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Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

So the Americans may be celebrating family, turkey, gift-swapping and shopping a mite early with Thanskgiving. Who cares? WE HAVE SNOW!

Admittedly, it’s only a light dusting but there may be more snow falling tonight, which will make the child and photographer in me very very bouncy and happy indeed.

Unfortuantely, the adult driver in me is facing a huge multiple-point 600-mile car journey across the southern UK over 4 days, on motorways, by-ways and narrow Welsh country roads. *gulp* Fortunately, I’ve got a phat 4×4 – and while it’s a betrayal of my environmental principles AND there’s nowhere for me to plug in my iPod, it should get my human cargo and I safely to where we’re going. Eventually.

It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas…

It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas…

Be warned. I usually hate it when bloggers go on about how much a song means to them because of certain lyrics. But hey. It’s November, nearly December, and a time of year when holding back from sentimentality can be a futile gesture.

Never mind where is the love, where is the snow?

Never mind where is the love, where is the snow?

All week, I’ve been hearing about how we’ll all be drowning in snow come Wednesday. Given the two weeks of emotional trauma my friends have been through, snow is just what we all needed. It brings out the child in you, and anything that can make the urban landscape look clean and pristine has got to be a good thing.

However, it’s 11am in Cardiff, the sun is shining and I can’t see any snow anywhere. This only perpetuates my perception that Cardiff somehow lives in its own parallel universe, where the normal rules of what happens in the rest of the UK and the world, just doesn’t apply. It’s as if I’m trapped in a Twilight Cardiff Zone (cue theme tune). Grrr.

Losing my snowboard…

Losing my snowboard…

First full day of snowboarding beckons to find a veritable blizzard descending over Niederau. Unfortunately, we have to go on a coach to get to Scheffel, an hour away. At 8.45am. And we haven’t even got our boots yet. So we’re a tad groggy.

Eventually get up the lovely cable car to a blizzard at the top of the mountain, and we meet our snowboard instructor Val. She has the patience of a short-fused bomb and most of her ire is concentrated on a poor little boy called Oliver.

We start practising on a teensy weensy slope – the same one that 5 yearolds are learning to ski on – and I soon get the hang of it. Can’t be that tricky, I think…

But then we enter the first proper slope. Which is a proper slope. And we proceed to keep going at high speeds, then falling over on our arse, failling around in the snow, trudging back up the hill and trying again. It is really like being a kid again.

Val leaves us after lunch to allow us to start practising by ourselves. And despite falling over every 5 seconds or so, I start to get cocky. Especially after managing to keep upright, moving and looking as if I know what I’m doing – for about 10 seconds before i fall over and strain my right shoulder trying to break my fall.

Twenty minutes later – after watching H disappear into the mist as if she was born to snowboard – I manage to bruise/sprain/twist my ankle and collapse in agony on the lovely snow. Deciding I’ve had enough, I unbuckle my boots from the board – and then watch helplessly as the snowboard obeys the rules of gravity and lurches to the right before spinning off incredibly fast down the side of the mountain.

At this point, I figure the bottom of the slope can’t be that far and start trudging my way down the mountain, hopefully catching my snowboard en route. 90 minuteslater, after a false alarm over a snowboard sighting sends me back up the hill to find a snowplough machine and me knee-deep in snow, I reach the bottom of the valley. And try to cadge a ski-lift up sans skis or snowboard. Which is apparently against the rules. Still, I manage to bend them enough and get back up to the top, limping away. I look for the snowboard as I cross the valley but no luck.

Find H in the restaurant bar who had almost given up hope of finding me and we limp back down to the car park, and our journey back to the hotel – where the reps announce they’re going to rip us off by charing us again for a day’s coach and ski lift pass at Scheffau, as Niederau still isn’t open. I slip twice in Niederau going to the shops exacerbating my ankle, and then hobble back to the hotel.

It is the Quiz/Bingo night tonight but H and I are far too exhausted, broke – and we’ll probably skip the ski-ing tomorrow. But it’s a happy exhausted as opposed to a chaotic exhausted feeling I’ve had in the last month.


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