• ASC Breakfast French
  • Institut International Lancy
  • Key English School

Dean-Marriott-Photo-200

Dean Marriott was born in London and educated in the UK and Germany.  He retired from a career in finance, aged 33, and subsequently retrained as an actor and teacher.  From an early age, his passion for languages and the arts has underpinned both his professional and social lives.  In his quest for leisure activities, Dean keeps one key thought in mind: if Shakespeare’s words are true and ‘All the world's a stage’, we shouldn’t have to look far in order to be entertained.  We just have to make the time to appreciate it.  

If you are searching for an element of entertainment in your leisure pursuits and have a desire to look beyond the obvious, then Dean will use his artistic eye to point you in the right direction.  

Dean left Switzerland in July 2017 and is currently studying towards a Masters in Film Directing in Berlin, although he is still managing to squeeze in some acting, where possible.

Save

Save

dean electric muscle stimulation

By Dean Marriott

This summer I made the move from Morges to Berlin.  After 4 years in Switzerland, the time was right for a change.

I had bought my apartment in Berlin some 10 years ago with the intention of one day taking advantage of this wonderful city.  Having studied in Germany as part of my undergraduate program, I always knew that eventually I would return and hopefully revive my hibernating language skills.

The curious thing about language is how dynamic it really is – it evolves without you even noticing.  That is unless you have been out of that linguistic framework for some 25 years!  Indeed, it’s proving difficult to substitute my antiquated German expressions for the modern parlance, especially when it feels that I am adopting the persona of an MTV presenter, injecting apparently ‘cool-sounding’ English words into an otherwise standard German phrase. I never thought that I would feel empathy for the Académie française, but sometimes I can’t help it.

Anyway, as part of my integration into my new world, I felt that I should embrace change wholeheartedly. So, what better way to face this head on than to join a gym.  But not just any old gym.  Oh no.  This is a gym where I only need to (in fact I am limited to) attend a maximum of 3 times per week for a maximum duration of 20 minutes per session.  Sceptical?  I certainly was.  So, I signed up for a free trial.

dean glacier 2

Since living in Switzerland, I have acquired a taste for mountains that I could never have foreseen. Snow-shoeing has become a true passion, if not an obsession, and a regular winter activity. But what I have really discovered and experienced is the energising power that these majestic peaks deliver, not only in winter but in the summer months too.

Yesterday, we took our final cable-car trip, as Swiss residents, to an altitude of 2,971m and spent a rejuvenating afternoon at Glacier 3000. I don't need to remind you all how stressful relocating to another country can be, therefore, taking some time out to re-energise was a must in our schedule.

The cable-car journey to Scex Rouge (Glacier 3000) is in two stages, starting at Col du Pillon, just on the edge of Les Diablerets, about a 1-hour drive from Lausanne. There is plenty of free parking available. The return ticket costs CHF 79 for adults and CHF 40 for children or adults with a half- price travel card.  It includes the Peak Walk by Tissot, a Fun Park for children, the Ice Express chair lift to and from the Glacier and the Glacier Walk. The ascent takes about 15 minutes.

dean flight blog 1

People often joke about Swiss punctuality and visitors may be somewhat surprised when apologies for a 2-minute delay are voiced over a train’s PA system.  However, for me, this should be the norm, whatever the mode of transport.

Our leisure time is precious.  In Switzerland, the minimum annual leave entitlement for a full-time employment position is 4 weeks (or 20 days).  In addition, there are between 7 and 15 paid public holidays which vary from canton to canton.  Under EU legislation, all member states must grant all employees a minimum of 4 weeks paid vacation.  The UK has a statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks (or 28 days), which may include the 8 public holiday days. The US has no statutory minimum paid vacation, although according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, full-time employees become entitled to, on average, 10 days holiday after 1 year of service.

Using part of your annual leave in order to travel to another country takes some planning.  Flights are often booked months in advance and timings selected to maximise use of your time and minimise cost.  So when your flight is delayed by a few hours or, worse still, cancelled, inconvenience is the politest way to describe the impact felt.  

Holiday insurance can often help to compensate, but there is another route for compensation which shouldn’t be overlooked.  All airline passengers, irrespective of nationality or residence, may be entitled to compensation in the event of a flight cancellation or delay of more the 3 hours, when flying within the EU or departing from the EU on an EU or non-EU airline, or arriving in the EU on an EU airline.

saasfee1

Having booked our Christmas holiday to Saas-Fee in July 2016 with the knowledge that it was probably our last Christmas in Switzerland, we had no idea that it would prove to be such a poignant visit.  

Looking back over 2016, we can’t help but find ourselves reflecting on the many celebrities who passed away.  The death of George Michael on Christmas Day was one of these sad moments.  It was only upon arriving in Saas-Fee on the morning of 26th December that I heard the news.  It soon became apparent that Saas-Fee had a strong connection with the singer, and after a quick internet search I discovered that the music video for  Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ had been filmed there back in December 1984.

Originally planned to be shot in the Canton of Bern, a last-minute change of location occurred due to a lack of snow, and Saas-Fee became the new setting. In case you are curious, the group and crew stayed at the 5-star Hotel Walliserhof, now renamed the Hotel Ferienart.  Another piece of trivia is that the well-known scene in front of the open fireplace was actually shot in the current culture centre, rather than the chalet shown in the video.

With this knowledge in mind, and having watched the video again, our stay in Saas-Fee took on a new meaning.  Although I cannot claim to have been a huge Wham or George Michael fan, I cannot escape the fact that they were a constant part of my teenage years, and thus, were indeed a part of my life that had come to an end.

swimming blog Dean 1

Exercise has always been promoted as an essential component for both our physical and mental wellbeing.  However, exercise is a broad term and what works for one person may not work to the same degree for another.  

Recently, I have taken up swimming again; not in a pool but in the lake.  My target each day is to swim to a carefully selected ‘orange buoy’, and, of course, back again.  This takes between 30 and 40 minutes depending on the conditions of the lake and the force of the current.  As Lake Geneva lies on the River Rhône, the source of which is the Rhône Glacier in Valais, there is a current that varies in strength on a daily basis.

I have discovered a huge difference between lake swimming and pool swimming, and it’s not simply the absence of chlorine.  The fact that I have no opportunity to rest at the end of each length has caused me to experience something quite exhilarating.  I have a very active mind, and find it hard to ‘switch off’ and relax.  Many of us experience periods of stress which prove a challenge to manage.  Going to the gym helps me.  However, at times I find myself lost in my thoughts between exercises, and although I indeed benefit physically, my mental state is still somewhat neglected.

When I swim in the lake, I am able to detach from my thoughts and simply focus on the activity: regular deep-breathing, coordinated stretching of the arms and legs, navigating my passage between boats and dinghies – in fact, I truly live in the moment.  I am not worrying about the effects of what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future.  Nothing stands between me and the environment in which I find myself; we become one.