lundi, mars 06, 2006

Who killed the Crow?

Who killed the Crow?

There are times when you come back from a holiday feeling like you need to go on another one in order to get over the one you just had.

We went skiing in the French Alps last week.

We set off on schedule, except that 45 minutes away from Switzerland we discovered that we had forgotten the camera and video camera and decided to return home for them.

Then 5 minutes from the Swiss immigration checkpoint, I suddenly realised that we would be entering Switzerland and Switzerland is another country and I had of course left the children's identity papers at home.

Visions of having to turn back and make a detour through France started to fill me though we sat tight and decided to go on anyway.

A nice shiny red Renault Espace with a good looking couple at its helm and 3 screaming children in the back is the best way to smuggle children across borders. We got across without any problems, relieved but at the same time disturbed at this administrative indifference.

Near Zurich were the Rheinfalls and we decided to eat the Thai pineapple fried rice that I've prepared in its carpark. It was nothing like the Niagara Falls, but you get cold and wet all the same and like my eldest son said, ''Wow, like the Tsunami...''

Not a very sensitive comment, but at least one couldn't say that we do not watch the news with our children. As a matter of fact, the boy in question watched the September 11 attacks on the news when we were living in Spain and for a while, each time we took the plane, he would be making sounds to imitate the planes crashing into the towers...Very nerve-wrecking as one can imagine.

It was while we were thinking of using the pay toilets near the carpark that I realised yet again that I had somehow failed to register the fact that we would be in Switzerland. As such I had not brought along the 150 Swiss Francs that I have been keeping at home for the past 10 years and wondering all the while when I would get to use them...

The rest of the journey was uneventful, though maybe mention should be made that we entered France with no control made of our identity papers either and we were driving in from Switzerland in a German-registered car. And I've read somewhere that Germans have been buying kids at the Czeck border...

Flaine is a lovely station in spite of the lack of pretty wooden chalets. Everything's made in concrete there, but so very conveniently-laid out for skiing honestly it doesn't matter.

We had chosen to stay in a hotel where you get 3 meals a day, childcare for the baby and kids' clubs for the older children within the premises, and ferrying to and from ski classes all taken care of by the staff.

That left me with time to concentrate on learning how to ski and getting all nervous about it. I mean at 33 you start to get a pretty good idea of what you are good at and I know that physical activity and sports in general do not agree with me. But I still went ahead with it I guess with some hope that a miracle could happen and that I should discover quite suddenly that I had some hidden talent for skiing and should be representing Singapore in Torino and not falling down every few metres in Flaine.

Which was of course quite the resumé of my 6 days on the slopes. But I wish to highlight the fact that I had finished my course, I had slowly and certainly painfully descended green, blue and red slopes, I had braved the snow and wind storms of my last 2 days there and even masochistically continued skiing for another 30 minutes after the end of my course. Riding on the pain. Turning up at the ski-rental shop complaining that their ski shoes caused my big toes to hurt really badly. And the 2 salespersons very unanimously replied that big toes hurt because I must have been skiing in a bad position, leaning too much backwards. Well, so much for hoping for some refund.

And then the trip back to Stuttgart. First we agonised over the trip down the mountains as we didn't have snow chains and did not intend to buy any. We got down fine only to get stuck for hours without end in a gigantic traffic jam between Lausanne and Zurich (and once again we got through immigration faster than you could say ''Thank God''). Our trip was supposed to last 6 hours and we took 17. Along the way, the wind blew, the snow fell, you kept listening to the same news over and over again on the radio you could present it yourself, and then you wondered why you didn't have the foresight to just check yourself into a nice hotel in Lausanne and spend your time eating fondue instead of munching chips in a car going nowhere.

But the best part was coming home. You had like 30cm of snow to remove from your pavement. You decided to unleash your kids in the garden so that they wouldn't get in the way and then just as you were about to do so you noticed a dead crow buried under some snow just at your doorstep.

After all the news you've been fed about bird flu in the 17 hours you had spent in your car, you knew better than to touch the thing. Besides I'm really afraid of dead birds with their head and feathers on. I do not want them to affect my love for roast chicken, I guess.

Anyway, I called the police and got one of them to come over to pick up the carcass. Which in a way was quite fitting. Who killed the crow? The cold, old age, the fat wild neighbourhood cat, the eagles that we see flying past from time to time, my glass door, bird flu?

2 commentaires:

Debz a dit…

The marvellous Mrs Elspeth Smith. She isn't the same marvellous Elspeth Smith who used to teach at a high school in Scotland, is she?

Beau Lotus a dit…

I think Elspeth and Smith must be pretty common in Scotland, no?

But if by any chance it's the same Elspeth Smith (she's tall, slim, sort of blond and has a great sense of humour) and you know where she is today, I would be grateful to be able to contact her again!