Thursday, 28 March 2013

Snowing again!

Where are all the spring flowers?   The poor primroses are covered in snow again.  There are no crocuses (the French word is pierce-neige which seems most appropriate) and I don't think I'll see them this spring.  Usually I sit on the Ideal chair and spot them - they look like confetti or tiny snow flakes.  Anyway, John and I went out first thing this morning.  There were only about 10 people on the Rochebrune ridge and I probably counted most of them twice.  The snow was lovely, about 3 cms but it was snowing hard and I could have done with windscreen wipers on my goggles.   It's been snowing hard all day but it's just about stopped now.  We were planning to do the Vallee Blanche tomorrow with the staff but I don't think the weather is going to be good enough.   There is more snow to come.  What a season it's been for snow.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


The bad news is that we still have our whistle, and it is now sounding off at night.   I think it gave up last night at about 3.30am.  Diego (the concierge) says that the plumber can't trace the problem.  I bet he could if he was listening to it at 3.30 in the morning. As we're the only people in the building I doubt if he can be too bothered to sort it.  I feel another bottle of scotch is on its way to a worthy recipient.
Anyway, Diego has had a hair cut and lost all his curls.  I don't recall seeing him after a hair cut before so guess that it's an annual occurrence.
Today was a beautiful day, sunny but chilly in the wind.   Where the sun hit the piste the snow was soft but not slush and on some pistes was just perfect. The Calvaire is still open and we skied home via it.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tennis at the Hurlingham club

It wasn't a problem getting a court today, though not a covered court. Those had gone a week ago. No, the problem was the weather. According to the car thermometer the temperature was 0C but then there was the wind chill factor. We wore hats, gloves, coats - I'd have worn face mask, goggles and boot warmers if I'd had them. And there was the odd snow flake. Still we persevered and played two sets before deciding to go home and warm up. Megeve seems positively balmy.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Snow in Putney

well we're back home and brought winter with us. We went to the Royal Academy yesterday to see them Manet exhibition - thanks to Glen for providing the tickets. We found it a bit disappointing but then went to see the paintings by George Bellows which were a revelation. I had not heard of him before but I shall definitely look out for his work. Anyway the sun has been shining in Megeve if not in Putney and we'll be back there onTuesday.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Praz Sur Arly

For a change of scene we went to Praz with Johnny and Tracey.  The snow was lovely but the visibility was poor as it was snowing.  We went as far as Les Saisies but turned round as the weather was bad.  We had lunch at a lovely restaurant in Notre Dame De Bellecombe and then skied home.  Of course, the weather cleared as soon as we got home and it should be good tomorrow.  We are coming home for a few days but it should be nice for our guests. I thought you might like to see this photo which John took yesterday.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Snow and water

When we got back after skiing Diego (the concierge) told us that the plumber had been and cut the water off.   I have 8 people for dinner this evening.  The good news is that they had it back on in the afternoon, the bad news is that we still  have the whistle, though not as frequent as before.  So no doubt we won't have water again tomorrow.
The skiing was brilliant today.  We had about 60 centimetres.  We skied with Johnny and Jean-Marc.  We put down fresh tracks under the Mont Joux and Epaule chairs (how often can you do that?) then went over the back to St  Nicholas.   the snow was heavy at the bottom  but perfectly skiable.  By the time we got back up the Mont Joli chair had opened so we hopped on that.  There were several people ahead of us but we skied Mont Joli and the Grand Chamois.  It was a bit crusty under the snow at the top but was lovely further down.   A ski instructor set off a mini avalanche above us but luckily it went past us. By the time we left the whole slope had been trashed. More snow is forecast tonight.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Caroline's birthday today

We woke up to about a foot of new snow this morning, Caroline's birthday today (younger daughter).   The visibility was poor because it snowed on and off most of the day.  We saw the odd glimmer of sunshine but it disappeared as soon as we got excited about being able to see. We played around between the trees at the Lanchettes lift and had lunch at the Radaz ( we shared a tartiflette).  Who would have thought we would have this amount of fresh snow at this time of year.
We have a very annoying squeak in our apartment.   It started on Saturday afternoon and we cannot trace the source.  We have turned off the electricity and water but that makes no difference.     We think it emanates from one of the other flats but none of them is occupied.  Fortunately it has been quiet at night, which is a relief as it sounds about 4 times an hour for 2-3 minutes and is incredibly irritating.   Anyway, the concierge tells us that a plumber is coming tomorrow so hopefully he will do more than scratch his head.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Great tits

I went over to Jaillet this morning.  It was cloudy and supposed to be milder with a foehn wind.  You could have kidded me!  I ended up putting on my undergloves, mask and boot heaters and was still chilly. The first time I went up the Christomet chair I am sure there were great tits calling to each other.  (That's what I concluded they were after I'd googled them).  The next time I went up they were silent but it was snowing and very windy.  I went over to Giettaz and there was scarcely anyone there.  The snow was lovely and if it hadn't been for the wind on the top it would have been perfect.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

We're back

We've just had 2 days staying with friends at La Tour, just outside Argentiere.   We skied Argentiere Thursday and Friday.  Thursday started off fine and cold but the cloud slowly crept down the mountain and we came down for lunch and then went home.  Friday was a beautiful day - clear, cold and sunny.  Argentiere. like here, as had only a dusting of snow over the last 3 weeks and everything is hard.  For those who haven't been it is north facing and quite challenging skiing - there are very few blue pistes.  Most of the skiing is off piste as it is a large bowl.   However, my knees won't take much more of hard icy moguls and it was nice to get back on to groomed pistes in Megeve today.  It was busy this morning as the weather was beuatiful but it is the end of the French holidays and I suspect next week will be very quiet.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

new ski trousers

I now have a brand new pair of black ski trousers.  Elizabeth and I went to Vieux Campeur and, as Elizabeth said, bought the cheapest adult black trousers.   The girls' XL were a bit too tight!  Anyway, they have no holes in as yet.
We went out this morning.  Cold and thick cloud.   We decided to have an early lunch at The Radaz (tartiflette and lasagne) to allow the sun the chance to break through.  No such luck.  It was thicker when we came out than when we went in so we skied home.  It was a nice lunch though.   Elizabeth is back to Norwich tonight to husband and children.  All the family is out for Easter so it's not long before we see them again.  Tomorrow is supposed to be better.   we're going to see friends in Chamonix on Thursday and Friday.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Dry feet

Yesterday I poured water out of my left book but my right boot was dry.   so John applied more duct tape - and result - dry feet!  I think I've had the problem for some time but I just assumed that I had very sweaty feet.  I'm rather relieved to know that that is not the problem.
Elizabeth (our daughter) is out for a few days so we skied with her, Gordon and Johnny.  There had been a little fresh snow overnight so the pistes were good, though we need more for the off piste.   It's supposed to be getting colder and more snow forecast.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mother's Day

John came skiing with me until he was recalled to do a transfer, because a flight was delayed which meant that a minibus would not get back in time to take the next group of guests to the airport.   I did the run in the afternoon to take guests to Le Fayet and Alpybus.  It was a beautifully sunny morning but clouded over in  the afternoon.
However, I lost one of my new ski poles which John gave me for my birthday.   I was crossing the road to ski down the Calvaire and thought I had both poles looped over my wrists.   I only had one and realised immediately that I was missing one.  I recrossed the road to where I took my skis off but it wasn't there.  A car had been parked there (illegally) and I suspect the driver picked it up.  He must have known it was mine because as far as I was aware he had packed all his belongings in his boot. I don't suppose they sell them individually.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Wet feet

John was working so I skied Rochebrune.  I had to wait for the Alpette chair to open and was first down Petit Fontaine and Jardin pistes.  I met a queue at the bottom of Lanchettes - 4 people ahead of me.  I then went over to Cote 2000 and skied the Ladies Downhill twice and most of the other runs before coming home for lunch.
However,  I have come home with wet feet the last two times I've skied.  Not only have the linings been wet but I have poured water out of my boots.  I took them to Davide at Technique Boots who is the Megeve expert.  He prescribed duct tape (what else?) and hopefully the problem is solved. It seems surprising as I have been skiing through all types of snow this season but have only just had the problem.  I'm reluctant to buy new boots as these are only about 4 years old. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

Market and rants

I went to the market this morning and bought some lovely cheeses.  It's not cheap.  I seemed to pay €20 at least for everything.  To cap it all, I bought half a cabbage and left it on the stall!  
Why don't the French clear up after their dogs?  I think they are supposed to but even in the main square there are piles of dog s***.    We walk up a snowy slope to our apartment (in summer it's a grassy area) and I counted at least 20 piles.  They allow their dogs to defecate on the paths and I know that it's snow but even so.......The caleche horses wear bags under their tails to catch the droppings so why can't dog owners tidy up after their pets. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Crout de Gouet

We had a rather lazy ski today with Gordon and Rob.  We stopped for hot chocolate at Le P'tit Ricquet which is off the Marmottes run down from Epaule.   It is an old farmhouse that has been refurbished and has some interesting photos and items such as children's hob-nailed boots. We then had lunch at the Gouet and had to have the crout.   You will see how Rob has decorated his.  Gordon was good and had an omelette.  It was cloudy this morning but the sun came out this afternoon.  There was noone around which is surprising as it is the Paris holiday.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

"Blackbird has spoken"

Since the beginning of the month the blackbird has been greeting the dawn;  or perhaps he is telling his lady friends that he's around and his rivals to clear off.  It seems bizarre as the ground is still snow covered and although it's warmer than it was it's definitely not spring weather.  Today was cloudy again, though the visibility was better than yesterday.  We even had a few flurries of snow.  There were fewer people on the slopes which was great as the snow was good and we didn't have to share it with so many.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

At last a picture

This is me skiing on Jaillet on Sunday with Mont Joli in the background.  Sadly today was cloudy and not good for pics.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Caleche v traineau

John and I went over to Jaillet this morning and skied down the front face to the road.   It was not as nice as 2 days ago and I suspect it may be the last time this season we can ski it as it is south facing.  It was lovely and sunny but turned warmer than the last few days.  John went home but I stayed and skied all the black runs before returning for lunch.
I got the caleche back.   This is the 12 seater, 2 horse carriage that runs from by the outdoor ice rink in the centre of town to Jaillet.  I was the only passenger so I sat there like the Queen, practising my royal wave and regal smile.  Sadly, noone waved back.  If I'd had Prince Philip (aka John) it might have been different.
The driver told me that his carriage is a caleche, the one horse carriages are traineaux.  The French word for sledge is traineau and before roads these were used for transport.  They are now known as traineaux aux roulles when the wheels were added.  But the ride is a must and great fun.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Ladies' downhill

John and I skied with most of the staff this afternoon.  It was cloudy first thing but it was a beautiful sunny, warm afternoon.  We went over to Cote 2000 and did the Ladies' Downhill course a couple of times.   Some of the staff exceeded 100kms an hour (or so they said).  It was great fun and no collisions.  It's the Paris holiday for the next 2 weeks so I expect the resort will be busy.

Friday, 1 March 2013


We skied over to Giettaz today from Jaillet.  Whoever redesigned the lifts can't be a skier.  In place of the one, very slow old chair there are now two slow chairs!   The second one is supposed to be faster but today was going at half speed.  There are 2 nice runs down to what used to be the second button lift which is no longer working. You now have to go back to the second chair and join the queue of people coming up from the bottom.  The third button lift is working but the run down to that is usually icy and unpleasant.  So, all in all a bit of a shambles.  We all got very cold because the lift was so slow.
We then skied back off piste to the road.  The snow was in surprisingly good condition considering there has been no new falls and we even found some spring snow at the bottom.  After that we called it a day (or a morning) and went for lunch at Le Loup Blanc in town.