Peck's personal Web site
Switzerland, 2004, on the same budget
summer 1998, Mr Peck vacated Trélex in haste and moved his books, computers, skis,
and a few clothes to a new little bachelor flat in the village of Bassins, Switzerland.
You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
We've taken you along for a walk around our village,
mainly in 2002, with an old sort of camera that we
scored at the Swiss Railroad lost-and-found sell-off for 40 francs, but here we
are now, in August 2004, back with our Fuji digital, happily seeking about for
highlights of Bassins of the Many Fountains (or Troughs).
our house at the end of the street, our barn rather -- four nice flats in the
main part and landlady Elayne in the house in the background. That's the village
church on the right, more on that later.
from our house down the Rue de l'Eglise into the centre of town.
front (or back) of our house from the churchyard -- our little flat is in the
centre, just over the double doors on the left.
walking casually along downtown now -- this is still the Rue de l'Eglise. The
upside-down American flags protesting the US invasion of Iraq are gone now.
the village inn and restaurant, the Hôtel de la Couronne or Crown Hotel,
from down the high street . . .
. . and from a bit higher up. It's sometimes hard to comprehend our luck in fetching
up in such a nice village -- working farms (lots of flies), great views
of the lake and mountains, equidistant between the mountains and the workplace,
no nightlife whatsoever. It's like Heaven ought to be.
is the annual Bassins tractor-postal bus race down the centre of the village,
with the tractor just making its move to grab the lead.
the main square, the Place des Tilleules (or Place de la Tilette), with the bookstore
and tearoom in the centre.
intersection of roads to neighboring villages, and one of the seven famous fountains.
long look from the fountain down to the tearoom at the base of the village.
amongst the houses on the east side of town.
lovely new school, which unfortunately was already overcrowded on opening day,
so that our neighbors' kid still had to take the postal bus up to Le Vaud.
our lovely new swimming pool, a great hit with the children roundabout.
new suburb of villas in the La Fontaine meadow on the northeast side of town.
In the 1960s Bassins sported fewer than 300 inhabitants but had grown to 500 by
the early 1980s and to 800 by the year 2000 -- and now! Over 900 by 2003 (amongst
whom, 14 are diplomats!), and just topped 1,000 at the beginning of 2006. This
view of the new community of villas is quite acceptable, but . . .
. . the back side's not so good. It looks like a line of square pink pigs.
house and new automobile.
of the famous bassins (I think there are seven in all).
church and Mr Peck's abode in August 2004, after the harvest of whatever was in
Wehrlin in the centre, seen from the Espace Gasser botanical gardens. We're dead
centre there, right alongside the historical church, which may someday come in
handy in case of spiritual emergencies.
another view of the same
Espace Gasser ("Gas Space" perhaps, except that Gasser is a family name)
was donated to the village in 2000, a splendid botanical garden and picnic site
that is way too little known and vastly under-utilized.
very hard to find a more beautiful picnic space, overlooking Lake Geneva, all
thanks to the Family Gasser. Many thanks to you, Family Gasser.
placé sous la sauvegarde du public" -- one of the most encouraging
phrases in any language. "An area placed under the protection of the public"
-- what confidence we have in our citizens! And here, at least, it mostly works.
back up the rue de l'Eglise, with eglise in view.
old barn. A little paint would do wonders but probably another few hundred years
will pass before we see that. Not until the garden's done, anyway.
been blessed with the greatest neighbor kids who've ever thumped on a wall or
screamed down the ventilators, and here are three young friends climbing on the
farmers' hay bales . . .
young friends as beautiful as ever atop the hay bales, but the farmer's wife had
to drive on down and explain politely why it was a really really bad idea to be
climbing all over these plastic things.
So we don't do that anymore.
are most of the important non-governmental dignitaries of Bassins, Switzerland,
Chez Wehrlin team
across the green ravine. 2004
the church (Marlowe's favorite place for reading was in the precipitous meadow
just below the church)
church of Notre Dame in Bassins is a "site Clunisienne", a remnant of
one of the thousand or so monasteries throughout Europe that became associated
with the Benedictine reform movement begun at Cluny in France in 910.
dead folks of Bassins all feel, or most of them, that finally they really belong
in this lovely place, that they've come home as it were. And to us outsiders,
they seem to be really happy here, something all ex-pats, all over the world,
can only envy.
view of the church.
my English translation of some background on Bassins' Cluniac associations, taken
from the entry in Les sites clunisiennes,
church of Notre Dame of Bassins probably became Clunisienne in the 11th century,
following the donation made to Cluny by Humbert I, lord of Cossonay and of Prangins.
Pope Lucius III confirmed this Cluniac possession in 1183 and placed it under
the monastery of Payerne.
little priory that was born there seems to have been the centre of active agricultural
exploitation, and the seigniorial rights of the monks were allied to those of
the local lords - the sires of Prangins long held the right to represent the priory
in matters of justice and to carry out the punishment of those judged guilty.
The Prior of Payerne kept a strong hold on Bassins until the beginning of the
16th century, a period in which he named the châtelain and other officers
of the place. In 1536, the Protestant Reformation put an end to several centuries
of Cluniac presence in Bassins.
the whole rural priory of Bassins only the church of Notre Dame has survived,
of which the choir is the most ancient part; the foundations of the original building
have been found in the present cemetery. The oldest part probably dates from the
10th century, with additions in the 12th, 13th, 15th, and 16th centuries (like
the tower and the narthex, from a later era but of uncertain date). We know that
the little side chapel, dedicated to the Virgin, was founded in 1406 by a local
lord, Girard of Penezat. As to the larger chapel, also from the 15th century,
it is from the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit that it had its origin.
dead guys, if they're lucky, get to peek up out of creepy little brass urns, but
OUR dead guys get to overlook the largest lake in western Europe, monitor all
the strange goings-on, and make their opinions known anytime after midnight.
multi-barbie space, with a large number of grill machines
Blanc from Bassins, November 2010.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 April 2005, revised 20 January 2011.