Wednesday, November 02, 2011

It's not all bad

Due to personal problems – of which I’m sure you’ve heard quite enough – I haven’t written anything for a while. Actually, I’ve been waiting for someone to set my car on fire and although I have had to rush down in the middle of the night a couple of times to drive it away from the blazing vehicles surrounding it, my car is still more or less intact. So nothing interesting to report there, I’m afraid.

And I’m certain you have no desire to hear how daily life has become a metaphor, rich in symbolism, for my state of mind. How computers, cookers and fridges have turned against me, how my piano no longer plays F # or A, how the shutter in the sitting room refuses to close while the one in the bedroom refuses to open or how the front door handle now comes away in my hand because somebody tried to break in.

And is it fair that in the third flush of youth, my body has started to fall apart? The ignominy of having to search for my glasses in order to read the small print on a packet of Cup O’ Soup! Gluten and nuts are devious devils…

As for my brain…well, I needed to do a bit of spring cleaning up there as it was getting a bit cluttered and I’m convinced this is the reason my memory is not what it was (as far as I can remember, that is). So I took myself and my arthritic knees off for a walk in the mountains.

The last time I went for a walk in the mountains, I nearly had to be carried down. Now, I have absolutely no problem walking up a mountain – in fact, the only reason I haven’t climbed Everest before is because I hate getting my feet cold. However, as I have developed arthritis in both knees, walking down feels like someone is sawing my legs off very slowly with a rusty cheese knife.

So I had to buy walking sticks. Cool, technical-looking ones, of course, so people will think I’m a seasoned hiker rather than an arthritic old bag.

And off I went to Chamrousse.

Chamrousse is a ski resort perched above Grenoble in the Belledonne range of mountains. It was first mentioned in 1260, when it was referred to as Culmen Rufus (Red Peak) and it appears on the map for the first time in 1744 although the discovery of Roman coins at the summit indicates that the Romans were familiar with the peak.

After the creation of the Uriage spa in 1823, curistes would regularly climb to the top of Chamrousse as part of their treatment. I’m not sure how efficient this was as the waters of Uriage are used to treat arthritis amongst other things. Perhaps it was just a scam by doctors to have their patients coming back for more?

The ski lift was built in 1952 and was deemed to be the safest and fastest in France, along with that of Courchevel. And of course, the Winter Olympics were held here in 1968.

My destination was the Lac Achard, a tiny lake above the resort and apparently named after a man who once owned a hut nearby. It’s an easy walk from the ski resort and at an altitude of 1 917 metres, the view is wonderful.

I sat in the autumn sunlight, contemplating the reflections playing on the surface of the water, and realised how fortunate I was to be able to enjoy such stunning scenery. My mind cleared and my problems suddenly seemed so insignificant…

Then I reached into my rucksack for the bag of delicious apples I had hurriedly packed for my picnic and pulled out…a bag of lemons.

Is Somebody trying to tell me something?


Sandie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandie said...

(sorry, cocked up in the initial post - didn't have my glasses on!!)

Oh, Gill, I am so there with you... metaphorically at least.

Yes. The glasses thing... Jesus it's annoying. I remember my mum used to ask me, as child & teen, to thread needles for her. A few days ago I had to sew a name-tag on for my 12 year old and even with my damn glasses on I just couldn't do it! Had to ask my daughter...

The mountain walk - ah, am there with you again. Went to Spain earlier this year to walk in the mountains with my dad. Had been under some stress prior to this, challenging times all round, and just to get away - from family, from responsibility - as well as into such glorious surroundings... it was utter bliss, very relaxing (despite puffing and panting in 35 degree heat up and down goat paths) and I too just felt my woes melt away.

Gigi said...

Isn't it humiliating, Sandie? I seem to be going deaf too...or perhaps I do pretend a wee bit sometimes - it can come in handy!

Anyway, to trot out the old cliché...when life hands you lemons...:-)

Sarah said...

Oh dear, life certainly throws itself at you at times, doesn't it?!

Your walk sounds lovely though, so good thing you live within easy distance of apaisant scenery. A good walk does wonders for putting things in perspective.

Keith Eckstein -A Taste of Garlic said...


Come on, tell the truth; the real reason you haven't been blogging is that you're far to busy listening to George Benson (and I'm ashamed to admit that I've also become rather a fan of his more jazzy stuff!)

Like you, I fancied climbing Everest last weekend but, apart from the fact that it is totally the wrong season for that sort of thing (and almost a certain one way trip to the hereafter), I found I had a hole in my gloves and I really don't like getting my hands cold....

All the best


P.S. If God swapped your Apples for Lemons he was probably telling you to make a large G & T?

P.P.S. Did you know that there are some new girlies in town? You may well want to steer clear of them (although Crystal seems reasonably normal once you forget about her green stripe) as most of them seem too young to remember George Benson but...

If you do happen to venture out (always assuming that no one has set fire to or nicked your car) and see a bunch of Girls Gone Wild, don't say I didn't warn you!

P.P.P.S Thinking about your piano... Don't you ever thing that A (and F sharp, for that matter) are rather over rated in the grand scheme of things?

Gigi said...

I can't listen to George Benson, Keith - he's still stuck in my façade-less car radio!

I shall check out the new blogs later on today :-)

And yes, God was probably telling me to make a large G&T...nice thought that...thanks :-)

As for the piano, at least I can make excuses for playing the wrong notes now, so that's a blessing...

Enjoy George :-)

Rob Windstrel Watson said...

Just popped in to say hello after a long time being away from browsing in blogland.

I went to Grenoble once and stayed for a few days. I was very young and actually recollect I hitchhiked up and down Chamrousse hoping to get some work (unsuccessfully).

In my 50s, I gave up on having separate reading and distance glasses when I tried to type in my card pin number to buy something and was sure I'd done the correct number .. After a very embarrassing few moments, with me feeling like a criminal, the shop assistant did something that made the payment go through anyway ... At home, trying to figure out what I'd been doing wrong and certain it was the fault of the card company, I suddenly realised I'd presented the wrong card for that pin number.

The next day, I went to the optician and got varifocals. They took a while getting used to but it turned me back from being a helpless baby into an adult again. I've worn them every day since and hardly know I'm wearing them.