Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2018-2019

Let's see if we can squeeze through another Year of Trump!

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.

Autumn odds and ends

The Ollon landslide, January-November 2019

We're coming home from running a few errands, 23 January 2018, and something about Ollon seems a little odd.

Ah, that's what it is. It's been a serious rainy period throughout the region, and our hillside is made of gypsum (described as 'moderately water-soluble').

Quite a mess -- from the vineyards above the village about 50 vertifical metres down onto and past the road to the hamlet of Verschiez

The road is seriously blocked, and the residents of Verschiez will be talking a very circuitous route home for a good part of the next year.

We'll slip around through a few Ollon streets to get a better angle on it.

It could have been much worse. The hillside hosts the 80 hectare Bois de Glaivaz nature reserve, known as the largest stand of a certain kind of pine tree, one that's welcomed by gypsum soils, in the canton of Vaud. Up on the left can seen the bowl-shaped scar of a landslide ascribed to the end of the last glacial retreat, when there were many of these in the 'Triassic gypsum and anhydrite of the sub-médiane zone of the Swiss Prealps'.

Moreover, within that ancient bowl there was another slide, described as typical of 'gravitational sagging', in March 1997 following a forest fire on the slope. The scar from that one is still visible from other angles but hidden from here.

This one's started from just under the edge of the vineyards evidently.

On 12 March 2018, it looks like they're trying to figure out how to clear the road without bringing another load down onto the workers.


In the meantime, the helicopter is toting materials up to the breaking off point at the top.

Pretty skilled work

By 25 March the clearing of the road has begun. The government has explained the recovery delays, pointing out that there have been landslides more serious than this one occurring all over Switzerland in the same period.

By 3 June, the road has been cleared and repairs to its damage are underway. It appears that limited traffic is being permitted.

Kristin taking a closer look

The exposed steep parts there are part of a cliffline that runs above the road about 400m through the forest. Higher up, above the starting point of this slide, there is a well-known hiking path across the bowl of the old landslide at 640m down to Verschiez and back along the road -- it's called the Sentier de Provence because of the 'pines of Provence' that make the Bois de Glaivaz so noteworthy.

Back up to home

As of 11 December 2018, at some point they seem to have completed their repairs -- a few weeks ago we saw some very brave men poised on top of those poles to receive the netting sheets from a helicopter and bolt them onto the posts. The road is safe now, presumably, and we'll celebrate by walking up to Verschiez and back.

The view of Ollon from the road to Verschiez

The local mountains of the Préalps -- half off the frame on the left, the Grand Muveran (3051m), the double point on the right, the Dents de Morcles (2969m)

The Château de Nyon

We're running a few errands in Nyon, 7 November 2018, and have just got time to look in at the Château de Nyon. This however is the Hôtel du Seizième Siècle, or Sixteenth Century, on the Place du Marché.

There are some others of our views of Nyon, from when we still lived in the neighborhood, ca.1998-2010, here.

'The White Truffles of Alba have arrived'

The Château (some other views, before the new whitewash job faded, here)

Fall colors, with Lake Geneva in the background

An old house at the foot of the Place du Château

The entrance to the Château

Nyon city government offices on the Place du Château

The Place du Château from the castle entrance. That's it for today -- we're expected elsewhere precisely on the hour.

The Château d'Ollon

Here in little Ollon we've got our own venerable château, the Château de la Roche, and today there's some kind of artisanal market going on. Four years in this town, and we haven't been inside it before.

Along the Rue du Château

The Château: First fortified in the centre of Ollon in the early 13th century, when ownership of the village was being passed around amongst the Abbey of St-Maurice, the Counts of Savoie, and the Bishop of Sion, the house was the base of the Rovéréaz family from the 1340s to the late 16th century, when the town acquired official "commune" status. The castle's apparently been undergoing incremental renovations since 2003, and regularly hosts cultural events and expositions like our market today. See http://chateau-ollon.ch/.

We're looking for a working entrance.


The artisanal market in a few of the upstairs room, very sparsely populated unfortunately

Plenty of room for further renovations

A little exhibition on the château itself in the square corner tower

The depths of the castle, evidently

We're leaving Ollon soon, unfortunately, but we wish them the best successes with their potentially beautiful château.

Back up to the main street, which is here called the Route du Villars (the ski resort up the mountain, still part of Ollon); from that pumpkin colored building in the centre, onward, it's the Route d'Aigle.

The Hôtel de Ville restaurant, the pharmacie (and now also the mini-post office filial -- they've closed our real post office; cost-cutting, needs must!), and the Protestant Church, built in this incarnation in about 1480 (the tower is more recent).

Back to our little study

Melvin the Doge in the fireplace again

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 12 December 2018.

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