Moments I like to remember

October 17, 2014

On a hot Summer evening under the roof of his attic apartment. my eldest son was busy preparing a Thai meal to celebrate my birthday. Great concentration for adding the many ingredients that were chosen for  this special and delicious meal. Thanks JB !

collage, Thai foodLast June I finished sewing a picnic quilt. Lots of leftover scraps from previous quilts. I was really happy.

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The problem was that our Summer was so cold and rainy  that picnics were too rare. Fortunately Autumn has started beautifully and warmly. Sooner or later the colorful blanket will be part of a joyful day in the open.DSC00109

Oh, the great moments I spent reading these books during last Spring and Summer ! Not always cheerful stories  but certainly all different and fascinating in many ways, locations, times, styles and characters.

books, Summer 2014

I remember with emotion the outing my family and I made – as well as many cousins – to an unforgettable place in the Alps. 300 hundred years ago a major rockslide hit a small mountain village, killing many of its inhabitants and their cattle, destroying their rough wooden chalets.

Last August a day of remembrance was celebrated up on those mountain pastures where rocks are still covering much of the landscape. “Emotion”, I wrote because this area is where my mother grew up; she and her siblings used to go up there every Summer looking after the family domestic cattle. Those were hard times but “some of the best of my life”, my mother used to say. All day long I thought of her and how she would have loved to be there with us. She certainly was in my heart.

éboulement

On the road to the pastures, we were welcomed by local musicians playing the Alp horn, a typical musical instrument here.DSC00075

Another moment to remember of  this past Summer was my father’s significant birthday ! Having owned a garage  almost all his life, we thought it would be a nice surprise for him to rent an old Londonian taxi (Austin 1970) to drive him to the place where family and friends were waiting to cheering him. He was hugely surprised and absolutely delighted.

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What a great moment too when I was able to pick the first apples – boscop – in the garden ! Not exactly shiny nor smooth, they are nevertheless tasty and just perfect for pies or compotes.DSC00352Guess what other moments I always like to remember ? The adventurous walks Ninio leads me to. Nature in all its forms. Wild most of the time. Not that he refuses to go to my chosen destinations. But his eyes and slower pace tell me : “Now, how about going on exploration to places that smell interesting ?”

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A weekend in Lucerne

February 11, 2013

Let me share with you a few  pictures of a weekend spent in the lovely city of Lucerne (Central Switzerland).

Snow had fallen lightly  bringing a soft touch on the roof of an ancient wood covered bridge, the Chapel’s Bridge. A strange sight to see this touristic city so quiet. The cold month of January did not attract many visitors but I enjoyed visiting Lucerne in Winter.Lucerne, pont 2

The quai along the Reuss river  was almost deserted but for a few silent seagulls.Lucerne, Reuss

I found this old postcard of the “Devil’s Bridge” over the same river (Reuss) but in the mountains, wild,  still untamed, before it reached the bottom of the valley and the lake of Lucerne. The small lower bridge was built in 1707 for people and their mules  having to cross the mountainous gorge. In 1830, a larger one was constructed for the stagecoaches travelling across the Alps. Finally a third bridge and a new road have been built in 1956. Still a very impressive sight!

File:Postcard First and Second Devils Bridge Uri.jpg

Only a few pedestrians, swans and ducks were to be seen along the lake promenade on this freezing Saturday morning. Some of the large and majestic hotels were closed waiting for better days to welcome tourists.

Lucerne, quai

What a totally different atmosphere in the evening ! There was a concert in the prestigious concert hall  of the KKL (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern). A real treat. The musicians of The Festival Strings of Lucerne presented two concertos by J.S.Bach as well as a Bohemian Serenade by A. Dvorak and J. Suk.KKL, 1

Beautiful and warm decor, talented musicians, an evening to remember .KKL, 2

I am hoping you will enjoy a part of the “Serenade” by A. Dvorak, “Tempo di Valse”. The musicians are not the ones I heard in Lucerne though but I love their lively interpretation too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjC2fP1652w

The Carnival fever was already tangible all over the city, here in the main railway station . The celebration was to start on mid-February (right now in fact). Lucerne is well known for his great carnival in my country, as well as Basel.

Lucerne, gare, Carnaval

Lucerne, gare, Carnaval, 2

A few weeks later Carnival has invaded Lucerne. This weekend musicians and the “guggenmusik” groups are playing and dancing in many areas of the city.  Here are two music groups, one in Lucerne, the other in the South of Switzerland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLMtqbkhONg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKYWxwZEYSY

Saying “good-bye” to Lucerne by night from the roof of the KKL concert hall and to our relatives there who made our stay  so very pleasant. Thanks a lot Yves and Christiane.Lucerne, night

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapellbr%C3%BCcke

in a today’s  music hall. In less than a few hours, Johann Strauss’ son Operetta “La Chauve-Souris” (The Bat or Die Fledermaus) will be presented in a totally different auditorium as it was first shown in 1874.

FRI-SON is a self-managed multicultural  complex usually dedicated to all kinds of contemporary music styles. The sounds that you can hear today and maybe the artistic trends of tomorrow.

Little by little these industrial buildings were transformed into the happy looking hall that has welcomed so many musicians and groups from here and abroad.An entrance door  still closed in the afternoon. Tickets for the Strauss’ operetta were sold out for today’s performance. I got some for next week though.A quick visit inside the concert hall: a modern equipment and old posters of previous concerts.

The empty bar that will be crowded and noisy in a few hours.

On my way back, a bus from the Czech Republic had just arrived. The members of the Philharmonic Orchester from Praha were unloading their musical instruments and getting ready for their “première” in “FRI-SON” (one of its meanings is “shiver” in French 😉 )

And now, just for a change and if you feel like it, here is the Ouverture of “The Chauve-Souris” as played by the Vienna Philharmonic, directed by H. von Karajan in 1987.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHF5LP53LZY&feature=related

Times change but music remains !

“Listen to the Banned”

December 10, 2010

December 10 is the International Day for Human Rights.

Every year  and everywhere in the world on this day people, well-known and less so,  try to bring attention to the public about  a sad and  endless list of violations of human rights.

At this precise moment  men, women, children are suffering because of the deliberate cruelty of others. They are suffering because neither their fundamental rights nor their dignity are being respected. They are suffering as innocent victims of wars waged because of some leaders’ greed and intolerance. They are suffering and denied their freedom of speech, thoughts,  religion, sexual orientation, culture. They are suffering because of their very existence that others want to eliminate. The list is long, too long, the pain is intolerable  and the hope to see a liberating light often too weak.

In the recent magazine of Amnesty International, I read about this new CD : “Listen to the Banned”.

“A compilation and a unique musical statement by artists who are united in one single, important issue – the protection of the freedom of musical expression, a freedom many take for granted” but one that is not accepted in many countries. Censorship can be extreme.

In many  countries, musicians are targeted because their songs tell of the frustrations and aspirations of their fellow citizens. Their messages are received even by illiterates and  shared from mouth to ear independently of media and governement control.

I like to think of this day as a day of Hope, for where would we be without hope ?  Hence my small flowers of hope surrounding the Banned  and their music. A wonderful music from various continents but with a single message : freedom of expression.

Music must not be silenced

Deeyah

The following are two out of 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights :

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Here is a link to listen to some of  these banned musicians :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3fVPqvZUvY