Here’s a promise…

Esther, Antsje and me at the top of BréventeOK, I will make at least one post a week from now on allowing for computer access. It’s been almost a fortnight since the last post and I am a bad, bad man for keeping you all hanging on tenterhooks. Not that I left a cliffhanger, but I know how you all miss me when I’m not around.

A brief report of the last little while then. The focus of the last week or so has been the visit of Esther and Antsje, two lovely young women from Friesland. That’s the far north of the Netherlands and an area which actually has its own language. Imagine the Dutch version of Wales – they have their own arguments about putting flags on numberplates and recognising their language as well.

I originally met Esther in Darwin where we shared a hostel room twice. She now actually lives in Haarlem on the west coast having moved from Amsterdam where I last saw her. Her visit was my way of repaying her for her kind hospitality on The Walk. Oh, and Harlem in New York is indeed named after Haarlem in the Netherlands. After all, New York was originally New Amsterdam!

The two ladies arrived on the 4th by bus from Geneva. I swear I told them I could collect them from the airport, but the happily made their own 2-hour way top Chamonix where they’d pre-booked skis (yes… skis… *shudder*). They got settled in and I showed them quickly around the town during my split shift. Ski lessons were booked and as I returned to work, they went to pick up their equipment.

Top of the worldOver the following few days I did my best to get out of the office on time. Ish. Not easy but at least I didn’t have to drive to any of the other resorts. The Dutch pait gradually got better at skiing. Esther’s more or less a complete novice having only had a few lessons back home. Antsje has skied before, I believe. This did result in them ending up in different classes, but by the Friday when I caught up with them to take to the slopes it was obvious that Esther’s not a bad learner. Even more improved by the Monday when I had another day off, as she tackled a couple of tough reds up on Flégère. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant on the peak of Brévente. The views were simply stunning.

Also during the week we’d popped out for food on a couple of occasions, as one does when one has visitors of such high standing. OK, I wasn’t too posh the first time as we hit Midnight Express as usual. We joined some of my work cohorts for a meal in Le Caveau another night and experienced some of the worst service ever. This was a crying shame as I’d been telling E & A that, based on my past experience, this was a great place. But being bumped back an hour for our table because they screwed our booking up, then waiting over an hour longer for the food just wasn’t acceptable.

Conversely, on Monday we headed for MBC which has notoriously bad service but half price chicken wings on a Monday. It also has some other great dishes, but I’m a cheapskate so I go for a nice volume:Euro ratio. Lo and behold – wonderful service. The food was superb as well. Antsje had the “appetiser” version of one of their burgers and just about finished it. Esther had crispy duck, and I had 24 chicken wings. And a medium bowl of their cross-hatch cut chips. And a pint.

View from BrévanteWhile I stayed late at work, the girls worked through a few of the films I had on my hard drive. The one night I was back early enough, we watched Kingdom of Heaven, which it turned out they’d seen before but which we all enjoyed. Ridly Scott does it again. I still think Gladiator was a little better but this is certainly worth a couple of hours of your time. In between other things I also finished ploughing through all three seasons of Deadwood. A great series, but one which never got the chance to end properly after being cancelled by HBO before the story’s natural conclusion. A shame, though maybe not for those offended by slightly off-colour language…

As far as I’m aware my Dutch visitors are now back in their respective homes. Their visit coincided with the first snow we’ve had for some time, though it turned to rain just as they were leaving. Hopefully, it’s still snowing higher up and we’re just getting the damper end of things down here.

And this brings us back around to this week.

You may have noticed that I’ve added some photos for the first time in ages. I will try to continue doing this, but it’s a pain with the theme I’m using right now. I’ve had to add new tags to the CSS to get them to stagger left/right, and if I have one complaint about WordPress, it’s the clunky editing interface. I do have a Plugin that changes things to a much superior editor, but this doesn’t work with the file browser so I have to swap back and forth to insert the images into the text.

As I promised. One post a week minimum on here from now till the end of the season.

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