One of the more modern songs in my collection, is this one by Ann Lee, called 2 Times, which was released in March 1999. It’s rather quirky but, for some reason, I like it. And, I have to confess, I hadn’t seen this video until I created this post. I think it detracts a little from the song, so you might like to just close your eyes and listen… 🙂
Every year, on the 15th August, our village is host to one of the most traditional and colourful festivals. Every other year, it is supplemented by the inclusion of the musicians and dancers from the Célébrations Interculturelles de la Montagne à Evolène (CIME), which takes place in the few days leading up to this and concludes with a final Gala evening performance.
The main event starts with a procession of vintage cars. This is followed by people dressed in traditional costumes, demonstrating local dancing, music and crafts. This year it was interspersed with performers from Russia, Armenia, Ecuador, Italy and Montenegro.
As you can see from the photos below (the best ones of which were taken by my wife Jude, as marked), everyone had a fabulous time. And if you ever wondered where this utopia is that I live, but couldn’t be bothered to look it up, I’ve added a map at the end. 😊
Today I had another opportunity to do a ‘new’ walk and this time it was from the small village of Champex-Lac to the Cabane du Trient (@3,169m or 10,297ft) which overlooks a huge expanse of glacier called the Plateau du Trient. I cheated a bit by taking the chairlift to La Breya (@2198m or 7,211ft) but it was still a good hike over some rough terrain and included a little bit of snow and a short section of metal stemples* to climb.
(*Think, thick staples stuck into the rock and you’ll be close).
As you will see below the views of the glaciers were incredible, but I was surprised to find a strange looking statue outside the cabane. Since returning home I’ve discovered it was created by sculptor Nikola Zaric, who sadly died of cancer in 2017. It was only meant to be there as part of a temporary exhibition but, after his death, a crowd-fund was set up to buy the statue, in order to donate it to the Swiss Alpine Club to ensure it remains in its current position. It also looks like they have now reached that target.
Anyway, it wasn’t the only unusual thing seen at the cabane… My blogging buddy, Stephen Black, has been getting a bit of stick for over-marketing his book ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square’ on his website, FracturedFaithBlog. Having put together my dad’s book, I know how much effort that goes into proof reading and editing, let alone actually writing it. So I’m unashamedly plugging it here. 😊 If you would like to purchase a copy – please click here.
I’m now hoping that I have literally taken it to a new level and my picture is the ‘highest’ picture ever taken of his book(?)
It’s quite timely that I should have posted this picture of my two good friends Ian and Martin, as Joe Jackson was a particular favourite of Ian’s and the song always reminds me of a camping holiday that the three of us had in Guernsey in the summer of 1979. We travelled over on the ferry when the infamous Fastnet storms were beginning. The boat was pitching and rolling all the way. Almost everyone on the ship was ill except the 3 of us, who could be found propping up the bar.
Martin played on the wing for York Rugby Union Football Club and was quick as well as strong and he decided to enter the Guernsey Open Athletics Championship. He chose to compete in the 100 metres and the Shot Putt event. (Not many people attempt that ‘double’!) Ian and I didn’t want to be left out so we recruited another 100m sprinter to form a 4x100m relay team. We finished 4th out of 5, beating the team put together by the 1500m runners, who had finished their own race only about 20 minutes before!
It’s those sort of holidays that bond friendships for the rest of your life. Even today, 40 years on, you may hear one of us say “Is she really going out with him?” 🤣
This weekend and until the 15th August, sees the biennial CIME (Célébrations Interculturelles de la Montagne à Evolène) festival, which features dancers and singers from different mountain areas around the world. We haven’t bought tickets to see any of the evening shows, but there are impromptu events happening in and around the villages of the Val d’Hérens.
So, with nothing better to do and the sun shining, I wandered down to the village, taking some photos as I went, and stumbled across a procession of the Russian, Italian and Ecuadorian participants. I presumed this was a sort of preamble or practice for the main ‘mid-summer’ procession on the 15th. I hope to bring you some pictures of that later next week, but in the meantime, here are a few images from today.
Psst… Can you keep a secret? If anyone asks, you haven’t seen these pictures – OK?
Jude and I went to the Irish Festival in Sion last night, featuring 3 bands, with the Chieftains as the main act. The cloakrooms were outside of the entrance gate, so after the first act and a few pints of the black stuff, I toddled off for a comfort break. But when I returned, I’d taken my point and shoot camera out of my pocket and the security guard wouldn’t let me in – pointing to a sign saying “No cameras”. (It was in Jude’s bag when we first arrived and a different security guard must have missed it). With almost everyone else inside taking pictures or videos with their phones, this seemed a bit ridiculous, but you don’t argue with a 6ft+ security guard! (Well, I don’t anyway).
So I obviously didn’t take these pictures of the Damien Mullane Band and I certainly couldn’t possibly have taken any of the Chieftains. Though I can tell you they were as good as ever, ably assisted by a local Swiss drumming band and 2 superb Canadian dancers on some of their songs.
I’ve recently returned from a trip to the UK, where I met up with some of my old friends to play golf and go for a couple of walks. I’ll skip quickly passed the golf and show you a few photos of a walk I did with Ian, Martin and his wife Jan, who had recently bought a camera very similar to mine. So we took it in turns to snap away at anything and everything and a few of the photos below are courtesy of Jan (as watermarked).
The day was noted for a rather cloudy start, which thankfully improved, and a Collie dog which adopted us in the car park and followed us, or rather, we followed it, for most of the way, around the walk. We left it in the good care of 2 ladies who were doing the same walk and knew it lived near the Abbey.
For more information on Byland Abbey, please read here, but it was founded in 1135.
This week contains Swiss National Day*, so I’ve decided to include a song by a Swiss group, called Double, though in reality it’s mainly a guy called Kurt Maloo. I really like it for a number of reasons, like the haunting melody, the simple piano riff, the clarinet and, when the question was asked “Who sang The Captain of her Heart?” in a pub quiz in York quite a few years ago now, I actually remembered the answer. I still have no idea how I got that.
*The 1st August is also Yorkshire Day. Ey up, didn’t tha knows? But I figured this song might go down a bit better than a rendition of Ilkley Moor Bah T’at (especially be me!) Oh, go on then, yev twisted me arm – see darn below… 👍👍 It’s grand as ‘owt!
Like many people of a certain age at that time, I was a big fan of Madonna and the way she changed her image to suit the song. She will feature later in this series, but for my first choice, I’ve gone for Vogue, which topped the charts in 30 countries. Simply superb.
After a steep descent into Zinal on day 1, it didn’t take me long (maybe about 5 minutes) to realise that almost all paths around Zinal are steep. My GPS was telling me that the 50m contours were coming every 120m, which makes it a gradient of over 40%. However after about an hour the path levelled off and then it just meandered and undulated all the way to the Weisshorn Hotel, where I stopped for some refreshments. 🍺😊
From there I thought it would be a simple 450m/1,500ft climb to the Meidpass but, just to make life interesting, the path dropped about 200m before it started to climb again. But what a wonderful walk it was. I was completely blown away by Le Touno (see pic 19) which stood majestically above everything, even though it’s only 3,018m (9,902ft) high. After that, both sides of the Meidpass felt extremely remote and I only saw 5 other walkers before reaching the Schwarzhorn Hotel in Gruben,
It was there that I met up with the dozen or so people I mentioned yesterday, who were indeed British. They were all walking from Chamonix to Zermatt on a 2 week holiday – not that everyone considered it a holiday! I’ve mentioned coincidences recently but, one of the party leaders hailed from my old neck of the woods, near Hull. Also, I offered to take a picture of a couple near the Weisshorn Hotel and, although they lived in Germany, the lady also came from near Hull. What are the chances of that happening on the same day in the Alps?
As usual, I’ve done my best to identify the butterflies below, but one eluded me. Despite it having some very distinct lines on the under wing, I couldn’t find it in my book.