Living in the ‘Burgh, lochs and mountains are ever present. I thought I knew all about these geographical delights - until I discovered Switzerland.

The reason for going to live there is a tall tale for another day, but I emigrated for several fascinating and lucrative years in the 90s.

Career established, books published and wars fought in the interim, my first trip back to the capital Bern came a decade after I left. I have been an annual visitor since. I write this on the sunny Bärenplatz, in the shadow of the Swiss parliament.

But things have changed!

The first difference I have noticed is that trains can be late. There! I’ve said it! In previous years this would have been treated as a national disaster akin to the collapse of the banks. It was never a place for haute couture.

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When I lived here, there was a predilection for clothing coloured a kind of off-mustard hue, which patinated everything from blazers to anoraks to shirts to trousers - sometimes, excruciatingly, all on the same person at once. It was also the epoch of the mullet. I’ll leave you to contemplate that tortured agglomeration of images.

My Swiss trip this year has been punctuated by vistas of young women who have evidently had their lips pumped full of Botox and men whose tattoos cover more area of skin than they don’t.

Something else most un-Swiss is the annoying habit of having a mobile phone conversation on loudspeaker. When I lived here that kind of impropriety would have had the police on you for breach of the peace. If I tell you that I had a flat-warming party and invited the neighbours, only for one to go home at 9pm and phone me to complain about the noise, you’ll get the vibe.

But soon reality kicks in. Virtually every city in Switzerland has an old town, a beautiful fairy tale cobbled district riddled with mysterious arcades and alleys bedecked in colourful flags, from which you expect a Rumpelstiltskin-esque figure to emerge, enchanting and tormenting children in equal measure.

And then your funicular reaches the Alpine summit and you look down on the clouds, you take in the remarkable Tiffany’s blue/green colour of the lakes and remember that the water originated from a glacier and that gliding atop that lake swan-like, as it has done for more than a century, is a paddle steamer.

Scotland will always be home. Despite its mountains and lakes kicking ours into touch, Switzerland will always be my second. But I think I have scratched the Swiss itch for a while - and next year I will only go for 12 days instead of a fortnight.