Tag Archives: food

Meribel 2019/2020. Part Trois.

Well, it’s over. We’re back home.

It really was a fantastic holiday and once again PIL excelled herself. The chalet we stayed in was fantastic with tons of space, we each had our own bedroom although PIL and CJ shared. The views across the valley to the mountains were superb and the food and drink we had was first class. Our thanks go out to the staff from Purple Ski who looked after us – Althea, Dane and Ryan looked after us extremely well although I have a bone to pick with Dane who cooked up such delicious food.

Ryan, Dane and Althea. Our thanks to all three of you for ensuring we had a great time and taking such good care of us.

During the week we stayed I put on 3 kilos of weight! Bugger me, that’s a shed load of visits to the gym, a place I’ve failed to go to for several years now. I was a bit of a chubby boy before we went and now I’m a right porker! It was worth it though. Ryan fixed up the boys with massages to ease their aches and pains and sorted Eds knee out with some K taping.

CJ had a massage with a young lady whose name I completely forget (Sorry) and had her arm, leg and back sorted out. Althea made sure we wanted for nothing during our stay. She knew where everything was and made sure everything was available and she always had a smile on her face. She organised cake and balloons for Eds birthday which is next week and put champagne, wine, beers and glasses down by the hot tub as she knew the kids went straight there after a full day on the slopes.

Dane took the kids out on the slopes one morning when he was off duty and took them onto some incredible runs so they spent more time skiing and less time figuring out where to go and how to get there. Even he was amazed at the amount of energy those three have! Greg was particularly pleased with himself on this day as the boys have apps on their phones that recorded their speed. Greg achieved just over 59mph on one of the runs Dane took them too. Next time he wants to get to over 62mph as this equates to 100kph. Mad sod!

PIL and I had a productive time in the peace and quiet each day. I have a couple of things to finalise before I get my new project off the ground and I will have them sorted later today if all goes according to plan. If not, by tomorrow. We had a walk most days, just down the village for a poke around the shops and to look in the estate agents windows at all the lovely chalets for sale and to gasp at the prices! We returned home with a lot of catalogues and brochures!

Best of all though was spending time together as a family, eating fine food (and plenty of it!), drinking excellent wines, Althea sorted out a variety of pre dinner cocktails, generally having a great time talking, squabbling, playing Uno (I never did win although PIL is the reigning champion) and other games we discovered in the chalet and playing an app on Eds phone.

It was great time. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely. So much so that it gave us cause to discuss amongst ourselves how we holiday and whether we should change the way we do it. More on that soon.

Time to end this post now as I have stuff to do today, including hanging out the umpteenth load of laundry and putting the next one into our long suffering washing machine.

Have a great day wherever you are.

More Dick soon.

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Meribel 2019/2020.

So it’s now the evening of Thursday 2nd January 2020. Greg has control of the music via Sonos. So far we have experienced Swedish Heavy Metal and Mongolian Throat music. I do wonder about that boy sometimes! Eventually, suitable background music was selected. Not sure what it was but I seem to recall thinking it was Sade without Sade. Bear in mind that several glasses of wine had been consumed before we sat down to eat so everything was a bit vague. One of the pleasures of staying in a catered ski chalet is that it comes with staff. A bloke to drive you to the ski lifts who coincidentally was the sports massage therapist and K taping specialist, someone to tidy up after you and assist with serving of wine, beer and food and a chef who prepared breakfast and an evening meal. Our chef, Dane, is from that world renowned centre of culinary excellence – Sunderland. So in amongst the ‘Whey aye man’ and ‘Canny like’ coming from the kitchen area, (Yes I know that’s Geordie, but it’s close enough) Dane cooked up a veritable delight of food for us. Every evening we all ended up completely stuffed and with a fine selection of wines, slightly inebriated as well. On his day off, we made a reservation at one of the many restaurants in the area, Le Cèpe, and had a meal there. Le Cèpe specialises in, but not exclusively, meals with cèpes or porcini mushrooms that they forage for locally. I had a really rather nice scollop risotto with a substantial amount of assorted mushrooms. The rest of the tribe had a variety of mains, some with mushrooms and some without which is fortunate as both CJ and Greg don’t like them. Highlight of the meal however was not the dessert that CJ ordered. Unknown to us, the restaurants chef would appear to be heavily influenced by that Blumenthal bloke and she ended up with a nice dollop of mushroom ice cream! Not well received! I like mushrooms and I thought it was gross. Despite that, we had a very nice if expensive meal. It has to be said though that we all much prefer the grub back at the chalet.

The point of this holiday though is not so much about the food and drink although that does play a part, but in Ed, Greg and CJ disappearing each morning just after 9am when the lifts open, going up whichever mountain or area they have decided on, spend several hours skiing a variety of runs until they stop for a lunch time meal and drink at one of several mountain top bars and restaurants and then spend another few hours skiing down even more mountains before returning to the chalet just before dark and jumping in the hot tub before dinner. After eating we will continue with our leisure activities that I hope leads to a dramatic improvement in my ability to play Uno and maybe even winning a hand or two. Would help if the rules didn’t keep changing

PIL and I have spent our time doing stuff that is difficult to do in the course of our normal day to day activities. I have accomplished a lot towards my personal objectives for the next few years and the fruit of that labour will appear to the world very soon now. Just a couple of things to finish off which I will have completed this week. We have both had the opportunity to recharge our batteries  and to spend time with our three children laughing, playing, arguing and squabbling. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day.

There now follows a shed load of photographs and short movie clips. I hope you enjoy them.

 

Have a lovely day wherever you may be.

More Dick soon.

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Oh Crap! We’re Going Skiing Again.

Oh yes! We are off skiing. We are going to Meribel again, part of the Three Valleys (Les Trois Vallées) ski area in the French Alps.

Meribel is the quintessential French ski village. Filled with honey hued log cabins and chalets, hotels, shops selling skis and all the paraphanelia that goes with skiing – the clothes, the hats, the boots and gloves. There are also several Pharmacies selling knee braces, bandages, muscle soothing unctions and pain killers for when you bust yourself up. (I am a frequent visitor to the Pharmacies and have several loyalty cards).

There are bars and restaurants in every road where you can eat the most superb food along with a huge selection of first class wines and beers.

We will be staying in a catered chalet again and if last year is anything to go by, it will be fantastic. Whether there will be a hot tub outside we will discover when we get there.

Ed, Greg and CJ will undoubtedly spend most of each day on the slopes. There are plenty of them. Meribel boasts a total of 76 runs comprising 8 Green; 36 Blue; 23 Red and 9 Black and with 50+ lifts getting up the mountains is easy as is access to the rest of the Three Valleys with over 300 runs covering over 600 kilometres. The scenery, as you would expect is truly magnificent and riding the lifts you are struck by the vistas and also the silence.

 

About to hit the slopes

Post lunch

PIL, who does not ski and has no interest in it, will spend her time drinking coffee, looking cool and vivacious and probably spend time doing whatever she does on her laptop (looking at French Chateaus is odds on favourite). This year I may well give skiing a miss. I have stuff to do on my laptop that will enable me to start a new venture in 2020 and pursue a couple of interests that I have. More on that soon. It must also be said that when it comes to skiing, I am rubbish.

I belong to an elite group of skiers that receive top class coaching teaching us every aspect of skiing right down to how to put your boots on properly. You get taught how to get on the lift and get off again, start off down the slope, how to turn and most importantly, how to stop. Yet despite all of this expert instruction, we remain utter crap. If there was a league table of the the worst skiers I may not top it but I’d definitely be in with a chance for a Champions League place! I am so bad that I don’t even fall over with any style. The GIFs aren’t of me but they do demonstrate how bloody awful I am:

Day 1

Day 3

Day 5

Day 7

Even a 2 year old crashes with more panache than I do:

Even a two year old crashes with far more style than me

Now I’ve never seen my kids crash while skiing. This is mainly due to only being skilled enough to manage the nursery slopes while they spend most of their time up on the Red and Black slopes. I’m sure though that when they do crash it’s epic:

An epic fail by a proper skier. The way it should be done.

I may just sort a day pass for the slopes and hire skis and the other kit and spend a morning out on the gentle slopes but I’ll make that decision when we’re there. More importantly, I will have time to devote some serious concentration on stuff I want to start next year. Time is something I don’t normally have much of due to work and other commitments so I need to make the most of it. Although Ed, Greg and CJ will be spending most of the daylight hours on the slopes, for PIL and I it will be an opportunity to spend quality time with the three of them, to sit together eating and drinking in the evening, playing cards, Scrabble and squabbling. Can’t wait.

I’ll let you know how it all goes once we get back.

In the meantime, have a great day wherever you may be.

More Dick soon.

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Holiday

We have been away on our holidays. We flew out on Friday 15th July and got back to the UK on Wednesday 27th. Our first task on the day we left was to take Dexter to the kennels for his holiday. He went to the same place as last year to kennels in Blean. It had taken him a few days to settle down last year but this year, he settled in straight away apparently.

Dexter in the back of the car, ready to go to the kennels for his holiday

Dexter in the back of the car, ready to go to the kennels for his holiday

After dropping Dexter off, our next task was to finish packing. All we took was summer clothing, forgetting we were going South of the Equator where it is now Winter! Doh! We left early as we were flying from Heathrow, which meant travelling some distance on the M25 which can be an absolute bastard of a road.

The M25. On it's day, it can be a nightmare

The M25. On its day, it can be a nightmare

Fortunately, on this particular day it wasn’t and we arrived in plenty of time. Checked in and cleared security. We boarded the aircraft, an Airbus A340 which is not exactly the biggest of aircraft, and settled down in a packed aircraft for our 11 hour flight. We flew South East over France, along the west coast of Italy, crossed the Med, continued over Egypt and headed off over the Indian Ocean. I know this because it showed our route on the little TV screen in front of me. It was the only thing I could get to work on the somewhat antiquated In Flight Entertainment system and it was all in French. We didn’t actually see anything for 2 reasons. First, none of us had window seats. Secondly, it was dark outside and thirdly we were flying at an altitude of 9,375 metres. Eventually, we arrived at our destination – the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and I have to say it’s the first time I have arrived at an airport that has a name bigger than the airport itself! Thankfully, the locals have abbreviated the name and call it “The Airport” because in our befuddled state of mind, we simply couldn’t handle that number of syllables. We were met by the Virgin Holidays rep and took a transfer coach to our final destination which was an hour away. We slept most of the way there. We got to our final destination, the Heritage Le Telfair, a 5 Star Golf and Spa resort and it was absolutely gorgeous. We had two suites with views across the Indian Ocean. The suites were enormous and we had one on the ground floor with its own patio area and another one directly above with a balcony. There was a brief discussion as to who went where as some members of the family didn’t want to share with others because they “snored, farted and belched”! This was quickly resolved and PIL and CJ were banished upstairs where they could fart, snore and belch to their heart’s content and us blokes could have some peace and quiet!

The view from our suite

The view from our suite

A brief history now follows. You can skip this part if you want.  The island was visited by the Arabs and Portuguese during the Middle Ages. It was uninhabited until the Dutch bumped into it and established a small colony. After eating most of the dodos living there, the Dutch cleared off. The French then settled there, stuck corks up the bums of the remaining dodos and scoffed the lot. They also used it as a base to capture British merchant ships returning from India with valuable cargos of spices and other stuff the Brits nicked from the Indian sub continent. This pissed the Brits off big time so they invaded and as usual, beat the French. It became the Empires main sugar-producing colony. It became an independent nation in 1968 and a republic in 1992. The official language is English but everyone speaks either French or Creole and English only when necessary. It is a fantastic place although we saw very little of it.

Le Telfair is absolutely wonderful. The staff, whether they be waiters, house keeping, gardeners or whatever, were fantastic. Warm and friendly and nothing ever seemed to be too much bother. IMG-20160802-WA0038

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We settled down in our rooms and unpacked and then we went for a walk along the beach and a general explore of the resort. The kids also searched for more Pokemon on their phones!IMG-20160802-WA0000

We jumped into one of the pools dotted around. IMG-20160802-WA0034

We behaved like tourists on holiday and we were having a great time.IMG-20160802-WA0033

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I cannot properly describe how absolutely idyllic the place is. Within a very short time, the beach bar staff knew our usual order (3 beers, a Sprite and a diet Coke in case you’re wondering). Every evening we went for an evening meal and we had food we never dreamt we would eat. We had squid, octopus, every colour of snapper fish there is, goats cheese and every meal was fantastic.IMG-20160802-WA0018

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We had wine with our meals and the wine waiter would take the time out to explain all the different varieties of wine they had on offer (a lot), the grapes used for each type, where it came from, how special varieties were grown according to the climatic and soil conditions in each country. It was a delightful education eating and drinking here.IMG-20160802-WA0009

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On our second day, Ed and Greg went off to play a round of golf. PIL, CJ and yours truly went with them. Bear in mind that neither of them had played since our last holiday 12 months ago and they were rubbish then! Greg, however, was wearing his golf shoes and claimed he would be brilliant. Despite this claim, PIL got 9 second-hand golf balls just in case. As we arrived, the heavens opened and it poured with rain. Greg teed off at the first hole and the ball shot off into the distance. A fantastic shot if he hadn’t sliced it. The ball went off at 45 degrees to the intended direction and despite a search by us all, remains undiscovered.

Greg about to tee off. We all took cover.

Greg about to tee off. We all took cover.

Naturally, the rest of us found this incredibly funny. Greg did not though. At the second hole, his ball travelled about 60 feet from the tee. Even funnier! However, Greg now had the serious hump and despite telling him that he’d made a rod for his own back, we agreed not to laugh at him again. At the third hole, he took his tee shot and I gazed off into the distance to see where it went. I couldn’t see it so called out, “Did you see where it went mate?” Whereupon, everyone fell about laughing again because I hadn’t noticed his ball had travelled 17 feet six and three-quarter inches! Ed was equally as good! PIL, CJ and I decided then to go back to the club house so that we wouldn’t be tempted to laugh at the pair of them but also because it was chucking it down with rain. We left the two of them to it, went to the club house and had something to eat and drink.

Ed striking a golfing pose

Ed striking a golfing pose

Every now and again we would see them flailing about in the distance. IMG-20160802-WA0003IMG-20160802-WA0002

The rain continued. The half point brought them back to the club house where they rushed over to ask for some more balls! They had two left. So PIL got another 18. Just in case and off they went to do something called “The Back Nine”.

Greg. Note the shoes which were supposed to turn him into a golf ace.

Greg. Note the shoes which were supposed to turn him into a golf ace.

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They both seemed to play much better without the unkind remarks and laughter and they did have a good time.IMG-20160802-WA0007

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Eventually, we saw them again playing the 18th and last hole. A Par 5 apparently. They were some distance away but we knew it was them because we could see one broad-shouldered figure and one very tall figure. Plus, who else but the English play golf in the pissing rain wearing only shorts and polo shirts? We decided to go out by the final hole and keep our eyes peeled for their balls as they approached. We kind of hid behind a bunker so as not to put them off. When Ed and Greg finally arrived they blamed us for having to take 6 shots to get to the green as all they could see were our three heads popping up from behind the bunker. They said we looked like a trio of “bloody meerkats”! They didn’t mention loosing another 8 balls until much later!

 

PIL, CJ and me watching Ed and Greg playing golf. Not a pretty sight!

PIL, CJ and me watching Ed and Greg playing golf. Not a pretty sight!

After that, PIL went to the Spa and had a massage and facial. The rest of us went for a massage the following day. It was bliss.

The next installment of our holiday adventures follows soon.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.auto

 

Bear Grylls

On the subject of beards or lack of them, my son Greg is a huge fan of the Bear Gyrlls survival programmes. If civilisation ever goes tits up, we’ll be looking to Greg to light fires, set traps for food, advise us on what type of tree bark to use as soap and building shelters for us. Bear has done loads of series on how to survive in the wilderness. Recently he has done episodes accompanied by a variety of celebs including Jonathan Ross, Jake Gyllenhaal and Zac Efron, who was a bit of a wuss. As Bear and Zac were hanging from a sheer cliff hundreds of feet above a raging torrent supported only by a few vines, Zac bleated “Oh Bear. I don’t know if this is the right time to say but I can’t swim.” Bear looked at him a bit skew whiff and said, “Don’t worry mate. It’s not the water that will kill you!” I think Zac did a bit in his pants! Anyway, usually what happens is that Bear gets left in the middle of a swamp/desert/jungle/forest/arctic wasteland and armed only with a knife, a flint, a length of paracord and the clothes he’s stood up in, he sets off to find his way back to civilisation. It normally takes him two or three days to get back. He fords rapid rivers, abseils down cliffs, wades through oozy, slimy swamps and traverses mountainous sand dunes. He eats all kind of crap. Scorpions, snakes, worms, grubs, bark, rotting carcases. You name it, Bear will eat it. At the end of each day he builds a shelter out of anything to hand, lights a fire and cooks some of the crap he’s collected on his travels. He is exhausted, filthy and hungry. bear_grylls_born_shit_eater_by_bulletreaper117-d71ypk2 The next morning he gets up and he’s clean-shaven, clothes are dry, washed and ironed, teeth are all clean and sparkly and he’s eating a leg of lamb and some toast for breakfast. How does he do that?

Have a great day

More Dick soon auto

 

All images were found on the intertube, all round the world web thingy and sourced via Sergei & Larry’s fire engine.