DVD: Heartland

Heartland Complete First Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seasons 1 2 3 4 5 & 6 1-6

If you are looking for a good series on DVD then look no further than Heartland. This is a Canadian production shown on CBC. It might be shown somewhere on a US network but I’m not sure. I have been buying it since the DVD’s became available on amazon.com. The story follows Amy a horse whisperer. In season one her mother is killed and Amy ends up living with her grandfather Jack, on his ranch. Her sister Lou comes back to the ranch from New York and decides to stay and Ty a troubled young man is also living and working at the ranch. Season one and  those that follow (I’m about to watch season eight) follow the ups and downs of the family as they cope with change on the ranch and negotiate lives ups and downs. Its a fun show and there is something for all ages.

Let me know what you think.

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French Relations by Fiona Walker

French Relations

This is one of my favorite books. The story basically follows Natasha or Tash as she’s know as she goes off to spend a holiday in France with her large family and a few hangers on.  If your fond of books that provide a total escape this is one you want to try. Follow along and see what happens to Tash and her family and see if she is able to find love or just have a good time.

Last week I flew back to Birmingham. Even though it is, at the moment, hot in Switzerland, I wasn’t quite prepared for that sticky heat which exists in the South. It makes me sleepy and procrastinating.The other thing I always have to get acquainted with again is that you can’t sit in a cafe, read your newspaper and talk with people coming past. Starbucks at the Summit is just not a cafe in the European sense. Not even the coffee is very good. I also can’t go around without a car. Coming back here really makes me value the small town of Lugano.

I’ll be here a few days before I go back to Europe. It will be to Caen.

Living in Switzerland and in the Ticino

I live a lot of the time in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland which is known as the Ticino. It is an area which the Swiss in the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century took by force from the powerful Milan Family of aristocrats, the Viscontis and later their successors the Sforzas. The Swiss made it into a Bailiwick administered partially by the Canton of Uri and partially by the, at that time, twelve original cantons that made up Switzerland at the time. The Ticino’s status as a subjugated territory only changed in 1803, when it became a canton of the Swiss Confederation.

The place was full of poverty stricken families in narrow valleys and as a consequence these families provided many mercenaries who entered French and other rulers services. That situation did not change when the place became part of Switzerland and many children were sold as indentured labor into service to Milanese families. There is an interesting story written by a Swiss of German origin Lisa Tetzner and her husband Kurt Held, called „The Black Brothers“ ( Die Schwarzen Brueder). It is about the children sold from these poor valleys into the services of the city of Milan to work as chimney sweep boys known in Italian as spazzacamini.

Outside the poverty stricken valleys, the small towns of Lugano and Locarno became soon resort town of the rich. Especially Germans liked the order of the canton and its Italian flair. In the 1950’s and 1960’s there was a real influx of Germans into the area and that led to one of the first restrictions for foreigners to buy Swiss properties. Today Lugano, Locarno and Ascona and the surrounding areas are really expensive. Small resort towns akin to places like Monaco, Gstaad or St. Moritz. I live in a house a small village just outside Lugano. It takes me ten minutes on public transport to get to the center of town. I know, back home no one would even think of taking public transport. That was for poor people and those who could not afford a car. Here in Lugano and in fact in the whole of Switzerland it is very different. On public transport, which is clean fast and cheap and runs from five in the morning to after midnight, I don;t have to worry about parking places or whether I drank a glass of wine. So it is convenient and I don;t have to worry about getting robbed either if I wear some nice jewelry. That is the part I like about Switzerland. And then there are the views of the town and of the surrounding mountains. I often fly into the small, airport of Lugano-Agno. The approach to the runway of this place, is just breath-taking.

Some more about Lugano and the Ticinese next time!

Oh, I almost forgot, the Kindle version of my book is out. I will put a link to it tomorrow!

My first Book and Story

My first Book

My name is pt borden or Petra. I have just written and published a book.on amazon.com It is called “Southern Medley and a Sordid Affair” and it is a tale of an accidental affair that almost cost the main characters sanity and could have ultimately cost her life. She did not even realize how close she came. Almost, I must say, because at the right moment, someone intervened and stopped the whole thing. It reads partially like an erotic thriller. My main character is called Petra, like me. I found it easier to write that way than in the third person. Though the story is fictional, the characters in the story are not. I have come across them and they actually exist. I was told parts of the story by someone close to me. She said she could not write it, because it was to close to her.

So who would be interested in the story? Well, I asked myself long and hard about it. And then I looked around and noticed that among the people I meet on a regular basis, there were many unhappy marriages. I started to ask around. Always very carefully, because I did not want to appear like a “nosy parker” or a “chatterbox”. I am just someone who wanted to know. Because I have grown up and lived in a rather protected cocoon. Social issues were not high on the priority list of events and social problems were certainly not high as an issue either. Yes, people around me divorced and some marriages fell apart. But one did not talk about those or, “it was definitely the fault of whoever the other person was” without knowing anything about how it happened.

That things could just happen, one did not accept or even know about. But that is what happened to Petra my character. Maybe it was her mental sluggishness or maybe it was boredom that made her an easy victim and even an active participant. Though, I learned that with enough nasty manipulation and pressure, it can happen to anyone. Because Petra was neither weak nor uneducated. She had a habit to procrastinate and wait until things happen to her, rather than take the bull by the horns!

One of the things I learned is how people in different countries deal with these problems. I spend a lot of time in Europe and  the Caribbean with people in their 40’s and 50’s. I come from the Southern USA and I had to learn a lot about the world. I am not  someone who visits nightclubs often and neither is my husband. I go to theaters and I like the Opera and good concerts, of almost any kind. Must of our entertainment is done in our homes. Strangely enough, that is where I learned the most about other peoples relationships and their problems. In my family back home in the South, one never talked about these, even though my mother was divorced and my father married multiple times. But here in our own home with my husband, the people talked about it. Maybe it is their age. Often the children are grown and their is a feeling of an “empty nest”. And that loosens tongues and changes relationships.

The people who might learn most from the story could be those who slither into similar relationships and are not aware how their partners manipulate them. There is a lot of very explicit sex in this story. But it was not written for gratification. It is not a pornographic story. But sex was a means of repression and subduing Petra.

Read the story and tell me what you think about it. I think the Kindle edition should shortly be up as well.

pt borden