So, we made it through another skiing holiday without breaking anything, other than the bank. Oh. My. God. How expensive is it to buy a benign-looking lift pass which enables you to be dragged up a hill perched on a t-shaped sliver of plastic, trying to chat casually to your loved one whilst hanging on for grim death, before the inevitable Tom and Jerry style wipeout when you both try to get off at the top and tangle your skis?
200 smackers that's how much.
If you fancy a sit down you can also brave the eight-man chair lifts which either try to take you out at the knees as they whip round and under your butt at the bottom of the ride or narrowly miss decapitation of the entire group if you're too slow off the mark jumping off at the top.
At the resort we went to there was also a wonderful 'scenic train' where you can bundle on with 100 or so of your most distant acquaintances, skis in one hand, poles in the other, elbows in your back and fluffy hats in your face, and all rock in unison up the mountain for the most claustrophobic three minutes of your life, ears popping all the way.
Pickle really didn't like that one but managed to amuse himself by head-butting his sister in the face with his ski helmet to pass the time whilst I entertained the entire passenger list with a loud rendition of 'how many times do you need to be told...'
Anyway, I am painting a grim picture but in actual fact, ski lifts and extortionate prices aside, it was the best ski break we've had yet. The kids enjoyed their ski-school so much they started staying for lunch so Nobby and Me got a whole FIVE HOURS to ourselves!! Of course we used the time wisely, fitting in at least one morning hot chocolate break and an afternoon gluhwein stopover in addition to lunch.
Well, it gets chilly up there zooming down mountain trying to keep up with Speedy Gonzales on skis. I think Nobby forgets I do very little exercise apart from bending over and kneeling down to five-year-old height all day long while he still goes crazy on the footie field once a week.
The hotel was one we've been to before - look back about two years ago and you'll find my Catherine Tate style lamentations about the 'peas in aspic' incident and the fluorescent sour cream debacle. I have a sneaky feeling they've taken on a new chef since then as there was mercifully no jellied veg in sight this time. There was a questionable 'strawberry-pepper sorbet' at one point - literally a strawberry sorbet containing whole peppercorns, served in a whisky tumbler filled with something vaguely alcoholic. ???
On the very first night Pickle had a falling out with the spotty teen running the 'kids club'. We had soooo been looking forward to packing the brats off to a babysitter who promised in the paperwork to feed and entertain them for two hours while we adults relaxed over a candlelit, wine soaked dinner. Especially since the day we arrived, after six hours festering in the car together, was my birthday. (I quite like this new found tradition of travelling to celebrate my advancing years - last year currying it up in Reading, this year whizzing off to the Alps... though I think I might aim for a flight to Tuscany next year if its all the same to Nobby.)
Yet we hadn't even made it past apperitifs in the bar before Pickle came running in wailing loudly and declaring 'I am NOT going back to that club EVER AGAIN!!!' By all accounts it all seemed to come down to a misfire during a pillow fight which resulted in Pickle's head ricocheting off a nearby wall, I'm not sure we'll ever know who really started it, though I did send the hotel manager in for a quiet word with Mr Spotty to remind him which one was supposed to be the responsible adult in the room and to suggest taking a deep breathe when the coca-cola powered eight year olds get a little busy with the furniture instead of returning fire.
Poppet made quite a few friends, particularly several little girls who spent the entire evenings hero-worshipping her. During the day her skiing came on a treat and she has abandoned the 'pizza' position for parallel skiing like a true pro. 17.5 seconds coming down the ski-school slalom race secured her 5th place and a cool medal. We are very proud parents.
So we all came back down to earth with a bump on Saturday after another 6 hour drive back to the laundry and homework. I have washed just about everything we own since then whilst learning some fascinating facts about the Thames for Poppet's river project. Nobby and Pickle decided to raid the cupboards for Pickle's tea project and had a great time sellotaping samples to a piece of A4.
Meanwhile Tiggy and Lucky returned from their pet-sitters, well fed and well exercised. Lucky managed to instigate a full maintenance check of the entire heating system at his sitter's house. No, he didn't escape, thank goodness. He just arrived while the man of the house was out of town then made some very loud noise on his wheel when he came back and was relaxing in front of the TV. Poor bloke thought the boiler was coming apart and spent a good half an hour examining its inner workings in the basement before discovering Lucky and his pneumatic drill-sounding wheel in the laundry room when he popped upstairs for a spanner. The spanner.
Today we were all back to school and work after the lovely break, refreshed and ready to get on with the next eight weeks of term until Easter. I've bundled all the thermals, ski socks and salopettes away in the basement and rounded up all my Easter Bunny and cute little chick stencils and stickers in preparation for this term's arts and crafts frenzies...
... and this morning it snowed.
Teen Blues - (Weather Teens, that is.)
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