Happy birthday to Zach!

If you have ever contemplated coming to Gruyères for a long sleepy Sunday, this is not the place for you. Along with many other European countries (by that I do mean European not the E.U. ; for Switzerland is still shopping and spending in Swiss Francs, while all around them fly Euros.) and Greece springs readily to mind, Sunday is a day of religion. The church bells 🔔 rang as usual at 6-30a.m. but at seven, all hell was let loose; religious pun not intended! 🔔 🔔 🔔 And the arrival of room service next door (we didn’t even realise there was room service here!) was not exactly the quietest of affairs; I presume to wake the slumbering incumbents. Although quite how they were still slumbering, after the cacophony inflicted on us all, direct from the church tower, confused my two brain cells. 😜 The other fact of life in Switzerland that I understand but still confuses me, is that you can drive 20 minutes down the road and suddenly everyone is speaking German, as opposed to the French speaking town you have just left. Makes you feel like you are on a two country holiday but…….

Last night the town was so cool (temperature wise) that the restaurant exterior tables, where people like to take the air and then smoke (here I go again 😜) a really confusing conception, were absolutely empty.

DSC00486Away to the flat and Laura was having a bit of a mare with the cake, that had fallen apart, due to temperature changes in the car, where it had been left overnight. She struggled, repaired and then iced successfully, and no one who finally eventually tasted it was any the wiser.

Hannah amused children various, as only Hannah can; while Laura achieved her goal,

and we ate lunch across the road; simple ham and potatoes, a sort of set meal brought on by one lady chef having to cater for a banquet of about ten people, as well as us. Still haven’t quite got the hang of these ‘selfies’ yet. Oh yes, and rumour had spread some English people were outside, so a lovely man brought us his Yorkshire Terrier to admire!

Onwards to the farm for the festivities and we parked at the top of the road in the village, to avoid congestion and wandered down through fields, under electric fencing and rather close to lots of cows! Mary emulating Mary Poppins at one point carrying three bags and bravely refraining from singing ‘the lonely goatherd’ I negotiated the electricated wires, performing my own stunts!

The party was a great success, with Laurent playing a blinder entertaining the children with a treasure hunt. The weather was absolutely beautiful, thank goodness, so they could all happily play outside. Jean-Denis took on the roll of official ‘do’ photographer but Mary also busily snapped away.

The cake was a complete triumph and tasted delicious, the treasure was found and we escaped before the restaurant in Gruyères closed early for dinner. Leaving Zach with the biggest pile of presents ever seen since Hamleys opened a third floor!

Just an amazing array of gear!

One very happy and one very lucky young man. But he’s a diamond and so is his sister. Two beautiful grandchildren, that we are SO lucky to have. So, tomorrow we fly home; it’s been a ball and a very relaxing break. Of course we shall miss them hugely, but let’s hope it won’t be too long before we say, ‘Bonjour, ca va?’ again.

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As always, we hope you enjoyed the shared journey. And we both look forward to your company on the next one.

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Thank you for reading, please do feel free to comment.

M & M 🇨🇭🔔🔔📷lol

Saturday; the eve of the big ‘do.’

Slightly cool, rather cloudy but we were in fine spirits as we headed off to Romont to pick up the giggling duo; fully recovered from the terror of drinking, two nights before, in the Giger bar, which is opposite the Giger museum dedicated to the chap who designed the Alien, in the Alien films.

It’s actually a bit like drinking inside the Alien itself, well I imagine that’s what it would be like! We arrived to find Zach and Safi playing in the garden with Jean-Denis and Liliane. Off to the co-op for a quick shop, not having to park underground as we did  yesterday to avoid the rain. Back to the farm to unload and then off to one of Malcolm’s favourite restaurants, where they do a mean chicken in the basket.

Safi laughed at videos various on Mary’s phone while we waited for our order to be taken (a joint cloak of invisibility was obviously dropped over us) and Zach ordered salad when the waitress finally arrived. How grown up is this seven year old?

The hotel view had changed a bit this morning but the snow was still up there and the one thing that always startles us (there is a small airfield nearby) is when the small planes fly past our balcony like some clip from an Indiana Jones film!

Because it’s Saturday and I guess because the Zmoos men were not working today, the deer that normally inhabit the field below the hotel but hadn’t this week; were back and happily in situ.

There was one dreadful moment where we contemplated that they had all gone off to be made into venison sausages but happily not the case.

Laura and Hannah have both arrived safely and Laura has taken the cake, which was cut in half and filled in a very delicate and tense procedure this afternoon, back to her flat to be decorated! We arrived back at the hotel to the sound of an alpine horn echoing across the valley. A marriage in the church with a horn accompaning the happy couple; don’t think it was Pippa!

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Thanks for reading. Fingers crossed for the weather tomorrow.

M & M 🇨🇭🍷🍷

Friday. Cloudy, drizzle and very damp.

Finally off to see the grandchildren at last after two days R&R, which have been lovely. Oh yes and that window; how good does this look?

DSC00414They would have to go back as hand luggage because in your suitcase they would probably end up as meringue crumbs! So below, the view from the hotel balcony this morning and then tonight!

I know you couldn’t see the mountains this morning but tonight they had fresh snow on them; yes fresh snow. Off we went to the Co-op and bought supplies and then to the farm where Laurent had cooked lunch and there was a big hello to Safi and Zach soon arrived from school. And dear Safi, when Zach returned to school after lunch, helped Mary to make Zach’s birthday cake. Looking good, even without the filling or being iced!

And we were amazed when the rain still pouring down turned to almost snow; but was confirmed when a van passed by the farm with snow on the windscreen and roof . We played a game called ‘Hotel deluxe’ a bit like monopoly and Zach kept us within the rules! 🤥🤥🤥🤥 And I demonstrated the selfie setting to Zach, on my new camera.

They are both gorgeous but we would say that wouldn’t we and it was very good to see them both again after what seems like too long a time.

Jean-Denis and Liliane arrived because the young ‘uns were going to stay the night with them. We toddled back to the hotel and another excellent meal in the rampart restaurant and you can see where it gets the name from. Mary finished her meal with the meringues and cream.

A cool night for sure, but hopefully the birthday ‘do’ on Sunday should be sunny and warm. Tomorrow we have to amuse the children most of the day. Wish us luck!

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Thanks for reading. Hope the hail in the UK dies out! 😱

M & M 🇨🇭🎂

Thursday, you’ll be pleased to know it’s cloudy!

From what folks have posted and said, we have gathered the weather in the U.K. has been a bit rubbish. Sorry to have missed it! What we are not missing after just over 48 hours is the Brexit, election, political rants all associated with the forthcoming happy 😱 event in June. CNN and CNBC however are just full of Trump and absolutely nothing else. BBC world news is a very strange mix, as my ex working colleagues discovered in Malta recently, and seems to bear no relationship to the real world at all; more like a magazine programme with tiny, tiny bits of news thrown in. You’ll be delighted to know I once more resisted the meringues and cream for breakfast. Can I continue to do so, is the burning question of the day?

A look at the map in the car, and after watching two ladies reverse into the hotel wall (well, they had enjoyed the meringues and cream, so may have been on a sugar high!) at a slow enough speed just to damage the car 🚗 and not themselves; we headed for a lake and a dead end in the mountains that looked intriguing.

We must ask someone what is going on outside the hotel; a huge truck has been parked there since we arrived, with hoses various running from it and another strange contraption is parked in the field below the car park, that the two ladies emerged from backwards and at speed. The view from the hotel is wonderful and somehow this morning with a lack of sunshine looked more dramatic and stunningly green.

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The picture of the truck is mine but the goat 🐐 is Mary’s.

And from then on her wildlife expertise just blossomed, as you will see. The lake turned out to be called the Black Lake and it dawned on us we had been there before when Zach was quite young. The place had been incredibly crowded back then but today it was peaceful and semi deserted.

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As we walked round the lake we noticed just one chap on a wind surf board and we realised we had seen him practising in the car park when we arrived. He couldn’t have done that the time when we had visited before because it was rammed. And out of context but also here is a shot of my favourite window in Gruyeres.

So round the lake we went and Mary turned into the wildlife photographer of the year. She has been awarded the contract for Canada already, because the Chaffinch with caterpillar and her Grebe with small gudgeon, have thrust her head and shoulders above my humble efforts. Read ’em and weep.

I managed to take the Grebe out of focus and my attempt at capturing some House Martin’s, drinking from a puddle failed when they all took off as one, but Mary had got them well sorted!

So we had lunch by the lake and drove home. It did spit a little but held off completely and as I write this at four thirty the sun has reappeared and Mary has gone for a walk while I type the blog up.

And what a walk it turned out to be. A picture of the rear of the hotel we have not seen before; marred slightly by the fencing! But the flower intrigued her and so did the walkway by the church down near the pathway aptly called Charrière Des Morts used by nearby villages to bring their dead to the church.

She then encountered a glider where it obviously should not have been; in a ploughed field, together with a small group of curious and interested onlookers.

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And I’ll finish with another two of Mary’s; the first taken at the lake and the second a couple of weeks back at The Vyne, where this whole ornithological photographic expertise took flight. (See what I did there?)

So until tomorrow, when we are definitely promised rain, take care and as always thanks for taking an interest!

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M & M 🇨🇭🇨🇭🍷🍷

So Zach is seven on Sunday!

Another beautiful day and after a pretty contained breakfast, we headed for Gstaad. The scenery on the way was amazing.

And we got closer to a thing called Glacier 3000, where the cable cars packed with people were the size of a small coach.

How the hell these things stay suspended above the ground is a mystery. We didn’t indulge in the pleasure of ascending as the price of a ticket was £62, I presume for a return journey? Once in Austria, I had practised my German in order to ask for a return ticket on a cable car. I walked forward to the ticket office and spoke my beautifully prepared lines, immediately after which the nice man behind the desk said in perfect English, “What up and down?”

Gstaard itself was really quiet and really beautiful. We had a relaxing pause for a cup of coffee, near a stunning river, before buying our lunch in a nearby co-op, to have as a mini picnic on our way back to Gruyeres.

Yehudi Menuhin had quite a connection with Gstaard and so did Julie Andrews! Who would have thought?

The sitting duck was a bit odd but the chocolate shop………..

We have at last visited the chocolatier in Gruyeres, which we have never visited. Some samples may well be bought, before the journey home on Monday. A beer in the sunshine and then a visit to the church in Gruyeres, that is calm, serene and beautifully cool!

So we then went for dinner and got another early night. Tomorrow, may not be as bad as we thought weather wise. The nice Irish lady in the coffee shop said that her friend Peter thought the predicted thunderstorms may not occur! Now how good would that be? Watch this space.

 

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Thank you for reading.

M & M 🇨🇭🍷

 

So Zach is seven!

OK, we made it and the weather is just beautiful!

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This is the view from our hotel balcony!

Heathrow was just fine and even the security check wasn’t the painful exercise it can be! The one big draw back was that Gordon Ramsey’s gaff, where we always look forward to breakfast was CLOSED, for refurbishment! He never told me, no phone call not even a postcard! So a little down, we ate at another eatery Wagamama (?) which was ok but……..and wandered to the departure gate, where a problem that has occurred before flared up: duplicate passports, don’t ask but it got rectified.

I once stood outside Gordon Ramsey’s, waiting for Mary to gather in water and a daily paper, when three Chaps from Yorkshire gathered round to look at the menu on a board positioned at the entrance. “Bye ‘eck,” retorted one, “his bloody fish and chips have got expensive!” “No yer daft bugger,” replied his chum,” your thinking of Harry Ramsdens! This is Gordon Ramsey’s!” True story.

The flight was one of the least crowded we can remember.

And the view you see is crossing the English coast. I must say the new smaller digital camera seems to be performing pretty well. These views as we came into to land were of a lake, don’t know which one, and also the famous fountain in Lake Geneva.

The hire car check in was really speedy, well done Avis preferred! Keys, documents all waiting for me to turn up. And the bus to take us to the car park was particularly uncluttered by skiers; during the winter it does tend to get a tad overrun with them.

A drive to the hotel and a stop along the lake at ‘Step’ to eat our bagettes.

A really lovely spot, found by complete accident. So there we have it folks, roll on the thunderstorms forecast for Thursday; we plan to enjoy tomorrow in the sun as much as we can. Dinner tonight was excellent and I had the Trout and almonds with natural potatoes i.e. boiled and a salad, which I thought was pretty healthy; until I realised the potatoes were swimming in butter. Gulp. Ah, well can’t win them all, eh? 😜 Gruyeres is beautiful and the sun setting provided some wonderful colours and light and some really good news.

For a lady in a window with her mobile!

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Delighted of Gruyeres! This may well go in a Yateley Camera Club competition next year.

So thanks for reading, and a picture of me and the wonderful Mrs Treen on an empty shuttle bus 🚌 to finish with. See you tomorrow for more news from the mountains.

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Take care!

M & M 🇨🇭