Sunday, September 30, 2007


Choir stalls
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
34 years ago today I was confirmed in the Cathedral of The Isles, Cumbrae, on my birthday. Today I celebrated my birthday and that anniversary in the same choir stalls where I sang Byrd's Mass for 3 voices at my confirmation. We sang Byrd's Mass for 4 voices at the morning Eucharist, and performed a historical sweep through the music of Scotland at our concert in the afternoon.

But, much though I enjoy the concerts we give ("we" being the St Maura Singers) it is in the liturgical singing of the Mass that I find the greatest reward - not just today, but always. This is especially true with a group such as ours, who know each other so well that barely any direction is needed and who can change tempo in response to an almost imperceptible eyebrow twitch. Add to that a mass setting which I first sang in 1968 and I find myself able to pray the liturgy as I sing it, with all the heightened experience that attends reality rather than performance.

I noticed something else which was adding to my experience today. I realised somewhere about the Sanctus that on this occasion I was freed by the singleness of purpose which being a chorister brings with it to enjoy and participate without distraction. I wasn't having to preach or to pray or to read - I had only to sing to the very best of my ability so that our music could be God's highway, free from obstruction. The music demands concentration and skill - but I was in my element. No worrying about comfort zones here, and no care about congregational politics. Just the freedom to worship and to create beauty.

Quite a birthday, then. I had a birthday cake specially baked for me - the first in years - and candles. And I remembered how, at my confirmation, when +Richard came all the way to Cumbrae just to confirm me, there were 28 candles in the church. At the time I thought it was just one of these Piskie miracles. Maybe I was right.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Flying high

Being someone's mother can be a real pain. Right now, thinking of Edublogger, Mrs E and Baby E travelling to New Zealand, I am acutely aware of how much of a pain. However, I'm relieved to see their plane heading serenely and on time over the Pacific, 238 miles from Los Angeles with just over 6,000 miles still to go. Thanks to Flight stats, a nifty site which reminds me of my own trip to NZ, I can follow their progress, know if they're going to land on time, know that they took off 6 minutes late. (On Emirates airlines, we followed the map of our progress all night over the Indian Ocean. Nightmare) I feel strangely reassured - but glad that I at least was not compelled to check the computer at 4am ...

On another tack entirely, I'm off to the Cathedral of the Isles again, to sing Scottish music from the time of James 4th to the present day with the St Maura Singers. This quartet has been on the go since 1968, though purists will be glad to hear that our current soprano is of the generation below ours. In fact, the combination of the quartet and the Cathedral is largely responsible for my being a Piskie - even for my being a Christian. God the Musician?

I like that idea.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I mustn't go on about Second Life, but feel I owe this post to the person I met the other evening - actually it was midnight - on the Learn4Life island. Previously I've wandered alone through the location's meeting rooms and cafe, but on this occasion this male figure was standing, clutching a torch, on the beach. I think it was a beach. Anyway, with a bit of help and some of the civilised discourse I would expect from a Scottish educator, I was able to teleport to Paris, circa 1900, and join him in a goblet of Absinth in a bar. Later, after he'd left and I was considering whether to log off and go to bed or to have a look for the Eiffel Tower, I was approached by a second man - well, it was a male avatar - and invited to sit and chat. More absinth. By this time in real life I'd be on the floor, but no, there I was perched decorously on a bar stool and conversing in three languages. (All in text - I haven't progressed to sound yet) We were joined by a third man who told me about the free parachute jumps from the Eiffel Tower. It was all very civilised and written in proper English rather than text-speak, so I felt quite at home - see last post for the contrast.

But I have a question for any Mac-using Second Lifers: I have problems already with sitting on seats - the ctrl/click produces the suitable gesture on the part of my avatar, but as often as not that's as far as it goes. And when I found the lift to the Eiffel Tower no amount of clicking on it would have any effect - though I know I was in the right place because I saw two Spanish-speaking chaps do the same and vanish skywards. Help needed, please - I'll get bored if I can't influence my environment.

To say nothing of the effects of too much absinth.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Threatened in Second Life?

The setting sun casts a lurid red path on the dark sea. Behind me are tall buildings, their windows unlit. The road ahead of me is empty, but to my left, through an archway, I can hear sounds - voices, a snatch of music, quiet tapping. Uncertainly, occasionally bumping into the wall beside me, I make my way towards the square between the buildings.

A strange collection of people is gathered there. A tall man dances in a circle, his long black tail describing figures of eight as he moves. He is watched by a long-haired figure squatting on the ground and a girl with an old-fashioned peg leg and heavy bondage leathers who is gyrating on her real leg and swinging her hair. Other, less grotesque figures move purposefully about or stand as if hanging in space. The sky is darkening, and the persistent tapping suddenly results in a printed message on the screen. "What the f... are you doing here?"

This is Second Life, and I am a newcomer. I was looking for the Learn4Life island, but having arrived too late to catch anyone there I've come exploring. I have assumed a cringeworthy name and fairly grotesque appearance, and right now I'm not moving in the hope that no-one will notice me - or at least realise that I'm online. I feel as threatened as I would if this were a real environment, and I feel ridiculous. What is interesting, though hardly surprising, is that no-one is actually doing anything very interesting. The conversation, if that's what you can call the sudden outbursts of profanity and text-speak gibberish on the screen, is banal and repetitive. Some of the protagonists obviously don't speak English as a first language, but no-one is really saying much anyway. Every so often, someone turns and looks at me. One man seems to put his hand round me - then through me. It is strangely disconcerting. I find the relevant menu and tell him to get lost.

A voice is gibbering like a chipmunk as I hit teleport and head off. I'll certainly be back, but I'm beginning to wonder where the educational possibilities actually lie in this - unless we somehow persuade avatars to have meaningful chats about symbolism in between changing their appearance. Most of the action I've seen so far is as tedious as the real lives in which it is rooted. Feel free to enlighten me - but I'm not sharing my Second Life name with you!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Heirlooms and avatars

Coffee Table 1
Originally uploaded by Mac44.
I've just spent the evening admiring our new coffee table. Well, no - I admit I watched some telly as well, but kept glancing back at our latest acquisition, which we bought last week in the Craft House Gallery, The Hirsel Country Park, Coldstream. It's the work of a Borders craftsman, Ian Hunter, and it's made from a single piece of elm burr. We weren't looking to buy anything - but when we saw it it took us all of five minutes to decide that a totally unique piece of furniture would be exciting.

On another tack entirely, I was seduced by this post of Edublogger's into signing up for Second Life. As an attempt to meet up with anyone I knew it was a total failure - I think I took too long finding out how to get from one place to another, and arrived in an empty complex 90 minutes after the meeting was scheduled to begin. I may find out some day what went on - but in the meantime will need to resist with considerable ferocity the temptation to waste any more time in a parallel universe.

Suddenly a table made with an ancient piece of wood seems very, very real.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Biting the bullet

When I was teaching, I rarely used any prompt other than the text we were studying. Yes, I'd annotate poems, short stories, drama, and I'd stick markers in novels to remind me where important events happened or there was an example of some feature I wanted to highlight, but that was as far as it went. If I was doing something particularly intricate with a Higher class, then I might have some notes scribbled in a jotter to which I'd refer to check I wasn't missing anything, or to ensure that the class weren't confused by poor sequencing on my part, but on the whole I preferred to go where the class and the text would lead me.

Not so with preaching. Until today, when I've had to deliver a sermon I've written out the whole thing verbatim, and read it. Because I'm used to public speaking, I was able to look at the congregation fairly convincingly, but I always felt shackled - and as a result felt the whole thing had been a bit stilted. I did this, obviously, because I didn't feel sufficiently confident in this role - and perhaps also because my audience was always completely silent and apparently attentive. Maybe I always relied on the interaction with the class to make me a good teacher - I certainly valued it and would challenge the passive class to say something, even if it seemed out of place.

Today, however, I managed to move a step closer to my goal. I preached a sermon from a page of bullet points - and I found myself enjoying it. I was able to enlarge on ideas using images which came into my head as I spoke, and I was rewarded by the smiles - and even the nods - of people in the congregation. The theology was simple to the point of being simplistic - but no-one seemed to mind. I shall keep on with the study - but I shall not go back to the written sermon. Cheers!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stately or what?

Just a glimpse of our rather splendid bed head - part of a wonderful tower room complete with impressively gothic door and window. Happily the bed is not gothic and we slept in luxurious comfort. Great!

Pastures new

Visiting friends in the Borders, I'm struck this morning by how different it feels not to see the sea when I waken. The view from the front window - which in the room I'm in is through a round, four-part window set in a Virginia Creeper-clad tower, is predominantly green - trees still not autumnal, grass neatly trimmed, pale grey/blue sky. Later, I shall moblog a picture of this room, for it is truly amazing. I've managed to pick up a few pics and comments on the Scottish Learning Festival, but using a PC throws me something awful and I can't access some of my links because they won't appear on my sidebar for me.

I am also unable to finish either of my Scrabulous games on Facebook, because it will only load a blank board and no tiles. I guess it uses an app which this computer doesn't have. Is it truly sad, to be so addicted? Please don't anwer that - it's a purely rhetorical question. Besides, I'm off out for the day. Much healthier!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Out of the frying pan?

Having escaped from the horrors of the new Dunoon Grammar School, we found ourselves this evening rehearsing in the building which is possibly one of the best small concert halls in the West of Scotland - Kirn Church Centre. We felt better, we sang better, we sounded better. And yet we discover that this building too is about to disappear, thanks to dry rot, high maintenance costs and dwindling numbers of people prepared to spend the necessary cash on such places. We could feel jinxed - but no. We'll just hope the weather treats the building kindly so that we are not ejected prematurely.

And now I'm off again for a few days - missing this year's
Teach Meet
by an oversight. I hope it goes well, and that there will be interesting blogging to catch up on. To anyone who feels it's my turn to buy them a drink - it'll have to wait till next time!

Monday, September 17, 2007


This photo, originally sent to me by Duffy while I queued at Passport Control in Stansted Airport, shows the final moments of my last classroom in Dunoon Grammar School. if you look very, very carefully you may see a scrap or two of the yellow paint I chose to brighten up a north-facing room - a colour scheme which the painters loathed because they were sick of it by the time they'd done, but which the classes loved because it made them feel cheery in the middle of winter. The business end of the big digger thingy is resting where my bookcase sat. Quite moving, really ...

And because the old school (well - this bit went up in the last 25 years) is being demolished, our choir is moving too. After last week's horrendous practice in the new school building, with the sound of the pipes vying with our attempts to sing in tune even as we succumbed to various allergies, we've found another venue for our rehearsals. Apparently we may have to move on from there too, as the building has dry rot and other horrors, but for the meantime we're content.

I just hope that some of my teaching was less flimsy than my room.

I hope some of you get the literary allusion in the title of this post. Do tell me!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Teaching skills:taught or caught?

Yesterday, as Mr B and I drove across the country, sat on the ferry (4 times) and drove to Largs and back, we talked about teaching. Sad, isn't it - you'd think we might have given up on that sort of thing, but there you are. We were examining the skills that can be taught as opposed to inherent skills - and we were thinking about the skills of teaching.

All too often I've had my suggestions for effective management and teaching brushed aside with the comment: "Ah, but that's you. Other people/I/he can't do that - will never be able to do that."

And for a while I accepted this - after all, it's slightly smug-making, and besides, I had a job to do. But revisiting the subject I'm inclined to think there's stuff that could be taught at college, and ways of showing potential teachers how to make their own lives easier.

What matters most in a teaching day? I'd suggest that it's how you feel at the start of each new period. Are you looking forward to this class because you know you and they are going to have a good time together? Or have you a sinking feeling because this is the class from hell and you know that in an hour you're going to feel you do a really stupid job and you have achieved nothing and the kids hate you and you hate them?

If the latter, and if this recurs day in, day out, year in, year out then your life is hell and you're probably in the wrong job - but how do you redress this? Or, better still, what strategies would have helped you from the start? I'd suggest that the key lies in how you relate to your friends, to people you meet socially, to people whose path crosses yours. I'm talking here about your adult contacts, your peers. Think about how you behave with people you like. Then compare that with how you behave to the average class. Are you the same person? Or do you assume a persona which you cast off the moment the bell rings at 4 o'clock?

When I returned to teaching after an 8-year break for child rearing the main difference I noticed in myself was that the person in the classroom was the same person who went home to my kids. I no longer put on any persona - certainly something I had done in my first couple of jobs. And the pupils responded in such a way that suddenly everything seemed easier. As time went on, I realised also that I'd stopped worrying about status, about making mistakes, about admitting to a mistake or a lack of omniscience. I was able to take real pleasure in having a pupil suggest something I'd not thought of - and we celebrated these moments. Often I'd find myself in tucks of laughter at something a pupil had said, so that we could all have a good belly-laugh together.

So how would I teach this to aspiring teachers? I'd suggest they look at their interaction with friends, and then with pupils, and aim to make them the same. They need to enjoy the company of their pupils just as they do the other people with whom they come into contact. And they need to learn how to show that enjoyment without ever losing sight of the nature of the pupil/teacher relationship. That last, of course, becomes much easier with age - but I still think it can be learned at an early stage.

And if you're the kind of person who finds it hard to walk into a party and start socialising? Well, you've a harder row to hoe, but there is a final ace to play. Whether you're naturally gregarious or not, you have to have a passion for your subject. If you don't think it's the most important and wonderful subject in the curriculum, how're you going to teach it with any conviction at all? And maybe that's something you can't be taught. But if you're not passionate about the stuff you'll be teaching for the next x years, then maybe - just maybe - you're in the wrong job. And God help your poor, bored pupils.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Late hols, anyone?

This rather miserable little image is partly the result of my not being chez moi - don't like to fiddle too much with a strange Mac to get what I want. However, the book I've just finished reading, Late Season by Christobel Kent, was just what I wanted for a holiday read. This is the second book I've recently read by this author, the other being "The Summer House". Both are set in Tuscany, and both show a dark side of the backdrop to a thousand holidays.

Kent uses an obvious but nonetheless successful technique in both novels - and perhaps in others. Each follows two stories - one of incomers to the region, one of the residents who observe them. This allows for the two viewpoints to develop, increasing our interest as we wait to learn how the characters will eventually interact. She uses the device of flashback to flesh out the characters, and in "Late Season" a certain suspension of disbelief is asked of the reader as the denouement reveals convoluted relationships. But the end-of-season sadness, present even as the sun shines, is beautifully captured, the details of life in a holiday house real and compelling, and the tensions among a group of friends, one of whom is dead a year before the story opens, subtly developed.

Kent writes well and tells a good tale. The result is an above-average holiday read. All right, all right - I know you're all back at work!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ignorance isn't bliss

I had one of these moments today when you don't know whether to be insufferably smug or deeply despairing. I settled for a bit of both and a curmudgeonly blog post. The occasion of this dilemma was a text from one of my former pupils, currently on placement in a school - not in Argyll - whose name is distinguished by having in it 2 ws, 2 ls and two os. You know who you are ...

Anyway, my FP was in heated debate with some English teachers who don't know their subjects from their objects and were about to mark as an error a sentence in a pupil's essay which read something like "Come to the park with Rachel and me." They apparently agreed it should be "Rachel and I". My FP, undaunted but requiring support, texted for confirmation that he was correct in shrieking at them that the pupil was correct. In a subsequent phone conversation, he reported that he had repeated my rule of thumb about removing the other person in the sentence - a rule devised for those for whom grammar is a mystery, and one which works a treat every time. He was recalling this from at least S2, if not S1, for that was when I'd spend at least a period on testing and teaching this point. I used to tell the pupils that they could have fun spotting all the people who habitually got it wrong - including, I would say, those who should know better.

And I would argue that English teachers fall into that category. Not only should they know this simple rule of thumb; they should know the grammar behind it. Dammit, if English teachers don't know about subjects and objects, and have at least a passing acquaintance with verbs and prepositions, what are they doing in the job? We may never have to teach parsing and analysis to a class of 10 year olds (for I was 10 when I reached my peak) but if we don't know what underpins our language then I believe we're failing our pupils and the next generation will have to rely on foreign linguists to make up the deficiencies.

Apparently his temporary colleagues were not well pleased to be told off by a student. He tells me they went off to look up a book in the hope of somehow proving him wrong. Good. They may yet have learned something.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Travel Lodge classroom?

Paid my first visit to the new Dunoon Grammar School last night. Choir practice night. We've had one rehearsal so far this term, but we had that one in Holy Trinity church - an airy space, to put it politely, with a great acoustic and only the twilight birds to disturb us. The school music department ticks none of these boxes. The moment the automatic doors opened to admit us, before we'd even spoken to the polite (and new) security guard, we knew we were doomed.

DGS is a piping school. It has a proud tradition of excellence in piping, and like every excellent band they rehearse. They were rehearsing last night. This never used to matter, as they practised in another building on the school site. Now they're in with the rest of music. What would a sensible school designer do? Do I hear a small voice muttering about soundproofing? Whoever put this one-size-fits all building together obviously paid no heed to the voice of the former PT Music (who happens to be Mr B) when he raised the need for soundproofing in the department, and the pipes sounded out loud and clear no matter how many doors we closed.

Because the piping tutor is a seriously decent spud, a compromise was reached. We shut ourselves in the room with the grand piano and got on with it, trying to ignore the now more distant pipes (remember that poem about the pipes at Lucknow?) But we couldn't ignore the glaring lights bouncing off the white walls, the fitted carpet which deadened every note we sang, the heat and the claustrophobia-inducing low ceiling. The room was at least half the size of the one we had used previously (now demolished) and the whole experience was stressful and unsatisfying.

So what makes a good classroom? I know music rooms have their own peculiar needs, and I know too that at least one former colleague is enjoying her modern languages classroom (though I suspect this has much to do with the fact that it faces north and she no longer has to fry in the heat of her old, south-facing room). But if I were still teaching, I'd be looking for an airy space with controllable heating, adequate windows which I could open, glare-free lighting as close to natural light as possible and a walk-in cupboard to reduce the sensation of clutter brought about by open shelving. Oh, and I'd prefer not to have unpainted MDF fitted furnishings, and I'd like sufficient space to change the layout of the room to suit the occasion. I'd also like a slight resonance to make my job easier, and rely on good classroom management to avoid undue pupil noise, rather than the acousti-booth effect.

Did I notice anything I liked? Yes. There were loads of power points as well as equipment for Powerpoint or similar presentations. I just hope they have the computers to plug into them. But we're looking for somewhere else to hold choir practice in.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Skype babe

Skype babe 2
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Now this is what all grandmothers need - especially if they live on the other side of the country from the object of their affections. As befits the daughter of Edublogger, Catriona has made an early foray into the world of VOIP, appearing on her father's webcam this weekend. Now I'll have to get one - can't have her staring at a blank screen - or was it the same pic that I was seeing? - while she talks to me!

But isn't Skype wonderful? And aren't computers just the bizz? So this post is for all the saddoes out there who think people don't interact if they're stuck in front of computers. I said I'd never quote the Blessed Margaret again, but I'm going to after all:

Only rejoice!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Ice Palace sans flash
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Well, that was our summer holiday! Actually we did have some summery weather for the first half of the week, but as we enjoyed a game of table tennis on the Monday evening before dinner, we were warned that a change was coming - and it did. And now we're home, and discover that although it's been warm - well, mild anyway - it's also been unrelievedly dreich in our Heimat and sinister rings of toadstools bear witness to the humidity and lack of sun.

The photo here, however, is of the Dachstein Ice Palace, carved out by five famous Chinese ice carvers 8 metres below the surface of the Dachstein Glacier. Interestingly, the Dachstein is less affected by melting than other glaciers because of its position, and is listed as UNESCO world and cultural heritage. I personally would also list the Ice Palace as one of the more lethal places I've visited: as I took this photo - my second attempt, as I felt the flash version destroyed the impact - I was slithering irresistibly down the sloping corridor to the accompaniment of sinister electronic music and the muffled sounds of my companions as they vanished down the tunnel. I managed - just - to be fascinated by the patterns in the ice - these apparently marble stripes are presumably streaks of morainic material in the layers of ice.

Maybe they don't have the same attention to Health and Safety in Austria. Maybe they all ski and regard glassy ice as their natural habitat. Or maybe they take broken bones in their stride and never sue. Whatever the situation, I knew within seconds of embarking on this tour that I'd be focussed almost exclusively on my feet. Oh, and I did allow myself to think about the weight of ice above my head. And the fact that it was ... dripping. But I didn't dwell on it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Excess baggage?

Salzburg airport. A dreich morning made interesting by the antics at check-in. We learned that it is better to check in your somewhat over-the-limit bag with the plain but friendly girl rather than the beauteous ice maiden who spotted that Martin's case was 7 kilos over and had us all frantically repacking in the concourse. It has to be pointed out that Mr B was at least 2 kilos over, but our friendly lass was too amused by my disowning the priority boarding she was assigning me to look at the scales. Now we're sitting looking out at the planes, drinking coffee and having our second breakfast. It's warmer than in Haus, but not much. Scotland beckons.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Interim measures

Pictured: last night's card game - individual whist, if you're interested, in which I was dealt several hands more suited to rummy - or is it Ginny? We should have a last game tonight. I took my camera rather than my phone out in the snow today, though the cold (0 deg.) made it sluggish and the falling snow may have done it a mischief. However, I absolutely had to record the absurdity of our arctic walk where previously we dripped sweat. We passed what looked like a somewhat traumatised pensioners' outing - you have to be tough to be a pensioner here. Maybe that's what they said of us: tough old things. Now we're packing. Martina has turned up the heating and our waterproof trousers are almost dry. We believe that the weather back home is warm. It's been fun - but I could do with a bit of heatfulness before the winter. It is truly bizarre to feel so January on a summer holiday!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We're all going

On a summer holiday. And it's been snowing today. Temperature at noon? 4 celsius. Apparently this is not normal - but normal weather is becoming quite hard to find nowadays. Not that we have sat around bemoaning our lot. Oh no. We had a Big Adventure with the hire car, involving a mysteriously locked boot, a hitherto unnoticed rubber button which had locked the boot while unlocking the rear windscreen - bet you never thought of that - and a phone call to the redoubtable Semple of Inveraray to find out what to do. (Remember - we are in Austria.) Apart from that we went swimming (indoors) and had a brisk walk up the hill behind the house, where I took the photo with the snowy mountains in the background. And Martin has just won at cards. Again. A misspent youth, I fear. And I don't think there will be any meteorological miracles tomorrow. Ah well.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ping pong in Styria

This pic was taken last night, when it was still summer. Today there is snow on the tops and even though the sun reappeared after the mist and rain, it feels like winter. Because of the weather we visited the Benedictine monastery of Admont, whose massive and ancient library is said to be the eighth wonder of the world. I found myself exercised by the concept of this extravagant space where only a chosen few will ever see the books - and I realised that the effect of all this exuberantly baroque Catholicism was to bring out a rather Protestant me. No ping pong tonight - we're playing cards. Martin is winning. Can't have that!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Have been high

A touch of Whymper in that heading indicates our exhileration at surviving the Ice Caves at the top of today's cable car - we had reckoned without the lethal nature of an ice floor slithered on by hundreds of feet. We were at about 9,000 feet, it was snowy underfoot, and the clouds suddenly parted around us so that we could see the valley beneath. Later we hiked up from the cable car station over rock falls to a Jausenstation for goulasch soup and apfelstrudel. And now we're playing ping pong in the garden and I'm hungry. Again. They tell us it may snow tomorrow. There's certainly a change on the way. We'll see!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The hills are alive. .

With families. Out walking - except for the jolly post-church hoolie which was getting under way, complete with band, as we drove out this morning and was still going strong as we returned at 5.30pm. It would seem that here in Dachstein walking is very much in, as is schnapps with honey and bread with ham served on a wooden platter with a lethally sharp knife with which to cut, spear and transfer to mouth without cutting out the tongue. I am amused by the German vocabulary which I seem to be unearthing - even if I do have a tendency to lapse into French. Amused too by the sight of bishop and organist halted on a path among glorious mountains, deep in conversation about the art of improvisation or whatever. But best of all was to walk all day, with no rain and with a Jausenstation just where it was required. And for my regulars: yes, it is Autumn, but there is still some sun;no, there will be no lederhosen worn by any of this group. You better believe it!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Blethers following Columba

In the mountains above Schladming, a late lunch of eggs and ham and sort of donuts was earned by a strenuous hike up ladders and steel bridges which would have done Harrison Ford proud. And now, sated on schnapps, we are distinctly past our best. But oh, the best was wonderful.