Tag Archives: Family

Leadership hustings and being away

In Germany’s Black Forest for my grandfathers 90th.

Am having issues with moving about for two reasons all of which relate to one event – Tuesday football astro turf..
It did not go well-we lost and I was confronted with something I knew but has cast a kindly eye over… 14 months since last game and even longer since any concerted activity occurred.. It’s been longer since I mustered the capacity to run.

In short we lost and I barley mustered the ability to overcome gravity let alone the opposition an outcome wholly rational but worse than I’d falsely allowed myself to envisage.

As a result I was immobile and throwing myself at things in desperation, this meant sliding and sliding on astro means a certain kind of inideal skin friction/burn, so my right leg now has as adhesive link to my trousers.
Other than that all other parts of my person that showed no immediate negative response to being asked to remain unideally stationary have now opted to seize up (or confess ill found discomfort at movements) most belatedly.

My 90 year old grandfather whose birthday I’m in Germany to celebrate cuts a far more nimble figure than I.
Good for him perhaps and yes but beyond that surley an opportunity if ever there were one.

Lake Black Forest Titisee Black Forst Titisee Germany Black Forest Black Forest House Chalet Titsee Black Forst Shore Black Forest Titsee Black Forst Town Black Forest Germany Zurich Limmat City TV Greek Crisis

Right now a kick about has been arranged for Monday and a recovery time of 5 days is looking precarious let alone the knowledge of what’s to greet me out there on the turf.

It’s cold the water in the black forest lake where we’re staying, motivated by incontrovertible proof, at least and I hope not, in the immediate term, I’d made the effort to partake in some minimal swimming – it was so not warm.

Meanwhile the topic of trident and nuclear weapons went and popped up at the Labour Party leadership candidate hustings had remained in some guise within the subsequent thoughts.
Regardless of your view the answers coming back seemed largely designed to appear like real leadership candidates and in no way deal with the query – reflecting back on this retrospectively it became odder that we should be deemed to be looking for irrationality or dishonesty in our leaders because one or the other was all but certainly at play.
Military spokespeople have often enough distanced themselves from trident for us to know by now it’s a political tool not a military one. Talk of an unstable world while true seems a given, while specific mention of religion utilising extremist groups in this context is little short of ridiculous. As if any military leaders are wondering into the MoD with s plan for dealing with these groups by dispatching the irradiating all incinerating solution of an atomic bomb.
Perhaps it has a relationship to some international obligations or to our presence on some important international groups but then, just say so.

What adds to the mix is that not one of them would ever make the argument that domestic weapon inflation is any way to make anyone more secure. The idea of giving guns to our police to protect against knives, then bigger guns to protect against smaller guns is an argument that was lost to all who believe in the rule of law, some time ago.
Within an international society then how does it serve a long term security interest to have ownership of things such as these, tethered like a golden key to exclusive international clubs, building a political rational for others to pursue them.. Investing in mutually assured distraction in the name of safety, whatever the short term nuisance ultimate surely that’s a nonsense, but it is the position of the responsible statesman. To profess a moral principled position to pursue s belief is not befitting of a countries CEO, yet there ought surely to be more to public leadership than the short term pragmatism that is sought in the pursuit of profit within private enterprise.

Itv decided to followup the uneventful but quietly interesting hustings with an all but entirely fictitious story about audience backlashes and candidate booing. There had been so little ranker between anyone present that it seemed they had opted to invent the narrative. This was a surprise as I somewhat naively had held the view that by and large media coverage was factual if perhaps bias rather than founded upon the need to regale and entertain the readership with fanciful works of fiction. The place had been full of TV cameras so I looked for the supporting footage of what I’d missed, it was understandably absent.
No dragons were harmed in the making of this leadership hustings.

Right about now – back in the Black Forest everyone’s wondered off the few meters back into the town to circulate amongst the shops. Half asleep lazy and never shop inclined I stayed behind in a bemused state with half an eye to spending the last hour back by the lakeside, I even left the hotel momentarily before heading back for those ‘just in case’ swimming trunks and towel. Though on leaving I was distracted one more time by the idea of the pool, there’s one here somewhere, there are signs to it…. Surely with less hostile temperatures to contend with and as yet not even visited .. So it was to there I go, and on the patio outside it that I now mooch about – life should be spent in the pursuit of activities and then resting from the effort of those activities.

I have done no activities beside mildly over indulging in breakfast time and it would appear am most eager to rest up after it.

I am here though for the pool… Remember the pool … Oh the effort, the sun is out and the lieing down so restful like – wondrous mooching and it’s easy sink hole ways .. Of your arse boy … You can do it


Things to do in Zurich & If Switzerland did

If Switzerland did right wing isolationist parties they’d probably be the best backward looking, nostalgic fictionalising outsider fearing, political groups in the world

Sadly they almost certainly do
Unfortunately they have taken the ukip naming convention as a guide and named themselves CHIp – there should be chips party and by stereotypical rights it should maybe be in my other ancestral home of Glasgow but no need to be overly demanding.

There isn’t vast amounts happening for me right now in Zurich but come a time of finer weather the opportunities improve.
Lake Zurich is 30km long, it is not wide and a round trip probably means a cycle trip of about 65km or so.
Cycles can be picked up for hire for free with a deposit and an ID throughout the spring and summer from assorted locations, though they do run out of supplies at times.

At the other end is the old looking and much smaller town of Rapperswil. For those not so cycle inclined it connected by train but more interestingly by boat.
The boats use the same tickets as trams, buses and trains.
Admittedly this rather stretches Zurich but still .. On the south side of lake Zurich is alpamare a swimming leisure complex with agencies pool, slides, more slides, outdoor wild river rapids pool, sulphur pool and heated under water music pools and that’s going back the many years since last I got there – it’s a lot better than i make it sound and I’m sure it will only have gotten better, for the young or young of spirit. Maybe not for the older – regardless of inner age but that may be untrue.


Here abouts there is also a youth hostel and up in the hills is hoch ybrig – a little skiing area well within the limited commute circumstance of Zurich, where I learnt to ski, such as k have as a small person and worth a weekends visit.

In summer there are many places to stop off and swim in the lake. Some sun, ice cream and a cool off in the lake, I don’t do it justice.

Returning Zurich itself the Limmat river and its canals offer swimming with currents to overrating locals & random visitors alike.
Overlooking Zurich is Üetliberg, a hill that sometimes gets a white cap in winter and on a good winters day can be sledged down and trained back up – it’s a decent old run down.
In the summer you have the views all around and off Zurich from up there and some wondering around in hilly woodland opportunities.
There are also cycle path and a bmx off road track for adventurous cyclists to head down.

For people with little regard for interesting activities there are the extensive array of high priced brand shops in the city center along with some other genuine shops selling relatively normal stuff at swiss – oh my go is that the exchange rate – prices.

On the north side of the Limmat river in the town centre is the old town area – students and post work collectives congregate here among restaurants, bars, cafe and other assorted places.
The ‘day pass’ for public transport does not cover you past the witching hours – (so for those errant minded enough to choose to remain out when all fair minded, would certainly be home preparing for Tomorrows 6am start, through the medium of sleep) – they will need to pay a supplementary fare. They dont operate to standard day routes and the drivers seem quite unclear on the network being operated themselves, so it’s best to know what number is going your way and from where before hand.

Zurich – feb 2015

One of the first things to come to mind as I wondered around Munich was oh my how quiet this city is. It’s 11am local time and I’ve arrive in Zurich, there is the frequent rumble of tyres on road and light whirling of engines, there are the planes over head but the most noticeable thing again Is how quite it is, how sparsely populated the station was and how light everything feels, like Munich.
Building Zurich oerlikon

Hoengg Zurich
This is probably not true however, it’s is the false impression caused by a relative view. It is not quiet in Zurich or Munich, it’s rammed, noisy sensory overload of London that stand most places in such stark contrast.
Having lived in London for around 3 years I moved to Liverpool briefly – only a little time in i returned to ealing the area id lived in and was struck back with the wall of people, the bustle and sheer ant heapness of it all.

I really like London – as a child I did not but since my time working in Westminster that mind was changed. The things to do on nights out, the grand old buildings, the randomness of the place, south bank on the Thames, I’ve not come across a city to come close to comparing as yet.. The nearest wax New York but it lacked the natural beauty and the range/breadth of variety and bizarreness that loiters within the folds of London. Zurich is the place I’ve always liked most of all without rational to back this up and this morning the quiet seems most glaring indeed.

The difference is both a tangible one and a subjective, I’m not sure to what extent they are intertwined. London still after all this time has the ability to almost make me wide eyed, it’s interesting, lively and beautiful (though not reliably or evenly so) while Zurich is calmness, still of a warm blanket even when it’s not at its warmest (as now)

My two London friends that were, no longer really are – Oscar is getting married this year and has slipped comfortably in to a different phase of his life, while the other trundles about many places and before that even we’d grown apart.

So while the evenings out, the concerts, the pub conversations until the early hours & that which London offers so well (so long as you have the means) still exist, they belong more to acquaintance socialising and the past times.
Zurich remains Zurich, it has no jazz hands, I’m tempted to hope.


With all the unfettered chuntering of previously contribution there was a question and direction I think – though I’m not sure I know what it was. Perhaps if I do come back to read this some future day, a capsule from the past like the video watched this evening perhaps …

Yesterday I went to see my grandmother I was not alone and never am on such visits. She had dimensia of some sort and it’s taken it’s hold of her over the last ten or more years .. This is I’m led to understand a long slow burning example of such a condition .. i know not having never looked into it.

Going up there to the home / hospital my grandfather had told me of a man who spends his days in the smoking room, he sits and plays around with 5 or so lacks of cigarets & presumably smokes .. He told me about him and that he was up until only a few years ago a pilot for Swiss on their transatlantic route. I heard this but thought little of it other than it was quite a change to befall a person non shorter time. On arrival sure enough there was a man sat in the smoking room cigarette boxes lines up on the table before him.

At first when I would go up there and for many years I was fortunate, mostly I seemed to get good days, she knew who i was and while far from conversationally adept, she would sort of smile, say the odd thing and be happy to see people. She was sad to be up there and so leaving was always uncomfortable but within limits.  More so when she was brought home and seemed to know when other things were lost to her that time was finite and she would be going again.. Now physical accidents, brittle bones, stronger drugs and the disease itself have changed things, she is either in bed or placed into a chair, barely speaks and seems uncertain where who and what things are about.. But not entirely, occasional flickers still splutter up from somewhere, I’m more the audience member, there with whomever else has gone, little call for exiting my observation posting and somehow it’s barely the person who used to be in any real way. I rather hope it isn’t – these places are awful, this is switzerland, the building are nice, well kept, the rooms highly sanitary and the ward well staffed but it’s not life, it’s a prison, a tedious, odd smelling prison without any security, it doesn’t need it, they’re all prisoners of their own incapacities, unable by and large to escape, or too confused to make good on it, even if their initial faculties & person rendered an attempt possible, if ill advised.

It’s a none life – before she could walk and there were days when some more of the person would break free from their prison and appear on a look, a jesture and to decreasing extents in words – no more .. Though among the confusion and none sentence offering came this to the apparently rhetorical question – do you remember any English … Bisschen – thought to be a random response at first along with the other incoherent words lumped together in strings of no meaning (which is a good day I’m led to believe) – can you say something in English? She’s asked

there is a pause and things seem to move on

  • yes – the English yes not the German .. She smiles at us, presumably a response to our surprised smiles .. That was unexpected.  It begs a familiar question, how much of the person that used to be, is now trapped in there? Hopefully, I think again – not too much

Many years ago, also over Christmas I was invited round to a good friends – during that visit, they forgot something and having a car while they did not I headed to collect it. Bringing it to the home / hospital where their grandmother was staying. I remember it reasonably well, she seemed quite a strong willed old lady though small and frail and in the end she was taken back to her room. It’s was obscure & uncertain for me, I didn’t know quite what I was doing there or what I ought to do, so steered into the gap between polite as possible and distantly observant. I was stood toward the back of the room by this point removing myself so much as was possible from events while those who were left were clearly emotional about things. It was uncomfortable, not that this was of any consequence and I know not now a this time later if such a reaction was poor, ok, correct or what or how it would be done better.. Was not that useful in such matters.

Perhaps this instance, though it sticks in my mind is not really noteworthy but it highlights that what was true then is basically true now… Just as it had been true before.

Before that then – my orger grandfather was in hospital.  Having travelled to Glasgow, on the second of third day I remember not, he awoke. The room had many people in it, my father his brother and others .. He was. Straight talking often offensive more often funny man who’d struggled with the death of his wife. He was possibly not as he hoped himself to be or as he hoped to be seen and such things were too much for him. He woke and drew me close, I don’t remember how or why only that he asked that we go or that I go. I took no offence, said ok and did as I was asked. I was there, I had generally abstractly perhaps though i would be saying goodbye, so it proved to be, I see now as I seemed to then in nothing wrong in simply obliging his request.  One size though seldom to never fits all.

I returned to Glasgow not long after for his funeral – I don’t remember much of it – I remember my grans for the unusually raw state in which this usually proud and gruffish man now barley stood. I observed, distant and a row or so back.

This had been a quick year – there is upon us all a requirement to exist in the moments afforded to us to the most that the opportunities afforded us allow. This evening an old video ran from summer holidays in the mountains & one in Cornwall and there was the past, familiar faces not so very different for many of us but not for all.

We are bound to ourselves and the way we are – New Years are nothing more than another day of sand falling gradually.. But occasionally it does to reflect, am I paying enough heed to today in my predilection to concern myself with what could be tomorrow, was I enough there when spending all that time filing 20 odd yeas ago, those days when I couldn’t realise how unusual and fortunate much of my life was – am I doing the same now writing these notes to myself about future and past matters rather than appreciating what remains in this today …

New Years – compounded by uncertainties in careers or life – doesn’t do wonders for inherent introspection .. Observing too much? Not taking sufficient care of the day in doing jobs that take up so much life but that relate in only minimal ways to anything that I could conscrue as either interesting or good use of what time we have. The most fun is in the interesting, in the new and in the striving to be that better person making better decisions – nothing that is worthwhile is easy apparently but despite what initial discomforting shock it might bring a visit by three most well informed and directionally certain ghosts being heralded might not have gone amiss ..carrot by the fireplace to encourage forth a visits from the undead dead or whatever ghosts are .. The unquiet dead .. The informed & opinionated dead

Questions … & 2015 .. Antworten