Stern GlancesDwight Peck's personal Web site

Summer 2008 -- Additional odds and ends. And bits and bobs.


It's been a hurry-up sort of summer, grabbing off idle moments whenever we can. "All work and no play / makes Jack a dull boy".

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.

COP preparations are nearly completed, and now, in late October, my colleagues are shipping out for South Korea, and I'm off too, for my sins, in a few days' time. Leaving just a moment or two on a free evening to throw up a few out-takes from the preceding months.

4 May 2008: That's Dr Pirri clambering down the new ladder at the big hole on the Pré de St-Livre.

This enormous "gouffre" or cavern is one of the "glaciers" in the region, where there's perpetual ice. Dr Pirri's down there right now, verifying that. I'm just recording the event.

We can confirm that, in early May 2008, there is ice down there.

We're working our tedious way uphill at the moment, above the Pré de St-Livre.

Not all of us are as easygoing about waiting for the stragglers as we stragglers are.

Up onto the ridge

-- Coming?

The view down onto the Pré de St-Livre

And, on 4 May 2008, kissing the snow goodbye for this year.

29 June 2008: A quick lunge along the "Chemin des Illanches" path through the limestone forests to top out near the Chalet à Roch Dessus.

With its wonderful paintings on it.

12 July 2008: A little ramble around the Grand Cunay, mainly to see if the cows are getting enough rest. That, in the background, behind the stone enclosure, is another of the mighty cavern holes that have no bottom.

I've picked up an entourage. How to dissuade them?!

Not all horrific holes in the Jura forest floor have stone walls around them to keep the unsuspecting walkers out. So sometimes we have to improvise.

The forestry fellows have been busy around here -- at the Pré aux Biches, on the Route des Montagnes up to the Alpine Ski Club hut, lots of wood.

The forestry fellows have certainly left no forest unturned.

Returning to my car, where I always leave it, I guess I'm lucky they didn't chop that off, too. But (right) they left enough of this tree so that the signs for the Alpine Club hut at Petit Cunay can still be seen.

13 July 2008: Mont Tendre summit pylon in a dead fog

Ghostly trees on Mont Tendre

More forestry

Yep, they've been here, all right.

16 July 2008: Moon over Lake Geneva

20 July 2008: late afternoon at the Crêt de la Neuve

Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) from the Crêt de la Neuve

24 July 2008: Mont Blanc in the evening from home

3 August 2008: Lisa Hikes I, Chemin des Illanches and Sèche des Amburnex

Leisurely lunch

Bedraggled narrator being scolded. The day before whilst scrambling through some cliffs in the forest I'd done a Clumsy and torn a tendon in the right shoulder -- thus the old shirt that can be buttoned up rather than pulled on overhead. Two MRIs and three and a half months later, T-shirts can now be pulled on once again.

Most of August 2008: Kristin's visit and hikes in the Bernese Oberland.

31 August 2008: Lisa Hikes II, Crêt de la Neuve the long way round

Lisa and a clever T-shirt

Lisa and no T-shirt

Lisa, with T-shirt, and cows, at Perroude du Vaud

13 September 2008: A marmot burrow near Grande Enne. Not supposed to be here, but my officemate claimed that she saw this one and I went to find out if she was just having me on. No marmot just now, but a real live marmot burrow in the rain. They've recently been introduced from the Alps, and my doctor says he's seen three so far.

Les Pralets farm in the rain

14 September 2008: All the little veaux near the Pré aux Veaux in the Combe des Amburnex. Dozens of them were cavorting merrily on the rainy meadows, but in a year's time they'll have acquired that cynical just-eat-grass-and-shut-up indifference of the older cows.

4 October 2008: Mont Sâla in a plastering of new snow

Lake Geneva from near Mondion

The Mondion farm. One trots up into the forest today, looking for muddy paths where (it turns out) there are none, and circles muddily back past Grande Enne.

And is rewarded with another view of Mondion from the far side

Mondion late in the day

Mondion sentinels

5 October 2008: A wet trudge up to Mont de Bière Devant on an overcast day

Geneva in the distance

Geneva with the Fuji-zoom, with the jet d'eau (water jet) turned on

Lausanne on the far left, and the Préalpes beyond, including Diablerets and (if you know precisely where to look) the Leysin Tours.

We're propping up our still dysfunctional right shoulder. But the MRIs were kind of fun.

Mont Blanc again. Just hold your camera over your head and hit the button -- half the time you've got Mont Blanc.

Mont de Bière Derrière in early October snow. The cows making the best of it.

Jura autumn

18 October 2008: I'm trying out a new camera -- I say "new", an end of the series Fujifilm J10 at half price at the mall. So far so good. I bought a new MP3 player, too, also end-of-series at half price, for my burgeoning collection of Symphonic Metal.

Those dangly orange things depending from the ceiling catch flies -- really well! That's mostly 16th century biography in the centre, and travel guides over to the right. More or less in genuine Library of Congress order.

However well they may catch flies, in this neighborhood two are better than one, and a few dozen wouldn't be enough. In autumn mosquitos are a problem as well -- that's why the extension cord is permanently stretched across the room to heat up the Mozzy-Off. Sends them scurrying back outside.

This is basically a one-room apartment with five walk-in closets, two of which have toilets in them and another has a stove and dishwasher. Another closet has a bed in it, and the last one is Her Ladyship's changing room, doubling as a Guest Closet when needed.

That's the Kansas hall of fame shrine over in the corner, under the poster of the Effelsberg radio telescope. The 25-year-old Finnish television is an old friend but doesn't receive anything anymore, though it's still okay for playing DVDs, except for the audio. The CDs across the bookshelf comprise our vast collection of Boccherini, Dittersdorf, Hummel, Sperger, Berwald, and Vanhal, along with all of the Dvorâk and Fauré canon, and both Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny. That section of the bookshelves has got the anti-Bush collection.

This is the walk-in closet with the dishwasher in it, and all the pots and pans ready for immediate use. (The happy face thing on the window is supposed to deter flies.)

That's all religious history on the shelves on the left, and airport mysteries straight ahead.

The master bed closet Kristin's changing closet and guest room The shower closet

But it suits us. Been here ten years already, and what I appreciate most is the ski-restaurant floor tiles, very easy to mop up once a month or two when you're in a hurry. That's classical CDs on the left, gothic metal on the right, and the anti-Bush book collection in the middle, next to the Swiss history, mountaineering guides, and topographical maps.

19 October 2008: The farm at Les Pralets, at the top of the Bassins road -- I'm trying to get the hang of this new Fuji.

Les Pralets on one of the last casual sit-outdoors-for-lunch weekends, perhaps. The farm functions as a mountain restaurant both in summer and, as the main long-distance cross-country ski trail passes right by here, in winter as well.

Mont Sâla glowering down

One has spiralled out through the extremely muddy, heavily-forestried woods nearby and now returns again past Les Pralets.

Late in the day, with one couple still sitting out on the benches in the early evening chill. Gazing into each other's eyes.

So, day after tomorrow, off we go for two weeks to Changwon, checking out the kimchi, and by the time we get home, autumn will be well advanced, Kristin will be coming over to join us for a couple of weeks of convalescence in the south of France, and after that -- maybe -- the snow will come for real.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 22 October 2008, revised 30 September 2014.


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