Thursday, 21 February 2013

The White Stuff - friend or foe?

My love affair with the white stuff is well documented. By me anyway. Are you thinking I am a habitual user of Bolivian marching powder? Well, no, as curious a nature as I have, I can safely say I have never touched the stuff. Neither am I a habitual user of milk. I haven't touched that stuff since I had the flu in 1998 and survived for a week on the living room floor with only a packet of digestive biscuits for company. The white stuff I'm talking about is the the soft powdery kind that heralds disaster whenever I am within 300 light years of it. It senses me coming and does its best to bring me down, in more ways than one. Yes, it's that time again. We're off on our annual ligament-tearing holiday.

As a kid I was quite lazy (which strikes me as rather odd that I like the outdoors so much now) and turned down the school ski trips that everyone else went on, much to my parents' relief I'm sure as it meant they could upgrade the Volvo and we could have an extra lunch in the Golden Egg in Wolverhampton. But I rather wish I hadn't because by the time I learnt, I was old, knackered and I had "the fear". Injury now follows me like a hungry kitten.

On my first trip, I was the only person on the flight out with my arm in a sling and my knee in a brace. Ho Ho. I managed to tear the ligaments in my right knee and break and dislocate the fingers on my left hand the day BEFORE we went ski-ing. Naturally it was The Boy's fault. I told him not to push me. Spent all week in the chalet on my own getting crosser and crosser.Until someone else broke their leg and joined me on the gin and tonics at 11am.
For instant cleavage enhancement
why not use these new bra-fillers, a couple of
chicken fillets from Tesco or my knee caps

Trip 2.    Tore my cruciate ligament in my left knee on the first day. On the second day The Boy left to go up the mountain and left me with an ice pack and some paracetamol. I called him at lunch time to explain that the ice-pack had attached itself and that trying to remove it was also removing my skin. Apparently I was supposed to wrap it in a towel first but he didn't say that and I normally respond best to literal instructions. Spent all week in the chalet on my own with a knee which, once it had defrosted, looked like a rotting chicken fillet and promptly shed its skin. Ended up having surgery.

Trip 3 -   Enjoying a leisurely lunch in a mountain restaurant in the Pyrenees when the weather seems to turn and the restaurant starts to empty." I'm sure the announcement in French is saying that they're evacuating the mountain "I said to The Boy. He reassured me it was fine and that we should enjoy our long lunch and second bottle of wine. Left the restaurant to find that they had indeed evacuated the mountain due to the now-raging blizzard. I managed to scramble into the last cable car down only to get trapped as the wind buffeted us from side to side hundreds of feet above the mountain-side. Almost fell out as the wind blew the doors open. I didn't find the cable car engineer shouting "Merde" into his walkie talkie or the Spanish father-of -three making the sign of the cross very reassuring. In the meantime The Boy skied down - he was, quite rightly as it turned out, more frightened of the cable car than the blizzard

Trip 4  - Having worked out that I have the classic ski-ing get out clause - "weak knees", I called upon the company of my extremely tall and similarly "weak-kneed" friend Tall Matt so that we could at least haunt the bars all week while the others availed themselves of some hairy blacks and their body weight in vin chaud. Unfortunately, I got pregnant and then had to break it to my drinking partner that I would be sticking (most of the time ) to peppermint tea. So 6 months pregnant, we arrive at departures at Heathrow to find a Matterhorn of luggage in the check-in hall. Instantly we knew this trip was doomed and sure as eggs is eggs and as sure as disaster follows me around on ski-ing holidays like a bad smell, our luggage didn't make it. It didn't make it in fact until a week after we returned. BA, in their wisdom, despite us flying to France, sent our luggage to Italy by road for sorting before sending it back again. By Road. It wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't have our first evening's meal in the suitcase. Knowing that the shops would be shut when we arrived and feeling smug for planning ahead, we had packed the ingredients for Chicken Fajitas for eight. When we were finally reunited with our luggage more than two weeks later, the chicken fillets looked like my kneecap from trip 2.  Spent all week in chalet in the same pair of maternity jeans and wearing the same pair of disposable contact lenses. 

There have been other trips with no major catastrophes which, for that very reason, aren't worth mentioning here. Last year I decided that I might give it a go again this year but then my excuse this time is that a) I have signed up for a half marathon again so can't risk me knees going, b) looking after small children post knee surgery is about as tempting as walking around Kabul with a sign saying "where's the nearest bar"  or simply "kidnap me" and c) I wouldn't get to read as much. I have toyed with the idea of going either paragliding or husky sledding but I am waiting to see whether the side effects from the antibiotics for my tonsilitis are unwelcome enough to make me want to stay in the chalet with a martini and a good book. I also looked more closely into both activities which also went some way to putting me off. But you can't say I don't come up with decent ideas in the first place. 

Last year I walked UP the piste to the restaurant at the top. It got some funny looks, not least when, halfway up, my friend had to stop and pull her trousers down " to get some air" - it was quite hard work. I might stick to that but if I do try anything new, even if it's a new cocktail in the safety of my own balcony, I will let you know.

As for the next 48 hours, I am going to pysche myself up for the overnight drive to The Alps with 3 small children in the back and only one portable DVD player. 

I bring it all on myself....

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