The snow was melting in Newcastle. From the sky the ground was a patchwork pattern of misshapen Torte cakes, with flour sprinkled carelessly on top. The plane was only a quarter full; everyone else seemed to be travelling on business or on their way to the slopes.
I slept and woke to find the tops of mountains bursting through clouds like islands in a sea of foam. Geneva edged closer in increments: lakeside houses, a villa in a wood, fast-moving traffic on a motorway and the drab dull greys of airport buildings. A machine by the baggage claim popped out free tickets for the train. Five minutes after boarding I was in the city centre.