Another Sunday, another 16 guests. As we stood waiting for the bus to arrive, disgorging this week’s holiday makers, we all felt it, at the same time; this was beginning to become routine. The eager anticipation we’d felt on previous weeks, would they be nice people, would they be easy guests, would they like us, would they like the chalet (after the initial access nightmare) how would the week go, had been replaced. Were we that jaded already, 6 weeks in? We gave ourselves a bit of a talking to, reminding each other that it was meeting new people with a common interest each week which was one of the main attractions for us (not Fergus tho’) and we were feeling more positive by the time they arrived.
We’d had the call to say 10 mins out so after finishing what we were doing we’d donned our soft shell company jackets, as it was neatly 3pm and less cold, and trooped off down the steps carrying our daily luggage to deposit in the adjacent bin store. Yes that’s where they’re dropped off, not very attractive. We waited 5 mins or so, getting progressively colder in these lightweight jackets as the sun struggled to emerge between 2 tall buildings. The bus approached from the opposite direction and we waved at our colleague in the front seat. They drove past us and Heather gave us a kind of weird wave back. A few seconds later we had a call from her to say that they’d only just arrived in resort and had 2 drop offs prior to us so would be another 10 mins or so. Thankfully we retreated to the nearby Casino, no not a gambling den but a mini-supermarche, just so we could get out of the cold. We wandered the aisles with no more than 90cents between us so absolutely no intention of purchasing anything but fully attired in our company branded jackets. On cc tv we must have looked extremely furtive and suspicious so wonder if they’ll be any comment made from the owner about our behaviour. Feeling rather conspicuous Roger and I exited the checkout when there was no-one even there buying anything and waited outside by their veg display which was, fortunately, treated to an infra red bar heater so that it didn’t freeze, more than can be said for us. Heather returned a few minutes later with our next party of 8 couples, an established group who knew what they wanted and what to expect. Their group organisers were another Roger and Gill and she is a coeliac, what are the chances of that?
One of the reasons for our initial dispondancy could have been that we’d had a great week previously with the lads. It could have gone either way when we saw the manifest initially, 16 men. Fortunately they were a great group. There were a few antics going on during the week but nothing untoward which only made for increased fun, but our lips our sealed. There wasn’t a single one who we wouldn’t have been happy to stay for another week and that has become our rule of thumb; are we glad to see the back of that particular guest(s). They had an award ceremony on the last night, for which I wasn’t able to source a spot light but didn’t appear to be required anymore anyway. Despite a pre-event apology for the colourfulness of the language and some of the content it was, as expected all carried out with good humour and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The MC was a little surprising as he’d obviously put in a considerable amount of work and yet appeared to be one of the ‘mouthy yobs’ on the first night after all the barracking I’d received during my welcome talk. He also thanked the guy who was the regular organiser who we’d had no idea had been, he was very quiet, laid back and always first down to breakfast, very polite and unassuming. In other parties it has been interesting watching the posturing of the prospective alpha males; who is the actual organiser and who wants to be the leader or do the most skiing etc. Yet despite this group being 16 males there was no evidence of this. Is this the primeval reaction to female presence in the pack?
We came in for 6am to set up full breakfast and they departed at 7.30 so we cracked on for an expected 1pm arrival. We’d managed to turn round in time the week before for 2 reasons, principally they’d been delayed but also the hot tub hadn’t been used all week so didn’t need draining, cleaning and refilling. We made the same goal as the previous week of trying to have the top floor rooms and communal areas ready by 1 and the rest within an hour after. Fergus and I started upstairs and by 12. 30 had all the rooms finished and the floors mopped. We even impressed ourselves. I was totally shattered by then but it was finished. The communal areas hadn’t been done but I’m sure they’d rather they could get into their rooms and we could do the communal areas once they’d traipsed their snow laddened boots through the chalet prior to unpacking slippers or other indoor footwear. At 10 to 1 we got a call which we thought would be the 10 min warning having obviously missed the airport departure call but no! Again they’d been delayed so this was the bus just leaving Chambray, 1 hour 40 mins away. After 7 hours on the go, not even time to go to the loo, I stopped for an hour. I was adamant about this as I knew we wouldn’t get another break until we’d finished at around 10pm and I wasn’t prepared to work another 16 hour day solid. We weren’t going to get a break this week even after they’d arrived and settled in, gone to collect skis etc. as we would have to spend the rest of the afternoon doing a stock take, or audit as they seem to enjoy calling it. Yes even in 2015 we are still fiddling around with little pieces of paper and no-one really knows what’s going on until the end of the season. I wonder if they’ve heard of computerised stock management systems!
So another changeover day completed, farewells bade, rooms cleaned, beds changed, floors mopped, ovens cleaned, pool water replaced, all rubbish disposed of (even if it is horrendously wasteful) greetings extended, apologies for the access given and new names being learnt. Hope this group turn out to be as nice as some of them seem already, if not, 6 more days and it’ll be their departure and another 16 incomers. I’ll keep looking out the window and enjoying the beautiful environment and relishing in the view when we’re gliding down empty pistes on fresh snow in glorious sunshine