Monday, November 12, 2007

Engleberg Winter 1963

Bottom right: Elsa and her mother by the fire, both characteristically smoking. In the other photos - Ruth's stepdaughter Sara [from Ruth's photo album 1946]

In 1963, between leaving school and going to university, Herry spent the winter in Engleberg where a distant cousin, Frau Prof Hauthal and her daughter Elsa had a chalet called 'Haldengutli'. Members of the family who loved skiiing - particularly the Pughs and the Cassels (Francie - Sir Francis- and later his son Tim) - had spent the winter there since the 1930s. Griffith Pugh, who later played a crucial role in supporting Hilary and Tenzing on their successful conquest of Everest in 1953, learned to become an Olympic skiier there, ignoring his father's entreaties to return home to his medical studies.

As Elsa and her mother got older, looking after up to 16 guests every day proved too much for them and one of the family or close friends used to send their sons (and more rarely, daughters) to Engleberg for the winter as 'chalet girls'. It was a marvellous experience; preparing breakfast, clearing up and making the beds in the morning, skiiing until about 4pm and then collecting the shopping and calling in at Frau Barel's for a hot chocolate on the way home, before cooking supper. I can still make a mean wiener schnitzel and rosti.

Charlie Skipwith followed me the next year. These photos show Charlie, 'Tiny', Fuff, Belinda, Dominic Thompson and his wife Jill, Harriet  (then Jacky) Pugh and Belinda Heathcote-Amory

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