This is the final instalment for winter 2017/8. Our last day off dawns tomorrow and then it is only 3 more days to work before we head north to warmer climes (hopefully). Snow has returned in earnest today but I expect that it will disappear again soon as it is April! We’ve had a reasonable last few weeks despite the end of season exhaustion taking a firm hold: tighter each year as age and injuries take its toll.
The clock change resulted in us stepping out the front door of the apartment block as the sun cast an early glow across the sky prior to showing its face again but this time we were accompanied by the dawn chorus. We had to walk in to the chalet in the mornings a few times as the van was out of action for over a week but it was superb. Fortunately we only had to walk back up the hill in the evening a couple of times. But the van is back after the replacement of a vital piece costing the princely sum of €16!
We had a slightly challenging group 3 weeks from the end. We would probably have taken them in our stride earlier in the season as they weren’t a bad bunch. I did have a minor altercation with Dad/Granddad one evening after he had imbibed a few glasses of wine. He was quite vociferous that we put too little seasoning in the cooking. We are on the light side but only so that people can add to their taste, they can’t remove it. He was reluctant to keep salting his food as he didn’t feel it created the same flavour. My resistance was backed up by his daughter and daughter-in-law who didn’t want their young children to be over salted. Roger also removes our portions after serving their initial helpings prior to putting seconds in a bowl on the table and I didn’t want any more salt in it anyway. I did manage to resist telling him that there was nothing wrong with the seasoning, it is just that he is old and his taste buds have deteriorated.
The aforementioned little darlings weren’t too bad but did turn the one empty bedroom into an adventure playground after exploring the eaves cupboard and pulling out items they shouldn’t have been interfering with. It was no surprise to discover on their departure day that a favoured cuddly toy was missing. We assured them that it would be returned if we found it when we stripped the chalet down for changeover but to no avail. Our only conclusion was that it was somewhere under the snow and probably around the hot tub where they had spent considerable time, including opening the valve to empty it. The ‘top-up’ requested was a bit of an understatement!
We let them know on Sat afternoon that we hadn’t found it only to be informed that the cousin of the bereft boy admitted to hiding said cuddly in a cupboard. This could only be the 2 feet high and diminishing 3 feet wide crawl-in cupboard in the eaves, where they shouldn’t have been! This bedroom was now occupied which complicated matters further except that the young madam now residing in there had got off on the wrong foot when the incoming group arrived at 12.30. This was just to drop their bags as check-in isn’t until 3.30pm. The group were duly putting boots and shoes back on to walk up to town when a girl, who had raced to the front door first, took her boots back off, walked past Roger and I and sat herself down in the lounge.
‘What are you doing?’ We asked in unison.
‘Oh, I’m staying’ she replied.
‘No you’re not.’
She stood up, went back to the boot room where she announced that she’d been ‘chucked out’ (correct). The ‘Mother’ then entreated with me that she be allowed to stay as she was ‘so tired and had started her period’. She was to be upstairs in the yet-unmade attic room. I conceded (what else could I do apart from annoy incoming guests in their first hour of the week) and said that she could wait in the lounge whilst I made up the beds which I did as quickly as possible, glanced around the room which was back in its bedroom state from being an adventure playground, ushered her in and closed the door. What she or (step) mum failed to realise is that we empty the bathroom bins. Well we do if there is something in them by Tuesday, 3 days later, but not if they are still EMPTY!
When Roger kindly decided to go crawling in to rummage in the eaves cupboard to look for soft-toy he spotted a soft husky on the second bed in that room on his exit. Girl said she’d found it in the drawer of the bedside table but didn’t think to mention it (this did identify that I hadn’t checked/cleaned the room properly but then she shouldn’t have been in there 3 hours early) but at least bereft boy got his very soft and rather lovely husky back and we earned the creme eggs they had kindly given us after their Easter egg hunt when it transpired that the kids didn’t like creme eggs!
Although I have complained about the snow for working purposes it has meant that we have had a beautiful surface to ski on when the sun has managed to pierce the persistent clouds. The runs are still amazing and lower areas that are usually brown or even green and sprouting little flowers by this time are still covered in a decent layer of snow. We have been able to enjoy the ambience of Le Spot several times recently and even bumped into Ali and Tom there again. They assumed that as we were still on the slopes at 3pm that it must be our day off as that would be unheard of in our first season. They seemed impressed that not only was it a work day but that we’d have a rest before going back in as well. We enjoyed a proper conversation with them, not only one we could hear but also with them sober and interesting, particularly Ali’s take on the Japanese view of the world. When we returned to the flat we indulged ourselves in this season’s luxury: a mug of hot chocolate with a spoonful of Nutella (left behind by successive previous guests).
Roger has been using an app to track our routes around the mountains when we ski and we are quite chuffed to find that we cover around 50km during our 2-3 hour excursions (including lifts). We actually won the ‘furthest travelled in a day’ prize last week when apparently we covered over 500km in one afternoon, hmmm? I was actually lucky to get back in one piece that day. I wanted to take a photo from a different angle to usual at the top of Marmottes2 (you may have observed a degree of repetition in the views) so left my skis next to a hut after we exited the bubble lift. On return I moved them out slightly as they were crossed where I’d dumped them. As I put my boot into the bindings I heard a strange muted thud and saw a clump of snow landing right where my skis had been moments before as it slid off the roof. I moved forward to tell Roger what a close shave I’d had when a loud expletive came from a child nearby. The rest of the snow from the hut roof had slid off and landed exactly where I’d been putting on my skis seconds before. This latter dump was significantly larger and endorsed the signs around the resort reminding people to beware of roof slides, particularly as most of this snow is compressed and frozen. Still, no harm done and I am much more careful now. See you soon.