Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Swiss cow belles

Image of the partial coat of arms of the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland for is flag from the Wikipedia Commons
Dear Gentle Reader,

Maybe I should round out my comments on the Swiss and on the remarkable bravery of one particular Swiss which I made in a previous posting on spiders in Hong Kong.

Originally, the Swiss were fighters. 

There was nothing to do in the mountains, so they fought.  

They thought it was hard to sell their cheeses, so they sold their men as mercenaries, and they were good. (The men. The cheeses were pretty good too, but they hadn't made a market for those, yet.)

Actually, the Swiss were too good.

In the end, everyone hired Swiss pikesmen to be their mercenaries, until a particularly violent battle where the main contestants on both sides were Swiss mercenaries, hired from the same villages, and the Swiss overlords said "Enough".

So the Swiss ceased being fighters and, eventually, the Swiss became lovers.

Not as quick as the English... ...not as good as the French... ...but, lovers nonetheless.

Of course, what the Swiss loved were cows.

And bear in mind, that I am not talking about Swiss belles, who are very belle indeed.

While much could be said about the Swiss predilection for money, much more should be said for their enjoyment of cows, and things that come from cows.

Namely cheese and chocolate.

(Though some could say that their thirst for banks, corporate headquarters, and OPM (Other Peoples' Money) is also an offshoot of their love for cows, in this case, cash cows. Hmmm...)

One of the biggest holiday festivals in Switzerland is their cow belle festival.  

This is the festival to welcome home the cows at the end of summer.  

In spring, Swiss cow belles (and bulls and heifers too) climb into the alpine meadows with their cowherders and cowherderesses, looking for love, tender shoots of grass, and alpine flowers.

At the end of summer they return to their home village, sated in every regard.

Here is a quick clip showing a typical, wild, Swiss party... when the cows come home...

What fine flanks. Such luxurious tails. And what great, big bells.

But, again, the reason that the Swiss love these cows is not for their fine physiques, it is for their milk.  

For Swiss cow milk can be turned into Swiss cheeses and Swiss chocolate now that the markets have been made.

Below is a traditional folk dance and song detailing the love Swiss have for their cows, and how everything else must be relegated to obscurity, even dreams of being troubadours, as the Swiss abandon everything else to go to their cows, their lovely and much loved cows, and put their cows into their fields.  

I note that this traditional Swiss folk dance and song is in French, and is a bit long. No need to watch the whole thing.  Your humble scribe will not know, so no embarassment will ensue... But, catch the leg movement.  You can see how this might predate those interesting Bavarian feet-slapping, knee-knocking moves...

Hopefully I have now given you a fuller and more accurate understanding of traditional Swiss culture, dance, and their bovinephillic society.  

(For clarity, as Swiss slang (aka Matin Bleu Editorial French) is a tetch bit on the hard side to understand, "fokj' rentre les vaches" is actually "Il faut que je rentre les vaches" which means "I have to take the cows back to the stable/field" although in popular parlance it means "I have to go".) 

(The French-speaking Swiss have obviously been taking spelling lessons from the German-speaking Swiss to come up with "fokj'". The German-speaking Swiss, of course, take spelling lessons from no one--and they really ought to not give any lessons either...)

Fuller posts on Swiss cheeses might arise from time to time. It depends on the predilections of the muses when they visit your humble scribe. But your humble scribe has been told to keep post-lengths down, so they cannot fit in here.

But this still does not explain to me why Fab was so unafraid of the giant death-spiders of Hong Kong. I still have no idea how this fearlessness could be so. 

It baffles me.  

Fab must have the blood of mercenaries running through her veins.  

I have it on good authority, hers, that Fab was out hunting wild mushrooms just the other day with the inimitable Jean, Chef Extraordinaire et Pére to the redoubtable Fab.  

And everyone knows how tricky hunting wild mushrooms can be.  

Ferocious little beggars; one wrong bite and you could be a goner. 

So maybe Fab's feckless fearlessness of poisonous spiders comes from her history of hunting down wild (not tamed, domesticated, or farmed, mind you, but wild...) mushrooms.  


For those that are interested, here are the only pictures that your scribe can find on his hard drive from our life in Geneva, hiking in the mountains, visiting alpinage festivals (the return of the cows) and so on and so forth. Two portraits of your humble scribe and the fearsome warrior Fab are found, on the back balcony of our flat in Geneva, and one portrait of your heroine. The tag lines (as always, run your mouse over the images) tell the full story.

Picture of feet lounging on a balcony wall in Geneva with a carafe of wine and some plates visiblePicture of Regina pouring herself some wine on the balcony in GenevaPicture of Fab and Chris' torso visible on the balcony in Geneva

Chris, Regina, and Pommes (labouring to open a bar of Toblerone in the back room)

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