It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to one of the worlds most beautiful countries. It’s time for a little bit of Switzerland. So while we are wandering amongst The Alps let’s consider a few random facts about this wonderful country.
Switzerland is one of the main filming locations for Bollywood movies,
Einstein’s most famous equation about Energy was developed while he lived here,
Guess where the Swiss Army Knife was invented…..
It has the largest nuclear shelter in the world,
The majority of the world’s luxury watches come from Switzerland,
It has four national languages. Romansch, German, French and Italian,
Most transport announcements are also made in English,
It has its priorities right. Education is really well funded and teachers are well paid.
It’s original name was Helvetia,
The country does not have an official animal. Many think it is the bear but actually if you spend anytime here then you will quickly realise that it should be the Cow,
Monte Rosa is its highest mountain at 15203ft,
Switzerland has many laws protecting animals. Dogs can eat in restaurants. Social animals must be kept in pairs. If one of the pair dies you must replace it. This applies to small animals like Guinea Pigs,
Switzerland is always in the top 3 countries for life expectancy,
The worlds largest particle physics laboratory lies beneath Switzerland,
The Swiss love chocolate. They eat over 11 kilos of chocolate per person each year. Yet they have the least obese population in the whole of Europe,
The final random fact. Many believe that Scotland is the home of golf. Wrong. It’s Switzerland.
I have given the weather a hard time recently. A few too many rainy shots through the window. So let’s correct the balance. This is today through the window.
Blue skies, very warm but with a Yorkshire twist. Blowing a gale. The perfect weather for standing on flimsy plastic chairs looking like a star from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Only joking, I suspect my bruised rump would seriously object.
We’ve been doing a little routine which does help Hawklad put things into perspective. It’s so easy for him to get overwhelmed with the negative. I wonder who else that could apply to….. Basically it involves an empty sweet jar and some brightly coloured sweets. Here Skittles or Smarties work well.
Notice I went for the old Rowntree’s version, rather than Nestle. One day will tell you why. Anyway the secret is to pick a colour which is to represent good things and a colour to represent bad things. Then every time something happens Hawklad decides if it is good or bad. He then picks the appropriate colour sweet. The sweet then goes into the jar. Over time it’s an easy way to see what happens more, good or bad stuff. Thankfully for Hawklad it is usually a jar filled largely with good things. That would be mainly a blue colour then – assuming we can get blue sweets. Depending on who you listen to, blue colouring is either dangerous or difficult to source naturally. This little technique has helped Hawklad. Basically it shows him that yes bad stuff happens but actually more good stuff is out there. You also get to eat the sweets after the experimenthas finished.
It’s strange that for such a clever little technique that works, I have never tried it on me. Someone who does have to fight negative thoughts. Someone who can see the world in a dark light. So here goes. This weekend this little muppet with his big bruised posterior is going to try this. Let’s see what happens and what it tells me about life.
I remember my parents telling me that – ‘You were born in Yorkshire not in England.’ Rather sums up many of the views round here. We like to call it the People’s Republic of The White Rose. Surely it’s time for our county and our neighbours Lancashire to put two fingers up to Johnson in London.
So if Yorkshire did go it’s own way what could the world expect. Apart from weaponised Rhubard. Well as a taste, let’s see what Yorkshire has given to the world already…..
Wensleydale Cheese (Wallace & Gromits favourite)
The Bronte Sisters
The first ever full sized glider (50 years before the Wright Brothers)
The worlds loudest actor – Brian Blessed
The current Dr Who
Captain of the Star Trek Enterprise and the Head of the X-Men
And then we come to the really important stuff. The sweets…
Terry’s Chocolate Orange
After 8 Mints
See Yorkshire can be a driving force for good. A beacon of hope and rain. A place lost in time. Where chocolate is still seen as a staple food. Up the Great Republic.
The news is either full of stories about virus doom or virus induced panic buying. I kinda miss the ‘Britain has gone brexit bonkers’ stories now. So with the images of empty shop shelves, I ventured out to the supermarket with a certain amount of trepidation. My extensive survival prep shopping list was a loaf of bread, a pack of Curly Wurlies, a bottle of milk and tea. That will surely tide us through the end of days.
I arrived at 8.40am which normally ensures that I have the shop to myself apart from the three shop assistants. Not this morning. The car park was heaving. Is it the day before Christmas? Inside was not much better. Rammed with shoppers. Not seen a crowd like this since the ‘Everything for a Pound’ Store had a sale.
It was bizarre watching the frantic shopping. Trolleys rammed full. So many seemingly sensible people falling into the panic buying madness. But this was a very Yorkshire panic. People still had time amongst the panic to stop and talk about the weather. In other parts of the country items like toilet paper, hand gel and paracetamol tablets have been stripped as if consumed by a plague of locusts. Here those items were still well stocked. In fact I didn’t see anyone buying them. No the items of panic choice here were different
The saver pack of soap bars (4 for a £1)
Tins of mushy peas (one chap had a basket filled with just these)
Beer, lager and wine.
I have to say that if I was going to panic buy I would rather stock up on £100 worth of beer and chocolate rather than 50 rolls of bog paper.
My hand basket was easily filled with my items until I arrived at the tea section. No Yorkshire Tea. No pigging Yorkshire Tea. Stripped bare. Oh the humanity. I had to buy another brand. Bloody philistines. The virus crisis is so much worse than I ever imagined. Stand by your pitchforks people.
Still not what you would call postcard Christmas weather yet. This is lunchtime. Having said that how often do we get the crispy white stuff at Christmas anyway in North Yorkshire. In the 17 years we have lived here I can only remember one White Christmas. However I can remember many like the photo above.
When I was a kid I remember one really heavy snow Christmas Day. I remember sinking to my belly and my wellies filling up with crisp snow. Can also remember Dad going out before lunch to join a number of other men trying to clear the footpath. He told me it was so that the kids could get to school. Strange as the school was shut for another week. It was also strange that the cleared path went in the opposite direction to my school. Bizarrely the men stopped when they reached the pub. Can’t think why.
Our son’s school has now broken up for Christmas. So if it does snow I won’t need to worry about clearing a path towards it. One thing I do need to worry about is another little tradition of ours. How to keep the pets off the Christmas Tree.
The cat likes to try and sleep in it’s branches.
“He is a very big boy, our biggest cat”
That is how his Vet described him. So he doesn’t make the best tree climber. We usually find the tree toppled over with a slightly confused cat underneath it. Then we have the mad dog. Captain Chaos loves a tree. So much so that he likes to try and relocate it to his dog bed. This normally results in the tree toppled over which makes it so much easier for the mutt to pull it. Lord knows what Team Gerbil would do to it.
So my chair has to be relocated next to the tree. So I can sit and basically fight off unwarranted pet tree attention. It’s only a matter of time before the tree is toppled over and I am underneath it. Bet I would get the blame for that. That thought brings a smile. When I was 5 or 6 my family would put a real tree up in the living room. The family comprised mum and dad, my brother, three sisters and a very big dog. A dog who once bit the postman and then bit the local bobby (policeman) who came to ask dad to better control his pet. The tree would be filled to the brim with decorations. Prize of place on the tree would be these little silver paper wrapped chocolates. Either in the shape of Santa or an Elf. From Christmas Day onwards we were allowed to have one chocolate decoration a day. But this particular Christmas someone helped themselves to a decoration early. Three days in a row. Unbelievably I got blamed for it. Then on Christmas day the real culprit was caught in the act. The dog. I’m still waiting for my apology.
***WP is going into awkward mode again. Doing things like switching off comment boxes and stopping me liking other blogger posts. Normal service will be resumed when WP allows me to***
It’s Swiss Sunday. Which means it’s Sunday and it’s time to indulge in a bit of Switzerland.
When my partner first took me to Switzerland I’m not sure what I was expecting. Mountains definitely. A beautiful country definitely. Brilliant transport without a doubt. Chocolate. Much Swiss cheese – probably. Yodelling – hopefully. Hardly any water – surely as it’s landlocked.
Now I can confirm it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It has mountains – lots of them. The transport is beyond precise. It is Chocolate Heaven. Swiss Cheese is very nice. Yodelling does happen but Swiss Culture is so varied and puts our culture to shame. It’s still treasured.
But I was hideously wrong on the water assumption.
If water is your thing then Switzerland is perfect. Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Rapids, Streams. All stunning. All with a unique Alpine Colour and Sound.
Lakes and mountains are the perfect combination.
One warning. The alpine water can be on the chilly side. Brace yourself.
For us the perfect Sunday morning was a Swiss one. Maybe I should get sponsored by the Switzerland Tourist Board – any free bars of Toblerone would be happily received ….. in my dreams. Suspect that the Visit Yorkshire Team wouldn’t even give us a free stick of rhubarb.
A leisurely breakfast of hot chocolate, caffeine, freshly made bread, butter, various cheeses, fruit and birchermuesli. Sat by the lake looking at the Alps.
Then a short walk to the boat stop and wait for the precision perfect boat to arrive. Sometimes it’s a stunning Steam Boat.
Then sit and watch the world go by for 2 hours. Stunning views. An early wine or fresh peppermint tea. Maybe even some Swiss choir signing. Certainly some chocolate.