What a week. I got back from skiing with some guests on Sunday afternoon at about 4.30 to be greeted by a flustered Hawys in the hallway. The chalet was double booked to the tune of seven and we, that is the helpX crew, were being evicted from our rooms.
Clare had delayed the guests by telling them that the rooms had not been changed yet, which gave the five of us about an hour to pack all of our things, thoroughly clean the rooms and remake the beds.
I packed my belongings in record time, everything thrown back into bags, tipped from drawers and hastily moved out, then got on with helping with the change over.
We cleaned and mopped and polished like crazy things, remade beds, fluffed up the duvets and pillows in their new covers and showed the guests to their new rooms.
Upstairs, in the tiny flat, Clare moved furniture and organised emergency, temporary, accommodation for us. Thankfully she had recently purchased two small single beds to replace an old double upstairs and we had not gotten round to swapping them yet. She had one and nominated me the other, Hawys and Joe, who are now getting on very well indeed, had Clares usual bed, a double, and Marcos and Liis drew the short straw and got to use the sofa beds in the Billiard Room. There is no door from the Billiard Room to the main public area, so it just meant that they could not go to bed until the last guest had retired and were up in good time for breakfast every morning. I don’t think that they have ever been awake for so long each day since I got here. They did sneak the odd nap during the day, normally on my bed.
A full house plus the seven extra for the busiest time of the season. It was going to be a fun week. The local french holidays are in full swing and the mountain has been packed every day. People popping in for lunch and apres ski drinks in the afternoons, it has been non stop in the chalet since then. It is now Friday afternoon and I haven’t been on the slopes all week. The atmosphere in the chalet has been great and all the guests appear to be having a great time and we are frequently complimented on how helpful and friendly every one is. Great to be part of such a good team.
I guess this has been catch up time for those weeks earlier in the season when the Chalet was quiet and we got away with some very light duties. We have all worked hard and got everything done, I have spent many extra hours cutting and frying chips for lunches and assisting in the kitchen, churning out never ending plates of nutella crepes and ice creams for lunchtime desserts and through the afternoon to feed countless hungry skiers before they head off down the mountain on their way home. Staying up to all hours of the night behind the bar, dispensing vin chaud, aperitifs, beers and digestives, wines by the bottle or carafe through dinner and sorting out anything else that the guests require. Beer, we have one draught beer and I am used to serving it straight or with lemonade as a shandy, occasionally a larger top, or with blackcurrant. Here they drink it with any of the syrops that are on offer. Strawberry lager. Peach lager. Lemon lager and the wierdest of all, mint lager, they call it a parakeet, for obvious reasons (bright green).
I have had great fun being slightly out of my depth this week, improving my french language, hospitality skills, commercial kitchen skills and generally being immensely busy. So much so that I have hardly noticed my bed is in a different place, in a corridor and my belongings are still where they were put a week ago. I have delved far enough to find clean clothes and my ipod, but I have no idea where the headphones are, so it is rather useless until I get to unpack again, at the end of the weekend.