Oh dear. It’s been ages, hasn’t it? Over a month in fact, since my last post. And it was going so well! (But don’t say I didn’t warn you – quote: “Not sure how long the blog will last (I was never very good at Dear Diary when I was younger…) and I’m sure it won’t be that interesting, but here goes!”.)
So, I hope you all missed me?! My inbox has been inundated with concerned inquiries about where I might be and when I’m going to start blogging again (ahem). So I’m feeling a bit of pressure here – perhaps you’re all expecting stories about how I’ve been wrestling wild wolves in the mountains; or how I’ve been lost in 2 metre-high snowdrifts having trekked back from the chocolate shop in a snowstorm; or how I’ve been cross-country ski-ing my way through the Alps with just a baguette in my bag and a baby on my back.
Sorry. Nothing so exciting has been keeping me from my updates. I’ve just lost the habit. And not much has been going on really, so the habit stayed lost. And when something interesting did happen I was usually up to my neck in pooey nappies or snotty tissues and so never found the time to write.
So I’ve decided to do a “Top 5 things that have happened in Alpine Mummy’s life over the last two months” post. Catchy title, no?
So, here you are, pop-pickers, in at number 5:
Number 5: An uneventful sledge ride
The snow comes and goes – it hasn’t ever completely disappeared but we get down to about a centimetre every now and then. I take those opportunities to go walking, as it’s the only time we can head up mountains without wading knee-deep in powder (I don’t have snow shoes yet).
And we’ve discovered the best way to get a four-year old up a mountain when he doesn’t really want to walk – the sledge. He walks most of the way but when he gets tired me and Alpine Papa take it in turns to pull him on the sledge (or I do it myself if I’m on my own, because that’s the kind of hard-core lady I am these days…). Then, on the return journey, Alpine Boy and Alpine Papa get in the sledge and slide their way down the mountain. Leaving me to walk down the slippery path all on my own. With a baby strapped to my back. Terrified that they’re going to slide right of the edge of the mountain. Or into a tree. Great.
The first time we did it I was already writing a blog post in my head – describing the day Alpine Boy and Alpine Papa slid off a cliff into oblivion, leaving me alone on the mountainside to call the helicopters. But it was fine. Of course. Happily for me, if not for my blog-writing career, the ride down was boring and uneventful (for me at least – the boys had a whale of a time and their screams of laughter could be heard miles away). I won’t be sitting in the driving seat of that sledge any time soon though.
Number 4: A (tooth) crackin’ Christmas
You couldn’t say our Christmas was perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. I did briefly think about trying to organise the perfect Christmas, but this was only a week before the event – when I hadn’t yet prepared anything for the big day (including most Christmas presents; thank goodness for Amazon Prime…), when the entire family (including my brother who was here for a relaxing holiday) had come down with some kind of gastric flu, and when most of my days were spent shoveling snow off the driveway. So that was never going to happen.
But I did go for the best Christmas I could. Don’t get me wrong – I had an amazing day. We had a HUGE bottle of red wine and lots of gin (not mixed together mind), and so it was never going to be a total disaster. Not sure what our guests thought though – to be honest they probably weren’t quite so impressed with the cat hair that ended up in my brother-in-law’s canapés (he’s allergic to cats), or the almond that was in my-brother-in-law’s starter (he’s allergic to nuts), or the raw capon we nearly served (it was fine in the end – we just had longer to let our starters go down while we waited, and waited, and waited, for the bird to cook), or the chocolate log that looked like, well, a turd. Sorry.
On top of that we had two babies in the house who chose Christmas to prove that they could survive on three hours’ sleep. Between them. And my brother-in-law broke a crown on a Carambar (very chewy French sweet – not to be eaten over the age of 30 due to the possibility of tooth-related disasters). And the next day I cracked a tooth on a Carambar (I didn’t learn my lesson from my brother-in-law). And Alpine Boy got diaorrhea on a day trip into town. And it was barely even a white Christmas despite the ton of snow that had been there only two weeks before and despite my nosy neighbour’s assurances that we wouldn’t see the grass until March (note to self – don’t listen to old people who say they can predict what the weather’s going to do over the next few months. They don’t have a clue. That’s why they’re not presenting the weather on TV.).
And the list goes on. But like I said, I had a great time. Mainly because that huge bottle of wine was consumed almost single-handedly by yours truly. Hic.
Number 3: A less disastrous New Year
New Year was slightly less chaotic. Only slightly, mind. We had friends from England over, who were the latest in a non-stop stream of guests (we’d had two guest-free days since November and, instead of doing the sensible thing and preparing the house for our next guests during those days, we just went to stay with friends. And went skiing. Of course).
By the time they came, I’d given up trying to maintain the myth that I keep a perfect tidy house, and so they saw my true colours. They had clean sheets and towels, but that was about it. I was late picking them up from the airport. The house was a tip. Our air mattresses all deflated in the middle of the night (I think it’s probably because we’d kept them in the garage and they didn’t take too kindly to the sub-zero temperatures in there) and so they had to share beds and sleep on the sofas. Alpine Girl still wasn’t sleeping more than four hours in a row, and seemed to take great pleasure in waking the whole house up at 2am and 6am with her screaming (apparently she didn’t like being in our room for two months – the day we put her back in her own room when our guests went home she slept for hours and hours and I thought she was dead).
But other than that (!) it was great – one of our visitors doesn’t like the cold so she was pleased that we’d arranged such clement weather for her. The other two loved skiing so they were pleased that we could all go up to the ski resort behind our house to blow away the hangovers on New Year’s Day (even though at least one of the lifts actually closed for lunch. How French). We had raclette and wine on New Year’s Eve, and Skyped our friend who lives far, far away in deepest darkest Berlin and whom we miss very much (no word of a lie: she was watching David Hasselhoff on TV. How German). And we went for brisk walks and read books in front of the fire and drank a lot of tea. Who needs all night raves to see in the new year? Pass the cocoa, please.
Number 2: The chocolate shop was finally open!
I went for a walk with Alpine Boy and Alpine Girl at the beginning of January, not daring to bribe Alpine Boy (the usual way I get him walking) with the promise of a whole chocolate shop. Chances were it would be closed again, or no-one there, and I couldn’t deal with a small boy’s broken hopes (or mine, for that matter).
But, like a mirage at the end of a long walk, there it was. The bell tinkled joyfully as we stepped into the warm shop, away from the biting wind outside. I glanced around with trepidation. No-one there again, oh no… My heart sunk and Alpine Boy looked at me sadly. He put his small hand in mine and we turned to leave, heads hung low.
But wait! The bell tinkled again and a little elf peeked her pointy features through the door. With a cheeky grin and a sprinkle of fairy dust (or maybe I imagined that bit), she informed us that “Papy” was on his way. I half expected her Papy to be Father Christmas (who else would have his pixie grandchildren hanging round a chocolate shop?), but no: he was a little bald man dressed all in white, with twinkly eyes and an infectious smile (hey, maybe it was Father Christmas in mufti, who knows…).
And it was well worth the wait, this chocolate shop. I finally chose a slab of beautifully dark chocolate, fresh from the mould, with hidden gems of crystallised orange inside. Alpine Boy was so happy with his chocolate lollipop, and spent ages debating whether to get one with a heart on, or a train, or a teddy… And we even got a freebie chocolate ball. We’ll be going back there, that’s for sure.
Number 1: Party time, Gangnam-style
So, two days before Christmas, I organised a four-year old’s birthday party. And invited 12 kids. And survived. Just about.
We did cookie decorating (Alpine Girl getting up at 5.30am had given me plenty of time to thread the cookies so they could be hung on the Christmas tree. In hindsight, that time could have been better spent getting ready for Christmas. See above). And we decorated egg-shells, planting cress inside so it would grow to look like green hair. I didn’t take photos of these so you have to take my word for it that they were, quite simply, brilliant. We did dancing competitions (Gangnam style…), and pass the parcel (Alpine Boy won, but it honestly wasn’t a fix), and musical statues, and musical animals, and limbo dancing, and more dancing. And ate cake (a fantastic Lego cake made by my extra-talented sister – pics to follow when I find some…). And opened
presents. And, after all that, and despite my excellent planning and timetabling, it was still only 5.15, and parents weren’t coming until 6.00pm. Luckily there was snow outside so we could just bundle everyone up and herd them into the garden. The cute girls sang and played nicely together; the naughty boys hit each other with big sticks and got shouted at by Alpine Papa; and the parents drank mulled wine and turned their noses up at my mince pies (if I’d known the French didn’t like mince pies I wouldn’t have wasted my last jar of mincemeat on them…). And then, like a whirlwind, they were gone, leaving a trail of devastation in their path. Alpine Boy is already asking when he can have another party. I’m still recovering, so he might have to wait a while…
And that’s it, the top five recent Alpine Mummy moments. Excuse the epic post – I will try to start writing more regularly again so I don’t have to cram two months’ worth into one port. Can’t promise anything though!