Tuesday 30 August 2022

Book review: Whose Body?

1661885474189-3b24e3ec-84c3-4874-b175-6968bd0c74cc_Whose Body? was apparently the debut of Dorothy L Sayers, introducing Lord Peter Wimsey. This can perhaps excuse a good deal of... imperfection? LPW for example is little other than an affected upper class drone, with only a sketch at backstory. The plot is implausible as is the motive and I did not trouble myself to follow all the details. The "solution" is so non-obvious that it was necessary to have the criminal explain it all in a death-bed letter.

But having said that, it is fun enough to read.

Saturday 6 August 2022

Switzerland 2022

PXL_20220808_093138204 This will - I do so swear - eventually become a post about the family holiday to Saas Fee and Zermatt in August 2022. But for now, it is a placeholder only.

We were two weeks together, then DM went home, E had a further couple of days at Lausanne / Geneva; and I spent a week reversing the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route. See-also 2021's Three weeks around the Monte Rosa Group.

Here's a paste-in of the Google Doc I used as diary:

Switzerland 2022

Finish work early Fri and home; Weina was around Thurs to learn her cat duties for week 2. Sat, packing; to Mfd+J 2:30 for tea; drop E at station. M's Eva is house-sitting the first week and arrives at 4 closely followed by D. Finish packing, realise bags are a little larger than expected so call taxi for 5 but it is inexplicably late so we miss 5:24 but have most of an hour to sit and get some food. D realises he has forgotten his raincoat; ah well we will buy another. Train direct to Gatwick but numerous stops along the way.

Reading Bacon: "for time like a river bears down to us that which is light and inflated, and sinks that which is heavy and solid". Cute, but dubious. Much more but little to any point other than everyone else is wrong; naming specifically big A.

To Gatwick. We were uneasy about our hold bags and nearly bought another but managed to scrunch stuff in. It is just me D and M now: E is at a prom and will join us later. To rooms; small but clean and fine for o'night. Leave D and get a coffee then retire for weirdly non-functional shower. Comedy re E and train: bed 11:45 alarm for 5:30.

Sun: up 5:30 ugh security painful+loud but even so only 25 mins. Pret for coffee then to gate 7:05. Outside: clear still quiet. Board. Some delay but t/o 8:15.

Bacon: gold is malleable ductile yellow and so on: so if we learnt to superinduce yellowness etc we can make gold. Next: atoms, vacuum, immutability of matter: all of which he believes to be incorrect. Heat: is his prime example of sci;  but doesn't have heat/temp distinction; doesn't separate in/organic; considers heat and cold separate. Heats of planets.

Land, slightly longer non-EU p'port queue but after quick baggage reclaim we would have just had time to catch 11:19; and indeed we do get it but just to Geneva then have an hour for cafe/snack. Get our 12:29 and all seems well. Read and gaze. Visp; 20 mins till bus so supermark for a bite. And so to SaasF, light rain. Walk to appt all well. It is a little way uphill but has good views. Me down to supermarche to get bread cereal milk juice. Soir: dinner at cafe Sporting; discuss tomorrow's plan (Mittaghorn VF) and early to bed.


Sleep till 8 then b'fast out side as sun just rises over hill. Glorious sun. Down to town, find right cable car second go (sorry) to top and out.

Then, like last year but with much better wx and somewhat slower. We all have harness+slings but I don't use mine. Some worry that we all have the fitness but we make it. Bask at top, views, pix. Then, the descent. Perhaps in retrospect should have gone round to below-Britannia and down? But I've never been that way. So it is a long way and we were short of water and cruelly there is none on that side. But we just make town in time for 6:30 supermarkt.

Soir: E cooks pasta+pesto and we have misc. Early bed.


Fairly slow start from 8 with b'fast outside in sun. Coffee and finish cereal but struggle to finish apricots and grapes which end up going up with us. Pack tidy and off. Then D and I wait in shade while ME go back for some cereal bars. Go to wrong lift: Felskinn is shut we should go to Morenia and change. Which is what I did last year without realising. Come out of topstation and it is shocking how much has melted: the "low" path has totally vanished; the snow is bare ice. Crampons; M not happy that I have brought her over this. And so down to the lakes (no ice) and grind up: 2 h.

Rest on terasse wx continues sun. Inside for cafe+cards. Register. Dinner at 7; b'fast 4. 3:45: I go explore down across glacier and moraine till I hit the "real" glacier 50 mins. And try to remember path markers and cairns for the morrow. Stream crossing troublesome. Decide on Fluchthorn.

Dinner: soup nice the pasta+peato for ME (oops) and meatbeast+mash for DI. Pay apres.

To bed 8:45 awaiting 3:45 call for 4 am b'fast. Write up mon+tues.


Knocked 3:45 up and b'fast, which is quality. Some others. Get off 4:50 after usual first-faff inclunding me having to remove gaiters+boots to go get map. Head off down, over glacier, then moraine, staying mostly on track. But it is hard work. Lovely sunrise. Continue up, having trouble navigating crevasses. Can see some others further up. At 3260 / 8:50 stop. We're not going to get up so we may as well just enjoy the views and get back in time to not rush. I feel relieved. Looking, see wall leading up to F looks maybe good in its shade and later Strava heatmap says that's popular. All very dry and crevassed. Note: in planning, I failed to realise we'd need to get back late hence need an extra night. Could have warned M.

Notable on the way back: big boulder on two pillars that D climbs. The scree is a grind. Back ~12 I think, see M. Rest, coffee, tea (we're on the 1L tea). Climb Mt Pangolin with D; E and M already have. Great views.

Leave 1:15 and the lakes route is a grind under the hot sun; takes 2h. And so down, to The Larix and then meal Boggalino the witches pizza. Early to bed we're all tired.


B'fast 8:30 and linger; good. Today is rest so no hurry. Go up to Spielboden for lunch and then Langflue thus using our Saascards. Glorious views from both.

Dinner at Chami-Stube Asian fusion place: good. I have Mapo tofu but D's is better. Try variant of game allowing overcalling like liar dice but discover that it doesn't work: because: well, you get no information, and the cards aren't changing.


Up slightly earlier and sprightlier. B'fast then DE to s'markt to get snax for walk to "river delta". Intended to set off 9 but make 10. Go via murmellerie but they are over fed. I get to stroke an earlier ine that might not havd been in the overfed zone. Over moraine and down to river and rest in shade and snack. E is reading Eragon and commenting (on Milo's Kindle) on the inconsistencies and infelicities. D is sleeping, having slept vadly last night due to heat. Sign: farming had ended in SF but 1965 but was artificially restarted.

Insta: post from Britannia hut of new route up from Morania thus avoiding glacier / rockfall. But it would be a grind up.

Up to resto after nice long time by river. Cafe and ice teas and rhubarb+icecream. Thence, back, to sit on terasse under sunshade. Some welcome light cloud developes we need more. M reads Graun article about glaciers melting lead by pic of Britannia hut.

Into town to buy some energy bars for tomorrow. Note: Cesar Sport does gas canisters.

Last dinner in SF: in actual Burgener, with Bim-bowls for DEM: good. My rosti is less impressive: a little dry.


B'fast 7:30 and then off at 8… no 8:15. It is about 16 k to Gratchen and I am nervous about some of our legs; also, anxious to start before the sun is high. We walk all the way through the village and off into the trees, quasi traverse but of course up. In forest to start is nice. Now 1:10 and we've rested for 45 mins for lunch by the last-big-stream where I saw the goatherd last year. So, good progress and we seem in good shape though a little cloud would be nice.

4:30: we've made it. Good. In fair shape too: I'm fine, D to, ME perhaps somewhat tired. The last ~hour is a bit "surely around *this* corner… no, this…" but nicely the sun has gone round and trees provide shade. Last barrier is a herd of mooing cows that worry E. Have drinks a waffles etc then lift down: 13 each but it is a loong way down.

Soir: out for an Italian: the Piazza, good. There's some kind of festival/conzert in progress. Unfortunately it continues to midnight and the hotel soundproofing could be better.


Up 8:20 b'fast. Decent but no second coffee so make one in room. ME have nice omelettes. MEI to church but there's a service. Graveyard: v neat. M and I have religious-type arg - she doesn't like me saying people are wrong. E leaves.

Wx: thin cloud.

Cafe pre bus at 12:10. Discussion on if you need infinity for physics. Decide not. Catch train (25 each) to Z. Fairly easy to find our place which is decently central but also off to one side a bit. And is lovely: old out, chic tasteful understated modern but with old beams. Meh, look at the pix. Luxury: separate bedrooms for D, E and us.

Out for… cafe just nearby. Very "local" perhaps Italian E orders whitebait. Then Migros for b'fast choc dinner coffee etc.

Pm: chill on balcony. M'horn gets cloudier.

Soir: DEM cook pots (had with cheese) and courgettes with spices found in cupboard. And we open the bottle they kindly left us.


All sleep well up past 8 b'fast on balcon then 9:30 set off up to Zmutt on what turns out to be the Kulturweg including a lynxfall aka trap.

Zmutt: cafe-resto. Salads, rosti, iced tea cafe. M'horn just visible. Colchique dans le pre.

After, up a little more to dam, which turns out to be part of some vast hydroelec scheme involving lac de Dix. And so down the far side and back. Dinner at home chickpea and peppers.


Pay more than plausible for zug to Rotenboden; up; and walk off. Scenery is awesome as before. Do pretty well for first half - down to and then up glacier - but somewhat slower esp M for second half "across" which is more up and down than I recalled. So 4:30 to hut, feeling quite tired. Find DE who were quicker. Sit outside for bit and admire Lyskamm and views in general. Inside for tea and cards. Little wash before dinner.

After pack for tomorrow and DE to bed early.


The big day. B'fast 2:30 and then off. I'm slightly nervous about losing the path but we don't; helped by DE spotting. Occasional headlights ahead. To first glacier snout crampons rope up. Then a band of rock and second glacier all well but then we run into a crevasse zone and… well that's it. Dawn comes and we're still stuck. So is another party. Not far on the far side is people who were well agead of us so it is possible to cross but it took them ages. Explore, backtrack, and with reluctance confess failure. This is regrettable and unexpected. In retrospect? We could have continued to try but it was getting decidedly dodgy; and D and esp E have little experience of this. Perhaps should have been more careful/thoughtfull when first getting into zone?


Rest day. Go out and look at Z a bit. Find Portuguese cafe good cakes. Pumpkin display at hotel Beausite.


Up to Trift hut. Wx was supposed to stop rain at 9 but doesn't so we have two hours of being gently rained on which reveals what I already know: my coat really needs renewing 

Pm: me up to Mettelhorn (good! Slightly iffy glacier at top that I'd expected to have melted but it hadn't so no crampons) D to Wisshorn M and E near hut.

Soir: meal: DI generous square of spam and mash and veg: surprisingly good. ME same but less gen cheese.


Luxury of 7 am b'fast. Discussion of "evil". 9:10: DEI head up leaving M to explore and prob desc early. Rothornhutte is 2:10 map time which we make. It has - as I should have guessed - great views across to the MR massif slighly truncated by clouds. Have cafe+kuche. DE like to sit for a bit inside; I explore outside but see no sign of neubau. And so, down. M has already desc. Picnic outside Trift then cafe at lower Edelweiss.

Bacon: is over fond of lists rather than undrlying causes; and has not learnt to separate animate from in-a.

Soir: resto for final meal. E beef tartare me rosti D king prawn salad M risotto. D wins holiday liars poker tournoi by 1 pt over me.

Sun: Z to Zinal

Up first coffee Duolingo then make a few noises and pack. M then D then E emerge; b'fast, finish up juice milk bread butter cornichons and pack and tidy and wash up. Paranoia check passports and we're off: MD to station to fly home; E to slow time to Lausanne; me to dump rubbish and down to St Nk to get Jungen baby cable car 12 chf.