Then there are the animals that run wild and free. The fun, furry and lovably cute marmots that whistle when they see you, supposedly to warn others that they have seen you, but it always feels more as if they want to make sure you have seen them, and are being properly appreciative of their furry cuteness. The rare sight of a deer or chamois, that stops me dead in my tracks and leaves me just staring in wonder at the privilege. A bit like the moment in the book and film Stand By Me, when one of the boys stumbles across a deer during a quiet moment on his own, and decides not to share it with the others. The comically long-eared mountain hare that seems half animal and half ears. The birds of prey that circle on the thermals, the insect-eating birds that race and wheel around and among the chalets, the smaller birds that sit on the balconies. A whole family of great tits have been visiting my bird-feeder. It’s amazing to watch the four youngsters growing up, no longer sitting there on the railings, waiting dumbly to be fed, but now big enough to return on their own.