Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Legend goes walkabout (Part One)


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.

 
When we told Jr that he was going to France, he informed us that he had always wanted wanted to go and see the Eiffel Tower. We had no idea we had such a well informed son with such interesting ambitions, so we made sure it was on the Agenda.

 
We flew into Paris and took the opportunity of a 6 hour lay over to take the train into the center. We hadn't slept on the flight, so we were both a tad tired, but excited non the less to go on our little adventure. His teacher had created a little packet of math questions about the tower and had asked him to keep a journal of his travels.

"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.
 
I turned to my son with the air of a man vindicated in his abilities to navigate in a large city, and was just about to blow him a few raspberries, when he looked my square in the eye and said, " Luck, pure luck."
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.

 
 By the time I got to the first level, Jr was already finished and was wanting to go back down to find a bathroom. I took a quick photo, then trudged back down as his little body disappeared from sight.


"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.

13 comments:

  1. bon jour, mon amis. can't wait for the next installment of your adventures. no matter how challenged or exhausted, don't forget to write!

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  2. Legend I've been wondering what you've been up to. Thanks for posting, you must still be tired, I'd have a heart attack if I thought I lost one of my rascals at the Eiffel Tower, especially after climbing those stairs, which I did in October by the way though I did not have carry-on luggage and I'd had champagne for bravery at lunch. But it was tougher for me on account of my high heels, I'm sure you can imagine.
    So have you been cooking up a storm for those ski families? Is Legend Jr. pretty much running the place by now?
    Be safe and keep an eye on that youngster.

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    1. Hi Dani, I totally underestimated the amount of work. I had no time to blog about the food, so I will be reconstructing some of the dishes this week. Alex did take over the place, surprise surprise.

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  3. Helping a friend, expanding the youngsters horizons. Can't wait to hear what's next. I sense some raclette and fondue in your future. Those darn slopes stink of cheese.

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    1. Tartiflette (roblochon cheese) when it bakes over the dish stinks to high heaven too.

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  4. Looking forward to reading the next installment Wally! They are little buggers for wandering off and leaving you, the parent in charge, frantic with worry!

    Ali x

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    1. It's a good job my wife doesn't read these, or I'd be in BIG trouble.

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  5. oh my....there's me going on and on to anyone who'll listen about wanting to go live in Paris and you're there.....spooky!!!!

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    1. Only briefly, but I did get to have a Pastis in a swanky restaurant before we caught the flight out.

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  6. May I say, for all the fright and worry thrown upon you by Jr, he looks absolutely angelic when asleep.....♥

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    1. That he is. Butter wouldn't melt, and all that.

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  7. Hi Wally, gosh you have been busy, how exciting! How lovely for Junior to have this great adventure, now off to read the next installlment xx

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