Photographers, artists, poets: show us COMMUNITY.
This is where it all happens, the Swiss village adventure; the place where hedgehogs and cats say goodnight to each other, where a skeleton might be literally found when building a new house, the place many years ago where the local chopping block was situated for the criminal elements in the Swiss landscape.
We find ourselves in a Swiss village, bordering a market town and surrounded by farmland, cows, pigs and wheat fields and the castle on the hill. Such idyllic surroundings but let us take a closer look at the community and see what can be found. The village of Fontana di Campo (let us call it by its Italian name – sounds so romantic) has existed for many years. Some original houses are still there, showing the past days of glory and land ownership. One day it was decided to develop this little village, build new, modern apartment houses, of course keeping the nice clean lines depicting a brave new world (did someone else use that once for a book title?).
The nicest thing about the new conception is that the powers of organisation decided to maintain the low tax rates, one of the lowest in the state. We welcome all new inhabitants, especially those that were directors, managers, wealthy families, to ensure this low tax and thus keeping the village inhabitants financially satisfied with their home in Fontana di Campo.
What do we have to offer? We have no shops, so nothing low level like supermarkets, special offers, the noise of shopping trolleys moving and screaming children. Indeed the population of humans is probably equal to the cow population at the moment, the advantage of cows being that they disappear when the farmer decides.
The first noise in the morning is not a cow moo, but the soft clap of the letter box when the newspaper delivery man arrives. The happy inhabitants can then rest assured that their newspaper can be read with breakfast. Then the village begins to awake. Dutiful housewives distribute their bed linen to places where the nocturnal sleep odours can be dispersed by fresh air. There are some housewives that prefer to just make a bed (like me) and others that take it upon themselves to create something new and fresh by airing the bed linen outside or on the balcony.
Slowly life arrives. The garage door lifts to let the workers depart for their places of work. Perhaps a greeting might be exchanged, or just a nod. Left behind are the non-workers, the retired, or the odd mother, although mothers are few and far between in this village and children are not seen or heard a lot. A large percent of senior citizens live in the village, reaping the benefits of their retirement, such as myself.
However, there is constant movement in the village. Paths have to be swept, windows cleaned, gardens tended to. Those without a garden have their geraniums on the balcony to water, or perhaps their pots of herbs to cultivate, to enrich their daily cooked meals. There is also a constant observation, although generally behind closed windows, net curtains, or half drawn blinds. “When is Mr. X going to mow his lawn, the grass is far too long”, or “Mr. XX should cut his hedge, it must be at least three centimetres higher than the others. It spoils the general appearance”. And again the paths will be swept. There is a plant, a weed growing between the stones which is quickly removed. It spoils the general symmetry.
Of course in another part of the village, where there are owned houses which have been there for many years, there might be a gardener at work, perhaps a cleaning lady busy with the general inside work or cleaning windows (I clean my own). You might even see a police car parked outside. Perhaps there was a robbery, a break-in, and the family jewels or works of art were stolen. Today you are never safe, but a motion sensor is the solution to this problem. We have one, since the robbery in our area. Our felines find it super that the two legged felines, the humans, have now ensured that they have light during the night when they sit on their favourite chair on the porch. We are not so sure that our local neighbours appreciate this light blinking on and off all night, but up to now we have had no complaints, so they too are probably sleeping in the safety of their homes.
Are we really one big happy community, basically yes, Of course you do not like Mrs. XXX and she does not like you, but you do your best to avoid contact. There are times when you are forced to say good morning, hello and greet someone that you would rather avoid, and they only acknowledge you because they cannot avoid it. So is a community, a mixed bunch of people, forced to live in the same place and forced to bear with all their advantages and disadvantages.
And now to remove and clean two flower boxes from the porch. The flowers have died and their desolate appearance might disturb a neighbour. Did I see the blind move slightly? Probably just a figment of my imagination. I must put those two hoses away now for the Winter, cannot have them cluttering up the porch for no reason. Thank goodness my son has now mowed the lawns, at least no-one can shake their heads at their uneven growth and it is probably the last mow before the Winter arrives.
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