Saturday, June 30, 2012

Literally daft

The first of an occasional series of things I read or hear people say that are just stupid.  Last night on the BBC news, a business-lady was being interviewed on the effect of a certain type of bank-loan on her business.  She said - and I quote -

'It's literally killing us to the point where it's unacceptable.'


Panda Eyes

I've got panda eyes this morning.  Unfortunately, I can't upload pictures from this computer (there must be a way...) so I can't show you.  So I'll have to content myself with telling you how it happened.

As my regular reader will know, we arrived here in Grindelwald on Monday night.  It was raining, and Tuesday followed with more rain - quite a lot, actually.  Though we're in the shadow of the magnificent north-face of the Eiger, for most of Tuesday it was just not visible.  I mean - not at all.

Wednesday, the weather cleared.  The contrast was remarkable.  Bright clear skies, warm sunshine.  We took advantage to take a trip to Interlaken.   The train journey is  beautiful, and our intention was to look around the town.  However, when we arrived it was lunch-time, and we took the quick decision to go, once more, up the Harder Kulm by funnicular.  We have, of course, been up before.  .  We both like doing things that we know we'll enjoy, so up we went for lunch in the restaurant.  It was a pleasant, relaxing afternoon doing not very much.

That doesn't account for the panda eyes.  Nor does the following day, Thursday.  That day we stayed around Grindelwald itself.  While the excursions are excellent, and good value, they are also rather expensive - our rule-of-thumb therefore is to 'go out' every two or three days.

Yesterday, Friday, dawned bright and sunny.  Last time we were here, the cable-way at First (just at the Eastern End of Grindelwald) was closed for maintenance, and we'd been told it was worth a visit.  So this time, up we went.

It's an impressive ride.  It's a more impressive destination.  The view is almost unbelievable - and when I get home I hope to add-in some pictures so that you'll see what I mean.  While there are many walks well sign-posted from First, it was frankly too hot.  We think it must have reached 30-degrees plus while we were up there; so we contented ourselves with lunch, sitting on the viewing platform, saying 'Wow!' at intervals, and sun-bathing.  As a Yorkshireman who still revels in Yorkshire, I'm not used to sun-bathing so it was a novel experience.  I sat with sun-glasses on and enjoyed the view.

When we came 'home' parts of me were very red.  My nose would rival Rudolph's, my legs no longer look like plucked chicken, my arms are turning an impressive shade of bronze.  BUT the sunglasses shielded the immediate area of my eyes.  They remain white.  Panda-eyes!

Today, Saturday, is the day of the wedding of Chris Beedie and Hannah Moore, back in Moordown.  Our prayers are with them.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Shock at Grindelwald

Gentle reader, I know you wait with baited breath for an update of our doings, and - I promise - it will follow.  But first, you need to know - perhaps, if you are strong-minded - of the horrors that awaited us.

Understand, dear friend, that the flat we are privileged to borrow is beautiful in every way.  It is well-appointed inside, the balconies have breathtaking views of the Eiger, it is a close walk to a most beautiful village/town where almost everyone speaks English.  Our hosts are most kind, and I do not - in any way - suggest that they could be responsible for the outrage that awaited us.  Indeed, I have asked and they knew nothing about it.  Some ungrateful guest has abused their hospitality...

Naturally after a long journey from England what every Englishman needs immediately on arrival is a cup of tea.  There was only one variety of tea-bags available.  Please do not be frightened at the abomination; I doubt if you even knew such a thing were possible.   But they were Lancashire tea-bags.  Even now I cannot bring myself to append a picture of these things, and only include the link as testimony to my own veracity.

Well, needs must, and a Yorkshireman does not know the meaning of the word 'fear' (education - even in that glorious land - not being what once it was).  So, gripping my little Lancashire tea-bag in one hand and a kettle in the other, I brewed, waited and tasted.  Plainly, the experience was not fatal (since the dead do not continue blogs).  How were these tea-bags, you ask?  How do you think?

U n p l e a s a n t ,   v u l g a r   a n d   t a s t e l e s s .

Worse - yes, I assure you - was to follow.  I thought I would track down the source of this abomination and ensure that they are not available in England's green and pleasant land.  Here, then, is a quotation from the bottom of the box. 

'Because we are a young company, and not owned by any major corporation we rely on our customers to help us grow our business.' (Sic! or Sick?)

Yes, I assure you.  The dreaded lone comma of a pair.  Though passing themselves off as professionals, those who run this company do not know how to use a comma!  See here and here and for related material, here...

I have been unable to find, in this fair country of Switzerland, the proper thing.  But take heart, dear reader.  We have abandoned LT in favour of another brand which, while not the real thing, is a far better substitute.

I will give you some time to recover from the horrors of unaccompanied cupboard-searching, and then be back.  Meanwhile, just off for a cuppa.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grindelwald again!

Just over two years after the last visit we're here again, by the kindness of friends John and Yvonne.  It's Wednesday morning - we arrived on Monday evening after a great flight and long and pleasant train journeys.  After a couple of weeks rotten weather in England (icnluding some floods in Yorkshire, especially) we were looking forward to a change.  We didn't get it - not at first.  We arrived in rain, and Tuesday it poured down all day.  We could only just get out to the shops to get the necessaries, the Eiger was invisible, and so on.  To make matters worse, news from home was that the weather there was brilliant...
Still, the weather did give me time to sort out the TV.  Naturally, cable TV brings English channels easily enough; the problem was that the TV screen told us that it was receiving no signal from the media box.  Check the connections.
Well, we all know how easy that isn't.  TVs are difficult to move, connecting leads are not long enough for manouevering, and so on.  But, check the connections I did.  No change.  Follow all the instructions again  - make sure I'm 'tuned' in correctly.  No change.  Do it all again.  And again.  No change.  Keep on trying every time I'm bored.  No change.  Contact John.  'Have you tried re-setting the box?'  No, I haven't.  I wonder why - I have to do that with my virginmedia box often enough.  Try resetting the box - unplug the power, wait thirty seconds (I waited thirty minutes!), reconnect.  Abracadabra - there's the picture.  It's like a miracle.  Even bigger miracle - Andy Murray is slaughtering his opponent - a Brit who's winning easily.  Wow.
Prior to that, I'd had to sort out the laptop.  John had sent me with his, and I connected it up and it all worked fine.  But the next day - no.  It switched on, and off immediately.  Then, it wouldn't even switch on.  Had I triggered some sort of security mechanism?  Surely not - the laptop would have to come on in order for that to happen.
Problem?  The power cable's in two halves.  The connection between the two was poor, so the laptop had run on internal batteries and then stopped.  Plug in properly, and we're away.

So - am I a technical genius or not?  Answers please on the back of a 50CHFr note...

Today, the weather's much better.  I can see the Eiger.  Breakfast on the balcony.  And - we're off to Interlaken for the day, I think.

Pictures when available, like last time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

brilliant - just Brilliant

The retirement of the best-third of Pyromaniacs is sad news indeed; and the best response is given by Frank Turk