Monday 12 March 2007


I did a very “retired day out” thing yesterday. I went in search of a flower called Adonis that now only blooms for a few short weeks in early spring in the few acres around Charrat. The climate suits the flower and is unique to the area. Now that’s very exciting isn’t it? The worrying aspect of this is that I really enjoyed myself and actually photographed the flower!

I have a mad friend and neighbour who originally hails from Lancashire but has lived in these mountains for nearly 30 years. What she doesn’t know about these ‘ere parts ain’t worth knowing. And the best part is that she enjoys a drink or three.

We had a great laugh being very un-PC, not sticking to the path and stumbling across the hillside trampling on the rare flowers in glorious sunshine. Being retired is one thing, but us baby boomers need constant sensual stimulation and after a couple of hours I’d had enough and wanted feeding.

One thing I will say for the Swiss is that they can cook up a pretty decent meal. We decided to have a midday meal in a good restaurant we had been at last summer nearby in Saillon.

One of the best things about eating in the Swiss villages is that you can normally drink the wines of the vineyards around about. It makes the wine more interesting!
But if you want to have a peaceful meal don’t go with my mate. Before long she invariably has the patron and clients engaged in conversation and yesterday it was about wine. What was the legal amount that she was permitted to drink whilst driving? (As if she didn’t know!)

The Swiss are very pragmatic, especially in the villages and especially on this subject. She was immediately told “drink the bottle, there are no police on duty here today, in fact drink two!”. Call me suspicious if you like, but I suspect that either the patron or his diners may have shares in the vinyard! Either way we had a very pleasant lunch and drank only one small bottle of wine, most of which found it’s way into my belly.

More about Saillon, now there IS an interesting and tranquil place. We first discovered it when went to the mineral spa baths with the kids one summer.

The Dalai Lama originally opened the spa and must have a connection with the area. Unfortunately most of the information is in unfathomable (to me) French and I’m sure that it would be fascinating to know the whole history.

The Dalai Lama also planted a diddy vineyard on a hillside overlooking the village. It’s a place of great beauty and peace. Many famous people, including Princess Diane, have visited the there and you can read their wise thoughts on plaques displayed along the pathways.
The area was extremely poor in the 19thC and was home to a Robin Hood type hero called Farinet but instead of robbing the rich to feed the poor he forged money to feed the poor. is Naturally, he was protected by the local population. However, there was a bounty placed on his head and eventually some treacherous bastard ratted on him and he was shot by the constabulary. There goes that treachery thing again!

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