05 January 2009

Seven Sore Bruises

In Courchevel for a few days' skiing, starting yesterday afternoon, and
I am already pretty battered. I took a spectacular tumble on my fourth
or fifth run of the day, just after mentally congratulating myself on
not falling over. Naturally, it happened on a very gentle section of a
gentle run, while I was performing the relatively simple manouevre of
going in a straight line. Suddenly I was pitched head-first onto the
piste, losing both skis in the process. Tor and Sarah were behind and
stopped to pick me up again, and I finished that run and then repeated
it, but now I have a very sore and pretty useless thumb, which has
swollen up a bit and turned a strange colour, and a very painful bruise
on my thigh which corresponds to the tin of lip balm I had in my hip
pocket at the time (and which required considerable effort to restore to
something like its original shape). Also a headache, though my family
rejected my claim that I must be concussed.

I have another five bruises to collect before I match the title (from
Audience's last album before they split in the seventies, "Lunch"), but
it's probably only a matter of time. Still, it was gratifying to find
on my second skiing holiday that I had remembered so much of the little
I had learnt last March. It was also gratifying to be greeted by our
instructor from that trip when she saw me and Mel, although the balance
of opinion is that she recognised my extremely un-chic one-piece
ski-suit - an eBay find - rather than either of us. This morning
someone suggested that she recognised the 50+ year old beginner from the
earlier time. More gratifying still was when I told the assistant in
the ski hire shop that I was determined to speak as much French as
possible, and then proceeded to start immediately, she said "bon
accent!". Malhereusement, I thought, pas bon vocabulaire, et grammaire
faible, a statement which probably proves itself. Where does the
adjective go?

I broke my cardinal rule - the first thing to pack when going away is a
pair of running shoes - expecting unsuitable conditions for using them,
but in fact I could run on the roads here quite easily. The problem
would not be snow or ice but Russian oligarchs in Mercedes 500s. At
least I assume that describes the driver who nearly forced us off the
road on the way up here yesterday, impatient to overtake a string of
vehicles along the winding mountain road. And if he nearly forced us
off the road, what he did to the car coming the other way - which almost
had to stop to accomodate him - was even worse. But I did get in a run
on New Year's morning, with my club: I cannot recall seeing a bunch of
Abingdon Amblers wearing so many clothes ever before. Only three or
four of us were displaying any leg: my concessions to the cold were a
long-sleeved top, hat and gloves, and I was quite warm enough after ten
minutes or so.

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