|Meeting up with Simon and Diane in Les Marmottes in Lindarettes|
A quiet couple of days to recover, both tired, him with aching calves (did he have his ladders too high on the skis as he went uphill?) and me with a cold. Booked for an early start on Saturday by Cassie for changeover till, just before bed, when she messaged to say “Quick run round the circuit first?” This meant a 15 minute later start as first lift is 08.45, and being encouraged to play hookey by the ‘boss’ so who are we to say no! It was meant to set the benchmark for circuit speed, but we got to the top before the circuit had actually opened, so quick run down the front slope and back up and away. According to Simon it took us 1hr 1min, now that is a challenge!
|Finding their 'ski legs' on a black run in Les Crosets|
So after tea and pastries we started work at 10.30, 2 hours after initial planned time, but what a start to the day.
Sunday we had arranged to meet Simon and Diane, (last seen in Calpe) for lunch, they had arrived on Saturday and were nervous about finding their ski legs so no plan was made to ski. However like riding a bike it had all come flooding back, so after a big lunch we had an enjoyable afternoon.
|A chocolat chaud break on the piste|
Monday we had made a plan, so an early start as we had to finish a little early to get home to eagerly await Denise (B’s sister) and Paul’s arrival, via transfer company so we could have our day out. The day was sunny and the snow a bit heavy by the end of our outing, sadly this was the last view of the sun till Friday.
|With Denise and Paul, kitted up in the snow with snow shoes, ready to go|
Not to be deterred, with Denise and Paul we hired snow shoes on Tuesday, new to all of us, and went up the St. Jean bubble, our local, this got us out of the rain and into the snowfall. We had seen the snow shoe trail, but never done it, so perfect opportunity. We had all expected tennis rackets on our feet (well they are racquettes in French) and this is probably what they originally were, however, as everything, they have moved on and they are more like touring skis, releasable heel , and a little ladder to raise the heel if going up a steep slope, so easier for us perhaps! Crossing the piste was interesting, a strange camber to walk on let alone in snow shoes, not a good way to start. However the outing was thoroughly enjoyable despite the lack of view at the ‘panoramique’!
|On our way in the snow|
|Not much of a view at the panoramique, but we made it|
Before I could cook dinner we had to wait for Andy, apartment owner, to come look at the oven door (what is it with me and oven doors?) The slow cooked belly pork had made a bid for freedom the previous evening and bounced off the oven door, the inner pane of which appears to be just stuck on with glue and was now flapping! It’s now wedged with half a cork (sorry Groucho, that was your best toy) till he can get some high temperature glue! Fortunately tartiflette doesn’t take much cooking.
|Heading back up the piste, still in falling snow|
|At the top of 'the bubble' lift in Mont Chery|
Wednesday, more snow threatened, so again we headed above the freezing line, this time to Mont Chery in Les Gets. Lovely walk along groomed trails stopping along the way for a chat with a couple with a mad but very entertaining dog, and with Eddie and Paola and their daughter who appeared out of the trees having had a great off piste adventure.
|Denise taking a photo of Jackie while skiers came by crouching down to avoid being in the photo|
|Brian in the igloo taking a photo|
We didn’t get the view of Mont Blanc we were hoping for, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Finishing up at a restaurant for vin chaud, a meeting with another mad dog who was happy for anyone to throw her ball, and a play in an igloo.
|Great spot for lunch on Mount Caly, albeit a bit cold|
|Si, Jackie, Cassie, Di and Simon at the evening pisteurs demonstration|
Evening entertainment was planned for Wednesday, Cassie had spotted a demonstration on the slopes by the pisteurs demonstrating the various jobs they do. Sadly it was raining, and all in French (I know we are in France but I had hoped for a small amount of translation) but we saw a transceiver search, rescue of casualties with broken legs and spinal injury.
|Paul, Jackie, Denise, Si, Cassie, Di and Simon at the evening demo in the rain|
Dog search, which was funny as he seemed a bit agitated till he’d had a motion, pretty much where the pisteur had to kneel to dig out the victim the dog then found and started digging for. Four piste bashers then came down the hill apparently doing ballet. Before the torch light descent though we decided to bail however and join Cassie and Si in the restaurant where they had already gone to ‘check the booking’. Simon and Diane had got the bus over to St Jean too so the eight of has all went to dinner. Good fun evening discovering it was Diane’s birthday, back to ours for coffee and cake, before Brian ran the others home, it would have been a taxi ride for Si and Di and meant either Cassie or Si not drinking on their day off, and his cold was coming out, so worked for all really.
|Piste bashers doing ballet|
|More playing in the snow in Les Gets|
More rain on Thursday, so back to Les Gets, up a lift the other side of the valley this time and into heavy snow. Another groomed track was what we were expecting, sadly lots of snow had fallen and a night is only so long so some of the pistes, and our path probably had 25cm of fresh snow on them! If we’d known, snow shoes would have been order of the day, but we didn’t discover this till we set off.
|Battling up hill in the snow towards the bar|
|A welcome sight!|
Oh well! I set off breaking trail, only for Denise to complain that although we are about the same height, my stride is longer than hers! Another lovely walk, uphill and snow all the way, just in varying quantities, so no long distance views, but close to the trees were lovely. Pleased to see the restaurant at the end for beer and chips? Oh yes. The downhill saunter back was much quicker!
|And an even more welcome beer and chips!|
Another impressive looking, but easily cooked duck in a tin (duck confit) and dauphinois potatoes with a third bottle of fizz, not as extravagant as it sounds, it’s only 1.32 euro followed by Brian’s tiramisu with caramel vodka, and decaf coffee provided by Denise, and we decided we all need to go on a diet!
|Darth Vader with Jackie and Denise apparently!|
|Denise and Paul in Geneva outside the shop of daughter Stephs favourite handbags|
|Geneva coffee break|
Friday was D&P’s last day which we had planned to spend in Geneva, fortunately it wasn’t raining so we had a very interesting time looking round the Old Town and walking by the lake and fountain before dropping them off at the airport.
|Some things have to be done, even by a 60 something grandad!|
|Simon, Jackie and Di with the Dents du Midi in the background|
Saturday was Simon and Diane’s last day so thanks to Cassie being a complete hero and telling us we could have the day off, we planned a full day tour with them. A beautiful day, not as sunny and warm as we had expected, but much better for the pistes and great for skiing on. A big circuit taking in a black that has been shut up until now made B happy.
|Skiing down under a blue sky|
Fantastic pistes for fast skiing made me happy, and having a willing guide made S&D happy. A thoroughly enjoyable day culminating in plans to meet up in Edinburgh (S&D’s home town), what activity will they plan? We’ve kayaked in Vietnam, walked in Ledbury, climbed in Spain and now skied in France!
|Groucho kitten before her defilement|
The only other news is Groucho’s progress, she has moved from feral kitten, hissing and running off when the window is opened, to friendly kitten coming for a stroke and fuss each time the window is opened, playing with her cork, providing hours of entertainment for her and for us. To getting a boyfriend! I opened my eyes to Peter, up to no good on the windowsill on Thursday morning, Peter because originally I thought it was DaddyCat, so he was Peter the Pretender, though now I think he’s Peter Pervert.
|Groucho enjoying the fuss|
She’s far too little for that sort of behaviour, he’s in attendance all the time and she is so funny, she really doesn’t understand her raging hormones leading her to plant kisses on Auntie Callico as they pass, and even paws up on the open window to a kiss on my nose. Whether she will come back to her cork, or whether her innocence is forever gone only time will tell!