Summer is coming to an end, and I’m starting to panic about quite what it’s going to be like here in November, in the middle of nowhere, in the cold and wet… But, rather than sit at home dwelling on that, I’m rapidly trying to cram as much as possible into these last few days (and hoping that I’m wrong, and summer is going to stick around for a few more weeks yet). Get me, what positivity!
So today and yesterday consisted of me (with Alpine Girl of course – where I go she goes…) trekking up and down as many mountains as possible while Alpine Boy was at school. So that makes two mountains then, let’s not exaggerate. And yesterday wasn’t really a whole mountain, just a bit of one. But hey, who’s counting?
I hadn’t been out for a walk on my own since the murders round the corner, or since the hunting season started at the beginning of the month, so I was slightly concerned, in my townie way, about getting shot. That wouldn’t have been the best end to a pleasant day, really, would it? Alpine Papa laughed at me (a little) when I rang him at work to ask how best to avoid getting shot by hunters when walking in the mountains. “Try to avoid looking like an animal” was his best advice. Thanks.
So, bear costume put away, antlers left at home, and trying not to hop like a rabbit, I set off. My aim was to walk up to a chalet on the mountain behind our house, at about 1750m altitude. The signpost said it would take 1 hour 50 minutes to get up there. I only had two and a half hours to get up and down before I had to pick up Alpine Boy up from school, so I wasn’t sure I’d actually make it (to the top that is – I’m not a bad enough mother to leave my child waiting for hours at the school gates while I finish my mountain jaunts. Not yet anyway. Wait until ski season…).
The sky is still blue, blue, blue here at the moment, and it was about 26°c today – all in all a perfect day for climbing a mountain. I won’t bang on about the amazing scenery (though you should know I was very excited to be able to see Mont Blanc) or the total quiet (still a bit eerie after living in London so long, even though we’ve been here nearly three months now), but rest assured it was great to be out. Alpine Girl slept all the way, and there was no screaming (from me or her). I avoided any hunters (although I could hear shots from time to time, nice). I even made it to the top and back in the allotted two and a half hours (Alpine Mummy 1, signpost 0 – ha!), and still had time to feed Alpine Girl before heading to school for a quick chat with other mummies at the school gate before kicking-out time.
Alpine Boy has been at school a couple of weeks now. I figured that talking to mummies at the school gate is the best way to make friends, so I don’t feel quite so isolated here (did I mention I live in the middle of nowhere…?). I do therefore at least try to make a good impression (not turning up in my pyjamas, brushing my teeth from time to time, etc…), to avoid being typecast as that crazy English lady who keeps cats and has frizzy hair. Until now, things have been going well. I even straightened my hair on the first day of school, but I’ve calmed down since then (and set my standards slightly lower – otherwise I’d never leave the house in less three hours).
I was therefore very proud of having washed and dried my hair this morning – but all that effort was wasted. Picture me, rushing up and down a massive mountain, in 26° heat and blazing sunshine, baby strapped to my front, rucksack strapped to my back (a rucksack full of jumpers and raincoats and water by the way – everyone laughs at me for carrying around about 5kg of coats in my bag which I never seem to use but hey, you never know…), red jumper tired around Alpine Girl (to keep her warm in the wind and warn off all those hunters – deer don’t wear red apparently), red face (ditto), white vest now black with dust, clean hair all greasy and wind swept, cow pats on my shoes. By the time I made it to school I was red, sweaty, smelly and dirty, and certainly not the cool, serene, clean English lady I wished to portray myself as. Oh well, it’s nice to give the locals something to talk about, and it was becoming too difficult to maintain that façade anyway. Next week perhaps I will just pick him up wearing my PJs…