Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Away from it all

After lunch yesterday, I made my way to Bristol Airport by car, parking in the pouring rain as near to the terminal entrance as I could get, to make it easy for Clare and the rest to find when they return fromSpain on Thursday. I was early checking in, so had a nice relaxing time waiting, aware that despite the bad weather, flights were leaving on time. The evening flight arrived in Geneva ten minutes early, which gave me plenty of time to find the double-decker commuter train to Lausanne, and then onward to Neuchâtel on the Swiss high speed train, modelled on the Italian Pendolino. Both were almost empty, as it was New Year's Day.

On arrival, I met up with Laura for the drive up to St Imier, in the Jura Bernois. As we drove, the torrential rain gave way to sleet, then heavy snow, much to our delight - the first big 'dump' of the season by the looks of it. What a welcome! Laura was church secretary when I worked in Geneva, Martin her husband is organist of the Parish of St Imier, with a huge former monastic church building, parts of which are a thousand year old, Laura too is an organist and singer.

They have a typical Swiss four storey town house, plain and square on the outside, with lovely wood floors and simple interior decor. I'm occupying a top floor bedroom with a view west up the wide forested valley. St Imier is a precision engineering town, renowned for watchmaking. Swiss watch company Longines manufacture here, but this is the last such business here. Many more have moved on or closed down, so it's a quiet town, even when it's not Bank Holiday. It's snowed on and off throughout the day, so we've passed the time catching up, eating, and getting rid of nasty popup ads from this laptop on which I write.

It's just so good to be back in Switzerland, and in the depths of the Jura. It's the sort of placeI daydream about when Cardiff is giving me a hard time.

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