As expected this week’s group are party animals except they had driven through the night in 3 vehicles and arrived very tired, even a little grumpy. Particularly the group leader, who managed a tour of almost the whole resort before finally finding us. Roger had to accompany them to get their ski passes as they were so concerned about getting lost again and were too tired to contemplate that. They were a strange combination of people who knew each other, some who had met on previous ski holidays and others who were friends of or related to group ‘members’. The accent was very familiar as the first party stepped through the door, Barnsley! about 10 miles from home. The rest of the group hailed from near Romford Essex so quite a jumble of sounds.
We sold them their first case of 30 Kronenberg beers which lasted all of about half an hour and was followed by a trip to the supermarket to pick up €400 worth of supplies for the next few days! Suffice to say the balcony looks like Wetherspoons store room. We took a mere 55 bottles to the bottle bank the first morning, in addition to those deposited the previous night. They haven’t finished any of the spirits yet but they also went in to town on their first night! Could be an interesting week. This is the first time we’ve had football on Sky TV at the breakfast table! Its just one week I keep telling myself.
We have virtually given up on cleaning the chalet this week as it is such a mess with their stuff everywhere, except for the top of the freezer from which I have to keep moving things so we can gain access. I need to ask Tim to do one of his labels to that effect; he has 3 labeling machines! They aren’t a bad bunch but the building does seem to be bursting at the seams. We have conceded over breakfast times again and pushed it on to 8.30-9.30 but are not prepared to be any later. Although 4 of them managed to catch it on the first morning, the 8.45 bus is a bit of a long-shot. They deferred to 9.45 the following day and only just managed to get onto the 10.25 bus with us yesterday. Today is our day off and who knows what time they will emerge.
Unfortunately the snow isn’t much of an incentive as it is disappearing by the day. There is supposed to be a flurry today but the wall to wall blue sky doesn’t look too promising. There is snow forecast for the weekend and into next week so hopefully we will get some skiing in then as we haven’t even bothered recently. We can wait. The patch of snow on the ground behind our apartment block is shrinking but it has been there since we arrived on the 6th and hasn’t been topped up which illustrates the low air temperature in the shade.
We wouldn’t have had time to ski on Monday as we had to go to the laundrette and police station! I managed to jam the chalet washing machine last Saturday, trapping all the microfibre cleaning cloths as well as one of my work shirts. We had no luck trying to get a plumber out over the holiday period but hopefully may be able to soon, meanwhile we were running out of clean clothes. Neither of us had been to a laundrette since the early 1980s, how prices have risen since then!
We also paid a visit to the tourist office, bus depot and police station to see if anyone has found my phone. I lost it 2 days ago and was convinced, in retrospect, that it had fallen out my pocket when I bent over umpteen times at the bottle bank discarding the numerous beer bottles. I had remembered a sound of something dropping but on observation, couldn’t see a fallen bottle. Hindsight made me decide that it must have been my phone and it could have bounced under the bottle bank. We have both been scrabbling around outside the bin-store shining torches underneath the huge container determined to spot it, but to no avail. On that basis I had no idea where it could be and I tend to keep the ring tone low as I use it primarily as a camera and quick internet connection device. I checked the laundry cupboard in the eaves off an upstairs bedroom where I’d had to crawl in on all fours, sporting the essential head torch, to get a clean sheet on the first morning as one of the guests had complained that his was dirty. It was fairly obvious that someone had spilt something in his bed and covered it with the duvet. Knowing this group a little better now I suspect that it was a practical joke but wasn’t too happy about the dirty implication. Anyway the phone didn’t appear to be under the eaves or in either bedroom but as both were already a tip it could still materialise when they leave.
The tourist office had directed us to the appropriate police station which was conveniently located next to the sports centre which also houses the bus ticket office. Both were the opposite direction to our route back to the chalet as well as a climb up when we wanted to go down to work. We decided to catch the bus up and would walk all the way back down to the chalet afterwards. We waited at the bus stop as the sunset behind the hill and the temperature dropped by the minute. We could see it approaching up the bends and it turned into our road, experience meant that we would signal conspicuously and duly did so as it sailed straight past us again! The driver, same one as Christmas Eve, didn’t even look up but his pal, who was sat on the dashboard chatting to him, definitely saw us and made eye contact with me. Unfortunately for the driver, we were going to the ticket office and after asking about whether I’d left my phone on the bus we put in a complaint about the driver (after we’d waited for the next bus, getting even colder). Mr and Mrs Grumpy strike again but as a bus driver, you have 2 tasks, one is to drive the bus and the other is to let passengers on and off. Not many people could get away with literally only doing 50% of their job.
When I leave the flat for work, my checking routine is: phone in one trouser pocket, chalet keys in the other. I don’t know where it was the lack of phone or just the distraction of practising my French sentence for both of our enquiry destinations but when we finally reached the chalet I realised that I didn’t have the keys with me. The main door is a code but the keys open the storeroom which houses the wine and beer as well as the cash tin, the key for which is also on the keyring. Fortunately there was nothing essential in that cupboard for the evening meal but Sara had done a 2 week shop for us and was dropping it off as we arrived. No key to the downstairs cupboard meant that we couldn’t put half the items away as the other store is very cramped anyway. We put the frozen items away and the fruit and veg were deposited in the big plastic tubs on the balcony where they are usually stored. I arranged the rest neatly on the freezer lid, we could put them away the next morning when I wouldn’t have forgotten the keys until I remembered that it was our day off. In the circumstances we really didn’t want to leave it all out in the boot room so Roger delivered all the milk, fruit juices and delicate fruit through the kitchen window to me stacking it up on the balcony. This isn’t a big area and is destined to be extended but right now there is hardly any space to sit!
We made our way back to the flat after dinner service, pretty tired as we hadn’t got in until about 2am the previous night having taken our guys on a tour of the town, when we were plied with drink after drink by both our guests and the bars, not having to out our hands in our pockets once! The flat was quiet, even the other apartments were noiseless. I thought I’d just try ringing my phone again as I’d checked my account and no-one was using it recklessly and it hadn’t been handed in anywhere. There was a quiet muffled little tune come from the sofa area. Pulling everything out I was delighted to find it under the base cushion. It had been so smothered that we hadn’t heard it the first time we tried when I initially found it to be missing but neither had I heard it when the alarm went off at 6.45 as I hadn’t been able to defer it to the later time for breakfast. Most importantly I have my camera back, so just a few random pictures to break up the text!