Several weeks ago, I received a text from a very good friend who I had not seen in 15 years. I am his youngest daughter's God Father, so we are quite close emotionally, but distant geographically, hence the no-see situation. His Prostate problems had escalated into a sudden need to have it removed, which might not have been too much of an issue if he had a normal job, but he and his wife had bought a ski chalet many years ago. As the sole operators, removing him for a week or two would have been problematic, especially as he is the Chef. They are always booked in the winter months on account of their location (Les Carroz) and the fact that they offer supreme value. They specialize in catering for families and make it easy for parents to enjoy their holiday too.
Anyhoo, he texted me to ask if I could come over for a week or two and chef for him, on account of me doing nothing (his words) at the moment. I couldn't say no, but I had to ask Mrs Legend first.
She said, "You've got to go," so I texted him back and asked him to give me the dates. My wife also suggested that I take Legend Jr, as it would be too good of an opportunity not to miss.
I booked the flights, and a week later, we found ourselves on a Delta flight to Geneva.
"No problem," I assured her, "we'll have lots of spare time to carry this out."
We surfaced from the underground in a square, surrounded by tall buildings. Very elegant and historic buildings they were, but non of them looked anything like a tower. As I spun round in circles, trying to see the tower that was supposed to be there, I became aware of a little hand pulling at my jacket.
"You've got us lost Daddy. I knew this was going to happen." Spurred on by his confidence in my ability to get lost, I dragged him down one street and then another, until finally we turned a corner, and there it was.
It is amazing. We stood next to one of the pillars with an elevator. Hmm, it looks pretty quiet, I thought, until I noticed the closed sign on the fence.
Pillar A was fermé.
Pillar C was not fermé, but it was surrounded by half of the population of Japan. As we only had six hours to spend, we decided to go over to pillar D which had the staircase, and as a result, was much less crowded. We paid our entrance fee and started to climb the steps. I was weighed down by our carry on luggage, so it wasn't long before I was gasping for air like a climber at the top of Everest.
"Don't you two get separated now," said Mrs legend, as we left her with the car at the airport. "Don't worry," I replied, "He will be safe with me."
I could hear these words throbbing in my ear as I tried to catch up with the little bugger, but he was too fast. When I eventually got back to the ground level, wheezing like an old bellows, he was no where in sight. As I stood there weighing my options (Join the foreign legion, embrace monastic life, emigrate to Iceland), I heard a gentle voice behind me asking if I was Monsieur Bell. I turned to face a tall young Gendarme who informed me that he had taken my son to the bathroom and had promised him he would find me. I thanked him and then asked him if he would take me back to the station now and book me in for assault, as I was going to crucify the little sod when I saw him next.
He pointed me in the direction of the toilet, and wished me luck.
We made it back to the airport in one piece, or at least Jr did. I think I may have lost a few pounds. He fell asleep on the train, and I had to carry him through check in and on to the plane for our final leg of the trip to Geneva. He isn't getting any lighter.
More of this story to follow.