" instead of a consonant, and it is driving me potty. The wind is howling round my house and garden and knocking things over, and Jean and Glynis have popped round at different times today. The builders arrived next door at 7am. HELLO???? This is summer!!! 7am start of cement mixers is not good.

I am packing. And turfing out most of what I intended taking. I don't know what I want to take. I do know that a small greenhouse is in my case. Everyone should take a small greenhouse on holiday with them.

So there we are. Fascinating stuff. David is pacing about waiting for a delivery from Amazon which will not be arriving today, even though he paid for guaranteed delivery today, and supper will consist of anything still alive in the fridge. And now I am off to water my garden and rescue fallen over things.

If anything really exciting happens, you will get to hear. But don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Off to the mountains we go again.....

All my great intentions sort of evaporated there, didn't they! Sigh. The rain - it keeps on falling, and after a week of watching the golf and listening to the cricket (Hello Australia - did you watch that then????? Huh?????Hahahahahahahheeheeheehee), and tearing down sheds, and dumping stuff at the tip, I sort of fizzled out altogether.

I have not read a thing. I am serious - not a line. No posts, emails or books, magazines or papers. I see the written word and my eyes shut and I fall asleep. I went to bookclub last night and announced that the 4 books I have had for 4 weeks are still sitting in a little pile and have not been touched. I was not the star of the evening.

Today I have been trying to get the world into line before we head off to the mountains. Do not ask when we are coming home, because I totally neglected to book the return part. I have no idea when that will be. We will wing it. It is the summer, after all, and my boys, my daughter-in-law and granddaughter are going to be on holiday, so that is all good.

I have been waiting for all sorts of medical appointments, and now they are all sorted, I am exhausted. You know, I have had enough of the wonderwoman bit, my friends. I am sick to death of marshalling the troops, sorting out the world, fixing stuff and being the organiser extrodinaire. I want someone to sort it all for me. In fact, I think I need a wife. You know??? Yes. Every woman needs one, I feel. A wife. What man, I ask you, would think of the weed matting which needs to go over the bare earth to prevent a jungle of weeds greeting me on my return. Or the fact that one should print off the train timetables. Or the sweets for the plane trip. Or paying the bills, making sure all eventualities are covered. Watering, post, house sitting, the lot. And the pre-departure cleaning. The pacing is going superbly, of course.

I have been quilting the multicoloured quilt. The one to go with my idea of a bright and happy garden. This is England, after all, and it can get rather chilly when sitting out there next to my chiminea. This is pure optimism at work, I concede, as it has been lit just once this summer. But I will be ready for the chilly evenings. The old arthritic fingers are feeling it though, and I don't think I will be hand quilting many more quilts. But that is what machine quilting is for after all. I just love picking up a quilt and working with it on my lap in the evenings.

The garden is growing unbelievably - with all the rain, it has gone beserk. I won't be around, however, to sort the tomato explosion. Or the beans. But everyone else here will be eating them, and enjoying them, so that is ok. Sort of. I will recover. The lilies and roses are in bloom, and the cosmos is starting to flower, and it all looks really pretty. The scent as you walk out the door is amazing. I love my garden.

However, I love my sister more. So there is no contest here. At all.

Right. My quilt is calling. I will be back.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Goodbye shed.....

Yesterday, people, was pure relaxation in comparison to today. Today, I made fresh croissants for breakfast for us and for Jean and her son Duncan. You see, today was "let's destroy the garden shed and take it to the tip day". I supervised. I use the word very loosely, may I add. I was up a ladder at one stage.
Our boys worked like slaves all day and were the real heroes. Oh, did I mention it had to be emptied first??? That meant moving heavy stuff like filing cabinets and freezers and tables and table tennis tables out into the garden too, sorting through 8 filing cabinet drawers of old tools.......

I am unspeakably grubby. Actually, I am filthy. After the last trip to the tip this afternoon, I went to get some food (and cooldrinks especially) at Tesco, and caught sight of myself in a mirror and nearly died. My tshirt and skirt are absolutely disgusting, my gardening shoes have holes in the sides,and I was bent over the shopping trolley like a crone. So I slunk around the aisles praying I would not meet anyone I knew, and came home and unpacked it all. Then I went to check on the vacant space, decided to move all the bricks and rubble and clear the debris. I told my family they could fend for themselves when it came to supper.
And then discovered that walking is not an option. Neither is standing up straight. I am about to sink into a hot bath from which I may never emerge so I thought I better post this first.
As you can see, I have the pacing down to a fine art. I should give lectures on the subject.

(Rosaria, the roses are Sweet Juliette, Golden Celebration, Great Expectations, and Golden Jubilee I think. Those are all in the garden, and all have spectacular scents. Alpine Sunset is also one. And Gertrude Jekyll. I have 27 roses, so it is hard to remember which is which!)

And finally...... I was outside watering at sunset and the clouds were so spectacular, I came in for my camera. Look at this one - what can you see? Everyone here came up with the same answer instantly, and as it is part of me, that was special. Look again a little closer.......

And then there is this one. it looked to me as though God Himself was standing there reaching His arms out to me. It took my breathe away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Half way through the week.....

Some photos of my garden and the things growing in it - the roses all have the most stunning scent. I should try and make a mosaic of them. Maybe tomorrow.
It rained and I managed to catch the drops on the leaves and roses as the sun came out and just look at those flowers on my beans....

Wednesday already and time flies, but I keep saying that so we will move on swiftly.....
I had a meeting with the work people today so I guess we could call today a "high energy" day on the pacing chart. As in up at dawn, clean the house, wield the really dire borrowed hoover - I do not regard any vacuum as efficient if I have to stand with the nozzle poised over some dirt for 5 minutes while it considers whether or not to suck it up. I could have got down on the floor, picked up all the little pieces and walked to the kitchen, put it in the bin, removed the bag of rubbish, tied a knot in it, and walked through the house to deposit it in the bin, in half the time it takes this thing to work. Vacuum cleaners just moved back to the top of the list.
But I digress again. I am so good at this.
So the work people came (on time) and left. And this is a procedure we all know we have to go through but it is such a pain in the neck. Stress? Oh yes. Glynis was here so that was good. And then I decided to pin the quilt I suddenly decided to make 2 nights ago. So I made it. My happy quilt. Bright and cheerful. And I ran out of pins, so I popped out to the patchwork shop which is always a mistake. Sigh.
And then I came home, got down on the floor (without a crane) and pinned it. So it is now waiting to be quilted. And then, because I am nothing if not over the top - I cut, and am in the process of making, another quilt twice the size. It is summer. So why I am making quilts???
I remembered eventually to pace myself, so after sewing up 9 rows of fabric, I went to start watering the garden. Then I stopped here to say hello and after this I will go and sew more rows.
The week has been busy. On Monday, my friend, Nicky, and I took our Mums out to tea in the morning, and that was great. Our local garden centre is excellent for fruit scones and tea. I know. I have been a few times. Actually, quite a lot, I confess. They also have a great butchery and delicatessen and greengrocers. And Jean has popped in for coffee, and so has Julia, and so you see, just add in the exercises, and the garden, and the new quilt(s) and the idea I have for bags for Christmas presents, taking photos and cooking and walks.......
And you will see exactly why I failed miserably on the pacing and relaxation front.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday at home..........

Well, here we are at the start of a new week already, and July is almost half gone. Our schools here have not broken up for holidays yet. I think the end of the week is the start. I do know that my daughter-in-law is going back to work for the last few days of term, and then starts again full time in the new school year. Missy is 5 months old already and I have no idea where the time went. This, however, seems to be a common wail around the blogosphere.

I have been staying at a friend's house for the last week while they were away, and have just popped onto the computer now and then briefly when I came home to sort everyone here. And I have used the time away from the computer to start a project I have sort of devised for myself to help me regain a level of concentration and focus which has been sadly lacking in recent months. It is all a part of the CRPS and is not aided by the wretched medication, but hey, I have to do something, and this is my solution. I will let you know a little more when I actually see it working! But it feels good to be focussing a little - for short bursts of time. We will see.

Last week was a trifle disastrous for the Swiss family - my brother-in-law's cousin who owns the restaurant with him, and who is actually the chef at the moment, had a nasty encounter last Sunday with a tractor. While riding his motorbike. Overtaking a slow line of cars up the mountain. The tractor turned in front of him, and he cartwheeled over the top and landed on the road on his back. He was flown to hospital in a helicopter, and is actually, miracle of miracles,. doing really well. 8 broken ribs, and 9 fractures in his spine. He is now all pinned and screwed together.

However, there is only just so much any one man can do running the restaurant, and my brother-in-law is run off his feet. He is chef, and front of house and everything else thrown in for good measure at the moment, with help from my sister who is definitely under the impression that she is superhuman. Thank heavens she is on leave, but then she works unbelievable hours and carries huge responsibilities, and also does all the extra work for the restaurant at night....... This is her holiday. She needs time for herself. Just now and then. And there she is - workign her socks off at the restaurant at the moment. 7 days a week.

So I think we will be heading to the Alps. I have a large, unemployed son who is perfect dishwasher material. Mother can man the washing machine. And me - well I will be pacing myself of course. Hahahahahahahahahahhahaheeheeheeheheehohohohohohoho.

I can sit in a chair and practice my german. I am the Big Sister after all. I fix things.

This family most certainly can do with a period of calm and a cessation of all calamities.

So I am back home and full of randomness :
I tried to go to my acupuncture appointment at the Pain clinic last week, but the lady who does it is sick, so that has been postponed indefinitely. All 6 appointments.
My son has done extremely well in his exams, and has passed his first year with flying colours. I am SO proud of him!
He is poised and waiting to use the computer again. I have asked him to sort my new mobile phone out. I have only had it 3 months and have never switched the thing on.
My garden is producing food in abundance. And what a pity I may well be away when the 28 tomato plants go into full production. My friends will be muttering as they battle to cope! Not to mention the prolific beans. And all the rest.
I think I am going to go and cut out another bright and sparkly quilt. I have no idea where that idea came from.

The focus is gone, people. My brain is back to mush. I will be back! PS. I have internet on my phone thingy but there is no way I will be attempting to write anything on a screen that size. I may go and have another look at laptops though.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Very random whatevers.....

It is quiet around the blogging world, isn't it, and it is quiet here too. I am just listening to "Blowing in the wind" on some tv programme..... you remember it, don't you? My past coming to life again.

The weather is confused today. Rain, sun, thunder, rain, sun all within a 5 minute period. The roads look as though they are on fire, with the steam rising from them in the sun.

Back to the quietness. I rather like it. I know I so enjoy reading all your posts, but, in a way, it delights me when there is nothing new posted, because I have a sneaking suspicion that you are all out there living. Really living. Having fun, travelling about, playing, gardening, enjoying the summer and the warm weather, watching your families grow. (Unless you are dodging the rain here, of course.)

I can't think of anything better. There is probably laughter, loads of smiles, and a bucket full of happiness involved too, in this picture of mine.

You see, the quietness is also a way of having permission to not post all the time. To not feel any guilt. Obligation. To walk past the computer and head for the garden. To pick up a book and the sunshade and sit out in the fresh air. To take 29,769 photos of your garden and wonder at the way things grow. To toss charcoal briquettes onto the grid in the bbq and light a real fire. The smell is of summer, isn't it. None of the gas thingys here, let me add. I like real bbqs!

I know that there are people out there, friends who I blog with and love dearly, who are not having the most glorious of times. There are people struggling, and hurting, and they too stay silent, but for so many very valid reasons. I wish things were different.

I am using the opportunity to be quiet. And the quietness gives me an opportunity to listen instead. Summer gives us the chance to find a space somewhere in the garden, or house, or park or countryside, to be alone with our thoughts.


I have lost my train of thought about 6 times, and you know, I have tried to edit this to make it say what I intended and I just have not got the energy right now, so I will post and let it be. Sorry if I lost you somewhere in the middle!

I am off to look for somewhere quiet, and follow my own advice.


The discombobulated one.

PS: I wanted Federer to win. I like Roddick too, but hey, Roger is special.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tennis and friends and strawberries and cream and......

I have made 3 attempts over the past 2 days to post things. Blogger has not co-operated, and photos??? Pah!! it does not want to know. And to be quite honest, I am not prepared to sit here for ages trying over and over again when there is sun and garden and flowers and friends and TENNIS to watch!

We decided to have a Wimbledon Tennis Party on Friday afternoon to pretend we were there. Only here, the bathroom was close by, and we did not have to queue for strawberries and cream. So Jean, Glynis, Mum and I settled in for the afternoon. It was great. Hilarious at times too. Jean is a great Murray fan, so she had to sit on the sofa all by herself. Hahahaha. You see, I want Federer to win this year, so I reckoned he had a better chance against Roddick. Well - I know this is not very patriotic, but hey, I have been a Federer fan since long before Murray appeared on the scene, and that won't change. I loved Agassi and Borg and Edberg and Becker in their days too. Tomorrow will tell.

Everyone brought bits and pieces and we had a feast - home-made scones, and home-made jam, strawberries, cream, icecream, meringues and, of course, Pimms. It would not be the same without the Pimms!

There was a great deal of yelling at the screen going on as well. In a gentile fashion. Of course. And I am trying again to upload photos as I speak. If Blogger doesn't comply there may be sparks flying in a totally un-gentile-like fashion. (It heard me and behaved. Hallelujah!)Jean doesn't know whether to eat the strawberries and cream first or drink the Pimms!

Friday is men's semi-final day, and one of the best days to be at Wimbledon, or at home watching. It did not disappoint. The tennis was great.
Glynis has her hands full, and Mum is enjoying her strawberries and cream!
There are no photos of me. I was behind the camera, or eating strawberries and cream. Probably the latter. Have you noticed how many times I have mentioned strawberries and cream??? That would be because I feel like some right now. And I ate them all. Sigh.
I may be posting less frequently for a few weeks. David's laptop expired. It is still new. He only got it in September, so it is under guarantee, and is being fixed. It may take 4-6 weeks. Groan. That means he will be sharing this one. Bigger groan. I tell you, when I get a laptop, I am going to put a password on it so only I can use it. Territorial? Oh yes.
How strange it is, you know - I remember the advent of home computers so well. We got our first one when Andrew was in junior school. That was back in the early 80s. Heaven knows how many we have had since then, but if you had told me that we would all need our own computers one day, it would have seemed unbelievable back then. Laptops had not been invented. Yet. No email. No internet. No blogging. No mobile phones. And now they are so intrinsically woven into our lives that we can't handle their absence. Unbelievable. I just stop and think, now and then, of how things have changed in my life, and I do not consider myself ancient by any stretch of the imagination. It never ceases to amaze me.
So I will remove my son from my chair in front of this computer as and when I can. He is 6ft 4" remember, and built like a linebacker. Or a prop in the front row of the scrum. I am his mother. He will comply. Insert smiley face.
OOPS - I nearly forgot! Happy 4th July to all my American friends!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

In which I continue to discourse about the weather.......

Aiyaiyai...... the humidity is a killer. Believe me, I can stand heat. Just not the humidity. Watering the garden last night, I swear there was more water leaving my body in rivulets of sweat than there was coming out of the watering can. And just so you know I am not a wimp, there is NO A/C IN ENGLISH HOMES. Nor are there many ceiling fans. No. We just lie about looking pathetic when we are not working or trying to get on with normal lives. I nearly took up residence with my chair in the local supermarket yesterday. It has a/c. The temptation was great, and I was not the only one either.

Mind you, thinking about ceiling fans, the ceilings are so much lower here than they were in South Africa. There, our ceilings were 10ft 6ins high. Here it is more like a little under 8ft or there about. I just tried to measure. So add a ceiling fan and there is a good chance you will be scalped or beheaded. We are a hardy bunch over here, you know.

So ...

The week is whizzing by and I am about to take Mum for her annual medical checkup, and then I will have to get more pots and soil. I know. It is a never-ending pot saga. My garden is just way too small and the allotment is full. Or, just possibly, I have grown way more then I needed to, or had a sudden delusion that I was a farmer.

Yesterday I went to see a lawyer re the hospital saga, and it looks like we will be able to work on this together. Or that I will just hand the lot to him and tell him to call me when it is over. This is what I really should do. I do know I have dates to go and hear 2 inquests which have direct bearing on Geoff's case in November. Sigh. It all takes so very long to get sorted, and I just want it over asap.

And then I came home, flopped on the couch and woke when Margaret barrelled through the front door. Once I was properly awake, we popped up to see Jean who had been strawberry picking, so I sat in her kitchen doing some "quality control". Divine.

This morning, I was woken by the hideous birds at an ungodly hour, when my neighbour left for work, after feeding them. So I opened and closed my window with vigour to make them shut up. I love little birds like sparrows, chaffinches etc etc etc. But rooks, (big black things) and pigeons........... I LOATHE them. They are huge, chase away the little birds, eat all the seeds, and deposit copious quantities of droppings on my roof outside my window. And the noise.......

So that was a gentle awakening. But I have been out in the garden a little while this morning, before the heat becomes unbearable. Older people are being advised to stay indoors. With curtains closed.

Maybe I had better go and scrub the gardening hands a little before we darken the doctor's doorstep. I look like a tramp. I will be back.