Whose Idea Was This, Anyway?

If you are reading this, it’s a minor miracle. On so many levels.

I have promised my friend Harriet that I will post an entry to this blog every Sunday for an entire year. That’s 52 entries, because I am not counting leap years. And so I got up early on both Christmas and New Year’s Day and managed to get something off.

Ok, it wasn’t War and Peace, but it wasn’t claiming to be. The point is, it was there. But, I fear I may hit the wall this week.

I mean that literally.

I am going skiing. 

In fact, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I am typing this, using two fingers, onto my iphone while sitting in gondola going up the side of a mountain, a very big mountain, somewhere in France. The snowy part of France.

It seemed like such a good idea when I booked the trip, in August. I thought it would be a nice end to the festive holidays. It would be a great way to spend some time with the family before we all got stuck back in to our normal lives. It would be fun.

I did not consider the fact that the week after New Year’s is not the best one to pick if you are going to be hurling yourself down an Alp. No, I am definitely quite a bit heavier than I was when I had to put my weight down for the ski rental. I also had to sit down this morning to tie my shoes because, after weeks of sitting on the sofa watching old movies and scoffing new wine, I am a tad less fit and flexible than I normally am. And, it’s a lot colder now than it was in August.

What was I thinking? Ok, I already told you what I was thinking. The real question is, why was I thinking it?

I have literally no idea what the answer to that question is. But, I can tell you what I am thinking now…HELLLPPPP.

The children have sworn to me that we are heading towards a red run, but I am seriously beginning to have my doubts. It looks insanely steep, and those people going down it just do not look like my kind of people. For one thing, they seem to be going almost straight downhill. For another, they are keeping their skis very close to each other. And, the final giveaway, they aren’t falling down. This is not good.

As my life flashes before me, it keeps getting stuck at Greek Peaks. That’s where the trouble started. I learned to ski there, while at university in northern New York state. The funny part is that until this week, it never occurred to me that that was a ridiculous name for a ski resort in New York, or anywhere else for that matter. But, it was near Ithaca so I guess they had a theme-thing going on. 

My ski instructor tried to teach me three things:

1.  Falling is fun.

2.  Moguls are easy.

3.  We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

The first two points were out-and-out lies and, having lived in England since then, I suspect the third one was not original. It was, however, also a lie. We had a lot to fear-  falling, moguls, other skiers, ice patches, trees, hypothermia. I could go on forever but this gondola won’t so you can just fill in the rest of the list for yourselves.

The problem as I see it from my present perspective, isn’t how inappropriate a name Greek Peaks is, or how mendacious the ski instructor was, or how far away all that is. No, the real problem is how long ago it was. So long ago that there weren’t even snowboards, another thing on the ‘to fear’ list, when I was at university. So long ago, that I should have thought this all out a bit better before getting in the gondola. I have such a bad feeling about all this.

Anyway my plan, as far as there is one, is to finish this by the time I get to the top of this mountain. I have plenty of time, it looks as if we are going up forever. Then, I will try to get down to the bottom, hopefully while still having full use of all four limbs, and my neck. If both of those things happen, I can then push the Publish button and have one more post behind me. If they don’t, you may not be reading this on a Sunday…or ever.

We’re there. Oxygen is a bit thin. Adrenalin is a bit in hyperdrive. Fear levels off the scale.

Well, goodbye for now. I may be some time.

Not Leo Tolstoy (aka Eileen Riley)

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7 Responses to Whose Idea Was This, Anyway?

  1. notquiteold says:

    Please post again to let us know whether all your body parts are intact.

  2. Magda Biran says:

    You’re a braver woman than I am! But then i always knew that! Please let us know you are in one piece still! Love Magda x

  3. mdcs2011 says:

    Great stuff Eilleen. We will all look forward to hearing hoiw you came through!

  4. Hi Eileen, in case you didn’t notice: 2nd position for you at the 2011 #transatlanticdiablog award. Congratulations. The full ranking here: http://transatlanticdiablog.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/the-2011-transatlantic-diablog-award-winner/

    See you.

  5. Mim says:

    I haven’t read anything about novice ski accidents in the news so I am assuming you are now contemplating trying for the next Winter Olympics…… but what I do read is that you came second in the transatlantic diablog award! Congratulations! What a way to start the year! Now we definitely will expect one every week whether you are trekking in the Himalayas or pot-holing in Chile or perhaps just dog-walking in Wandsworth….on with the good work!

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