Friday, 12 July 2013
Posted by Jonathan Swain at 18:51
Having some lunch, out of the way, by the river. A bit of quiet, an opportunity to read. A woman with a pomeranian strolls along, dog yapping. They stop behind the bench, another dog walker stops with her chihuahua. The two dogs yap wildly whilst their owners talk. The little dog is on an extendable lead. I'm trying to read. A cyclist smashes into the back of the bench, just avoiding going into the river. He has hurt his leg, the bike is badly bent. He had got tangled up in the extended lead. Everyone is shocked. The dogs are quiet. The dog owners know they are to blame
Hot afternoon on a small mountain road, no traffic. Stream running close by. A very beautiful stream. Cool clear water. The road has just been resurfaced, warnings about Grit. Car goes by. I go round the corner and can see that the car has hit a tree, and gone into the stream. The driver has climbed out. The car is badly damaged, Driver OK but upset. Police car, and then tow truck arrive almost immediately.
Lovely evening. Two cyclists, helmets and cycling gear, flying down through the town. Getting dark but you could see them coming from a long way off. They shoot through the arch then realised there are steps downward on the other side. Bikes and cyclists come apart. They sprawl either side of my table. One of the bikes was bent but the cyclists seemed OK, hobbling a bit, damaged pride.
Posted by Jonathan Swain at 06:57
The farmer Johannes owns a dairy herd. Twenty cows, each cow has a bell with a different acoustic. Listening out for the bells tell him where each of them are. Johannes says his biggest problem is tourists nicking the bells. Three went last week.
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Pale blue butterflies everywhere, the colour of unfired porcelain and as delicate. Four anthills, complex piles of pine needles. A small black butterfly with two neat red circles on its wings. Lovely thing, only it wouldn't leave my left knee alone. Fly off, then come back, same knee. After twenty minutes I swotted it. Must have been the steak I ate last night.
Monday, 8 July 2013
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Saturday, 6 July 2013
Fourty black and white storks spread out across a field of cabbages. Bosch factory in the distance. On the lake a crested grebe carries on regardless in amongst an all male group of swimmers playing Beach Boys hits. Loud. They are wearing plastic Hawaiian garlands. Drink absinthe chasers, then beer.
Posted by Jonathan Swain at 22:29
Between wayside markers, every fifty metres or so there are painted diamonds showing the route. Particularly in dense woodland you become a bit dithery if you can't spot the next one. Your heart rises up when you do.
These routes are maintained by the local rambling group. A good job they do. This diamond was on a pine tree on the ridge between mountains. Very high up, steep drop either side. The diamond and the black outline are in gloss paint. From their regularity I'd say they were stencilled. All this and a light grey undercoat. Three pots of paint, three wet paintbrushes. Must take the whole day.
Friday, 5 July 2013
The downside to this boom was the dire poverty experienced by the majority of those working in the industry, either in engineering workshops or as outsourced homeworkers. Unions and craft alliances developed to seek better working conditions and sensible wages. A situation similar to those experienced in the sweatshops of Bangladesh, Vietnam, China etc today. Company towns with workers paid twice a year (St George's and St Martin's Days). High interest credit to cover the interim.
St Imier became a centre for radical political thought. The watchmakers of the Jura with their anarchist common sense perspective challenged the dominance of Marx and Engels theoretical form of communism. The Jura Federation even had its own International conference to rival the communist International. The tourist office didn't have any information on this, but around St Imier itself there are information boards explaining the varied political tangles of the period. There was a memorial conference last year at Espace Noire, the anarchist social centre in the town.
Posted by Jonathan Swain at 14:18
Thursday, 4 July 2013
This morning a gang rushed over to check me out, I had to make a quick swerve under an electric fence. Not pleasant. You're supposed to shout, but you can hardly hear anything over the racket of their bells. Advice sought.
Similarly with farm dogs. Nasty beasts.
Posted by Jonathan Swain at 23:04
Measured not in distance, but in time, as on the motorway or telling your mates. Steep mountain walks, how can the going up time be the same as going down? Different age groups, capabilities, lost in thought, butterfly obsessive, lovers in conversation? Dawdler moi, the times must have been worked out by the local speed hill walking team. There goes one now. Set in Helvetica it must be true.
Before I left someone said that BBC radio is obsessed by death. I hadn't noticed. Listening to snippets of radio4 in the past weeks, I can only agree.
Micheal Irwin escorting people to Switzerland (euphamism), Nile Rogers 'not outrunning death' and Rhydian Brook's no one talks about death. What is there to say that everyone doesnt already know? Instinctively.
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
I wish Graeme could have seen this building. He was so proud of the boat they made on top of the QEH. He would have made a good architect. It might have satisfied his urges.
Monday, 1 July 2013
A bit mindblowing is the thought that the cow bells have been ringing constantly since the first time I came here forty years ago. So many cows, so much grass, cud, milk, cheese, cheese products.
All that time, all that goodness, and they haven't been able to come up with one decent tune.
Horses have bells too.