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Happy Birthday Hannah!

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January 23rd

Proving that she did it, Ria from Holland sent the above screen grab.. our 20000th visitor to the website on Wednesdayafternoon!!! (23rd Jan). Well done Ria and as way of celebration a bottle of Champagne............. will be drunk on your behalf!!! Thanks Ria!!! No seriously, we'll find a little something for you, small but beautiful.. well small anyway.

Jan 2nd 08

It's all very Swiss on the homepage today, but not for all the right reasons. Thursday afternoon (3rd) saw the tragic death of a 29 year old German tourist on the Wengernalp near Kleine Scheidegg, as the sesselbahn chairlift broke, possibly in high Fohn winds of up to 90 KMH. 75 people were on the lift at the time of the accident, 40 were treated for cuts and bruises, with a few remaining hospitalised as of Friday. Investigations into the cause of the tragedy continue. Beo-news.ch cover the story including pictures
here.

December 07
As we turn to the last picture of the 2007 calendar, the rain is lashing, and the wind is a howling. I think this must be winter. Next years calendars from the Bernese Oberland are, as usual ,very beautiful making us think of sunnier times.. but back to Christmas! Oh no it's Rudolf!!

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Who is this handsome lad? 1976 at Hospital radio Norwich!!

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Found whilst grubbing through a load of old slides to scan for my Dad!!
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6 Months and Hannah's on her first yoghurt.. nice!!

Without a doubt it's been a troublesome period here on the website, but we're hoping that we can pull some sort of order out of all the chaos! So WELCOME!!

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Steady Cams
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<bsuech in im Berner Oberland> a special series of programmes from SF1 was a raving success with large scale outside broadcasts on Swiss TV from locations throughout the Bernese Oberland including on 2nd July from Gstaad, Gstaadplatz
the 9th from Brienz boat landing, 16th in Adelboden by the church
 Spiez Castle on the 23rd, the 30th in Thun on the Rathausplatz

It's getting dark, but shes dancing behind the ice
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We were at the Interlaken programme for most of the day on the Höhenmatte on the 6th August where Catherine muscled her way on screen... just!

Who is this funny looking individual?
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Oh it's Catherine!

The Interlaken show is available to view online here. The series concluded with Kleine Scheidegg on the 13th August. A DVD is to be available from Swiss telly. The SF shop has all the details... we hope!

Back to the top

 

He's a great composer, a great musician, a great dad, a wonderful lyricist, but then less about me, what about John Hanni?!! Click to visit his homepage to hear my Infotourist special about John, and pick up a copy of his latest album at the same time!!

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The August 2nd Incrowd get together went well up at the Restaurant Luegibrüggli which is perched literally on top of a rock high above Lake Thun on the Interlaken - Beatenberg road. It was great to see so many of our Infotourist friends. Unfortunately the weather was a little cloudy and wet for much of the time, but when the cloud parted the views down to Interlaken and the lake were amazing. The food was wonderful (photos to follow!)

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Courtesy Swissinfo.org

Talking of Lake Thun, the water levels of the lakes of the Oberland were just short of critical today Thursday. A rock and land slide severly damaged the Harder Funicular (photos here). The panels of the old timber bridge by Gsteig Church in Wilderswil were torn off by the water .Camping grounds were evacuated and people were taken to safety in Brienz and Unterseen.  Animals at Bern's zoo, parts of which are located next to the River Aare, were also moved to safety. The River Aare was flowing through the town at a rate of 1,400 litres per second, with several areas were without electricity.

June 20th.
5 weeks and the smiles are just starting! Well just about!

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Catherine continues to smile a lot! Here's Hannah and her sister.

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May 2007
Thank you for your continued kind messages on the birth of our Hannah Daisy. We are most grateful. All is going well. Mum, baby and Pinkie are fine, but we're all pretty tired though. Trying to settle into a routine as we speak!

All the photos are clickable for a larger view

First outing to take Catherine to school !!

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Big Sis and her new Little Sis

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5 days old and zzzz

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Thanks to our wonderful Franzi for changing her excellent feminaut blog to English for one day.

Our lovely Fränzi's Blog...
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...for the ladies in German

His name is Klaus!! He comes from Switzerland!

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Soppy mutt

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Grandad Tom and his Ipswich girls!

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Hannah and her sister!

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5 weeks and is this a smile?

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Sisterly duties

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I was contemplating my depressed dog above, and realised that I do moan on in this journal, but then this is England!!
Pulling troops out of Iraq....good idea .. we shouldn't have been there in the first place... and I downloaded the dossier  when it first came out and thought the same then. Stringing up Saddam was barbaric, 2 wrongs don't make a right, it just lowered us to the level of his appauling crimes. Oh and I stepped in a pile of dog shit this morning. What is wrong with some dog owners? Even those that slide their dogs doo's into plastic bags and pop them in their pockets, generally leave a nice big smear of shit on the pavement ready for the walk to school with the kids. This morning three piles of muck on the pavement in front of Catherine's school. I would say 'bloody dogs', if it wasn't for their shit owners.
 

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I was recently given the week off from Radio Beo's Infotourist  to make way for Sir Bob Geldof. 'It makes great business sense to engage with impoverished countries'... his words not mine, although I must admit I agree with his views. In January Bob was at the Alpine Symposium in Interlaken, and has been calling for Swiss businesses to save lives in Africa by intensifying trading links with the continent. Radio Beo will be broadcasting his speech throughout the week on Infotourist. With typical Geldof force he announced 'Swiss banks have harboured dirty money for a long time. Most of Africa's corrupt millions are in Switzerland and London.. Give it back' It was interesting listening but the man's mouth.. foul!.
 

Find out whether our chickens are still alive on the webcam. The recent bird flu at a major turkey farm some miles away has obviously 'put the cat amongst the pigeons' if you can excuse the expression. We have obviously followed the DEFRA advice, but whether it will be enough?

Slim, svelt, upright , good looking.......
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.... no not Carl.... the tree!!! and he's still got that bloody stupid beard! Carl not the tree!!!!

December 16th... the new Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp connection  in the Bernese Oberland launches today. It's a magnificent new aerial cablecar, but I can't help admitting being one of those who was so very sad to see the demise of the 115 year old funicular in April! Here it is on 'literally' its last journey!

Are you crying too?
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The old funicular carriage is lifted off the tracks for the last time

After 115 years, the Grutschalp Funicular in Lauterbrunnen, one of the most famous funiculars in the world, was dismantled in April  due to the instability of the ground.

December 11th and the snow has arrived in the Bernese Oberland. Click on a few webcam shots below from Monday 11th December.

Guess where I went on 2nd December? You may have to click the start button twice!!

My memories of Alan Freeman in the Journal

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Tuesday 28th November
 
Poor old Fluff Freeman has 'carped it' at 79, and we are sad.
Dear Alan , a DJ for half a century  with those legendary words "Greetings, Pop Pickers"  died peacefully at his home in Twickenham, London, after a short illness.

Alan was born in Melbourne Australia, and came to Britain in 1957. He was a big part of my childhood and I never thought I would meet him, but how wrong I was. His final broadcasts focused on his beloved world of opera, presenting 'Their Greatest Bits' on BBC Radio Two from 1997 until 2001. His personal manager for the last 20 years, Tim Blackmore, said: "Alan was a naturally warm man who never quite understood the nature of his appeal. "We will not see his like again, and our debt in response to his contribution is without equal."

I worked with Alan on promotion for his BBC double album of classical bits released in 1999, which included numerous Operatic faves. And it was obvious Alan really knew his classical music. The production was without doubt one of the most enjoyable I have been involved in. He was a very lovely man that had lots of time for me 'the other side of the glass'. He was a true pro, and a joy to be with.  It comes to us all Alan..... not 'arf!!

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Sunday 19th November 2006
 
Well it's over... I can't say I am surprised... anything good normally 'kicks the bucket' eventually. But in this case I can remember the planning, the launch, the successful days, the less than successful days, the demise and now the closure of what I think was a great visitor attraction.
It was just about as exciting as things get for the Oberland, a world class author on extraterrestials and the mysteries of the universe, who just happened to live in that wonderful part of the world, deciding to place his 'dream project' in his home town.
 
Eric von Daniken's blue jacket was well known in Interlaken, we saw him crossing roads on numerous occasions, and his books known around the world. His Mystery Park was a HUGE undertaking, several large pavilions housing several amazing mysteries that through the centuries have had the world thinking, as well as Eric's fascinating thoughts on each. We visited twice during it's life... and enjoyed ourselves tremendously on both occasions. But we also remember the railway's reluctance to build a link to the park ( didn't help) and well frankly skiers.. ski don't they, which made the Mystery Park mainly a Summer activity. The quality of the many shows in the park was very good indeed with the excellent Sennheiser personal audio giving you translations in all the appropriate languages. The films at the heart of each mystery were great, 3D animations, fantastic specially composed soundtracks, high definition movies shot around the world.  Many were filmed by my friend and world renown cameraman and director Christoph Frutiger who happens to live in Interlaken.
 

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And it's one of his Mystery Park movies 'Magical Oberland',  that I would like to nominate as 'my lasting memory' of Eric's fascinating day out of mystery and adventure... It was screened each day at the park, in front of and underneath your seat making you feel as though you were flying over the landscape, and it is, in my eyes, the definitive Oberland movie...exquisite and dramatic views over the whole region set to an amazing musical soundtrack. There are still DVDs of it about so grab one when you can!
As Eric always said, he wanted us all to 'learn the meaning of astonishment again' and I for one did,  and I had a ball Eric...  Thank you. Maybe one day I'll be able to shake your hand.
PS the MP website still says spring might see a reopening... so you never know!!!
Here's Swiss TV report of the closure!!(refresh the page to start again)  RIGHT CLICK IT TO GET CONTROL>>>>OR SHUT IT UP!

Wednesday the 1st day of November 2006
 
Now you know me, I don't like to moan.... but what is it with all these lovely people at Radio Bernese Oberland?! Why the mass exodus? Beautiful friendly voices... perhaps I should do a 'where are they now' feature here!! The ravishing Regula, the magnificent Mascha (yes I know shes back a bit!), fantastic Fränzi, stunning Stefani, and  the marvelous Matthias.. I say thank you to you great people for lovely memories. I don't know why you wanted to go... but all I can say... it's a bloody shame! Still Radio BeO continues at a pace..... a great station, great people, great music, great enthusiasm.. and great ambassadors for  the most beautiful place in the world!

I'm always moaning in the Journal ... but here's some good news for a change!
 
If you hadn't worked it out by now... Liz, Catherine and I are expecting another little one.... no not Bumble... a baby due in May. Here's the first scan!

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Four fingers and a thumb! Good oh!

Thursday 26th October 2006
 
Before I moan .... a moan!
Firstbus have just put up my bus fares by nearly 20%! I thought there was a law about that sort of thing!
 
Now to my main moan! Dog fouling... yes I take on the gritty subjects in my Journal!
 
Recently the borough council have been reminding dog owners to clean up after their dogs, and despite all the warnings of fines (which of course never materialise anyway) some just couldn't give a shit... or actually they do, but not in the way I mean. Our road is on the way to a park popular with doggie walkers. It also happens to be a road that is a route to a number of schools including Catherine's, and frankly it's not easy keeping a five and three quarter year old looking at the pavement! Now don't get me wrong there isn't tonnes of the stuff, but when you do get a dollop, the consequences can last for a week or more, someone just catching it, and carting it off further down the pavement, spreading it around, disgusing the obvious dollop into smaller squity patches just ready for more innocent folk to step in. Not very nice... and sorry if I've made you feel ill. Roll on the rain storm! Oh and if you are a dog lover, how do you manage to pick that stuff up in those thin little bags...disgusting! Come to think of it that's probably why some don't bother... shouldn't own a dog then!

Sunday's weather was awful... rain and high winds, and sadly goodbye to our Robinia which blew down... no one was hurt!

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Monday 16th October 2006

 

I was listening to Radio 4’s Today programme this morning where a contributor was spouting on about how Britain should distance itself from the US, for ‘it’s own good’. I must admit to being more than a little perturbed myself ( a bit of an understatement) at the joint actions of the US and British governments over the last few years, and it is consequence of their decisions, that now the rest of us are in danger of being ‘mown down’ due to their actions. North Korea now have the ability to make a nuclear bomb. I am sure Japan will now reconsider it’s security, and I would have thought it likely that a new arms race will begin in the area. You have to ask yourself would they have developed a nuclear bomb without the intimidation of others? I read the British Government dossier on the Iraq situation way back when, and could see little reason to go to war. As a so called democratic country, the British public were not given the chance to make the decision (I’m sure that’s true in the US too) It’s not sufficient being able to vote ‘one lot’ out, and the ‘other lot’ in once every five years, not when your talking about sacrificing peoples lives, our soldiers included. Never mind distancing ourselves from the US, I want to distance myself from GB! (and I’m not talking Gordon Brown who by the way I won’t be able to vote to become Prime Minister either!) Democracy!.. what democracy? Hey what a world eh?!

Monday 11th September
 
Chicken moments...... watch this space! Oh and do read below!

Tuesday 5th September
 
After a completely hideous rail trip home from the city they call London (overhead power lines down at Chelmsford!) An hour late, I missed Catherine's first  day at 'proper' school evening! Balls to the railway I say. Anyway that hasn't stopped us ripping out one side of the fruit cage in preparation for the arrival of our 8 Bantams at the weekend. My model railway time this weekend was taken up building the nest box and storage container from whence we expect our ladies to produce lovely little eggs.. we were treated to some of these delicious eggs from the family who are kindly giving us their new brood of Bantams. I don't think I've ever had such a delicious Omelette!! A £99 B and Q shed is to be home (customised of course) to these special ladies. We're giving up the fruit cage to them, but hoping that the raspberries and gooseberries will still survive!! Some hope. Photos soon!

Saturday 2nd September

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'Oh hell it's a cow!!'
'Look at the size of it's horns!!'
'What are we going to do now?!'
All comments you might have heard whilst hiking the mountains.

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I was fascinated by the latest advice for visitors to Switzerland, How to avoid Bird Flu?,how much cheese you can take home? No.. how to avoid a scuffle with a cow!

Last summer appears to have been full of incidents where hikers have had unpleasant confrontations with cattle. The Swiss Hiking Federation has laid down a few ground rules.
 
Do not scare the animals or look them directly in the eye.
Do not wave sticks.
Never stroke a calf.
If a cow lowers its horns in your direction and is scraping the ground it's liekly your in a bugger's muddle.
 
On a serious note, the hiking federation say that new rearing practices, where cows spend less time around farmers and roam around pastures with little human interaction, were partly to blame for the anti-social behaviour.
 
In my experience its easy to panic when you come across a cow in your path. The way I prefer to think of it , is that it's their mountain, respect that and get out of their bloody way. I'm just a visitor here! So without turning my back I ....back off!!!
 
"In the event of absolute need," the hikers federation advises, "give a precise blow to the nose of the cow." Not easy!
 
The advice goes on 'Cows do not bite, but rather push, pull and lash out'.
Umm 1.5 metre high and a ton in weight. Think I'll continue backing off!
 
Lets not mention those  that take dogs on holiday!
 
If you'd like more info click here! It's in German but there are some great cartoons!

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