Thursday, 9 April 2015

If I had a hammer

If you could learn a trade — say carpentry, electrical work, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, flooring, drywall — you name it — what skill(s) would you love to have in your back pocket?

Spring flowers

The last time I did this prompt, which was just over a year ago, I decided being an undertaker would be a nice quiet stressless life and so I am today again confronted with the same blog. Now they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel for something new, invigorating and dynamic. Do they think I might change my mind in the meanwhile? Well I did not, because I thought it a silly prompt a year ago and today I do not find it more sensible.

I took a walk through the cemetery a couple of days ago and again realised what a quiet life undertakers have. There were no funerals in progress, but the gardeners were busy freshening up the graves. Whether the occupants treasure this work I do not know, but my camera did. The gardeners had let their imaginations run amok. They had no customers mixing themselves into their creative work. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but on the normal graves on our local cemetery, be it earth or fire burial, you can either do it all yourself, or commission a gardening company to do the work. After a funeral you already receive the invitation to register with a private gardener who will decorate your grave twice a year usually: Spring and Summer. It is a financial offer.

At the moment it is the spring decoration. Most people went for the daffodil pansy ornaments which are really quite colourful - see photo. Some might have a small shrub on the grave which is also quite good, as it does not have to be renewed. It was interesting to see the gardeners with crates full of daffodils and tulips fitting them all into the spaces in front of the gravestones. We also now commission a gardener to do the work on mum-in-law’s grave, which he had been planted with tulips. I don’t even do my own garden these days as my golden oldie joints are no longer as keen on bending as they used to be. 

We also took a walk along the river afterwards, making the most of the warmer weather. There was not a lot of action there, the swans were probably swanning along somewhere and there was one male mallard duck searching for a mate. My camera was bored with all those duck photos, but then I spotted some interesting stone formations on the edge of the river.

On the banks of the River Aar

I realised that I had lost Mr. Swiss as qualified photographers like myself need time to focus on a suitable subject. Suddenly he appeared. He had taken the path back to civilisation and also to a comfortable bench, so I joined him.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago I had fears that a drainage spirit had formed a curse on our drainage in the kitchen. There were mysterious glugging noises heard as water seeped downwards. After applying hot water, we managed to completely block everything. This morning whilst Mr. Swiss was in town I poured at least four litres of boiling water into the sink. A voice screamed “help I am burning” and suddenly the water travelled downwards at its normal speed. I took a careful look, but the water remained clear and there were no signs of fresh blood. However, wanting to be safer then sure, we invited the professional drainage man to take a look. I expected him to arrive with exorcist instruments: black candles and old leather bound books with cobwebs,  but what he brought was a mixture of machinery and tubes. We decided he should have a look at everything, which he did. The kitchen sink was more or less now in good order after applying my exorcist incantations in the morning, but there was a shower and a bath which also required his attention.  After two hours of noise and smell the work was done accompanied with a seasoned invoice. However, the man did a good job and he told us of his experiences in other places. Yes, the life of a drain cleaner can be spiced with all flavours: recycling take on another meaning in his job. We assume that our drainage will now form part of the experiences he tells people in other households.


  1. Beautiful display in the first photo!!.

    I am hopeless at most DIY jobs, so learning any of them instantly would be appreciated!!

    1. Mr. Swiss is not the gifted do-it-yourself type and we usually get someone to do it for us. we are also now at an age when we do not manage so well with difficult jobs.

  2. Beautiful shot of the flowers. Not sure that an undertaker's job is completely stressfree - they did a TV documentary on a local family undertaker business here last year and some of the arrangements easily caused stress. I think the only members of staff who escaped were probably the gravediggers or those operating the chambers in the crematorium. Even those with hammers responsible for coffin making probably had some stress when coffins were needed in a rush.

    1. This is a repeat of an old prompt that I answered a year ago, although this time I wrote something different. Undertakers where I live are few and far between as I live in a small place. Everyone know who is reponsible and at our local cemetery burials are in the hands of long established family buisinesses. For example our local undertaker actually also runs a shop selling furniture.