Saturday, 3 October 2009

Fast Forward

So the best way to bring things up to date...a montage of how much Guigui has changed in the last...errrr... eight, yes eight months ...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Take Two

So all I do now is spend time with Guillaume and go for walks in the snow... that is if you judge the contents of the second post of 2009 and compare it with the first. More winter wonderland pics of the French Alps, again from two raquette walks around the Cross-country skiing resort of Plaine Joux, and a few more pictures for fans of Guillaume, who is now almost permanently smiling!

The first trip of 2009 into the Alps was a welcome one. They call it stratus, low cloud that hangs in the alpine valleys during cold, fine weather. Underneath this cloud it is grey, cold and pretty miserable, however with the help of ski resort webcams to convince you, above the cloud it is picture perfect weather.

So, with two weeks of permanent stratus clouding the mind as well as the skies, I set out on a Sunday morning hopeful of finding some open space and some sunshine. It did not take long, passing frozen forests on the way, driving into the cloud at about 600m altitude where the temperature was -9C, and then bursting through into beautiful blue skies. It was like being on an air plane leaving dreary, dank heathrow behind and climbing into the upper atmosphere, however this time I was driving! Arriving at Plaine Joux, at 1250m altitude, the temperature was now a tropical -1C and at 10am in the morning, not too busy (yet).

- Looking west. That's the Saleve in the distance poking through the stratus

Time to put on the 'raquettes' and make a vigoruous trek up to the mountain hamlet of Ajon, another 200m higher, and soak in the 360 degree views. I kind of felt sorry for those stuck down in the valley (including a housebound Vero), missing out on these amazing clear skies and superb views, and that itself made me appreciate even more how lucky I was to be there.

- Looking towards Mont Blanc with the Arve valley below shrouded in cloud

The snow itself was fairly hard, having not snowed significantly for about 3 weeks. It was still very abundant though. However some sun-facing slopes had softened enough to make a fun descent with the snowshoes.

Two weeks afterwards, Philippe and Peggy came up for the day, with snowshoes in the boot of the car. So with it being the closest, Plaine Joux again was the destination. The weather was better in the valley, just a bit of lake fog and the sun was out in the mountains, however threatening skies were looming from the Jura in the north, so time was at a premium.

Fresh snow a bit higher up meant the descent was even more fun than the last time, and we extended the walk into green forests past cross-country skiers before looping back to the car, and more importantly, the restaurant for some diot sausages and a welcome beer. The weather held up pretty good too, although the wind on top blew away a few cobwebs.

Since then weekends have been quiet, relaxing with Guillaume. Last weekend we had a stroll in some fine weather in the Swiss countryside nearby - Guillaume's first international trip! (He has a French ID card for any of you thinking he was travelling illegally :-) )

Today we have had snow at home - only a few centimetres but enough to convince us that chilling out and relaxing in the warm this morning is the best option. Feet up in front of the tennis it is then.....

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Happy New Year

So, nearly ten weeks after the birth of Guillaume, I finally have some time to sit down and write something in the blog..oh hang on what was that noise..oh no don't wake up yet...d'oh too late.

OK one step at a time then. So its been a hectic first two months as parents - Guillaume and Vero left hospital 6 days after the birth and are both doing fine. He has settled in to life at home and is growing really fast, already catching up on his small birth weight (for the statisticians in 9 and a half weeks he has gained 2.4kg and is now double his birth weight, and grown some 8-9 cm in height). I dunno what's in Vero's milk but it must be good...(and no I am not going to try, that's just, well, err, wrong. Anyway here's a montage of his progress:

At 11 days old

At 3 weeks

At 4 weeks

At 6 weeks

Merry Christmas (8 weeks)

(bored yet?)

Visits have come thick and fast, grand parents and uncles in almost procession, which for us is fantastic as he has met them all so early on in life. The visitors, especially those from abroad also gave me an excuse to indulge in a bit of local sightseeing. Winter has been cold here, not freezing but consistently low single figures on the thermometer (or lcd colour weather station as it is now - thanks Neil).

We have had a few sprinklings of snow in Annemasse and plenty up in the mountains and some of the lower countryside nearby. While Neil and my Dad were here, we took a couple of excursions in the snow, one back to Plaines Joux (where Vero and I visited this June), and one around the Swiss countryside a stone's throw away just across the border.

On 6 December I also took part in the 31st Course de l'Escalade, a 7.6km race around Geneva's cobbled and steep old town. There are races all day, including the much loved 'Marmite' fancy dress run for those who aren't serious about running but want to look silly. As for me, I took part in the main race for my age group and well, the less said the better, it was not a pretty sight.

Christmas was nice and relaxed.. just the 3 of us for the day itself and then a week down in Ruy with the grandparents taking care of us. We did not do much, the weather was cold and grey mostly, however the sun shone on my birthday (29th December for those who want to send a card this year), enough for a stroll around the village. Plenty of celebrating was done, with fois gras, christmas log, wine and champagne all regular occurences.

As for today, its Epiphany in France, so yet another excuse to eat and drink..this time the 'Galette des Rois' (tart of kings) and 'Cidre doux' to wash it down. A good way to end the festive season, and to kick of 2009. Now its time to think about a diet..