Tag Archives: wine

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