Monday, December 14, 2015

another winter in the mountains

Now I am in the mountains, the Pyrenees to be exact.  Back again for another winter season.  This time its somewhere new, a mountain top refuge and hostel for walkers in the summer and in the winter a ski lodge and restaurant.   No doubt I’ll write more about the Refuge de l’Oule during the winter, so will leave it for now.

Unlike before I have to find my own accommodation.  Fortunately, after the last few years being here, I knew that renting would be difficult close to the start of the season, with the number of seasonal workers that arrive to make the place function as it should.  Forewarned, I rented a small apartment back in November, before heading to the UK, so that all would be in place on my return.  It’s a great little place, quite modern - so not draughty, about ten minutes walk from where I need to be in the mornings for work, slightly removed from the touristy part of the village so nice and quiet too.  There’s a tiny snug little bar just down the road, just to make it easy to stretch my legs of an evening if I feel the need.

For the last few days I have been driving backwards and forwards gathering all my belongings here for the winter.  Sorting out work contracts, seasonal worker ski passes and making sure that I am properly equipped for the next four months.  The flat has two bedrooms which makes it ideal to sub let.  I’ve bagged the small room for myself and, with minimal difficulty, now have two younger lads to share the large double upstairs.  Their room so big that, with the right configuration of furniture, the two beds are almost completely separate and both are very happy especially as they both have decent work contracts for the whole season.

view from my apartment window

village of Vignec, my winter home

the way to work

the green lights show the open ski runs - waiting on more snow......

festive lights in Saint Lary

I’m excited to have the whole winter pre-planned and am looking forward to getting stuck in to whatever is in store for me up in the mountains.  It’s going to be a bit like before, but more.  Snow clearing, bar work, kitchen hand and server, washer upper and cleaner, though no ironing or making beds, the guests have to do that themselves. An entirely french team, with a proper work contract and decent wages, a real step up in the greater scheme of things.  The journey to and from work is by cable car, bus and chair lifts, with a bit of a walk across the snow somewhere in the middle, I can see that being a blog on it’s own one day.  It’s remote, and at night the only visible light from the building is going to be the stars.  It should be amazing.  Just watch this space.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

belated celebrations

I have moved on yet again.  Since I last wrote a lot has happened.  I left Spain full of dreams and excitement for relocating only to arrive back home, in Vieuzos, to the most wonderful spell of weather imaginable for early November, It was hotter, sunnier and more enjoyable than the weather I experienced in Spain.  My heart was captured once more.  Confused yet again.  I spent a couple of weeks in Vieuzos tidying up for the winter and preparing for my departure.  House sat for a neighbour with 8 cats and enjoyed the glorious weather.

Relocation to Spain manifested itself once again as I headed to the UK.  Away from the enchantment, a more all encompassing vision of the future rematerialised and it is that that I have focussed on ever since.

I need to jump ahead, else I will be writing for a very long time indeed.  My trip to England was a great success, I celebrated my 50th Birthday again with the rest of my family and then many friends, some of whom I had not seen in years.  The venue was in London, to make it accessible to more people, and a good friend found the most amazing room in a pub, The Cellars, in Stoke Newington to host the event.  A wonderful occasion, the landlords were very welcoming, hospitable  and arranged great food and kept everyone well plied with drinks throughout the afternoon and evening.  The room was just right and provided a warm atmosphere for everyone to have a good chat, catch up and meet up with folk that they too mightn’t have seen for years either.  It was just as I had imagined, a gathering of my wonderful friends, though a few were sadly missed due to prior engagements of one sort or another.  We thought of you too!!