Month: August 2017

Empty Words

all the words have been used

I’m just making biscuit-ends

from scraps of pastry

language left behind

don’t want to waste it

can’t say or write

anything new so I

bake it lukewarm and then

gorge on

empty calories

and press up the crumbs

on wet fintertips as

thick clouds of ideas

stifle my mind but

when

they drift

from my mouth

they’re the thin smoke

of banned cigarettes

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A night in the Limmat

Jump-off point at the Frauenbad for the Limmatschwimmen 2017

Green, green, green. It ripples and intensifies as I tumble and float down, ever down towards the bottom. Silvery light winks off my surface as the last of precious air bubbles leave me stranded to my fate, coming to rest on soft, subaquatic mud. Far above me, the constant crack and crash of bodies breaking the surface, churning and frothing as they flail and move. The sunlight pales to shades of clear green-glass up there but down where I now reside, the colours are deep jade and juniper, yellow-brown, kelp, burnt carmine and darkest black-brown.

A wavering blue sky can be seen in the rare moments of calm. Are those clouds? I’m swimming with the fishes but I’m stuck, staring upwards, as they, uncurious glide by. The edge of the pier is a fixed thing, noir wood, grooved and channelled with age and the erosion of the current; weeds and algae both etching away and adding layers; old metal, the blood-tinge of rust and the dull shine of it as the water slops and curls, constant.

Cheerful yellow bodies of blow-up hippopotami smack down and float, accompanied by red buoys of waterproof bags and pale – mostly pale – legs as they kick and drag. The current takes them all away. Occasionally a companion piece makes its way down to me, spinning lazily – a sodden pink sunhat, a ring of keys that could open bank vaults. Maybe. Our real-world value counts for naught now.

Limmatschwimmen 2017 @clairedoble

Eventually, after hours of commotion, the boil and scramble of bodies and spume calms and the white, barnacle-speckled hulls of three boats move away. I’m left here, softly blinking my messages to the fish. As night falls, the light changes, winks off and on, shafts shining through floorboards. I think I hear music, laughter but it’s another world away. I have words to impart but my Barbus companions cannot or will not read them. Later still, a deeper hush falls and the moon dapples softly on liquid contours above.  Asleep still-moving fish float while weeds drape and sway, crustaceans go to work. Cold and quiet, but never quite silent, nor still.

Dawn breaks and it’s overcast: soft grey light barely penetrating the surface. The webbed feet of ducks and swans, an occasional myopic eye searching only the warm upper layers for prey. Sun breaks through, piercing down to us nether-dwellers occasionally on a lucky beam, but not often. I sit and blink, feeling my life’s energy draining away. Rain dimples the meniscus. I think. It’s hard to tell. Almost certainly, all is lost.

But, what’s this, a flippered foot? In a single plunge, her sleek dark shape streaks down to pluck me up, hesitating only to acquire a second prize – a shell-encrusted pair of sunglasses that had made this ground its home for far longer than I. And then I am restored. Heat. Light. A babble of voices. The touch of human fingertips. Warm breath on my skin. Alive!

You see the phone flying up to pass over my head here… !

My smartphone spent a night at the bottom of the Limmat River in central Zurich after I stupidly lost it jumping in for the annual Limmatschwimmen on Saturday. (I wrote about the Limmatschwimmen event last year). The phone has now been restored, fully operational, thanks to the hardy diver-women who work at the Frauenbad.  Vielen Dank! #LoveZurich

#26CANTONS52WEEKS: Graubünden

Caumasee, Graubunden

Canton: Graubünden / Grisons (German/French)

Destination: Caumasee / Lag la Cauma (German/Romansh)

Interesting thing: There’s many interesting things about Graubünden! It’s the biggest canton, area-wise and is where you’ll find almost all the Romansh speakers (Switzerland’s fourth official language).

Special guests: just the family this time

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It was a hot and sunny Sunday when we decided to head to the Caumasee. Unfortunately this was not one of our better-planned outings and was all a bit last minute. It was also about a two-hour drive, so we didn’t get there until after noon and all the parking spots were taken! Luckily Himself had a brainwave and remembered that he’d once hiked to the lake from nearby Laax, where we found a half-empty car park, phew.

After a quick lunch of alpine fries in the café of Prau la Selva sport centre, we walked 20 minutes to the Caumasee. It was worth the extra journey, too, because we got to pass through some lovely forest and past the beautiful Lag Tuleritg lake on the way. (FYI – the area around here is called Flims, not to be confused with Flums, which we visited the following week!)

The Caumasee itself was just like the pictures. I didn’t take too many but you can see more on the Caumasee webpage. The water was really deep blue-green like you see, even close up – almost viscous: like blue paint-water. I swam out to the island in the centre, then halfway back to jump off the diving board. Just as I was heading into shore, I realised it had clouded over, the first few raindrops fell and the mass exodus had begun before I even got back to our stuff.

We had a rather wet and wild walk back up to the Laax carpark, but luckily the forest canopy protected us somewhat. We passed by the cool-looking Hochseilpark (high rope course), which seems like a fun activity to explore once the kids are a bit older.

There’s plenty more in Graubünden beyond the Caumasee (although Cauma is surely one of the most gorgeous lakes in a country of stunning lakes!) We had a  trip to Davos last year and the capital city of Chur is also nice, not to mention the famous glitz of St Moritz!

 

Cantons visited / to go so far. 

Aargau

Appenzell Ausserrhoden

Appenzell Innerrhoden

Basel-Landschaft

Basel-Stadt

Bern *

Fribourg

Geneva

Glarus

Graubünden

Jura

Luzern

Neuchâtel

Nidwalden

Obwalden

Schaffhausen

Schwyz

Solothurn

St. Gallen

Thurgau

Ticino

Uri

Valais

Vaud

Zug

Zürich

 

*I haven’t written this up yet!

Freedom

Photo by Michael (Mikey) on Unsplash

Duterte, Trump, May, Putin…

feels like the bullies

are winning the day

they put out

dirty plays

get away with it all

the rhetoric says

counter hate with love

but I’m not sure it’s working,

guys?

the best advice: just believe in yourself!

but aren’t these leaders

the epitome of that?

if the meek shall inherit the earth

when will that be

I’m busy Tuesday… but otherwise

I’m free?

Intergenerational warfare

Photo by Henry Hustava on Unsplash

 

so I was thinking about

how the Millennials, Xennials, Xers

and whoever comes nexters

were fighting with the Boomers

or is that just in Australia

and I wondered if

it was a media beat-up

a political stunt

to distract

from the real issues of inequality

and then I thought

or

is it as old as time

for the younger gen

to fight

against the ancient ones

wanting to usurp and change?

Xennial warrior princess

 

the way we circled them

we

empowered women of the 90s

not spice girls, not riot grrls, just us

yet to realise our mistakes

our eyes

greedy for a piece

our price

success

were they ever afraid

did they even notice?

seducing

our prey

as we slipped through the net

of history

fishnet-clad wrists

slicing away

traces kicked over

bottles smashed

tracing an ankh – life!

into teenage behinds

in black

we didn’t know to be afraid

relieved or excited

only much later

thought of the danger

nothing bad happened

we got away

with…

(shhh)

 

Apparently we’re called Xennials now – us people born between 1977 and 1983. Seems to fit with the generation who would have watched a certain TV show about a feisty fighting princess …  Another friend called us the ‘last tactile generation’ – I kinda liked that.