Despite some pathetic little flurries the snow has gone for the season, apart from the glacier. We do remember a late big fall last year but that isn’t going to happen any time soon, it is far too hot. The showers we have had have melted almost as soon as they’ve touched the ground or even before that and landed as rain, melting the snow yet further.
As we face north in the apartment we have ventured up the hill to a bench in the sun overlooking the lower end of the resort and valley down to Bourg. Roger donned his shorts and we both dug out our sandals to go up the ascent, after-all it had been sunny for some days. What we didn’t take in to account was how wet the ground was as the melt-waters seeped down the slopes if they decided to avoid the streams! We had to cross this muddy quagmire, not enjoying the sensation of purée squelching over the soles and in between our toes. The orange hue didn’t make it any more appealing!
After a very steep climb and negotiating the gunk we found someone daring to sit on our target bench. We could see it out of our window. Fortunately, there was another one, without occupants, a bit further round. We had to overtake a group of people walking the same path, in case they had the temerity to chose to rest on our allotted seat. Our haste prevented us from really appreciating all the beautiful crocuses which had braved the elements and weight to open up along this path. We had seen these at this time since our first season and wondered where the leaves were, there are none in evidence. Also they seem to predominantly be a very pale lilac with only the occasional purple, never the bright yellow or rich creamy tones of home. All the same, they make a lovely carpet.
At the bench we removed our caked sandals and tried to get the worst of the mud off both them and our feet, leaving them to dry in the sun. We had a superb view from a slightly different angle to usual and enjoyed a disturbed period of book reading. This footpath was like a busy motorway. Everyone seemed to have concurred with us and abandoned the slopes for a lovely walk and all say ‘bonjour’. I don’t know if it is because we have several terms of greeting but the French here seem to always say ‘bonjour’ whenever they come across anyone. Only some of the children will occasionally try not meet your eye and pass without comment. Fellow customers in shops and supermarkets will greet total strangers without hesitation. People getting on the bus or in to the cable car say a token good-day. When did we Brits lose this friendliness?
Roger noticed that our original destination bench had been vacated and as we were finding that the current one tipped forward slightly we high-tailed it back to our initial target. We settled down to another lovely vista only to find that this one tilted sideways. Still, it was beautiful just to be out in the fresh air and sunshine and we settled down again to read some more with less interruptions. Once the rays started to feel like they were burning somewhat we clambered back down the hill to the flat for a siesta before going back in to work for the early start to the evening session. This week’s guests comprise a father and his partner, his 3 children with their spouses, 4 under 10s, 2 teenagers and a 3 week old baby. We knew nothing about the latter but she is the quietest of the whole bunch.
We don’t provide a separate high tea for kids at an earlier time but the first mother stated that she assumed we did as the details didn’t say we didn’t! Not sure that there is much validity to that argument but as we had had a light 3 weeks we did agree to do so but drew the line at making the adults’ meal later. We weren’t prepared to have our working hours stretched at both ends particularly as we would have to walk back up the hill at the end of the evening as the bus is on a skeleton timetable and the night service no longer runs. This doesn’t seem very sensible for the 2 weeks of the Easter holiday but then we know that this bus service isn’t really here for passengers.
Ski shop Toby, who leant Roger his fancy skis, offered a pair for me to try. These are the ones his Mother uses when she comes out. Yes, we are akin to most of our friends and colleagues parents. I had been struggling with, what I thought were, my boots from the beginning of the season. Whilst I had managed to improve a little more on last year it had felt hard work. We headed up the lifts with these new skis and I inadvertently suggested we go directly to the top of the glacier. Roger suggested that I might like to try these skis out before going straight on to a black run, particularly as the previous time I felt (and looked) like a beginner for some reason. We stopped off at the second of 3 stages and popped down a red run. The skis were fantastic, even to the extent that I thought something had happened to Roger when I had to wait some time for him at the bottom only to find that he hadn’t fallen, the usual reason when he isn’t right behind me, but he been able to keep up! I have wheedled a couple more sessions with them out of Toby, we have paid in advance with excess baking and puddings.