7.35am, Edinburgh airport. MacRae moved towards me threateningly, I took a step backwards and fell over my large cricket bag, landing hard on the unwelcomingly hard floor of the airport. The first injury of the holiday, and we hadn’t even checked in. I should point out that the cricket bag doesn’t contain cricket gear, but rather more prosaic items more suited to a two week skiing holiday. Such as two pairs of underpants. Plus an emergency pair.
Despite both Kirsty and MacRae being on board, the flight passed off relatively uneventfully. As we began our descent into Chambéry, the stewardess requested that I remove my jumper from where it was lying on the centre seat, and either put it on or place it under the seat in front. I wondered, aloud, to MacRae in the aisle seat, whether there was a risk of my jumper being thrown across the cabin in the event of a bumpy landing, and inadvertently warming an innocent fellow-passenger. It’s a very fine, 100% lambswool jumper, and the risk of incurring warmth when wrapped round one’s head would be quite high. The stewardess, if she heard my comment, remained impassive as she stood and waited for me to do something appropriate with it. Chastened, I put it on.
Dinner on the first evening in the chalet, the conversation turned to the temperature at which water is at its densest. I know. I think it might have been MacRae that brought it up. Embarrassingly, Wiseman knew the answer. 4 degrees C. Apparently, if it wasn’t 4C, the sea might freeze from the bottom up. We all agreed that this must be what happens to snowboarders, as they spend so much time sitting down on the piste.
In the evening, Wiseman and I took a walk into the village, to get our bearings a little. It was a stunningly clear moonlit night, some might say romantic, although we didn’t see it that way. Especially after I took a tumble on an icy path, meaning that I had landed hard on my backside in the late evening as well as the early morning. It gave the day a pleasant symmetry, I decided, while suppressing swear words and beginning to freeze from the bottom up. Wiseman, naturally was full of kindness and sympathy.
The sun rose this morning just to the right of Mont Blanc, and stayed in the deep blue Alpine sky all day. We headed over to the sunny side of the valley in the morning, and cruised down some blue and red runs until lunch. We have all opted for packed lunches this week due to the strong Euro, although the rumours of £50 lunches in “mid-priced” mountain restaurants, read in some newspaper only days before coming out here, proved to be outrageously wide of the mark. Unless the writer had three course lunches with two bottles of wine. In which case one assumes he didn’t do much skiing in the afternoons.
Kirsty is gaining a reputation for blonde moments. After heading to the entirely wrong gate at the airport yesterday and only just making the flight as a result, her rucksack (containing her passport and other unimportant documents) was left immediately beside the pile of luggage belonging to the outgoing chalet group (somebody moved it, apparently), and we only found out they had taken it when they phoned shortly before boarding the snow train. After lunch on the mountain today, she misplaced her bag (someone had “moved it”) and then wondered loudly where her sunglasses were. They were on her head.
The award for the most ironicly-named ski run of the day goes to a long steep black run full of moguls. They call it ‘Refuge’.