Thursday and Friday were both quiet and on Saturday 12th
I turned myself very blond with the assistance of the hairdresser and then in the evening had a couple of my friends from probation come around for a little get together in the motor home. Laura and Marietta. Several bottles were sunk, well not by Marietta, and Laura was left to sort out work and was going to try and join us on our skiing break in Livigno.
Trula and Paige came around for Sunday dinner, which is no mean feat in a motor home. I got Paige watching the bird table and trying to spot all the different varieties whilst Ray and Trula went for a walk around the site. It was a nice family sort of day, albeit cramped.
|First signs of spring, Snowdrops|
|The sign above trulas head says "Nans Garden". Park is Balls Park. Despite going to hertford seveal times we did not know this place existed. It was very pretty.|
The rest of the week passed by in a blur as we rushed around trying to get bits and pieces finally sorted for our big off to Italy.
On Thursday the whole Hall clan descended on Mecca Bingo at Harlow and all came out poorer. Poor Trula missed her last number for a full house and when she did call it was declared a false claim. She didn’t get much stick......
|Loser.....Ray, Trula, Naomi, Zoe and Rosie - Karen on camera|
In all our socialising and running around like headless chickens, we had completely forgotten about the generator still being in Clitheroe, so that was a 450 mile round trip to fetch it back. We were pretty tired but decided we wanted to see the film Paul, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, it was really funny and probably our last visit to the cinema for a while. We were still waiting for Laura to confirm whether or not she could make it to Italy, she was working crazy hours to make sure her desk was completely clear and Marietta changed her leave so that she could come. I spent Saturday running around trying to get her a ski jacket, salopettes and warm jumpers, (which was not easy as it is near the end of the season and dinky clothes were hard to come by), only to hear from Laura that she probably wouldn’t get to go as she had to work on Monday as well as through the nights of the weekend. Ray decided that we could delay the set off and as luck would have it, it gave Laura time to finish what she had to do.
On Monday 21st, we took Lizzie to get her MOT and then hot footed it back to Enfield to pick up Laura. She came out of her house carrying a suit case which was as big as her and probably weighed more, so much for travelling light. A very good journey along the M25, (honest), and on down to Dover, we caught the six o’clock ferry to Dunkerque and spent the rest of the night asleep in an Aries. (a road stop you can sleep at).
In Ray’s very quiet and unobtrusive way we were all awake really early and started on the road to Livigno. Laura slept most of Tuesday, so between Ray and I we got quite far down the road.
A very special day in our diary, Ray and I have been married 12 years today, and we spent it driving and arrived in Livigno at about 4pm. Laura again spent the journey asleep, only waking up for food, fags and to ask which country she was in now.
|Laura enjoying a 700 mile trip|
We passed through France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, she missed it all, but the rest seemed to do her the power of good. In Livigno, Ray got quite excited about the price of petrol, and filled up and took pictures just to gloat a bit. Livigno is a tax free haven so it makes quite a big bit of difference.
|77p per litre deisel and 88p per litre patrol - luverly|
We went out for a meal at the other end of town, a favourite of ours in Livigno which does the best pizza in town. It was a very pleasant way to spend the evening. This was followed by a stop at another one of our haunts, Galli’s bar, now known as Benny’s, we were the only ones there apart from the DJ who was originally from Edinburgh and played all our favourite music. This used to be a really lively place and was now disappointingly dead. On returning to the motor home, we settled down for the night. Laura and I slept through most of it, but the heater went off, the m/h froze and Ray spent 2 hours trying to warm it through. The outside temp was minus 20 degrees and the cheap!!!! diesel had frozen, preventing the heating, from working, needless to say he was not a happy bunny. We got it all working eventually, but the pipes didn’t thaw until 6pm that evening. Lesson learned.
Firstly, was spent with Ray and I shovelling snow to make a skirt around Lizzie and creating a warm space, so that we would not be in that situation again. Then, with the admin of getting ski passes and equipment for Friday and Saturday, we had a little play on the slopes and had to get Laura smaller salopettes as the ones I had got, nearly drowned her. Ray was really impressed by her progress on the slopes, I think that was because she listened to him and didn’t talk back, but she seemed to understand the concept of skiing and was showing some good skills.
Friday was our first real day on the slopes and Ray and Laura practised whilst I got my ski legs back. Laura, although doing quite well, wasn’t as confident as yesterday and decided to sit and enjoy the sun. Ray and I went up the hill and had a few good runs. The weather was glorious and we ended up having a little drink half way back down the mountain, it’s called a Lamumba, and it makes you ski a lot faster down the hill.
|Brandy and hot chocolate - bliss|
We met up with Laura and went to our favourite après ski bar, which was jumping, so we jumped too and sang and Ray introduced Laura to Gluh Vine (mulled wine).
|Several Gluh Vines later|
This is change-over day for everyone in Livigno, and the slopes were very quiet, again the weather was lovely and Ray and Laura had a few more lessons. We took Laura up the mountain to a restaurant and to try and get her to go on one of the lovely wide runs that is very gentle, she decided to sit it out and she made her way back down in the Carousel, Ray and I skied back down and Laura handed in her skis and poles, she had only rented them for the two days originally to see if she liked it and would make a decision on Sunday, or hire them on a daily basis if need be. We were waiting for our friends Debbie and Andy from the Isle of Man to arrive. They were coming with her children Nick and Kim and Kim’s fiancé, James. They were due in about 10pm but the snow had started falling and they were a bit later. We arranged to meet up the next day.
|The village is littered with these pretty old wooden houses.|
We met up and did a bit of skiing. Nick was doing ski school, Debbie wanted a couple of lessons and James was having a couple of snowboarding lessons. Kim wasn’t going to be skiing so was out checking all the other activities and the shopping. I was skiing down the baby slope with Debs and got to the bottom, I stopped and turned around to where Debbie was still skiing and promptly fell over and twisted my knee, I couldn’t get my ski off and needed rescuing by Debs. I was quite lucky I could still walk on it and I took it easy for the rest of the evening. We all met up for a drink in the hotel and planned the next couple of days.
Another of those wonderful, blue sky, sunny days, when the skiing just flowed. Or not in my case, my knee was still painful so I didn’t ski today. I met Debbie and Andy and Ray at the top of the mountain after Debbie’s lesson, we did lunch and then they skied for a bit and I was joined by Kim, Nick and James.
|James during his second week on a snowboard|
Debbie finished early, and the boys skied across the mountain with James so he could play on his snow board. Debs and I went down together in the lift, and unfortunately we came across another ski bar that we hadn’t sampled. There was lots of singing and dancing going on and the DJ stood in an old Citroën 2CV (like an upturned pram) getting sloshed on straight vodka.
|DJ in an upturned pram|
Needless to say we phoned the boys and Laura, got them to join us and on with the party, would have been rude not to. Later the DJ lit up a spliff the size of a drain pipe.
|A spliff and a half !|
Later that evening we were going to Galli’s bar to do a quiz night. Debbie was shattered and didn’t make it, so we called our team, Debs in bed and we came second, mainly due to Nick and James and won a goldfish bowl of a cocktail to drink. We saved it for when Debs wasn’t in bed.
|Debbie and Andy|
|The smile says it all|
|The kids were as usual - entertaining and cute|
The rest of the days passed in a very similar fashion, we did quite a bit of skiing and my knee held up, we went back to the pizza place altogether and then back to Galli’s for our goldfish bowl on Wednesday.
|The goldfish bowl !|
All the youngsters and Andy went to an adventure park and swung from ropes and cargo nets, and came back exhausted. Thursday was a very dull day and didn’t stop snowing so we didn’t ski then. (It’s easy to break bones in soft snow.) Kim and Laura had arranged to go on a walk into the mountains to see the wildlife. It was a 9am start and they both came back at about 1pm looking even more shattered. Laura had decided not to ski again. Nick had to do a slalom race as part of his ski school and we watched him do his run, he did very well.
|4th day on skis. He came second. The winner had quite obviously been skiing for a lot longer.|
At 5.30 we saw him being presented with a medal for second place and then we had to see the holiday rep to see if she had been able to get Laura on the same flight as the others and a transfer to the airport. All was good and Laura can now get home.
This was our last day skiing, so we were out by 8am and met up with Debs and Andy and headed off to the Mottolino side of the resort. We had a lot of brilliant, fast runs and the weather was great again. Apes ski, table dancing and lots of Proseco later, (cava or sparkling wine).
|The youngsters are not impressed with the immature adults.|
|Ray and Andy weren't much better|
That night we all had dinner together in Debs hotel. Early start in the morning.
Laura was all packed and we called for a taxi to get us back to Debbie’s hotel for the bus pick up.
The cab failed to turn up with enough time, so we decided to walk the 500 meters (thats what Ray said, I recon it was a full km) at minus 15 at double time, well I was walking double time to everyone else and still fell behind, I hate morning walks. However we made it with 20 minutes to spare so you can guess how happy I was.Ray and I said our goodbyes and then it was back to start the rest of our adventure. Housework, sorting out the boot of Lizzie and then ready for takeoff on Sunday.