Friday, February 05, 2010

The days in the Alps drift by.....

So many words written and then never posted. I am sure most of you know the feeling well!

I can't believe it is Friday already. The rhythm of my days here up in the mountains is very different to that of times at home. If I were on a holiday, I would expect that, but living an ordinary life in a different place makes for an altered tempo of my days.

I know this place. I know quite a few people too, now I come to think about it. I know the shops, and can communicate adequately, thank heavens. The wool shop lady and I are becoming well acquainted. I know how the washing machine works. The vacuum cleaner. The kitchen. I know what tv programmes are on and when. I know when the busses come and go, and I am beginning to understand signs of changing weather.

The food we eat is different. Red meat is seldom, if ever bought. By me, that is. And I don't miss it at all. Swiss yoghurt is wonderful. The chocolate is the best in the world. Well, of course it is. And the cheese is wonderful, and so many varieties too. There is a cheese factory at the Kloster (monastery) with a shop and restaurant attached, and you can watch cheese being made there.
Here, you go and buy fresh bread or gipfeli (croissants) every morning. The coffee is rich and strong.

And because we live in the centre of the village, absolutely everything is on the level and close by. Engelberg is in a valley way up in the Alps, south of Luzern in Central Switzerland. If I want to go into the mountains, I can walk in any direction and get a cable car up into the mountains. Or get someone to drive me. Or take the car up a way and then go for a walk through the forests, where the paths are not steep.

The station is 3 minutes walk from here, and so is the Kiosk, where I find some beautiful and inspiring deco or bastel magazines. Home decorating ideas, or creative craft ideas. Marge and I have just found 3 new ones to salivate over. What I LOVE about magazines here is that there are almost NO adverts. What a difference that makes.

If you want big shopping centres, you go "down the mountain". (I sound like Heidi. Just picture me skipping through Alpine meadows. ) If someone in the village dies, every home gets a pamphlet delivered with the post about their life. The electricity for washing machines is switched off every day between 11 and 12 noon, because most people cook for lunch. However, apparently that is about to change, and one will be able to was all day, if one wants to!

People all have basements here, and that is where the boiler, the laundry, and storage for the multitude of winter coats and boots is found. It also insulates the house well. Living areas are above the basement, and I can just see my American friends scratching their heads and wondering why I feel the need to write about what is normal to them. Well, in the UK, homes no longer have basements. It pushes up the already ludicrous building costs. So my ground floor is always chilly. And that is where the living areas are. Up in the bedrooms in my home, it is always warm, but then, we only use them at night. Maybe i should turn my house upside down..... It does not take rocket science to work out that basements are essential in colder climes, now, does it. The UK certainly qualifies as being cold this winter.

(I just looked out the window and the snow is beginning to fall again.)

On the subject of warmth, my mother says that according to her newspaper, the UK government is now encouraging the installation of things like woodburning stoves, and individual wind turbines. Good. Maybe they will subsidise mine! How exciting.

Ah, the rhythm of my days..... I sort of got bogged down with random details here. Maybe I will get to my days in the next publishable post. You never know.....


Dawn said...

I have too say that reading this post has raised my envy level a bit higher! It all sounds so idyllic. I am certain that the people there have their "issues" and problems, but what a serene life you have described. I love that I can go to the corner and view the mountains in all their glory. But I can tell you that if I read this to Dwight, he would be salivating! We must get over there for a visit - and pop in on your sister! But that would be after we've visited you, of course!

I am so thankful to be public again, and hope you win the book!

Vee said...

You describe it all so well and make me wish to visit the Alps. Of course, your readers know that you are dealing with much more than the beauty of Switzerland. Still, it's a wonderful place for recuperations of body and soul.

Yes, basements are lovely places and I highly recommend them. ;>

Barbara said...

Can picture it all as you describe it to beautifully. My Swiss visits have only ever been during the summer.

Crystal said...

You sound content and happy. Your descriptions of the village and the mountains are wonderful. I can tell this is a favourite spot of yours. It's so lovely to hear from you every day :))