We have lost another member of our team. The only other more mature person has decided that she is missing home and her husband (not sure in which order). This leaves us as the grandparents of the group. Yes we are older than many of their parents. We have also discovered that our boss, is (usually) a very mature 22 year old and actually had the pleasure of meeting her Dad and girlfriend plus their 2 lovely dogs last week who are on a similar adventure to us so it was very interesting talking to them. So we are 3 people down and have only had 1 replacement so far so resources are stretched. We’ll just have to hope that all the different bugs have completed their rounds and that there are no more injuries.
Our young high flying guests from last week were good fun, if a little full-on, but unsurprisingly they weren’t able to maintain the pace all week and we had some very subdued breakfasts and even some quiet evening meals when their post lunchtime hangovers were beginning to kick in. Despite their obvious brightness and intelligence they did make one major slip. When they arrived they were already booked into a lovely local restaurant for our night off, the one we had enjoyed with Ruth and Lewis in our first week. On returning after our day off on Thursday morning we politely enquired as to whether they’d enjoyed their meal. It had been a bit of a disaster as on arrival at the little place there was no record of their booking. It transpired that the party of 13 were booked into a similarly named restaurant in Normandy! So they’d made do with pizza.
Having felt cheated and after much vacillating they confirmed on Saturday morning that they would be going out for a meal that evening which gave us the night off – yippee! We stayed at the chalet until 3pm, trying to get all the deep cleaning completed bar the bedrooms, before heading off to Underground to watch the rugby and it was lovely for Roger to have a couple of pints without the cloud of going back into work hanging over him. We returned to our accom and opened a nice bottle of fizz (it happened to be Valentines day) and I gave him another leave of absence to go to watch the Ireland match and arranged to meet him at Fondue Folly which had been recommended by Gareth at Underground and whose name appeared to get us a table in which was otherwise going to be a struggle to fit us in. On top of which it was barely 5 mins away from our flat. We enjoyed a mixed meat (duck, beef and chicken) fondue in a red wine sauce and lovely but cheap bottle of wine in a very French atmosphere so thanks guys for messing up your booking. We commented that this was almost as good as a decent tip (although costing us money so not really) but they were very generous in that as well and left quite a lot of ‘debris’ including 30 bottles of beer, various half drunk bottles of spirits, 14 cans of red bull (part of their coping strategies presumably) and a very nice bottle of Sancerre so we feel fully compensated for the early complications, they can definately come again as they were all mellowing by the end of the week and we’d gone out for a drink with 3 of them on Friday where they insisted on buying every round so a very generous bunch. (Oh, and an unworn pair of thermal insoles!)
Their departure wasn’t until after midday but our next group weren’t due until 7.15 so we breakfasted at the normal time and started food prep until they vacated their rooms at 10am. 9 hours to turn them round and deep clean seemed plenty of time so no pressure!! Fortunately our arrivals were delayed by about an hour and that period was spent rushing around getting everything finished which wouldn’t have been if they’d been prompt. We’re still unsure where the time went but I think our perception of having much more than usual lulled us into a false sense of security and the deep clean took longer than expected. We’d completed 65 hours each last week and that is with a night off! I’d like to think that our regular ‘over-working’ had resulted in the chalet not being too bad anyway but there is always more you can clean in these places. Anyway, hopefully we are back onto a more sustainable timetable this week despite having 17 people in a 16 person chalet. This group seem a nice bunch, 4 families including 2 physios (again and we had another ex-physio last week) and their only little one, a 6 year old eats with everyone else and the same food so no children’s menu to prepare or high tea for which we have to come back early so we like them too. Roger kindly suggested we give her a pancake for starter on Tuesday as she probably wasn’t going to like the focaccia and smoked salmon which was well received and didn’t generate too much pancake envy from the young teenagers.
We’d had some snow over the weekend, although only a few inches it was enough to refresh the slopes and cover the dirt at the road sides. Monday had still been overcast but Tuesday was lovely as our guests reported. We’d enjoyed lunch outside in a little bar/restaurant we’d not really noticed just a stones throw from the chalet where we’d intended just to have a chocolate chaud in the sunshine before retiring to the afternoon gloom of our flat. She didn’t seem too happy for us to take a table at lunchtime and not eat (it wasn’t that busy) but on perusing the menu I spotted buckwheat gallettes so we had to indulge and I must confess it was very difficult to drag ourselves away from the warmth and view, that’s Roger at the table in the bottom of the picture. This is the bottom of the yoghurt pots so we had about 20yds to walk which didn’t over exert us.
Day off provides the dilemma of our only opportunity for a lie in or to get out early onto freshly pisted slopes instead of the often churned up slush and moguls we meet in the afternoon. I felt that an 8am start to get up on the first lifts gave us the best of both options. Roger wasn’t so sure that an hour and a quarter constituted a lie-in. In the event I got up earlier and enjoyed an unrushed shower for a change by which time he was stirring. We weren’t on the first lift but had a to join a short queue waiting for it to open. We were heading for Sarenne, the 17km ‘black’ run which was reported to have been fabulous and quite empty by our guests the previous day. 5 lifts later and a drop of about 15 degrees in temperature they were proved correct after a wonderful run down an almost deserted and freshly pisted slope. Even Roger admitted it had been worth the early start. The queues had built up in the main centre by the time we returned but the temperature was rising with sun’s elevation so we decided to see what time Le Spot opened because surely we’d get a seat this early and a chocoat chaud was beconning.
We were first to arrive, albeit in a cloud of snow as I inelegantly made my entrance on my backside having my first fall from bad skiing and ending up with snow up my back from lack of concentration but with injury only to pride but the guys confirmed that they were open and we were able to select the optimum deckchairs to soak up some rays. Whilst we consumed our drinks the waft of their renowned nasi goreng infiltrated our nostrils. Was 10.45am too early for lunch? On enquiry it wouldn’t be ready for a further 20 mins so that seemed eminently reasonable and necessitated a snooze for that time, facilitating the benefit of the missed lie-in but in much lovelier surrounds.
We decided to take another run down Sarenne at lunchtime when we hoped it would be quieter (but were perhaps about half an hour too soon) and then jump on to our favourite chair lift, which is old and slow but is super with the sun baking on your back and another opportunity for a snooze, taking us to another favourite run which had been a little the worse for less snow last time we’d skied it. Sarenne was a different run altogether from the one we’d skied merely 3 hours previously and so busy. We stopped for a while in the hope that the rush would abate. This photo is looking back up and if you enlarge it you will see all the little black dots careering down the gully towards the top (of the photo, not the run). The opposite view looks across two valleys to our neighbour Deux Alpes nestling in the fork of the hills where, apparently we are all going on our day off next week as our pass covers there as well.
We pootled around on a few of the lower slopes for another hour or so before coming back in, relinquishing our skis and adopting a horizontal position for a couple of hours before springing upright again to get something to eat prior to collapsing, ready for another 6 day stint including the unpredictable demands of change over day. No wonder Cath decided to call it a day at our age.