We have had a fantastic holiday! The crossings & the drive each way were fine. The first day of skiing was one of heavy snowfall & good snow conditions. Visibility was dodgy at times but a good day was had by all. Mr J the younger took to snowboarding like a boy born to it. He decided to learn to ride rather than ski as usual as he felt a) like a fresh challenge and b) because his friend who came with us is a snowboarder & could teach him. He still spent some time skiing as we had to video him performing various skiing skills for his AS PE practical assessment. It was funny seeing him snow ploughing as an adult. He has skied parallel since he was about nine! At least he didn't need to go between our knees to descend steeper slopes as he had done when he was four or five! The second day dawned with wall to wall (or mountain to mountain) sunshine and it more or less continued like that for the rest of the holiday, apart from a little late afternoon snow & cloud on Sunday and Monday. The views to Mt Blanc were stunning! The morning pistes were icy which wasn't to the snow boarders taste, the lower pistes got slushy in the afternoon which was a bit of a pain to those of us on skis but basically there was loads of great skiing/boarding for all! We have decided that after spending four Easters based in Bourg St Maurice & skiing in Les Arc we would like to see it when winter was in the valley as well as the mountains so we intend to try and fix that up for next February. After MANY years skiing I really felt that I have moved my skills onto a higher level this week, which is hugely rewarding. Why? I was given two pieces of advice by Mr J's older & younger that I could visualise & it seemed to click. Visibility was great, it wasn't too busy & the skis I hired were wonderful!
I finished the centre of the Cherry Leaf shawl on the drive down, which I loved knitting but left tackling the border until..... tonight maybe? I looked at the instructions last night but they may as well have been written in Flemish for all the sense they made. The return trip saw the start of ..... socks! Embossed Leaf Socks from Favorite Socks to be precise. I didn't do the two stranded tubular cast on as I didn't fancy attempting to learn a new technique whilst been driven up a french motorway at 80mph, but the leaf pattern is easy to knit & looks good so far. I already plan to do another pair in a more summery yarn -silk? cotton? bamboo? Any suggestions? I also can't wait to try more lace knitting. Maybe something oblong this time?
We broke the journey north with a stop off in Reimes overnight. The Holiday Inn Express provided a good location and all the basics to a good standard, including breakfast for 56 Euros per room. Its about 3 hours south of the main channel ports & the Holiday Inn is about 1 minute from the autoroute & next to the canal. We were too late to go into the Cathedral but were more than happy to wonder at the amazing restoration work that is taking place & then to wander towards the central square & take our choice of eateries. Cafe culture is something could get used to. Harrogate boasts a modest one, but temperatures in April do not lend themselves to eating out a 9 at night!
Apart from the usual washing & so on, gardening has been the order of the day since we got home yesterday. I have pricked out and planted a variety of salad crops & made the first sowings of French Dwarf Beans (Purple Teepee & Ferrari), Courgettes and Coriander. 40 Rubeki plug plants were waiting for me when I got home & they have also been potted on. They are, hopefully the answer to the need for 'late summer colour'. Many Impatians are due at the end of the month (like 120 I think), plus some other vegetable plug plants.