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Sound as a Meribel

February 17, 2013

The French expression for wifi is exactly the same but the pronunciation is more like “whiffy”. For some obscure reason this amuses the Sprogs, who clearly must enjoy similarly high brow humour of the standard of The Reverend Jeff’s favourite comic, Benny Hill. I have heard of a code of this nature in the past but only as a coded warning for a fart, as in “watch out for a wifi”.

The 4 hour journey down to Meribel which should have taken 4 hours took 6 due to the appalling traffic. I have sworn an oath that I shall never again be talked into going to the Alps at half term. It could have been worse however, with our chalet sharing companions electing to get the first Channel Tunnel crossing yesterday morning, only to run into half the cars in Europe all heading for the same valley. Also, Meribel is the venue for a skiing World Cup race during the week. Had it been this weekend then I think I would have turned the car around and headed back to Arundel.

So arriving in late afternoon and organising all those irksome tasks such as ski passes (an astonishing 245 euros per person for the 6 days.  With insurance the cost went over 1000 euros ( about £850 at today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates) I was talked into a quick beer at the Barometer Bar, owned by a charming chap called Clive whom I had met before in Valbonne on several occasions.

Meribel picture

Heading for Meribel

As we were the first to arrive, I was told that we had to make all the beds. Given the exorbitant cost of renting the chalet, I was a bit miffed at this and asked if they had supplied hammer and nails. But it was worse than that, I was expected to put duvet covers onto duvets, a ridiculously difficult task, best suited to women. So now I know why the Thornton Allan’s and Mr and Mrs Clipboard were so happy for us to arrive first.

I should mention here that I have already won 10 euros from Mr Clipboard, a wager about who would arrive first between himself and the Thornton Allan’s. It should make no difference that the result was fixed as I had sensibly laid off the bet by offering Slash and Burn a bribe of 5 euros to ensure victory, but it is fair to say that Mr Clipboard saw things differently. Eventually, after much cajoling, he did pay up but in bad grace. I now have a bank-note which was torn in half, but Sellotape will come to the rescue, and will contribute to the family budget for the week. He is a cad and a bounder and he knows it, and furthermore he knows he will be reminded regularly of this fact in the week to come.

Discussion turned to the linked resort to Meribel of Mottaret, more “cost conscious” part of Les Trois valleys ski area. It is a concrete jungle built by the French in the sixties which whilst being skier friendly exhibits all the charm of a concentration camp on a wet day in February. It does, however, provide a usable habitat for those renegades from Essex who can afford to travel to the Alps for skiing.  This particular species is easily identified by the habitual wearing of ski suits and apparel made by Woolworths. It was a sad day when this renowned UK retailer bit the dust a few years ago, but their creations live on and are a favourite amongst the Essex fraternity.

And, so the great skiiing debacle is about to begin, and as you read this  shall be swishing down the slopes looking for a suitable place for a morning coffee and cognac.

Chris France

9 Comments leave one →
  1. howzaaat permalink
    February 17, 2013 7:57 am

    ” ….swishing down the slopes… ”

    That’s not schussing, then; a different style in some way ? Curtains swish, certainly, but I can’t quite envision its parallel in skiing. Explain please.


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    February 17, 2013 12:30 pm

    I’m looking forward to the skiing while smoking a cigar.

    His cigar was clamped firmly in place
    As he leapt like a stag into space.
    But it ended in farce
    Blowing smoke up his arse
    Which with Chris is so often the case !!

    Just realised it helps if you know the American idiom’ To blow smoke up one’s ass’.


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