Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Some more pet hates....

Week 3:

Snow: More of it please. Less rain, would be a happy medium.
Toilets cleaned: 96
Miles of elephant bog roll used: 4 million

Well that's Christmas out the way. If you work in a chalet you will know well that Christmas is not a festive season of joy that one looks forward to with excitement and anticipation but a dreaded, tortuous fiasco that finds one sweltering in the kitchen amid towers of seething pots and pans while the guests overdose on champagne and spend Christmas night chundering all over the chalet while you cower in the kitchen in dread. Now that's over we just have the nightmare of New Years' Eve to contend with. I can almost feel the hangover already.

Anyway to mark this festive season I thought I'd put together a few more of my pet hates for your enjoyment. Now I'm a chalet bitch once again, ahhh it's all coming back to me. From the cupboard of despair (yes, our chalet has one) to hair clogging up the plug hole...Today, I would like to add the following to the list:

Porridge oats
Scoffed as a snack and left to crust on the rim of the bowl in the sink. Is there any adhesive more powerful known to mankind? Seriously? You could build car parks out of it. Can't you fuckers put your bowls in the dishwasher? How hard is it?

Reptiles
Those guests with apparently with no warm blood in their veins whatsoever. They simply have to put the heating on full 24/7 and then ask you to light the fire. Then they go and open the bloody window to let some air in. Well that's energy efficient! I spend the morning choking back the sick as I hoover in a sauna, dehydrated from last night's exertions nailing pints of 1 Euro wine with the Princess of Norway and the Foxy Chef. The heat is making me dizzy. I am going to chunder. It's not an if, it's a when.

Empty Vessels
Which, as the old adage goes, make the most noise. I remember the house keeper of one family we had staying - a sweet woman but as dense as an ingot of solid iron hewn from the cold heart of a distant comet. She spent the entire week hanging round the kitchen babbling at me in a hoarse whisper so her boss couldn't hear and asking inane questions like, "Are you going to put the dishwasher on?", "Is this a pomegranate?" (it was an apple) "How much butter have we got?", "Ooh isn't it snowy outside?" and "Oooh isn't it warm inside?" The thing is she was terribly sweet and helpful - refused to let me clean her room and helped with all the clearing up and I knew she was just trying to be friendly. She was a little like a small, cute puppy unaware that its yapping makes you want to attach kitchen utensils to its head with a nail gun.

...and finally, in true Christmas spirit:

Grandparents
Who sit around the house all day reading and asking for tea and don't go skiing so you can't play music while you're cleaning or drop a smelly beer fart if you need to. Damn them!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A small prolapse


A cloud is sitting at the foot of the mountains like a ghostly river flowing through the valley. I watch it evaporate in the sun gradually as I go about my chores. It's the exact shape of Will-o'-the-wisp, which makes me remember the cartoon so brilliantly narrated by Kenneth Williams with the witch called Edna that was also a TV and that weird caterpillar thing with the big red top knot.





Now that come to think of it, that was a bit fucking odd really, that cartoon, wasn't it? I used to love it though. I think we had a tape of it in the car that Mum used to play me on the way to school. Funny the things that you accept as completely normal when you're a kid. Like not cleaning your skid marks off the u-bend. Not naming any names.

I stop to rub some hand cream into the ends of my fingers. I already have chalet hands. Cuts, burns and general chapped dryness. Lemon juice is a real bitch. What's more, it appears this is not my only ailment. No. I'll cut right to the chase. I, Belle de Neige, have sprung what can only be described as an arse grape.

I was first made aware of it when I tried to wipe my backside a few evenings ago after a particularly satisfying sitting. The action was met with a shooting pain in one quarter of the sphincterial area followed by a yelp of pain by yours truly and shortly thereafter a frenzied, horrified self examination. I was mystified. According to the magnifying mirror everything down there looked perfectly normal even though it felt as if some one had attacked me with a lube-free rubber butt plug. At the very least I was expecting it to be an anal fissure.
I couldn't understand it.

"What the fuck?" I asked  The Foxy Chef, mystified, in the pub later on.
"Sounds like a hemorrhoid to me," she said sagely.
"Whaaaat?"
"Yep!"
"Fuck!! Like what old ladies get?"
"Yeah... have you been straining lately?"
"No! ....Well, not that I particularly recall."
"You must've sprung it when you stacked it the other day. Muscular spasm. Happened to me once..."
"What did you do?"
"I just pushed it back up inside"

Right.

Now that she came to mention it I had been through one or two butt-clenching experiences in the last 48 hours to which I could attribute this ailment. There was the unsolicited and completely un-prepared for 2 metre drop half way down a little gully the day before, where my ski tips hit the approaching lip of snow like a fork lift truck driving headlong into a polystyrene wall and dug in resulting in a double-eject face plant and then lots of scrabbling around trying to relocate said skis in 2 feet of powder. And then there was the slightly alarming torchless trudge home from the pub in the dark at midnight along the windy deserted road to our chalet. I was alone. The mountains to the north were backlit hauntingly by a sunken moon, tinged with red as if from a furnace within, like something out of Mordor. There was utter and complete silence of the sort you can find nowhere else but the mountains. The only sound is the tinnitus you didn't realise you had. Usually I would have appreciated the magnificence of it but four or five gins had given me the fear. All I could hear in the silence was my own heart thudding inside my chest, my blood entering my head like a sponge being squeezed from the uphill effort and I spent the entire 15 minute walk peering suspiciously over my shoulder in the hope of definitely not seeing a sinister dark figure tailing me with murder in mind. Then, ten yards from the safety of the front door, I paused to appreciate the view without fear, slipped on a patch of ice and fell smack, fully onto my back, winding myself.

...I reckon that's when it happened. The hemorrhoid, I mean...

"I wouldn't worry you can just push them back in with your finger after you've had a shit..." The Foxy Chef was saying, leaning on the bar. "It's quite soothing actually. Just push it back up inside and forget about it."
This I suppose, is not all that surprising, coming from the girl who nicknamed the cyst on her vagina 'Mini-me' last season. Hey. Sometimes it's just best to wear these things as a badge of honour, I guess.





Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Open Season


Ok, sorry, sorry, sorry. I've just been really fucking up to my tits in it, ok? Christ. I had to find a co-bitch, meet a massive freelance copywriting deadline whilst simultaneously trying to rent my house and also sell my house (long story), move out of it, deal with all the associated bullshit plus a small family crisis, then drive to another country with six month's worth of belongings - selecting capsule wardrobe for six months in mountains = biggest ball ache ever. Then once I got here I had to contend with a whole catalogue of nightmares which I won't go into in detail but suffice to say I've been back in the mountains for about two weeks now, and I have already:

1. Been involved in a small car crash
2. Almost sawn my finger off
2. Dropped a dress size
3. Double ejected and drowned face first in thigh deep powder after seriously misjudging the depth of snow on an un-bashed piste (failure to check din settings since lasts season's tentative foray back onto skis = humiliating yard sale just 10 yards into first run of first day of season. Note to self, must buy some beeps.)
4. Lost a set of keys
5, Dealt with a rodent infestation
6. Battled against a tide of puree poo liquid waste rising up through the floor of my bedroom (perennial plumbing issues relating to shoddy French Alpine workmanship)
5. Eaten my body weight in cheese

So, it's been busy.

The other reason I haven't been writing is that I've been in a quandary. You see, I am now faced with the complications of working in a private chalet - ergo one can't mention any specifics, which, for a writer makes life rather difficult. In fact one can't even mention vagueries, or anything remotely resembling a vaguery, for fear of incurring the wrath of one's boss / getting fired. The last word in private chalet-bitchdom is discretion and ski resorts are small. Fucking small. Everyone knows everyone. Their spies are everywhere and I've already been dropped in it enough times to know that when faced with any accusation of being Belle-de-Neige flat out denial is the only option. Especially since, due to more than one or two inebriated, rambling, bollocks conversations in more than one or two of the local late-night establishments my profile around these parts isn't exactly as low as it ought to be. On more than one occasion both SbH and I have been asked if we know who 'she' is by some unsuspecting acquaintance.

"D'you know who this Belle de Neige girl is then?" a friend's mother asked me the other week.
"Belle who? Sorry, never heard of her."

It's got so bad I've had to enlist the services of a mate of mine to act as a decoy and sent her off into the resort boasting loudly that she's Belle to anyone that will listen. She's rather attractive, slightly unhinged and extremely luminous - just the sort of character you'd expect to go around saying outrageous things about herself and everyone else and cleaning toilets with the toothbrushes of people who annoy her. Of course it helps that I'm actually a bit of a wall flower. Not the first girl you might notice in the room, shall we say. Blend easily into the background. Enjoy the odd sojourn on my tod. No one would ever suspect...

Anyway, here we are, back in the mountains and bugger me is there a lot of snow. Getting anything done is an absolute bitch. After almost two weeks now of almost wall to wall neiging we're practically drowning in the stuff. The trees outside the chalet are bowed and sagging with great armfuls of powdery loveliness. Today I ventured tentatively out with the Man of Leisure and his new lady friend The Princess of Norway (no, really...), looking very elegant on telemarks. We got lost in a toneless world of foam coming seemingly from the ground and the heavens simultaneously  You couldn't see for miles. I relished the blind simplicity of it after all the complications of home. A sense of uncertainty over the lay of the land only two feet in front of you has a tremendous focusing effect the mind - you can only meditate on floating across endless fields of formless white dunes up high and picking a safe line between the trees. The expanding foam of whiteness seemed to enter my brain and expand, pushing out the dark thoughts and concerns. For a moment I let the others go on ahead and stood among the trees. My hair had turned to chiming icicles on my shoulders. I put my face up so tiny, perfect flakes settled on my cheeks.