Over the Christmas break I was persuaded to go skiing for the first time, in the French Alps. I was really looking forward to this; the mountains, the snow, the skiing…I mean seriously…how hard can it be? Let me tell you, virtually impossible! Relying on my seasons as a youth in the Blackdown hills, tying a plank of wood to each foot and sliding down Moor Lane, or achieving probably the fastest speeds known to man on an old feed sack stuffed with straw….does not, it turns out, provide you with the necessary skills to ski.
Things that have stuck with me from childhood; claustrophobia after getting trapped in a sleeping bag; a fear of cable cars after watching that James Bond film and a perfectly reasonable fear of heights, that the years thatching has just about held in check; all came back to haunt me on the first day as I waited in a tight, shuffling queue to sit in a glorified bench, swinging at impossible heights, with the said planks of wood attached to multiple feet.
Having survived that, all previous phobias were entirely dispelled by a new one: Skiing….or more precisely, not being able to STOP skiing..or turn…or in fact have any control over the direction and speed of my feet. I have to confess, I was absolutely terrified. It would be equal to driving to the top of Corfe hill, removing your steering wheel and the brakes and setting off downhill to Taunton…it’s not going to end well.
Thousands of people, and Dasiy and her youngest would set out every day to do this, with varying amounts of skill and daring; faces shining with joy and talking about how great it was….what is wrong with these people? All I can say is, to all of you who ski or snowboard; to Eddie the Eagle; to those Ski Sunday heroes; to the Sochi Olympians…I have the utmost respect.
Would I go again? Well the mountains were stunning, and I’m not going to let this beat me.
Pretty much as the plane landed, Daisy and her youngest were talking in earnest about their next great adventure…hunting for a new hound. I had thought this might take some time, but in about the same time as it took Daisy to learn to ski, 2 and a half days (not one for gloating), a new hound was found; a lurcher puppy, speckled black, white and brown, which they named Jelly-bean.
Having just found Daisy cross legged on her kitchen floor, with the pup curled, sound asleep in her lap, and Daisy wearing that happy, helpless expression that says, ‘I might be a bit late into work today’….I sense I might be thatching on my lonesome for a day or two!