Friday, 16 January 2015


William H Macy

Guillermo C Kahlo

Monday, 7 July 2014

In memoriam: my walking boots (1989-2014)

These boots were made for walking,
And that’s just what they did.
But on this day these boots
Are walking off to the dump.

With pain in my heart I am saying goodbye to my most loyal traveling companions: my Nomad walking boots. For over 25 years we traveled together literally to the ends of the earth, from England to New Zealand, from the Middle East to Central America, from Great Britain to British Columbia, and many places in between.

For a few years now I have known the end was coming. I began to realize that my boots were no longer able to offer my feet adequate protection, grip and shock absorption. This realization became inescapable once I began to live in Switzerland, where ice, snow, rocks and elevation are regular aspects of excursions in the outdoors. My boots did not cope well with these conditions, resulting in falls, near falls and aching joints.

I had to face the facts. In the end my boots were like that retired neighbourhood cop, who, while ever ready with some words of comfort or advice, no longer has the speed to chase down a thief or the sharp eyesight to spot a vital clue on a crime scene.

After the most recent knee injury, sustained only days ago on an arduous descent halfway down Mt Titlis, I realized the day had finally come to bid you adieu, my dear boots. You will be remembered in the countless pictures I have of you.

So long and thanks for all the steps.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A Swiss life in pictures #2: Titlis

Another weekend, another mountain. This time it was Titlis, some distance to the south west of Luzern. To get there, one boards the Engelberg Express (big name for what is essentially a local train) to the lovely village of Engelberg, which warrants a visit all of its own. That, however, is for another time. The expedition was undertaken with Mara, Colette, her husband and father on July 27th, 2013.

From a steaming 35 degrees in the valley to a nippy 13 degrees on the summit: it's a different world in the same ten-odd square kilometers.

It was a nice day to do some summer skiing. I would have, if it wasn't for the fact that (a) I have no skis, (b) I have no experience, and (c) the snow only reached until about 50 meters from the summit, a hard landing indeed.

Cable cars. Climbing mountains is obviously a favourite family outing.

Snow capped surroundings. Yetis just out of shot.

The descent, on foot. Target lake in the distance. The path was pretty hairy here and there, with steep slopes inviting certain death.

Not a pose, I assure you. As natural as they come.

Nearly there. We would later navigate the sheer rock face on the right by cable car.

Monday, 19 August 2013

A Swiss life in pictures #1: Stanserhorn

Being an expedition to the Stanserhorn mountain undertaken on July 21st of 2013, in the company of Bart Jan & Mariska.

Two intrepid adventurers board the Engelberg Express, while a third one takes pictures of his own reflection.

The obligatory cable car ride up the mountain.

"I can sort of almost but not quite see my house from here."

In conversation with one of the locals, though in truth they're probably just laughing at us.

"That's the way down."

Valley attraction.

A well deserved though rather grudgingly served beverage to celebrate the succesfull descent.

Pictures: Bart Jan

Sunday, 4 August 2013

In memoriam: Huub

Vanmorgen vroeg is Huub in zijn slaap overleden. Hij was bijna zeventien-en-een-half jaar.

Huub "zag ze komen en gaan". Naente, Koos, Adriaan, Olivier…vele nieuwkomers moest hij als huisoudste verwelkomen. En dat deed hij zonder morren, want de confrontatie zoeken deed hij niet. In die bonte parade van viervoetige persoonlijkheden viel hij meestal niet al te zeer op. Hij was niet de mooiste, de sterkste, de snelste, de meest heldhaftige of de meest actiefste. Maar hij was er wel altijd, die ene waarvan je wist dat ie altijd thuis op je zat te wachten. Want terwijl de ene na de andere huisgenoot aan hem ontviel, bleef Huub. Hij was onverwoestbaar, zo leek het. Zijn geheim was dat hij wist dat hij geen negen kattenlevens had; hij had er één, en daar was hij zuinig op.

Op zijn Siamese afkomst was hij trots. Katten van dat ras staan bekend als praters, en Huub liet geen moment onbenut om zijn medebewoners aan dit feit te herinneren. Enkele spaarzame momenten van verstoorde nachtrust daargelaten was dit toch vooral een teken van zijn wezenlijke deelname aan het leven in huis. Huub deed mee. Hij leefde geen parallel bestaan. Wanneer hij een ruimte binnenkwam, kondigde hij zijn aanwezigheid aan; vice versa, iemand die hem benaderde werd luidkeels begroet. Het wegvallen van zijn sociale levendigheid laat een grote leegte achter. 

Huub (16-03-1996 - 04-08-2013)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Mythical Mystery Tour

Coming soon to an imaginary place near you!

Oct 5th Mt. Doom National Entertainment Center, Mordor
Oct 6th Snooze Arena, Dreamland
Oct 8th Hammersmith Odin, Asgard
Oct 9th The Halfway House of Blues, Purgatory
Oct 10th Golddiggers Club, El Dorado
Oct 11th Poseidon Aquatic Center and Leisure Park, Atlantis
Oct 13th The Greek Theatre, Mt. Olympus
Oct 14th Eddard Stark Memorial Stadium, Westeros
Oct 15th Art's Knightclub, Camelot
Oct 17th The Snake Pit, Garden of Eden
Oct 18th Royal Festival Hall, Far Far Away
Oct 20th Peter Pan Center for the Performing Arts, Neverland

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Too good?

It is Wimbledon 2012 and suddenly everything is "too good". That first serve was "too good", that cross court backhand was "too good", that powerful volley was "too good", etc. I can only imagine that the cucumber sandwiches in the members' lunchroom were likewise "too good", as was the enthusiasm of the fans on Henman Hill.

Now I am hardly an expert on the history and development of the English vernacular, but it strikes me that this particular phrase has only recently come into vogue. Certainly I have not heard it used as often before as I have by commentators during this year's Championships.

The problem is this: once you start zooming in on a certain phrase, because it strikes you as odd or it seems out of place, you start losing the wider meaning of what's being said. In the case of the Wimbledon commentary, it then comes down to counting the number of times the phrase "too good" is being used by the commentators, rather than benefiting from their insights into the game.

It's really too bad.