Legend Jr fell asleep on the RER train back to the airport in Paris and was comatose on the journey to Geneva and our subsequent transfer from the airport to Les Carroz. I believe I had been serenading the shuttle driver with a symphony of snoring, as we bounced around in the back seat. We woke up just in time to greet our hosts for the next 2 weeks, (let's just call them Mr and Mrs La Ruche, on account of their chalet name. I try and protect the innocent as much as possible, as well as avoiding costly law suits) who were patiently awaiting our arrival. The Chalet was full until the end of the week, so a good friend of theirs who lived over the road, had kindly offered to accommodate us in her spare ground floor apartment. After many hugs and kisses, which had been saved up for 15 years, we took our luggage to our new home to unpack and get a wash. 24 hours of travelling was starting to take its toll, on me anyway. Jr had found his new wind and was out sliding on a skating rink that doubled as a driveway during the day.
|Our first temporary home|
I made up the Futon on the floor, took a quick shower and headed back over to meet the
Mr La Ruche was in the middle of serving dinner, a four course delight which consisted of (I have my notes for reference) Asparagus Panacotta, Tuscan Chicken, Cheese Board and Lemon and Lime Tarte to finish it off, all washed down with copious amounts of wine. After dinner, he introduced me to their guests. There were 11 adults and 15 children, all one party, and all from Scotland. The realization of what I had let myself in for started to dawn on me as we exchanged good hearted banter. Mr La Ruche would be a hard act to follow.
|Jr and pals|
Legend Jr had already found friends, and my role as parent started to recede, as they welcomed him into their extended family. He would reappear occasionally when he was hungry, or when he needed some help carrying his skis, but most of the next 2 weeks he was fairly self sufficient, thankfully, as I didn't have much time to keep him entertained.
Jr woke at 4am and kissed me on the cheek. "Daddy............" No response. "Daddy.......I can't sleep any more." Still no response. "DADDY...... I need the toilet, where is it?" This got my attention, as I rolled off the futon and banged my head against a chair which I had moved near the bed so I had somewhere handy to put my alarm clock on. It took me a little while to get my bearings, as Jr hopped from foot to foot. "Hurry Daddy, I'm going to BURST."
I was vaguely aware of a little body shooting past me as I found the light switch and looked at my watch.
Jesus, this was going to be a long day.
We watched French cartoons in silence because I couldn't get the remote to work. After this got boring, we read for a while and I answered all his questions he had about why we were here and what we were going to be doing, all the while snuggled up in our warm duvet. It was bliss.
We met Mr La Ruche at 7.15 just outside of the chalet so he could take me to the Boulangerie and introduce me to the owner. I would be strolling up here every morning in the silence of a sleeping ski village, the quiet broken only by the avalanche blasting and the occasional passing figure huddled up against the cold.
I had one day in the Kitchen with Mr La Ruche, before he headed into hospital for his prostate operation. We had a lot to catch up on, so we did as much yapping as we did work, a point not missed by Mrs La Ruche, who's work load was about to increase dramatically.
The first day I was left on my own, I woke up at 3.15am. I had forgotten to pre soak the porridge, as instructed, so a trudged across the road to the chalet to rectify the problem. I went back to bed for a bit more shuteye, and woke up at 7.15am.
Shit, shit, shit. I was going to be late for my first morning. I bundled Jr up and shot across the road, doing impersonations of Bambi on ice on a very slippery drive, and just managed to get him dressed and up to the Boulangerie in time to pick up the bread before the 1st guest came downstairs.
Porridge on... Check.
Coffee brewed, Juice out of the fridge, butter, jams, ........Check.
"Good morning Wally, Sleep OK? The kids will be down in a wee while. Any chance of some Porridge?"
I gave Lorna her porridge, and had just poured myself a coffee, when I heard what would be my morning wake up call for the rest of the stay.
15 hungry and boisterous children + Jr can make an awful lot of noise, not to mention mess.
By the time breakfast was over, I was slumped in a chair by the door wondering if it was too late to escape. It was going to be a long 2 weeks.
I did the shopping down at Carrefour, 2 days a week. It is an interesting shop, or maybe just an indication of day to day life in rural France. The clothing, furniture and house furnishings all looked like something you would get at Woolworths, but the food section was like Fortnum and Mason, especially the deli. Pastry encrusted Terrines of Duck or Salmon, wonderful Salad Composées and Saucissons of every variety lay side by side, and the cheeses.... oh the cheeses, many of which are banned in the USA. Apparently they might harm us. We can buy AK 47s without too much trouble, but not un-pasteurized cheese? WTF.
I had imagined that I would blog all of the food I made, as I prepared to come over to France. However, I had not taken into account the amount of work it would take.
I wasn't even close.
|He was in awe of the sheer scale of the skiing|
I did have a few hours off in the afternoon, but these were taken up with getting Jr up and running on his skis (Except for one afternoon which is recorded here http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1550213239021072844#editor/target=post;postID=7873447427906095834 )
By the time I finished at night, it was all I could do to get to my bed,
|I know I left it here somewhere last night|
|What a great crew. Cheers Nori|
The second week, was much the same as the first. Lovely guests, friends for Jr, and long days in the kitchen. Jr joined the ESI (International French Ski School) and is now the proud owner of his bronze badge. I got to ski with my God Daughter on the last day, or should I say I got to see her back disappearing into the distance. She is a very beautiful and talented young lady (so is her sister) and I'm glad I got this chance to connect after all these years.
|The lovely Genevieve|
I learned a lot, including not filling the Tartiflette (Savoie speciality) with too much cream, as it boils over and stinks out the oven until it is cleaned (sorry), don't let the kids food touch on the plates, and don't forget to steep the Porridge.
|Some of this may still be on the oven floor.|
We made it back to Seattle without any incident. Mr La Ruche has had a successful operation and is back in charge of his domain, and Mrs La Ruche is probably needing a holiday right now.
We miss you and hope it will not be another 15 years before I get a chance to burn your oven.......