Thursday, December 15, 2011

Note to self....


Despite running Details December, I'm a shocker for remembering to take my camera and, if I do, actually having the grey matter warmed up enough to get me to use the damn thing.

Due to this affliction, I can't show you any pictorial evidence of:

Sapphire and I taking the number 14 tram to get her catheter changed at hospital last Friday during the Escalade Festivale. In 1602, Geneva successfully defended itself from an attack by the Duke of Savoy's army. One housewife apparently poured a cauldron of boiling hot vege soup onto a soldier, not only killing him but helping to raise the alarm. Supermarkets now sell chocolate marmites (cauldrons, not jars of the putrid pommy paste) filled with marzipan fruits and vegetables.

Anyhooo, Sapphire was too crook for us to consider venturing into the Old Town to see the races or pageantry and we had no idea that most children, high school kids and uni students wear any sort of fancy dress and have a muck up in the streets. I guess we should have twigged when we walked down our street and saw endless patches of white flour and hundreds of smashed eggs.

On the tram, as it paused to wait for the lights to change at Servette, we were accosted by several hundred people all dressed in deranged medical outfits. Dafalgin packs (think Panadol), drops of blood, creepy surgeons and even, as Sapph noticed, some walking along holding IV drips. Apart from banging on our windows and generally whooping with vodka-assisted joy, they covered the tram in shaving cream.

We enjoyed a rather heady scent of Palmolive shower-freshness before getting off at the hospital and looked back to see the tram head up to Carouge, festooned with white horizontal stripes and love hearts that were starting to drip down the sides. Accompanying us was a girl dressed up as a Rubik's cube, several cow boys, a Minecraft character, two smurfettes and a bloke who'd put so much effort into his spaceman costume that he'd forgotten to make eye holes and had to grope his way down the street. No camera, sorry.

I also can't show you the two Fat French Ladies we saw getting on a single scooter at Balexert shopping centre. It was a hot September day, and we were on the number 53 bus to Roopa's house for French lessons.

Fat Lady One had a navy blue tent dress with with hibiscus flowers on the front which she'd accessorised with hot pink Ray bans. Fat Lady Two had a similar tent dress featuring a modern art motif of oranges and lemons and was struggling to hoik her ham-hock leg over the back seat, dropping her bag of shopping in the process. Ray bans bent over to help her pick them up, making the poor little bike topple over precariously. It was quite a sight and one that had the other passengers on the bus transfixed as well.

Sadly, the Cow Queen of Gruyere also was witnessed but not photographed by yours dumbly truly. When they leave their hilly pastures and come down to the lower slopes and the barns for winter, it is a cause for celebration in many farms and small villages.

We were at the nearby Gruyeres Chateau and heard many clanking of cow bells. That was all well and good; but it was the Queen Cow; the one selected for her outstanding beauty and magnificence who stood out as she munched the sweet green grass a few hundred metres away.

Unlike her bovine budettes she didn't just have a largish bell around her neck, oh no. She wore a crown. This elaborate device held several rows of brass bells tied with many coloured ribbons with a very large and luxuriant bouquet of flowers on the top. The entire contraption was fastened around her collar and head and each time she dipped down to eat some grass she set off a jinga-jinga-jingling that was heard all over the valley.

The poor thing was probably deaf and crazed by dinner time but yes, she did look pretty.

So, sorry about that. But I do have -

Some cows that were in the Miss Congeniality and Most Punctual categories:

St Bernard souvenir kitchen towels that would be easy to pop into the post for Christmas presents:

A groovy tree trunk that still thinks that cargo camouflage trousers are fashionable:

A Meditation Service that perhaps isn't as optimistic as it should be:

And, finally, Sapphire and myself at the top of Mont Blanc in July: the height of Switzerland's summer. A blizzard had set in so we ended up seeing a lot of 'blanc' and absolutely no 'mont'.

Still, it's amazing what a good mug of hot chocolate will do.


The Elephant's Child said...

Yay for hot chocolate, the curer of a multitude of ills. I have to ask though, catheter or cannula? I understand that the former goes into intimate bits to drain fluids, and the later into veins, usually but not always in the arm (at the expense of unbruised veins) to add things - usually antibiotics. I keep wincing. Neither are good, but the catheter crosses my eyes every time I see it. Or do the French use the words interchangeably? And all power to the stoic Sapph. May she continue her road to recovery.

And a camera is required. How else are your faithful (and devoted) readers to see what you are seeing.

Baino said...

Aight, I admit I'm skimming because you've posted so much since my last visit. Do love the photos accompanying your usual entertaining dialogue though. Saphire looks a little more perky, is she recovering? I remember them wintering cows in Switzerland in Malters, they're literally stabled adjacent to the kitchens! Phew

Kath Lockett said...

EC, it must be 'cannula' then, but everyone here calls it 'catheter. ' It's antibiotics they're adding - fourth type tried and hopefully the successful type.

Baino, there are a lot of farmhouses that show how the cows reside on the ground floor and the families on the first floor - that's a lot of pong to endure for extra warmth!

River said...

Hot chocolate fixes everything. Absolutely everything!
The cows coming down from the hills to winter in the barns reminded me of Heidi. When I was much, much younger, I loved that story so much, I wore out three copies of the book from re-re-reading.
Yes, pleae, do take your camera a'wandering more often.

The Elephant's Child said...

So it was the French use of language which was causing me discomfort. Fingers and toes crossed for the fourth time lucky for Sapph.

Vanessa said...

Sadly my iphone has become my go to camera. I have taken to grabbing the cumbersome camera for school concerts and the like, only to find I have left the five camera cards we own at home. Frustrating!

Andrew said...

In a grumpy mood after just arriving home from work, and you made me laugh. Nigella made Marmite flavoured pasta the other night. Apparently all kids love it. Yuk.

wilbo43 said...

My wife forwarded your blog to me. I've just been reading the ordeal Sapphire has gone through, its incredible but not at all surprising to me. As a Swiss citizen living in Australia I am well aware of the shortcomings of the Swiss medical profession. Whenever we travel to Switzerland, we always take out heavy insurance in case one of us falls ill so we can be medivaced back to Australia. As a young man I worked in a Swiss hospital. I've seen too many 'mistakes' there. I hope your daughter will get well real soon.

diane b said...

Your words are so descriptive that you hardly need a camera but from now on keep it in your handbag/pocket. The Swiss have some crazy celebrations especially in Basel.

FruitCake said...

Diane B is right - your writing is as good as a photo album. Hope Sapph is feeling a little better every day.

Kath Lockett said...

I'll try, River. December Details is sort of about sifting through the photos I *have* remembered to take and explaining why I took them.

Thanks again, EC. Sebastian, the midday nurse said today, "After Friday, we wait for good news for you, yes?". Here's hoping that each day after the IV gets easier and easier for her.

It's a pleasure to be of service to you, Andrew. Marmite pasta just sounds like it would be dark in colour and very salty to eat - posher beef jerky perhaps?

Hi Wilbo43 - thanks for the advice. LC gets UN health insurance, so paying the bills up-front has been frightening and bank-balance-emptying, but we hope to get 70% of it back in the new year.

I loved Basel, Diane but wasn't around for any crazy celebrations. Hopefully next time.

Thanks Fruitcake - that sounds like an insult when I use your 'name' but I mean it in the nicest possible way. :)

Hannah said...

You tease! I got so excited upon raeding "Mont Blanc", because that's one of my favourite desserts of all time.


Kath Lockett said...

I never knew that there was a dessert called Mont Blanc, Hannah....?