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

Archive for April, 2008

Violet Blue

My Father liked to grow roses.When I was still in my first decade we lived in the county of Surrey in England,there they said the sandy soil was particularly good for roses.

One of his favourites was a rambler that he grew from a cutting taken from a bush belonging to his Mother,there it transformed the small city garden into a mass of mauve.

The cutting grew and after a few years it was covering our high wooden fence.

Everybody commented on the colour.Nobody had seen such a rose bush,full of clusters of small, filled roses, varying in colour from mauve over violet to splatters of deep purple and blue.

We had to move to the west coast,so some of the rose was lifted and it came along too. It flourished there despite the stony soil. My parents moved twice again before they eventually

retired and went back south. With the rose of course.

When I married and settled in Switzerland they brought a piece of the root over for us.

It has been growing in our garden ever since.

I had never seen another one like it.Roses don’t grow well in Switzerland,but last summer we went to a gardeners near the German border, and there I saw it,

“Veilchen Blau” covering an old rusty arch.

It had apparently been bred by a German rose grower in 1909. How it came to be in my Grandmothers garden could possibly be an interesting story.

At Christmas we went over to Canada to visit our eldest daughter and her husband. Yesterday I spoke to them on the phone.

Guess what they had just planted in their garden.


Home Made Energy

We have an unconventional figure in Switzerland.

An 81year old foreigner,respected, I might even say loved by all. Nicolas G. Hayek. A self made man who hates to wear a tie. If he does have to wear one it is never tied properly and extremely loud.

Born in Beirut,Lebanon to a Lebanese mother and American father. In 1944 the family emigrated to Switzerland. Nicolas studied mathematics and physics in Zürich. This combined with the business talent of the Lebanese proved a force not to be stopped.

Nicolas Hayek is now in the 250 richest people in the world list,but he is not sitting still. Hayek the Engineer, Problem Solver,and Troubleshooter.

After revolutionising,and saving the Swiss Watch Industry,turning Biel into the world center.He also wanted everybody in the world to be able to afford a watch. The Swatch was born. Afterwards came the Smart, and now he has a new idea.

Hayek is planning the Energy Revolution.

Apparently in his office stands a model of the future.

The turning on of an artificial sun allows it to send its’ rays onto a solar panel, two test tubes simulate an electrolysis system and a few seconds later a small propeller is turned. It seems almost like a toy. But fifty movements later you know what Hayek is talking about. It produces energy

Altogether you need a solar panel 50 square meters large. An electrolysis plant the size of a normal household fridge.and a fuel cell to cover 60% of the energy requirements of the average household. Including a car.

The cost at the moment 35,000 to 40’000 Swiss Francs or US Dollar. The annual energy saved would normaly cost about 3000 SF. (Without car costs)

Until then,the interested engineering firms have to work on a few problems.

The solar panel has to be 30% more efficient, The electrolysis apparatus has to be mass productable and the energy cells should last at least three years.

Not forgetting we need completely new motor engines. According to Hayek, three car manufacturers are participating in the project.

In twenty years he says we can cover 75% of the present oil demand with clean energy.But what does we can mean, we must he states. It is five to twelve.

“We need do-ers not talkers, and we must disconnect trade production from the rise and falls of the stock exchange. Social law must protect a firm from being just a bundle of shares.”

Mince and Macaroni

Yesterday we were invited to a friends’ Restaurant.He is a very good cook,in fact he graduated from the famous Ecole Hôtelière in Lausanne.That doesn’t stop him cooking plain,and inexpensive food well.
So he made something for us which he knows my husband loves. A dish that just the title will start every Swiss abroad drooling.

G’HACKETS und HOERNLI mit AEPFELMUES (minced beef and macaroni with apple sauce)

Very quickly made, thrifty, filling, and delicious.

Now no Chef tells you his exact recipe,but I will let you Know the basics and you can experiment with the gravy.

400,gr. of minced beef, if possible minced twice.
2 large onions chopped finely
1 clove of garlic,crushed
1 laurel leaf.
2 tablespoons of flour
1 liter of beef or vegetable boullion
salt and pepper
oil to fry.

Fry meat quickly at high temperature,add onions and garlic, salt and pepper. Fry lightly together.
Sprinkle and mix with flour.
Add warm bouillon and cook gently for five to ten minutes.

400gr, Macaroni, if possible fresh, cooked in lots of hot salted water
2 large onions fried in plenty of butter or oil.
Pour over cooked macaroni before serving.(Optional,as unhealthy but good)

Enough peeled and sliced apples to make quantity of sauce desired.
Cook in very little water with sugar if liked.
Sieve or mash.
Add some ground cinnamon to taste.
Serve seperately.

En Guete

I Would Like a Choice

Over the years I have been asked more times than I can count by elderly persons unable to care for themselves if I could give them something so they could die. They didn’t want to live anymore with the everyday suffering of being bedridden and in pain. They didn’t want food pushed into their mouthes before they had finished swallowing any more.Or the pain that comes from large open bedsores that could take fifteen minutes or more to dress.

They didn’t want to lie for hours in wet,stinking nappies. They just wanted to leave this world with dignity.

I couldn’t help them.

It seems that in Switzerland where I live,the cost of caring for the elderly whether in their living accommodation or in a

nursing home will double between now and the year 2030. In that year an estimated 2 million people over the age of 65 will be living here. In 2005 there were only 1,2 million.

The growth of the over 80 year olds has risen enormously. This has had a massive influence on the cost of health care.

A study by the Swiss Health Observatory says the price for care will rise from 7,3 billion francs in 2005 to around 18 billion in 2030.

The rise is of course affected by the prescription of multiple medication for the aged, on average fifteen tablets a day,and performance of complicated operations, excluding emergency orthopaedic procedures on over seventy five year olds. Higher nursing and so called hotel costs add to it.

Ethics play a great part in how we approach the situation at the moment.

Mankind has the right to live ,but when are we going to have the right to die?

Would You Believe It!

Would you believe it,

The missing Ferdinand Hodler painting”Bare Chesnut Trees in Ticino” which I wrote about yesterday has been found.

An employee of the Volkart Stiftung in Winterthur, a town near Zürich, after watching the news on television, remembered seeing the painting in their storage room.

The painting belongs to Andreas Reinhart, whose family are generous art patrons with their own museum in the town. The Oskar Reinhart Foundation Museum. Am Stadtgarten, Winterthur.

He is very glad to have it back because it was left him by his late brother George,whose entire estate was donated to the Volkart Foundation, and of which Andreas is president.

To the question, if the painting was ever really stolen? At the moment the police are still investigating every possibility they say.

The loss was only discovered after the real transport firm sent by the Bern Museum stood in front of Reinharts door and was told it had already been collected by the artful trickster.

Food or Fuel?

Last year approximately 100,000 tons of grain was used to make biological fueI.
I love the colour green, but I love a fresh loaf of bread more.

1 Swiss Frank per day, per person.

Worldwide at least a billion people must live on this amount. That hardly pays for basic food.

The price for grain is exploding because it is being used for bio fuel.

The price of rice rose by 75% in the last two monthes. The price of corn rose over the last twelve monthes by 120%. One of the causes being merchant speculation.

It takes 200 kilo of corn to manufacture enough Ethanol to fill a 95 Liter tank. With this amount of corn a person could feed themselves for a year.

2102 Million tones of grain was harvested in the world in 2007. Half of it was used for animal food and biological fuel.

Work the rest of it out for yourselves.

Can we let this go on?

Cheap Hodler Painting

To all of you who may have read my post on the Swiss Artist Ferdinand Hodler yesterday. It was a mistake of course.

You can’t buy one of his paintings for 6,000 US Dollar, or I might even have one myself.

I have since corrected it .


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