Dwight Peck's personal website

Bassins, Switzerland, 2004, on the same budget

In 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).

That's 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.

Looking from our house down the Rue de l'Eglise into the centre of town.

The front (or back) of our house from the churchyard -- our little flat is in the centre, just over the double doors on the left.

We're 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.

Here's 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.

This 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.

That's the main square, the Place des Tilleules (or Place de la Tilette), with the bookstore and tearoom in the centre.

An intersection of roads to neighboring villages, and one of the seven famous fountains.

A long look from the fountain down to the tearoom at the base of the village.

Meadows amongst the houses on the east side of town.

Our 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.

And our lovely new swimming pool, a great hit with the children roundabout.

Our 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.

Old house and new automobile.

One of the famous bassins (I think there are seven in all).

The church and Mr Peck's abode in August 2004, after the harvest of whatever was in this field

Chez 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.

And another view of the same

The Espace Gasser

The 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.

It's very hard to find a more beautiful picnic space, overlooking Lake Geneva, all thanks to the Family Gasser. Many thanks to you, Family Gasser.

"Espace 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.

Strolling back up the rue de l'Eglise, with eglise in view.

Lovely 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.

Neighbor Kids

We've 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 . . .

Two 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.

Here are most of the important non-governmental dignitaries of Bassins, Switzerland, in 2004.

The Chez Wehrlin team

Bassins across the green ravine. 2004

And the church (Marlowe's favorite place for reading was in the precipitous meadow just below the church)

The 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

The 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.

Another view of the church.

Here's my English translation of some background on Bassins' Cluniac associations, taken from the entry in Les sites clunisiennes, http://fsc.cluny.free.fr/sites/bassins.htm.

The 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.

The 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.

Of 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.

YOUR 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.

The multi-barbie space, with a large number of grill machines

Mont Blanc from Bassins, November 2010.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 April 2005, revised 20 January 2011.

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