First lifts last Monday in the Arlberg. At the time I was resenting paying for my lift pass like a normal holiday maker and not being tucked up in a warm chalet hard at work. But then with height came snow, the snow brought powder, which in turn brought fun and tumbles. First impressions may not impress but a bit of patience brings the good times.
Through the wonder of social media that is twitter, I found out about this wonderful website featuring incredible cabin and huts hidden away from everyday life and architecture. This image was taken by Kevin Bauman in Michigan. For the past few months I have been living in a 'shed' that would not be out of place amongst these images, if it were not for its close proximity to five multi-million euro chalets. Living in what once was a logs shed to one of these chalets, has been an experience somewhat simliar to living in a wooden caravan. There was not one inch of wasted/forgotten about space. Once inside, however, you could easily imagine being transported far far away from the established town of Val d'Isere to a small clearing in the middle of a vast woodland area where moose and bears meandered, oblivious to the wooden structure as it calmly blends in to it's environment.
This is the beautiful threshold to a shop in Mousehole which is a funny little fishing village on the Roseland peninsula of Cornwall. Details like this make me smile as essentially this space has the purpose of people wiping muck of their feet before entering the building. But it is also the first impression of the building and it's owners. When visiting Zanzibar last autumn, I learnt that there it is traditional for family homes to be split into two: the front half of the house for communal living and visitors, and the second half for personal, private living. The front half will be spacious and fitted with the bare essentials needed to entertain and to share sumptuous meals, decorated will colourful paintings and meaningful kangas, whereas the rear of the house will contain modest, functional rooms. These are the rooms however where husband and wife will throw religious caution to the wind and be allowed to give in to their natural desires and see each other in their natural form and show displays of affection and attraction. Both halves as important as the other, but in different ways. No wasted space over there. I wonder how many homes here are fully used: every room, corner, hallway and inch of floor space?
Back in France. But not long left. I have seen lots of places and faces and built lots of tales to tell in the last year. There have been waves, snow, storms, tents, monkeys, sea urchins, dawas, bake sales, bike rides and lots of fresh air. At present my world is full of cold air, pate d'ours, baguette and butter, scotch and ringing phones.
For the last few months I have been floundering around back in St Anton, Austria and have somewhat neglected those things that are important and rewarding and that mean something. My body and mind have been challenged and pushed passed their limits to the point at which returning to normality seems like an impossible concept. But today the light shone bright and a very clear reminder of how amazing and wholesome enjoying yourself is. And from now on everyday will be an enjoyable one (not necessarily all of it, but at least a part of it) so that I feel a sense of satisfaction for the day completed and excited about the coming one.
That time of year has come around again...the time of excitement, apprehension, a butterfly filled stomach, nervousness and delight. It is time to head to the mountains. This summer has been a wonderful one (I know it is November, but I work one a bi-seasonal basis: winter and not) and I can take to the hills with me many beautiful moments and memories. Beaches, surfing, strolling, evening sunshine, sleeping in tents, breakfast on gas stoves, farms, ice cream, road trips, bridges, bike rides, English monsoons, living with the best friends and more than I would care to share so as not seem like I am showing off about how incredibly lucky I am feeling right now. I think it is healthy not to get unnecessarily stuck in unwanted mud. When it is time to keep your feet and head still, I believe it will be clear. But until then...I am going to keep getting excited about the next thing.
When Mum left Surrey last year, the gentleman who lived opposite kindly gave her a camera to pass on to me as he longer had a use for it. As a camera hoarder I gratefully received the thoughtful gift and added it to my much loved collection. The pattern of my photo taken is somewhat sporadic, taking out different cameras each day. So when I picked up a set of photos at the beginning of the week, I nearly turned quickly on my heal ready to shout obscenities at the kodak staff for giving be the wrong prints. Then I stumbled across familiar scenes and remembered the gift and realised that there had already been a film in the camera. It is a bizarre and slightly intrusive feeling owning the images of someone else. Having said that, I intend to pop them in an envelope along with an overdue 'thank you' note so they land in the lap of their rightful owner. I think I am more thank ok with the ill-fated birds not being mine, but I would quite like the dog.
I think October is my favourite month. Maybe that is a tall order, but it is most definitely one of the best. The scenery looks like 80's tinted photographs of my childhood...not exactly sepia, but tones are softer than reality and everything looks like it does under early morning sun. When you step outside in the morning a gentle chill sweeps over you reminding you to dig out your mittens for tomorrow as you remember how frosty your hands got cycling to work yesterday morning. Frosty...not yet freezing, otherwise you would go back inside and find them. But the cycle ride in is fine without them. More than fine in fact as your breather is very nearly visible and extra caution is noted as your wheels spin over the burnt orange carpet created from the layers of fallen leaves. As much as I am quietly excited and looking forward to returning to the mountains for the winter, I am very much enjoying this colourful, calm time of the year. It only happens once and passes quicker than I would wish which means it must be appreciated and absorbed before it is starts to give way to November and mornings demanding the wearing of mittens.
Having finished my rather suspicious scarf a little while ago, I went straight in for the bobble hat. Edition 1 could have been used as a watermelon warmer it was so large. Edition 2 had unwanted holes in it. Edition 3 was the winner. The bobble may be a little on large side and it may by slightly too long (if however, I ever end up with a headful of dreadlocks, there is room to accommodate them), but I think there is a place for it in my life. Aurelia reminded me of a beautiful book of hers By Hand which features the guerilla knitting artwork of Robyn Love. This is definitely something to aim for.
Meet my new friend...Monsieur Clic. He has recently been residing in the St Peters Hospice shop until I snapped him up for a mere euro. Well....its was actually a pound, but same same. I think we are going to have a lot of fun together. Tomorrow I'm going to feed him a nice plate of slide film, take him out to play and let the relationship blossom. I will keep you updated on how our love is going/ growing/ not going. Hopefully not the last one.
I got a disposable camera developed today which contained many forgotten about happy good times. There were photos of melon smiles, bear hugs, mountains, feet dangling over water, much missed friends, road trips and a man with a perm and fancy waistcoat. And a few of the inside of my bag. I am starting to worry about all the other hidden away times that are stored inside my head but are only brought forward and remembered when triggered by a specific symbol. What if something incredible happens which is swept to the corner by a higher density of other less amazing occurrences? I guess it's that age-old debate of quality vs quantity. One amazing memory may take up the same amount of space as six less brilliant memories. But maybe what we value at the time isn't the true value. Maybe hindsight and time allows us to re-evaluate and re-order our experiences. Like in The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. If you haven't read it, I would strongly recommend it. It is one of those books you read and tell people about but keep your copy for yourself on your bookshelf as you know that at some point in the future, you will want/ need to re-read it.
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