A long Swiss period

Richard Morrison would like a Swiss period, and so would I. As he says:

"What a nation! No, nation is the wrong word. Nations are messy, noisy, turbulent, fractious entities, for ever buffeted by power struggles within and without, and full of contradictory aspirations that tug them one way and then t’other. Nations, in other words, are like people — wayward, vulnerable and prone to get themselves into lots of completely avoidable trouble. Switzerland, by contrast, is much more like Le Corbusier’s definition of a house.

It’s a machine for living in. And all the clichés are true! I made six railway journeys while I was there, and on every one of them the train pulled into and out of the station within ten seconds — yes, ten seconds! — of its scheduled time. "

After analysing some pros and cons of Swiss life, he concludes:

"But this isn’t a country that produces Beethovens or Michelangelos.

All this I acknowledge. And at other times in my life I would probably have found the very calm of Swiss life — the studious renunciation of excitement and unpredictability — unbearably stifling. I daresay that, were I to live in Switzerland for a few months, I would pretty soon be gagging for a Jamaican period, when I would drift along in an anarchic haze of hedonistic delight and not give a damn about time or money. Or perhaps for a Russian period, when I would feast on amazing food for the soul, even if there wasn’t any actual food on the table.

But right now, back in a Britain where the simplest journey takes for ever, where we are racked with anxieties because of our pathological inability to refrain from meddling in other people’s wars, and where the balance between work, family and fun seems to get more and more askew with every passing year, the prospect of infinitely extending my Swiss period is very tempting. More fondue, anyone? "

Read the whole article in its joyous entirety at the link.

3 thoughts on “A long Swiss period

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Switzerland and I hope one day I will.
    Sweden is much the same, buses and trains run on time, it’s clean and the scenery is beautiful.

  2. I’m afraid I see a contradiction in his essay. If the trains are consistently on time, someone is suffering! Perfection is very demanding.
    May I put in a word for my much-loved CANADA? We’re a very imperfect lot here, but we’re at peace. We pretty much always get along with each other and the rest of the world. We have quality education and healthcare. We are relatively affluent. Best of all, as a people we are undemanding. Our trains don’t have to run on time!

  3. I agree with you, Marie and Susan, that Sweden and Canada are similarly calm and unstressed countries, though Canada has certainly had a more tumultuous history than either of the S countries.
    Give me undemanding and peaceful any time! (Definitely showing my age here.)

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