Monday, January 08, 2007


This morning I now know that Christmas and New Year are definitely over, for the following reasons:

1. The changeling and I were up at 5.30 this morning as school restarts.

2. I have reinstalled my 'office' on the dining room table.

3. I have a pile of sheets, towels and duvet covers as high as the Swiss Alps to wash.

4. The dining room table has some shrivelling tangerines lurking, a few lychees, and left-overs of a basket of dried fruit.

5. I took down the Christmas cards, but haven't the heart to dismantle the tree which has held up well outside, despite onslaughts from the cat.

6. I paid my outstanding bills but fear to look at my latest bank statement.

7. There is a distinctly nasty smell coming from my fridge as things got pushed further and further to the back during the holidays - heaven knows what I shall discover!

8. I'm sure my dish-washer heaved a sigh of relief when I emptied it this morning.

9. I have an empty bottle mountain outside the door which must get the postman wondering, so time to sneak off to the bottle bank and dispose of them.

10. Angus is sulking in a corner as his chum 'Reglisse' has gone back to France.

11. Cat number 2 has come home as Reglisse has gone!

12. and finally, it's QUIET! The road outside the house has returned to normal after two weeks of pretending it was the M4 in the rush hour, the free buses that go round the village all day are practically empty so you can travel in safety without being knocked out by a pair of skis, stabbed by poles or stamped on by ski boots and so now I shall quietly clear up, throw away mouldy food, wash and iron, put away all the extra pairs of skis that the children recover from 'les poubelles' and get ready for Brother Number 2 who arrives in five weeks' time with his family!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


What do you think of the Ashley Treatment that has been in the news over the last couple of days?

My first reaction on reading the article in the Telly was yuck ... how sick can you get, stunting a childs' growth on purpose so that she remains small and light enough to carry around and handle.

However, I then went onto the blog set up by her parents which relates what they have done and how they went about it, and admit to changing my mind after reading it. The blog is clear, concise, intelligent and written by a couple who obviously have their daughters' welfare at heart and seems to me to be a very sensible solution to such a dramatic situation.

In such cases, one cannot even vaguely imagine how peoples lives must be turned upside down caring for a child who will never inter-react with the world. It must truly be heartbreaking and reading about such cicumstances makes me thank God that I have two healthy children.

If you haven't read the blog, do so...

The link to the blog is

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


It has now been snowing heavily for the past 48 hours and here in the village we have a metre of fresh snow. Getting around is becoming increasingly difficult as the council send out armies of snow ploughs to clear the roads, followed by the little trucks that whoosh salt everywhere. Every 100 metres there is an enormous mountain of snow on the road left by the snow plough which is then disposed of by yet another machine that sucks up the snow and spits it into a huge truck following it - you will have to excuse my vagueness regarding the names of all these machines - I should ask the child but he is still asleep trying to recover from being unpaid ski-instructor to our visitors! Yesterday morning I spent an hour and a half freeing the car from its woolly white coat and clearing the drive - the rather unpleasant next-door neighbour (Swiss German) stood and watched me with a smirk on his face as the private contractor he uses came and cleared his drive in 3 seconds, but I felt very righteous afterwards thinking of all the exercise I'd had, working off the Christmas excess and giving my poor old lungs a hefty dose of fresh air!

My poor little chalet is bursting at the seams with visitors and all that this entails living in a ski resort - getting to the front door is now a major obstacle course with seven pairs of skis and poles trying to remain upright, the boiler room is full of ski boots and I can no longer get to the washing machine and tumble dryer and the hall is full of hats, bonnets, enormous anoraks (everyone seems to have brought 2 with them), various boots, shoes, slippers etc.

My ex arrived on the 28th, full of cold and feeling awful - so was dosed up with homeopathic medicine and sent off to bed to recover (I'm sure his wife makes sure he gets a cold before sending him to me...miaouw!), but he was excused as he arrived laden with wine and loads of homemade terrines. Also he was very valiant and came food shopping with me for New Year, so I forgive him. My other visitors arrived very, very late at night on the 30th - M + E, their daughter A who is the same age as Pierre and is her 'adopted' brother, a great friend M-C and the family dog, a King Charles who has a snore greater than that of my ex (and that is saying something!).

We had a lovely New Year's Eve feast here with far too much 'fruits de mer' and loads and loads and loads of champagne. Just before midnight the four under 25's went off to the town centre to see in the New Year and meet up with their friends, whilst we 'oldies' stayed here. And boy! was it worth it - from 11pm there were fireworks going off everywhere and once the excitement had died down after midnight the town put on their display which lasted for an hour and a half! I'm not really a great fan of fireworks but this was definitely something else. The weather was very mild, as the snow hadn't yet started to fall, so we were all in the street outside the chalet getting stiff necks; the kids were shoulder to shoulder in the town centre and didn't see the display - for one thing they couldn't move and also were busy avoiding the champagne-swilling Eurotrash who were busy throwing empty champagne bottles around - by 1am you are ankle-deep in broken glass in the town centre. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? The municipality even cut down the Christmas tree on the main square during the afternoon of the 31st to stop people climbing up it - although it is securely fixed, it is not strong enough to support those who decide they MUST climb up it.

The New Year celebrations have been very special to us this year as M has terminal cancer and in my heart of hearts I feel that this might well be his last New Year, so it was marvellous that we had a front row view for the fireworks and that the village is now covered in snow and looking its best. However there is no sadness or embarassement or whatever - we go on as normal, although M seems to have an okay day and then the following day is tired and retires to the sofa. His wife is a doctor so organises all his pills and injections, so apart from a trip to the surgery yesterday to get a blood test done, things are pretty 'normal'. M had a negative day yesterday, so we hope that today will see him 'en forme' and ready to do a bit of skiing with the others - we shall see...

To finish on a lighter note, my little friend Angus, who is a St. Bernard at heart, has had to curtail his outdoor activities until the snow hardens up a bit as he now totally disappears in the fresh snow and is stuck to the path I have cleared to the car and the logs for the fire. Cat number 2 has decided he is not going out at all and apart from the essentials, has now taken up residence on my bed!