Seaweed (smellingbottle) wrote,

New Year

We got back from Switzerland late last night, after a week with friends at their chalet in the Bernese Oberland. We’d spent the end of December down by the lake, as G. had the final nights of an opera run, so we spent New Year’s Eve eating fondue with the cast and crew after the final performance of a very silly opéra bouffe, and danced to the technical director’s ipod on shuffle around the stage and backstage. (Michael Jackson, Jacques Brel, Dire Straits, Leonard Cohen, Whitesnake.) Well, we did a restrained Irish twostep, while the dancers, which included two topless cabaret dancers from the Crazyhorse in Paris who were nudes figurantes in the opera, leapt around like gazelles, and the soprano’s two little girls looked on gravely.  Leaving at four in the morning on fearsomely icy roads, even H.’s Swiss sangfroid failed her, and we ended up abandoning the car and more or less falling the final couple of miles home down  a ferocious glassy gradient on foot, clad in opera-going clothes and formal shoes. Thank God for I.’s excellent balance, and the fact I was still slightly tiddled. My poor beloved black chiffon skirt bears the scars, though…


We went up to the mountains  the following day – astonishingly lovely to go up into the snows on hairpin roads as the daylight started to go, lighted-up chalets under thick quilts of snow and thick icicles, the pines all whitened, a few cows out for an airing by their barns, and the high peaks going pink and then dark. We had to shovel out a path to the chalet from the road through three feet of new snow, and then huddled in the space between the woodstove and the wall, like something from Heidi, until the rooms warmed. Even then we wore long silk underwear and ski socks and hats in the house, though I. and I were given the best bedroom, which has the stovepipe from downstairs running through it, and a view down the valley. We were outdoors all day, the other three ski-ing, me hiking for miles along the paths that were still passable in sharp, frigid sunshine –  it occurred to me to learn to cross-country ski, as I don’t care for downhill. We ate fierce amounts – fondue, raclette, soups, stews – and drank some kind of local marc that would have dissolved rocks,  and G. made bread every day in the chancy wood oven. I slept like the dead, and even urban I. didn’t complain of the frozen silence at night and long for double-deckers and drunks sound-effects. There is a little table at the back of the chalet, which looks out via a corner window onto the blank slope of  the hill, and above it the treeline, which would be a perfect place to write…


Back here now to the usual uncertainty about the future, life in the desert, and plugging away again at the book.


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