Christmas just isn't Christmas unless I see snow and given that we have had the driest, warmest winter since we arrived in France in 2008, there is a significant lack of the white stuff in our local resort Greolieres les Neiges.
So we decided to head up to Isola 2000, a two hour drive away, for a day skiing in the sunshine with Karin and Paul and the boys. Handyman likes to get out of the door as quickly as possible, often waiting impatiently in the car glued to his watch while I 'faff about' checking that we all have gloves, hats, ski boots etc.
So reader you will understand how much I laughed when on arriving at the car park by the ski pass desk yesterday morning, we got out of the car in minus 5 but sunny weather to discover that brainiac had left his ski jacket on the sofa at home in his haste to leave the house and get on the road. A couple of friends pointed out that this is the kind of behaviour one would expect from a teenage girl, who fancied her chances of snaring a new designer jacket at the resort's massively overpriced ski boutique. Indeed, Handyman shares quite a few qualities with the teen breed, chiefly an ability to drink his own bodyweight of whatever alcohol is on tap, throwing a strop if he can't watch the TV show of his choice, namely Top Gear, and an obsession with farting as loudly and as often as possible and exhibiting no shame at this spurious talent.
In his defence, it also has to be said that he is always up at the crack of dawn, tackling any number of household maintenance tasks (he is currently redesigning and renovating the pool) he always brings me my glass of water and lemon and cayenne in bed each morning, he cooks a mean curry and he generally does all of this with a smile on his face.
Off he trotted to the aforementioned rip off joint to be sold their most stylish budget ski jacket at a mere 250 euros (it is replacing the electric drill he covets as an early birthday present) and to complete a successful morning, he also got fleeced spending over 100 euros on a ski helmet for Issy, who took advantage of the incumbent stress to choose the most designer crash helmet on offer. It came in handy when she fell off the steepest part of the drag lift just as I was watching her ascent and thinking 'God I really hope she doesn't fall off.' She rolled down the hill on her butt, with both skis whacking her in the head, later telling me 'Mum I will never ever moan again about wearing a helmet.' Luckily the Raybans that she had 'borrowed' from Livvy without permission also stayed intact, although on seeing photographic evidence of Issy sporting the shades in a photo I bbmed Liv in London to try and elicit some envy, it's questionable whether Issy will remain intact having been threatened with strangulation for the dawn raid on her stuff.
As we got on the first lift of the day, Handyman's observation that we had already spent the equivalent of a return flight to the Caribbean and we hadn't even had lunch yet could not be argued with. Moreover,he added, 'I'd rather be lying on a sun lounger in Barbados than sitting on this bloody lift freezing my tits off. I HATE skiing.' So the new jacket was a great investment. I think my idea of buying a ski lodge in the mountains for winter getaways with the proceeds from my first book needs some more work.
All there is to add is that I had a good time, enjoyed a delicious lunch and a couple of pre New Year glasses of bubbly at the Cow Club, which has set me up perfectly for preparing our New Year's Eve curry extravaganza with friends tonight.
Happy New Year and may 2012 be a healthy, happy fruitful for year for us all.