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

Archive for the ‘Switzerland’ Category

Tea Drinking Hens

Living and working in Switzerland,wasn’t so easy in the beginning.The cultural differences between the swinging city of London in the late sixties, and a farming village in Switzerland,even though only twenty miles from Zürich were enormous.

It was my Mother-in-Law, probably taking pity on me, who told me I wasn’t the only English speaking woman there,and she gave me her address. That was how I first came to meet the. witty Scots girl,with a light Glaswegian accent, and was introduced to the “Hens”.

More than thirty years of water has passed under the village bridge since then.The village is now a small town,my friend hasn’t lost her Scots accent,and I still go every two weeks to a meeting of the “Hens”

Thirty years ago it was where lost souls met.Someplace where homesick, or otherwise, ex pat women of English mother tongue living in and around Zürich could rant on without their husbands hearing about their opinion of life in Switzerland,their Mothers-in-Law,their children and if need be even their husbands.

It was a little piece of our Homeland,served with a strong cup of tea and a slice of cake.

The club meetings saved many a visit to the psychologist,and many a marriage.

We were never more than fifteen,because we took turns in meeting at each others’ houses. More members would not only have posed seating problems at some places,it would also have been too damned noisy. Thus the name.

Three members left and went back to America, Canada,and Australia. One was terminally ill and went home to England. Two rowed with us about something long forgotten and left the pen.

There have been three divorces,and three re marriages.

The rest of us,apart from have been meeting every second Wednesday in the month for over thirty years. We have had three new members.

We have all grown old together.

Conversation has taken a different turn. We don’t rant anymore.

Husbands? We have learned to live with them, and even invite them to a get together twice a year. I can almost say the men are freinds among themselves now too.

Everyone seems to be suffering from some medical disorder which is always a good topic,the children are fully fledged,the in-laws few in number.

In our hearts we might like to go “Home”,but none of us would take the step now. Our countries have changed too.

Last week a hairdresser member brought along a lot wigs for us to try, just to see if we wanted to accept our roots so to speak, or at least see ourselves in another colour.

If laughter is medicine we certainly took an overdose on Wednesday.

I’ll miss them all in Thailand.

Olympic Medals and Chinese Lesson 5

Compared with the USA or China it’s nothing, but our little country has never been so successful in an Olympic Games since 1952,then Swiss athletes also won three medals in one day.

Gold for Fabian Cancellara, congratulations to the fastest man on a bike.

It almost makes me want to forgive the Kings of the Road here who can’t obey a traffic rule the moment they get their helmets on and their noses down.

Congratulations to Karin Thürig,also on a bike, and Sergei Aschwanden,bronze in believe it or not Judo.

And to all the other Athletes who have had their labours crowned, especially Michael Phelps who is phenomenal. Our neighbours up north are already murmuring that it gives food for thought. But then the days of the old DDR are long gone.

I’m just hoping that Roger Federer will win too,not so we have another medal, but because he’s one of the nicest people around and he deserves it.

Now if you want to say it in Chinese;

Zhu he Fabian,Karin,Sergei,Michael,….huo de jiang pai (tschoo hey F.K.S.M.hoo-o de chiang pie)

We congratulate…….to the medal.

Are VIPS So Important?

We all know the famous line from George Orwells book Animal Farm;

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others

and I wonder why we go along with this.

Don’t misunderstand me,I was never a Marxist,Trotskyist,communist or any other gender of an “ist”, but I would support an ideology where the people of the world could be more equal, whether it be with respect,freedom,or wealth.

But I know that is just a dream,and we have to live with the fact that George Orwell was right.

Nowadays these more equal people are known as V.I.P.’s or “very important persons” But what is so very important about them and what right do they have to so much priority?

Sometimes this status doesn’t always work,like last week when the security officials at a Russias’ St Petersburg Airport didn’t care a hoot for the diplomatic status of Doris Leuthard, Switzerland’s Economic Minister. She was still made to remove her shoes and submit to being frisked. Which of course held the flight up for an hour while the diplomatic phones ran themselves hot,and the likes of you and I could wait on board.

Or the arrest of Hannibal Gaddaffi, the son of Libyas head of state, and his pregnant wife in Geneva on Tuesday. They were accused of mishandling two of their servants in the hotel where they were staying. Two days later they were released after paying a caution.(Can’t keep such a large sum in my head). Libya has retaliated of course by arresting two Swiss who were working there,and threatening to turn off their oil supply to Switzerland. Half of our crude oil is imported from Libya, so the outcome will be interesting.

May be one consolation for not being a V.I.P: can be found in the words of the playwright Terence Rattigan 1911-77

You can be in the Horseguards and still be common dear”

Seperate Tables (1954)

Summertime

School is out.The longed for school summer holidays can begin and families with children can pack their bags and head for the southern borders,or the next airport if they are lucky.

You won’t find Swiss in Switzerland at this time of year unless they are over fifty. The rest have accepted the never ending check in queues,or twenty kilometer long traffic pile up, north of the Gotthard Tunnel to get to the sun, and the sea.

They are almost like baby turtles, that know when it’s time to hatch out from their eggs in the sand and head in unison for the water.

The Rest,foreigners workers or otherwise, who can’t afford the drive home to the countries of South Eastern Europe remain,as do the refugees,the old and the insane. Plus of course Tourists who don’t know any better.

Why,the mass Exodus from this beautiful country.? Because when the sun shines here in Summer it is hot, and I mean over 30°C.The polluted air from Northern Italy, Germany or France is blown over to us, where it gets caught in this bucket surrounded by mountains. Breathing especially for people with respiratory problems isn’t fun.

On shop doors,office entrances,restaurants and anything else that employs people, notices are hung,”Closed for the annual holiday”. So you don’t have to have a lot of plans.

But one thing of course should be wonderful.With so many people out of the country,the roads must be less congested and driving easy . Don’t you believe it ,one section of the people here don’t take holiday.The road repairers. (mostly foreign workers)

It doesn’t matter where you stick your pin in the map of Switzerland, you can be sure that all roads in that area will be under repair, between now and the middle of September.Getting from A to B is an Odyssey,and Satellite Navigation Systems have decided to join the others.

Enjoy your holidays, and welcome if you are coming over.

Kris

I lost my heart again last night.

He stood,just a few feet in front of me,dressed in black,plucked his guitar and said, rather than sang in a voice that left no woman doubting that this was a real man;

“Take the ribbon from your hair”

Kris Kristofferson,the All American Rebel,sang at the Zürich Summer Festival,”Live at Sunset” last night and I was lucky enough to be able to sit in the middle of the front row.

It was as though he was singing just for me.

He was 72 last month,and he is still looking for freedom.

After “Me and Bobby Mc Gee” the world knew who he was,and he is still there.

Many have coveted his songs,but the chords, and the stanza are so well knitted that the songs are more difficult to interpret than they seem.

Maybe his voice hasn’t got the fullness that it used to have,and his guitar playing didn’t stick to the rules,but then one of the fingers of his right hand was bleeding enough for us to see just after the interval.

He passed off the weaknesses ,with his old charm and humour.Even stated ,when he repeatedly had to pick up a handkerchief, that he thought we were paying a lot of money “To watch an old fart blow his nose”

 

But he can still write songs,maybe I should say he can still write poems for the simple man, poetry that gets his message across. He should be able to,he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University and studied Literature at Merton College. During his time with the US Airforce they wanted him to teach the subject at West Point Military Academy.But Kris is the pacifist son of a General and it was 1965.

And yesterday evening, so many years after Janis Joplin sang “Me and Bobby McGee” his followers in Zürich still love him.

He says he wants to compose and sing until they shovel dirt on his coffin.

He also knows what words he wants chiseled on his grave stone,- from colleague Leonard Cohen,

” Like a bird on a wire,

 like a drunk in a midnight choir,

 I have tried in my way to be free”

Will Roger Federer win in in his Garden?

Wimbledon’s grass is definitely his,but I can’t watch the match this afternoon for I have the nasty feeling Roger won’t win. Not that I don’t want Rafa Nadal to be head gardner,he has tried long enough,I just would have liked Federer to have won Roland Garros,then he could have packed his his bags and called it a day.

He is probably the greatest tennis player ever, and I would like him to go when he is still at the top.

Sorry Roger.

Maybe I’ll just go and switch the TV on after all.

Euro 2008:A Woman’s View

I don’t really want to to be a prophet on the outcome of the Euro 2008.

Now that Switzerland has gone,at least with her head held high after the 2:0 win over Portugal yesterday (I won’t shout of course about the missing 8 best players in the Portugese team) I don’t really care who wins.

That isn’t perfectly true,there are a few countries left that I definately don’t want to win.

To save any of your feelings I won’t mention them here.

I am a bit fickle,so Croatia isn’t my favourite anymore,and I am in the process of looking out an old Orange shirt from the back of the cupboard.

For me it’s got to be Holland. They still play Football like I remember it,and I remember the World Cup Final England vs. Germany in 1965,and I hope the Oranje are unbeatable.

I will of course watch the match tonight,when our neighbours and co-hosts of the 2008, Austria play Germany.

We will take everything back about what we say about them in Winter,and they will be our friends for ever if they can send Deutschland home.

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