Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tuesday 11 January - a little bit of skiing

We awoke to a much clearer day with all the fog completely gone.  Finally, at last, we could see the tops of the mountains.  Sadly not much snow though.  It looks like we've had more snow in the UK.  I'm not sure my coveted new ski boots will get an airing.

Breakfast, like our meal last night, was huge.  We are so going to need to get some exercise in, and fast, or we're going to go home twice the size we came.  Ian and Carol were again both very attentive and appeared to be overjoyed to be speaking their native tongue once more.  Now, I think we're both fairly sociable beings, and will always seek out friendship and chat, but sometimes, just sometimes, particularly over breakfast when you're still a little bleary and need to gather your thoughts, a little peace and quiet is rather nice.

We left breakfast, like last night, with our heads reeling and feeling a little shell-shocked by the machine gun stream of words hitting us from all directions.

We left the house as fast as we could and drove off down the lane.  In our haste and excitement, we hadn't actually thought through how we were going to spend our day.  It all feels a little weird.  We're not on holiday, so there's not the holiday planning and excitement.  We're here to finalise the house but have nothing to do until our meetings on Wednesday and Thursday and the final signing on Friday.  There's so much we need to do to the house, but can't do anything until Friday.

We are also both being completely consumed with our own thoughts about things to be done, things to check for before signing, how to go about things, what to do, priorities, plotting, planning, concerns, worries, hopes, fears.  Two managers managing one project.  Independently.  Oh dear.

Eventually, we worked out an order, of sorts, for the day and so set about ticking off priority one, which was to find a garage who could swap the damaged wobbly wheel of the beastie with an undamaged, non-wobbly one from the back.  Garage was found and, after much sign language, pointing and gesticulating, we think we booked it in for dropping off this evening with them returning the mended and no longer wobbly beastie to us tomorrow afternoon.  We think.

Priority number two for the day was to have some fun and exercise, clear our heads and calm our nerves.  And so we went skiing.  Fun?  We'll see.  Exercise?  Most definitely.  But good for the spirit?  Time will tell.

As there's very little snow at Passo Lanciano, we decided to drive to Roccaraso at the somewhat higher southern end of the Maiella.  The drive was fantastic.  The stunning views of the mountains and the jumbled, higgledy, piggledy medieval villages tumbling over the hills reminding us of why we are here doing what we're doing.  Abruzzo is a truly widely beautiful place.

Just over an hour later, after climbing up and up we were sitting in the back of the beastie pulling on ski boots, hats, gloves, coats and stomping most inelegantly up to the piste.  (Note to self: take time to practice, secretly in front of a mirror, the impossible art of walking in ski boots.)

Oh boy.  Here we go again.  Jaqs on skis.  Not a pretty sight.  What am I doing?  How can KP look so at home and comfortable whilst I'm moving around like a frog in a blender?  Arms and legs everywhere.  Totally uncoordinated.

First hurdle was negotiating the drag lift and somehow getting to the top of the tiniest of tiny slops.  And getting back down again with dignity and limbs in tact.

Tick.  Did that.  Now do it again.  And again.  And again.

Whilst I played around with my snowploughs and tried (and failed) to project effortless grace, KP went off to play on the higher slopes.

Eventually I got bored enough to push me into joining KP on his next trip on the chair lift to go further up the mountain.

I somehow managed to get scooped up by the lift on its next circuit round (and get off the other end) without being dumped headfirst into the snow.  A good start.  Now all I've got to do is get back down again.  KP is a good and patient teacher but I am probably the worst student ever.  I certainly wouldn't want to teach me.  I don't want to go through the learning process.  I just want to ski.  I'm rubbish at it and I don't like it.  Why can't I just have an expert skier chip uploaded onto my hard drive?

I am enjoying this, honest
Nothing for it though, but to just do it.  So I did it.  I got down.  Slowly and grumbling all the way, but I did it.  And then went round for another go.

By the time we got down the second time, we decided to call it a day.  I secretly resolved to master this damned skill, even if it means taking dry slope lessons at home or, horror of horrors, joining ski here.  And then came the good bit.  Taking off these damned skis and boots, sitting amongst fellow skiers by the open fire of the log cabin and drinking steaming hot chocolate with a great dollop of fresh cream on the top.

We drove  back, changed from our ski wear into wonderfully familiar running gear, drove the beastie down to the garage and ran back.  5km all the way up hill with no respite.  Brilliant.  Comfort zone once more.  No longer frog in a blender.  It felt so good.  I could have positively danced all the way up.  35 minutes later we were at the top both beaming from ear to ear.

A good day, a fun day, despite my moans and groans on the ski slope.  And I managed to get hold of both my girls on the phone.  Wonderful bonus.

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