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Day 106: Day off

Today again I really didn’t feel like doing anything. Again with the bad cold, tiredness, aching ribs, missing people etc. blah blah moan moan.

I’m ashamed to say I spent the whole day playing computer games. I’m also behind with my work and updating this blog. I think I just need to shake this and then get back on it again. Hopefully, by the time you read this, I will be back to my cheery working self (I am – a week later, and having to update about 22 blogs in a row).

hopefully better tomorrow for some more skiing fun.

Dat 104: New year’s Day Off

Happy New Year everyone! I spent my new years eve just watching French Tv and playing games with the folks, and generally missing my friends. Owing to getting up pretty late this morning (I didn’t get to sleep until pretty late the last night) and to coming down with a cold, I decided to not do much today. I had a lovely day doing nothing. It is new year’s after all.

Bonne Année!

Day 97: Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Unsurprisingly, for christmas I did no exercise at all, except that of the jaw, and the stomach. We had a lovely, indulgent, huge meal with a couple of friends, over which my French, German and belt was tested to the max.

Hope you all had a lovely day!

Day 94: Total recovery day.

I totally needed a day to recover today. My ribs, continually giving me grief since I bruised them in Villar d’Arene a week ago, were absolutely killing. I was also comepletely knackered from my week of socialising and working with Bawsaxx and Ms Minx, and just needed to stop, recover and reset,

I spent most of the day in bed, napping, playing computer games, reading etc. I had no inclination or energy to do anything, and was completely exhausted.

However, the weather was beautiful, and by about 3.30pm I was chomping at the bit. I decided right at the last moment to go for a ski de fond in the Valley. It is the best thing about de fond that, just like when I was walking and cycling, all it requires of me is to get changed and head out of the door.

Today I took a loop over the Clapiere, along the meadow on the other side of the valley and then back up on the hill. It was hard work for me and took me about an hour. Not bad-ish considering how knackered I was.

The other thing to note is that eating has not been that disciplined at the moment – it’s hard to keep up a regime when people are around celebrating, and nice things are continually put in front of you. Also – getting up early in the morning has created a dilemma about when to programme lunch in a way which means that I am not too hungry when it comes to dinner.

We never really came up with a good answer to that BF feels I should split lunch before and after exercising in the afternoon. My worry is that will lead to snacking, which I absolutely want to avoid at this point.

Either way, the christmas season is not an easy time to be good about these things.

Day 91: Recovery and Ski du Fond

So Those Two left this morning. After a week of hard play, socialising and work I was completely and utterly knackered. Although I got up at the usual 5.30am it was mainly to say goodbye to Those Two. I spent the rest of the morning just sitting in bed, watching films, napping, reading the graphic novels I had got for christmas and generally Not Doing Anything. I was totally physically exhausted.

It was a beautiful day though and by the afternoon I was in two minds about going out. In the end, quite late on I decided suddenly to get out for a ski de fond. I took a trip over the Clapiere (now thankfully pisted properly) and then down and along the bottom of the valley, back up to the house via the “field” – a long and surprisingly challenging loopy piste up to the house from the bottom of the valley.

On the way round I had a brief chat with the locals who work as pisteurs during the winter. They really are very friendly round here.

Not much else to say for today – a demain!

Day 90: Tearing it up

Today was the last day with Those Two here and the last day of skiing with Bawsaxx. We didn’t really have that much time as we planned to spend at least a few hours with Ms. Minx in the afternoon, however we decided to have a morning skiing with BS and GM.

The Chalmettes lift, the path to all of our dreams.

The Chalmettes lift, the path to all of our dreams.

We worked more on the carving today and tried out some video analysis of our skiing. It was afun morning and we tore the slopes up somewhat. I think I just about managed to execute some pure carving turns, and also had a couple of lessons on switch (backwards) skiing. It was good fun!

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BS had also got his new skis in the morning and had a good time tearing up the slopes on them.

Later on we headed down to the Montpelier hot spring spa. This is a beautiful place to come and relax, with a large indoor pool and similarly sized outdoor pool which is always warm and open, even in the winter. Inside there are also a number of novelty pools. There is are the Frigidarium, Tepidarium and Caldarium pools – freezing, tepid and warm respectively. The Caldarium is absolute bliss. The tepidarium, after you get used to it, is also nice to relax in. I got one toe in the frigidarium and decided not to bother. Those Two seemed to love spending some time in there though.

There’s also a large steam room with “dipper”s – a bucket of ice cold water that you poor over yourself while you’re in there (I did this). There’s also a “microdroplet” shower (not that effective) and a music bungalo, in which you lay back in the water and listened to music. I didn’t really like the music, and the fact that bits of you stick out of the water while you’re there, so I didn’t stay long there.

I know these baths before of course. Last time I came I was with someone and we went up to the VIP section on the roof, where there is a jacuzzi. Seriously, sitting on top of the building, enjoying the warm bubbly water and the snow laying around, feeling snowflakes dropping on to you, all safe in the warm water and looking out onto the vast dark mountains. It was the most romantic thing I have ever done.

I found returning there difficult (although I didn’t go to the VIP bit). It is a very romantic place, and there were a lot of beautiful couples, everywhere I looked.

Day 81: Zeebrugger onwards!

So, really nothing happened today apart from a lot of sleeping in the back of the car, and the avid reading of Game of Thrones, which I’m finding a good read. It’s surprisingly tiring Doing Nothing for a whole day. I certainly didn’t deserve the big meal we had in the evening in Beze, where we are staying overnight.

Day 80: Goodbye York :(

I regretted that curry today – my guts were in turmoil. With all the good habits I formed in france, it seems my constitution has moved on. Probably a good thing over all. No more curry for me.

Most of the morning was uneventful today. I packed, I watched some videos, then said good by to Sweety Darling and Honey Pie and head off for the station. I started missing York the day I got on the train and still miss it.

An uncomfortable train to Hell (I mean Hull, No I was right the first time) commenced and I was reunited at Hell station with Les Grumblies, the Grumblissimos, First Legion of the Grumblecross Regiment in the Big Argument, Bike Fairy and Grumble Meister.

Sea crossings on a ferry are such boring things so I won’t harp on about it. In this one I was home sick for York, depressed and missing people in general. The fetid, drunken and loutish inhabitants of that bucket rode the dark waters with loud behaviour and sea-sickness sat lonely and ignored in a corner as a bored pianist noodled a wrong chord tune like a pervasive fart in a moonlit elevator.

I was reminded during the night of one of the exhibits of the Cutty Sark, which emulated the rocking of the boat, as I could feel the room swinging back and forth quite noticeably. It made me miss the UK even more.

Days 79: Christmas Shopping

Hey all! The last few days have been pretty uneventful and have mainly involved travelling back to France. I’m here now, and the snow is really deep. I’m totally looking forward to some skiing and everything will be back on track probably tomorrow!

Either way, I have drifted a bit from my purpose. Granted, it’s difficult while you’re travelling and saying goodbye to friends and enjoying the treats of Yorkshire Ales. I’m pretty sure I put on some weight while I’m away but I’m ready to start again. It’s good to have a break (although luckily not a total break) so that I can come back refreshed and ready to start again.

I spent most of today meeting friends for coffee and then walking around York’s great set of shops looking for Christmas presents. In the evening I attended a concert up at the University of interesting works for actress and bass clarinet, including a premiere of a really interesting piece by the composer William Brooks based on a study of W.B. Yeats’ experiments with “Chaunting”, a kind of reading technique that is pitched to the strings of a psaltery but not sung. I had seen Bill’s seminar on the piece on Tuesday and was really interested, and I found the piece very moving. I was so impressed in fact that I bought a kindle copy of the book that his research was chiefly derived from (“The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the revival of the Bardic Arts” by Ronald Schuchard) to read on the long car journey home the next day.

After that I had a nice evening with composer friend TwoBlueNotes and two writer friends who I shall call TheDeadPoets. Much gayety was had and, because it was the last night in York, I just had to go for a curry. I had been missing curry ever since the day I left – York has some of the best curry houses in England, and drinking, eating curry and talking crap about music used to be pretty much my life.

Day 74: Me old dad

Woke up with a hangover today. It might have been the couple of whiskeys and pints I had with three close relatives, who I shall call Rugg Tomcat, Fotheringay Marsupial the 367th (his choice), and of course the Bike Fairy, whom you all know, and whom it was good to see after a couple of weeks away.

They had arrived earlier in the day and had taken MeOldDad out for a trip along the river, not far in fact from where I was at the Cutty Sark. We stayed at the Two Brewers in Chipperfield, a very nice pub and hotel with large beds and spacious rooms.

Happy birthday to Me Old Dad. I hope I look this good when I'm 88!

Happy birthday to Me Old Dad. I hope I look this good when I’m 88!

Today’s plan was just to give Me Old Dad, who turned 88 years old today, a lovely pub lunch and to say hello to the relatives.

It was a lovely time and so nice to see all the cousins, all of whom are in their 40s-50s and have children of their own. It was a delight to see all the second cousins, three of whom are about to head off to university. I almost didn’t recognise them, it had been so long.

As a present, we made a photo album of all the old photographs we had lying around. Look how skinny I was! (the one in the middle)

As a present, we made a photo album of all the old photographs we had lying around. Look how skinny I was! (the one in the middle)

I won’t lie, we had a huge meal, and cake, and although we were in a beautiful part of the countryside (Kings Langley) I decided not to go for a walk, for I had an enormous headache that didn’t quit until quite a bit later on.

Tomorrow I head back to York and will be doing something every day, I promise.