After endless weeks of wonderful sunshine, it’s finally raining – and like the plants and trees all around me, I am filled with gratitude. It makes a change to sit outside on my little terrace sheltered by the balcony above me, and enjoy breathing in this fresh, damp air, seeing the grass, leaves and flowers reviving, and listening to the soothing sound of the falling rain. Nature, too, is grateful.
Prior to this, I have been away: visiting my daughter and son-in-law at the end of July and beginning of August, and my best friend for the following two weeks. With the fantastic weather I felt I was on holiday, so my thankfulness also extends to my hosts/hostesses: I have been pampered and cossetted like royalty! It was also an opportunity to meet and catch up with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who are all growing apace and even starting to overtake me in height. It also brought another instalment of assorted cheeses from my middle granddaughter and her husband as they continue to fulfil their promise to me on my 80th birthday, to give me 80 different sorts of cheese!
With my daughter and son-in-law, I was also able to see a little more of Switzerland, places I know but haven’t visited for a long time – the picturesque little town of Frauenfeld, the pretty marina at Steckborn on Lake Constance,
the quaint village of Stein am Rhein
and the magnificent scenery around Lake Lucerne.
The current President of Switzerland, Alain Berset, happened to be visiting Stein am Rhein on the same day we were there, and it was heartening to see with what little fuss and bother he is able to move around the country. Yes, there was a very unobtrusive bodyguard, but Mr Berset stepped from his car on the public carpark, a rucksack slung over his shoulder, strolled to the helicopter waiting in a neighbouring field and flew off to his next appointment as casually as if he were catching a bus. A few people who happened to be walking by the river stopped to watch, their attention caught by the helicopter, but it was really no big deal. That says a lot about the security of this country.
Many of you responded to my last post, so thanks for your insightful comments. I’m relieved to report that the gentleman in question messaged my friend with an apology and assurance of his enduring friendship. I now know quite a lot more about the lady’s background and I think I understand where her low self-esteem is coming from. We shouldn’t be over-hasty in judging these two; they live in a milieu that really does put accomplishments above character, which I think is very sad.
I am particularly grateful to my hostesses for their kind understanding of my “Noom needs”: support for my dietary requirements and encouragement to exercise. My best friend has a swimming pool, so I was able to do my 50 lengths (600m) each morning before breakfasting at the side of the pool. In fact, we spent most daylight hours in and by the pool. Just like a super luxury hotel! A very blessed time indeed. Happiness, I am convinced, is a side-effect of an attitude of gratitude.
And having mentioned Noom, I suppose I should give a quick update. Yes, I can recommend this programme. The diet is very sensible and healthy, easy to implement even when I’m eating out or at someone else’s house, and the frequent little prompts and cues – which would be annoying if it were a person nagging – are actually quite helpful and encouraging. I have managed to reach my target number of daily steps and to exercise a bit (especially the swimming) and I can report that since 16 July I have lost 3 ½ kg, which is 7lbs or (for my British readers) half a stone. Something else that I can be grateful for. I seem to have hit a plateau this week, but Noom is reassuring about that, too. So onwards and – downwards!