Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A Boffin's Dreams of Switzerland

I want to scale the Matterhorn, glimpse snowy Alpine peaks at dawn,
I’d also love to see the bears of Bern,
But as a Bouncing Boffin, what I’d find most simply toppin’
Would be visiting the physicists at CERN.

Yes for sure it would be fun, to climb the Rigi like Mark Twain,
I might even reach the summit in one day.
But it’s the Large Hadron Collider that I’d like to get inside o’
To view sub-atomic particles at play.

Some might make heavy handed jokes, deriding all those cuckoo clocks,
As the sole result of centuries of peace,
But for me it’s the Higgs Boson that makes Switzerland the Chosen
Land for scientific-minded WFT’s.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Lederhosen? NO!!!!!!!!

Gail has noted that we shall be travelling through Germany around the time of Oktoberfest.

She is a little apprehensive about taking me on the train in Germany anyway (according to the Deutsche Bahn website, I am supposed to wear a muzzle*) and she has suggested that perhaps I should put on an outfit to better blend in.

Meanwhile, I am wondering if Gail should be wearing a Dirndl?

She says not, but that a large beer might yet be necessary... 
 *Gail says - I am told that it is unlikely in practice that Bertie will be required to be muzzled, but I should carry one just in case. So I am trying to get Bertie get comfortable with the concept of 'ein Maulkorb' by having him wear one at home for short stints, accompanied by plentiful treats. If any readers have experience of taking dogs on trains in Germany, I'd love to hear about it. 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Yodelling? Fondue? More training for Switzerland

You know it's all very well Gail taking me for walks in the hills and calling it "training for the Alps". (In in truth, it's been jolly good fun).

But I fear she has been neglecting other aspects of Swiss life for which I need some practice too.

I did myself take the initiative last night and attempt to bend my vocal chords to a yodelling sound. For some reason Gail did not approve at all and instructed me to be quiet. But never mind, I am thinking there will be plenty of opportunity to rehearse on the long train journey across Holland and Germany, right...?

In one of our kitchen cupboards, gathering dust from the 1970's, I found something I believe is called a 'fondue set'. You can buy Gruyere and Emmental in the shops here in the UK, and I am still hoping to persuade Gail to get going with the methylated spirits and let me sample this delectable sounding traditional Swiss speciality before we depart. After all, I'm thinking that the art of consuming melted cheese without getting one's beard all gunked up might take some mastering.

But Gail seems reluctant, reminding me that my first ever encounter with a Swiss-made object, the 'water soluble pencil set' pictured below, had, quite literally, an unfortunate outcome (as described in 'The Blue Poo Incident')...

Monday, 19 September 2016

Route Planning Fail

Bertie, and Gail's vocal (and possibly former) friend Yvonne, conduct a highly indignant post mortem following Sunday's walk from Wester Alligin to Diabaig.

Yvonne: "That was utterly terrifying. I am a nervous wreck. Bertie, can't you control your owner? She is a madwoman. Every muscle in my body was shaking as she forced me to scramble down those wet slippery rocks in that vertical gully back there. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I'm telling you, I won't make that mistake again. I can't believe she dragged me down that cliff. I thought I was going to die. I'm a North London Jew and for us a walk is what you do from the car park to John Lewis* at Brent Cross Shopping Centre... I don't think I can move another inch now, I am in such pain. Bertie, tell your owner I'll stay here at the café and have another smoked salmon sandwich, and she can walk back and get the car and give me a lift home."

Bertie: "And you're complaining? Think how it was for me! I was looking forward to bouncing down the gully, maybe exploring the odd side route, doing my own thing, taking advantage of the fact that Gail would be concentrating on keeping her footing. Maybe I'd even get the chance to run off after a deer, or one of those feral goats that hang out in these parts. But no soon as we reached the top of the steep bit than Gail - the big spoilsport -  clamped on my lead, saying she wasn't going to have me running off putting us all in danger by getting myself stuck and needing to be rescued from somewhere even more inaccessible and precipitous. No matter how hard I pulled on the lead as we descended, Gail just wouldn't let go, and I'm telling you, there was a fair bit of what my American friends call HBO language being uttered along the way. It was all very stressful indeed. Really I think you had it quite easy..."

*Note for non-British readers: 'John Lewis' is a well known UK department store traditionally favoured by the comfortably off middle classes.