A break from the holiday posts to give you a quick update on everything that has been going on since I have returned to good old England. Returning back to work on the gloomiest day of the year. Believe me it was not planned like that but it just happened. If I had a choice I would not have wanted to come back on this day but it was out of my control. Work has been busy but to compensate I have been going in early and then have the option to go home at 4pm or stay a bit later if I need to. I have slowly switched back into work mode and glad to be back.
On Monday evening, after Eastenders I went over to the Tesco Extra store on yet another impulse buy. I picked up a Philips DTR to go beyond the basic five channels I had on my television in the lounge. I know I have a Freeview card in my PC, but with my desktop out of action I thought this the ideal moment to get the piece of kit. After all, there was no chance of me bagging my sisters’ box, plus I could never get all the channels on my PC in any case. Rather an impulse purchase but well worth it, now that I have sixty five channels but only twenty-four which are favourites! Nice to have some music channels (TMF & 4Music) to put on at the weekend and have as background entertainment. Overall very happy with my purchase even though there are some negative reviews over on Amazon based on the box packing up over time. I am hoping I am not so unlucky. Time will tell. Even if I am, hopefully by the time it stops working I will have either a media centre with Freeview up and running or be back on my desktop! (Hopefully both!)
Weekend has been rather chilled, just as I wanted. Yesterday I got up late (by my standards) at 9am and got on with all those jobs like cleaning the flat and sorting out bits and pieces. I had made a list at work during Friday lunchtime but still not done much. To be honest I doubt I could actually tick anything off the list really. Oh well, there is always time in the evening to get a few things done.
I must take you back to the first weekend of 2009. The Saturday evening to be precise. Although I think it may have already clicked forty minutes past the witching hour, so the early hours of Sunday 4th January. I was looking at my Twitter feed and noticed a reply. It was from my dearest friend and old housemate Sippy. He used to run a very popular blog but he neglected it some years ago and pretty much disappeared online. It was a shame because he was one of my best friends and I would speak to him almost every day on MSN. This was the first time I had been in touch with him in almost two years. I had been thinking about him on the drive home from the gym back in December, wondering if I would ever get in touch with him again. I am not sure why but he does not use IM any more. I knew he was never going to join a social network site, he does not agree with them. However Twitter is a step in the right direction. Although, his feed has dried up in recent weeks. If you remember Sippy and his blog from the good old days, go ahead and follow him!
Today has been a really good day. Went to the gym at 8.30am, but as my left shoulder was aching I did not really push myself that far. I had wanted to really get the programme done but it was just too painful. Hopefully I will better tomorrow. I have started taking my little Coby MP3 player to the gym but need suggestions for gym tunes. Some dance tracks would do but I am willing to consider anything. Any suggestions, just leave a message in the comments. I have also taken the step to invest in some decent weight training gloves by the famous Golds. After several months of using £2 pair from eBay, I thought I should take the leap to quality. Plus, during my ski trip, I had lost one of old gloves somewhere at home. The search continues.
After the gym, went for a breakfast at local cafe with Steve, then into town to get a few bits before heading back to the flat. After half an hour of chilling (and me checking my e-mail) we headed back out again to the Hogshead to catch the FA Cup match. The less said about the goalless draw the better. Another replay!
Day 3 – Monday 12th January
Was rather over optimistic with the alarm time once again. It was set for 8:18am but I did not get up until 8:50am. My postcards were ready to be sent so I headed to the post office and bought some stamps for La Poste afer breakfast. When I returned to the chalet, everyone was ready to head up to the slopes. Ben was having a lie in before his lesson at 2pm. The plan was to head to Tignes-Le-Lac, the main part of the resort and I was hoping to tackle some of the green runs and beginner zone there. The boarders and Geoff were going to hit some of the red runs the other side of the mountain. We took a similar route up like the previous day, up the main gondola, Sache up to the extra long chairlift, Marais. From here we took the difficult blue run, Corniche down. The plan after my misadventure on Sunday afternoon was for me to head off and the boarders to follow close behind so they kept tabs on me. This lasted for the blue run, until we got up to the red. I should have known better than to follow my friends but I was under this foolish notion that Bluet was actually “Blue A” and a simple blue all the way down to Le Lac. There was a blue run to Le Lac but it was the other way around. I quickly came to the realisation that I was majorly out of my depth. The piste was rammed and in the end after at least two crashes I gave up, took off my skis and walked down to a clearing on the left (directly underneath the Chaudannes chairlift). From here I gained the confidence to put my skis back on and make my way down. It took me over two hours. In fact Paul and t_chien made it down to Le Lac (they had split off from the others and come back up on the chairlift). I thought it was a bit strange when I heard two people shouting Teg. At this time I was collapsed in a heap on the right hand side of the slope. Eventually I got up and slid down to the flat before eventually skiing down to Le Lac. It was midday by the time I got to the resort and took off my skis. The rest of my friends had already gone up one side of the mountain and come back down the red run.
The others headed off to do a red run while I had lunch with Emily at the restaurant close by. It was not as expensive as you would expect. We then decided to plan the afternoon together. We went on the green run a few times, where Poole advised me to practice my parallel turns but to no joy. I just was too busy concentrating on my snowplough turns and looking out for other beginners that I just did not give it a go. We went up again and did the green run one more time before deciding to head back. There was a good deal of sking to be done down to Sache. I enjoyed the ski down to the Chaudannes, the chairlift that takes up back up to the top of the mountain. Mainly because it was a green run but it also went down through a tunnel and I felt a little like a spy on a mission, albeit with far too many English tourists around. we made our way up and agreed to get to the gondola and catch it back down. Although I quite easily could have skied all the way back down to the bottom. However, by the time we got there, I took the easy option out. Even though Em thought I was going to ski down. Remember the day before it had taken me an hour to get down the step slope, this time it took me fifteen minutes. I was improving although I did not feel I was making enough progress. We made our way down and then went to the restaurant next to the gondola and waited for Ben’s lesson to finish.
I had a nice hot chocolate with cream and it was very good, just what the doctor ordered. Em, as she did throughout the holiday, ordered a mulled wine. We had noticed Ben struggling on the nursery slope but he seemed to get down okay. Then on his next run he had a mega crash. Emily got the key for chalet but he was going to head back with us. It was Pav’s birthday and we had quite a night planned ahead of us. We went back to the chalet and got changed and waited for the others.
Once they arrived and were ready, Pav blew out the candles on a bakewell tart. Then the plans for the evening began. We wanted to head over to Val d’ IsÃ¨re, have a nice meal and then go out clubbing. The birthday boy was 27 after all. Our plans changed. We headed down into the village and bumped into the owner of the La Bouida, who just happened to be both English and getting out of a taxi. We then asked the driver, Jack to take us out. The owner recommended we head to Val Claret to avoid the high prices in Val d ‘Isere. He would take us to a nice place to eat and then point out some of the lively night spots. We had a drink in La Bouida while waiting for the driver. It was not for the first time but the music channel NRG played the end of Alesha Dixon – The Boy Does Nothing. It was a song I would hear on a regular basis over the resort. This was closely followed by Womanizer by Britney Spears. Jack drove us the thirty minutes up the road to Val Claret and dropped us off outside the @ Bar. This was a trendy little bar which also had three desktop computers for internet access. Ben jumped on to check some important e-mails but I resisted the temptation. The bar was very nice, cosy. Plus t_chien had a major crush on the barmaid, particularly when she came over to our table to drop of the snack tray. It was getting late now, around 9pm and we were all hungry, so could not stomach walking around the village, trying to find somewhere to eat, so we just popped next door. It was a rather simple restaurant but the service was quick and prices reasonable. We all had various pizzas and everyone put in to cover the cost of Pav’s meal which was a nice touch. Although later t_chien stated that if it had been his birthday, the meal would have been in the most expensive restaurant available and he would have gone for something more exotic than pizza.
While eating we planned the night out. We were going to go to some bars and then head to the discotheque next door, the imaginatively titled, “Melting Pot”. We headed back into the resort and first went to a quaint little pub called The Cavern with a restaurant at the rear. We all stood at the bar and made the place look busy. The barmaid was a tall blonde who gave us some advice on the places to go, her English was very good. We headed next door to the Grizzly Bar (so called due to the bears on display everywhere). We were not allowed to take photographs but did not notice the sign until t_chien pointed it out, by then the damage was done and we had all taken various photographs of the group. (Most of which are on Facebook now and I am sure you will have seen!). Foxy fell over outside actually and it was rather amusing picture, particularly when I pushed him further down into the snow. He then had a mini tantrum and accused me of doctoring the photograph to make it look like I had pushed him over (hardly!). The next stop was a lively bar with live music a few bars down. As we walked in they were playing Hotel California by The Eagles. They played a mixture of music, including some reggae. I recall them playing Al Green – Let’s Stay Together at some point during the evening. It was good fun but the place was rammed. We stood by a table right at the middle of the bar, by the entrance to the back and toilets upstairs. This is where we spent most of the night, the music was good and the crowd were in the mood for a party. Afterwards we thought we should at least check out the Melting Pot. Foxy took over (as he usually does) and became the leader of our group. He sent Paul into the Melting Pot to confirm whether we should go in. It was dead. We then walked down the icy road past Le Studio to the Blue Girl club, which was built into the car park. Once again, completely dead. We decided to go back to the @ Cafe. It was much busier now and they were playing dance music. We stayed here for a few before calling Jack and heading back to the chalet. It was a good night but the more eventful night would come later in the week.