10 January 2009

Turn, turn, turn

Tea and coffee are made, the porridge is on the hob and it's getting light, so time to blog.  Outside it is -2.4 degrees, and it was probably a great deal colder in the night, when to overcome the effect of the underfloor heating we had to open windows as wide as they would go.  This is what climate change is all about.

I am not at home, close to what was recently the coldest place in Britain (RAF Benson), at minus 12, but high(ish) in the French Alps.  Here the economy depends on snow, without which the oligarchs would stay in Russia, or colonise somewhere else, but global warming probably means that existing ski resorts have a finite, if still fairly lengthy, shelf life.  That makes it particularly confusing when you find that the living quarters are heated so much, and with so little individual control, that the climate has to be regulated by opening the windows all night ...  and how to explain those ridiculous patio heaters that stand outside the most expensive (€1000 plus per night) hotels?

High in the French Alps is where the signs are in Russian.  Highish is where English is the lingua franca.  I have had some difficulty getting French people to speak French to me (not entirely easy to find French people at all), though perhaps my attempts caused offence.  I have used  my smattering of Russian even less: I thanked someone who moved over to let me out of a télécabine yesterday, but I don't know the Russian for "oy, mate, wait your turn!" or "hey, don't push in!".  I thought everyone - nearly everyone - from the Eastern Bloc knew only too well how to queue: perhaps this is a generation that has grown up since queues were made redundant by market forces, or if they were old enough they only ever saw queues as they were driven past in the Zil lanes ...  if they can engage in such conspicuous consumption, they probably don't know about queuing anyway.  They simply walk over whoever gets in the way - my feeling, certainly, when a Russian decided  he wished to get on a ski lift before me.  Best not to generalise about Russians, though ... or oligarchs.

An exhilerating day skiing yesterday, the highlight being a new speed record.  I am sure I will be able to get Garmin to validate my submission to the Guinness Book of Records (as it is no longer called).  A fairly impressive 6,163.5 mph.  I am particularly proud of the decimals.  The technology, of course, cannot lie.

Apart from that, I seem to be getting the knack of changing direction, though Tor and I balked at descending the steep run to our apartment yesterday afternoon - we had aimed for a less demanding route, only to find a "piste fermé" sign preventing us from leaving the piste we didn't want to do again ... so we walked it ...

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