After several days, if not weeks, of misty, wet, dank weather, the sun finally came out in the Val d’Hérens yesterday. As you will see from some of the pictures below, the peaks are still covered in snow, so I chose to do a slightly different ‘medium level’ walk from La Luette to Nax via St Martin.
As soon as I set off I knew I was in for a good day with the camera. There were a lot more wild flowers in bloom and many more species of butterfly on the wing, including, I’m pretty sure, a Camberwell Beauty, which unfortunately escaped my lens.
My apologies for not naming all of the pictures below, but as you will see there are quite a few. But this only goes to show what a wide variety there is in nature. 😊
I’m not quite sure why it is, but I always seem to hear my type of music being played wherever I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the local supermarket, or any of the shops around town, the airwaves are filled with Mike’s Music. Even during the Geneva Open tennis last week, they played songs in between games to entertain the crowd. As well as Celebration there was this particular song by Indeep, which was released in 1982. Enjoy and have a great week!
Our lives are nothing if not varied… 😊 My wife, Jude, is a big tennis fan and she noticed that Alexander Zverev had chosen to play in the Geneva Open, as a warm-up for the French Open next week. Other ‘stars’ were also due to play, like local Vaudois hero Stan ‘The Man’ Wawrinka, so we bought tickets for the quarter finals on Thursday. Unfortunately Stan was knocked out early in the competition, but we were still treated to some excellent tennis.
The venue and event is small and very intimate and, at least on quarter finals day, you can get up close and, if you’re lucky, even chat to some of the players. (E.g. see pic 5).
The eventual finalists were Nicolas Jarry and Alexander Zverev, who subsequently played out a very close final yesterday evening, with Zverev winning 10-8 in a 3rd set tiebreak.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve now been blogging for over 4 years and this is the first time I’ve posted pictures, well, close up pictures, of one of the world’s most iconic mountains – the Matterhorn. My excuse, if I needed one, is that Jude and I have been to Zermatt so many times before, with almost every one of our friends and family who came to stay when we first moved over to Switzerland.
Anyway, my sister, Karen, has been visiting this week with her partner, Paul, and they were keen to go there. So, we drove around to Tasch, parked up and took the shuttle train to (the car free) Zermatt. Now although the Matterhorn looks impressive from almost any angle, it’s far best viewed from the Gornergrat at 3,100m (or 10,170ft). But do not worry if you are averse to hiking, as there is a train which will whisk you up to the top. 😊
To give you some idea of the scale of what you are looking at, I’ve posted a picture (no. 4) of the ultra modern, ‘space age’ looking, Monte Rosa Hut, which is 5 storeys high and sleeps 120 people. Picture 5 zooms out a little (and you can, I hope, spot the hut in the centre of the lower part of the image) and then picture 6 shows the full extent of Monte Rose (also called the Dufourspitze and is Switzerland’s highest mountain at 4,634m or 15,200ft), with the hut towards the lower right.
It’s amazing how some tunes can transport you back in time to moments or certain experiences in your life. This song, by Van McCoy, takes me back to the time I played rugby for Askeans in Kent, waaaay back in 1975. I’ll not tell you what the other lads used to sing instead of “Do the Hustle”, but they were great days – training twice a week and playing on Saturdays, always followed by a few beers of course. 😊
The ‘proper’ video for this song was pretty boring, being just a few still images, and I didn’t think Pan’s People dancing in Baby Dolls was quite appropriate. So I selected this much better quality video featuring a popular Japanese dance group called Perfume. (I’ve never heard of them, but you learn something new every day! Watch out for the moving pavement though).
Yesterday, my car had to go to the garage in Les Haudères for it’s regular service, so I had some time to kill before picking it up later in the day. Rather than walk back home, I decided to check out the Ferpècle valley, to see how the snow was getting on. And, although there was quite a bit, knee deep even, from the small reservoir to the valley itself, a lot had disappeared. But it will be a while yet, before I can venture too far above 2,000m (6,500 ft).
There are clear signs though that more flowers and creatures are emerging from their winter hibernation. I couldn’t identify picture 22 though, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
This week we have the first of two songs in my list by Billy Ocean – When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going, which is always a good line for any runner or indeed, any difficult situation in life. This video is made even more entertaining by the inclusion of Kathleen Turner, Danny de Vito and Michael Douglas. Hopefully it gets you off to a good start this week. Enjoy!
In an attempt to catch up and get up to date, I’ve decided to group all my other holiday photos together. (I say my, but I’ve included 2 of Jude’s as well – suitably credited to her). As you will see we had some nice weather (unlike the rest of the UK at the time I understand) and we had yet another fabulous boat ride to the Farne Islands, where thousands of seabirds were nesting.
My apologies for all the bird pictures, but I know there are some keen birders out there following my posts. If any of them/you can identify the little brown birds in pics 2 and 28 then I’d be very grateful. I have my suspicions about the first but no idea about the second.
Judith and I spent the last week of our UK holiday in Northumberland. On our way down from Scotland, we dropped off Jo & Aaron at Edinburgh airport to continue their European holiday (in Berlin and Nice and then who knows where…)
We were quite fortunate with the weather and our first day out was to take a shortish walk along the coast from our base in Alnmouth to the next village north, called Boulmer (pronounced Boomer for some reason. How people ever learn English I’ll never know. It’s hard enough coping with the various accents without pronouncing things differently to how they look. Or maybe people just couldn’t spell properly in the old days!)
Anyway, it was a beautiful walk, with plenty of things to photograph along the way. 😊
For our last full day in the NW of Scotland, we drove around Loch Carron to Plockton and treated Jo, Aaron and Jude’s friend, Kate, to a boat ride on one of Calum’s famous* Seal Trips (where you are guaranteed to see seals, or your money back!) I have covered this village before, but I see that it was almost 3 years ago now, so I think it’s worth another post. Especially as, this time, Aaron and I went for a short walk to the viewpoint at An Fhrith Aird, where there is an exceptional view of where Loch Carron meets the Inner Sound between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland. (See map at the end of the picture gallery).
*As featured on the BBC TV series “Paul Murton’s Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs”.