Hello again. Happy New Year and I hope you've all had a lovely festive season and a good break.
Christmas started very well here with a lovely party for friends and neighbours and a great Christmas day with my parents and my brother. But then it all started to go a bit Pete Tong...
Our holiday plans were very exciting as Perry had booked a much longed for skiing break for us and some good friends in the Aosta Valley in Italy. I started feeling poorly on the plane as we descended into Turin and it got a lot worse. Fortunately, I was the non-skiing member of the party, and my only plans had ever been to potter about in the village and turn my face to the Alpine sunshine whilst sipping a lazy cappuccino.
I did manage to get up for a short time each day,wrapped up against the cold, and I took short walks around Gressoney St Jean, the village where we were staying. It is so beautiful. Even through my wheezing, coughing and spluttering, I could not fail to be moved.
There had been a fresh snowfall, and the whiteness was pristine.
It reminds me of Narnia (or what I think Narnia might be like). In this tiny mountain village, there are no chain shops or supermarkets. Each day I bought a bit of bread and cheese for my lunch, and was amazed to find how even the tiniest corner shop was crammed full of people buying an incredible selection of produce. Focaccias, a huge choice of salamis and hams sliced freshly, round white cheeses, which were slowly and lovingly wrapped in waxed paper and taken to the till. Here is the shop which looks so ordinary:
I didn't go into the centre at night, but the others said it was very pretty and twinkly with the lights and the snow. But I got a glimpse of it by day. Fortunately, everyone else was fine and they had three days of beautiful skiing and hearty mountain food to come home to. We have stayed in our little hotel before when our families were younger, and it is very sweet, welcoming and comfortable (Hotel Gran Baita if anyone is looking for a stopover!).
We've been home for a few days now, and I've now got antibiotics and all sorts of things from the doctor. It will take a while to feel better, but I am getting there. I've been appreciating my warm bed, a stack of good books and Marmite on toast.
Here's to a happy and healthy 2014!