Sunday, 20 December 2015

In the snow in St Jean D’Aulps (it rhymes, St Jean D’Aulps is pronounced St Jean Doe)

Another long drive got us safely here, with little excitement, though I did have the 'fun' of the Lyon periferique which was very scary. The French really are mad drivers!

View from our apartment balcony. Not much snow - yet!
We arrived within 15 mins of our eta, which isn't bad in a nine hour journey to meet  Andy in the apartment, a couple of new cupboards, but apart from that just as we remembered it. We crammed the contents of the car into the apartment and it now feels like home. It is in fact the first time since we were last here that my food box has actually been unpacked.

Thursday we popped in to say hi to Cassie before going off to buy our lift passes which we got for the working/residents price of 720€ rather than the 900€ we paid last time. Very happy with that! 

This left us free to ski on Friday, which was a surprise to us as we didn't think the resort was open, but "follow us" said Si and Cassie so we did. We were out with them and their friend Jim, visiting from the UK and Leanne and Ed, both of whose spouses are in ski instructor school. 

On the piste! LtoR: Cassie, Leanne, Jackie, Jim, Ed, Simon
First view of the snow. Top of the Ardent lift in the Lindarets bowl
It really is a very small world, sometime in August I'd spotted a perfect listing on Trusted housesitters "no pets, but two apartments to change over between guests, in Morzine in exchange for a studio apartment" Morzine is just down the road and actually attached to the main part of the resort and free accommodation......... We applied immediately but explained that we had already agreed to rent this apartment, and got an almost immediate reply that we sounded perfect, could we look into getting out of the apartment? 
Lunch with new friends. Jackie, Simon, Jim, Leanne, Ed & Cassie
In itself that shouldn't have been too difficult, it was only August, still plenty of time for Carole to advertise and fill the apartment. The other issue we had though was that we had agreed to help Cassie and Simon on changeover day, as this year they are doing their own airport transfers and had given them our word, so apart from the fact they are lovely people, our own consciences kicked in. The other minor fly in the ointment was no oven in the studio, so how would B be able to keep me in cake? We explained all this, apologising for 'wasting their time' but hoping we can meet up to look at future possibilities. "Not to worry" she said, "but yes, let's meet up, a couple that were in over the summer may be interested." 

Looking on after a major wipeout by Jim
It turns out this 'other couple' were Leanne and her husband Drew, who C&S had met in the summer and got to know. They are a couple a little younger than us, he is 50, don't know about her, but she is lovely, they too are housesitting their way around so we really look forward to spending some time with them and learning of their experiences.


Second day out for Jackie and me. On 'Le Linga' ski run in Chatel
The snow was far better than expected, but limited, nothing off the side of the piste and a few icy patches and some stones to be avoided, so a good morning skiing before stopping for lunch at an en piste restaurant, something we don't do! All except Ed, who had suggested the venue, were a little shocked at the cost, but it was lovely for a treat. We then popped into Morzine as B had communicated with a guy from the Vallee expats email group who had some old skis he just wanted shot of, so for 50€ just less than we spent on lunch, we got a pair of skis each that we won't worry about going over the stones with in these dodgy conditions! Having said that, the pair B got actually have ski touring bindings, as our 'good' skis do and are newer and probably better than his good skis!

'Whitey' on our windowsill
Two nights in, and there outside the window, looking in was 'Whitey' , just as well I'd sneaked some cat biscuits into the shopping trolley then! It took about three months last time to get her to sit on the windowsill to eat biscuits, this time about a second. I swear she recognised us. She was shortly followed by Callico cat, and then by a new one, half her size, but has to be related, initially called Eyebrow cat, we have moved on to Groucho. She is very cute, but very fraidy, runs off all the way up the hill as soon as I open the window to put biscuits out. Whitey is in charge, and is spending as much time on the windowsill as she can manage, nearby falling asleep, but not leaving her post for fear of anyone else getting first dibs!

And just to prove it's the same cat, here's a photo from 2 years ago. Same cat? I think so!
'Eyebrow' or 'Groucho' cat
We went out to test our 'new' skis, and they feel like skis to me! What do I know! So money well spent for peace of mind. Then off to Cassie and Si, to have our bed making lesson as the first guests arrived today. In the end B followed Si to the airport in the second vehicle while Cassie and I stayed and made beds, cleaned and made canapés. Very glad we did it that way round rather than both of them go off to the airport as the flight was very delayed and it would have been an awful lot of wasted time. Had a lovely day, in some strange way, now I have no house to clean I quite enjoy a good blitz and we did a lot of chatting while making canapés. And we came home with a little pocket money. They insisted! This was just what we wanted last time we came out, a little job giving us the chance to meet some people, and their friends.

'Christmas Corner' in our apartment, thanks Elizabeth xx
So we've been here four days, had a couple of half days skiing, met some lovely new people, started our 'Saturday' job and settled in like we've never been away. A good dump of snow and it will all be perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Just caught up with your last two blogs. Glad you have snow and cats and pressies and that teddy is getting on ok with the cats too!
    Sending lots of love from a warm, damp and windy Boxing Day in Brum. Ian has actually gone back to sleep and snoozed till nearly 10am. Amazing and relaxing. Monty is snoozing too, Ian let him out earlier and he was happy to go back to bed. Xxx time to get up! Xxx