Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

Posts about Life

  • Review of 2014

    A blessed year of travel, fun, new and re-discovered sights, and plenty of sore legs.

  • Blogging for myself

    A blog is usually started as a place for the author to jot notes and share them with a select few to read; often friends and family. Later, as popularity grows, it’s easy to become drawn into the goal of getting more and more readers and gaining more and more “success”. This sometimes works and…

  • A need for weight loss, a need for fitness and a desire for reaching less accessible photo viewpoints means that I am walking further and higher than my lazy twenty-something self would’ve imagined.

  • Big old hill

    One of the most challenging hikes I’ve done: up the steep and winding path through the forest from Beatenberg to the summit of the Niederhorn.

  • With hindsight, one of the things which drew me to the home where we now live is how many little details of it are similar to where I spent childhood holidays. Not the mountains, but the sweep of a shore line, the little houses dotted across the hillside, the wild grasses waving in the breeze,…

  • If you had a friend who cheated, abused your trust and did everything in order to profit himself, how would you react?

  • The latest in a alphabetic series on aspects of my life: this time, the letter F is inspired by this weekend’s Glastonbury Festival.

  • The simplest solution is rarely the simplest solution.

  • Review of 2013

    With surprising alacrity, it’s time to flick back through my digital album as we approach the end of 2013, and the end of another year behind the camera. Here are a few highlights; a larger set is on Flickr. My favourite memory of 2013, embodied in the lead photo of this blog post (above) is…

  • Working with wood

    First attempts at woodwork lead to a stylish and unique coffee table.

  • If it weren’t for the fact that I have a lovely, daily reminder, it would be difficult to believe that it’s been nine years since I first met Jo in person. We’d started exchanging e-mails ten months earlier and I visited her and her parents in Scotland in October 2004, since when we’ve been together.…

  • I took part in our company day out yesterday, when we went down the river Aare from Schwellenmätteli in Bern, beneath the towering heights of Bern’s old city, to Eymatt, on the north western edge of the city suburbs. Although it sounds like a city-centre trip, the area around the river in and near Bern…

  • After more than twelve years in Switzerland, there are few foods or drinks which I miss from the UK. Kenco (instant) coffee is a regular buy when we’re in the UK and we also stock up on pain killer tablets when we can, as prices in Switzerland are astronomical in comparison. The biggest pleasure which…

  • Never having been a great one for sport and exercise, and having given up long walks around golf courses when I moved to Switzerland, my legs aren’t up to the challenge of big mountain walks. My knees are a bit of a weak point, and a long walk in the mountains often ends in a…

  • Swimming in the river Aare is a hobby I’ve taken up this year with gusto, having been initiated by colleagues at work last summer. Once past Bern, the river slows down as it meanders through the countryside and the greenness of the pastures below the ridge of the Jura mountains extends into the river itself, reminding…

  • Sometimes I remember to take a photo just so that I can look at it one day in the future and say, “do you remember when we used to do this?” One day, this photo will be twenty years ago.

  • It was amazing to watch him in the darkroom at an advanced age, still get excited when the results were pleasing. He still struggled like we all do in the darkroom and he struggled behind the camera, and when he had a success he was beaming. John Sexton It’s a bit scary to think that…

  • C is for Car

    “Man sits in car; dribes.” Judging by this early statement from my childhood, I’ve always been a driver.

  • B is for Blog

    Blogging – writing for an unknown audience – has been a part of my life for over twenty years. And I still love it.

  • Being a foreigner, or Ausländer, is only how other people classify me and what affects my life for better or worse makes me who I am today. I am just a person, formed in character of those experiences which have led me to where I sit today.

  • The Swiss MOT

    The Swiss are reknowned for their efficiency and I’m used to the smoothness of dealing with officialdom here. The extent of the efficiency surprised me a little this morning, though, when for the first time since I’ve lived here, I had to take my car to the testing centre. The “Amtliche Fahrzeugprüfung” is akin to…