A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for March, 2007

Call the computer Doctor

To all my new friends and readers who might have toppled over my blog in the last months, and  wonder what has happened to Diamonds and Rust just as she was going through a phase of literary fluency I would like to say I’m back again.

No I didn’t go on holiday,or start on my Asian trip. My laptop decided he’d had enough of people messing around with him who didn’t keep to his rules or take heed of his messages, and thought using him was something like playing the piano.

At first it was just a slight sneeze,and he seemed to recover,but then he kept sending smoke signals and we all know, where there is smoke there is generally fire. Unlike the piano I found you can’t just put the lid down and start anew the following day. When a computer sneezes he definately wants to be taken seriously. (Which make me think computers might be female)

Eventually of course we had to call the doctor, one of the  Swiss ones,very competent but who he doesn’t  really care for. But he is functioning again, probably not really cured, but waiting for a checkup with his private Canadian physician when he is on this side of the Atlantic again!!!

Glad to be back.


Medical Schools need black humour

I read today that the British Medical Schools don’t have enough corpses, by at least a thousand a year.

The situation is seriously affecting the manual efficiency of future doctors. Volunteers welcome.

The artical reminded me again of my father who left this world a few years ago at the ripe old age of ninety one, cussing about the fool who called the ambulance.

His generation that had lived through two world wars had a very special humour.

I can remember him sitting one day in the lounge of the seniors’ residence in which he lived and shocking the women present by declaring that he was donating his body to medical science.

Not because he wanted to be noble,he just wanted to spare me the horrendous funeral expenses. That’s what he said anyway. Three years after death the institution that had profited by the donation would pick up the bill apparently.
Nobody thought he was serious except me , but he was of course, andI had to live with it.

He came from a medical profession and he knew what it all entailed.

The day before he died his friend visited him in hospital. The friend had survived Juno Beach back in 1944.

“What, are you still around.” he said.

“Yeah” said my Father and managed a laugh.

He was worried that they wouldn’t want him. He was too old he thought. In those days they had a choice.

I didn’t have to pay for the funeral.

If he were here today he would be looking for donors.

Foolproof Roast Beef (Swiss style)

I was born and raised in England, in the days when Sunday Lunch meant roast beef, lamb or pork,with the corresponding sauces,- horse radish, mint or apple.

The meat was served with at least two vegetables (in my family it was three) the obligatory roast potatoes and lashings of thick gravy.

I can remember the meat being put in a baking tray with dripping (the cold fat from the baking of the previous roast) and roasted with the potatoes for about two hours!

Of course it was then carved very thinly; a) to make it go around . b) while probably any thicker would have been unchewable.

In those days I thought it was great.

Last Sunday I had a phonecall from a damsel in distress.

Her Sunday roast hadn’t turned out quite as she had hoped (in fact it was like a shoe sole) and her husband was threatening divorce if she didn’t get it better next time.

For the damsel, and any others of you who have trouble with roast beef, my foolproof recipe.

1 Kilo Roastbeef (unfortunately don’t know what cut of meat this is,except that it is too expensive to ruin, maybe sirloin or entrecote) Get your butcher to remove all fat. It shouldnt be more than 10 centmeters thick and well hung.

1 Tablelsp. Medium Mustard

1 Teesp. Salt
1 Teesp. of Knorr Aromat (if possible,otherwise Season All, or other meat spice)

1 Teesp. of Worcestersauce

2 Tablesp. of Oil

1/2 Teesp. of freshly ground pepper

1/2 Teesp. each of ground Rosemary and Thyme. (or Italian Spices) Also some crushed garlic if liked.
Mix together and brush over meat

Leave at least two hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 180° Centigrade,

Lay meat on grid with baking tin underneath in middle of oven.

Immediately reduce heat to 130°Centigrade.

Cook for exactly 60 minutes.

Heavier pieces of meat but with roast beef thickness (circa 8-10 centimeters) need the same length of time.

Turn off oven and let meat rest for 5-10 min. before slicing.

Lovely served with Sauce Bernaise or Cafe de Paris.

Don’t ever think of making gravy.!


I have seen the glass flowers at Harvard,- never changing in their artificial beauty.

But the flowers which surprised me today were real.

They look and smell like a breath of Spring as I see them before me on the table now.

A huge bouquet of unruly orange poppies,yellow roses,their petals tipped in amber.Green snowballs,white narcissis and some small orange lillies which I think come from South Africa and of which I don’t know the name. All bedded in a sea of green.

Beautiful,  but not for ever. Beautifull but real.


Consider the lillies of the field,how they grow;they toil not,neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you.That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed  like one of these.`

Bible. St.Matthew.

Opera House Amour fou

Last Weekend the annual Zürich Opera House Ball took place.

It drew a record number of guests.1600 to be exact.

The cream of Zürich’s society and elsewhere were present. Definately an expensive and select affair, which didn’t need a Paris Hilton to sell tickets for it, like it’s counterpart in the capital of our eastern neighbours.

This year the record attendance,was influenced by something as old as mankind but usually very much’ swept under the carpet’, so to speak in Zwingli’s City.
It is that Alexander Pereira, the 63 year old Director of this noble house has a girlfriend, and she would presumably be accompanying him.

Much to the dismay of many Zürich taxpayers who pay his salary.

Because his friend and ‘Amour fou’ is a twenty year old Brasilian erotic model,who is already married to an over 70 year old billionaire. Photographer by trade.

Her pictures were for those unable to attend the ball,to be seen in the Magazine section of a Sunday Newspaper the following day. Needless to say minus her designer gown.

For those of you who read my ‘amour fou’ post it is clear what the outcome will be.

But until then and for all the Knights of the Garter.

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Amour fou

“Love is like the measles–all the worse when it comes late in life.”

Douglas Jerold 1803-57. Wit and Opinions 1850

I think everybody should experience once in their lives what the French call an ‘Amour fou’

The problem is of course you can’t programme the ending, you just know it will be very painful.

Maybe it will end in the Emergency Room of your local hospital. Usually on a Sunday night.( I know because I worked in them)

Or it will end by you bending down picking up the bits , and trying to fit together what is left with your life.

The second option is probably harder.

But as time passes and the lighter days follow the dark nights you can start to reflect without too much emotion- be it longing, or anger, or just that sick to your to your stomach feeling which you first had when your pet Hamster died .

And you will undoubtably come to the conclusion that it was all worthwhile.

Because between all those broken bits will be the little pleasures that you experienced. Maybe things that give you a new outlook on life,or interests that were unearthed before.

It will still hurt,and it should do. But whatever, or whoever sent it you will wish it could happen again.

Swiss again

Smoking kills

Drinking kills

Yes we have all seen the warnings printed on cigarette packets ,or put on view to us in one way or another by the media.

The message that we are all responsible for ourselves should have arrived by now. That we also have an obligation to our fellow beings will presumably take a bit longer.

Smoking in public eating places will probably be banned in the near future even in Switzerland.But then the Swiss do have a great talent in chosing a grey zone instead of pure black or white if money is likely to be lost, so nothing is certain.
I shouldn’t grumble of course, I live here, and profit (not always) by the way their minds work in Bern, but it does conflict with my old fashioned British way of thinking sometimes ,especially when it comes to sticking our necks out and standing up for what is right. ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ and all that.

Anyway to me they had done it again. I heard a few days ago that in Bern they had decided that alcohol and tobacco advertising was to be banned on state or communial owned land. Wonderfull, we do have one of the highest rates of juvenile drinking in the world.

But then came the BUT. Alcohol and tobacco advertising was to be banned on state and communial owned property BUT not on privately owned.!!!

You can make a guess at how much is in private hands here.

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