We wandered up into town on Sunday, needing to pick up a few provisions whilst on our way to the flat to give it a deep clean, the place was like a ghost town. There were very few people around and many of the shops, whilst displaying their ‘destockage’ sale signs, were closed up. The weather being distinctly British didn’t help, the greyness enhanced the feeling of abandonment. But there are still Christmas lights on the fir trees!
We had been up on the Friday for our end of season treat at Fondue Folie. Whilst it was quieter, the ice skating club were presenting their annual gala so we watched that for an hour before our meal. It was very entertaining and inclusive of all age groups (of children) as well as varied abilities, accompanied, as the picture illustrates, by an assortment of talents. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a cello played by someone shorter than their instrument!
The meal was as delightful as last year boosted by bumping into the Sphere bar staff to whom we had planned to go in to say goodbye until we realised that they had closed the previous night so that was an opportune meeting. We stopped off at O bar and found that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our final end of season burger the following week as their kitchen was closing at the weekend which was useful to know. We will still come up for a drink to say farewell to Vicky but were fortunate to bump into George and the Zenith staff. He had been kind enough to give some of early departees a lift up to town on changeover days and I often bumped into his colleagues at 7am in the boulangerie. Much more convenient for them as they lived above it. Also rolling in during the time we were there were the Nielson crew. We knew Phillipa from the previous season and had got to know Hannah through one of the guests and Maria from the bus stop so it was nice to be able to have a final chat to them. Finally Ben came in. He is the chef at the upmarket restaurant in town, Au Puits des Saveur, and despite merely saying bonjour and au revoir to him all season, as his English is poor and he is shy, he insisted on buying us a drink as it was his birthday.
Eventually we negotiated the path down the hill to the back of the chalet, my morning expedition route with the bread. The way was lit by the faded glow of the earlier sunset over the back of our right-hand mountains when looking out the kitchen window. It is so nice to bump into so many people we know when just out on a random trip. Probably many more than I would know in Huddersfield after living there for 25 years! Even if it is because we all hang out at the same places. We had thought we may feel isolated this year as we are not part of a larger team but have managed to meet lots of new people (including someone who will give us a free ski lesson at the beginning of next season, now there’s an enticement) as well as renew and refresh last year’s acquaintances. Its quite a small place when all the tourists have gone!