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The view from............ Val d'Isere and the Espace Killy

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
muppet wrote:
@Steve Angus,
We left town last night at 6pm to return to the UK for our daughters 18th birthday this week and never expected everything to escalate so quickly. We keep thinking about everyone in town that have had to shut businesses down it must be devastating.


It’s surreal. Most shops shut last night before the announcement and had no time to prepare. Their windows are all still full of stock that won’t get sold.

We’ve decided to stay until Tuesday. By then I expect it will feel like October here.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Steve Angus, commiserations to you, your family and all others out there affected.

Surprised the latest action in France wasn’t announced in time to avoid the weekend travel migration.

Also that local elections go ahead today, which looks risky, in terms of virus spreading potential. However, events moving fast and decision makers juggling with conflicting priorities.

Hope you all stay safe, well and that life returns to something like normal as soon as possible.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Friend leaving Val this morning has been told by his Ben bus driver that the French are closing borders at midnight
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bar shaker wrote:
By then I expect it will feel like October here.


At least in October there's a bar or two open. Was at a dinner party last night as the news started coming through, when we saw that Tignes had closed we knew the game was up. We went to Coin for a final hurrah, great fun but with a strange NY eve atmosphere, until Plod came along and shut it down at 1.30am.

So goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Put all my ski stuff back up in the loft tonight, I thought I'd be packing it today ready to head to Val on Saturday Sad

What a weird and unprecedented situation this is, sending best wishes to everyone who lives and works in the resorts and commiserations to everyone like me whose holidays have been cancelled.

Let's hope we can go next year.
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^^^^ Thanks everyone above for the comments etc and analysis.... it all happened so quickly and fast. Its a shock to the system and the resort has and will take a huge hit as will many other resorts, people, industries etc etc. Best luck to one and all!

Eeery

Well as expected the first thing my ears heard this morning was Radio Val firming at 0700 that the resort was definitely closing down.... interestingly St Foy and Rosiere did not close until 1700 this evening. Apparently they were trying to get a day (today) of skiing in and were in negotiations with the prefecture bosses but it all came down to the fact that Val has big cable cars and funiculars in terms of possibilities of large numbers gathering together! Either way now all the resorts are closed!

After getting sorted and dealing with some paperwork and emails we decided to go for a family walk... it is just restaurants and shops etc that are shut across France there is (not so far anyway) no need to stay indoors. As we think that liberty is only a matter of time before leaving us we wanted to get out and enjoy the sunshine as much as possible! It was hot therefore it was great to be able to start using the balcony for the first time to sun dry clothes too!

The train rouge was running as normal today (until 2000) so we jumped on that (it will be running again tomorrow at 15 min intervals!) and went into town - initially we had planned to head from Fornet to the Pont St Charles but we were a little late so stopped in town! Town itself for a sunny day in March felt very busy I must say - surprisingly! This was mainly because everyone was taking back rental gear, stranded families going sledging on the slopes with their kids, locals trying to establish normalities with meet ups and people playing catch up! The other thing that was interesting to see was lots of restaurants open.... looks like takeaway establishments are allowed so you had places like La Source on the high street opening their front door and someone standing in the doorway taking orders and then shouting them through to the kitchen and hey presto a few mins later your takeaway pizza was ready! Lots and lots of cars also leaving town. But it was calm and quite sociable out there... some people were skinning up / others having a slide about on the nursery slopes and walking back up... it was rather strange thats for sure!

Some lunch at home then Bens sleep time was followed by a short sledging jolly over the road before getting the kids sorted for bed. Tomorrow will be the start of the week of course and we will attempt to try and sort out the new 'normal' school day for the kids... hmmm lets see how that all pans out!

It looks like so many people were aiming to leave the Tarantaise today that there were traffic jams 17 miles long to get out the valley at points today - hmmm does that count as a gathering of more than 100 people!!!!!!

One thing that did happen today was that we had the mayoral election here in Val and given there were only 2 candidates it looks like the more socialist left winger Patrick Martin has one - after 10 years of Marc Buaer this will be quite a change for the town... hmm lets see what happens next!

Ill be attempting to post every so often and hopefully daily initially on this blog but I suspect things will change and we feel as if the tip of the iceberg is upon us! It will get much worse! Hmm we shall see! WE are hoping that up here in the mountains and after all the tourists have gone home and being remote that if a lock down does happen we will escape quite lightly - we hope!


Rather than skiers lining up for lift passes this is people queuing for pass credits / refund / enquiries etc here in La Daille - was like this most of the day!


Very strange and quiet!


Fair few people out there non the less!

TTFN
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
It was so weird to look on the webcams and see miles and miles of empty slopes all perfectly pisted in the sunshine this morning, which no-one got to ski. Never seen that before at 10.30am on a beautiful sunny day in March. Such a shame.

I hope you'll be OK Steve.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Sad to see all that great snow with no one to ski it. Time to leave for those who can. Have a son seasonaire out there who we were planning to visit next week....he might be stuck
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@Steve Angus, all the best Steve to you and the family.
Do keep us updated as it's a sanity check to read your blog and for you to produce it.

I fear we are heading for more odd times back here in the uk too.

Looks like we hot away lightly 2 weeks ago and fortunately had a stunning week.

All the best
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It has been a surreal few days for sure. We are currently on the emergency repatriation Eurostar back to the UK, which has just left Bourg. Shame we didn’t see you this year Steve - I think I saw you eating your sandwich outside Snowberry a couple of days’ ago and I assumed I’d have tons of time to say hello. Until next year...
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Best of Luck, Steve. Thanks for all your posts, we were due to come out in 2 week's time, but not now Sad It looks like it's been a good season, sorry to have missed it! There's always next year....
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We walked into town, yesterday, got a lift from a friend to Fornet and then up to Pont St Charles. It was busy! We then walked almost up to Signal, down past Eidelweis at to Resto Les Crozier’s... which was open and packed.

Well, it was until the Gendarmes turned up.

Hoping to go to a secret closing party tonight. I’m sworn to secrecy as these are also banned.

Currently on the balcony, sunbathing carefully, after getting a bit burnt yesterday. The temps are like July, not March!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks for all the updates Steve. There’s worse places for a lockdown!!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
We walked into town, yesterday, got a lift from a friend to Fornet and then up to Pont St Charles. It was busy! We then walked almost up to Signal, down past Eidelweis on to Resto Les Crozier’s... which was open and packed.

Well, it was until the Gendarmes turned up.

Hoping to go to a secret closing party tonight. I’m sworn to secrecy as these are also banned.

Currently on the balcony, sunbathing carefully, after getting a bit burnt yesterday. The temps are like July, not March!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks Steve for all your posts this winter. Such a strange and surreal situation. Hope all on here stay healthy. Until next winter, adieu. Bonne Summer.
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You can now apply for a partial refund on your season pass. No idea how much they are refunding.

https://www.valdisere.ski/en/
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@muppet, thanks for the link. Initially I got the impression that season refunds were going to be automatic but that seems to have changed and we now need to claim.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Got to feel for the bar and restaurant owners

Mind you at €10 a pint and €15 for a lousy spag boll and fries you’d think they’d have enough fat to see them through the next 6 weeks
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up4it wrote:
Got to feel for the bar and restaurant owners

Mind you at €10 a pint and €15 for a lousy spag boll and fries you’d think they’d have enough fat to see them through the next 6 weeks


What you are missing is that they only have 5 months in the year to make their obscene profits.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@john2, not entirely correct. Certainly many bar and restaurant owners in get most of their income during the winter. Some only open in winter.

However I’ve been to the Alps in summer and lots of places are open then, with plenty of visitors using them. Good examples are towns like Chamonix, Val D’Isere, Morzine and Bourg St Maurice.
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@Steve Angus, Good luck with the lockdown.
I've 6 portions of cottage pie in my freezer in La Daille (along with other thins) and a cupboard of Heinz products your welcome to if things get tough.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Steve Angus, nightmare for all concerned Crying or Very sad

I notice that both the Val D'Isere and Tignes websites say they are 'closed until further notice'. Other websites I've looked at e.g. Val Thorens say they're closed for the remainder of the season. Is it possible this means the Espace Killy hopes to reopen before the end of the season if the government restrictions are lifted?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
swiftoid - were not opening for many months to come!!!!

^^^^ thanks everyone for the kind messages etc etc etc.

Shell shock

Folks I have to admit I DO NOT drink - ever - honestly maybe a unit of beer once a week but this evening I have cracked open the whisky! I can't quite describe it but this all feels REALLY real this evening! Today was mad - people rushing about - it felt like everyone trying to get out of Dunkirk in the war - honestly. I had colleagues fleeing and literally dropping and running the contents of their fridge on our doorstep! We went for a walk into town and there were a number of bars etc giving things away for free... Artic Cafe had an open house and we collected enough fresh fruit and veg and bread and eggs to see us through for quite a while. My message to everyone in the UK is that this is gonna get real real soon! Going onto lockdown here this evening and working out how we get out tomorrow - need a special self certified piece of paper etc is surreal! Like everyone I am following the news 24/7 and I can see this lasting for a long time - the initial lockdown will last quite a few weeks me thinks. I CANT TELL you the relief when macron has said we can go for exercise outside - there would be murders in here if that was not allowed - lets hope it stays that way! If we REALLY REALLY have to I can see me going for a midnight walk somewhere - not sure where but somewhere just to get out the house!

Anyway as the first day of no school today - that decision to close school seems about a month ago - this thing is progressing so quickly - it seemed ok. We got up at the normal time, had breakfast as normal and dressed and then had a walk and then after lunch etc some 'learning' for Olivia as she is being sent school work! But we could not really keep our eyes off the news its captivating!

So thats about it folks... someone above suggests these write ups continue as an escape - I think it will be good therapy for me. Ill try and post stuff on social media too!

Could I just say a massive thanks to Artic Cafe for all that amazing food we got today again too.... I can't believe this is all getting real. I know that what is happening in Italy is likely to come this way soon too! Scary times ahead! I felt the need to network around the place this evening too... offering services to collect food shops for an elderly (well over 70!!!!) couple I know here who are staying put and things like that!

In terms of getting out - the last few hundred people are leaving tomorrow and then it looks like we are finally on lock down and the hope that it'll stay as just locals after that! A straw poll of everyone I know out here shows there is a 50:50 split between those who are fleeing for the coast (told you it sounds like Dunkirk!) and those that think this is the best place and will be lying low.


Merci Arctic



TTFN
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@Steve Angus, good luck to you, Clare and the kids. I'm sure you'll rise to the challenge!
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@Steve Angus, best wishes to you all. As said above, I’m sure you’ll cope with this sudden and dramatic change.

SnowHeads will continue to follow any posts you’re able to do and exchange information I’m certain. Let’s all hold on to images of happy days and a return to normal as soon as possible.

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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
rob@rar wrote:
@Steve Angus, good luck to you, Clare and the kids. I'm sure you'll rise to the challenge!

well said @robrar. All the best Steve and family, see you on the other side.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
This needing a piece of paper thing seems surreal. Is there any law enforcement in Val if people "forget" the chitty? Do the locals consider that it is going to do any good ? If the medics are correct you've got to coughing over each other to spread it and if there are only a few people around, how is that going to happen? Is it "one size fits all"? Anyway good luck
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Seconded all the above keep on air Steve and keep sending us some pics and info when you can it will be good for us all.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Definitely keep posting Steve - it is great to hear from you. All the best to you and the family. xxx
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
^^^ thanks folks... yes it is therapy for me so ill keep posting although there won't be much to report... photos and those sorts of things might be best!

Strange day

Well the start of the day was the same as has been of last few days and the sun was shining! The news was breaking that not only was there a mad dash to get out as soon as possible but at the GVA border crossing they were only letting people across that had a flight booked out OR you were in an official transfer vehicle... so there were stories of friends dropping friends at the border and them having to take a taxi the last little way! There was also stories of the queues - oh yes the queues which were hours and hours long at the Swiss border too... sounds quite a journey! All the while the countdown to the 1200 deadline was approaching!

We decided to make the most of the time available until the curfew started and Clare headed out with Olivia for a play initially and then I took Ben in the pushchair into town and checked all our postboxes as well as the underground parking / our car and tied up loose ends like that when I could! Everyone had the same idea so spent much of the time bumping into people we knew. Lots of chats - from a distance as we passed by! It was nice seeing people and getting ready for the lockdown! Some people getting DIY stuff ready to work their apparemtns. Chats with others about just how to keep kids entertained... luckily there are some deserted ug parking lots about so if push comes to shove we could literally go underground for a kick about / bike ride with our kids - deserted garages mean no other contact with no one else and no one see's us to put pressure on us or 'if they can do it so can we' which is the worrying attitude! I also saw what appeared to be someone homeless - I am 99% sure that is what it looked like to me much to my amazement outside the Artic Intersport!

I got back and Mrs SkiTrax had popped by to see the kids for the last time in goodness knows how long so it was a 'bonne chance' to her.!

After lunch Clare took Olivia out for a play in the snow for a while and then we swapped and I took Ben out... a nice walk in the sun - by now the lockdown had been happening for quite some time and it was pretty quiet out there BUT when I was walking with Ben there were lots of people out - way more than I thought there might be! I even saw some people skiing that had skinned up! Whilst skinning (also dog walking is allowed!) is not technically banned as everyone can get 30 mins or so of exercise out there a day (the worry is that people will push the boundaries whether intentionally or unintentionally and whether over time fatigue to the 'rules' will happen - this could all lead to that loss of some liberty) it is not advised as if you have an accident.......

In fact a couple of ski tourers (one died) were involved in an avalanche near Chamonix today too!

Anyway it was a nice walk out there.

With a food parcel drop off from a contact we now have a really really full fridge. We are going to have to have lots of omellettes etc as we now have 92 eggs as well as 1.1kg of pate and 1kg of cream cheese amongst other things....

TTFN




Ben was happy getting up close to a parked up piste basher - he just loves 'diggers' as he calls em!
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Yes, please keep posting it's therapy for us over here. So sad we couldn't make our date for today.....
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Steve Angus, Thanks for the updates. Think I can see our balcony in the picture with Ben
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Anyone know if Tignes are refunding some of the season pass costs as well as Val?
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Ignore me, found it.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
endoman - thanks - will do! I know what a bug - next time as they say, next time!
muppet - indeed you can! The hotel side btw have had TONS of produce they have had to chuck out - we have a very full fridge now!

Day 2

Well the start of the day was similar to yesterday but I treated myself to eggs on toast.

Weather wise similar to yesterday and the whole of the week is gonna be sunny and warm! Sitting on the balcony is a treat! Olivia might like a BBQ tomorrow so we are thinking of a lunchtime BBQ (dont worry we have a gas one) - heck why not eh! Might as well. It helped that Spar down here in La Daille is offering 50% off all fresh produce! So stocked up on some meat... the ironic thing is that the stores for all the supermarkets in town are overflowing to account for the normal numbers of people here in town... so the few thousand that are here have access to some good deals!

Anyway over the day there was quiche making, Olivia learnt all about Brazil with me - a video, learning some words, we did some samba dancing (hmm glad there is no video of that!) thanks to Amazon Alexa having that music available! She did some maths work (the school are sending work via the internet every day!) and a couple of trips out. Ben had a lunchtime sleep and so did Clare. Olivia learnt how to save money - if she does chores she gets about 5c and she can either swap for a sweet daily OR she can chose to save the money and 'double - up' tomorrow! She chose to double up tomorrow! Good girl - learning how to save!

There were lots of other things too but I can't remember what they were now!

The talking point about this place is the numbers of people that seem to think its OK to go for huge long ski tours, there are people driving up parking their car (not huge numbers but a few!) and going for walks and also even someone paragliding on the Manchet today! The problem with all these things that apart from possibly injuring yourselves and using up precious resources on the health services is that it becomes the 'norm' and soon you get gatherings and all the rest of it - everyone just needs to go cold turkey! There have been groups skiing close to each other going up the mountain and one person thinks - if they can do it so can I... and then you are back at square one! Arghhh!

However the police were definately about in greater abundance today that is for sure! Fines were certainly issued apparently!

Anyway thats about it for today... looks like the UK is about 6-7 days behind where France is at the moment - it was only last Thursday night that we were told that schools were closing here - today the UK... be prepared folks (not panic buying though!)

TTFN

P.S. eggs update (we got yet another food parcel today - we declined more eggs!) - we have 77 eggs left!


Moment of freedom

"The view from the balcony" - day 2 - lets see how this view changes over the next few weeks eh!

Olivias school work I did with her - what she learnt about Brazil - the flag, samba dancing, food things...

My motto today

Eerie
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@Steve Angus, keep it coming.

Those last few posts you made as the ski season wrapped up really made me feel a bit sad, not quite sure why, probably because it seemed like paradise was closing its doors and if paradise can, then everywhere should. Plus, the fact I'm still pining for a ski holiday that'll never happen (this spring anyway) probably didn't help.

However, at least the sun is shining and you can get a bit of fresh air in the mountains. Looks very strange to see it in full daylight with zero slope activity.

I've been looking at webcams for numerous resorts and it's just really weird. Brings home how quickly things have changed for everyone...
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Thanks for posting Steve. Keep updating us with the egg count!

We’ve not met, but I always enjoy your reports. I’ve been to Val D and Tignes a few times over the years, the last time being the luxury of a 4 week performance course with the ICESI guys in Jan 2016. We middle-aged ski bums had a blast mainly with Mark Jones, but also Ru T and Dave Cowell.
This week Mr P and I left St Martin de B on Tuesday- bringing to an end our first season as alpine property owners. We really feel for the locals and seasonaires of all nationalities.

I wasn’t back at work yesterday and I can see how it’s all to easy to keep logging onto the news websites and start obsessing and raising anxiety levels. I should be back in some sort of work next week (the courts’ service and us lawyers are grappling with how to conduct relatively complex family hearings remotely) but the first day home with nothing but CV to think about can easily start to send one round the bend...
On the plus side, (most) people do seem to be just being nicer to each other. (I’m ignoring the bog roll purchasing morons).

Small things can suddenly become really important to one’s sense of well-being. Today, crazy as it seems, my greatest achievement and distraction was unblocking (by hand) a mini fat berg in the outside drain from our kitchen sink. I smelled pretty bad after that, but strangely it put a smile on my face! Made me and Mr P - who has a business to try and run - laugh! Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Specialman - will do! It feels very surreal - its strange! The thought of being cocooned here will take some getting used to - especially for weeks and weeks to come as it is likely to be!

Perty - still on 77 eggs (I think).... over egg'ed it yesterday with quiche and eggs on toast etc - back on it tomorrow - haha! Sounds like you have had a rather more 'interesting' day than us here! People are being nicer to each other here on the whole! But things play out on the various social media channels instead of in the pubs! Its strange this virtual network but it helps thats for sure!

Day 3

Whilst the sun is shining and the novelty is still there its actually not too bad this isolation thing but it would be a hell of a lot easier with no kids that is for sure! Anyway same start to the day and then it was my turn to play outside with Ben.... a nice walk to the diggers. We had some Mothers Day card to make, we did a scavenger hunt and plenty besides. Olivia earnt some money for running chores and Ben and I pretended to do some cooking with Olivias cookery set and kitchen - it was fun. These small things become the highlight of the day!

There were fewer people breaking the rules and skinning etc today but there are some people still doing it and I even saw a microlight flying out today. There will be murders of those doing this if the government say we can't go out at all I tell you!


Ben couldnt understand where the gondolas had gone!


Everything I need to pop out for a walk in La Daille - passport and my paperwork tucked inside! Need same thing for Ben too!


"The view from the balcony" - day 3

TTFN
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Looks like it is lovely weather there Steve just had a contact from my old NHS hospital looks like I may be doing some volunteering in their IT dept
ah well all hands to the pump as they say, keep the pics and posting going its a tonic for the troops!
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@Steve Angus, Keep yourself and you family safe but please keep on posting snowHead
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