Holiday Day 7 – travelling home

Travelling home, setting out at silly o’clock.

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Sad about leaving, especially such good friends, but glad to be heading home, to see Tim and the animals and get settled in to my working life and my home life again.

“When one is travelling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it IS brighter and lovelier; it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

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It’s been a great week. Miraculous that my damaged ligaments, that would allow me to ski but not to walk, have somehow healed themselves. Despite the daily pounding.

Home, here we come. We love you.

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Holiday Day 6 – An ode to knees

Knees

Always keep your knees in front!
Don’t let them slide behind!
Knees that get behind you
Are difficult to find!

Little Jim let his knees go!
They got behind the lad!
In Church he knelt down back to front
And made the vicar sad.

They bound his knees up with a strap,
And faced them to the front
And to this day – they face that way
“Et gloria ducunt!”*

* I don’t know what it means but it rhymes.

Thanks to Spike Milligan.

My knees were doing well despite the first day twisting..but now…

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They are protesting firmly that NO they’ve had enough of a battering and will I just let them rest? PLEASE!

Dear left and right knee,

Just one more day’s skiing…we’re off to Switzerland for the day…and THEN you can rest.

Love from Caroline

Tonight, they’re a bit swollen.

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I think.

I’m such a cruel task master.

Holiday Day 5 – Mr. Grumpy and Mrs. Not

Mr. Grumpy was on our coach trip to Pila today. So much a highlight. If only he realised how completely RIDICULOUS he made himself look…

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On arrival, slightly late, he realised he’d lost his goggles. He searched, then retraced his steps, holding up the departure. When he got back, some of us offered to take everything off the overhead shelves to check properly. “I’ve already done that,” he said. No thank you. No smile. He spent the entire journey moaning.

At the end of the day, the bus was due to depart at 4.30. I was mortified that we were 3 minutes late, and apologised profusely. Mr. Grumpy and his (to be pitied) wife, arrived TWENTY MINUTES late. Did he apologise? No he did not. He complained that someone was sitting in HIS seat.

Poor Mr.Grumpy. What a miserable, miserable existence!

Mrs. Not Grumpy, on the other hand, was Tina. It was approaching 1 o’clock. Some of us were tired and getting hungry. There was a restaurant just below us and Tina suggested we stop off there for lunch.

Peter said, looking at the piste map, “Oh, I rather fancy going to another restaurant. It’s a bit more remote. Only involves skiing down here, one chair lift and a short red run.”

Tina agreed. The red run was quite challenging. Tina fell over TWICE.

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We arrived at the restaurant.

It was the same one that she’d suggested 45 minutes earlier, approached from a different angle.

Was Tina grumpy? (She had good grounds to be) No! She was gracious and cheerful.

Lucky Mrs. Not Grumpy. Such a happy, happy existence!

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Holiday Day 4 – Snow Storms

Snow storms are pretty…

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Unless you’re in one, trying to ski down a mountain with almost zero visibility. That was today. Multiple snow storms, tiny windows of clear skies then back to white out.

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It was one of those experiences that you were glad you’d completed, commended everyone’s grit and determination, but it was quite unnerving at the time. Mad dogs and English people go out in the midday snow storms…

Sickening analogy Number 1:
It occurred to me that life can be like skiing into a snow storm…where you can’t see what’s ahead but it’s best to point your skis downhill and let go, trusting in yourself that you’ll be able to deal with any hazards as they occur. Bumps and drifts and crazy snowboarders and the like. It’s either that or stay whimpering at the top of the run, saying, “I can’t do this.”

Sickening analogy Number 2: (You can see I’ve spent a lot of today in my head. Couldn’t see anyone else to talk to!)

My ski jacket…

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Very much like my brain. Lots of pockets where I put important things for safe-keeping, and then I can’t find them when I need them.

Snow storms in my head, maybe?

Holiday Day 3 – toilet experiences girls love

Toilet experiences…one of the main topics of the day.Every day.

It’s quite problematic being a woman with an active bladder while dressed in a ski-suit.

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Let me tell you that from personal experience. Men – you have it easy. (Unless you’re Paul wearing girl’s leggings under your salopets. That’ll teach you).

So many zips and fastenings and layers of clothes tucked in. And you’re wearing ski boots, and the toilet very often seems to be down a flight of stairs or involve an icy trek round the back of the building. And then you get there and it’s a hole in the floor.

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So very easy to squat down and avoid weeing on your clothes and avoid dropping your gloves or soaking your trouser ends in a dubious puddle on the floor. Even easier to get up again, post-squat.

There’s also the excitement of the toilet hose, in place of loo paper. Ecologically commendable. Only, if you don’t realise what it’s for, you may look down the end and get squirted in the face, just like Louise did. Mmmmmmmm!

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Solution to toilet problem? Don’t go?

Holiday Day 2 – highlights

Highlights could be bad, right? Or are those lowlights?

I am in this debate with myself whether or not slipping over when getting off a chair lift actually counts as a fall. As it was me, my inclination is to say IT IS NOT.

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I was in this position, only flat on the snow. I could feel the ligaments on the inside of both knees twanging to snapping point. I really thought my skiing days were over. My walking days, even. Miraculously, when I was finally hauled to my feet, the ligaments twanged back. so that was one of the highlights, of me at any rate. Hurrah for elastic ligaments! (Except, at time of writing, I be hobbling)

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A lovely bunch of friends. Matterhorn in the background.
From L to R: Paul Robinson, Tina Marshall, David Watson, Peter Coxon, Ben Wilson, Jen Robinson, Caroline Coxon, Bre Merkus, Louise Coggins, David Cottam.

However, the absolute highlight was…Tina, coming out of a cafe and going to put on her skis, laying them out on the snow. then saying, “Somebody’s taken one of my skis. I have odd skis. Even the binding’s different.”

Only for us to point out to her that she’d laid her skis out in opposite directions.

Kinda like this:

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Happy days. many highlights.

Ooh, another one. I went shopping with Tina and Jen and afterwards we were given a free glass of champagne. (One EACH, not just one between us!)

Here’s me and Jen after that. Sunshine on the Matterhorn. I’m sure I could climb that, particularly after a glass of champagne.

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Holiday Day 1 – We all make mistakes

Yes, we all make mistakes, especially when we can’t speak Italian and then we order stuff in a restaurant. We find that if we talk loudly and make hand gestures we are perfectly understood.

Paul gesticulated for a large beer.

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It was about as tall as he was. He drank it like a manly man. (Only had to stop off three times on the 200 yard walk back to the hotel).

Louise ordered Soup with Fontina Cheese, visualising delicate sprinkles on top like Parmesan. When it arrived it looked something like this:

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…only three times bigger. Underneath the two inch layer of melted cheese was a salty water broth. Nom nom nom. Louise thinks she’s had enough cheese now.

Pete’s pizza was the size of…a large pizza. He won’t grow up to be a big boy. Or his hair won’t curl – which ever myth you choose to believe, or not.

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He didn’t eat his crusts. Tsk tsk.

NOT mistakes:

Coming on holiday with Pete and a bunch of lovely friends.

Staying at the lovely Hotel Edelweiss in Cervinia.

Sorry, but I have to do this…get it out of my system…

(Dang it! I wanted to post Edelweiss from the Sound of Music, but iPad says no. You’ll just have to go to YouTube, or sing it yourself. It’s a top class ear worm.)

Off on a journey

“It was exciting to be off on a journey she had looked forward to for months. Oddly, the billowing diesel fumes of the airport did not smell like suffocating effluence, it assumed a peculiar pungent scent that morning, like the beginning of a new adventure, if an adventure could exude a fragrance.” E.A. BucchianeriBrushstrokes of a Gadfly

Don’t get me started on the perfume pungency of the duty free section…

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Gatwick looks so much prettier from the air. Rather like a chain-saw.

Flight’s at 6.30 a.m.

For all you burglar types who read this blog – TIM IS STAYING AT HOME, looked after by the chickens and dogs.

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As always, wondering about internet access when we get there…

SO…

See you sometime!

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After the journey.

Winding down or winding up

Theoretically, I’m winding down today. Hmmmmm.

On Sunday, bright and early – well, certainly early, (leaving 3.30 a.m.)  we’re off to Cervinia in Italy, on a skiing holiday. Lucky, lucky, lucky people, we are.

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(Yes, that IS the Matterhorn. No, I WON’T be skiing down it – at least, not intentionally. I have no sense of direction.)

There’s still a whole lot of work that I’d like to get done before I go, so I’m not winding down – more winding up into a frenzy of activity.

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The good bits about this:

  • I’ll get shed loads of work done ahead of time
  • Yes, I’ll get shed loads of work done ahead of time
  • Errrrrm…struggling here…oh, I’ll REALLY enjoy the break when it arrives.

Here’s my favourite piece of winding down music, which of course, I won’t be listening to because I’m too busy:

The good bit about this holiday is that it’s difficult to write copy on your iPad when you’re on skis whizzing down a black run (another navigational error).

Caroline Coxon, copywritaholic.

Some Welsh stuff

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant hapus…and a happy St. David’s Day too.

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I haven’t a single ounce of Welsh blood in my veins, but hey, I have daffodils in the garden and leeks in the fridge…

I have some lovely Welsh friends AND when I was a young thing I used to support London Welsh rugby club (Don’t tell the Saints, Northampton people!) Why? Because I was in love with T.G.R. Davies. Let me embarrass myself by finding a picture of my heart-throb…the best R winger in the ever ever, in my not-very-knowledgeable opinion. Certainly the best moustache.

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AND, for Pete’s 60th birthday, we’re staying in the Pen-Y-Gwryd Hotel and doing the Snowdon Horseshoe.

AND, dear Wales, you have the BEST national anthem.

Convinced?