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

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Swiss Plait Bread And Easter Baking

Sunday Morning Breakfast in Switzerland wouldn’t be the same without Zopf.

Fresh Plait, or Zopf as we say , thickly spread with Emmentaler butter and home made jam is a feast for the Gods.

It’s easy to make and a hundred times better than any mass produced supermarket product.

Beginners might find the plaiting a bit complicated.There are different ways of doing it,but if you do get stuck use the same method as you would for hair.

This is the easiest way.

This is a little more complicated.

Here is the Recipe: Swiss Zopf

30g fresh yeast (dry if unavailable)

1teaspoon of sugar

125g butter

3.75 deciliter of milk

1 teaspoon of salt

750g white flour

2 egg yolks mixed with 1 Tablespoon of oil

Mix yeast with sugar and leave to dissolve. ( If using dry yeast mix as instructed on packet)

Dissolve salt in the hand warm milk,add melted butter then add egg mixture.

Sieve flour into bowl,make a hollow and add dissolved yeast,then slowly add milk and egg mixture. Mix together.
Need for about 10 minutes .

Cover with a wet cloth or cling film.Place in bowl and leave in a warm place for about an hour, until dough has doubled in volume.

Or leave, covered by film in fridge over night.

Need again for 5-10 minutes.

Divide into strips and plait.

Leave on greased oven tray to rest for 15 minutes.

Brush with egg yolk and bake in pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 40 minutes. Lower shelf.
Bread is done if it sounds hollow when tapped on base with knuckles.

If you have enjoyed this bread while visiting Switzerland I am sure you will want to make it yourself.

As an alternative it can be formed into a small or large wreath at Eastertime,the centre later filled with coloured eggs resting on green cress. Or form into chicken or other birds. Children love helping with this.
If you prefer a sweeter dough try adding a little sugar and dried sultanas.

Enjoy being creative.


Is it just plain stupidity?

Yesterday a 12 year old boy was killed while skiing with his parents outside a marked ski run!

It happened in the well known Parsenn area,near Klosters in Switzerland.

How sad for the loss of a young life, how sad that people who don’t understand the mountains can’t take the advice of people who do.

If you want to Ski in Switzerland we have lots of places to do it in.We have probably the best prepared runs in Europe ( a money thing)

We have Nursery Slopes,Blue Runs,Red Runs and Black Runs. If you really want to kill yourself then believe me the black ones are best for the novice skier. They are planned by experts and mountaineers, like the ex Swiss Downhill World Champion Bernhard Russi who still plans the World Cup runs.

But every year there are fools who know better where to ski,and succumb to the call of virgin snow, even after heavy snowfalls with an Avalanche alert like on Sunday.

To me it isn’t being clever,it’s just being downright stupid.

My Little Friend Kobi

Yesterday was Kobis’ Birthday. No that’s not quite true, his Birthday was actually on Monday the 19th, but he celebrated it yesterday because his Agenda was already full.

It was a special Birthday for him and we felt honoured to be invited. You see Kobi is our neighbour and he is now one year old.

Kobi isn’t his proper name of course,his name is Jakob, but somehow it doesn’t fit into these times and he now answers to Kobi for short, or Kobili, as the Swiss like to put li on the end of words to form the diminutive.

Other friends had been invited of his own age group,the youngest was six monthes old and twice as heavy.But it seemed Kobi preferred older friends who would pick his little toys up when he threw them down. He always rewarded them with a joyous squeak,and the smile of a heartbreaker in the making.

It took me back a good thirty years to when Kobis’ Mother and Uncle were sat on the floor at our house picking things up and eating some of our first one year olds’ Birthday Cake.

How time goes by, it seemed like yesterday.

What will the future hold for Kobi.?

Alas,regardless of their doom,

The little victims play!

No sense have they of ills to come,

No care beyond today.

Thomas Gray; 1716-71 -Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eaton College (1747)

Do you want to learn to Ski?

I got my first introduction to the joys of skiing outside of Charring Cross station in London. Invariably one doesn’t live next door to a ski lift so it means transporting whatever you may need with you, and believe me you are going to need a lot.

On that cold February morning I was waiting with a case full of warm clothes for my fellow travellers.

I had seen an ad. in a London evening paper about a holiday in Leysin in Switzerland, organised by an army ski instructor.It was cheap,- and that was the first priority for students like myself,- so I toddled along to the orientation meeting.

We were to travel in a mini bus and stay two weeks at the Club Vagabond,which as I learned later said all.

I happened to be sitting next to a young woman teacher, who unlike the rest of us had her own car and was willing to drive it, as the trip with the mini bus had proved to be very much in demand. Being a nice sort of person who also tends to like comfort I offered to go with her, and it wouldn’t have been England if two Gentleman hadn’t insisted on accompanying us. To protect us from the Heathens en route of course.

So there I was waiting apprehensively for I had never been skiing before.
The car proved to be an old Ford Anglia! There were already three pairs of skis fastened the wrong way round on the roof.

This is the first problem with packing for a ski holiday,the ski and sticks have to be fastened to the car roof so that;

a) It doesn’t take off on the motorway

b) By a sudden stop the points don’t go through the rear window of the vehicle in front.

c) They are not scattered along the way causing devastation without you even realising it.

Nowadays there are of course good ski racks, but they don’t entirely eliminate the problems.

In the boot of the Anglia was of course already the luggage and ski shoes of the other three. How the hell was I supposed to get mine in.

Naturally everything had to come out and we had to figure a way of fitting it all back in again.

This is the second problem when going on a ski holiday, it involves taking a load of stuff with you. This problem increases of course if children are with you. Then you will also need to pack their sledge or (help) sledges,along with everything else from ice skates to diving gear for the indoor swimming pool. My husband drove a stationwagon for years because of winter holidays.

Much later the four of us, plus a guitar,were packed tight in the little Anglia and off to the Continent. We were of course later than scheduled and because of the heavy traffic in the Blackwall tunnel missed the car ferry at Dover and the mini bus which we should have been following to Switzerland. It was the start of quite an adventure.
It was the beginning of my skiing career.

My advice to anybody considering starting too, is, unless you can live with the unexpected, the discomforts, the wet, the cold, the pain and the expense


On Cooking

It’s not that I’m against fast food,sometimes I’ve been very glad of it. But I do have a hate of Macdonalds, especially when I see one in the middle of the finest cities of Europe, not to mention the rest of the world. They usually blend so well with the architecture.

What is worse is that these “restaurants”are completely full of young people from everywhere who are growing up into a world that will not remember the wonderful smell of a home cooked Sunday Dinner( Yes,I mean Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding,with three vegetables and masses of Gravy) not to speak of being able to cook it.

I like cooking-I usually delegate the washing up, so I am more than pleased that so many people are interested in the odd recipe I have included in my Blog.

I hope all young Mothers (or Grandmothers) will be encouraged by some of my recipes to stand in the kitchen and cook with the children.( Don’t worry the kitchen is not that dangerous if you obey the rules,and obeying rules must also be learnt)        Even if it’s only Chocolate Chips as a starter.

Should boys be taught to fight?

Once a week I give English chatting lessons to two young boys aged nine and eleven.
They are most definitely boys and usually find it difficult to sit and make polite conversation when they would rather be out playing football.

I am of course profiting too.I now know all the books of Harry Potter plus the biographies of their characters,and I could take a Masters Degree in the Pirates of the Caribbean. I also bring a fair knowledge of football with me which does higher me in their esteem even though I don’t support the gold black and red.

Afterwards I usually stay a bit and talk to their mother about this and that. A couple of weeks ago she said she always told her sons if they got into a conflict with other boys,never to fight back. I found this rather surprising,but considering both her and her husband grew up in a communist country maybe understandable.

But it did make me think,especially as last week the older boy was beaten up on his way home by a boy two years than him.

Do other mothers think the same?

Having seen the film “An Officer and a Gentleman” at least five times, I personally would see that my sons learnt kick boxing,or should they be turning the other cheek too. Luckily I had daughters so the question didn’t really arise.

Painting outside

We painted outside again yesterday.No ants this time, no wind. Perfect conditions for painting,except that the sun kept hiding behind clouds which made it difficult for me as a beginner to decide what colours I wanted.

He had chosen an idyllic pond for us to paint. We could chose what view of it we wanted to capture-I of course took the view directly in front of the Nature Friends bench.(I was thinking of the ants last week)

Did I really want to paint that subject? Yes . My first priority not being the artistic value, it all looked quite nice to me. Of course that lovely silver birch tree would have to be forfeited, pity, I had had a little experience in painting them. Instead I took the weeping willows that were hanging into the murky water.

Of course I mucked it all up. Willow trees,-probably not the easiest.Murky water,-where’s the reflection when the sun goes in?

I was feeling rather despondent,but at least had pleasure in my onlookers this time.Two small children on their way home from school. They liked painting they said,and didn’t know you could do it outside. Oh what nice colours,what a pretty picture.
We chatted a bit,didn’t disturb me,the work wasn’t going to be a masterpiece anyway.Felt I had done something to encourage children’s art appreciation at least.

What did I do afterwards; went home and downloaded Monet’s” Pond at Montgeron.” – Pity I didn’t look at it before.

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