Monday, January 30, 2012

Ski sunday

After a client cancelled last minute on Richard we ended up having a lovely family ski sunday.  Despite the 'long face' Tino loved his first downhill ski lesson at the Panda Club,  the guy in the ski rental shop even gave him ski's with pandas on!

So whilst Tino was having his lesson we went cross country skiing through the woods.  Richard had his 'professional' head, and at one point was pointing out various summits, cols etc to the south, before Rémi, who appeared to be very occupied burying himself in a mound of snow, chirped up that the direction we were looking in, was actually the north!!! I don't know who he gets his sense of direction from, I'm capable of getting lost just going to the compost heap!
We then happened upon an igloo at the edge of the forest, and Mr 'Pro' informed us that whatever the outside temperature, the inside of an igloo is always at 0°!  Now I don't carry a thermometer at all times but once inside the igloo you can definitely feel the 'warmth'.

A little further along we came across some ruins which according to Richi are the oldest in the valley and date back to the 14th or 15th century - precise to approximately 100 yrs!  At this point I stared to doubt the credibility of the info Richi was churning out!   At the end of the session, he calculated that we had gone about 5 km - WHAT - I'm sure it was more like 50! And double that for Rémi, who is like an excited little puppy, always shooting off in-front, to the left, to the right, tearing off into the tree's, jumping of rocks!!  It's exhausting just being near him.

But at one point he did manage to keep still long enough to take a photo of us, unfortunately I have 'touched' something on my camera and all the photo's are coming out 'skinny'!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yarn along - Stash Bustin

I'm linking up again for Yarn Along with Ginny at Small Things.

I've been doing quite a bit of 'stash bustin' in the last few weeks:-
-I find crochet a little easier to transport than knitting so i've been taking my hook and a bit of stash with me to Dr's appointments, hockey practice etc etc and whipping up these little dish/face/duster cloths,

-Whilst house bound with sick kids last weekend I made myself a little crochet hat

- My shalom is coming along nice and slowly.  I love this project, it's like having an old friend in the room that you don't have to keep making conversation with all the time, 'it's' good company, pleased to be 'knitted' when the time is right or happy just to chill in my w.i.p. basket.  I'm in no hurry to finish it.  Maybe it's because I'm using the yarn I recycled from a sweater that my 'Grannie Maud' made for me years ago; every strand of yarn that passes through my fingers once passed through hers. It's very sentimental and I'm enjoying the time it's taking me.

'Katie Davies left over Christmas break of her senior year for a short mission trip to Uganda and her life was tuned completely inside out. She found herself so moved by the people of Uganda and the needs she saw that she knew her calling was to return and care for them.  Katie, a charismatic and articulate young woman, is in the process of adopting thirteen children in Uganda and has established a ministry, Amazima, that feeds and sends hundreds more to school while teaching them the Word of Jesus Christ' (extract taken from the cover).

The enormity of what Katie, this incredibly modest woman is doing, can be gleaned from her amazing book, from her web site and personnel blog

In Katie's own words:
"Heavenly Father, 
Help me to never be too busy or too comfortable to remember the people who suffer.  Help me to never stop desiring to do something about it."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Le tremplin des Bossons

These photo's have been in my camera for over a week now, I'd almost forgotten about them.  At the end of our road is a ski-jump (Tremplin), not just any old ski jump mind you!  It is the 'jump', although has been modernized, from the 1st winter olympics which were held in Chamonix, 1924.  And in the forest behind our house, there are still traces of the olympic bob sledge track, luckily, for the time being my kids haven't found it!!

This competiton was won by a local, Vincent Descombes (who Richard used to train in his early days), with a jump of 105m, which is about the furthest you can go on a ski jump of this size without breaking your legs!
But I have a more personal story to share:
Years ago, Pépé Gaby - Richard's grandfather - competed on this ski jump and finished 2nd place to James Couttet, who was also from our village.  For taking the 1st place James won a pair of skis, which would have been little more than a pair of wooden slats with leather straps for bindings.  Gaby, for his 2nd place, received only a pen!  Disgusted by what she believed to be a disparity as regards the value of the prizes, Mémé Noir - Gaby's mother (The black grandmother, apparently so named as she always wore black, but from what i've heard about her it might have been more a reflection on her personality!) then threw the pen into the judges faces and announced that they would never again see Gaby competing, thus ending what might have been a promising sporting career.
Just to show that there are no hard feelings between the descendants of the two familys', here is a picture of Rémi (Pépé Gaby's great-grandson) sledging with Alice (James Coutett's great-grandaughter).  Alice's big brother, Nicolas, was also in the recent competition, and jumped 97m, not bad for a 12yr old.

Later that same Sunday Rémi and his hockey pals played an opening match for the Chamonix V Caen match.  After their game the 'little ones' stayed on the ice to high five the 'big ones' before the main event started!

Update: Richi informs me that Alice is not James' granddaughter, but that Lucy, who also lives in the village is.  I'll have to check his information, and while I'm willing to admit that I'm not always right, I'm never wrong!!

Chamonix won the match,yay! They lost the previous one and Rémi came home from the game in tears!! How can anyone get so upset over sport? now dropping a stich whilst knitting, that's upsetting but a hockey game!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tea party across the miles

Just before christmas  I signed up for another 'swap', this time it was tea bags.  This tea party was organized by Linda - Prairie Flower Farm, who paired up participants, who then mailed each other a christmas card and tea bag.  For some reason, christmas post overload I expect, my card and bag never arrived but got 'returned to sender, address unknown, no such person, no such zone lah lah la.......'.  Luckily for me, Sandra, my swap partner from Villars de Lans, successfully re-mailed it to me.
Quite by coincidence, Richard bought me a tea-pot for christmas!

No tea party is complete with out a Victoria sandwich cake so this afternoon Tino and I whipped up this 'almost' gluten (using soy and rice flour) free one.  I say 'almost' as last minute I checked the raising agent and it contained wheat flour!!  Never mind, no-one here is gluten intolerant, it's just after my gluten free bread disaster last week I though i'd try a cake this time.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Friendship in a tin

About 2 weeks ago my friend Sarah came back from a 6 mth stay in the US with her 3 children.  Her husband stayed here and worked very hard to build them their dream home.  We spend new year's eve in the 'shell' which is shaping up to be a fantastic house!
As a welcome home gift, the boys and myself made them a little tin of goodies.

Now I'm not sure this actually qualifies as a present 'cause I WANT IT BACK! Let me explain:
My idea is that next christmas Sarah and kids fill the tin and gift it back to us, then the following year we do it back to them and so on and so forth....
I decided to call it our 'Friendship Tin' and thought it would be fun to see how many years we could keep it going.  Sarah is cool with the idea.
I did a similar thing for my parents-in-law's christmas present by I don't expect to get the tin back next year, it's not really a french kinda thing!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

All is white on New Year's Day

For a town that relies on snow for a major part of its revenu Chamonix was pretty un-prepaired for the mega 'dump' it got on new year's eve!  The tunnel to Italy was closed, the road to Chamonix via the lake was closed, the pass to Switzerland was closed and the highway, well, imagine Bambi learning to walk on a frozen lake, that's how people were driving!!!

Despite all this white stuff we managed to get out and spent the evening 'roughing-it' in some friends new, but not finished, chalet. Oysters, Cheese, Champagne and Fireworks untill 1am!!!
Today Richard treated us to lunch in town before he scooted off to work and we had fun making snow creatures!