Friday, 27 January 2017

THE CORRODING HAND OF TIME.

THE ANNUAL MOUNTAIN PILGRIMAGE.

NEW YEAR..... 
January (in this case 2017)

Dearest Cal Gal,
I will write to you personally re matters "more intimate"
but this is just my usual ramble, describing recent events and intended to generally wind a couple of people up!





For the most part, January is the time of year when your average Cove is busy recuperating from the previous weeks festivities. 
Grey around the gills, they are to be seen dropping vast amounts of paracetamol washed down with enough water to hydrate the Sahara and swearing on their life that they will NEVER indulge their voracious appetites to such an extent again.  (Ha Ha!)

Others, of a more optimistic nature, are, with great determination,  making all sorts of New Years resolutions. 
(A pursuit as trivial as it is useless)

But these normal, if not banal activities, are not for the likes of the dysfunctional mob loosely described as "my family" and with whom I share part of my life.

Oh no, not for us anything so mundane.

We are to be found humping skis, snowboards, ski boots ,snow boots, thermals, balaclavas, goggles and every other sort of apparatus required to prevent frost bite with its sequelae, gangrene, in preparation for a week living in   conditions suited only for polar bears.

Now, there was a time (in a different century) when I was impetuous enough to enjoy haplessly dropping down a mountain side negotiating moguls and ice with the sort of gay abandon typical of youth...
In fact, I must admit there was one occasion when I was reckless enough to endanger not only my life but that of someone else as well....

For any one who has read previous posts, it will not surprise you to know that "Old Loony Tunes" himself played an integral part in what has gone down in family history as yet more evidence of my irresponsible behaviour. 

So it was that I, my eldest son, a couple of nannies, and friends plus psycho surgeon brother(AKA Old Loony Tunes or just OLT) took off for the Alps...the fact that I was 7 months pregnant did not deter me from going...on the contrary, I thought, in my great medical wisdom, that a bit of Alpine air and gentle exercise would be rather good for me.

No instructor was required as Old Loony Tunes himself, when not taking out the knife and fork to hack up some fortunately anaesthetised patient, is also a formidably good skier.  (well he would be, wouldn't he..old clever clogs)

We were in Switzerland. It was  one of those gloriously sunny days that followed a huge dump of snow during the night, so the conditions were ideal . 
I was trying  to look cool, doing safe, wide turns down the slope. Loony Tunes, having just pointed his skis down, disappearing at lightening speed in a flurry of snow, yelled up at me "Don't be such a drip with all those turns..just get down here!"

Well, I was NOT having my younger whipper- snapper- of- a- brother implying that I was some "lilly- livered- simpering- miss"..so both skis pointing firmly downhill, I too shot off..

Oh how the god Hubris must have laughed!......
Just as I was inwardly congratulating myself at my expertise in avoiding the odd mogul, I slipped an edge and went tumbling base over apex, legs akimbo, skis and poles flying in all directions, slithering on my backside  to a very undignified halt at the bottom. 
This was NOT cool..but worse was to come..I had given myself such a shock that I peed myself with fear...
At least I thought I had .
 It was only when the contractions started that I realised I had broken my waters and gone into labour.

Oh the ensuing broo ha ha!..
A plane had to be chartered. The hospital in England put on alert for my arrival at Heathrow where an ambulance would be waiting....and the extreme embarrassment of having to deal with the repeated question
 "Don't you think it was irresponsible of you to go skiing when 7 months pregnant AND you being a doctor?!"

I will spare you all the sordid gynaecological details..
Suffice to say that WITH OUT an epidural (and I am not a fan of pain) a mini human being, half  cooked for only 7 months, shot out of me like a turbo fuelled rocket. 
Is it any wonder that ever since then, I have developed a severe case of Mountain Cowardice? 

Meanwhile, husband and ever expanding family are all formidable skiers who look on, perplexed at my tears and screams of "get me off this bloody mountain NOW!"
All quite convinced that I am demonstrating signs of early dementia.

IT'S SO EASY TO SKI WITHOUT SKIS!


It must be said that on this most recent Alpine excursion, husband had really extracted the digit..a beautiful chalet..We even had a log fire in our bedroom.
 (perhaps unwise bearing in mind my side of the family's affiliation with pyromania....did I ever tell you the story of how OLT set fire to the library roof of his school Winchester?...

Years later, when eldest son was at Eton, "The Beak" (or whatever silly name the headmaster called himself) was explaining to my son's class, the close relationship that existed historically between the two schools...Those with brains went to Winchester and those with neuronal deficiency attended Eton..

(apologies to Englands two princes)

 Any way, as an example, he described an incident where some Lunatic from Winchester, set a bomb off on the library roof causing an appalling conflagration, and Eton, being the more financially well endowed of the two schools coughed up the necessary dosh. He went on to explain that far from ending up in clink (as you might have imagined would be the natural fate of an arsonist) the boy concerned was now an eminent surgeon...How's that for a small world!...and you may wonder why I call my brother "Psycho" amongst other terms. 
Any way, back to this years pilgrimage  to the mountains......

Husband (first in law and general polymath) and I arrived with stepdaughter, her boy friend ( a first in PPE at Oxford) Husband's friend (an eminent psychiatrist and his daughter (just sailed through a first in maths from Oxford) and Finally "Old Loony Tunes" (medicine at Cambridge AND a degree in philosophy) plus wife..an acclaimed GP who's just won a gold medal for something or other....are you getting the picture? 

In short a more dazzling selection of "know Alls" and self opinionated Panjandrums would be difficult to find ...

After the usual expressions of surprise by OLT at my continued existence despite a conspicuously frail carcass (GP had some obscure explanation)...I became aware of developing tensions.

Of course with so many experts, all of whom were authorities on everything, from polemics, politics, paradoxes and paradigms, there were obviously fervent disputes (in my opinion involving much persiflage and obfuscation) 
But this was not the source of tension...OLT seemed unusually modest about his plethora of abilities as did my husband and his chum(the psychiatrist)....after some careful cross examination on my part,  I found the answer accounting for their despondancy.

Evidently, OLT had just recently been beaten in a slalom race by one of his daughters...and both husband and his chum had been informed by the ski guide that they were not expert enough to join their daughters on an off piste trail.

Further laments ensued....aching joints, stiffening of the muscles, memory lapses, lack of tolerance to port and horror of horrors...HAIR LOSS!

Yes indeed, like the rest of us mere mortals, even "geniuses"such as they, succumb to the inevitable CORRODING HAND OF TIME.

Blimey..I've just received some photos from Corsica..there has been a furious hurricane and the whole of the salon in my house is flooded and full of debris...must book a ticket and fly out at once.
Toodle Pip for now,
MORAG.