Jack Serle

Off to work, Mont Blanc, aid packages

In Suisse on September 4, 2011 at 5:39 PM

The rain it raineth every day. Almost every day. Those days when I find myself unoccupied and with both the time and trousers for exploring Geneva. When I sit, shackled, at my desk then the sun she shines with gusto.

Good Lord. Rain is indeed a tedious subject. I am mindful of the pop band Travis who demonstrated this point well in the post-modern classic Why does it always rain on me? With this song the band rips into the pathetic tendency of the listless bourgeoisie of referencing the weather at every opportunity. Travis ingeniously lampoons the stultifyingly dull subject of precipitation in a song of the most unbridled tedium.

Damp Geneva (Partial View)

I cannot achieve such heights of creative endeavour. I make most humble apologies therefore for this damp opener but you see they say write what you know. Sat here in my room on the second floor looking out of my window I know but one thing. It is raining. Sorry, two things. I wish that man across the street would put his shirt on.


The ambling day-to-day of unemployment has melted away, replaced by the rigid life of the working man. This week was the first of nine in which the amiable transition of dawn till dusk is brim full. Yet another unpaid internship, leimotif of the generation to which I belong, has its teeth in the soles of my feet. The multilateral, multinational organisation to which I am now bound lured me in with the promise of stuffing to my clippings file and syrup to my CV. Unlike a club, you cannot get blackballed from a generation.

A bondsman I am, and I am but one of hundreds scurrying the length of this global body. We are here to work, to learn, to schmooze and build a network. We are here to bankrupt ourselves, sacrificing our balance sheets in the hope of a reference.

As the rain falls in my time away from work, so as I sit in my office the clouds descend. They try to obscure the view from my window. At the start of this week I could turn to my left and see sunlight shining on the north face of Mont Blanc. No more alas. Autumnal clouds have come to the Alps – no longer do I see a sunlit peak. You might think this would be a better state of affairs than when the sun shone hard and fast during office hours then beat a retreat for the weekend. You would be wrong.

I am fortunate despite this, the work is good and the colleagues charming. However like Samson without my peak I am lost.


It was with a heavy heart I made it to the end of this week. My Friday was bereft of the merest glimpse of an Alp. My fortune changed however come midday when a passing pair did take pity on me and brought forth an aid package. As they bought me lunch the parcel was produced. It did not bear the red cross, crescent or crystal but it did contain those victuals without which no man should face the barren and unforgiving terrain of Geneva.

The bounty I found therein included Nutella, pistachios, cornichon and, heaven be praised, a bottle of the distilled juicings of the most sacred juniper berry. Armed with these delights and a flask of a tonic made from the bark of the cinchona, a tree native to the Indies, things are looking up. The generous benefactors have left these shores for good. Following them go my most hearty thanks.


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