Face Plant

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Well here I am in the French Alps feeling like I have gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson..

Seasoned skiers might assume I have been involved in a lift queue altercation. Such scuffles can break out at any time when the queues are long and cheeky skiers try to push their way to the front. But in this instance, lift etiquette has been exemplary.  No I have committed the classic face plant and landed entirely on my nose.

Having spent many happy holidays skiing both on piste and off, I have had my share of mishaps. I have fond memories of bouncing down a mogul field on my head, only ten days after surgery and praying the incision wouldn’t open. Not to mention the time Husband and I ended up at the top of the Tortin in Verbier (one of the steepest and longest mogul fields in the Alps) after only a weeks skiing to our name and it took me all day to get down, crying and swearing the whole way, while sophisticated Swiss skiers whisked past us and eyed us pityingly. But today was entirely due to a rooky error – I forgot to check my bindings.

I was swooping majestically down a very wide but somewhat uneven blue run in poor visibility when suddenly both my skis stopped dead and I ejected face first downhill. I seemed to fly for ages before I landed with a loud crunch on my nose, and lay there writhing in pain.

It is always so embarrassing when friends or well wishers rush up and ask you if you are alright when all you can do is roll around in agony and say “give me a minute”.  Husband was 20 metres downhill and had witnessed my flight and landing and said admiringly ” Wow you really landed hard, I felt the ground shake!” (Note to self, weightloss is definitely on the New Years Resolution list).

Instantly all our friends rallied round fetching  my skis which were still neatly side by side pointing downhill, assuring me that my nose didn’t resemble a squashed tomato and feeding me a painkiller strong enough to knock out a horse. I then followed Husband gingerly down the slope and decided that our lunch stop would be a little earlier than usual today.

So here I am sitting infront of the fire feeling a little battered while Husband is getting my bindings cranked up. This afternoon I am going to stay inside, nurse my aches and pains and put ice on my nose which is not quite as small and narrow as it usually is.

Outside snow is gently falling and I know that tomorrow morning black eyes or not, the fresh powder will call and I will hurtle down the mountain again (with my bindings on a much higher setting).

Christmas is Coming!!


Teenage Son and Daughter are back home for the holidays and it is time for the traditional decorating of the Christmas Tree.  This always follows a set format from which any deviation is strictly frowned upon.  It normally happens on a Saturday a couple of weeks before Christmas, after an alcohol infused lunch.   Husband  snoozes infront of the fire while pretending to watch Rugby or football.  The rest of us drag in the Christmas Tree which has spent all year waiting in a pot in the garden for this day to come around again.  It is the fourth year it has been manhandled through the living room windows and it has grown a lot taller and is much balder than it was when we first got it, (unlike most of us who seem to shrink and become more hirsute).

There is then a heated discussion about which side of the tree should face into the room to hide the particularly bald branches and after much pushing and adjusting, it is deemed fit to be decorated.  All members of the household (who are not gently snoring), dive into the enormous cardboard box which holds the decorations and pull out glass baubles, tinsel, Christmas lights and various haphazard decorations including a very rude Father Christmas bought at a street market (guaranteed to shock Granny) and the decorating begins.  The baubles are hung first while the cats sit mesmerised, working out the quickest way to scale the tree and cause havoc.  Then the tinsel is gently wound through the branches  accompanied by the sound of falling pine needles.

At this point in the proceedings, Husband is usually woken and asked to climb to the top of the stepladder and drape the lights around the tree and wedge the Christmas Angel on the top branch.  The Angel was made years ago by Teenage Daughter in nursery school out of a loo roll and a polystyrene ball with wisps of tinsel for hair. She has the permanently shocked expression of someone who has a large Christmas tree rudely shoved up their dress every Yuletide.  This year, however, Husband was snoring so loudly that it was decided that Teenage Daughter should scale the ladder as she is the second tallest in the family and she was neither semi comatose nor full of  Rioja.  After much teetering and cries to Teenage Son to get off his phone and steady the ladder, she managed to grab the top branch of the tree and pull it towards her (the cats began to fidget, anticipating the opportunity to chase any baubles that might be dislodged) and ram the Angel unceremoniously onto the top of the tree.   The lights were draped around the tree with more needles showering down around us and switched on.  And the decoration was complete.

The cats are now attempting to put the finishing touches to the tree by playfully batting the ornaments and chasing each other up and down the trunk.  It looks even balder and more haphazard than usual but I wouldn´t have it any other way.

The Best way to Keep up with Social Media


I like to think that I am not doing too badly when it comes to keeping up with technology and social media.  I use my computer every day, have a Facebook page (admittedly I don´t do much with it) have joined Twitter (I haven´t tweeted yet, what would I say and frankly who would care?) and I even have Instagram, but it is dawning on me that I am way behind the game.

There is a technical and social media spectrum and I am not where I would like to be.  One end starts with my inlaws who have a computer but are terrified of all communication by email.  They also own a mobile phone but don´t turn it on incase someone rings them and it runs out of battery.  At the other end there are Teenage Son and Daughter who no longer SMS  their friends but send strange contorted selfies on Snapchat.  When I asked Son why he hadn´t been on Facebook for weeks, he replied ¨Thats so old, now everyone is on Tumblr¨.  As a friend of mine asked, ¨What the hell is Tumblr?  I thought I put my gin and tonic in one.¨  So as you can see there is certainly ground to make up.  I can at least take consolation from the fact that I am not as bad as that same friend who when buying an alarm clock, put it to her ear and asked why it wasn´t ticking.  ¨It´s digital Mum¨sighed her son with a monumental eyeroll.

It is therefore ironic that the least technical member of the household is the first to get the iphone 6.  Husband has been a staunch advocate of Blackberry and has had an array of basic plastic devices which have struggled to do more than send the odd email and act as a phone.  Enter the new iphone 6.  It took a couple of hours before he realised it wasn´t necessary to either viciously slap it or prod heavily at the screen in order to switch between icons or emails.  He is now at the stage of brandishing it to anyone who will listen and say, ¨Do you realise how easy it is to use?¨  The rest of the houshold (who have much older versions of iphone and are suffering fits of jealousy)  smile and nod with gritted teeth.  Infact Teenage Son and Daughter keep feverishly looking up their phone upgrade dates in the vain hope that they will somehow miraculously move forward.

So while I can usually help Husband with connectivity issues and setting up the printer, I think I will start taking lessons from the younger members of the family to get me up to speed on subjects such as widgets (sounds like something you get from poor personal hygiene) and how to use Flickr.  Once I point out that I am far less likely to embarrass them if I know what I am talking about, I am sure they will help.  If not,  then the words ¨Early updates¨are bound to do the trick.




Competitive Personal Training




It is hard enough turning up for my weekly personal training session, anticipating the pain and humiliation that will follow, but now I have identified a new concern – Competitive Personal Training.  Now you might think this would occur between the clients being trained and to be honest, I am as competitive as the next person,  but no.  I have noticed that there is a disturbing competition between trainers.   The idea being that the more advanced exercises their client can survive, the better it reflects on them.

My last session started benignly enough with the usual rolling around using foam cylinders on the buttocks to help with any stiffness (if you read my earlier post, you will understand why) and  then a gentle warmup.  Enter two more trainers with their clients. One was a lady of around my age and fitness and the other was a young, slim woman who looked about twenty five.  The older lady was asked to lie on a mat and lift her legs gently in different directions and take long rests between sets of repetitions.  The younger one was quickly set a punishing warmup.  As she began a long and complicated set of lunges, my trainer who was handing me a kettlebell, snatched it back and watching her out of the corner of his eye  devised  some very similar lunges for me as well, instead of the kettlebell lifts I had been expecting.

Bright red, and with my legs trembling, I got through those and was looking enviously at the lady on the mat (she had not changed colour and was admiring her manicure), when the young women was instructed to jump up onto a high box from a standing start.  She managed it with apparent ease and her trainer looked around the gym as if to say ¨look what my client can do¨.  My own delightful taskmaster looked at me speculatively and then dragged over a smaller box and indicated that I should attempt the same feat.  After a couple of humiliating tries where I either bottled out or tripped and landed on my knees on the box, he sighed and suggested that I step up instead.

Meanwhile, the young women had been hoisted up to a high beam to do some assisted chin ups with her own trainer helping by pushing on her heels from below.  My trainer´s eyes narrowed,  and he looked from me to the beam.  I stared at him incredulously and said ¨Seriously?¨.

¨ You can do that with your eyes closed¨ he replied and grabbed me around the waist to lift me up to the bar.  I squawked and  having grabbed the bar, hung there like a sloth.  ¨Right, now do a chin up and I will help¨ he said.  There was a long moment when I pulled up and he pushed and we got absolutely nowhere and then my fingers started to slip.

¨I can’t hold on¨ I warned.  He ignored me and continued pushing up against my heels.  Meanwhile the young woman had lightly jumped down and after a smug glance from her trainer moved on to some crunches.  At that moment, my fingers lost their grip and I hurtled down landing ignominiously on top of my trainer. As we picked ourselves up, I noticed the lady on the mat was lying on her stomach being gently stretched and discussing her plans for the weekend.  Finally my trainer glanced in her direction.

¨We will do some core work when the rehabilitation client is finished¨ he said.  ¨What happened to her?¨ I asked.  ¨She hurt herself training¨was the reply.

Frankly, feigning injury might be the way forward…