Posts

Showing posts from October, 2010

Switzerland ! Yodel-ay-hee-ho!

Image
No, I wasn't yodelling as I flew into Geneva for my first ever Swiss visit on 21 March 2006. We arrived at night and I’d already briefed myself on the location of the train station, right next to the airport terminal. In fact it didn’t look like a railway station at all, with its glass façade resembling more an office block. But I went inside and then down an escalator to the ticket hall which was deserted. Where was everyone? I spotted a row of ticket counters to the right, but none seemed to be open. No ticket machines, either. What was going on? Were they on strike? No, this was Switzerland not France, so it couldn‘t be that. Then I spotted a sign for trains to Geneva, and followed it, down another escalator to a platform where a train was waiting on the track. But the sign on the platform said Bern, or Zurich, but NOT Geneva. Luckily there was a conductor waiting by the train, so I asked him if the train was going to Geneva. He told me it was and that it was about …

A rainy day in Amsterdam

Image
I visited Amsterdam for the first time in 1972. The Swinging Sixties had just given way to the Cynical Seventies, though traces of the naivety of the old decade could be seen in the collection of hippies in front of the American Express office, trading airline tickets to wherever. It was just two or three years after John and Yoko’s pre-marriage bed-in honeymoon for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton, and about the same time after the Fab Four had split up for good. Soon we would all have to get used to the values of the new decade, and in particular its cynicism. No great problem for me, I have to say, as I was a born cynic. I haven’t believed in many things in my life, in fact I’ve always acted out of convenience rather than conviction, but one thing I do believe is that there’s too much optimistic stupidity in the world. So on paper I should have been overjoyed as we entered the Seventies, one of the most miserable decades in the history of the human race. But that’s another stor…

The Holiday - a play

Image
A small town railway station in the North. Early morning. Mrs Glyn and Mrs Wynn, with their daughters Sandy (Glyn) and Mandy (Wynn), both aged about 12 years, await with suitcases for the London train to arrive. The platform is almost deserted. Sandy (or Mandy) looks down the track, but there is no sign of the train. The track is long and straight, the landscape almost flat, and there are some high clouds in the sky. They wait in silence. Two ladies approach and stop near the Glyns and the Wynns. The ladies talk and Mrs Glyn, Mrs Wynn, Sandy and Mandy regard them as they do so.
FIRST LADY: A pity for your hump, I said. Go on, on your bike, I said. It was six and two threes to me.
SECOND LADY: What does that mean?
FIRST LADY: What? On your bike?
SECOND LADY: Six and two threes.
FIRST LADY: You've heard of that phrase, haven't you? Six and two threes?
SECOND LADY: Yes, I've heard it. But I've never known what it meant?
FIRST LADY: It means it's the same.
SECOND LAD…