Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Perfect Peaks

Back to Swiss geometry. First it was chocolate triangles shaped like mountains, now it's glass pyramids. It's like the circle of life in blog form. Such poetry.

I have always had a sneaking fondness for the Swiss and Switzerland. How can anyone who isn't trying to recover their family's missing gold not like the land of the cuckoo clock? All that clear mountain air has birthed many a fine thing, including delicious things to do with potato and egg (mmm… roesti), the setting for the "Swiss Chalet" school books and the mighty pump turbine.

Their cleanliness and efficiency leaves me slack-jawed with awe. Their carefully dusted shrubberies are filed and manicured to perfection. And as for the trains… Well, when the timetable says the train will arrive at 10:57, it arrives precisely at that time. It leaves exactly 2 minutes later. The journey will take exactly 19 minutes, no more no less.

Between them, National Rail and the London Underground have twisted my notions of time to the point where those pesky minutes and quarter-hours are mere details to be brazenly swept aside in the great march of history. A train will arrive, at some point, somewhere. And thus there is public transportation. Minutes on a station clock indicate probabilities, not the degree of waiting time. But the Swiss? They actually care about these seconds and minutes as they tick by with mesmerising precision. It's quite fascinating.

But this level of attention to detail has a darker side. The Zermatt tourism authorities have announced that they intend to perform mountain augmentation surgery on Little Matterhorn. Its summit will be enhanced by the addition of a 120m glass pyramid. It seems they are concerned that Klein Matterhorn is overshadowed by its bigger brother. Isn't it nice that its long-held inferiority complex and peakiness anxiety can at last be resolved through the miracle of modern engineering? And at least we can trust them to keep the windows clean, even if David Blaine decides to pay a visit.

5 comments:

RPC said...

My dear, are you in Switzerland?? I think you need a 'where is Peril" map (cf Frau Shaw's many scary new 'blaugmentations', to coin a new phrase, which feature an exact map to pinpoint her location moment-by-moment).

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Nein. Ich bin flat-hunting in the wilds of Bohemia.

Have new exciting duty-free purchase to experiment with. More later. xxx

Anonymous said...

Did you have to mention "Circle of Life" ? I now have a Disney musical with Simba's daddy dying firmly lodged in my head, and it's YOUR FAULT...

Marianne McA said...

I loved the Chalet school books. (And I'm typing this in my golden voice.) Always wanted to visit Switzerland & the Oberland because of them. Drink the milky coffee, eat the gorgeous pastries, get lost in the blizzard, marry the doctor and have quintuplets.
You cannot imagine how (I want to say chiggered - but my OED doesn't suggest a spelling.) discombobulated I felt when I happened across a biography of the author and found she had never visited Switzerland. I had believed every glacier...

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Anonymous no.1. Crap. Can't believe there's also an Elton John thread popping up. Swear this time it was subliminal - which probably means I need more therapy, not less. Oh dear.

Hi Marianne McA, thanks for popping in. And crushing my childhood illusions beneath your dainty heel. You mean the author never awoke to the musical ring of cow bells and scent of sweet mountain meadow flowers??? Noooooooo!!! When will the cruelty end?